1. Education Secretary Arne Duncan who has spent nearly $100 billion in stimulus money and used his own authority to approve No Child Left Behind waivers, may, it’s said, be finally losing some of his power.
2. The U.S. Depart,Department of Education has decided to give states a chance to suspend some or all of their current math and English/language arts tests this school year, but the offer comes with stiff conditions. In exchange, states must now give either their own tests or field test the new Common Core assessments to 95% of their students in grades 3 to 8 along with one in high school, thus allowing “double-testing flexibility.”
3. The writing component of the online-only Common Core assessments will require 4th graders to type a minimum of one page without stopping; 5th graders must type at least 2 pages, while 3rd graders will have to type 3 short pieces.
4. There is currently no federal government requirement that services for gifted students be offered. The Jacob K. Javits federal grant program which provided $7.4 million every year in grants for the gifted was cancelled in 2011.
5. Arizona, California, New Hampshire, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming have joined a ‘collaborative’ to help them implement the Common Core Standards.
6. Seven states have now adopted and started to implement the Next-Generation Common Core Science Standards which measure not just fact-based knowledge but also “how well students develop and use conceptual models on their own, develop and follow lines of investigation, and communicate research findings.”