MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown blasted the notion of government-imposed standards for public schools, saying he opposed efforts from Washington and Sacramento to dictate education policy.
Using "data on a national or state level I think misses the point — that learning is very individual, very personal," Brown said during an on-stage interview Monday with the Atlantic magazine's James Bennet at the Computer History Museum. "It comes back to the teacher and the principal. The leader of the school is by far the most important factor
When asked if he supported national education standards, Brown said, "No. That's just a form of national control."
Speaking to a half-empty auditorium of about 150 technology business leaders, Brown reprised a story he tells frequently about an exam he had in high school when a teacher asked students to write their impressions of a green leaf.
"Still, as I walk by trees, I keep saying, 'How's my impression coming? Can I feel anything? Am I dead inside?' So, this was a very powerful question that has haunted me for 50 years."
The point, Brown said, is that "you can't put that on a standardized test. There are important educational encounters that can't be captured by tests."
I'm sure these statements from Brown went over the heads of these technology business leaders who only want to push the one-size-fits-all education model that enriches them and their businesses by sticking kids in front of computers all day long and testing them on those same computers all throughout the year.
And certainly the kind of question Brown's teacher asked Brown and his classmates 50 years ago would go over the heads of our current educational consultant class, from Charlotte Danielson to Michelle Rhee, who don't believe anything that cannot be quantified has any value in education.
You'd never hear Sheriff Andy Cuomo, Chris Christie, Mayor Bloomberg or President Obama say anything like Brown just said either.
But it's good to know at least one politician in this country still has a soul.