News You Should Know: August Round-Up

Our monthly news round-up continues below with August’s highlights.

Tug-of-war over Common Core in Louisiana. Last week, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) filed a legal suit against the federal government over the Common Core initiative. The suit alleges that the federal government has created a “national curriculum,” which is illegal under federal law.

The impact of trainings. While we’ve written about the Mass Insight teacher trainings over the summer, New York City was seemingly on to something when the city began training cadres of teachers and principals a few years ago in preparation for Common Core implementation. New York State Commissioner John King believes the trainings may be the reason why New York City saw a small increase in student proficiency rates after the latest tests, while scores declined in other districts.

The customer is always right. In a speech announcing the Providence (R.I.) School District’s strategic vision for the 2014-15 school year, School Superintendent Sue Lusi emphasized a critical piece of the updated vision: customer service. The vision states that the role of the school district’s central office will include providing “outstanding customer service to students, families, and fellow staff and community partners” to ensure all are “treated with dignity and respect.”

’It’s good to be No. 1 in something other than football…’” Alabama leads the nation in Advanced Placement (AP) improvements. Since 2008, pass rates for AP exams in Alabama have increased by 136 percent, compared to the national rate of 49 percent.

Education policy is out; education politics is in. Education has been the topic of many more state-level legislative bills over the past year or so than in the past. What was the impetus for this shift in focus? The Common Core roll-out, says Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post. After many states missed their windows of opportunity to communicate and engage with the public around Common Core implementation, many legislatures took the lead on developing new standards.

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