Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 – 12:00 am

The powerful political forces that have been skirmishing for years over the direction of California’s public schools appear to be headed for a multi-front political and legal war next year.

It pits the education establishment – led and mostly financed by the California Teachers Association – against a loose coalition of civil rights activists and business-backed school reform groups.

It’s a complicated conflict, but in its simplest form:

• The establishment contends that the state’s rather poor educational outcomes would be markedly improved by sharply raising California’s below-average school spending;

• Its foes don’t dispute the need for more money, but say that structural changes are needed to empower parents, widen educational choices, use test results to evaluate teachers, and make it easier to weed out incompetent teachers, regardless of seniority and tenure.

The state Board of Education has released its revised plan for implementing Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to spend more money on poor and “English-learner” students, and one battle will escalate.

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