I am a “Pat Brown Democrat“. I jumped a class because of the once proud California public school system. Pat Brown, father of Jerry, created a “Master Plan for Education”, with the vision that California would have the best public schools in the country. And Californians rallied around that vision with their hard earned tax dollars. I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of Californians’ lives changed because of that vision, but I know mine has. What has happened to the Democratic Party’s ability to lead on this mother of all meat and potatoes issue?
Look to Los Angeles for some hope for those desperate for a decent education and a party in search of renewal. This past year our Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took all his political capital and put forward his educational reform vision last year on a special election ballot. His vision for public education was “jam the unions”. Well he ended up getting a good smack down. Months later our Liberal Democrat, former teacher union organizer, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, wagered all his considerable political capital on his vision of decentralizing Los Angeles Unified School District into small schools, charter schools, with a pledge to the six tenets. If our Mayor is not careful, he may change hundred of thousands of Angelenos for the better, and make the Democratic Party relevant again…stay tuned.
–Guestblogger Steve Barr