Jerry Brown on Education



Increase funding for schools and target tough students

With respect to education, the strong economic recovery and the passage of Proposition 30 has allowed us to increase spending on public schools and community colleges from a low of $47.3 billion in 2011, to $71.6 billion this budget year. That is a 51 percent increase in overall spending, with significant sums allocated under the Local Control Formula to provide for the unique challenges that face low-income students, English learners and those in foster care.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to California legislature , Jan 21, 2016

Reduce centralized control of local education

I am proud of how California has led the country in the way it is returning control to local school districts. For the last two decades, there has been a national movement to micromanage teachers from afar, through increasingly minute and prescriptive state and federal regulations. California successfully fought that movement and has now changed its overly intrusive, test-heavy state control to a true system of local accountability.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to California legislature , Jan 21, 2016

Allow bilingual education in public schools

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest: Status:Concurrence vote passed Senate, 25-10-5; passed House 53-26-0; approved by Governor 9/28/14

OnTheIssues Explanation: In 1998, California voters passed Proposition 227, which banned bilingual education. This new law repeals Proposition 227, and hence re-institutes bilingual education. 80% of non-English-speaking in California public schools speak Spanish, but bilingual education could apply to other languages as well.

Source: California legislative voting records: AB 1174 , Sep 28, 2014

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

Replace school achievement testing with progress testing

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status: Concurrence vote passed House, 54-22-2; passed Senate 26-7-6; approved by Governor 10/2/13.

OnTheIssues Explanation: MAPP meets the new federal Common Core standards, while STAR met the previous federal No-Child-Left-Behind standards. Voting for the MAPP standards implies support of Common Core.

Source: California legislative voting records: AB 484 , Oct 2, 2013

Allow student sports choice based on gender identity

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest: Existing law prohibits public schools from discriminating on the basis of specified characteristics, including gender, gender identity, and gender expression, and specifies various statements of legislative intent and the policies of the state in that regard. Existing law requires that participation in a particular physical education activity or sport, if required of pupils of one sex, be available to pupils of each sex.

This bill would require that a pupil be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil's records.

Status:Bill passed House, 46-25-8; passed Senate, 21-9-8; approved by Governor, August˙12,˙2013.

Source: California legislative voting records: AB 1266 , Aug 12, 2013

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

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

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

Give school districts more flexibility and hold accountable

We need to dramatically simplify the Education Code and give school districts more flexibility on how best to meet state standards. We should hold schools accountable for outcomes, not issue minute prescriptions from Sacramento on how to achieve those outcomes.
Source: 2010 Gubernatorial campaign website, jerrybrown.org , Nov 1, 2010

Other governors on Education: Jerry Brown on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Antonio Villaraigosa
Eric Garcetti
Hilda Solis
Jerry Sanders
Neel Kashkari
CA Senatorial:
Dianne Feinstein

Gubernatorial Debates 2017:
NJ: Fulop(D) vs.Lesniak(D)
VA: Gillespie(R) vs.Wittman(R) vs.Northam(D)
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OR: Brown(D) vs.Bell(D) vs.Niemeyer(R) vs.Pierce(R)
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Lame ducks 2015-16:
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(term-limited 2016)
KY-D: Steve Beshear
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LA-R: Bobby Jindal
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Page last updated: Sep 11, 2016