California Gov. Jerry Brown made education news when his state passed Proposition 30 to increase school funding, and established a Local Control Funding Formula that puts education decisions closer to where the students are actually being taught—the classroom. And on the convention floor, Brown continued to speak our language: "Your success is America's success," he told the packed convention hall July 11.
Brown also denounced overtesting, declaring that in California, students would not be double-tested as part of the Common Core State Standards rollout. "We'll adopt the Common Core," he said, but "let's go at it in an intelligent, careful, step-by-step way." That means saying "no" to Washington on mandated testing for every child, every year.
To achieve real learning, educators can't just "pour stuff into the brain" to prepare for standardized tests handed down from afar; instead, they must "light a fire in each student and share that enthusiasm," he said. " 'Beauty is truth, and truth beauty,' " he quoted. "Where was that on the test?"
To ensure that every child gets the opportunity for such high-quality learning, Brown has discarded the old equal-funding paradigm, and instead directs more funding to the neediest districts. "Those who have the biggest challenge, they need the most money, the most teachers, the most counselors," he said.
"What's most important is reclaiming the promise of building the future, not stealing from it."
[Virginia Myers/photo by Russ Curtis]