August 17 | The Los Angeles Times

By Teresa Watanabe

A state bill to enhance teacher evaluations won’t necessarily pass federal muster and bring a bonanza of federal dollars to California, a spokesman for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday.

The question of whether AB 5 would help California win a waiver from federal requirements for improving low-performing schools and bring $350 million to the cash-strapped state drew sharp disagreement this week in debate over the bill. The bill by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), which is headed to the Senate floor next week, would establish a statewide, uniform performance review system with more frequent classroom observations, more rigorous training of evaluators and a requirement that evidence of student academic growth be used as one measure of teacher effectiveness. 

States win waivers from federal No Child Left Behind requirements if they adopt their own rigorous plans for effective teacher evaluation systems and improved student achievement.  In every successful waiver application so far, state standardized test scores are used in part to evaluate teachers, according to Peter Cunningham, U.S. assistant education secretary. 

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