The big news from this morning’s education news roundup is the completion of NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s Common Core flip-flop (which will make little substantive difference to what’s happening on the ground), plus last night’s Spelling Bee contest.

Christie Calls for End to Common Core Standards in NJ WNYC: Left untouched in the Governor’s reform is the controversial PARCC exam, which is aligned to Common Core’s standards. Gov. Christie says New Jersey will continue to administer the test, which saw its debut this year. See also Washington Post, AP via HuffPost, HuffPost, Politico, NJ Spotlight.

It All Came Down To ‘Nunatak’ NPR: What I saw felt much more like a celebration of language and learning. An evening that showed these 13- and 14-year-olds — some younger — displaying deep knowledge of word origins, analyzing Latin and Greek roots, even Sanskrit. See also: National Spelling Bee Crowns Co-Champs For Second Straight Year.

D.C. schools to introduce more challenging ‘cornerstone’ lessons Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools is introducing a slew of new classroom lessons designed to give students more in-depth and engaging learning opportunities across the school system starting next year.The activities, called “cornerstones,” could include a Socratic seminar, a hands-on science task, a short piece of writing or a weeks-long research project. They are designed to be memorable or inspiring learning experiences that help students make connections to the real world or encourage breakthroughs in their thinking.

Council Members Complain, and Summer School Money Is Restored NYT: The mayor’s schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, got a cool reception during a hearing on the Education Department budget. See also WNYCChalkbeatNY.

15 Chinese Accused of Using Test-Taking Impostors for College Entrance Exams NYT: The indictment sketches a scheme in which individuals are accused of paying impostors using fake Chinese passports to take college entrance exams at testing sites in the Pittsburgh area.

Study Highlights Rifts Over Best Practices for Approving Charter Schools EdWeek: Authorizing has been getting increased attention lately as some state- and press-led investigations have revealed cases of systematic academic and financial failure in charter schools.

Why one Common Core test will match the tough national exam known as the Nation’s Report Card, and one won’t Hechinger Report: PAARC used NAEP as a major resource to determine benchmarks for college and career readiness in high school. The other test makers went a different direction and primarily relied on feedback from teachers and college faculty to determine what skills they would expect a student at each grade level to be able to demonstrate.

School testing bill appears to be dead in the Washington state Senate Seattle Times: The state Senate does not appear likely to consider a bill that would temporarily eliminate the need to pass a science test to graduate from high school. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure on Wednesday, with lawmakers saying they expected it to pass the Senate as well. But the Senate voted Thursday morning […]

Breakfast in the classroom debuts to controversy at Valley LAUSD school LADN: The campus was one of the last remaining of more than 630 LAUSD schools to begin rolling carts full of breakfast trays to classrooms and serving morning meals to students at their desks.

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Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at