** “The U.S. Department of Education has a specific role within the federal government, fostering the education and growth of our nation’s students. The coordination of federal education programs, management of education activities, and supplementing states’ efforts to provide our students with the highest quality education is a massive responsibility–one that requires both financial and workforce resources. So it was disconcerting when it was revealed that the Department of Education will be assisting with the implementation and dissemination of information of Obamacare.” Senator John Thune, South Dakota

** “Testing did spur some progress in student performance. But it has become clear to us that testing was being overemphasized–and misused–in schools that were substituting test preparation for instruction. Even though test-driven reforms were helpful in the beginning, it is now clear that they will never bring this country’s schools up to par with those of the high-performing nations that have left us far behind in math, science, and even literacy instruction. . . . The government went further in the testing direction through its competitive grant program, known as Race to the Top, and a waiver program related to No Child Left Behind, both of which pushed the states to create teacher evaluation systems that take student test data into account. Test scores should figure in evaluations, but the measures have to be fair, properly calibrated and statistically valid–all of which means that these evaluation systems cannot be rushed into service before they are ready.” ~ The New York Times editorial board

** “Now, under the more rigorous Common Core standards, it will be harder for states to hide their failing schools. But what has Common Core watchers nervous is not that states will cheat but that the first round of student scores in 2015 will be honest and bad–so bad they shock parents and strike fear into politicians.” ~ Cory Turner, NPR

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