Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

California a finalist for share of $3.4-billion federal Race to the Top education grants

California is among the finalists for a share of $3.4 billion in competitive and controversial federal education grants, along with 17 other states and the District of Columbia, federal and state sources have confirmed.

The official announcement on the high-profile Race to the Top grants is scheduled for late Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C.

California applied for up to $700 million in the one-time funding as both a reform strategy and to offset part of an ongoing state budget crisis. These reform measures strive to link teacher evaluations to student performance, place the most effective educators in struggling schools, and better use data to improve teaching.

The California plan also embraces the federal emphasis on replacing staff at “failing” schools and converting some to independently run charter schools, most of which are non-union.

California joined 34 other states and the District of Columbia last month in competing a second time for the grants. In that first try, California fell well short of becoming a finalist. The grants eventually went to just two states, Delaware and Tennessee.

The second-round winners are likely to be announced in about a month. Win or lose, California remains committed to many of the reforms, which legislators put into law to strengthen the state’s initial and unsuccessful application.

Critics of the grant program, including many leaders of teacher unions, have opposed linking teacher evaluations to student test scores as well as other initiatives they said are unproven and likely to prove costly after the one-time grant runs out.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (7)

Let Principals Fire people with School Board support or denial. Everyone knows this is what needs to be done.

Centralized federal control of State education is not the solution to California’s education crisis, and President Obama’s and Secretary Duncan’s Race to the Top should be seen as what it really is – simply another Washington DC power grab to seize more and more control over what should legally remain a state and local concern – K-12 public education. It should be remembered that the US Constitution delivered to the States de facto control and oversight of education at the nation’s inception via its ratification of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution when it was written “the powers not delegated to the United Stated by the Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Simply put, Obama’s apparent concern for education is the result of Beltway focus groups that determined education to be a soft, friendly, and bipartisan area in which the President could make grand gestures with little political risk – hence the creation of Race to the Top as a Press-friendly and nationwide legislative initiative through which he may claim some semblance of governance success. The residual political blood of Race to the Top, however, has stained the hands of our California lawmakers in Sacramento, and not those of the President and his minions in DC. In an effort to attract a small trickle of federal funds that would drain into a comparatively massive pool of State education debt – a debt generated in part by our State’s obligation to finance other previous unfunded federal educational mandates (NCLB anyone?) – our elected leaders have sold our children’s collective souls to the feds for a one-time bailout. And now that the dust has settled, they didn’t get the dough. Although the federal government should have some sort of cursory role in the stewardship of American public education – I, unlike others, do not want to see Jimmy Carter’s Department of Education dismantled just yet – California public schools should remain largely local, flexible, and immediately receptive to the needs of the communities they serve – not the needs of government bean counters that don’t have their hands on the pulse of local/regional education needs and goals in the same way local stakeholders do. The carrot on the end of the Race to the Top stick is laced with poisonous, corporate-backed, anti-public, anti-teacher, anti-democratic microbes that will slowly eat the flesh of the last egalitarian public program this country has left standing – public schools. Arne Duncan and Barak Obama have turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing. This rancid carrot needs to be swept aside swiftly by the legions of professional public educators in this great state that know a stink bomb when they smell it. Instead of groveling shamelessly for $700 million in new grants, why don’t our leaders in Sacramento give back the $17 billion they have stolen from California K-12 students over the last two years? There is a well-orchestrated political shell game going on here, and the people will find the truth. They always do.

Well, with CA as a finalist for RTTT,
my personal RTTR* is officially on-- *Race to the Retirement.

It is with sadness that I will only spend 2 more years in the classroom.

Teaching to the test is not the way to provide students with an education and I refuse to continue to do it.

This is more baloney from the Democrats. probably 3/4 or more so called students in failing schools and minority schools as well as others should not even be in school. To graduate someone who only marginally can do the work is a waste of time. The US is heading into third world status at a rapid rate. Electing Obamma shows how fast we are headed there. A super majority cannot and will not be able to make a living in this country. At present the welfare and disability payments are supporting these people but as the country heads into a depression with no jobs it is just trying to buy votes

California doesn't deserve the money. It will just be wasted as the State legislature in Sacremento is determined to win the "Race to the Bottom".

Charter schools are publically funded and privately managed. California has had our share of embezzlement and fraud related to many charters schools that are now closed.
Fethullah Gulen Described as the worlds most dangerous Islamic Imman manages 122 US Charter Schools in California they are called: Magnolia Science Academy and Bay Area Technology schools
1) The teachers are un credentialed brought in from Turkey on HB-1 Visas. The principals are always male and Turkish. They all claim to be "Turkish Scholars" but it is a lie.
2) The schools boast of high test scores and honors - it is a sales job to get more enrollment for the state funding per child per year. These Gulen schools are under a large network of Foundations and Instiutes- IN California they are called: Pacifica Institute, Willow Education, MERF, Interfaith Dialogue and Accord Institute. These Gulen foundations sponsor and OWN the events that the kids win awards at: Science Olympiad, Math Counts, Turkish Olympiad.
3) Gulen "gets into the arteries of the system using religion, education and politics" The foundations wine and dine Christian groups for interfaith dialogue and send them to Turkey along with politicians. The American children learn Turkish - they sing and dance in Turkish at these Turkish Olympiads. Then they are sent to Turkey to perform for the politicans while singing the Turkish national anthem and waving the Islamic flag of Turkey.
4) There is a high level of financal mismanagment at the Gulen Charter schools, money in and out and tax dollars going to the foundations for fees like "consultatin" "public relations' "fees for the events" and money paid to Turkish business. They launder the money veritically and horizontally.

Really, just fire people? How about some due process. What happened at Fremont is that good teachers got fired for money! Really, everyone thinks they are an education expert. It is sickening. What if the principal is corrupt? Then what? Do you want your child's education to rest on a corrupt administrator only hiring the meekest or most attractive couselor? It happens, and it happened at Fremont.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: