Brown scuttles education secretaryWill Kirst be the go-to guy on school matters?
Gov. Schwarzenegger had a succession of six secretaries of education. Gov. Jerry Brown will have none. Brown made it official Friday: The office of the secretary, with its dozen employees, is toast.
Brown, who didn’t have a secretary of education the first time around, might have eliminated the office regardless of the budget crisis. There’s already confusion over authority among a State Board of Education, the governor, and an independently elected superintendent of public instruction. The education secretary had no constitutional authority. Closing down the shop makes Brown’s point that he’ll scale back state government.
But the elimination of the office raises the question of who will speak for the governor on education matters. It could be Michael Kirst, who will be elected president of the State Board next week. But Kirst, an emeritus education professor at Stanford who helped Brown write his education campaign platform and is his closest education adviser, will only be working half-time in Sacramento. While Brown may rely on Kirst to speak out on the deep-think issues, he’ll still need an education adviser on the nitty-gritty stuff, such as education legislation.
For your next round of Arnold trivia, the six secretaries of education were former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Alan Bersin, David Long, Glen Thomas, acting-secretary Scott Himelstein, and long-time Schwarzenegger aide Bonnie Reiss.