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California: Securing Its Champion Title…of Failed States


The one state to continue its rebellion against President Obama’s education reform is that liberal stronghold and king of the Blues: California. The LA Times reports:

California has defiantly refused to follow the administration’s lead in grading the performance of teachers and using those measurements to reward the best teachers and punish the worst. The state is one of very few that have told Washington that under no conditions will it put in place the type of teacher evaluation system Obama has championed.

As a result, the administration has not given California a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law, leaving thousands of local schools exposed to expensive federal sanctions.

The pushback largely comes from the state’s teachers union, the California Teachers Asociation, which has a powerful grip on state bureaucrats. Without a waiver, the state will be forced to close failing public schools and spend millions tutoring students and shuttling them to better performing districts. In a rare move, the administration has allowed nine California districts to submit requests for waivers independent of the state.

California has one of the worst performance records in the country. The state ranked 46th in student reading and math performance on the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress. And it also earned a C on student achievement, regulations for teachers and measures of equity on Education Week’s latest annual Quality Counts report.

Now the state’s teachers union is going to extremes to protect seniority privileges for failing teachers. Either union leaders haven’t read the school system’s abysmal report card, or they just don’t care.

[California image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Andrew Allison

    No, no! You must be mistaken. Haven’t you noticed that California is widely recognized as having recovered?

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    CA would have complied, but nobody in Sacramento could read the NCLB law – they were all graduates of public-education.

    • Andrew Allison

      It’s not that the legislators couldn’t read NCLB, but that they were instructed by their union bosses (owners might be a better word) not to.

      Meanwhile, California’s public school teachers have such faith in the system that a majority of them send their children to private schools!
      That said, VM is being a little unkind in awarding CA the failed-State championship. Bad as things are in CA, the social misery resulting from decades of governmental malfeasance in IL leaves CA in it’s dust.

  • Alexander Scipio

    “Either union leaders haven’t read the school system’s abysmal report card, or they just don’t care,” or they can’t read. Not exactly a low-odds proposition.

  • Gary Hemminger

    I agree with Prof. Mead, but the teachers union has a ready excuse…we in California just aren’t spending enough per pupil. If we would just spend more and have smaller classroom sizes, the students would be much more educated.

  • Bruce_William_Smith

    Thanks to unwise changes in immigration policy and lax enforcement, California’s state schools have a much more difficult population to educate today than they did decades ago.

  • Andrew Allison

    Here’s a thought: let’s require CA teachers toeducate their kids in the public education system which supports them.

  • ljgude

    It does seem that the combination of unions and state government have had dire consequences. If the blue model is the Iron Triangle of Big Business, Big Government and Big Labor (as Prof Meade has characterized it) then we are seeing the collusion of Big Labor and Big Government at the state level defying the central power of a very Blue Model Federal administration. Given what the bankers and their ilk did to cause 2008 and are still doing then that is another example of collusion between Big Government and Big Business. And given that we have just witnessed a teachable moment type trial created by the collusion of Big Government and Big Business (the MSM) fizzle for lack of a case – perhaps there is a bit too much collusion going on.

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