Local Educators Question Push for Stimulus Funds

Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

California may receive up to $700 million in federal stimulus funds if it wins a national competition for public education reform, but even if the state receives such funding, local educators question its utility.

The U.S. Department of Education released the finalized application for the $4 billion federal stimulus program, known as the Race to the Top Fund, yesterday.

The program will award grants to states with histories of raising student achievement that also show plans to reform their public education systems. The applications for the first phase of the competition are due by Jan. 19, and winners will be announced by April 2010.

The competition for the fund provides a chance for the state of California to improve its public education through systemic change, said Hilary McLean, director of communications for the California Department of Education.

"Instead of sprinkling a little grant here and a little grant there and giving each district a bit of money, the Race to the Top fund lets us find ways to change our system," she said.

On Nov. 4, the California State Senate passed a bill to make the state eligible and more competitive for the stimulus fund.

The bill, proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and authored by Senator Gloria Romero, D-East Los Angeles, would remove the state's limit on the number of charter schools and authorize the use of students' standardized test scores, among other data, to evaluate teacher and administrator performance.

But local educators said the data from standardized test scores needs to be tracked for longer periods of time before they would be a reliable gauge of teachers and administrators' performance.

"On some levels, it has some validity, but on another level, teachers don't pick the students who come into their classes," said John Selawsky, a member of the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education. "It is not exactly like comparing apples and apples; each class has its own range of skills."

Although evaluating this data could be useful in tracking students' improvement, an equitable system of rewards for teachers and administrators has yet to be developed, said Bill Huyett, superintendent of the Berkeley Unified School District.

"I think that it's good practice to use data to see how your students are doing and the quality of the instructional program," he said. "But teachers who teach very capable kids will be rewarded, while teachers who teach impoverished students in the inner-city areas will be punished."

Selawsky also said the state has to go beyond vying for the state stimulus and find sustainable ways to gain revenues to fund the state's public education.

"Quick fixes don't work; Sacramento has to be serious to fix this systemically," Selawsky said. "You can't really bring in sustainable resources with one time money, so it's only so good anyway."

Tags: RACE TO THE TOP, BERKELEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT


Contact Paul Edison at [email protected]



Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
City
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
City
Image Sports bar to open on Telegraph Avenue
About three months ago, Larry Blake's Restaurant and Bar was boarded up aft...Read More»
City
Image City proposes major cuts to budget
Amid a grim national, state and local economic recovery forecast, the city ...Read More»
City
Image State Cinemark to provide captioning
Captioning systems will be installed in all Cinemark movie theaters in Cali...Read More»
City
Image Presentation shows downward trend in crime rates, ...
A presentation given by the Berkeley...Read More»
City
Image Former campus doctor faces charges
A former UC Berkeley health center doctor was charged Wednesday by the Alam...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space