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State Senate passes education measure with eye on federal grants

Despite opposition from powerful teachers unions, the state Senate today approved a measure to make California more competitive for billions of dollars in federal education grants.

The measure, which now goes to the Assembly, would allow students at poor-performing schools to transfer to campuses in other districts, and would also create a group to study a lifting of the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.

SB X5 1 also would repeal a law prohibiting the use of data on teacher performance and student achievement for the purpose of evaluating and making employment decisions on teachers. The bill would require students' parents and teachers be notified if their schools are identified by the state as among the worst-performing 5% of campuses. Operations at those schools would have to be overhauled.

The bill, by state Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) and Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), is intended to make California more competitive for $4.35 billion in federal education grants being offered to states that adopt plans to improve school performance.

“The Senate’s action takes us one step closer toward an historic victory for California’s schools,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who added that "we must do everything in our power improve our schools and secure additional funding from President Obama’s multibillion-dollar national education funding competition.’’

The California Teachers Assn. and United Teachers of Los Angeles said they opposed the bill partly because of the potential cost of the changes and because the federal funds would be a one-time grant.

The group also thinks it is premature to adopt the changes before the federal government finalizes the standards by which grant applications will be judged, CTA spokesman Frank Wells said.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Comments () | Archives (8)

Could it be California politicians are going to put the people ahead of the profit? It is about time they got real with the fact that you cant oppress millions, to line the pocket of thousands if not hundreds, or tens for that matter.

Drop the special interest and govern for the people.

I do not see how any of this helps kids. Is there any evidence that these changes will hep students? Show me the evidence. This is just more politics as usual in CA. Political careers are built and the children loose.

Increase education funding now!

These changes will not make California competitive for billions of dollars in federal grants. Ten to twelve states will share 4.3 billion dollars. California (because of its high population size) might get 500 million in one-time money. Even with budget cuts, California spends 50 billion a year on K-12 education. The 500 million (the most we could hope for) will represent a one-time 1% increase in our yearly K-12 budget. Pardon us if we don't fall all over ourselves to win Duncan's seal of approval.

When considering whether to evaluate high school teachers based on student performance, please factor in the following which must occur in every classroom for there to be a fair evaluation of teachers: equitable distribution of 504, or at risk students, strict adherence to no more than the California
State mandated six resource students per classroom, equitable gender distribution in each classroom, equitable distribution of English Second Language ( ELD) students, equitable distribution of gifted and talented students, equitable distribution of college prep students, equitable distribution of trade school candidates, equitable distribution of those who will be out of district transfers from failing schools, and finally, equitable distribution of students enrolled in each classroom, at each grade level. Teachers should carry similar overall total numbers of students on their rosters and have the same numbers of preps. A teacher with three preps, three different subjects, at the high school level has more work than a teacher with two preps. If evaluation is not done according to these concepts, it will be obvious to any thinking individual that the implementation of teacher evaluations tied to student performance is a purely political maneuver. That would not serve our children, or our country.

I don't think we've been keeping up with current events. Teachers in California are being laid-off, wages and benefits are being attacked, class sizes are being raised and our wonderful governor wants to shorten the school year. The state has failed to fund education and Obama wants to hold teachers accountable for test scores. Why does accountability always start with teachers? Let's hold parents responsible for preparing their children to enter the classroom disciplined and socialized. Let's hold the Legislature accountable for running the state. Let's hold Wall Street and the Banks and the Auto Industry accountable for their own financial health. And finally, let's hold President Obama and the Federal Government accountable for making the decisions that benefit the common good! Accountability should be for all!!!!

University of California President Yudof Approves $3,000,000 to Outsource UCB Chancellor’s Job
The UC President has a UCB Chancellor that should do the high paid job he is paid for instead of hiring an East Coast consulting firm to fulfill his responsibilities. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the analysis, hard work and make the difficult decisions of their executive job!
Where do consulting firms like Bain ($3,000,000 consultants) get their recommendations?
From interviewing the senior management that hired them and will be approving their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled government oversight agencies and the public?
Mr. Birgeneau's executive officer performance management responsibilities include "inspiring innovation and leading change." This involves "defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment." Instead of demonstrating his capacity to fulfill his executive accountabilities, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced them. Doesn't he engage University of California and University of California Berkeley (UCB) people at all levels to help examine the budget and recommend the necessary trims? Hasn't he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina - which also hired Bain -- about best practices and recommendations that might apply to UCB cuts?
No wonder the faculty and staff are angry and suspicious. Three million dollars is a high price for Californians to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ Chancellor is not doing his job.
Please help save $3,000,000 for teaching our students and request that the UC President require the UCB Chancellor to fulfill his executive job accountabilities!

Imagine what would happen if teacher's salary depended on their students' marks? Well luckily such a law was passed in a country where I used to live and the results were very interesting... Suddenly all students started receiving high marks and the knowledge which they gained each year decreased substantially. No surprise...

UTLA cares about costs? LOL.


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