A state legislative committee Wednesday rejected a Senate education bill favored by charter school organizations while approving rival Assembly legislation backed by teachers unions.
The dueling bills were aimed at qualifying California for competitive federal education funding known as Race to the Top grants. Federal officials have estimated that California could qualify for up to $700 million if the state is selected.
States will be judged on a 500-point scale measuring their plans to implement various reforms, including improving data systems and paying effective educators more. States must also eliminate caps on the number of charter schools allowed and link student achievement to teacher evaluations in order to qualify.
California charter schools opposed the Assembly bill, introduced by Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), because they felt it was too restrictive. The legislation would abolish the charter cap, but it also would require that the schools be regularly audited and would make it hard for failed charter operators to open another campus. The bill also did not contain a trigger that would allow a failing school to be taken over if more than half the parents or legal guardians of students signed a petition.