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Five State Education Reform Tidbits From New NCES Data

The National Center for Education Statistics today released updated data on state policy changes on accountability, testing, finance, school choice, and other education issues.

For those who want to dig into the massive new data, here are a few interesting places to get started:

Accountability: As of 2011, 48 percent of all schools still aren't making adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act. The situation is much more dire in a few states: In Massachusetts, 82 percent of schools missed AYP; in New Mexico, it was 86 percent; and in Florida, a whopping 91 percent of schools missed the accountability benchmarks.
Early Childhood: A dozen states now require districts to offer full-day kindergarten, and 16 states require students to attend kindergarten.
Charters: NCES found 27 states now allow virtual charter schools, and 29 states permit charters to operate extended school days, weeks or years. This seems to point to emerging popularity of more hybrid and flexible time schools, which some say work better for at-risk students.
Teaching: Sixteen states now require all new teachers to participate in a mentoring program, but just three—Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina—give first-year teachers a reduced workload to help them get their feet under them.
College Readiness: The Obama Administration made this a big priority in Race to the Top and other federal grant programs, but it's still far from universal. Thirty-eight states have at least defined "college ready," but only eight have aligned high school course credits to postsecondary requirements.

These are just a few nuggets in a really rich data report. Happy hunting!

Want more research news? Follow @SarahDSparks on Twitter for the latest studies, and join the conversation.

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