News

Governor names Stanford professor as state education board president

Linda Darling-Hammond to replace longtime board president Michael Kirst

Linda Darling-Hammond, a longtime Stanford University education professor, will lead the 11-member state Board of Education, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

Darling-Hammond will replace another Stanford education professor: Michael Kirst, who announced last year he would step down after four terms in the office.

Newsom announced Darling-Hammond's appointment in his "State of the State" address in Sacramento on Tuesday.

"The measure of a school system's excellence is more than the sum of its budgets. We need clear and achievable standards of transparency, more information sharing, and accountability for all public schools — traditional and charter," Newsom said. "We need a new president for the state Board of Education, to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students. And my pick for that position is nationally recognized education expert Linda Darling-Hammond."

Darling-Hammond did not immediately return a request for comment. She was in the chamber in the state Capitol for Newsom's address on Tuesday, according to media reports.

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The Board of Education oversees policy, academic standards, curriculum, assessments and accountability for K-12 schools throughout the state.

Darling-Hammond comes to the appointment with a well-established track record in education policy and reform, from the start of her career as a public school teacher to her positions as a professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, president of the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute, founder and co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and faculty sponsor for Stanford's Teacher Education Program, according to an announcement from the governor's office.

She also served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future from 1994 to 2001. The commission's 1996 report, "What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future," is hailed for prompting a national conversation about and policy changes on teaching quality.

In 2008, Darling-Hammond led then-President Barack Obama's education policy transition team.

Newsom's speech touched on several critical education issues facing the state, including what he described as the "underlying causes" of the recent teachers' strike in Los Angeles: "understaffed schools, overcrowded classrooms, pension pressures, the achievement gap, and charter school growth — these stressors are showing up all over the state, right here in Sacramento, in Fresno, and Oakland," he said. Early education is also a major focus of Newsom's; his proposed budget includes $125 million to increase access to subsidized full-day, full-year state preschool.

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The governor's proposed state budget for next year includes more than $80 billion for schools — an investment he said still isn't enough.

"We're still 41st in the nation in per pupil funding," Newsom said. "Something needs to change. We need to have an honest conversation about how we fund our schools at a state and local level."

In a statement, the CEO and executive director of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) said his organization was "heartened" by Darling-Hammond's appointment, which is subject to Senate confirmation.

"Darling-Hammond is a champion for equity and possesses deep knowledge of teaching and learning," Vernon Billy said. "CSBA has worked extensively with Darling-Hammond to address a number of pressing issues, such as the teacher shortage, and looks forward to her leadership in this new role."

Billy also lauded Newsom's "recognition that a conversation about increasing school funding is 'long overdue.'"

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Governor names Stanford professor as state education board president

Linda Darling-Hammond to replace longtime board president Michael Kirst

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 6:23 pm

Linda Darling-Hammond, a longtime Stanford University education professor, will lead the 11-member state Board of Education, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

Darling-Hammond will replace another Stanford education professor: Michael Kirst, who announced last year he would step down after four terms in the office.

Newsom announced Darling-Hammond's appointment in his "State of the State" address in Sacramento on Tuesday.

"The measure of a school system's excellence is more than the sum of its budgets. We need clear and achievable standards of transparency, more information sharing, and accountability for all public schools — traditional and charter," Newsom said. "We need a new president for the state Board of Education, to lead the way and work alongside State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and to lift up all of our students. And my pick for that position is nationally recognized education expert Linda Darling-Hammond."

Darling-Hammond did not immediately return a request for comment. She was in the chamber in the state Capitol for Newsom's address on Tuesday, according to media reports.

The Board of Education oversees policy, academic standards, curriculum, assessments and accountability for K-12 schools throughout the state.

Darling-Hammond comes to the appointment with a well-established track record in education policy and reform, from the start of her career as a public school teacher to her positions as a professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, president of the Palo Alto-based Learning Policy Institute, founder and co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and faculty sponsor for Stanford's Teacher Education Program, according to an announcement from the governor's office.

She also served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future from 1994 to 2001. The commission's 1996 report, "What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future," is hailed for prompting a national conversation about and policy changes on teaching quality.

In 2008, Darling-Hammond led then-President Barack Obama's education policy transition team.

Newsom's speech touched on several critical education issues facing the state, including what he described as the "underlying causes" of the recent teachers' strike in Los Angeles: "understaffed schools, overcrowded classrooms, pension pressures, the achievement gap, and charter school growth — these stressors are showing up all over the state, right here in Sacramento, in Fresno, and Oakland," he said. Early education is also a major focus of Newsom's; his proposed budget includes $125 million to increase access to subsidized full-day, full-year state preschool.

The governor's proposed state budget for next year includes more than $80 billion for schools — an investment he said still isn't enough.

"We're still 41st in the nation in per pupil funding," Newsom said. "Something needs to change. We need to have an honest conversation about how we fund our schools at a state and local level."

In a statement, the CEO and executive director of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) said his organization was "heartened" by Darling-Hammond's appointment, which is subject to Senate confirmation.

"Darling-Hammond is a champion for equity and possesses deep knowledge of teaching and learning," Vernon Billy said. "CSBA has worked extensively with Darling-Hammond to address a number of pressing issues, such as the teacher shortage, and looks forward to her leadership in this new role."

Billy also lauded Newsom's "recognition that a conversation about increasing school funding is 'long overdue.'"

Comments

David Cohen
Midtown
on Feb 13, 2019 at 12:00 am
David Cohen, Midtown
on Feb 13, 2019 at 12:00 am

Congratulations to Dr. Darling-Hammond! She brings immense knowledge and an unparalleled level of experience to this important position. She has already been quite influential in strengthening the teaching profession and fighting for equity, and our state will benefit from her leadership in this new role.


JR
Palo Verde
on Feb 13, 2019 at 7:50 am
JR, Palo Verde
on Feb 13, 2019 at 7:50 am

Stanford is fighting tooth and nail to not pay their fair share to public schools (despite having a $24.8 billion endowment), and they just got one of their own as the head of the Board of Education. This is a slap in the face to public school supporters all over the state. The foxes are running the hen house.


Local parent
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2019 at 12:36 pm
Local parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2019 at 12:36 pm

@David Cohen,
I agree 100%. Hammond is someone whose work is innovative, stellar, helpful for education reformers and supporters. Thank you for making the comment, Lo

@JR,
You clearly have a bone to pick because you want Stanford to pony up a lot of money for PAUSD. PAUSD just got the residents to pony up another gigantic facilities bond even though there hasn't been a tiny fraction of the self-examination and energy to soundly spend the previous bonds that some people are now employing to extract money from Stanford. The state has done studies of what causes school construction to cost so much without any value added, and if schools get money from the state, they have to follow those guidelines to figure out where they can save money. There are no mandates, it's just using resources that have been developed to help districts save and get more for their money. PAUSD refused to use them. There were specific ways that PAUSD spend tens of millions in the last facilities bond that literally got them nothing at all for their students. So I find it really hypocritical that people are running around trying to shake Stanford down.

Secondly, the stellar education professors from Stanford Of which there are several) have nothing at all to do with PAUSD's sordid administrative machinations. Hammond and others in the education department there haven't even gotten STANFORD to innovate in their undergraduate program so that they are a place more focused on learning over appearances and unnecessary academic gauntlets. How exactly do you think they are "foxes running the hen house"? They are education researchers, who do some really good work and have tried to help our local school system with the suicides. Hammond's doing work for the state is a lot of work for no glory, it's got to be 90% calling.


@Dr. Hammond, I admire your work, and have regular contact with many parents in Palo Alto and around the Bay Area who are interested in education reform and innovation, and I want you to know that the previous poster's attitude has never, even once, been reflected in the pretty universally positive attitude toward your work. Thank you for your work on growth mindsets -- we have benefited in our home personally from this. I know you will do great work for the state, thank you for your service to the public, including PAUSD.


Darling-Hammonds failed charter school
Stanford
on Feb 14, 2019 at 3:02 pm
Darling-Hammonds failed charter school, Stanford
on Feb 14, 2019 at 3:02 pm

Darling-Hammond does have experience running a school, btw - she was a founders of Stanford's charter school in Ravenswood. The school was closed after 3 years for failing to make any improvement in abysmal student performance, as recounted in the NY Times - "Charter Extension Denied to Low-Scoring Stanford School" Web Link According to the article, "the state placed the charter school, Stanford New School, on its list of persistently lowest-achieving schools," leading to denial of its charter renewal.

So while admired by some, her actual work outside of academia was a straight-up failure. Maybe she learned something; but just in case, maybe we should keep a close eye on her.

As for the above admirer of Stanford, I think it would be a good thing for Stanford to pay its fair share to PAUSD. They at least get some good results.



Agendas
Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Agendas , Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm

I wouldn’t be too trusting of this specialist. A lot of the “education” institutions are really funded by venture capitalists who’ve also invested in the technology sector... if you do the digging, you’ll be able to find how big companies are investing into charters, learning centers, etc. to further an agenda. (Continual reliance on ed tech that is not statistically supported to advance learning.... I think of the predatory marketing tactics that attract title I schools - easy to manipulate struggling schools to pony up cash, when already strapped for cash, for gimmicky ways of learning [when really its a race to catch up to benchmarks] — tell me how children are learning if sitting in front of a computer all day?)


Charlie
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm
Charlie, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm

@David Cohen,
I agree 100% too.


Local Parent
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2019 at 12:35 am
Local Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2019 at 12:35 am

@charter school,
The link you provided doesn't support your claim, in fact it directly contradicts your claim:
Web Link

The test scores were abysmal before the students began, and were improving. The high school had a higher than average graduation rate for California, and 96 percent of seniors were accepted to college. The school started so low, yet despite improvements, the school was closed. Sounds to me more like school politics and any excuse to close a charter school. The decisions seems to have been only based on test scores, which the charter school was trying to get away from focusing on, to focus more on learning and more holistic measures of learning.

The charter school was also serving the the most challenged demographic, traditionally underserved minorities already scoring very low. PAUSD doesn't exactly get good results with the same group:
"Palo Alto earns 'D' in service to minority students Oakland-based group rates quality of service to Latino, African-American and low-income kids"
Web Link

PAUSD also has a persistent history of violating the rights of special needs/disabled students, failing to provide learning special needs evaluations and services, suing families of special needs students and otherwise harassing them to leave, retaliating if they complain, etc. Given the families that go there, they almost can't do anything to have low test scores - they aren't the reason, in fact, students I know who didn't fit the mold got higher test scores upon leaving.

PAUSD also has a long and serious history of student suicide and depression (that went on way longer than the above school was allowed to run).

Test scores are not the be all and end all, and the pursuit of them can cause school districts to do things that actually hurt some students. PAUSD is a public school district, not a private school, yet they seem willing to sacrifice students for their "brand".

So, there's no "straight-up failure" here except your attempts to hide your agenda. Dr. Hammond's work on education reform has nothing whatsoever to do with PAUSD fighting with Stanford for money.

An editorial was written recently expressing outrage about Stanford paying their fair share, but no one from the district has provided reasonable rebuttal to facts refuting the editorial. The problem with our district is that people running it like to make up their own self-serving facts and framing, and inside the district, they never have to care when parents and others bring up ACTUAL facts that refute them. It doesn't work that way outside the district in the real world. I might be sympathetic to the argument if I weren't so familiar with how facts and logic work (or more accurately, don't work) in the district.

I am a fan of Dr. Hammond; contrary to your framing, I haven't said anything about how I feel about Stanford in general, just as I am a fan of Palo Alto teachers like David Cohen, which says nothing about how I feel about PAUSD.

It is the height of churlish childishness for you to transfer your bile over wanting more money from Stanford to libel a researcher's work. We, the public, are lucky to have such expertise to help our state.


sigh
Barron Park
on Feb 21, 2019 at 4:26 pm
sigh, Barron Park
on Feb 21, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Darling-Hammonds is the mouthpiece of dumbing-down education. It is another disaster for California kids if she gets appointed.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Posted by sigh, a resident of Barron Park

>> Darling-Hammonds is the mouthpiece of dumbing-down education. It is another disaster for California kids if she gets appointed.

Can you cite specific evidence for this claim?


sigh
Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2019 at 9:33 am
sigh, Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2019 at 9:33 am

Darling-Hammonds, Jo Boaler, and many their colleagues in the educational establishment camp, are among the major root causes of the miserable academic performance of American students across the country. They espouse progressive education pedagogy, champion the mediocre Common Core standards and defective textbooks like Everyday Math, Investigations, disparage hardwork, practices and exams, devote to teachers union... Read E.D. Hirsch's books.
Due to the anti-intellectualism espoused by the educational professionals, generations of Americans have seen their academic ability declining. With Darling-Hammonds to head California's education bureau, California soon will win the champion of the worst academic performance among the states.


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