1. The federal government shelled out $3.3 billion to launch charter schools over the past 20 years but never monitored how those monies were spent.
2. The Common Core-aligned PARCC assessment will be 90 minutes shorter next year thanks to mounting opposition to lengthy testing.
3. The Educational Testing Service will be handling most of the 4-year, $340 million student assessment contract in Texas now instead of Pearson Education, which has made $468 million over the past 5 years.
4. Both PARCC and SBAC are administering the performance tasks tests separately from the more traditional-looking end-of-year tests which alone take almost 5 hours. The SBAC performance tasks take another 4-1/2 hours; for PARCC they add another 6-1/2 hours.
5. Five non-waiver states–California, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and Washington–will now be giving Common Core-aligned standardized tests. As a result, the federal government is letting them “pause” their school rating systems this year, but they still have to publish their performance scores for all to see.
6. The government is letting New Mexico use results from its teacher-evaluation system toward counting its “effective,” “highly effective,” or “exemplary” teachers as highly qualified under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.
7. California is trying again for a NCLB waiver, so it can free up millions for districts to use to run their own tutoring programs in low-income, low-performing schools.
8. The government has denied the Seattle School District’s request for its own NCLB waiver.