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School Board Leader Takes Issue With Federal Reforms

San Diego Unified school board president Richard Barrera says linking teacher evaluations to student test scores is one reason the district is not competing for federal Race To The Top money.

Barrera says he has a problem with the Race To The Top program because it's a one-size-fits-all approach to turning around struggling schools. He dislikes the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations.

Speaking on KPBS Radio's These Days program, Barrera says that strategy paves the way for school districts to give bonuses to teachers based on test scores. He says there's no proof motivating teachers with merit pay helps them or their students.


“It's a strategy you use with sales, it's a strategy we've seen used with mortgage brokers,” Barrera said. “I'm not sure if we want to bring that 'sub-prime' mentality into schools.”

The San Diego Unified School District is the only big California city school district sitting out of a national competition to secure millions in additional federal stimulus grants.