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UTLA President Warren Fletcher talks Race to the Top

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UTLA President Warren Fletcher spoke to KPCC earlier this morning about the Race to the Top, which will be a district level competition in its next incarnation.

The competition, previously only at the state level, required states commit to certain reforms including that student performance be used as one of multiple measures for teacher evaluation. Whether L.A. Unified will be able to gain buy in from the teacher's union on this issue remains a big question mark.

Fletcher spoke skeptically on air about the value-added models of evaluating teachers; he said studies have shown them to be inaccurate up to 25 percent of the time.

"The kinds of decisions we're talking about, which are decisions about my salary and decisions about whether or not I'm retained in the profession are made on a year-to-year basis," Fletcher said. "A one in four accuracy rate when you're measuring something that's as important as teacher effectiveness just isn't acceptable."

Listen to the entirety of Fletcher's thoughts here.

Details on what the requirements for the district level competition will look like remain to be seen. It is likely that the scope of what's expected may be more limited, and perhaps there will be requirements on the size of districts, or groups of districts, that can apply, observers say. 

"If you're talking about 5,000 districts, how do you meaningfully go through 5,000 applications?" said Rick Miller, who was formerly deputy superintendent at the state's Department of Education and is now executive director of the California Office to Reform Education. "It must be something they're struggling with, in terms of how they are going to deal with that."

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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