State of California Archives: on Education

Jerry Brown: No government-imposed standards for public schools

Brown blasted the notion of government-imposed standards for public schools, saying he opposed efforts from Washington and Sacramento to dictate education policy. Using "data on a national or state level I think misses the point--that learning is very individual, very personal," Brown said. "It comes back to the teacher and the principal. The leader of the school is by far the most important factor."

When asked if he supported national education standards, Brown said, "No. That's just a form of national control." Brown reprised a story he tells frequently about an exam he had in high school when a teacher asked students to write their impressions of a green leaf. "Still, as I walk by trees, I keep saying, 'Can I feel anything? Am I dead inside?' So, this was a very powerful question that has haunted me for 50 years." The point, Brown said, is that "you can't put that on a standardized test. There are important educational encounters that can't be captured by tests."

Source: Los Angeles Times on 2014 California Governor race Dec 16, 2013

Antonio Villaraigosa: Mayoral control of 22 poorly performing schools

Villaraigosa said he tried to take over the schools, winning passage of a state law that was later overturned by the courts. Villaraigosa changed his tactics from trying to take control to helping seat a new Los Angeles Unified Board of Education that agreed with his views on educational reform. He also took direct control of 22 poorly performing schools, which he said have turned around.

Also, his added focus on graduating students helped the district reverse its drop out rate, he said. "In 2005, there were only 48 percent of kids graduating," Villaraigosa said. "Last year, it was 64 percent. Almost two-thirds of the students."

Source: Huffington Post on 2014 California Governor race Jun 23, 2013

Jerry Brown: Consider subsidiarity: central authority only if local fails

California's public schools are subject to tens of thousands of laws and regulations: [from the] school superintendent [to the] State Board of Education, then Congress which passes laws like "No Child Left Behind," and finally the Federal Department of Education.

This year, as you consider new education laws, I ask you to consider the principle of Subsidiarity. Subsidiarity is the idea that a central authority should only perform those tasks which cannot be performed at a more immediate or local level. In other words, higher or more remote levels of government, like the state, should render assistance to local school districts, but always respect their primary jurisdiction and the dignity and freedom of teachers and students.

Subsidiarity is offended when distant authorities prescribe in minute detail what is taught, how it is taught and how it is to be measured. I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work--lighting fires in young minds.

Source: 2013 State of the State address to California Legislature Jan 24, 2013

Antonio Villaraigosa: Police in the schools, every day, but not all day

Q: What about this idea of police in schools? What is your feeling with that?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, in L.A., we are patrolling every school. We have officers coming to every school in our city.

Q: Every day?

VILLARAIGOSA: Every day. Not all day, but at various parts of the day while school is open, they are visiting the campuses to make sure things are going well. I don't agree with the NRA that we should be arming our teachers. But we should have discussions in our classrooms about bullying and violence and resolving conflict without violence. And we've got to do a lot more around mental health, and we do need sensible gun safety laws in the United States of America. You know, the Republicans in the House and Senate have blocked the approval of director of the ATF for the last seven or eight years. We've got to beef up and really move away from the kinds of things we've done in the past.

Source: Face the Nation 2013 on 2014 California gubernatorial race Jan 13, 2013

Jerry Brown: Vetoed considering demographics in college admissions

Gov. Brown vetoed a controversial, affirmative action-like bill that would have allowed public colleges and universities in California to consider demographic factors in admissions processes.

SB 185 would have made it legal for UC and CSU schools to consider factors such as race, gender, ethnicity and national origin in student admissions. The bill had faced scrutiny by those who questioned its legality. Opponents of the bill said that it contradicted Proposition 209. Approved by voters in 1996, the proposition made it illegal for students to receive preferential treatment on the basis of race, gender or ethnicity.

Though Brown said that he agrees with the purpose of the bill, he believes the courts should determine the limits of the proposition, according to a veto message he sent to the State Senate. "Signing this bill is unlikely to impact how Prop. 209 is ultimately interpreted by the courts; it will just encourage the 209 advocates to file more costly and confusing lawsuits," he wrote.

Source: Daily Californian on 2014 California governor's race Oct 8, 2011

Jerry Brown: Let people vote to avoid cutting schools & colleges

If you are a Democrat who doesn't want budget reductions in programs you fought for & deeply believe in, I understand that. If you are a Republican who has taken a stand against taxes, I understand where you are coming from. But things are different this time. In fact, the people are telling us--in their own way--that they sense that something is profoundly wrong.

At this moment of extreme difficulty, it behooves us to turn to the people and get a clear mandate on how we should proceed: either to exten the taxes as I fervently believe or cut deeply into the programs from which--under federal law--we can still extract the sums required. Unfortunately, these would most probably include: elementary, middle and high schools, the California State University system, prisons, and vital health programs.

My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly I believe it would be irresponsible for us to exclude the people from this process. They have a right to vote on this plan.

Source: 2011 California State of the State Address Jan 31, 2011

Julia Brownley: Supports charter schools

Q: Do you support national education standards?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams?

A: No.

Q: Do you support using a merit pay system for teachers?

A: No.

Q: Do you support state funding for charter schools?

A: Yes; I support charter schools with accountability and standards of innovation.

Q: Do you support the state government providing college students with financial aid?

A: Yes.

Source: California Congressional 2010 Political Courage Test Oct 30, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Until now, children were trapped in low-performing schools

And there are two accomplishments in particular I want to recognize here today. Just last night the Assembly passed major educational reform, reform that once seemed impossible but now will become law as soon as it hits my desk.

For too many years, too many children were trapped in low-performing schools. The exit doors may as well have been chained. Now, for the first time, parents--without the principal's permission--have the right to free their children from these destructive schools. That is great freedom.

Also in the past, parents had no power to bring about change in their children's schools but that will now change too. Parents will now have the means to get rid of incompetent principals and take other necessary steps to improve their children's education.

And to increase accountability, we finally broke down that firewall so that teachers' performance can be linked to students' performance.

Source: California 2010 State of the State Address Jan 6, 2010

Dan Quayle: “Students’ rights” wrongly undermines school discipline

School discipline has fallen victim to the agenda of our legal elites. [In the past], schools had rules, and we’d face consequences if we broke them. Today, children can recite page after page of “students’ rights” but are clueless about their responsibilities. There would be a lawsuit before corporal punishment was ever enforced. Litigation - and the fear of litigation - has undermined even the most reasonable attempts to impose basic discipline in the public schools.
Source: Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California May 19, 1999

Dan Quayle: Mentioning God in classrooms should not be illegal

All students need a moral education. But since the outlawing school prayer 40 years ago, we’ve had a stream of litigation over moments of silence, and what constitutes a “voluntary” prayer. Certainly, religious instruction is the job of religious institutions. But now we have the extreme situation where there is a bias against mentioning religion and God. We open the Senate with daily prayers, but to do so in the schools is unthinkable and considered illegal.
Source: Speech to the Commonwealth Club of California May 19, 1999

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