A first look at today's most important education news:

Fordham's latest

"Getting real about the Common Core," by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Flypaper

The results of a national reading test show that U.S. students only know half of the words that they were expected to know in the vocabulary section; experts are disheartened but not surprised, while Education Week finds achievement gaps(Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Education Week)

The U.S. Department of Education announces the winners of the latest round of early-childhood Race to the Top grants: Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The states will split $133 million. (Early Years)

The results of Florida’s new teacher evaluations from the 2011-12 school year were released on Wednesday, finding an increase in “poor” ratings. (Hechinger Report)

The Los Angeles Unified School District won a court battle with charter schools earlier this week, when “an appeals court struck down a ruling that could have opened up vast numbers of classrooms for charters.” (Los Angeles Times)

South Carolina teachers object to the state’s proposed evaluation program. (Huffington Post)

Staff at PACE East, a special-education program in Prince William County, are accused of discriminating against students on the basis of emotional disability.(Washington Post)

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