September 28, 1998
TO: Santa Barbara County Grand Jury
FROM: Santa Barbara County Education Office
Contact Person: Carol Johansen
RE: Grand Jury Report of May 20, 1998
The following is the official response to the 1997-1998 Grand Jury Interim Final Report entitled "High School Ethnic Studies," which was released on June 2, 1998:
FINDING 2: Throughout the District there is no special training provided for teachers of ethnic studies. The County schools office receives state lottery money, which is used in part to provide teacher training.
Response: The Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO) partly agrees with the finding that it periodically uses lottery funds to provide teacher training.
SBCEO has used state lottery money to provide teacher training when it is directly connected with specific programs sponsored by the County. For example, lottery funds were used to help fund the training provided to countywide teachers who took their classes to the SBCEO sponsored Anne Frank in the World exhibit last year.
RECOMMENDATION 2: The County should provide training for teachers of ethnic studies.
Response: SBCEO does not agree with the recommendation.
The primary responsibility for staff development rests with the individual school districts. Our office coordinates staff development workshops upon district request.
Based upon district feedback and request, we consider it our mission and responsibility to focus our teacher training on core subject matter training, such as reading, writing, math, science, social studies and so forth, rather than providing training for specific course content. Further, this would be virtually impossible on a countywide basis.
For the past two years our office has provided teacher training and materials for the "World of Difference" program created by the Anti-Defamation League. Teachers countywide were able to
SBCEO Response, Page 2
attend. This past year our office provided teacher training for the teachers whose classes attended the Anne Frank in the World exhibit, visited by some 10,000 students. In addition, the Central Coast School Leadership Center, operated at our office, has provided workshops on diversity training for teachers in the Santa Barbara High School District at the district’s request. During the 1998-1999 school year, the new Beyond Tolerance Center, which operates out of our office, will open. Its mission is to educate school children about the causes, instruments, and dangers of discrimination and violence. The Center will act as an educational resource center for educators by providing informational resources and programs that promote social awareness and tolerance. It will also be a clearinghouse for programs that schools may choose to use for teacher training and will also organize teacher training opportunities countywide.
Again, while the primary responsibility for staff development is in the province of each school district which can best understand their own particular needs, our office is always willing and ready to work with districts and help organize teacher training programs when districts request this assistance.