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If states' current testing plans remain steady for a year, only 42 percent of the K-12 students in the United States are likely to take common assessments designed by the two federal funded testing consortia, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. K-12 students live in states that have chosen other tests, or haven't yet decided which tests they're using.

It's an intriguing thing to note, given the level of heat about common-core testing. As states drop out of the two consortia—or maintain their memberships but reject the tests or put off deciding—the share of the U.S. student population that is likely to take their tests dwindles.

NEW ORLEANS — Benjamin Banneker Elementary closed on Wednesday as New Orleans’ Recovery School District permanently shuttered its last five traditional public schools.

With the start of the next school year, the district will be the first in the country made up completely of public charter schools, a grand experiment in urban education.

Only a few years ago, the ambitious initiative to use shared assessments to gauge learning based on the new common-core standards had enlisted 45 states and the District of Columbia. Today, the testing landscape looks much more fragmented, with only 27 of them still planning to use those tests in 2014-15, and the rest opting for other assessments or undecided, an Education Week analysis shows.

In American high schools, it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the vanishing of shop class from the curriculum. The trend began in the 1970s, when it became conventional wisdom that a four-year college degree was essential. As Forbes magazine reported in 2012, 90% of shop classes have been eliminated for the Los Angeles unified school district's 660,000 students. Yet a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics study shows that 48% of all college graduates are working in jobs that don't require a four-year degree. 

Too many young people have four-year liberal-arts degrees, are thousands of dollars in debt and find themselves serving coffee at Starbucks or working part-time at the mall. Many of them would have been better off with a two-year skilled-trade or technical education that provides the skills to secure a well-paying job.

As charter operators have figured out how to succeed with children, they are doubling down on the best models. Successful charter schools have many distinctive features: longer school days and longer years, more flexibility and accountability for teachers and principals, higher expectations for students, more discipline and structure, more curricular innovation, more rigorous testing.

December 11, 2013 Education Week published an article, States Grapple With Common Test-Score Cutoffs describing that some states are not yet comfortable with the pace of exams being developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, in 2015….

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