Roundup: House Passes, Senate Debates – Plus Common Core Results

Today’s education news includes the House passage of a new education bill, while the Senate continues to debate, plus Common Core results for Oregon and a school-related Trump cancellation:

Senate Rejects School Voucher Amendment During ESEA Debate PK12: Democrats cleared their first school choice policy hurdle, defeating a voucher amendment on the second day of debate on an Elementary and Secondary Education Act overhaul bill. See also National JournalAPNYT, WP, Marketplace.

House Passes ESEA Rewrite 218-213; Senate Debate Continues PK12: The House vote came as the Senate is debating its own rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the two versions would have to be reconciled.

States Still Differ Dramatically In Their Academic Expectations, Study Finds HuffPost:  What does it mean to be passing math class? The answer to this question varies from state to state, according to a new report released by the research arm of the Education Department… For example, it’s possible for a fourth-grader to be passing reading in New Jersey, but as soon as he or she moves across the Hudson River to New York, to be suddenly considered failing — despite not knowing any less. 

Common Core: Oregon students smash expectations in reading, writing Oregonian: Oregon students performed far better than expected on the rigorous Common Core tests they took for the first time this spring, especially in reading and writing, preliminary results show. But high school juniors bombed in math.

Amid Cries of Overtesting, a Crazy Quilt of State Responses EdWeek: The Council of Chief State School Officers says that 39 states are examining how to reduce overtesting or cut redundant tests in some fashion, as part of their efforts to “reduce unnecessary burden” from testing. Yet many states, rather than placing hard caps on testing time or cutting specific exams through legislation, are choosing to hand responsibility for reducing testing to new state commissions or to work directly with local schools.

Even as Congress moves to strip his power, Arne Duncan holds his ground Washington Post: Christina Waters’s cellphone rang, and she looked down to see that the number was blocked. Waters belongs to a circle of strivers that Duncan has quietly cultivated, students across the country who are clearing hurdles that would discourage many others. He calls regularly to offer support and advice.

L.A. Unified cancels fundraiser at Trump golf course, billionaire’s company won’t return $7,500 LA Daily News: Donald Trump’s incendiary remarks about Latin American immigrants caused the Los Angeles Unified School District to cancel a fundraiser planned at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf course, but the billionaire’s company has no plans to return the $7,500 deposit.

Chris Cerf Appointed New Superintendent of Newark Public Schools District Dossier: Cerf, a former New Jersey Education Commissioner, will help lay the groundwork to return the district to local governance by the end of the next school year.

LAUSD MiSiS problems persist, some graduating seniors caught in transcript hell KPCC LA: The $133 million MiSiS system is still coughing out transcripts that inaccurately report whether students have met their graduation requirements, according to officials familiar with the district’s recent problems.

Study says reading aloud to children, more than talking, builds literacy EdSource Today: Picture books are more likely than speech to include uncommon words.

Teacher bonuses tied to tests — their own college entrance exams Herald Tribune: The new Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarships could give teachers up to a $10,000 bonus if they scored at least a 26 out of 36 points on the ACT or at least a 1210 on the 1600-point SAT. They would also have to be rated as “highly effective” under the state’s new teacher evaluation guidelines.

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.