Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Money Chase: California Edition

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times reports that state lawmakers in California are considering a statutory change that would increase the likelihood that the Golden States would be eligible to apply for Race To The Top funding. A 2006 state law restricts student test data from being used to inform teacher evaluation.
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.

State Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), chairwoman of the Education Committee, said she plans to hold a hearing when the legislature reconvenes later this month to determine if any laws should be revised.

"We would be letting down an entire generation of students if we failed to act," she said.

Several states have already changed laws to comply with the Obama administration's guidelines.

Any changes to the law could kick off a contentious fight with teachers unions, which have resisted some of the reforms advocated by the Obama administration, including performance pay and data-driven teacher evaluations.
Recent comments by California state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell would suggest that no statutory change is needed however.

As one of three states (California, New York, Wisconsin) apparently running afoul of the proposed Race To The Top application requirement that there be no state law restricting the use of student performance data in teacher evaluation, California joins Wisconsin in proposing changes to existing statutes in hopes of leveraging federal dollars for reform and innovation.

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