Today’s education news roundup includes an update on how parents are using the so-called “parent trigger” in LA and a call from the AFT’s Randi Weingarten to ditch Common Core cut scores:

Testing the power of the parent-trigger law Hechinger Report: In Los Angeles, the parent-trigger law, once considered the fast track to turning struggling California schools over to independently operated charters, has instead become a bargaining chip in brokering deals with the district. The alliance between 20th Street Elementary parents and Los Angeles Unified is the latest case in which the district has skirted the loss of a public school to a charter operator. See also LA School Report, EdWeek.

What Is Christie Walking Away From? NJ Spotlight: The teachers unions, for example, have softened their support, especially since the tests affect teacher evaluations under the state‘s new tenure law. And opposition has surfaced from both conservative and liberal camps that see the standards and tests as a top-down incursion on instruction. See also Weingarten call for states to ditch new cut scores in EdWeek.

In Nod to Florida, Texas Lawmakers Approve A-F Grades for Schools State EdWatch: On May 31, Lone Star State lawmakers approved House Bill 2804, which would extend the state’s current method of giving districts letter grades to individual schools.

Emanuel starts cleaning house at Chicago school board Sun-Times: Those leaving the Board include CSV’s Deborah Quazzo; Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp; Carlos Azcoitia, a former CPS principal and network chief-turned National Louis University professor, and former Northwestern University President Henry Bienen.

College Board, Khan Academy team up to offer free SAT prep program LA Times: The revised version of the SAT college entrance exam won’t be offered until March but students can start preparing for it Tuesday with a new, free online study program affiliated with the test. See also HuffPostEdSource Today.

For the Poor, the Graduation Gap Is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap NYT: In the bottom quartile, 58 percent of students expected to get at least a bachelor’s degree and 12 percent to go on to graduate school. Thirteen years later, we can see who achieved their goals. Among the participants from the most disadvantaged families, just 14 percent had earned a bachelor’s degree.

The Quantified Student: An App That Predicts GPA NPR: Researchers found that a phone’s activity tracker can automatically predict students’ school performance.

Blended Learning Gets Tentative Boost in Philadelphia  Education Week: The cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia earlier this month authorized up to $10 million in spending on blended-learning software, thus adding its name to the growing list of big-city districts to embrace one of the hottest trends in education 

City adds two schools to turnaround plans after ‘failing’ schools law Chalkbeat: Two schools have been added to the city’s broadening school-improvement initiative, months after the state flagged them for posting dismal academic track records for the last decade.

Beyond The Birds And The Bees: Surviving Sex-Ed Today NPR: Sex education conjures images of teenage giggles and discomfort. But Bronx-based teacher Lena Solow is more than happy to talk about the topic.

Alexander Russo

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