Race to the Top Funds

SEPTEMBER 10, 2009

California’s Policymaking Reaction to the Race to the Top Priorities

California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is unwilling to let as much as $500 million slip through his fingers. On August 20th he called a special session of the legislature to consider a bill that would immediately enact sweeping changes to the state’s education system and remove any barriers to the Race to the Top funds. Read More

SEPTEMBER 3, 2009

Obama’s Education Secretary Warns California

The Race to the Top competition will reward states that are focused on education reforms. States that agree to expand public charter schools will be first in line for the money, along with those that allow performance pay for teachers based on student achievement, which is currently prohibited in California. Speaking before an audience of school children, Duncan said California can choose to dramatically improve its school system or “stay on the sidelines.” Read More

AUGUST 21, 2009

Schwarzenegger’s plan would reshape education in California

The state’s powerful teachers unions criticize the governor’s sweeping proposals, including merit pay for teachers. The plan would help qualify the state for Obama administration funds. Read More

AUGUST 10, 2009

No Budge From State Teachers, No Cash

In California’s public school classrooms, students may not be the only ones worrying about their grades in the near future.

Faced with a dire choice of being loyal to the state’s powerful teachers union or claiming their share of billions of dollars in new federal funding, Sacramento legislators are re-evaluating a law that prevents the state from tying student test scores to teacher performance.

At stake is California’s ability to compete with Florida, Texas and other states for $4.35 billion in education stimulus dollars. The 2006 law is a sticking point in a political feud between the Obama administration and state educators, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan has strongly signaled that California likely will be disqualified from the new “Race to the Top” funds if the law remains on the books. Read More

AUGUST 4, 2009

State Senators Considering Changing Law regarding Teacher Evaluations

The state Senate will hold hearings later this month to determine if legislators need to change a California law governing the use of student test scores in order to qualify for competitive federal education reform dollars. At issue is a 2006 law that bars the state from using student test score data for measuring teacher performance. Read More

JULY 29, 2009

California’s top education official sought Tuesday to counter federal criticism of the state’s reluctance to use student test scores to evaluate teachers, paying a visit to Long Beach to highlight one of the few California school districts to make extensive use of such data.

The Long Beach Unified School District’s use of student scores to assess the effectiveness of programs, instructional strategies and teachers is a rarity in California, and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell called it a model for other California school districts during a hastily arranged round-table discussion. Other participants included district administrators and staff.

“Becoming a data-oriented culture, as Long Beach is, won’t be easy, and it won’t be overnight,” O’Connell said. “Long Beach is ahead of the curve. . . . You’re a model for this new culture of data for education.” Read More

JULY 27, 2009

Schools to Compete for $5B From Stimulus Law – Fed Claims California Schools Ineligible

To get the money, states will need to be able to track student performance, have a plan of action to turn around failing schools, plus meet a series of conditions to earn points and boost its chances.

For example, the Obama administration says it will not award money to states that bar student performance data from being linked to teacher evaluations. Several states, including California, New York and Wisconsin, have such a prohibition.     Read More

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