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AM News: Under Pressure, California Relents On Testing


California agrees to administer both math and English tests this spring KPCC: This is not the plan Torlakson, state legislators, and Governor Jerry Brown endorsed in Assembly Bill 484 earlier this year. That bill stipulated that California would only give students one field test this spring, to ease students into the new tests and the computer technology on which they'll take them.

Torlakson retreats from conflict with feds over testing EdSource: Faced with potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, the state Department of Education has backed down from its confrontation with the federal government over standardized testing.Torlakson’s carefully worded news release makes no mention of the conflict with the federal government or a concern over districts’ capacity to administer computer tests in both subjects next spring. 

State expands field tests of Common Core-aligned assessments LA Daily News: The field test of California's new computer-based assessments will be expanded so that nearly every student will take exams next spring in both math and English, rather than being limited to one or the other, officials said Thursday. High school juniors, students in grades three through eight, plus a small sampling of ninth- and 10th-graders will participate in field tests of the Smarter Balanced assessments.

Federal analysis of school grants shows mixed results Washington Post: A federal program that pumped a record $5 billion into failing schools is showing mixed results, with students at more than one-third of the targeted schools doing the same or worse after the schools received the funding, according to government data released Thursday.

New High School Program Latest Example of Duncan Efforts to Get Around Congress PoliticsK12: When it became clear that Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization wasn't happening, the administration put in place a system of waivers based largely on its blueprint for revising the law. It's even given a waiver to a group of California districts, over the objections of Republicans in Congress.

District and state news below

Charter Schools In Philadelphia: Educating Without A Blueprint NPR: A few short years ago, Simon Gratz in North Philadelphia was among the state's most troubled, violent and academically underachieving high schools. Today, now a charter school, Gratz is very much on the rebound. But critics say Philadelphia can't charter its way out of its school crisis.

Unrelenting Poverty Leads To 'Desperation' In Philly Schools NPR: Close to 40 percent of kids in Philadelphia live in poverty — but discussion of the link between poverty and student achievement is almost absent from an ongoing debate to fix schools. Public health and education experts say poverty and hunger undermine children's development.

Kids Pay The Price In Fight Over Fixing Philadelphia Schools NPR: David Hornbeck says Philadelphia's schools have been underfunded for decades. He should know: He served as superintendent of schools in Philadelphia from 1994 through 2000. Before he was ousted to make room for a state-appointed School Reform Commission to run schools, Hornbeck sued the state, accusing lawmakers of denying the city's mostly poor, black and Latino children their right to an equal educational opportunity guaranteed by the state constitution. The suit went nowhere.

Praising Bloomberg, report previews challenges for de Blasio GothamSchools: The 57-page paper also offers a retrospective on New York City schools over the past dozen years, praising Mayor Bloomberg and gains made on graduation rates, anti-truancy, school choice and data-driven systems under his leadership.

Six Things the New Mayor Should Do for NYC's Schools WNYC: The six priorities were debated on Thursday by a panel that included Pedro Noguera, an education professor at New York University, Ocynthia Williams, a Bronx parent leader with the Coalition for Educational Justice, and New Haven schools superintendent Garth Harries, who previously worked for the New York City Department of Education. It was moderated by former state education commissioner David Steiner.

Board member-elect apologizes for Newtown comment AP: A newly elected school board member in a Connecticut town neighboring the one where 26 people were killed at an elementary school has apologized for saying on Facebook that he'll observe the anniversary of the Newtown shooting by distributing ammunition....

Web-Based Gradebook to be Implemented District-Wide at Chicago Santa Barbara Riviera: Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the 3rd largest public school district in the nation, approved the adoption of a district-wide web-based gradebook on January.


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