Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or 408-921-5769.
CTA Nominated Brown For Prestigious Annual Award
BURLINGAME – Thanking teachers for being named “America’s Greatest Education Governor” by the National Education Association, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke by videoconference today to nearly 9,000 teacher delegates gathered in Atlanta for NEA’s 151st annual meeting and 92nd Representative Assembly.
The 325,000-member California Teachers Association nominated Brown for the prestigious annual award for his ongoing commitment to public schools. He led the fight for his Proposition 30 last year to stop billions in education cuts and generate $47 billion over the next seven years for schools, colleges and other essential services. And earlier this week, he signed into law his historic overhaul of public school funding that provides more money to help at-risk English learners and low-income students succeed.
“Governor Brown has been a compassionate and creative partner with California’s educators on many vital issues,” said CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “His commitment to public education is clear. And students and teachers benefit from his practice of including educators and CTA in policy discussions.”
“Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children,” Brown said. “It’s an honor to accept this award on behalf of the educators working every day to make our public schools better and our future brighter.”
His remarks to the NEA delegates in Atlanta included praise for CTA members who campaigned long and hard for Proposition 30. “Without the California Teachers Association, we would not have been able to put Proposition 30 on the ballot, much less pass it,” Brown said.
Dennis Van Roekel, president of the 3.2 million-member NEA, introduced Brown. The governor’s video address will be available online later today at www.nea.org/ra.
The NEA award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improved public schools. Read the NEA news release here.
Brown’s landmark new Local Control Funding Formula provides all schools with more resources, begins repaying schools the money they are owed from years of budget cuts, recognizes the need for smaller class sizes and helps meet the needs of school districts serving at-risk students. His newly signed state budget also includes $1.25 billion for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which will dramatically impact teaching and learning for years to come.
Brown has many concerns about the use of standardized tests as the measurement of student, school and school district success. He has also opposed tying teacher pay and evaluations to test scores or using value-added measurements. He opposed federal “Race to the Top” grants and supported a statewide waiver to No Child Left Behind that was grounded in local control and California's accountability system.
When he was governor the first time in the 1970s, Brown signed the state’s collective bargaining law and he still strongly supports collective bargaining. Once elected in 2010, Brown overhauled the State Board of Education and appointed educators who understand students and policies that can help improve our classrooms.
With eloquence and compassion, Brown shared his positive vision about education in his State of the Union address in January.
“In the right order of things, education—the early fashioning of character and the formation of conscience—comes before legislation,” Brown said, stressing that education is the future. “If we fail at this, we will sow growing social chaos and inequality that no law can rectify.”
He spoke of the harm done by high-stakes testing and distant education bureaucracies.
“Performance metrics, of course, are invoked like talismans. Distant authorities crack the whip, demanding quantitative measures and a stark, single number to encapsulate the precise achievement level of every child. We seem to think that education is a thing—like a vaccine—that can be designed from afar and simply injected into our children. But as the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats said, ‘Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.’”
He spelled out his beliefs that local education stakeholders, rather than the state, should have “primary jurisdiction” over the direction of our public schools. “I would prefer to trust our teachers who are in the classroom each day, doing the real work – lighting fires in young minds.”
And he laid out the reasoning behind his new funding formula that would provide school districts with supplemental funding to cope with the “real world problems they face.” A child in a family making $20,000 a year or speaking a language other than English simply requires more help to succeed, Brown said in his January speech.
“Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice.”
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.