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WAIVING GOODBYE TO NCLB?: U.S. Education Secretary Discusses Options to Grant Relief from NCLB’s Requirements In Absence of Congressional Action: In a June 10 conference call with reporters and a June 13 op-ed for Politico , U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed his options for waiving certain requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) should Congress be unable to finish a reauthorization of the law by this fall. Duncan declined to name specific portions of the law that could be waived, but the New York Times , citing aides to Duncan, reported that the main target would be the requirement that 100 percent of students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Duncan said that the Obama administration would immediately reach out to governors and other key state leaders to see which provisions of the law they consider the most serious obstacles and determine what kinds of reforms they would accept in exchange for the increased flexibility.
DIPLOMAS COUNT 2011: Report Pegs National High School Graduation Rate at 71.7 Percent, Highest Since 1980s: At 71.7 percent, the national high school graduation rate has reached its highest point since the 1980s, according to a new report from Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center. The report finds that the graduation rate increased nearly 3 percentage points from 2007 to 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, after declines in the previous two years. As a result, the nation’s public schools will generate about 145,000 fewer dropouts than the previous year. Even with this recent improvement, however, more than 1.2 million students—about 6,400 every day—leave high school without a diploma every year, the report finds.
HELPING STUDENTS GET BACK ON TRACK: New Alliance Report Offers Recovery Options for Over-age and Undercredited Students: Federal education policy must address the nation’s off-track student population, or those who have fallen behind in credits or are over-age for their grade, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education. In considering policies to address these students’ needs, the publication calls on federal policymakers to consider lessons learned from the New York City Department of Education’s (NYDOE) Multiple Pathways to Graduation (MGP) initiative.
AFFIRMING THE GOAL: ACT Report Shows Common Standards in Math and Reading to Be Internationally Competitive: The new common core state standards are sufficiently rigorous to ensure that the nation’s future workforce will be globally competitive, according to a new report by ACT, Inc. The study, Affirming the Goal: Is College and Career Readiness an Internationally Competitive Standard?, examines how performance benchmarks in reading and math on PLAN, ACT’s tenth-grade college- and career-readiness assessment, measured up against those on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized international assessment of fifteen-year-old students’ academic achievement.
FISCAL SURVEY OF STATES: New Report Finds Improving State Budgets, but Looming Challenges: Fiscal conditions in states are improving, but have not returned to prerecession levels of 2008, according to a new report from the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). The report, The Fiscal Survey of States, finds that state spending is expected to increase next year by 2.6 percent after rising 5.2 percent this year, but even with those increases, spending will be $19 billion lower during fiscal 2012 than it was in fiscal 2008, a 2.7 percent decrease.