So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

LA Unified fails to move forward as Race to the Top finalist

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy  sp

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Education has announced finalists in the Race to the Top grant competition that gives $400 million to school districts — but L.A. Unified, led by Superintendent John Deasy, won't be one.

The U.S. Department of Education announced 61 finalists today in the Race to the Top grant competition. Those that made the cut represent more than 200 public school districts — but L.A. Unified was not one.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy submitted the application for $40 million in federal dollars earlier this month without the required signature of support from UTLA.

Four California districts were named finalists: Green Dot Public Schools: Animo Leadership Charter High School, in Lennox; Galt Joint Union School District, near Stockton; Lindsay Unified School District, east of Tulare; and New Haven Unified School District, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other finalists included New York City Public Schools, Boston Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education plans to make 15 to 25 of the four-year awards ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of the students served.

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LAUSD goes for Race to the Top funds without union signature (Updated)

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy submitted an application for $40 million in Race to the Top funds Thursday without the support of United Teachers Los Angeles.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy submitted an application for $40 million in federal Race to the Top money Thursday without the support of United Teachers Los Angeles.

The grant application requires the teachers' union, school board and superintendent to sign off, but earlier this week officials said the district and union could not agree on details of the application.

Deasy submitted the application anyway, with a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking the Department of Education to consider the district for the award despite the lack of support from its union.

"It is simply wrong for the opposition of one organization -- UTLA -- to deny LAUSD the opportunity to funding that would provide tremendous benefits to our students," Deasy wrote.

L.A. Unified's 150-page application proposes a $43.3 million budget for reforms that would require $3.3 million in funds beyond the $40 million federal award. Deasy said union officials were informed that philanthropy would supply the additional money.

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LA teachers union blocks LAUSD's Race to the Top (Updated)

John Deasy

Nick Ut/AP

The L.A. teachers' union refused to sign off on the LAUSD Race to the Top application, effectively taking it out of the running for $40 million in federal funds.

Citing long-term budget concerns, the union for schoolteachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District has refused to sign off on the district's Race to the Top grant application, effectively taking the nation's second-largest school district out of the running for $40 million in federal funds.

L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy, sounding deflated, said Tuesday morning that the district had tried to work with United Teachers Los Angeles and couldn't understand why no deal was reached.

"They gave a number of different reasons and every single reason they gave we accommodated," Deasy said.

Initial concerns about ongoing discussions to meet a Dec. 4 court-imposed deadline for a new teacher evaluation system were addressed by the district. The Race to the Top competition requires districts to adopt an evaluation system that incorporates student test scores. Deasy said L.A. Unified provided the union with a legal assurance that plans for Race to the Top would be treated separately from negotiations.

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