The short answer is that the standards language in ESSA—the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—strikes a delicate compromise that's kind of complicated to wrap your mind around.
The two proposals are designed to ensure that the federal higher education loan program helps more students obtain college degrees faster.
The plan includes ideas that past Republican presidential contenders and members of Congress have pitched, and even dovetails in some respects with President Barack Obama's K-12 playbook.
The new acting U.S. Secretary of Education uses his first first major speech to call for continued attention to educational equity.
The two agencies looked at policies and programs that seem to be getting results in some school districts, and put out guidance to help districts and health care agencies collaborate.
Does the exchange in the debate mean the Common Core State Standards are back in the mix as a campaign issue? Maybe.
In our new story about the opt-out movement, there's one issue that we didn't explore: advocates' feelings on the race for the White House this year.
California, which has been something of a thorn in the Education Department's side in recent years, has some ideas for the shape of ESSA regulations.
President Barack Obama also made clear in his State of the Union address that he will fight to expand access to STEM courses, and the training and recruiting of good teachers.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, head of the Senate education committee, pledged to move fast if President Barack Obama nominates an education secretary, rather than continuing to have an acting secretary.