Do You Agree with President Obama or Special Interests? (Aug. 9, 2013)

Do you agree with President Obama that our kids deserve the best teachers so they can get the best education possible? California’s politicians don’t. In fact, California is one of the only states refusing to comply with the President’s efforts to grade the performance of teachers and use that information to reward our best teachers.

Fair and objective teacher evaluations are a non-partisan and common sense necessity that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have embraced as fundamental to reforming our schools. President Obama agrees. While I don’t agree with President Obama on every issue, I sure agree with him on this important one. Unfortunately, the entrenched politicians in Sacramento do not.

The Los Angeles Times recently stated that this is due to the opposition of the powerful California Teachers Association and its tight grip on Sacramento politicians, including Governor Jerry Brown and State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson. As a result, our state is “one of very few that have told Washington that under no conditions will it put in place the type of teacher evaluation system Obama has championed.” You can read the full LA Timesarticle here:,0,2274338.story

The LA Times reported that Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan “on a visit to California a few weeks ago, expressed bewilderment that the state could find the plan objectionable.”

“I actually use the California model, and not in a good way, as I travel the country,” he said. “There are about 300,000 teachers in California. The top 10% arguably are among the best in the world. The bottom 10% maybe shouldn’t be teaching. No one in California that I have met can tell me who is in that top 10% and that bottom 10%.”

Join me in urging Gov. Brown, Superintendent Torlakson and your local legislators to reverse course and put our children ahead of the special interests so that we can improve our schools.

You can tweet the Governor @JerryBrownGov and the Superintendent @TomTorlakson. Or you can email the Governor by following this link: And don’t forget to let your local State Senator and Assembly Member know how important it is that they not let campaign donations from special interests take priority over our children’s right to a quality education.

It’s up to all of us to make a difference for California’s children so that all have a chance at a quality education. I hope you agree.

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