Item: California may not get to participate in President Obama’s Race to the Top education grant system because the state bars school districts from using student testing data in teacher evaluations:

The state isn’t likely to see any of the $4.35 billion in competitive federal grants that will be passed out as part of the American Recovery Act if legislators don’t rescind a law that prevents teachers from being evaluated based on student test scores, say federal officials.

“Any state that makes it unlawful to link student progress to teacher evaluation will have to change its ways if it wants to compete for a grant,” President Barack Obama said in a news conference Friday.

California’s education code states that a system tracking teacher data, to be online next year, is not to be used in combination with student information to evaluate teachers.

Only Wisconsin and Nevada have similar laws.

Item: Even apart from the money, evidence that California needs to repeal those laws:

King Banaian dropped this one on us in the NARN Green Room this afternoon, in what had to be a covert operation to undermine our show prep. I’m not sure which is my favorite part — probably where the young woman explained that “food is free, all you have to do is pay the farmers” — but Mitch thinks the “vegetable trees” was the best. Actually, I think the most edifying part was watching the Santa Cruz city council sit impassively to the very end, or maybe the strangled applause just before they asked for the next speaker.

California, the choice could not be more clear.