From The Los Angeles Times: California's top education official sought to counter federal criticism of the state's reluctance to use student test scores to evaluate teachers. Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell visited Long Beach to highlight one of the few California school districts to make extensive use of such data. The Long Beach Unified School District's use of student scores to assess the effectiveness of programs, instructional strategies and teachers is a rarity in California, and O'Connell called it a model for other California school districts during a hastily arranged round-table discussion.
From The Sacramento Bee: California schools may already have lost the Race to the Top. The state isn't likely to see any of the $4.35 billion in competitive federal grants that will be passed out as part of the American Recovery Act if legislators don't rescind a law that prevents teachers from being evaluated based on student test scores, say federal officials.
EARLIER...from the U.S. Department of Education: President Obama joined U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan in announcing the draft application for the $4.35 billion "Race to the Top" Fund. The fund will reward eligible states for past accomplishments and create incentives for future improvement in four critical areas of reform: adopting rigorous standards and assessments; recruiting and retaining effective teachers, especially in classrooms where they are needed most; turning around low-performing schools; and establishing data systems to track student achievement and teacher effectiveness.