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36 states increased the rigor of their standards since 2013, while five made them less rigorous. (Click to enlarge)

The push to establish national academic benchmarks may have been dealt yet another blow by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Nearly two dozen states began revising the Common Core after the new law reaffirmed their authority to create their own standards.

Students can use a free Khan Academy test prep program to better prepare for the redesigned SAT.

The redesigned SAT seeks to expand opportunities for all students to go to college—but its focus on reading comprehension may make the exam more difficult for English-language learners and low-income students.

Disabled students are in every group, including this graduating class. The national graduation rate hit a historic high of 82 percent in 2014; however, students with disabilities graduated at a rate of 63 percent. (Photo: Communities In Schools)

While national graduation rates hit an all-time high of 82 percent in 2014, the trend for students with disabilities remained flat at nearly 63 percent. In three states, students with disabilities graduated from high school at half the rate of their non-disabled peers.

32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs

Total state funding for preschool programs rose by $767 million, to a total of nearly $7 billion. In the 2015-16 budget year, 32 states and the District of Columbia raised funding levels of preschool programs—ans support stemmed from both sides of the political aisle.

The amount of money raised annually by nonprofit parent-run organizations soared from $197 million in 1995 to $880 million in 2010.

The amount of money raised annually by nonprofit parent-run organizations soared from $197 million in 1995 to $880 million in 2010. Aggressive fundraising to support athletic teams, buy school equipment and funds field trips further widens disparities between affluent and economically challenged districts.

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab took over Flint's public schools just a month before the city's water crisis erupted.

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab started work at Flint Community Schools in September, prepared to take on the district’s budget deficit of $10.5 million and a number of poor-performing schools. The city’s infamous water crisis erupted during his first month at the helm of the district of 7,000 students

Eagle Mountain Elementary, part of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD in Texas, adopted a Finnish model pilot program structured around four short recess periods each day.

Multiple studies affirm the importance of play in children’s physical and mental health. At four Texas elementary schools, students have more time for swings, monkey bars and outdoor games after administrators adopted a Finnish model structured around four short recess periods each day.

Students visited Paris on a trip organized through the Student & Youth Travel Association in July 2014. Some district administrators cancelled trips to popular destinations including Paris, New York City and Washington, D.C., in recent months after terrorist attacks or threats on those locations.

The November terrorist attack on Paris and ensuing threats to major U.S. cities led many administrators nationwide to cancel class spring break trips in efforts to keep students safe. The decisions, in many cases, disappointed students, parents and city officials in popular tourist destinations.

A recent federal court decision on the statute of limitations for families to take legal action against schools sheds new light on compensatory services provided to special education students when IEP goals are missed. Parents may now seek several years’ worth of special education services.

In June, Maine became the first state to require all school districts to create a policy on use of the substance. Colorado and New Jersey also passed laws in the last year permitting certain students to receive the treatment in K12 schools.

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