L.A.'s Shot at Race to the Top

Courtney Williams's picture
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

L.A. school officials have a chance to apply directly to the government for education grants. They shouldn't squander it.

Second chances don't come around too often. Fourth chances? Almost never. But Los Angeles now has a remarkable opportunity to make up for California's failures to win federal funds and to institute much-needed education reforms.

Three times in the last two years, California has competed in Race to the Top, the federal program that provides billions of dollars to states that promise to adopt bold education reforms. California has failed every round of the K-12 competition. Last year, the U.S. Department of Educationdismissed the state's proposal as incomplete because Gov. Jerry Brown refused to sign it.

As a result, the Los Angeles Unified School District has gotten zero dollars from this program and implemented few of the reforms urged by President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Meanwhile, only 43% of our students are proficient in math, and the 2010-11 school district report card shows that only 56% of students graduate from high school on time.

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