Roundup: Tenn. Test Scores, Vergara Counter-Claims, and a Mess in NY

Today’s news includes new test scores being reported back from Tennessee, Vergara counter-claims have been filed, and Cuomo and de Blasio both won and lost a few things related to education:

Five things to know about Tennessee’s 2015 test scores, out today Chalkbeat: Tennessee officials’ annual test-score announcement on Thursday will mark the end of an era. This year’s scores are the last for the multiple-choice tests known as TCAP that the state has administered for more than two decades. Next year, students are set to take a new exam that officials say will be a better measure of students’ skills. 

Respondents File Brief Countering Unions’ Claims in Vergara Appeal TeacherBeat: The most interesting new wrinkle here concerns a new Calif. law, AB 215, that was approved shortly after the verdict. Unions have claimed that the legislation renders the entire suit moot, since it aims to slim the amount of time for a dismissal hearing. But the plaintiffs contend that the law potentially makes dismissal even harder. It doesn’t state what happens if the deadlines are ignored, for instance, leaving open the possibility that any such hearing would have to be relitigated from scratch.

Report Criticizes Walton Foundation Support for Charter School Expansion District Dossier: The American Federation of Teachers and In the Public Interest argue that the Walton Family Foundation’s ideology has led to rapid expansion of a charter sector that lacks transparency and accountability and is undermining traditional public schools.

How Can States Cut Tests Without Losing Crucial Information? State EdWatch: “Some states don’t even know what tests they’re giving next year,” CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich told attendees at a conference about student assessment on June 23.

Nearly 200 schools are named for Confederate leaders. Is it time to rename them? Washington Post: The backlash against public use of Confederate flags has built quickly since nine parishioners were gunned down inside a South Carolina church last week. Alabama removed the flag from its state capitol grounds Wednesday, and political leaders in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina have moved to remove Confederate flag symbols from their state license plates. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and eBay all have said they will stop selling the Confederate battle flag, viewed by many people as a symbol of racism and slavery. 

More than a day after ‘framework’ agreement, questions remain on education issues ChalkbeatNY: Chief among those for Assembly Democrats is the strengthening of rent regulations, although changes to the charter-school law were also being discussed. “There’s nothing closed down. Everything is still open,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said after emerging from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Wednesday evening. See also NY Mag.

Chicago Public Schools plan to borrow over $1 billion AP: The Chicago Board of Education has voted in favor of plans to borrow over $1 billion to help the cash-strapped school district.

Among advocates, a subtle divide over Pa. school funding Newsworks: Church groups seeking a radical solution to the large funding disparities among school districts are taking their message to Pennsylvania’s Capitol, even as other advocates continue to support an incremental approach to restoring education funding.

Who will be Los Angeles Unified’s next superintendent? LA Daily News: Cortines’ current second-in-command, Deputy Superintendent Michelle King, volunteered to serve as interim superintendent when news of Deasy’s departure broke in October. Ruth Perez, LAUSD’s head of instruction, is another high-ranking administrator with experience. She worked as superintendent of neighboring Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District before being hired by LAUSD in August. See also Dallas supe resignation.

Report: Many NY Schools Fail to Protect Transgender Students WNYC: The schools’ failure to protect students is a violation of the Dignity Act, a state provision which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, Lauren Frederico, lead author of the report, said on Wednesday. She said it is the obligation of education officials to provide schools with guidance on how to comply with the law, something officials have not done.  

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 alexanderrusso@gmail.com.