Gray Davis on Education

Former Democratic CA Governor

CA schools are bad, but headed in the right direction

Q: Is sub-par education in big-city public schools institutionalized racism or just a sad coincidence?

A: Education affects all people, but obviously, because of the disproportionate number of Latinos in public schools, what we do overwhelmingly affects Latinos. Something happened in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. There was busing, there was Prop 13; and by the time I became governor, California schools ranked 50th, or 48th at best.

We’ve invested 34% more money in the schools. We have money for low performing schools, and for schools that do well. The good news is that test scores are up, not once, but four years in a row. English language learners in Los Angeles are doing disproportionately better than their counterparts. That means we’ve got this thing headed in the right direction.

Source: Eastern Groups Publications, CA Gov. Q&A, with Raul Vasquez , Nov 2, 2002

Balanced education reform with teachers’ unions

Despite the fact that he had voted in the Assembly in lockstep with the teachers’ unions, he proposed education reforms which, while crafted carefully to minimally annoy union leaders, still diverged from the liberal policies which had destroyed California’s public schools. Davis called a special session of the legislature and presented four bills--for peer review for teachers, enhanced reading instruction, a school-rating system and a standardized test for high schools.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Feb 11, 2000

Supports EdFlex; more money for higher grades

Education he proclaimed as his “first, second and third” priorities. On the national level, he backed the House Republicans’ EdFlex bill, arguing that California didn’t need money to reduce class sizes for the first four grades--a Clinton targeted program--because it had just done so under a law Pete Wilson proposed and Davis backed; it needed the flexibility to spend money on classrooms for higher grades.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Feb 11, 2000

Improve and invest in public schools.

Davis is a member of the Democratic Governors Association:

Principles of the Democratic Governors Association:


Democratic Governors are leading the way with highly-trained teachers, strong standards and accountability, increased funding to repair and modernize public school facilities, access to technology and computers, and more discipline and safety in the classrooms. Democratic Governors believe the most important aspect to insure a child’s education is to have the best possible teachers in the classroom. They believe that we must value teachers as professionals, encourage their development to be the best teachers they can be for our children and compensate them accordingly. Democratic Governors favor greater parental choice, but oppose measures that weaken public schools diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools with no accountability for results. Democratic Governors around the country are also forming innovative public-private partnerships to create programs to provide early childhood education, nutrition and health care services to ensure that our children have the best possible start in life.

Source: DGA website, www.DemocraticGovernors.org/ 01-DGA2 on Aug 15, 2001

Other governors on Education: Gray Davis on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Jerry Brown
CA Senatorial:
Barbara Boxer
Dianne Feinstein

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011