December 9, 2009

For Immediate Release
Alison apRoberts
Communications Manager
(916) 440-1985, ext. 106
Mobile: (916) 261-5286
PTA urges state to pursue Race to the Top Funds
This morning at 10 a.m., the Assembly Education Committee is scheduled to hear several bills affecting California's ability to successfully apply for federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funds.

California State PTA continues to fully support California submitting a competitive application for the federal funds. We believe the process for developing such an application has provided a much needed opportunity to focus dialogue on key education reforms  that can benefit students. 
A number of bills currently pending in the legislature would strengthen the state's application. California State PTA has taken a SUPPORT position on Assemblymember Brownley's ABX5 8 and Senator Simitian's SBX5 2. We believe that ABX5 8 clearly states the vision for California's plan for education reform in conjunction with an RTTT application as well as proposing the needed legislative changes for a competitive grant. SBX5 2 makes additional provisions for a robust data system that not only improves our state's RTTT application, but more importantly serves the needs of our education system.

In addition, we have taken a SUPPORT IF AMENDED position on Senator Romero's SBX5 1. We support the overall intent and direction of SBX5 1, as well as its emphasis on promoting educational choice for students and parents. However, to ensure that all children and families are well served, we believe some logistical elements of the open enrollment provisions of the bill need to be further clarified, including funding for transporting students to schools outside of their district of residence. 
We are also in full support of giving parents and community members a more direct voice in determining the strategies chosen to turn around persistently low achieving schools. In order for this to truly be meaningful involvement, there must be provisions put in place to ensure that good information is provided to all parents about the implications of each of the various potential "turnaround" models. This will enable parents to make informed decisions on behalf of their children and communities. This could be achieved through a series of public hearings, preferably at the school site, as well as through independent assessment and study.  
We believe this opportunity to make positive policy changes for California should be seized. Because many of the decisions made by the legislature will impact schools for years to come and may far outlive the federal funding provided, they need to be made in a thoughtful manner and in the best interests of all California children.
We urge lawmakers to advance legislation that addresses these concerns. We also urge state legislators and the Governor to make no further state budget cuts to education and children's programs in the coming year, to further demonstrate the state's level of commitment to strengthening our public education system.
# # #
every child. one voice.
The California State PTA has nearly 1 million members throughout the state working on behalf of public schools, children and families, with the motto, "Every child, one voice." The PTA is the nation's oldest, largest and highest profile volunteer organization working to improve the education, health and welfare of all children and youth. The PTA also advocates at national, state and local levels for education and family issues. The PTA is nonprofit, nonsectarian and noncommercial.
For more information about the California State PTA, visit www.capta.org