California Governor Signs Bill Implementing Common Core Tests

The Los Angeles Times (10/3, Blume) reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown, in a move that sets up a “looming confrontation” with ED, has signed a bill replacing his state’s STAR assessment with a Common Core-aligned assessment. The measure funds districts’ implementation of the online tests, but also ensures that “there will be no scores this year available to students, schools and districts because the new test is going through a trial period.” The Times explains that though Education Secretary Arne Duncan supports the Common Core, he has “insisted that providing test results is necessary to keep parents informed” and to evaluate teachers and schools’ performance.

        Noting that California has administered the STAR test for over a decade, Bloomberg News (10/3, Marois) reports that Duncan’s objection to the move is based on NCLB’s requirement for annual testing. Bloomberg adds that Duncan “said last month that California may lose federal funds if it switches systems” for this reason. The article quotes state Superintendent Tom Torlakson saying, “Faced with the choice of preparing California’s children for the future or continuing to cling to outdated policies of the past, our state’s leaders worked together and made the right choice for our students.”

        The AP (10/3) reports that Brown signed the bill “despite a threat” to withhold funding from Duncan. The AP notes that, notwithstanding objections from Duncan and others to going a year without test scores, the bill’s supporters “say it does not make sense for schools to give the old tests when teachers already are gearing their lessons toward Common Core.”

        Other sources covering this story include the San Jose (CA) Mercury News (10/3), the Agoura Hills (CA) Acorn (10/3), the website of Southern California Public Radio (10/2), the website of KABC-TV Los Angeles (10/3), the website of KXJZ-FM Sacramento, CA (10/2), and the website of NBC News (10/3).