Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the nation’s governors on April 1 that in exchange for billions of dollars in federal education aid provided under the economic stimulus law, he wants new information about the performance of their public schools, much of which could be embarrassing, reports the New York Times. In a "Dear Governor" letter to the 50 states, Duncan said $44 billion in stimulus money was being made available to states immediately. To qualify for a second phase of financing later this year, however, governors will need to provide reams of detailed educational information. The data are likely to reveal that in many states, tests have been dumbed down so that students score far higher than on tests administered by the federal Education Department. They also probably will show that many local teacher-evaluation systems are so perfunctory that they rate 99 of every 100 teachers as excellent and that diplomas often mean so little that millions of high school graduates each year must enroll in remediation classes upon entering college. Such information, Duncan’s letter said, "will reveal both strengths and underlying challenges." Gathering the new information, Duncan’s aides said, is part of a strategy to shine a spotlight on school systems that are not working well and drive their improvement…

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