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While a flap over using student test scores to evaluate teachers' performance has gotten most of the ink, it's just one of several significant changes in education policy that California would have to make to qualify for a new surge of federal aid, EdSource, a Mountain View-based education think tank, says in a new study.

President Barack Obama, both personally and through his education secretary, Arne Duncan, has criticized California for not aligning itself with the administration's new education goals, focusing on its reluctance to use test data for teacher evaluation.

With billions of federal dollars at stake in a period of cutbacks in state school money, Schwarzenegger has called for education reforms and called a special legislative session to enact them, but some -- such as a broad use of test scores for evaluation -- run afoul of the powerful California Teachers Association.

The Legislature has passed a narrow change in its law banning such use, but that may not satisfy federal demands. The Obama administration's list also contains a number of other provisions that California has not yet met, such as more aggressive intervention in troubled schools, broader use of charter schools and collection of more detailed information on student achievement.

The 20-page EdSource report goes into detail on what the federal demands entail and how California stacks up, and also outlines the political impediments to compliance, as well as the amounts of money involved.

The report may be ordered from EdSource here.


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