CalWatchdog Morning Read – September 28

  • CalWatchdogLogoCA and feds have different views of judging academic performance
  • More things you can’t do while driving
  • New twist in Yosemite trademark battle
  • Granny flat bill signed by Gov. Brown
  • North Carolina travel bill signed by Gov. Brown

Good morning. Happy Hump Day. As Jerry Brown draws headlines for deciding which passed bills from the recent legislative session live or die, another measure from within his administration is in the hot seat.

The state of California appears to be on a collision course with the federal government over how it responds to a school accountability provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act, the measure approved last year to replace the controversial and unpopular No Child Left Behind Act.

No Child Left Behind… included a long list of mandates that states had to follow to receive federal funding. But it quickly became a lightning rod because of its heavy emphasis on testing. 

Last year, the House and Senate moved to pass a new federal framework that included far fewer requirements. U.S. Department of Education officials charged with drafting rules for this provision want states to adopt simple metrics based mostly on test scores that provide one number for each school, making it easier to assess academic performance.

But Gov. Jerry Brown, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson (pictured) and state Board of Education President Michael Kirst have for years disapproved of the single-score rating. This led to the scrapping of the Academic Performance Index that had previously provided snapshot looks at school performance.

Instead, the state Board of Education earlier this month unanimously adopted a system that rates schools on several factors, including math and English test scores; graduation, suspension and absenteeism rates; and effectiveness of English-learner courses. Kirst and Torlakson wrote a letter to a U.S. Department of Education officials urging that California’s multi-metric standard be accepted.

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • “Californians will soon face broader restrictions on using their smartphones while driving,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

  • “A legal battle over trademarked names at Yosemite National Park is now trickier than ever. In the latest twist, lawyers are fighting over whether the park’s new concession company should be formally added to the case. The Justice Department, representing the National Park Service, says yes. Delaware North, the former concession company, says no in the latest legal filing.” The Modesto Bee has more.

  • “It will be easier for California homeowners to build additional small units on their properties whether in their garages or as freestanding second structures under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

  • North Carolina’s controversial law overturning local government protections for gays and lesbians could cost it some business with California state agencies,” reports The Sacramento Bee.


  • Gone ’til December.

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced.

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