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AM News: Common Core "Field Tests" Going Well In CA (So Far)

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Early response to Smarter Balanced field tests encouraging LA School Report: As the Smarter Balanced field tests got underway yesterday in California and 21 other states, officials are receiving positive feedback from the schools that are participating. The testing starts in LA Unified next Tuesday. By mid-morning yesterday, 16,633 students completed the test and 19,677 students had begun but had not yet finished it.

Report: NY schools are most racially segregated AP: New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a report released Wednesday....

With Melendez gone, Garcetti not sure about replacing her LA School Report: A week after his education liaison left to join LA Unified, Mayor Eric Garcetti is reconsidering whether he will even have an education deputy on his staff. Jeff Millman, spokesman for Garcetti, told LA School Report the mayor’s office “has not decided” if it will seek a replacement for Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, who left her post as director of education and workforce development after only seven months on the job.

Can The Success Of D.C.'s Best Middle Schools Be Replicated? WAMU: Mayoral contender and D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser said she wants to replicate the educational successes of Alice Deal Middle School. But does the school really offer a model for the whole city?

Calif. Testing Waiver Draws Civil Rights Concerns Education Week: In remarks March 14 to the National Association of State Boards of Education at its conference in Arlington, Va., U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan defended the decision, saying that allowing millions of California students to participate in the .

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Conflict in Laws Could Mean "Double-Testing" for Some Eighth-Graders Texas Tribune: Currently Texas school districts are left with two options for the roughly 23 percent of eighth-graders — about 86,000 students last school year — who take algebra I before they reach high school. The districts could either ignore federal law, which could subject them to penalties, or test them twice — once in algebra I to fulfill state requirements and once under the eighth-grade-level math assessment used for federal accountability purposes.

Detroit Parents Can Use New Website to Compare School Ratings, Programs EdWeek: Excellent Schools Detroit, a local coalition of philanthropic, education, and city leaders, in partnership with GreatSchools, a national nonprofit that assists parents find schools and educational resources, developed GreatSchoolsDetroit.org to give parents the ability to compare school ratings, services, and programs, according to a news release. Detroit Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon helped introduce the website during a press conference Tuesday at the Detroit Regional Chamber. 

Study Examines How School Boards Contribute to 'Beat the Odds' Districts EdWeek:  A new report finds that school board elections and board member characteristics can impact student achievement within districts.

Michelle Obama visits with Chinese students in Chengdu UPI: First lady Michelle Obama spent Tuesday speaking with students about education at the No. 7 School in Chengdu, as a continuation of her education tour of China. She is accompanied by daughters Malia and Sasha and mother Marian Robinson.

Why is this Common Core math problem so hard? Supporters respond to quiz that went viral Hechinger Report: Why is the problem so difficult? The Hechinger Report asked a couple of the lead writers of the Common Core math standards, Jason Zimba and William McCallum. Their response? Don’t blame Common Core. Blame a poorly written curriculum.

Education groups lobby against building aid for charter schools ChalkbeatNY: A coalition of the state’s seven biggest education organizations are “vigorously opposing” a proposal to provide state building aid to charter schools. “Anything that is going to detract from getting aid to the public schools is a problem for us and that certainly is the case for the building aid,” ECF Chair John Yagielski said in an interview.

 

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Secretary Duncan and the federal Department of Education were right to eventually grant California a waiver from any double (or irrelevant, or unreliable, which is what testing this year's pupils on last year's curriculum would have amounted to) testing, and the fact that someone as senior and influential in the Democratic Party as George Miller still doesn't understand even the basics of testing reliability is really troubling. But waivers enabling (so far) successful Smarter Balanced field tests of the Common Core do not excuse the federal government (especially the United States Senate) from its responsibility to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is seven years overdue. And that next version should raise accountability by reforming examinations in high school, where America's state schools have long been really letting down the country, whether the public realizes it or not, instead of in primary school, where American schools are generally competitive, except for their neglect of second language acquisition.

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