The deadline for memos to the California Department of Education was Dec. 8 , which meant it was unlikely Glendale Unified’s application would carry the full compliment of signatures as some other districts.
According to the state Department of Education, more than 800 California school districts have signed on with the California’s application for Race to the Top, a $4.35-billion federal stimulus program. To qualify for the money, applicants must reflect policies the federal government favors, such as stricter academic standards and assessments and the use of student data to improve teacher effectiveness and reverse low performing schools.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed two bills that brought sweeping changes to the California education code and commitments to Race to the Top objectives.
“The first thing is, this provides a systemic change,” said state Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), who co-wrote the legislation. “We should get a better school system . . . we’ll get a better society if the bill works, and kids will get a better education.”
District officials said they were initially concerned with guarantees required by the legislation, but saw valuable opportunities for additional funding, Supt. Michael Escalante said in a special session Thursday.
“There are good opportunities for us . . . we all know technology is an insatiable appetite that we can never meet all the needs that we have,” he said. It was becoming clear that Race to the Top reflected the Obama administration’s programs, and that the reforms reflect where the federal administration wants education to move, he added.