Educationís race to the top

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Nov. 20, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

President Obama has recently challenged all states in the union to compete for $4 billion in new federal grant dollars, known as Race to the Top (RTTT).  States must go through an application process illustrating how they will raise student performance, close achievement gaps and implement innovative reforms.  Specifically all applications must address four principles:

    1. Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
    2. Building data systems that measure student growth and success and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
    3. Recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
    4. Turning around the lowest-achieving schools.

For the past few months the education community has engaged in a public discourse regarding the direction in which California should apply for these funds.

Just last week U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the final guidelines for the applications and now the states are working toward a mid-January 2010 deadline.  Although the money will be granted through two rounds of funding, most states want to submit their applications during this first round creating a rush to the finish line.

California Legislators are also anxious to finalize the RTTT legislation that will be the framework for the application, which will be submitted by the Governor and signed off by the Superintendent of Education.   The Assembly Education Committee is scheduled to hear the RTTT legislation on December 9th with a likely floor vote shortly after. California legislators will be focusing on the fourth principle which is turning around the lowest-achieving schools. Any reforms in this area will require making education relevant and making all career options available to all students.

CMTA is pushing for language in the RTTT bill that preserves career technical education and renews California’s focus on preparing students for both college and career.


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