Last Words

March 4, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 8

Newsday (NY) (3/2, Gralla) reports that, in the second of 13 such forums planned for Long Island and Westchester in New York, proponents of the “opt-out movement” for Common Core tests on Wednesday “discussed ways to free pupils and teachers from a system they still view as draconian despite concessions they already have won.”

The Washington Post (3/2, Balingit) reports Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, despite opposing the Common Core, vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have required the state Board of Education to gain approval from the General Assembly in order to adopt the national education standards. McAuliffe said in a statement that the bill would have infringed on the education board’s “authority by adopting unnecessary legislation which establishes rules upon which we have already agreed.”

The Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate (3/2, Sentell) reports that Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is “expected to approve” revisions to the Common Core academic standards on Friday “with few changes.” BESE’s review committee “suggested changes to about 20 percent of the state’s 1,287 benchmarks in reading and math,” including “steps to give teachers more latitude on how academic goals are taught, greater clarity on what is expected and adjustments to make the standards more age-appropriate.” Once approved, the “issue then goes to the state House and Senate education committees and Gov. John Bel Edwards for up-or-down votes.”

The Tennessean (3/2, Balakit) reports Tennessee state Sen. Janice Bowling (R) “has introduced a bill that would enable school districts to take college readiness exams” such as the SAT and ACT “in lieu of state-required tests.” Bowling’s bill “addresses concerns over the development and implementation of new state test TNReady,” whose online version “failed in early February, forcing schools to delay testing until paper versions of the tests are shipped out.” Supporters of the bill “say the ACT and SAT suite of assessments are more reliable and align with the state’s goal of preparing students for a postsecondary education.” If passed, the legislation would go into effect in July 2017.

“Why is it that foolishness repeats itself with such monotonous precision?” - Frank Patrick Herbert Jr. (1920 –1986), U.S. science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Although famous for science fiction, Herbert was a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, and ecological consultant and lecturer. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with complex themes, including human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. It is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time.

“Currently you can only lose your pension if you were impeached for a felony. Under this bill, you would lose your pension if you were impeached for any crime. Secondly, it specifically adds in convictions, whether felonies or misdemeanors, for certain corruption and crimes specific to public office. For example, bribes embezzlement, larceny, gifts in public office, unlawful reward for past behaviors and so forth.” – House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, speaking about an ethics bill approved by the House of Delegates.

“I think it’s very important that we keep education close to the state superintendent of schools.” – Delegate David Perry, arguing it would be better to let the state superintendent arrange regional meetings of county school boards than letting the WVSBA do it.

“No offense to the state superintendent, but if I want to hear from our local boards and their association, I’d rather hear directly from them rather than through the head of a state agency that is regulating them.” – House Education Chairman Paul Espinosa, arguing for letting the WVSBA handle regional meetings of county boards

“The rationale behind this change is to allow more information on expected county board budgets and enrollments for the next year before disrupting the system with potential layoffs and terminations.” – House Education Chairman Paul Espinosa on a bill to change personnel deadlines

“If we wonder why people sometimes don’t appreciate what you’re doing here, how the process works, and how important it is to the protection of our democracy and the republic in which we live that people in that democracy understand the workings and trappings of government, the foundations upon which we were built as a nation, then we probably need to re-examine ourselves.” – Phil Reale, a lobbyist, speaking in favor of a bill to have passage of a civics test a requirement for high school graduation

“I think this is a wonderful idea. Certainly, if we’re asking people coming into our country who want to be citizens to have this knowledge, we certainly should have it ourselves.” – Sen. Tom Takubo on having high school students take a civics test

“When we came into this legislative cycle, we had a $124 million shortfall, and there was issues with this board. And this is an attempt to go through and to reconstitute it in a way so that we can expect a better performance than what there has been in the past.” – Sen. Craig Blair, arguing for changes in the PEIA Finance Board

“It sounds to me like we’re killing the messenger because of the message.” – Sen. John Unger, speaking in opposition to the PEIA Finance Board changes

“If we add this into code, that’s just another thing we’ve set down to have the teacher do.” – Delegate David Evans