SACRAMENTO Jan. 5, 2010 – Today the Assembly passed legislation to provide California schools with key reforms and strengthen the state's application for federal education funding under President Obama's Race to the Top initiative.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), who worked to ensure the legislation addresses all reform areas under Race to the Top guidelines, said "The Legislature and education stakeholders have worked to ensure our students are provided with challenging, national core academic standards, strategies to help turn around the lowest performing schools and improvements in how we use educational data in classroom instruction. These and other reforms clearly set the stage for the Governor to submit a competitive application for California to bring home a coveted Race to the Top grant."
Race to the Top Legislation passed by the Assembly today contains the following reforms:
Standards and assessment
· A new Academic Standards Commission will create new language arts and math content standards that incorporate the new national common core standards. At least half of the commission members will be classroom teachers.
· In making recommendations for revising the Academic Performance Index, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board will be required to give more emphasis to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and to incorporate career and college readiness measures.
Using data to support instruction
· Career tech data will be collected in same manner as for other education programs and Higher Education, EDD, and K-12 segments will be permitted to share student and workforce data. Researchers will have access to state education data, consistent with federal privacy requirements.
Great teachers and leaders
· The use of state data will be permitted for teacher evaluation, consistent with collective bargaining requirements and the process for credentialing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math teachers will be streamlined.
Turning around the lowest performing schools
· The lowest achieving 5% of schools will be provided with 1 of 4 intervention models as well as a mentor school process and technical assistance.
· The Race to the Top budget plan will address how funds will be used for low achieving schools and give highest priority to allocating Race to the Top funds to local school districts.
· An independent evaluation process will oversee the Race to the Top program.
· Parents at low achieving schools can initiate a Race to the Top intervention by a petition signed by at least half the parents at the school.
· Students from the lowest performing schools in low income neighborhoods may transfer to higher performing schools in other districts on a space-available basis.
The Legislation must be approved by the Senate and Governor to strengthen California's application for Race to the Top funding. Another 25 percent of funding application scores is based on the Governor's state school improvement plan, which has yet to be released in full.
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