Roundup: TN Pulls Plug On Online Testing, States Still Setting Own Proficiency Levels

The State That Pulled The Plug On Computer Testing NPR: Nearly two-dozen states have moved to online exams, many with the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortiums. And Scherich says many have run into trouble. Florida’s rollout was particularly rough. But Tennessee is unusual for abandoning computer-based testing for the year.

In the age of Common Core, states are still defining ‘proficient’ differently Washington Post: A new study says that PARCC tests are scored much more rigorously than Smarter Balanced.

How Chicago Teachers Union spends its money Sun-Times: With more than $25 million a year in dues coming from 28,000 teachers and other school employees, CTU president Karen Lewis and her 77-member staff are a well-funded adversary for the mayor and his schools chief, Forrest Claypool, a Chicago Sun-Times examination of the union’s financial filings shows.

California court to rule on suit to scrap K-12 funding system KPCC: Creating a funding system around what it costs to prepare each student for college or a career would ensure “every student can succeed in the work force and succeed as an engaged citizen in our democracy,” Affeldt said. But the county court dismissed that claim, saying that the state legislature can fund schools how it chooses and the constitution does not demand that schools meet any bar for excellence. And beyond the constitutional issues, the case also raises questions about what it means for schools to prepare students for college and to participate fully in civic life, and how much that costs.

Young Students Call for More School Diversity WNYC: The goal would be to distribute students more evenly among the schools by setting aside seats for low-income students. It’s a topic of great interest for adults but one that most profoundly affects children which is why WNYC convened a small group of third graders from East Village Community School.

Why Science Teachers are Struggling with Climate Change NPR: Roughly 3 in 4 say they talk about global warming in class, though typically only for an hour or two. But the study’s lead author, Eric Plutzer of Penn State, says barely a majority are getting the science right.

Got an A in Algebra? That’s Worth $120 NYT: Raise.me, a three-year-old start-up, allows students to accrue incremental scholarship credits by entering their high school achievements on a website.

Teaching Bronx Students the Language of Computers NYT: A growing movement in the borough seeks to equip young people with the knowledge and the skills to write code so that they can navigate an increasingly digital world.

City data shows number in Absent Teacher Reserve remains steady Chalkbeat: The latest numbers show that 1,083 teachers were collecting salaries and benefits without holding full-time positions in schools last month, compared to 1,102 in January 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city teachers union have pledged to reduce the size of the pool, which swelled under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and costs the city millions of dollars each year.

Despite new requirements, L.A. Unified’s projected graduation rate soars LA Times: For years, Los Angeles school officials have suggested that miracle academic turnarounds would be unsustainable and even suspect, and that real and lasting gains for the academically lagging school system would be a step-by-step journey. On Friday, that gospel changed.

Seattle Public Schools sends test results to wrong families Seattle Times: School district officials blame a database error and ask those who mistakenly received the 348 confidential letters to please return them unopened.

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.