Photo credit: Harvard.edu
Nonprofit and philanthropic leaders from across the state gathered in Jacksonville Tuesday to discuss how their local grantmaking and social change efforts can help feed into a broader global discussion about sustainable development.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were passed by the 193 member countries of the United Nations in 2015. The interrelated goals -- designed to be accomplished by 2030 -- cover a variety of topics, ranging from ending poverty and hunger to promoting economic growth and reducing inequality.
As an organization focused locally in Duval County, we don’t often think about our work in a global context, but our commitments to improving public schools in Jacksonville clearly support many of the goals, particularly Goal #4:
Quality Education - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Under each of the SDGs, there are a number of measurable targets and indicators, 169 targets and 230 indicators in all. Under the “Quality Education” goal, many of the targets and indicators are focused on seeking gender equity. Although the Jacksonville Public Education Fund does not focus primarily on gender equity issues, there are a number of targets that align with our mission to ensure that all of our children have access to a high quality public education:
Target 4.1: By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. Currently, Duval County Public Schools’ high school graduation rate is 76.6 percent, and has been steadily increasing for a number of years. To meet this goal by 2030, DCPS would need to continue to see increases of 1.7 percentage points per year.
Target 4.6: By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy. In order to remain relevant across the world, this goal doesn’t specify a specific outcome goal, but in the state of Florida, we generally look at the number of students scoring above a level 3 (out of 5) on the annual Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) in English Language Arts and Math.
With the change from the FCAT to FSA in 2015, we have limited trend data so far regarding performance increases in these subjects, but we have seen year-over-year English Language Arts performance increases in 3rd, 6th and 8th grade. In Math, we have seen year-over-year increases in all grades. In both of these areas, we will continue to work with our partners at DCPS to see increases over the years to come.
As we continue to support improvement in Duval County's public schools, we are excited that our work can contribute to the broader discussion around improving the lives of millions of people worldwide. We remain eager to follow the progress of the SDGs and do our part here in Duval County to work with our partners at DCPS to create opportunities for teacher leadership and development, elevate the voices of our students to decision-makers and engage the community in meaningful ways so that we can continue to see increases over the years to come.