Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013 – 8:16 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013 – 7:24 am

Gray Davis may have been the most risk-averse governor in living memory and paid the price for his reticence when he was recalled for failing to deal forthrightly with severe budget and energy crises.

But Davis did show some political courage on one matter, championing tougher academic standards for California’s public schools, with testing to show how school systems and individual schools were faring.

What Davis wrought led to laws that allowed parents to seek control of failing schools and efforts to assess teachers’ competence.

None of what Davis did or what followed sat well with California’s politically powerful education unions, especially the California Teachers Association. They didn’t like testing, they didn’t like grading schools, they didn’t like the parental takeover laws, and most of all, they didn’t like the notion of using test scores for judging teachers.

As mentioned in this space a few days ago, the shift of the state’s schools into a Common Core set of standards gives the CTA, et al., an opportunity to undo what they don’t like. A bill backed by the unions, their perpetual ally, state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson, and Gov. Jerry Brown would suspend almost all academic testing immediately and then, the sponsors say, reinstate it in alignment with Common Core in a couple of years.

Thus, were the legislation to be enacted, everything that stems from testing and that the unions dislike would also be suspended and, it’s widely believed, be quietly killed.

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