1. 219 Race to the Top applications made it on time to the U.S. Department of Education and represent 678 total school systems in 44 states. Awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, for a total of $120 million.
2. Some school reform groups are taking issue with the No Child Left Behind waivers renewal process and have asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan to provide proof, including graduation rates and test scores, to justify reauthorizing the states’ individual waiver plans.
3. Three more NCLB waivers have been granted: Maine, Texas, and Puerto Rico.
4. Eight states never applied for a NCLB waiver and now face the law’s requirement that 100% of their students are reading on grade level this year or face federal consequences, including tutoring services, allowing school transfers, etc.
5. Teach for America is now both a service organization and a political powerhouse with a $100 million endowment and annual revenues of about $300 million. Plus, it’s now embedding “select alumni” in congressional offices and in high-ranking school district positions.
6. While more and more schools are opening up AP courses to all students, critics worry that too many of those students are ill-prepared for them as evidenced by increasing exam failure rates. Another concern: the watering down of the courses themselves to accommodate weaker students.
7. Indiana’s attorney general and 15 of its school districts are suing ObamaCare which, they say, is forcing them to either absorb major costs or reduce employee hours.