1. The final application for the second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge is now available. Up for grabs: $280 million, of which Pennsylvania is for hoping for $52.2 million.
2. The Gates Foundation has already pumped more than $160 million into developing and promoting the Common Core Standards and now is giving up to $14 million in new grants to keep advocacy groups going.
3. As of now, 28 states are fully implementing Common Core; 17 others will do so in the next few years. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia never adopted them.
4. The SBAC Common Core assessments will offer certain available supports for students, especially those with disabilities and English learners. However, kids in grades 3-5 cannot have text passages read to them on the English/language arts section; middle and high school students can. All students can have the questions and directions read to them if their need has been documented.
5. States with NCLB waivers must now “ante up” on teacher quality if they want another 2 years of flexibility. They must also ensure that at-risk students have access to the best teachers. 41 states, D.C., and 8 California districts enjoy these waivers.
6. The U.S. Department of Education wants to eliminate the 2% rule that allows some students with disabilities to take alternate assessments aligned with modified academic achievement standards.