Legislators push education reforms forward

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Lawmakers moved closer Wednesday to making California eligible for federal Race to the Top education funding after the state Senate passed legislation aimed at tweaking a series of laws that federal officials say are unfavorable.

The vote came during an all-night session that lasted until about 6 a.m. Wednesday as lawmakers struggled to pass water reform legislation.

The Senate was able to squeeze in a vote on the bill, crafted in part by Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Gloria Romero (D-East Los Angeles) and Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), who serves as vice chairman of the committee.

Federal officials, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have criticized California for having laws that prohibit teacher evaluations based on student test scores, among other legal hurdles that they say make the state currently ineligible to compete for $4.35 billion available through the Race to the Top program.

The bill would also remove the state’s cap on charter schools and will authorize open enrollment for students in low-performing schools, according to Huff.

“Today, we have moved one step closer to improving an educational system that has failed generations of California’s kids,” Huff said in a statement.

The bill will now move to the state Assembly for a vote, but may not be taken up until December, Huff said.

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Written by Zain Shauk

November 5, 2009 at 8:12 am

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