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NEA’s Greatest Governor Award Goes to California

Gov. Jerry Brown: “Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children”

Nine thousand educators stood on their feet to applaud California Gov. Jerry Brown, who earned the accolades of NEA delegates today, as well as the respect and admiration from the National Education Association’s 3 million educators.

The governor received this year’s “America’s Greatest Education Governor Award” during the Association’s Representative Assembly. The annual award recognizes governors who have demonstrated exemplary achievements and accomplishments in advancing public education.

Governor of California Jerry Brown speaks via a live video feed during the presentation of America's Greatest Education Governor.
NEA Today/Rick Runion

“When times got tough in California, Gov. Brown resisted the temptation to balance the state’s budget on the backs of students and educators,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Instead, he made the tough choices and the right decisions, investing in and strengthening public education and helping students and families who need the most support. His approach to governing the Golden State is refreshing at a time when many politicians across the country are doing the opposite of what Gov. Brown is doing.”

Brown is a long-time champion for public education. Just three days ago, the governor signed a bill that changes California’s funding formula for K-12 schools. Called “Local Control Funding Formula,” the new law aims to upturn student achievement for disadvantaged students.

The funding formula will bring an added $2.1 billion to school districts that serve low income and non-native English speakers or are foster children. This victory came after he successfully engineered a ballot initiative to refuel funding for the state’s public schools.

California Teacher Association members Eric Heins, left, Mikki Cichocki and Dean Vogel stand on stage with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel after the Governor of California Jerry Brown accepted the America's Greatest Education Governor award.
NEA Today/Rick Runion

“Nothing is more determinative of our future than how we teach our children,” said Brown. “It's an honor to accept this award on behalf of the educators working every day to make our public schools better and our future brighter.”

Van Roekel said that the governor is leaning in when it comes to carrying out his education agenda—investing smartly in public schools and boldly calling for less reliance on high-stakes standardized testing, a position welcomed by educators and parents.

The governor’s Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget calls for robust investments to implement the state’s “common core” standards in English and Math, and college grants for middle class families.

“Students and families will reap the benefits of Gov. Brown’s initiatives for years to come,” said Van Roekel. “The state and our country will be stronger and more competitive as a result of the choices he’s making today.”

NEA created the “America's Greatest Education Governor Award” in 2008 to annually recognize and honor governors who have made major strides at the state level to improve public schools. Other recipients of the award include Governors Martin O’Malley of Maryland, Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Michael F. Easley of North Carolina.


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