The state has decided to do away with its STAR tests for the next two years as it makes the transition to Common Core standards, which involve different kinds of assessments.
The federal government says refusing to test students is a violation of the No Child Left Behind law and federal money will be withheld if California does not reverse course.
David Plank is Executive Director of the research organization Policy Analysis for California Education.
“California is taking a uniquely aggressive role in arguing that we should simply make the transition and that the state should have the right to decide how that transition is made," he said.
Plank said it’s almost certain the federal government will follow through on its threat. But he says the dollar amount is largely symbolic and would the money would come from administrative funds. California gets billions of dollars each year from the federal government for student-related expenses.
In a joint statment, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said, "To the extent there is disagreement with the federal government, there is a process for addressing it, and we'll continue to work with officials in Washington. Federal officials have never before taken money out of classrooms, and we would hope and expect that they would not start now."