Articles tagged with Federal government

Money talks; states, cities revamp policies to compete for Race to the Top funds

The Obama administration harnessed a strong public will and desire for change when it took office this year. Now that they’ve got the office, they’ve quickly learned how to issue a call to action: dangle lots of cash.

And some of the actions that states and districts are taking to have a chance to compete for the federal Race to the Top funds are pretty drastic, considering the typical slow churn of education policy.

California is the most obvious example, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is heeding what many saw as a blatant attempt by the Obama administration to change the state policy on teacher evaluations. Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed a legislative initiative that would change the way student achievement data is used and allow student progress to be used in evaluating teachers. But what’s truly interesting about this situation is the predicament that it creates for the unions, particularly the mighty California Teachers Association, the state’s main teachers’ organization.

The CTA and other unions have pretty much gotten their way with the Democratic-controlled legislature over the years, including the approval of the 2006 law that banned the state from linking student and teacher data and now has irked the Obama administration.

Schwarzenegger is now seeking to undo that law, as well as remove caps on the number of charter schools, force districts to shut down or reconstitute their lowest performing schools, and adopt a merit-pay system, all in order to compete for the badly needed funds. He says that’s what Obama wants–and how can anyone, especially a union that supported Obama’s candidacy, argue against that? So instead, the CTA and other unions say these actions are premature, as the final regulations for the Race to the Top funds have not been announced yet.   

Naomi Dillon|September 2nd, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |

How much will schools be included in Obama’s “New Deal”

Called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, it made sense that pundits and analysts would soon begin suggesting that a massive capital works program, like the one Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented, would be the best bet for steering the nation’s economy back onto firmer ground.

With the unemployment rate continuing to rise , as companies respond to production decreases by scaling back their workforce, it apparently has become clear to President-elect Barack Obama that a national construction effort will become a signature piece of his economic recovery plan.

If Obama follows in the footsteps of FDR’s Works Progress Administration— the centerpiece of his New Deal initiative— than schools should see a surge of money injected into its facilities. Under the WPA, more than 4,000 schools were built and 30,000 repaired. In his weekly radio address, Obama has provided a preliminary glimpse of how he would dole out the money to schools, saying he would upgrade and modernize school buildings; repairing broken schools, while making them more energy efficient and connecting them to the Internet. Obama’s weekly address

But with more than a quarter of the roughly 126,000 schools across the country built before 1950 and about 45 percent built between 1950 and 1969, it won’t be an easy endeavor and it remains to be seen how much Obama is willing to invest to bring schools into the 21st century.

Naomi Dillon, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|December 15th, 2008|Categories: Governance, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |
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