Don’t look now, but the U.S. Department of Education may be unhappy with Madera Unified School District, to say nothing of the rest of California’s schools. State School Superintendent Tom Torlakson, the California Legislature, and the California Department of Education, with minds working in tandem, have decided to radically change what is going on in the state’s schools this year, and U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan appears to be none too pleased.
In a news release Tuesday, Torlakson acknowledged that California’s new plans for K-12 education, especially the assessment of those plans, may be “out of compliance with federal testing mandates.” Nevertheless, the California schools chief gave every indication that the state would press on, in spite of threats from Washington.
With prompting from Torlakson, the California Legislature has passed Assembly Bill 484, which calls for suspension of the decades old Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program in favor of a new assessment that would not be fully put into place until 2015. In the meantime, the new tests would be “field tested” among some California school districts.
Earlier last week, Duncan warned that “if California moves forward with a plan that fails to assess all its students, as required by federal law, the Department will be forced to take action, which could include withholding funds from the state.” ...