Throughout the month we scour the headlines from around the nation and prepare brief executive summaries of the top education stories.
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Education News February 10th - 21st
New York State Finds Fault in Common Core (The New York Times, February 16, 2014) New York, one of the most liberal states and the earliest supporters of the Common Core State Standards, has recently voiced complaints about the standards, causing concern among other supporters. Carol Burris, an acclaimed high school principal on Long Island, believes the Common Core is a disaster and now has students that do not want to go to school due to this. Teachers’ unions have withdrawn their support of the standards until major changes take place and leaders of both parties in the New York Legislature "want to rethink how the state uses the Common Core".
New Study Looks Into Optional Standardized Testing (NPR, February 18, 2014) Today, around 800 of the roughly 3,000 four year colleges and universities in the US make SAT and ACT submissions optional. A new study, called Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions, is looking into how students who take advantage of the "test optional" policies are doing, compared to those students who submit their test results. After examining data from nearly three dozen "test optional" schools, the study’s main author, William Hiss, found that there was virtually no difference between test "submitters" and "nonsubmitters". Hiss believes that if a student earned good grades in high school, they will likely excel in college as well. He also comments, "Human intelligence is so multi-faceted, so complex, so varied, that no standardized testing system can be expected to capture it."
Failing Michigan Schools Gain Other Options (The Huffington Post, February 19, 2014) Currently, the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) is the only party allowed to take over and operate failing schools in Michigan. On February 18th, the Michigan Department of Education informed the EAA that it would be terminating its exclusivity contract with the authority and would allow other groups to take over failing schools. Since its creation in 2011, the EAA has faced opposition from community members and education advocates that question its effectiveness and ability to operate low-preforming schools. The proposed contract termination came shortly after a bill that would allow the EAA to run up to 50 schools in Michigan.