How California is giving Arne Duncan the fits

September 20, 2013

What’s the point of taking a test that’s already obsolete? That’s the question facing California education officials. The Golden State has adopted Common Core standards, but the tests won’t be ready until next year. In the meantime, No Child Left Behind requires every state to administer tests in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school — but California doesn’t want to spend the time and money on the old tests if the new tests are right around the corner.

Our colleague Lyndsey Layton explains in today’s paper:

Concerned that other states might follow suit and in an attempt to shut down California’s rebellion, Duncan is threatening to withhold a small portion of the $1.4 billion California receives annually from Washington to help educate poor students in the country’s most populous state.



[E]xams based on the new Common Core standards are still being crafted and won’t be ready until next school year, leaving states in a quandary: If they are teaching new material, and new tests aren’t ready, do they use the old tests?


California lawmakers said no, and voted Sept. 10 to end funding for standardized testing for at least this school year. Instead, students can take practice versions of the new Common Core exams which are being “field-tested” around the country this year. Scores would be not be shared with students, parents or schools because the new tests are being administered on a trial basis.


Gov. Jerry Brown (D) intends to sign the legislation, a spokesman said.

Read the whole story here.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.
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