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Rep. Chu Issues Statement on California Receiving Federal Funding to Turnaround Failing Schools

June 25, 2010
Press Release

Rep. Judy Chu today issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement from the Department of Education that California will receive nearly $416 million to turn around its persistently lowest achieving schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program and that such funding will be limited to schools that agree to adopt one of the Administration’s four turnaround models.

“I was thrilled to hear that California’s schools will benefit from an additional $416 million in School Improvement Grant funding,” said Chu.  “Turning around and investing in our nation’s schools is crucial to helping the children of today become the workforce of tomorrow.  However, I am disappointed that qualifying for the funds forces districts to adopt one of the Administration’s four rigid turnaround models.  Every school district in our country possesses a unique set of circumstances and challenges.  Flexibility, removing barriers to student success and supporting our educators are essential parts of crafting the individual approach each district needs to turn itself around.  That is why I’ve offered the Strengthening Our Schools framework, an alternative approach that provides the students in our nation’s struggling schools the help they deserve.”

In May, Chu unveiled the Strengthening Our Schools framework, a proposal supported by AFT, NEA, PTA and the National Association of School Psychologists, among other groups.  The Congresswoman's framework constitutes a radical departure from existing guidelines on School Improvement Grants, replacing the overly punitive and restrictive model with a more flexible, holistic approach and giving schools a broader menu of research-driven options and more time to show improvement. Under the new framework, school closure would strictly be a last resort option.

Congresswoman Chu’s career in politics spans 24 years. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Government Oversight Committee and Education and Labor Committee, where she is working hard to turnaround our nation’s underachieving schools.  Prior to her election to Congress she served three terms as the Assemblymember representing the 49th District, where she chaired the important Assembly Appropriations Committee. A lifelong educator, Congresswoman Chu taught community college classes in Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for 20 years. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics.