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The Army’s Number One Need for the Future: Smarter Recruits | Daily Caller
The failure of education systems to produce well-educated high-school graduates is one of the greatest threats to the strength of the U.S. Army, writes Jim Cowen, director of military affairs for the Collaborative for Student Success. More than 20 percent of high-school graduates are unable to pass the basic military entrance exam; even fewer score well enough to qualify for specialty positions. Accordingly, the Army should encourage schools to raise academic standards, as Department of Defense schools have. A Stimson Center report last year reaffirms that conclusion; communities reliant on military bases should prioritize implementation of high, consistent learning goals to ensure military families have access to high-quality education.

West Virginia Board of Education Takes a Stand against Pending Common Core Bill | West Virginian Register-Herald
The West Virginia Board of Education passed a resolution Wednesday opposing House Bill 4014, which seeks to repeal the state’s education standards. The resolution says the legislation “disrupts the accountability system” and “reflects the worst of the legislative process.” It calls on lawmakers to vote against the bill and for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to use his veto power if necessary. “Teachers and students are fed up. They feel like they are jerked around year after year,” said Beverly Kingery, a board member who supports the resolution. Last year Karen Nussle cautioned policymakers, “It is virtually impossible to produce a set of K-12 academic standards that both bear no resemblance to Common Core, and adequately prepare students for college and career.”

Common-Core Math: What Are We So Afraid of? | Education Week
Mathematical approaches to problem-solving encouraged by the Common Core help learners conceptualize the relationship between numbers, which “is actually the way most people would probably solve [a problem],” David Powell writes for Education Week. “There’s nothing scary about it.” Powell adds that approaches encouraged by the Common Core are purposefully designed to help students build numbers fluency. “The old way isn’t better; it’s just old…These methods make a lot of sense if you think about them—but you may have to take the time to think about them first. Not rejecting them out of hand is a crucial first step.” Jason Zimba, a lead writer of the Common Core math standards, noted earlier this year, “Students are [still] expected to know their sums and products from memory and to be fluent with the standard algorithm.”

Getting Rid of Placement Exams | The Atlantic
Colleges are increasingly using both entrance exams and students’ work to determine placement in college-level courses. The pivot is important because students who enter remediation are less likely to complete a degree, the article explains. Nationally, 42 percent of incoming college students require remediation, and only ten percent of those who start in remedial classes earn a degree. More than 220 colleges are using Smarter Balanced assessments to determine applicants’ readiness. Because Common Core-aligned exams are given in 11th grade, students who fall short of proficiency benchmarks are able to use their senior year to bridge gaps. Last fall Karen Nussle pointed out, “States are finally measuring to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed in college or a career…For parents and educators, that should come as a welcome change.”

Correcting the Record:

Six Reasons Why the Opt Out Movement Is Good for Students and Parents of Color | The Progressive
“Standardized testing was invented by white supremacists and maintains institutional racism,” claims Jesse Hagopian, a fellow at Progressive Education. Hagopian urges minority communities to opt out of student assessments, which he calls the product of “corporate education reformers” and a “multibillion-dollar testing industry.” Many national civil rights groups have spoken out against opt-out efforts, pointing out high-quality assessments are one of the best tools educators and parents have to ensure minority and low-income students are prepared for college and careers. Here is where Hagopian gets it wrong:

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Senate Committee Votes to Confirm John King, Obama’s Nominee for Education Secretary | Washington Post
The Senate Education Committee voted 16-6 Wednesday in favor of confirming John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary. King’s nomination will now go before the full Senate for approval. “I promised we would have a prompt and fair consideration. We have done that,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the education committee. “I am going to vote to move his confirmation to the floor and hope the Senate confirms him promptly.”

Every Student Succeeds Act’s Flexibility on Assessment Elicits Qualms from Testing Experts | Education Week
Testing experts caution that it can be difficult to produce valid scores by combining test results into one summative score for federal accountability, as the Every Student Succeeds Act invites states and school districts to do. The ESSA allows states to measure growth through “a single summative assessment” or “multiple, statewide interim assessments during the course of the academic year that result in a single summative score.” “The current system of interim tests isn’t designed to be a replacement for summative tests,” says Derek Briggs of the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Continuing a Transition, Board of Regents Gains Three Members | Chalkbeat New York
The New York General Assembly voted to approve three members to the State Board of Regents on Tuesday. Luis Reyes, a research associate at Hunter College, will fill an open at-large seat; Nan Eileen Mead, a member of the Third District’s education council, will serve a one-year term as Manhattan’s representative; and Elizabeth Smith Hankason, a Syracuse educator, will fill the other seat. Betty Rosa, a former Bronx superintendent, is considered the frontrunner to replace outgoing Chancellor Merryl Tisch, the article reports. A vote to replace Tisch will be taken in two weeks.