July 30, 2010 |
Calling the status quo "morally inexcusable" and "economically indefensible," President Obama defended his administration's sweeping education initiative Thursday before an audience that has been among the most skeptical of the plan — the National Urban League. "Education is an economic issue — if not the economic issue of our time," Obama said at the organization's centennial gathering in Washington. "We've got an obligation to lift up every child in every school in this country, especially those who are starting out furthest behind."
October 12, 2009
The Obama administration has made a promising move regarding school reform with its "Race to the Top" program. The $4.3 billion in federal grants is intended to reward states and schools that introduce new models of innovation and accountability. What needs reform just as badly as the schools, however, is the No Child Left Behind Act, a well-meant but ham-handed law that actually encourages schools to lower their academic standards and that often leaves behind the students who most need help.
December 14, 2009
What wouldn't California do for $700 million right now? That's not a rhetorical question. With U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan parceling out more than $4 billion to states that conform to his vision of school reform, California's Legislature is just one of dozens that are frantically revamping their states' education systems for some of that cash. Should California succeed, its share would be somewhere between $350 million and $700 million. To obtain the money, Sacramento must pass legislation that would serve as the basis for an application.
October 8, 2009 |
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday pledged federal support to fight a surge in youth violence in Chicago and other cities, calling the brutal beating death of a teenager on the city's South Side a wake-up call for the country. But neither offered specifics or outlined any strategies on how the government would help quell the increase in the number of violent deaths among teens. Duncan and Holder were sent to Chicago by President Obama to meet with officials, parents and students from Christian Fenger Academy High School after the beating death of a 16-year-old sophomore was captured on a cellphone video.
November 20, 2011
Last week, 11 states submitted applications that might release them from the more onerous provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and at least 28 more are expected to apply in future rounds. California doesn't plan to be among them. What does it take to get a waiver? Too much, Gov. Jerry Brown said during a meeting this month with The Times' editorial board. We agree. There are extensive requirements for states that apply — especially the controversial mandate to include the state's annual standardized test scores as a "significant factor" in the performance evaluations of teachers.
March 29, 2010 |
In a high-stakes competition, Tennessee and Delaware were awarded $600 million Monday, the only states to win grants in the first phase of "Race to the Top," the Obama administration's $4.35-billion education initiative, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said. Duncan said both states showed that they had overwhelming support for their overhaul plans from all stakeholders -- including teachers' unions, parents, and local and state school officials. Such support weighed heavily in the decision.
July 25, 2009 |
President Obama singled out California on Friday for failing to use education data to distinguish poor teachers from good ones, a situation that his administration said must change for the state to receive competitive federal school dollars. Obama's comments echo recent criticisms by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who warned that states that bar the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers, as California does, are risking those funds.
March 19, 2012 |
Second chances don't come around too often. Fourth chances? Almost never. But Los Angeles now has a remarkable opportunity to make up for California's failures to win federal funds and to institute much-needed education reforms. Three times in the last two years, California has competed in Race to the Top, the federal program that provides billions of dollars to states that promise to adopt bold education reforms. California has failed every round of the K-12 competition. Last year, the U.S. Department of Educationdismissed the state's proposal as incomplete because Gov. Jerry Brown refused to sign it. As a result, the Los Angeles Unified School District has gotten zero dollars from this program and implemented few of the reforms urged by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2010
The year ended much as it had begun, with multitudes filling a sun-splashed football stadium to hear speakers offer words of hope and inspiration. One big difference: No one booed this time. It was less than a year ago that Birmingham High School in the San Fernando Valley received approval to pull out of the Los Angeles Unified School District and become a charter school — still publicly funded but with its own local leadership and budget. The decision followed months of bitter infighting involving teachers, administrators, students, parents and the teachers union, with charges and countercharges flying between those who supported the charter conversion and those who opposed it. It was a scale model of the larger battle being waged over charter schools nationally.
May 7, 2012 |
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Monday that he supports gay marriage rights, a declaration that came as President Obama's reelection campaign downplayed comments from Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday that some saw as an evolution in the administration's position. Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Duncan was asked, "Do you believe that same-sex men and women should be able to get legally married in the United States?" The answer was simple and direct. "Yes, I do. " Duncan's answer went further than Biden did Sunday, when he said he was "comfortable" with the idea of "men marrying men" and "women marrying women" having the same rights as heterosexual couples.