Gov. Jerry Brown made two important statements about K-12 education in his State of the State speech on Wednesday. First, it is very important to have a strong accountability system that makes student achievement the focal point of our schools. Second, within that accountability system, local districts should have discretion to decide how to provide a quality education. Both represent an encouraging move toward improving the embarrassing state of California schools.
California educates one-eighth of all students in the U.S., and its ranking at the bottom of the states in terms of math and reading helps to explain why U.S. students are not competitive internationally. In global terms, California ranks at the level of Greece and Russia – hardly a level of performance that can fuel the innovation of Silicon Valley in the future.