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You are here: Home Newsroom IDEA News Archive Jan. 8: Bygone and back again: Lessons from late-'70s Brown

Jan. 8: Bygone and back again: Lessons from late-'70s Brown

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  • 01-10-2011
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Dir. John Rogers quoted in Los Angeles Times story about the 'shakeup' of the state Board of Education, which included appointments from Gov. Brown's first term.

During his first week in office, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed seven new members to the state Board of Education, a move that replaced a number of charter school advocates for more policy-minded individuals with lengthy resumes.

For more news coverage of the new board, read KPCC and Educated Guess and Los Angeles Times.

Among the appointees were two people who served on the board during Brown's earlier terms as governor. Bill Honig, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction, withdrew his name from consideration Monday.

The other repeat appointment is Mike Kirst, a Stanford University professor who served from 1977 to 1982. According to the university's website, "while Kirst's early work focused primarily on K-12 policy and politics, much of his recent work has focused on college preparation and college success... Kirst's research demonstrates that only K-12 and postsecondary working together to improve preparation and college readiness will increase college completion."

IDEA Director John Rogers said that Brown's early choices--a willingness to revisit the past--are hopeful signs.

"Jerry Brown is trying to bring back the '70s and '80s to Sacramento, which raises some interesting possibilities but also some interesting challenges, because we're in such a different environment today in California than we were 30-plus years ago," Rogers said in the LA Times.

Thirty years ago, California kept pace with (and, at times, exceeded) the national average in per-pupil spending. Today, the state is outspent by an average of $2,500 per student. Thirty years ago, the disparities between the rich and the poor weren't as exasperated as they are today. Also, attending college was within greater grasp for qualified students because tuition was $300 plus fees instead of the more than $10,000 expected from UC undergraduates today.

For more on how California's landscape has changed and what lessons can be adopted from the past, read our Jan. 7 Themes, entitled To the Brown Administration: Adequate, Equitable, Rational School Funding.

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