PTA urges state to pursue Race to the Top Funds
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.
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
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.
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
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.