By James Andrew LaSpina
Follows California's efforts at reforming the general public university method from 1983 to the current.
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Extra info for California in a Time of Excellence: School Reform at the Crossroads of the American Dream
Honig made an end run around the state’s educational establishment. Riles’s strongest support came from the state teachers’ union and school administrators. Honig saw that his case for reform had to be won in the court of public opinion. His “view of . . recent national trends” impelled him, much like Reagan, to exhort the people to reclaim their schools (Honig 1985, ix–x). Honig’s timing was perfect. The pendulum had swung back. After twelve years in office Wilson Riles was defeated by 800,000 votes (Ross 1984, 62).
They did not. Early in July, extreme contention gave way to compromise. A new budget was approved with deep cuts in state spending, except for education. Risking great political capital, the new superintendent of public instruction went to Deukmejian and, in a face-to-face meeting, Honig presented the governor with a fait accompli, that the education coalition behind him was tantamount to a force of nature. A seasoned Sacramento politician, the governor was unsure how to deal with the visionary reformer.
In his second term the department was reorganized again to further advance the superintendent’s goals. What spurred Honig to run for superintendent was Riles’s proposal to fund a vigorous expansion of a vocational curriculum for high school that would emphasize manual training and technical job skills instead of an academic curriculum (Stowe 1975, 93). But the real catalyst for Honig was Riles’s decision to push for the department to develop a standard K–12 social studies program of study. When Honig learned of Riles’s social studies proposal in which the study of history played a minimal role, he entered the race.
California in a Time of Excellence: School Reform at the Crossroads of the American Dream by James Andrew LaSpina