Roundup: NY Test Scores & Opt-Out Numbers, Plus CA Limits Districts’ Monitoring & Excluding Kids

Today’s news includes NY test score results (and opt-out numbers) for both the state and NYC, plus news that the Murdoch-funded, Klein-run edtech outfit Amplify is being sold, and 2 new laws in California limiting districts’ abilities to monitor and toss out kids it think don’t live within attendance boundaries:

About 20 percent of NY students refused to take spring tests AP: About 20 percent of New York’s third- through eighth-graders refused to take the statewide English and math tests given in the spring, the state’s education chief said, acknowledging the opt-outs affected assessment data released Wednesday, which otherwise showed a slight uptick in overall student achievement… See also WSJChalkbeatEdWeek, NYT, WNYC.

News Corp. Planning to Sell Off Money-Losing Education Unit NYT: Amplify, the education division of Rupert Murdoch’s company, is in an “advanced stage of negotiations” with a potential buyer. See also BuzzFeed.

Labor Leadership Is Pushing Hillary Clinton, But the Grassroots Wants Bernie In These Times: “If you want to shape something, you get in before the primaries,” AFT President Randi Weingartensaid in defense of the endorsement. Weingarten, a longtime Clinton ally, is currently sitting on the board of pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA Action.

Brown signs bills letting nannies’ kids go to local schools AP: The Democratic governor signed without comment SB 200 by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara, which permits the children of live-in workers such as nannies and maids to attend school in the districts where their parents work at least three days per week. An additional new law requires that schools have a set policy for investigating students’ residency before hiring a private investigator to look into residency. It also prohibits students from being photographed or recorded by investigators and mandates an appeals process. See also District Dossier.

Charters transform New Orleans schools, and teachers Marketplace APM: One dominant symbol back then was a flag that read, “Class of 2014,” the far off year these kids were expected to launch into college. To accomplish this with so many students so behind in their studies required teachers who could handle some very long school days. Bethaney, now 19, remembers teachers being at her charter deep into the evening. See also Part 2.

There’s no such thing as the first day of school in New Orleans Hechinger Report: The first day of classes in New Orleans is anything but traditional for the city’s 46,000 public school students, with 19 different start dates ranging from July 20 to Aug. 26. The decentralized system’s 43 governing boards, which operate a combined 82 schools, each create calendars of breaks, teacher-training days and other time off during the year.

Hawaii Schools Consider ‘Heat Days’ During Scorching Year AP: Like virtually all schools in the normally temperate state, her building lacks air conditioning, and that’s been fine in the past. But Nichols and other Hawaii teachers say it’s been so hot this year that students have showed symptoms of heat exhaustion and had to go to the school nurse.

Observation may increase teacher retention SI&A Cabinet Report: A small charter system is pointing to classroom observation as being the key factor in its ability to maintain a 92 percent teacher retention rate during a time when schools around the country are struggling both to find and keep qualified educators.

A Kindergartener’s Year In A Mandarin-Immersion School NPR: Starting kindergarten can be scary. So imagine if your parents sent you to a school where they teach most of the day in another language, like Mandarin Chinese.

Strapped Schools Ask Parents for Copier Paper, Cleaning Supplies, Tissues Washington Post:  Cuts to education budgets have meant bigger class sizes and fewer programs in many school districts, and schools are increasingly turning to families to fill in gaps. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 35 states spent less per student in 2014 than they had before the Great Recession.

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.