News You Can Use:

Lessons to Be Learned from How Once-Red-Hot Common Core Battle Was Resolved / New Orleans Advocate
Louisiana’s legislative compromise to depoliticize controversy surrounding the state’s Common Core Standards refocused attention back on classrooms, columnist Stephanie Grace writes. That bipartisan work contrasts with efforts of former Gov. Bobby Jindal, Donald Trump and others who have stoked misleading attacks against the standards. “By taking the discussion out of the political realm, [the compromise] shifted the focus away from conspiracy theories and back onto how to better implement and improve the standards themselves.” Last fall, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote, “The issue of honest standards of learning for our children is too important to be buried in an avalanche of misinformation and demonization.

Some Schools Miss Out on Grant Access after Testing Opt-Outs / Associated Press
Ninety-nine schools across New York will not be labeled “Reward Schools” because not enough student participated in state assessments last year. For many, the high opt-out rates could jeopardize the schools’ qualification for federal funding. State education officials note it is a consequence, not a sanction, for low participation rates. This year a growing number of parents, teachers and civil rights leaders urged parents to “opt-in” to state assessments. High-quality assessments are one of the best tools parents and teachers have to measure student development. “I can say with confidence these are the kinds of tests we should want our kids to take,” wrote Pam Reilly, former Illinois Teacher of the Year.


Correcting the Record:

Common Core Issues Shouldn’t Subside / New Orleans Advocate
Louisiana policymakers should do away with Common Core State Standards and the associated tests because there is a lack of curricular materials, argues Wade Smith, an educator in the state. Smith adds that other states have withdrawn from the testing consortium, making comparison to other states difficult. “We are giving a test that measures curriculum without a state-endorsed, universally provided curriculum. The test results are supposed to be meaningful for national comparisons, but we are down to six states and D.C.” In fact, Common Core State Standards set rigorous learning goals and empowers local teachers and school boards to determine how best to meet those targets. Additionally, going it alone on student assessments creates uncertainty and will likely produce inferior tests. Here is where Smith gets it wrong:


On Our Reading List:

High Schoolers Would Choose between Two Types of Math Classes under North Carolina Senate Bill / Raleigh News & Observer
North Carolina high schools would be required to offer traditional math classes along with integrated math classes under legislation approved by the state Senate education committee Wednesday. The bill is a compromise version of a Senate proposal last week that would have eliminated integrated math, which teaches algebra, geometry and statistics in combination over three years. Integrated math is intertwined with, but separate from, the Common Core, the article notes. The standards do not require states to move to integrated math.

Alaska Education Dept.  Asks for Waiver from Testing Requirements / Alaska Dispatch News
The Alaska Department of Education announced this week it will seek a waiver from federal testing requirements that the state failed to meet during the 2015-16 school year. The state’s interim education commissioner cancelled the statewide Alaska Measures of Progress assessment in April after less than a week of testing due to technical problems. The request will ask for exemption from two requirements: that states annually measure student achievement in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and that achievement data be reported.