Jerry Brown has already made several new appointments to the California Board of Education, including the re-appointment of Michael Kirst and Bill Honig, who he had first appointed in the early 70s. In total, Brown appointed 7 new board members in an attempt to stack the board with cronies who will do his bidding. Honig is a former 3-term state Superintendent of Public Instruction and a convicted felon (illegal diversion of public funds).
Brown replaced board member Ben Austin, who is also the executive director of Parent Revolution, the Green Dot front group that pushed for the Parent Trigger takeover of McKinley school in Compton. While this should be seen as a small victory, Brown’s other appointees, are not as promising as many liberal pundits would have us believe. Honig, for example, is not only corrupt, but he is also a huge proponent of phonics, which has long been discredited. And Kirst, a close friend of Brown’s, who is expected to be the new board president, a position he held from 1975-82, was instrumental in shaping Brown’s education platform, which included increasing the number of apprentice teachers and charter schools.
One of his new appointees, Patricia Ann Rucker, is a California Teachers Association (CTA) lobbyist, and is clearly payback for CTAs generous contributions to his campaign. CTA, in fact, spent more on the governor’s election than any other lobbyist. CTA President David Sanchez said, “We commend Governor Brown for returning public school educators who reflect and understand the complexities of our public schools to the State Board of Education.” It will be interesting to see how she responds to the impending budget cuts and continued pressure for merit pay, more charter schools, abolishing tenure and gutting pensions.