By Ana Tintocalis, The Arizona Republic
SAN DIEGO — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging state lawmakers to change key education laws so California can secure more stimulus spending. He visited the Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School to get his message across.
The charter school is one of the highest performing campuses in San Diego County. Students here learn in Spanish and in English.
Schwarzenegger wants to see more of these types of successful charter schools.
"There are hundreds of millions of dollars available for California,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because of our budget crunch, we need any money that we can get from the federal government. So here we have a good chance of getting this money."
There's more than four billion dollars available. The Obama administration wants states to compete for the money by showing they're ready to take-on tough reforms -- reforms that use student test scores in teacher evaluations, as well as reforms that encourage the creation of more charter schools.
But some California education policies block those reforms. The Governor wants state lawmakers to lift those restrictions.
"There is no time to wait. If we slow down, we miss our chance to compete for these hundreds of millions of dollars," Schwarzenegger said.
But Jim Groth says not so fast. He's with California's powerful state teachers union. He says creating more charter schools won't necessarily improve student performance. He also says using a student test scores to measure teacher performance is unfair.
"Think of it this way, you're going to have one spelling test in May, and that's going to decide what you're performance has been for the whole year," Groth said.
The Governor has called for a special legislative session on the matter. That means lawmakers can't take any other action until they do something on this issue. Schwarzenegger wants legislative change by October.