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California Bill AB 484 Signed Last Week

Branché Jones

October 7, 2013


To Test or Not to Test: That is The Question
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Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 484 brought forth by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla.  AB 484 would essentially end standardized testing as it currently exists in California. The measure could potentially eliminate Academic Performance Index (API) scores and current assessments for the next two years with an option for the State Board of Education to extend the measure to three years. This would occur as the State Board of Education (SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) begin creating new assessments and performance standards that include the new common core standards.
AB 484 would also provide Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) the opportunity to administer only one of the two common tests (language arts or math); both tests would not need to be administered until the new assessments are created. During this two to three year period, no new API scores will be generated so schools will either use their most recent API score or the average of their last three API scores, whichever is higher. At this time, the potential impact this may have on charter schools facing renewal or revocation is unknown.  Additionally, it is unclear how the provisions of AB 484 will work with the school accountability measures that are part of the new Local Control Funding Formula.
This proposal created a firestorm in the Capitol during the last days of the legislative session and forced a response from Arnie Duncan, the US Secretary of Education.  Mr. Duncan threatened the state’s future federal funding (and any waivers that the state is seeking from the Federal Government) and expressed anger at the language in AB 484, though he later retracted some of his comments.
It remains to be seen what the ramifications to California charter schools will be as a result of the signing of this new bill. Charter School Capital will continue to provide updates on this policy change in the state of California.
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