Race to the Top

LAUSD and UTLA should reach a deal to obtain federal funds
Race to the Top

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) financial situation is so dire that it should not miss an opportunity to obtain millions of dollars in federal money. But teachers need to agree, since their participation is indispensable —as is fitting when it comes to education.

However, up to date, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is the main obstacle to LAUSD’s ability to compete for a $40 million grant from the Department of Education’s Race to the Top program.

The federal program is an Obama administration initiative to promote changes in the K-12 public school system. Among those changes, the program requires school districts to include student test scores in teacher evaluations.

That teacher evaluation criterion is precisely what has long prevented LAUSD and UTLA from reaching an agreement, despite pressure from the courts.

The official deadline to submit a grant application is today, but the deadline has been extended because of the hurricane on the East coast.

We hope this unexpected extension gives enough additional time for UTLA to join LAUSD’s effort to obtain that grant. The plan is to use these funds to improve problematic middle schools by hiring teachers, counselors and social workers who will help get students on track for high school graduation.

Students will be the ones who benefit from this grant. They are the main focus that unites everyone who works in the education area. We hope that for their benefit, LAUSD and UTLA reach an agreement to compete for these funds.