by Melissa Crowley
An overview of the
Central Valley reveals a region that shares similar concerns with other
parts of the state: rapid growth, congestion and maintaining quality
of life. A booming population accompanying the Valley's growth has also
filled classrooms to capacity, making an equal education for all a challenge
There are also educational
issues unique to the Central Valley. Students from different backgrounds
are a tribute to the diversity of the Central Valley, but they often
have greater language or educational needs. Experts say the earlier
these needs are met, the better.
There is also the
problem of the Central Valley's so-called "digital divide"
-- the highest in the state. Innovative partnerships with the private
sector help, so do cutting edge classes like "Digital TV"
at Sacramento's McClatchy high school. But much more is needed to interest
and prepare kids for technical skills they need in today's economy.
Some of the best
performing schools are found in the Valley...but so are some of the
lowest. Experts believe as the region grows, so must support for its
educational system; the valley's future success depends on it. Teachers
say that while resources are tight and challenges numerous, they are
surmountable -- and each child is worth it.