Grant shouldn't be a bargaining chip

As a retired GUSD teacher, I am disheartened by Tami Carlson's attitude in the Oct. 24 article, “Race to the Top for Glendale still up in the air.” We should seize this opportunity to showcase our schools and potentially earn much needed dollars.

The grant requirements read like a list of Glendale’s accomplishments: A data system to track student progress year to year. Check. Teachers who use that data to meet student learning needs. Check. A proven track record toward reducing the student achievement gap across student groups. Check. A culture of teacher collaboration and professionalism focused on improving student learning. Check

Sadly, the grant negotiation has come down to preserving teacher health benefits, no layoffs, teacher compensation to implement the grant, and student test scores in teacher evaluations. 

Note requirements for teacher evaluations focus on multiple measures, including student achievement, but make provisions to factor in assessments beyond standardized test scores.

And to the first three points: “Really!?” In this environment of shrinking budgets, an ongoing economic crisis, and the push to pass Propositions 30 and/or 38, you want to lock in the school board's ability to make decisions needed to keep the district solvent? Please consider that recent polls show both propositions are lacking the support to pass. And, if Proposition 30 fails, there will be automatic $5.8 billion “trigger cuts” to education. 

A crisis of unprecedented proportions looms; why would anyone turn an opportunity to gain much needed money for our schools into a bargaining chip?

Erin Atwater

La Cañada Flintridge


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