Almost unheard of, in all the talk about the more conspicuous issues in K-12 education today, is California’s decision to stop trying to control and regulate its school districts so tightly.
For 40 years or more California has tried to run public education out of Sacramento. The state selects the textbooks; approves the districts construction plans; tells the districts what to do and how to do it. The education code, the education statutes, fill about seven volumes; run to about 5,600 pages.
Now Gov. Jerry Brown and the (Democratic) Legislature have decided this does not work — and so are on their way to devolving financial flexibility and greater autonomy back to California’s roughly 1,000 districts.
This dramatically new approach was described in discussions here November 21-23 with Eric Premack. A Minneapolis native, graduate of Washburn High School, Eric has been working in California education policy, close to the policy-making, for about 20 years. He formed and runs the Charter School Development Center which has as members about 40 percent of the schools in the nation’s largest state charter sector.
His visit to Minnesota was organized by Education|Evolving; one in a series intended to broaden the discussion about education policy in Minnesota.
Eric also talked about the conflict between California and the U.S. Department of Education: As the state of California withdraws from excessive regulation, Washington appears to be moving in.