I voted for Jack O'Connell 2 1/2 years ago. I regret that vote.
He's since stated that California's teachers need to step up and "do their part" for migrant education. He's implied that California's teachers are racists, and his participation at a conference on that topic wasn't helpful. About the only area in which I've agreed with O'Connell, and the reason I voted for him, is his support of standardized testing--specifically, the High School Exit Exam.
But now O'Connell wants to weaken California's academic standards and its testing program:
The Superintendent acknowledged that this is "an area in which California has served as an established leader for some time now":I am proud, as all of you should be, that California purposely set the bar high for what our children should know and be able to do, and we have never wavered from that commitment. But instead of maintaining these internationally-benchmarked high standards, he wants to "rededicate and reinvigorate" them. "Evolving them is healthy," the Superintendent says. (boldface mine--Darren)
Superintendent O'Connell wants to revamp the California academic standards because, he says, they are “a mile wide, but only an inch deep.” But, with all due respect -- as I have stated in the Los Angeles Times -- I have to disagree. Indeed, the California standards have been judged among the best in the country by the Fordham Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers. California already has official Key Standards in mathematics, for example, to identify teaching priorities and the topics that should be covered in depth.
The Superintendent also wants to revamp the California standards:...in order to fully engage both students and teachers in the learning process in a way that sees both parties benefit and helps to better prepare students for success in the economy of the 21st century.Translation from education jargon: He wants to water down California's existing high standards in the name of the wolly concept of "21st-century skills," that is, communicating with each other, working in groups, media literacy, and so forth. He wants to subtract from classroom time spent on solid subject-matter content to teach these supposed stand-alone skills.
Who says so? Bill Evers, a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institute.