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February 7, 2022
Gary K. Hart, a former state legislator who left a lasting impact on education in California, has passed away at the age of 78, according to published reports. A former teacher and ACSA member, Hart authored a number of laws related to education during his legislative career, including performance-based student testing, school restructuring and latch key child care programs, according to his wikipedia page. In 1992, he authored the Charter School Act, which established charter schools in the state.
He served in the California Assembly from 1974 to 1982 before winning a seat in the California Senate in 1982 representing parts of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. He also chaired the Senate Education Committee from 1982 until his retirement in 1994.
He founded the California State University Institute for Education Reform at the California State University, Sacramento campus, which promotes education reform efforts aimed at improving pupil academic achievement.
From 1999 to 2000, he served in Gov. Gray Davis’ administration as California Secretary of Education, helping to craft and pass the governor’s 1999 education reform program.
He also created and taught in Program in America and California Explorations (PACE), a small learning community at John F. Kennedy High School in the Sacramento City Unified School District. The program focuses on academic excellence, culture and civic events, and requires 30 hours of community service each semester, according to the school’s website.
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