Monday, January 31, 2011


Here's a summary of what happened from the Education Action Group:



Education Action Group, 1/13/11


     As some may not know, California's new governor, Jerry Brown, is also the state's old Gov. Brown. He left office back in the '80s and has been bumping around as mayor of Oakland and state attorney general since then.

     But now he's back, and he's trying to bring the '80s back with him. This is definitely not a good thing.

     Brown got huge support in his election campaign from the California Teachers Association, and he wasted no time on paybacks. One of his first official acts was to fire 7 of the 11 members of the state Board of Education, including four members with strong education reform backgrounds.

     One of the replacements is a former lobbyist for the teachers union, while the others are suspected of being protectors of the status quo.

    Good going, Gov. Brown. You've just dealt a huge blow to the growing movement for quality education in California. And real reform was just starting to take root in the Golden State.

    As we noted in a press release earlier this week, California recently made national headlines by enacting the "parent trigger" law, which allows a simple majority of local parents to unite and reinvent failing schools. The Los Angeles Board of Education is trying to make student test scores a vital component of teacher evaluations. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who once worked for the teachers unions, recently blasted his former employers for standing in the way of reform efforts.

     But for old timers like Brown, old-time politics are obviously more important than quality education. The unions scratched Brown's back during the election cycle and now he's scratching back.

     "No doubt about it, this is in part looking at the November election first and foremost, and then of course upcoming elections," said state Sen. Gloria Romero, a Democrat who supports reform and is angry with Brown for his move.

     We just hope this isn't a sign of things to come. We hope Brown doesn't join the union in an effort to force children to attend their local public schools, regardless of the quality of education available. We hope he doesn't fight efforts to hold teachers more accountable for student learning, or efforts to make it easier to fire bad teachers.

     But we're not holding our breaths. Gov. Brown is the product of an era when the unions ran public education in virtually every state, and their "wisdom" regarding all things school-related went unquestioned.

     It's obviously going to be very hard to teach this old dog a few new tricks.

 Subscribe in a reader