Ravenswood City School District Superintendent Charlie Mae Knight was singled out and honored by Governor Pete Wilson during his State of the State Address Tuesday night at the state Capitol.
Knight, a proponent of affirmative action who has not always sided with Wilson, sat in the Senate gallery during the speech. She was recognized along with five other Californians for their various efforts.
Knight received applause as Wilson told of Ravenswood's effort to reduce class size in three grades.
"It felt great because nobody stands and applauds a superintendent (at home)," Knight said.
"We were singled out for our aggressive approach to class size reduction," Knight said. Three of the district's schools have reduced class size to 20 students per teacher in kindergarten through second grade, and four other schools have done so in first through third grades.
Last summer, Wilson persuaded the Legislature to free up more than $700 million to help school districts statewide reduce class size in first through third grades. Next year, Wilson has pledged to add a fourth grade to the list.
To illustrate the impact Knight has had on students' lives, Wilson shared a story during his speech. Knight was on an airplane recently when a flight attendant approached her, saying she was a former student. "She was so grateful that she bumped Dr. Knight up to first class," Wilson said. "Please join me in applauding Dr. Charlie Mae Knight and the thousands of other educators who are doing a first-class job for California's kids."
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