Gov. in Fresno Pushing for Education Reform

August 25, 2009 7:37:03 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger came to the Valley Tuesday, to congratulate a Fresno school that's made great strides in improving test scores. He also pushed his controversial plan to change state laws, and bring more education money to California.The governor is traveling around the state talking about his plans to change education laws. He has called lawmakers into a special session ... there is support for his plans and controversy as well.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger talked with Jefferson Elementary students who in a one years time went from 33 percent proficient in math to 51 percent.

"It is the kind of school with the kind of leadership that will benefit from Race to the Top Funding," said Schwarzenegger.

Race to the Top is a federal program that offers more than 4-billion dollars in educational funds to states that meet the requirements, but California can't apply under current state laws.

Schwarzenegger said, "California can get hundreds of millions of dollars for our schools and of course we need that money very badly because as you know we have an economic crisis."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is now asking the legislature to reform laws to meet President Obama's education reform requirements.

This includes:

  • Lifting the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in California.
  • Allowing students in the lowest performing schools to move to any school or district in the state.
  • The most controversial proposal, linking teacher evaluations to student performance.
Fresno County Schools Superintendent Larry Powell said, "I believe we can fairly measure each student's progress and each teacher's contribution to that progress."

The Fresno Teachers Association is against the reforms. FTA President Greg Gadams says changing the laws could subject teachers to harassment from administration because of outside factors that could affect test scores.

Gadams said, "The teachers in our district already put pressure on themselves to work hard for student achievement, that's not going to change when you tie their evaluation and paycheck in there."

The governor has asked the legislature to have a document ready to sign by October 5th. The deadline to apply for federal funds is in December.

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