Jerry Brown still ‘haunted’ by high school final exam

California Gov. Jerry Brown
(Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images)

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 onstage interview with The Atlantic’s James Bennet at a Silicon Valley Summit 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 full of about 150 technology company leaders, Brown reprised a story he retells frequently about a final 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.”



LAPD looking for jewelry in connection with Joseph Gatto case

Lawmakers to offer new plan for TV and film production tax breaks

Hundreds gather to remember slain teacher and artist Joseph Gatto