Friday, September 28, 2012


By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer | LA Daily News |

9/27/2012 03:17:17 PM PDT  ::  Los Angeles Unified and three local charter school networks were among 35 recipients of $290 million in federal grants awarded to boost the pay of effective teachers and administrators, officials said today.

The nation's second-largest school district received a five-year, $49.2 million award from the Teacher Incentive Fund, a Department of Education program that supports the development of performance-based pay systems. About $11.7 million will be available the first two years.

LAUSD will use the money to develop and implement a performance-based pay system, for educator training and to recruit science, math and technology teachers to 40 high-needs schools.

Superintendent John Deasy learned of the award during a meeting with education leaders in Washington, D.C.

"This help us honor teachers and principals who are doing exceptional work," he said in a phone interview. "We can develop teacher leaders without teachers having to leave the classroom, and principals can develop new leaders in their schools."

The grant comes as LAUSD pilots a performance evaluation system that includes student test scores, classroom observation and parent and student feedback.

The district is also under a court order to negotiate with its teachers and administrators unions on a new performance-based review system. It has a deadline of Dec. 4 to come up with a plan.

The Associated Administrators of Los Angeles has reached a one-year deal with the district, and is negotiating on future contracts. Talks continue with leaders of United Teachers Los Angeles.

AALA President Judith Perez expects the grants will help compensate administrators for additional training and work involved in doing more time-consuming performance evaluations. "Right now, we have limited to no resources available for training, and there's no way to transform the system without adequate resources," said Perez, who wrote a letter to the DOE supporting the district's application. "We're very pleased we'll be able to support our members."

Three of Los Angeles' largest charter operators also received five-year TIF grants:

-- $27.8 million to Aspire Public Schools, which operates charters from Los Angeles to Sacramento.

--$11.7 million to Green Dot Public Schools, which operates 18 charter campuses in South LA.

--$8.9 million to Alliance College-Ready Public School, a network of 21 charter middle and high schools in low-income areas Los Angeles.

In addition, the Santa Monica-based National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (Lowell Milken) received about $11 million to operate programs in Minnesota and Tennessee.

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