Fewer districts follow through with MOU
A few stragglers may yet come it, but fewer than half of the 800 charter schools and school districts that had expressed interest in Race to the Top have ended up signing a Memorandum of Understanding committing to participate in the state’s competition for a piece of the $4.3 billion federal program.
The state Department of Education reported 346 MOUs were in as of 11 a.m. Saturday. Many of these were individual charter schools. However, school boards in 10 of the 30 biggest districts in the state did vote to join, and they alone comprise 19 percent — 1,170,000 — of the state’s 6.2 million students. Los Angeles Unified, the largest with 687,000 students, was joined by Long Beach Unified (2nd with 88,000) and Fresno (fourth with 77,000). Among those reported not signing MOUs: San Diego, San Francisco, Elk Grove, Stockton, Riverside and San Jose unified districts.
What the state hadn’t reported yet was the number of local teachers unions that signed the MOUs, too. A state spokeswoman would say only that there were “more than a few.”
There might have been a lot more, but the California Teachers Assn. last week urged bargaining units not to do the MOU. And its opposition may have scared off some school boards. Another factor is that the state released its formal summary of what it intends to do with the money only last week.
The deadline for districts was Friday afternoon, so that the state could complete its application by the Jan 19 deadline.