Rise & Shine: Record number of students take SAT after city offers test for free

Good morning!

The top news today is the large spike in the number of city students who took the SAT last spring. The 51 percent increase in test takers is due to a new initiative that allows students to take the test for free during the school day, rather than having to travel to a testing site on the weekend.

Also in the news this morning, the story of a charter-school network grappling with the question: Can it run strictly disciplined schools that also prepare students to be independent thinkers?

— Patrick

P.S. As a reminder, our first-ever Great American Teach-Off at SXSW EDU is all about math. And we’re accepting entries until Jan. 19. Click here to apply today!

TEST TAKERS Nearly 78 percent of 11th-graders last year had taken the SAT at least once during high school, up from just over 50 percent the previous year, thanks to a new initiative that lets all juniors take the test for free during the school day. Chalkbeat, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, New York Post

COLLEGE READY? After the Achievement First charter-school network found that fewer than a third of its high school graduates were earning college degrees on time, its leaders tried to design a new school model that would maintain their strict rules while also instilling in students the independence needed to succeed in college. New York Times

POPULAR DEMAND Parents in the Bronx say they want the city’s next schools chief to address school overcrowding and to increase support for teachers and for students still learning English. Riverdale Press

SLASHING A 15-year-old girl slashed another girl with a knife at the Grand Street Campus High School in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Thursday. New York Daily News