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The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of school financing under the state's open-enrollment law.

The Exira Community School District, a small school system that has lost about $70,000 in each of two years under the law as a result of student transfers, had filed a lawsuit arguing that the law is depriving it of money it needs for its remaining students, thereby violating the students' constitutional guarantee of access to education.

In rejecting that argument, the state's high court late last month held that the open-enrollment law was enacted specifically to provide children with access to educational opportunity, regardless of where they live.

Bay State's Core: A Massachusetts panel has released a draft list of 39 broad education goals that would form a "common core of learning'' in the state.

It calls for students to learn a second language, perform community service, and be able to analyze information using diagrams and spreadsheets. The goals also say that students should learn how to become lifelong learners, skilled communicators, and clear and creative thinkers.

High on Writing: California students scored highest on writing in a new statewide test that also measured the reading and mathematics skills of 4th, 8th, and 10th graders.

The first results from the California Learning Assessment System mark a notable change in the way school officials will measure student, school, and district achievements, state education officials said.

The test ranks student work in six performance categories, and eventually will include a portfolio of student work.

The test has come under some fire for its content and was the subject of recent controversy when officials removed works by the writers Alice Walker and Annie Dillard that state board members found objectionable. (See Education Week, March 9, 1994.)

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