SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday issued the statement below after the state Senate Education Committee voted 5-0 to approve SBX5 1, a bi-partisan measure proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger and authored by Senator Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) to ensure California is highly competitive in the Obama Administration’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top national funding competition – which has been federally designed to support education reform and innovation across the nation. The legislative measure would not only help ensure California is highly competitive for hundreds of millions of education dollars for California’s schools, but implement bi-partisan education reform measures proposed by President Obama and supported by Governor Schwarzenegger to help better our education system. After passage today by the state Senate Education Committee, the bill moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“The California legislature now holds the key to helping unlock hundreds of millions of federal education dollars for California’s school children, and I applaud Senator Romero and the Senate Education Committee for moving us one step closer to ensuring California is highly competitive in this national funding competition,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I urge Senate Appropriations to recognize the importance of what’s at stake and vote to pass this bi-partisan measure – which will not only help California compete for these much needed federal education dollars, but better our education system for years to come.”
On July 24, President Obama and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced federal eligibility and competitiveness requirements for states to compete for $4.35 billion in Race to the Top funding, the single largest pool of discretionary funding for education reform in U.S. history. Building on his commitment to ensure California gets every possible dollar from the federal economic stimulus package, the Governor’s called a special session of the legislature and announced a legislative package to ensure California is highly competitive for this funding. The proposed reforms, outlined to match Obama Administration eligibility and competitiveness requirements, were introduced as SBX5 1 and include measures to: implement bold turnaround strategies in the bottom five percent of persistently low-performing schools, allow parents more freedom to choose the school that best serves their children by authorizing open enrollment for students in the lowest-performing schools, reinforce a school district’s authority and ability to reward teachers who consistently do a great job improving student achievement and repeal California’s charter school cap.