Gov. Jerry Brown was named Education Governor of the Year by the National Education Association, a nationwide labor union that represents public school teachers and other education staff, on Thursday.
The NEA awards the title to governors who have improved public education through legislation. A press release announcing the award cited Proposition 30 and Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula as primary achievements.
Last November, Brown campaigned for Prop. 30, a successful ballot measure that instituted a sales tax as well as an income tax for those making over $250,000. The measure prevented billions of dollars in planned cuts and is expected to generate $47 billion over the next seven years for California’s public universities and schools, according to a press release by the California Teachers Association.
Brown’s 2013-14 budget also increases funding for K-12 schools by about $2 billion, while implementing the new Local Control Funding Formula that directs additional state funds to districts with low-income students and English learners. Also included in the budget are new Common Core State Standards that would improve the quality of essential classes such as math and English.
“Students and families will reap the benefits of Governor Brown’s initiatives for years to come,” said NEA president Dennis Van Roekel in the press release. “The state and our country will be stronger and more competitive as a result of the choices he’s making today.”
On Friday, Brown spoke to 9,000 educators in Atlanta at the NEA’s annual assembly. He said that public education in the U.S. still needs important reforms and that good reform requires a holistic approach.
“We believe in teachers and administrators — education is not one-size-fits-all,” Brown said at the assembly. “Students should not be cogs in a corporatized system that cares more about metrics than personalities.”
The California Teachers Association nominated Brown for the NEA’s award earlier this year because of his innovative budget plan and dedication to public education.
“We need to understand that at-risk students cost more to educate, and districts with a lot of them need more resources,” said Mike Myslinski, a spokesperson for the California Teachers Association. “Now, that’s going to happen.”