I confess that I’m nerdy enough (and old enough) that one of my childhood idols was the once and future California governor, Jerry Brown. His girlfriend was Linda Ronstadt; he flirted with Eastern philosophy; he lived in an unfurnished apartment instead of the governor’s mansion, and dined on the floor; he was the Un-Candidate for President.
As youthful enthusiasms go, that one embarrasses me far less than most. (Ditto for Linda Ronstadt, come to think of it.) I even ended up voting for Brown years later, in the 1992 Connecticut Democratic presidential primary, which, surprisingly, he won. And now he’s governor again, and it turns out he’s the voice of reason on educational “reform”:
Deviating sharply from education reform policies championed by President Obama, California Gov. Jerry Brown is calling for limits on standardized testing and reduced roles for federal and state government in local schools. . . .Maybe this will earn Brown a new generation of young fans?
Besides taking on testing, Brown called for getting the federal and state government out of the details of schooling.
“What most needs to be avoided is concentrating more and more decision-making at the federal or state level,” Brown said. “We should set broad goals and have a good accountability system, leaving the real work to those closest to the students.... We should not impose excessive or detailed mandates.” . . .
The tests take “too damn long,” Brown told the [L.A. Times]. “Second-graders take five days of tests. That’s longer than I spent on the bar exam. I think that’s absurd. You’ve gotta have some room for creativity.”
He was similarly insistent about limiting the role of Washington.
“The federal government should butt out,” Brown said [last year]. “You have more and more people who aren’t teaching, who are managing the flow of the money and all the various rules and mandates.
“They have this idea that schools are like businesses and if you set the right metrics, can you reward and punish and you get the outcome,” Brown said. “I don't feel things quite work that way.”
(Link c/o Mandy. Photos c/o Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.)