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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Federal audit finds lax charter school oversight in California

A recent federal audit finds that the federal government and California have done a poor job monitoring millions of federal dollars for charter schools.

The US Department of Education's inspector general examined some of the nearly $1 billion in charter school grants to states and individual charter schools between 2008 and 2011. Auditors zeroed in on California, Arizona, and Florida. In this state, they found that the people assigned to inspect charter schools were unqualified and didn't know what was expected of them.

California received $182 million in federal charter school grants during the four-year period. A spokeswoman with the state Department of Education said it's trying to ramp up charter school oversight. Education officials have closed dozens of charter schools in recent years because of low academic performance, cheating on tests, and misappropriation of funds.

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