Kirst: reread Jerry Brown’s planEd adviser says use that as basis for criticism
Michael Kirst, who co-authored Gov.-elect Jerry Brown’s education plan, had this reaction on reading the two dozen commentators’ worth of advice that ran on this page over two days last week (here and here): Go back and reread Brown’s plan.
“At least in the short run, rather than bring up whole new issues he has not committed to, it would be most useful to those working with him (Brown) if the comments addressed the plan specifically – what people like and don’t like,” Kirst told me over the weekend. (To keep the conversation going, I encourage readers and commentators to do just that and send in your reactions. Again, here’s the plan .)
Kirst, a professor emeritus of education and business administration at Stanford, was Brown’s principal adviser on education and sole campaign spokesman on that issue. He had a hand in writing the 12-point education plan, although, he said, Brown rewrote sections and approved every word of it. And, he said, Brown is serious about implementing it.
Brown’s plan includes some of the key issues that experts and advocates raised in their advice: a return to local control and the simplification of the state Ed Code, the need for new assessments beyond the current California Standardized Tests, and a focus on teacher and principal training and development. It commits to implementing a weighted student funding formula, based on student needs, as a replacement for dozens of categorical programs, though not in the context of overall governance and financing reform. And the plan does not directly address the massive funding cuts that K-12 schools and higher ed institutions may continue to experience.
The plan was written before Gov. Schwarzenegger deleted money from the budget for CALPADS, the statewide student data system that’s a year behind schedule; the plan doesn’t focus on student data. It also does not include a section on preschool, which Kirst said that Brown would address.
Kirst served on the State School Board for seven years, including four as president when Brown was governor. He told me that he is interested in serving once again for Brown, although he’s not certain in what capacity.
Apparently, it won’t be as Brown’s secretary of education; the governor doesn’t plan to appoint one. Kirst referred me to a section of Brown’s campaign web site that said: “Currently, education policy making at the state level is divided among the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor’s Secretary of Education. As Governor, I eliminated some of this overlap by not appointing a secretary of education and looking to the State Board for educational policy advice. Given education’s fundamental importance, I intend to play a major role in education policy. But I would work with and use the existing staff of the State Superintendent or state board, as opposed to having my own separate educational staff.”
The current president of the State Board, Ted Mitchell, is a Democrat whom Schwarzenegger appointed. A one-year extension of his term ends in January.