What Happened in Your State This May? - National Council of Teachers of English
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What Happened in Your State This May?

During May, six policy analysts published reports about what occurred in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

School Funding and Budgets

In the wake of a tax increase following a teacher walkout in Oklahoma, former US Senator Tom Coburn and the organization Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite are collecting signatures for a referendum to overturn the new revenue, according to Claudia Swisher.

“Coburn, in a speech to the Tulsa Rotary, called teachers who participated in the walk out “pawns” and underlined his intention to stop the revenue that would fund the raises.”

Michelle Stevier-Johanson described North Dakota grappling with Governor Doug Burgum’s proposed budget cuts to higher education and a higher education task force with “limited experience in higher education.”

Student Assessments

Laurie Stowell noted that although most of the country’s National Assessment of Educational Progress scores remain flat, California is one of five states (also Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Nevada) that saw improvement.

Ezra Hyland shared that approximately 30 percent of students in the Red Wing school district have opted out of taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and the concern by its school board that this reflects a growing trend.

According to Tracee Thompson, the Mississippi Department of Education has formed the Mississippi Student Testing Task Force to study testing in the state. Most interesting is that four high school seniors from each of Mississippi’s four congressional districts will serve on the task force in addition to legislators and administrators.

Sarah Gross wrote that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet will continue PARCC testing on a year-to-year basis while conducting a 21-county listening tour to gather insight from teachers, students, and parents. Repollet told lawmakers and parents that eventually he hopes that the state will have a customized exam,

“A New Jersey test for New Jersey standards for New Jersey students.”

ESSA Implementation

Laurie Stowell reported that California preserved its multiple measures for accountability despite the request by the US Department of Education that it have a single summative rating. Those measures include an academic indicator, career-/college-readiness, English learner progress, graduation rate, suspension rate, and chronic absenteeism.

Other Reports

Ezra Hyland listed instructions for members to track their state’s education policies by visiting Education Commission of the States.

Please visit the Policy Analysis Initiative to see all reports filed by NCTE’s policy analysts.