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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Revisiting California's Battle of Hastings - LA Progressive

Revisiting California's Battle of Hastings - LA Progressive
Revisiting California’s Battle of Hastings

Courtesy of re:publica/flickr.

The 2005 Sacking of the Netflix CEO as State Education Board Chief Looks Different Now

After long days supervising my children in their struggles with the miseries of distance learning and hybrid school, I try to relax by watching Netflix. As I do, I often find myself thinking about a state legislative hearing from 2005, and how different California education might be if it had gone differently.

The hearing, in a committee of the State Senate, was supposed to be routine. I, an L.A. Times reporter at the time, didn’t even bother to cover it. The subject was reappointment of the president of the State Board of Education. The president, Reed Hastings, was thought to be a shoo-in.

After all, Hastings, a tech entrepreneur and Democratic donor from Santa Cruz, had put together a successful ballot measure to make it easier to pass school bonds, launching a new era of school construction statewide after decades of neglect. He’d supported the state’s accountability system for schools, and backed the establishment of public charter schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Hastings also had bipartisan support—he’d been appointed four years earlier by a Democrat, Gov. Gray Davis, and was nominated for re-appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

But the hearing went sideways. Some education groups didn’t like charter schools, or his blunt interest in transforming education systems. Hastings himself suggested that he was felled by CONTINUE READING: Revisiting California's Battle of Hastings - LA Progressive