News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup

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Calif. Board Overrules Eastin On Test Choice

The California board of education has rejected the test recommended by the state schools chief for use as a new statewide barometer of student achievement.

The board spurned the Oct. 31 selection by state schools Superintendent Delaine Eastin of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills/TerraNova, published by CTB/McGraw-Hill of Monterey, Calif. Instead, in a Nov. 14 decision, the board chose the Stanford Achievement Test 9th Edition, published by San Antonio-based Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement.

The board did not give a specific reason for the selection "based on the advice of its counsel and staff," said Greg Geeting, the board's assistant executive director. In a statement, Ms. Eastin said she had no quarrel with the board's decision, noting that she had made a close call between the two tests.

The basic-skills test, mandated by a new law, is to give scores for individual students in grades 2-11 and is to be administered by May 25. Also on Nov. 14, the board adopted its first-ever statewide English-language-arts standards.

Wyo. Finance Plan Cleared for Challenge

The Wyoming Supreme Court has decided that the latest challenge to the state's education finance system will go on as planned.

The court, on Nov. 6, denied the state's request to halt the trial in district court this month until the legislature can finish its work on a new finance plan. The suit, brought by several school districts and the Wyoming Education Association, challenges the constitutionality of the new plan, which the groups say does not meet the requirements outlined by the supreme court in 1995. ("Turmoil in Wyoming: School Funding Back in Court," Nov. 5, 1997.)

Lawmakers spent the summer revamping the school finance system and had planned to fine-tune their work during the budget session in February. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 1.

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