I slightly edited the verbatim recording to correct grammar occasionally and to aid in overall readability while maintaining the interviewee’s voice as well as the substantive content of the interview.
This transcript is for an excerpt from Dick Jung’s (DJ) interview of Jerry Brown (JB) on January 4, 2019.
Clip 1: California going counter to the trend of increasing centralization of education.
(Governor Brown: 1/4/2019; 1 minute 12 seconds)
DJ: Is there anything that you and Michael have done in California that you would like to see being done in any other states?
JB: Well, the devolvement of more authority to the local level—which, by the way, is still contested. There will be battles on that in the years to come. But I do think we should set in motion a “re-recognition” of the importance of subsidiarity, and the local, and the teacher.
That’s why I’ve been able to work with the teacher’s unions because I have recognized that the teacher is the quarterback here and needs the resources. And all the efforts to hold the teacher accountable: those efforts can go to extremes that are highly counterproductive. California is going counter to the trend of increasing centralization of education.
The following transcripts are excerpts from Mike Kirst’s April 2018 lecture upon receiving the American Education Research Association’s “Career Public Service Award entitled, “Public Policy Impact of Education Research: A 54 Year Career Perspective.”
Clip 2: I began my career in Washington in the Johnson Administration
(4/18; 1 minute 05 seconds)
MWK: I began in Washington in 1964 in the Johnson administration in the Office of Management and Budget and began there and K12 education and ended up preparing memos to the President on Title 1 and how much it should cost and all that sort of thing. I was twenty-five years old. So I made this grand tour through Washington. I worked for the U.S. Department of Education as associate director of the White House Fellows and then I went to the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Manpower Employment and Poverty. My boss, Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, was defeated, and Humphrey lost.
So I had to leave town and moved, I had hope temporarily to California to Stanford University. Never thought of being a professor—furthest thing from my— life but thought, “Well, I’ll wait it out in D.C. until D.C. changes.”
Clip 3: I met through Jerry Brown in 1974 thru a mutual friend
(Governor Brown: 54 seconds)
MWK: I’ve been at Stanford since 1969. I met, through a mutual friend, Jerry Brown in 1974. He was concerned about the Serrano decision. So I became his education adviser for his campaign, and I’ve advised him ever since, including our two-hour meeting last Thursday in all these years, including when he was mayor of Oakland and he tried to take over the schools and that didn’t work. So I served as president and his first two terms 1975 through 1982. I then started back with him in to 2010.
In the term we’re in now—the first and fourth terms of my presidency and his governorship—are separated by 40 years.
Clip 4: I participated in building this monster that I’m now trying to decapitate.
MWK: I started in a federal era of top-down and enforcement from the Great Society [program]. The whole concern in Title 1 early on was “Well the locals are diverting the money out of the low-income schools; keep tightening the screws, keep tightening the screws. So I participated in building this monster that I’m now trying to decapitate—of Title 1 coordinators at the state level, who report to Title 1 coordinators in the local districts, who report to Washington; and keep the money over there; and have it in small projects; and don’t have it related to instruction.
So we were in a compliance-enforcement mode, a top-down mode. I [now] think, if you’re going reform schools from the inside out, you’ve got to change those policies dramatically
Clip 5: “The state had 41 categorical programs”
MWK: The state had 41 categorical programs—the last one added after Governor Schwarzenegger had dinner with Alice Waters at her famous restaurant.
He walked out of there and wanted a school garden program. So we got a categorical earmark number 41 for school gardens. So when we came into office a lot of schools had beautiful gardens in the back. But the bathrooms couldn’t be cleaned. So we had them so tied up in knots and an education code around it. So we repealed vast amounts of programs
Clip 6: “Proceed with humility”
MWK: “Proceed with humility”: That’s been a watchword.
“Proceed with humility”: That’s been a watchword.
When Jerry Brown first came into office, I was 35; he was 35; Gray Davis, was Jerry Brown’s executive assistant, he was 35, and Bill Honig was on the state board at 35. Our view (then) was, “We get these old guys out of here in Sacramento, we’ll solve these problems. We’re the smart guys.”
Then we all come back, and we’re a humble bunch of people, proceeding with great humility and plunges into the unknown.