California holds out on teacher evaluations, federal education plan

July 15, 2013 at 4:33 PM

SACRAMENTO, July 15 (UPI) -- A federal plan to reward the best school teachers has been stalled by California's refusal to participate in teacher performance reviews, state officials said.

California has defiantly refused to follow the U.S. Education Department's lead in grading teacher performance to reward the best and drive the worst from the field, the Los Angeles Times said Monday. The state is one of the few that have told Washington it will not put the teacher evaluation system, envisioned by the Obama Administration, into place.

"I actually use the California model, and not in a good way, as I travel around the country," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. There are about 300,000 teachers in California. No one in California that I have met can tell me who is in that top ten percent (of the best teachers) and that bottom ten percent."

The state's reluctance has frustrated the Education Department, which has been attempting to create a uniform system to identify the best and worst teachers. The standoff reflects the influence of the California Teachers Association, a generous donor in state politics, which established the state as a bulwark against standardized teacher evaluations, the newspaper said.

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