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Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

US Ed Secretary Talks PARCC, FAFSA

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Illinois students will get a hint about how they scored on the PARCC test — the standardized test based on the Common Core — when statewide results are announced tomorrow. State officials have warned that scores will be lower than with previous tests. But U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says it’s time for an honest assessment.

“It’s so important that we tell the truth to parents and to students about are they on track to be successful in college or not,” Duncan says. "And many states, including Illinois, dummy-down those standards to make politicians look good.”  

The PARCC test, Duncan says, sets a new, more realistic baseline that should inspire school districts to better prepare students for careers.

He’s swinging through the midwest on a Back-to-School bus tour, and will visit Williamsfield and Champaign tomorrow.

Duncan also talked about the new policy on FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The White House recently announced that beginning next year, applicants can fill out the form in October, using infomation filled in automatically from their 2015 tax returns. Previously, they would’ve had to wait until the following January to use the 2016 tax return — and had to answer more than 100 questions, by hand. 

“And we think just on making the forms simpler, we’ll have tens of thousands of additional young people going to college who thought they couldn’t afford it, who thought it was for rich folks and not folks like them,” Duncan says. "So we feel very, very good about this.” 

After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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