Self-declared education reformers have had considerable success across the country over the past few decades, from charter school expansion and private school tuition vouchers to new limits on teachers' job protections. But perhaps nowhere have the triumphs marked a bigger political upheaval than in Alabama, where the new Republican supermajority is dominating the state teachers' organization that was long the epicenter of power.
Chester E. Finn, Jr. -- I expect that PARCC and Smarter Balanced (the two federally subsidized consortia of states that are developing new assessments meant to be aligned with Common Core standards) will fade away, eclipsed and supplanted by long-established yet fleet-footed testing firms that already possess the infrastructure, relationships, and durability that give them huge advantages in the competition for state and district business.
Andrew Ujifusa -- The Michigan House of Representatives has approved a budget that would prohibit any general funds from being spent to implement the Common Core State Standards or the Smarter Balanced assessments based on the standards. The House approved the budget language on April 24. The budget now moves to the Michigan Senate for consideration.
Catherine Gewertz -- The new comprehensive assessment system being designed by ACT has claimed its first official defection from the common-assessment states: Alabama.
Iowa-based ACT made a point of announcing late last week that Alabama has signed on to use its new assessment system. It isn't unusual for testing companies to make these sorts of announcements; they're fond of issuing press releases when they snag big contracts.
The Republican National Committee meeting in Los Angeles voted to oppose the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), stating that they “…do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level.”
Now as never before, the long-term economic viability of the United States depends on the creation of a culture in which parents, educators, and policymakers are united and committed to developing students prepared to seize 21st century opportunities.
To meet this challenge, ACT is developing ACT Aspire—the first digital, longitudinal assessment system to fully connect student performance from elementary grades through high school.
The State Board of Education has approved a resolution making Alabama the first state in the nation to adopt a new standardized testing system aligned with the Common Core school standards. The board voted 6-2 Thursday to have the ACT Aspire system take effect in August as the annual reading and math assessment for grades three through eight in public schools statewide.
Oklahoma has made some of the deepest cuts to funding for local schools of any state in the country. Over the last five years, the state has cut per-pupil education aid for primary and secondary schools by 20 percent, or $706 per student, after adjusting for inflation. Only Arizona and Alabama have cut funding more deeply over that time frame.
Andrew Ujifusa -- The Alabama Senate Education Committee has tabled a bill to require the state to drop the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and math, effectively killing the anti-common core proposal for this session.
Adam Emerson -- It’s not often a piece of legislation is challenged in court before it becomes law. But since Alabama teacher unions and school boards are so intent on quashing any alternative to the traditional school district, they have marshaled every resource to defeat what should be the state’s first private school choice plan.
A week after a sweeping and controversial education bill was adopted by the Alabama Legislature, the measure is on hold, with a circuit judge and the state's supreme court reviewing separate lawsuits filed over it. Democrats say Republicans broke the rules when they inserted school choice language into a bill that was originally meant to give school districts flexibility in meeting standards.