CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is making major moves in California. Long Beach Unified received $8 million in Gates grants to support innovative professional development; Fresno got $5 million to do the same. Long Beach says it will use the funds to design its own online professional development delivery platform with the guidance of its teachers and principals. Fresno will reorganize the district schedule to give teachers more time for collaboration and training.
More Gates funding could be on its way, according to Don Shalvey, the foundation’s deputy director of U.S. programs. "If California gets Common Core right and we can help, this is a big message,” he told EdSource.
The Gates Foundation will decide later this spring whether to fund other districts in California. Getting buy-in from unions and teachers will be crucial for these districts, as recent developments elsewhere suggest that teachers and district officials don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to Gates-supported work.In Pennsylvania, the foundation is threatening to cut off a $40 million grant to Pittsburgh Public Schools that it awarded to the district in 2009 to develop rigorous teacher evaluations. According to CBS Pittsburgh, “cooperation between the district and the teachers’ union has devolved into an all-out fight over teacher evaluations.”