Education

California OKs Testing Overhaul Despite Feds' Threat to Withhold Funds

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday that replaces current public school state standardized tests with ones aligned to new national learning goals.
October 3, 2013
 

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday that replaces current public school state standardized tests with ones aligned to new national learning goals.

The governor's decision also tees up a looming confrontation with the Obama administration, which criticized the California legislation.

The new law will pay for school districts to shift quickly to new computerized tests that would be based on learning goals, called the Common Core standards, adopted by 45 states. The new approach is intended to emphasize deeper critical-thinking skills.

The legislation also has ended state funding for exams used since 1999. Unless school districts pay for their own testing, there will be no scores this year available to students, schools and districts because the new test is going through a trial period. The bill would permit a further postponement of scores, if needed.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan supports Common Core efforts, but he also had insisted that providing test results is necessary to keep parents informed. He said such such information is vital in determining whether teachers and schools are successful. The Legislature passed the bill despite Duncan's disapproval.

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