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Obama criticizes Calif. school law

July 26, 2009 at 2:01 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama warned California it could lose billions of dollars in federal education aid unless it uses test scores to judge teacher performance.

The president and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said federal "Race to the Top" awards would depend at least partly on the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"You cannot ignore facts," Obama said. "That is why any state that makes it unlawful to link student progress to teacher evaluations will have to change its ways."

A 2006 California law forbids use of student test scores to evaluate teachers on a state level. But local districts can still use student performance to evaluate teachers.

California education officials told the U.S. Education Department this month they do not believe the law needs to be changed. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday he would try to change the law to ensure the state can get the federal aid.

"We will seek any reforms or changes to the law deemed necessary, including changes to our data-system laws, to ensure California is eligible," he said.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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