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

UTLA President Warren Fletcher talks Race to the Top

UTLA President Warren Fletcher

Grant Slater/KPCC

UTLA President Warren Fletcher

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."


Analysis: LA Unified to compete in new Race to Top contest

Arne Duncan at Podium

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced there will be a district level competition for Race to the Top dollars. For the first time money will be paid directly to districts from the federal government, instead of via the state.

That is big news for California, and especially Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has pushed for such a change in D.C. But what does it mean, and why the change?

"If you're a school district as huge as L.A. Unified have the potential to impact a significant amount of children in the state of California, and you don't have to wait for the governor's approval to do so," said Charmaine Mercer, director of policy and research for Communities for Teaching Excellence. In her previous life, Mercer was a Hill staffer for Chairman David Obey (D - Wisconsin) and she wrote what became Race to the Top. (She clarifies that Obey was "the architect.")