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Morning Read: Whither the State High School Exit Exam?

LA School Report | September 19, 2013

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Future of high school exit exam unclear as California revamps testing
The current overhaul of California’s student testing program is skipping, for now, the California High School Exit Exam, the one test that’s truly high stakes. If students don’t pass, they don’t receive a high school diploma. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he will sign Assembly Bill 484, which, as EdSource Today has reported, would suspend the current California Standards Tests in English language arts and math for grades 3 to 8 and 11. In its place, schools could give students a practice exam aligned to the new Common Core standards currently under development. AB 484 makes no mention of the high school exit exam, called CAHSEE. EdSource

LAUSD board gets low grade for work habits
Editorial: After a week of mounting criticism for its indecision, micromanaging and general dysfunction, the Los Angeles school board figured to be on its best behavior in a public meeting Tuesday. If that was its best behavior, our kids are in trouble. The L.A. Unified School District board, devoting a third session to trying to approve the budget for a new English and math curriculum, started by hearing member Steve Zimmer propose compromise amendments that included more money for teacher and parent training and a preposterous idea to set aside a day for the “LAUSD family” to “celebrate” the start of the Common Core curriculum in 2014. LA Daily News

New LAUSD lawsuit alleges El Sereno teacher molested at least 3 students
The Los Angeles Unified School District faced a new lawsuit Thursday after three students alleged a former teacher sexually abused them, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Louis Carrillo, the lead defense attorney in the lawsuit, claims teacher Armando Gonzalez may have abused as many as 15 children while employed at El Sereno Elementary School. The plaintiffs said they were molested between 2008 and 2010, however, they only reported the abuse recently. CBS Los Angeles 

The Common Core money war
One of the most expensive political fights in America this year isn’t over a Senate seat or a governor’s mansion. It’s about what your kids learn in school. Tens of millions of dollars are pouring into the battle over the Common Core academic standards, which aim to set a course for students’ progression in math and language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade. Politico

Don’t fear Common Core
Op-Ed: I used to be afraid of the Common Core, a national effort to align public school curriculum goals across state lines and provide better tools for measuring what students are learning. I feared the new standards would lead to my students failing and that I would be scapegoated for those failures. But after two years of working with the Common Core in my Boston classroom, I’m a convert. Teachers in California, where Common Core is being introduced, are probably as nervous about the changes as I was. LA Times

U.S. Ed Secretary Duncan’s testing threats may be more bluff than bully
With Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan locked on a collision course over student testing, school officials and policy-makers in California are bracing for the Obama administration to make good on their threat to withhold potentially billions in federal funds. Or, perhaps, maybe just thousands of dollars, if even that. A survey of experts – many of whom have participated in similar disputes with the Department of Education in the past – say there’s virtually no chance of a drastic rollback in funding. SI&A Cabinet Report

Teacher discipline bill flawed, but worth testing out
Editorial: A year ago, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan helped kill a bill that would have improved the byzantine discipline process for teachers accused of sex, violence or drug offenses involving children. The East Bay Democrat objected to the piecemeal approach, saying she wanted to revamp the entire teacher discipline process. What we got this year was AB 375, a bill that, like last year’s legislation, makes changes to the process — some good, some bad — but falls short of the overhaul that had been promised. Contra Costa Times

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