Public schools

Under Union Pressure, CA Bucks Federal Push for Teacher Evaluations

The state now faces sanctions

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WASHINGTON — California is almost always there to boost President Obama's policy agenda as he fights fierce headwinds in Congress, working with the executive branch to carry out the administration's vision on healthcare, renewable energy and clean air.

But when the topic shifts to overhauling education, the state has become one of the administration's biggest headaches.

California has defiantly refused to follow the administration's lead in grading the performance of teachers and using those measurements to reward the best teachers and punish the worst. The state is one of very few that have told Washington that under no conditions will it put in place the type of teacher evaluation system Obama has championed.

As a result, the administration has not given California a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law, leaving thousands of local schools exposed to expensive federal sanctions. …

The standoff reflects the enduring influence of the California Teachers Assn., which long ago established the state as a bulwark against the national movement to base teacher evaluations more heavily on standardized tests. The CTA, the most generous campaign donor to state officials, maintains a tight grip on Sacramento politics.