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Gov. Jerry Brown suggested in a veto message this afternoon that California might improve its schools by establishing a system of local panels to observe teachers, interview students and examine their work, among other things.

Brown, a critic of the state's existing testing program, vetoed Senate Bill 547 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, that sought to change how the state measures high school performance, including factors such as graduation and promotion rates and career readiness.

"There are other ways to improve our schools - to indeed focus on quality," Brown wrote. "What about a system that relies on locally convened panels to visit schools, observe teachers, interview students, and examine student work? Such a system wouldn't produce an API number, but it could improve the quality of our schools."

The Democratic governor called the legislation, a priority of Steinberg's, "yet another siren song of school reform."

The bill, he said, "certainly would add more things to measure, but it is doubtful that it would actually improve our schools. Adding more speedometers to a broken car won't turn it into a high-performance machine."



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