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Bills are signed that could bring grants, school reform

California’s governor signed legislation this afternoon that will improve the state’s eligibility for $700 million in federal education grants and also set the course for future school-improvement efforts.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills at Bethune Middle School in Florence, which officials cited as an example of an improving school that serves the low-income minority students who stand to benefit most from the new laws.

In highlighting the reform, Schwarzenegger called particular attention to its most fought-over provisions.

One would make it easier for parents to enroll their children in a school district they don’t live within. Under the previous law, the exit doors of a failing school “might as well have been chained,” the governor said. Now, through open enrollment, “parents have the right to free their children from these under-performing schools, and that’s without the principal’s permission. Parents can now take their children out,” sending them “to other schools and even to other districts.”

Another contested element gives parents the legal right to launch major reforms at a low-performing school by collecting signatures representing 50% of the school’s current or potential future students. The Legislature capped the number of schools that parents could petition for change at 75.


“We today couple the responsibility with rights” for parents, said state senator and bill sponsor Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles). “We will never turn around our schools without parents being critical partners in this process.”


The bills were vigorously opposed by statewide teachers unions and other groups within the education establishment. They argued that it set in motion policies without sufficient funding -- even with the possible federal grants. They also took issue with some of the policies themselves.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (4)

This is insane. Rather than leave a failing school or district in droves, shouldn't parents do everything in their power to turn things around? Get involved in your child's education, make sure that your children are doing their homework, check their report cards, and get to know the teachers. Bad teachers can get fired...administrators need to do their jobs, observe them, and write them up.

Parents whose children move to schools in another district, should have to pay up, otherwise, the city's residents will be picking up the tab. Now is that fair?

How many students can Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills and other affluent Districts accommodate, and who will provide the transportation for low income families? This law is a sham. Maybe the Governor will encourage low income parents to enroll their children at the private school attended by his children. By the way, what happened to the new teacher evaluation system based on test scores?

Signed at last...and its time for educators to
go to work for the benefit of the students...
and not for the benefits of themselves...
this education renewal...should be a feeling
of a grand re-open to education...what can I
do better to reach students to learn...maybe
a different approach...but with the goal of
somehow making positive sessions in class...
there are no doubt good educators...its just the
worst and the bad ones need to be removed.

spend a gazillion dollars, but without parent involvement, no matter how poor or uneducated they are themselves, none of this money will make a difference. Perhaps it's time to mandate their participation in their kid's lives?


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