By Post Staff
Oakland will lose 6 million dollars in State funds because of California’s projected 40 billion dollar deficit. San Francisco will lose 112 million and Berkeley will lose 3 million.
Tragic as this is, the situation was made worse on March 4th. California did not qualify for a share of the “Race to the Top” pie offered by President Obama’s competitive school-reform grant program.
California was not selected as one of the finalists for the $4.35-billion grant program.
California sought to qualify for the “Race to the Top” funding by linking teachers’ performance to their students’ test scores, and the Teacher’s Union voiced strong opposition to that proposal. Fewer than half of the school districts and teachers unions agreed to sign the agreement that would have required them to abide by the reforms. If California had qualified, the State could have received up to $700 million dollars. The state will have another opportunity to apply this summer
Carlos McLean, Director of Map, Counselor and Instructor at Merritt Community College commented on California’s lost opportunity, “We go through a lot of battling for money, but focusing on money only is not sufficient, we have dealt with less money but had success in the past. We need to focus on the students first. Despite the lack of funding, we need to provide both instructional and student support services to enhance the quality of educational offerings.”
The Obama administration used “Race to the Top” as a way to pressure school districts to make reforms. The multi-million dollar budget cuts to education and the fact that Oakland teachers are the lowest paid in Alameda County might become an incentive for the Teacher’s Union, not just in Oakland but throughout the State of California to accept Obama’s federal scrutiny so that California could succeed in the next round of funding.