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Florida: Middle schools

Gov. Jeb Bush wants to require middle school students to earn credits in core subjects before moving on to high school, according to the Jan. 11 Palm Beach Post. Bush’s proposal was sparked by middle-schoolers’ poor performance on state achievement tests last year, when only half of 6th- through 8th-graders scored at grade level. Students would need three credits each in math, science, social studies and language arts to graduate to 9th grade. Middle schools would have to use the same standardized grading system as high schools.

California: School funding

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to cut $2.2 billion from education spending next year has angered education groups, according to the Jan. 6 Los Angeles Times. The governor wants to suspend Proposal 98, which exempts education from across-the-board budget cuts and sets aside a specific portion of state revenue for education. Educators say the governor is reneging on a deal not to cut K-12 spending.

Arizona: Scrap tests?

A coalition of conservative legislators, the state’s largest teachers union and the statewide association of school boards has joined forces to scrap AIMS, the high school exit exam, according to the Jan. 3 Arizona Republic. Students get four chances to pass all three sections of the AIMS test (reading, writing and math) to graduate. About 57 percent of current high school juniors failed AIMS the first time and need to pass it to get their diploma in 2006. A leading GOP lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would keep AIMS as a diagnostic tool but allow students to receive their diploma even if they do not pass it.