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McKinley Architects & Engineers

The Thrasher Group

March 11, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 9

Education Week (3/9, Burnette) reports in its “State EdWatch” blog that Arizona lawmakers passed legislation “that would let districts decide whether their high school students and students in grades 3-8 will take the state’s AzMERIT exam, or if they will take one of a series of exams pre-approved by the state’s board of education.” Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) is expected to sign the bill. The article questions whether the measure violates the Every Student Succeeds Act, which takes effect in fall 2017 and requires students in grades 3-8 to be “given one test statewide.”  The Tucson (AZ) Weekly (3/9, Safier) examines challenges to the bill’s implementation, questioning whether test can be “normed in a way that allows the resulted to be compared.” The Weekly predicts school districts will “pore over the tests to decide which will maximize their students’ scores.” Considering standardized test options for high school sophomores, the article comments that while “high stakes tests are a fuzzy measure of student ability,” the “PSAT, SAT and ACT tests may be worse.”

“What hurts more. The pain of hard work or the pain of regret?” – Quote posted on a wall in a Boston Celtics practice gymnasium.  Founded in 1946 and one of eight National Basketball Association teams (out of 23 total teams) to survive the league's first decade. As a percentage of championships won, the Celtics are the most successful franchise to date in the major four traditional North American professional sports leagues.  The franchise's 17 championships are the most for any NBA franchise, and account for 24.6 percent of all National Basketball Association (NBA) championships since the league's founding in 1946, according to various sports information outlets. 

“Although that bill started out as a prohibition against the implementation of Common Core standards, it, in fact, does not do that now.” – Senate Education Chairman Dave Sypolt on House Bill 4014, which the Senate changed from the House version that was strongly against standards and assessments adopted by the state school board

“It puts into place moving to a better test. I feel like the test we should move to – and it’s kind of spelled out in this bill – is the ACT test.” – Sen. Chris Walters, endorsing the new version of House Bill 4014, which would have the schools switch from the Smarter Balanced Assessment to use of tests from ACT

”Some of the counties that have talked the loudest and said they had the most problems were the ones that did not get ready within that two-year window. And we were given explicit instructions from the state Department of Education of how to have all the technology ready.” – Beverly Kingery, state school board member and former superintendent of Nicholas County schools, criticizing school districts that complained about technological problems in giving the Smarter Balanced Assessment

“When people fussed about Common Core to me, it seemed like they were fussing more about how the change and the delivery of those standards was going on rather than the Common Core standards themselves.” – Sen. Mike Hall

“I think this is a good step in the right direction. Some of the bills that we have passed were trying to narrowly focus what the board does. I think the board is constitutionally protected. I think this has been one of the greatest programs that we have had here in this state.” – Sen. Bob Plymale on a bill to change Innovation Zones

“It sound to me like it’s a bill run amuck.” – Sen. Mike Romano on a bill, which would have change the School Aid Formula, that died in a Senate committee