01/10/2013 08:36 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2013

College Pricing, Testing Texas: Ed Today

Too many tests in Texas? A group of parents certainly thinks so. "Texans Advocating for Meaningful Assessments recently made its case to parents, legislators and the community of Fort Bend Independent School District about the consequences of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness," reports the Houston Chronicle. Well, that's a little interesting: Texas is the birthplace of so many of the test-based accountability systems that pervade modern education policy.

The College Tuition Trap? According to a Moody's survey, the demand for four-year-colleges is decreasing due to what the Wall Street Journal calls a "perfect storm" of factors such as stagnant family incomes. The result? It's "sapping pricing power at a growing number" of universities. Which is to say, it makes it harder for colleges to increase tuition. I'd say this report will be an important piece of evidence for the Obama administration if it chooses to pursue the higher education agenda it outlined during the first term.

Kindergarten Push In Nevada? Yesterday, Nevada's Democrats outlined their priorities for education this year. A huge part, according to the associated press, will be full-day kindergarten. If it works well, this could be super important in the Recession-addled state that has to contend with scores of homeless young students -- especially in the Las Vegas area. They also want to reduce class sizes and boost funding, which strikes me as more traditionalist than the "education reformist" approach many lawmakers have recently taken (that includes things like charter schools and ending teacher tenure.)

Longer days in New York Schools? During his State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) floated a competition to incentivize districts to make their school days longer. Cuomo, GothamSchools reports, also touched on bonuses for teachers, an expansion of early childhood education, and the importance of schools that serve kids' non-academic developmental needs.

Trouble in the Bayou State? An audit of St. Tammany Parish Public Schools in Louisiana will be released next week and make reference to fraud within the district, reports.

Does School Design Affect Student Learning? This comes to us from across the pond, but I thought it was worth sharing. A study conducted in the U.K found that school design had a "significant" impact on school performance. "Six of the key environmental factors -- color, choice, connection, complexity, flexibility and light, were clearly correlated with either higher or lower grade scores." (H/t HuffPost tech's Dino Grandoni).