BEVERLY HILLS - Gov. Jerry Brown said this afternoon that the school testing program he proposed overhauling in last year's gubernatorial campaign is a "good system" he is not inclined to dramatically revise.
The Academic Performance Index system, the Democratic governor said, is "a good one, and now what we have to do is use it."
Brown's remarks, at Milken Institute's State of the State Conference at The Beverly Hilton, came after a rift between Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on education policy surfaced Saturday, when Brown vetoed legislation in which the Sacramento Democrat sought to change how the state measures school performance, expanding measurements to include such factors as career readiness and graduation and promotion rates.
The legislation was a priority of Steinberg's and might have been an easy fit for Brown. Brown had said in his campaign education plan that the state's testing system was expensive and time-consuming and that "tests should not measure factoids as much as understanding."
In his education plan, Brown said, "state tests should be linked to college preparation and career readiness, but current tests were not designed to do this."
Though Brown said this afternoon that the system needs "some improvements," he defended it.
"I think the API is a good system," he said. "That's why I vetoed Steinberg's bill, because it would have marginalized the API."
In vetoing Steinberg's bill, Brown suggested establishing a system of local panels to observe teachers and examine student work, among other things, a position he reiterated today.
"I think we've reached a point where we have the testing assessment regimes pretty well in place," Brown said. "Now what we have to have is more on-site evaluation of teachers, following the model of accreditation."