Some of the News Fit to Print
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CANTOR ON HIGHER ED TRANSPARENCY
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor delivered a high-profile policy address at AEI yesterday, laying out a GOP agenda for the next two years. The speech was ambitious, touching on everything from immigration to Medicare reform to job training. He assured the audience that House Republicans were prepared to “move heaven and earth” to improve the education system for the most vulnerable. His overarching message was familiar: policies should empower parents and students to make informed decisions about their own education. But he went beyond standard arguments about K-12 school choice to call for greater transparency in higher education: The article is in AEI Ideas.
COLLEGES ASK FOR GOVERNMENT TO CLARIFY RULES
Many college leaders and accreditors say the rules governing competency-based learning remain unclear, and they fault the Education Department for sending mixed messages about its willingness to move beyond seat time in allocating aid. They say the uncertainty is stifling innovation and discouraging more colleges from experimenting with new measures of student learning. In an effort to clarify the rules, a group of influential foundations is planning a spring meeting on the future of competency-based programs. The goal, organizers say, is to create a "safe space" where accreditors, state regulators, department officials, and colleges can figure out ways to promote the programs, while protecting taxpayer dollars from fraud. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
TRANSCRIPT FOR WORK
The rap on college transcripts is that they don’t tell employers much, thanks to grade inflation and the failure of conventional grades to predict performance on the job. So to try to give their students' transcripts more heft, a two-year college in Missouri now includes not only their grades, but a job readiness score and their attendance rate as well. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
COLLEGE SONGS FOR A MOOC ERA
Ted Fiske rewrites the lyrics of some traditional college songs and cheers -- and invites others to submit similar revisions of their favorites.
Far above Cayuga’s waters with its waves of blue,
Stand our noble M-O-O-Cs, glorious to view.
Massive Open Online Courses, loud their praises tell.
Hail O dig’tal Alma Mater, now called e-Cornell.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for our MOOCs.
They make teachers into rock stars.
Who needs Yale or Duke? (rah rah rah)
We take classes in our jammies
Any time of day.
Oh, how we love to learn
The online way.
Read more in Inside Higher Ed.
VIRTUAL EDUCATORS CRITIQUE VALUE OF MOOCS FOR K-12
MOOCs have been hailed by their evangelists as a revolution in virtual education that will open doors to teachers and curricula not otherwise available to a mass audience. They have garnered so much attention in higher education that the online news site Inside Higher Ed named the approach the top educational technology trend of 2012. And now, the trend is showing up in K-12 environments such as the Miami Global Academy, although at a much slower rate than the idea has taken off in colleges and universities. The article is in Education Week.
SCHOOL REFORM SHIFTS TO STUDENTS
The South Dakota education department has outlined the primary focus areas for its reform agenda: ensuring reading proficiency by grade 4 and math by grade 9, improving college and career readiness for high schoolers, and closing the Native American achievement gap. The state also is pursuing ways to tie together teacher quality and student data. Meanwhile, the state is implementing the Common Core Standards, along with new computer-based tests. The article is in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
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FLAT OUT DISAPPOINTMENT
The writing has been on the wall for a while, and it hasn’t looked good.First, a handful of the country’s wealthiest universities announced in October that their endowments saw tepid returns for the fiscal year that ended June 30, with Harvard University’s fund, the country’s largest educational endowment, posting a decline. Then preliminary data about this year’s annual National Association of College and University Business Officers-Commonfund study of endowments hinted at losses across higher education. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
GROWING WHAT WORKS
Institutional practices across the country are improving Latino student success in higher education. however, many of these practices only serve a small number of students. since 2005, Excelencia in Education has been identifying and presenting promising practices to the field, monitoring reactions and watching for early adopters and investors. They have noted that while the number of Latino students seeking to enroll in colleges and universities has increased, the level of institutional change to support their academic success has not kept pace. Thus, eplicating effective practices and increasing the reach of evidence-based practices for student success continues to be a critical challenge for today’s colleges and universities to meet. These issues are addressed in Excelencia’s new report, Growing What Works: Lessons Learned from Replicating Promising Practices for Latino Students.
RACE TO THE TOP WINNERS MAKE PROGRESS, FACE CHALLENGES
At the midway point of the federal Race to the Top program, the list of accomplishments for the 11 winning states and the District of Columbia is getting longer, but the challenges are getting more formidable as the time frame gets shorter, according to a progress report issued by the U.S. Department of Education today. The article is in Education Week.
GOVERNOR PROPOSES PLAN FOR FAILING SCHOOLS
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing legislation to create a statewide school division that would take over management of chronically low-performing schools. A new board would determine how to operate the schools so they obtain full accreditation, which could include turning it into a charter school or college laboratory partnership school. The article is in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
RETHINKING UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS EDUCATION: LIBERAL LEARNING FOR THE PROFESSION WINS FREDERIC W. NESS BOOK AWARD
Washington, DC—January 24, 2013—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the winner of its Frederic W. Ness Book Award, Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession, published in 2011 by Jossey-Bass/Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Ness award is given to a book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education, and will be formally presented to the authors, Anne Colby, Thomas Ehrlich, William M. Sullivan, and Jonathan R. Dolle, at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, on January 24, 2013, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's national study of undergraduate business education found that most undergraduate programs are too narrow, failing to challenge students to question assumptions, think creatively, or understand the place of business in larger institutional contexts. Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education examines these limitations and describes the efforts of a diverse set of institutions to address them by integrating the best elements of liberal arts learning with business curriculum to help students develop wise, ethically grounded professional judgment.
Some of the News Fit to Print
CALIFORNIA DISTRICTS TEAM UP TO PUSH SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS
Frustrated by their own state's pace and direction of school improvement, eight California districts have banded together to move ahead on rolling out the Common Core State Standards and designing new teacher evaluations based in part on student performance. The districts, which include Los Angeles and San Francisco, also are mounting a major breakaway from California in seeking their own NCLB waiver. The article is in Education Week.
NATIONAL COUNCIL GIVES STATES LOW GRADE ON TEACHER PREP POLICIES
The National Council on Teacher Quality released the latest edition of its State Teacher Policy Yearbook report. Although a number of states improved their showing from last year, the states still only averaged a D-plus on the full set of their policies. Only four states -- Alabama, Florida, Indiana, and Tennessee -- received the report's highest grade of a B-minus. The article is from EducationNews.org.
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DAVOS FORUM CONSIDERS LEARNING’S NEXT WAVE
DAVOS, Switzerland — She may not have been the youngest speaker ever at the World Economic Forum in Davos, but Khadija Niazi, 12, was certainly captivating. Hundreds of the conference’s well-heeled attendees listened intently as Ms. Niazi, of Lahore, Pakistan, described her experience with massive open online courses, known as MOOCs, that are spreading rapidly around the globe. MOOCs are vastly extending the reach of professors at some of the world’s best universities, particularly at Stanford, Harvard, M.I.T., Yale, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Duke. Ms. Niazi has been taking courses, free so far, from Udacity and Coursera, two of the earliest providers of this new form of instruction. Her latest enthusiasm is for astrobiology, because she is fascinated by U.F.O.’s and wants to become a physicist. Education has long played a part in the annual deliberations here. But this time, many participants may have detected what Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, described as “a lot of attention.” The article is in The New York Times.
CAN TEXTBOOKS REALLY BE FREE?
Providing college students with free textbooks is no easy task. That seems to be the major lesson from several efforts to produce e-books that are low-cost or free to help reduce students' costs. Money pressures, slow adoption by professors, and quality concerns stand in the way as these projects hope to rival traditional publishing. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
A DREAM WITHIN REACH
After years on the back burner, immigration is set to command more of Congress’s attention in the coming months, including several provisions important for higher education that are likely to be part of any proposed comprehensive legislation. Immigration was mentioned only infrequently during the election. But the drubbing Republicans took among Latino voters led to speculation that both parties might be open to overhauling immigration this year. On Tuesday, President Obama will lay out his plan in a speech in Las Vegas. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
DREAM ACT STUDENTS APPLY FOR COLLEGE AID
For the first time, undocumented immigrants in California will be able to apply for state financial aid under the controversial California Dream Act. While federal funding is still out of reach, the state measure now allows children who were brought to the country illegally, but who attended a school in the state for at least three years to qualify for up to about $12,000 in Cal Grants to use toward college. The article is in the San Francisco Chronicle.
INDIANA BILL AIMS TO BOOST COLLEGE READINESS BY TYING FINANCIAL AID TO STATE EXAMS
Students who fall behind in high school will have to brush up their skills if they want state financial aid to attend college under a bill passed by the Indiana's House Education Committee. House Bill 1005 aims to reduce the number of students who start college in remedial classes and direct them into free programs sponsored by the state. The article is in the Indianapolis Star.
Some of the News Fit to Print
BILL GATES: MY PLAN TO FIX THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PROBLEMS
Bill Gates writes in the Wall Street Journal: In the past year, I have been struck by how important measurement is to improving the human condition. You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal—in a feedback loop similar to the one Mr. Rosen describes. The article is in the Wall Street Journal.
Atul Gawande, author and professor at Harvard University, candidly explains what the education field can learn from top performers in the medicine, sports, and music fields--and how coaching is at the heart of learning in a Harvard EdCast.
ED DEPARTMENT RAISES EVIDENCE, RESEARCH ANTE IN GRANT AWARDS
Using the Investing in Innovation program as a building block, the U.S. Department of Education is taking the next formal step to make research and evidence far more important factors as it awards competitive grants. The goal is twofold: to reward projects that already have established a research-based track record of success and to encourage grant winners to produce rigorous evidence detailing the extent to which their project does—or does not—work. To make that happen, the Education Department is proposing significant changes to an arcane, bureaucratic set of rules known as EDGAR, or the Education Department General Administrative Regulations, as part of a governmentwide push to introduce more evidence into decisionmaking. The article is in Education Week.
ISSUE TO WATCH: SCHOOL TESTING
At least four governors are looking to join more than a dozen other states that have passed laws requiring 3rd-grade students to demonstrate that they can read at grade level before entering 4th grade. While a couple of states are questioning whether there is already too much testing, other governors are pushing schools to be graded on an A to F scale based on student performance. And more than 30 states have made test results a factor in measuring teacher performance. The article is from Stateline.org.
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NOT RUSHING INTO MOOCS
News of universities partnering with massive open online course providers has become commonplace, which is why Yale University stands out for what it’s not doing: rushing. While many top universities -- including Harvard and Stanford Universities, along with many others -- were announcing partnerships and launching their first MOOCs, Yale sat back, watched, and evaluated. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
PROFESSORS SAY TECHNOLOGY HELPS IN LOGISTICS, NOT LEARNING
With PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, and online portals, technology is playing an increasingly important role in college classrooms and lecture halls. But are those technologies improving learning?A study published this month in the journal Science, Technology, & Human Values found that professors at research-intensive universities believe the answer to that question is no. A report on the study, “Technological Change and Professional Control in the Professoriate,” includes interviews with more than 40 professors at three universities. It suggests that professors often use such technologies for logistical purposes rather than to improve learning. The post is from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired blog.
MILLIONS OF GRADS HOLD JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE A COLLEGE DEGREE
Millions of college graduates over all -- not just recent ones -- suffer a mismatch between education and employment, holding jobs that don't require a college degree, according to a new report. Out of 41.7 million working college graduates in 2010, 48% -- more than 20 million people -- held jobs that required less than a bachelor's degree. Thirty-seven percent held jobs that required no more than a high-school diploma. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
TRUE GRIT: CAN PERSEVERANCE BE TAUGHT?
Angela Duckworth, a leading researcher on the topic of grit and educational achievement, presented her research on how non-cognitive competencies can predict academic and professional success at a TEDx event. Duckworth is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
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TO RAISE GRADUATION RATE, COLLEGES ARE URGED TO HELP A CHANGING STUDENT BODY
In an effort to improve the college completion rate and fend off new regulations, a commission of the nation’s six leading higher-education associations is calling for extensive reforms to serve a changing college population — one increasingly composed of older and part-time students. The article is in The New York Times.
RECONCEIVING COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROCEDURES TO IMPROVE STUDENTS SUCCESS
The US has made a serious commitment to “college for all,” and community colleges are a primary vehicle for expanding college access. Yet as community colleges have succeeded in opening access to broad populations, their degree completion rates are low. Community colleges have retained many traditional procedures that are counter-productive for disadvantaged students and inappropriate for new labor market demands. Some colleges, however, have devised alternative procedures that are better adapted to real student needs. This brief describes common organizational failures and examines alternative procedures that enable student success. This policy brief is from the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford.
LEARNING FROM MOOCS
Cousera co-founder Andrew Ng writes in Inside Higher Ed: Educators create online courses for the same reasons that they became teachers to begin with: to educate students, broaden their awareness of the world and thereby improve the students’ lives. And with massive open online courses (MOOCs), educators can now reach many more students at a time. But MOOCs offer many other benefits to the education community, including providing valuable lessons to the instructors who teach them.
FRESHMAN SURVEY: MORE FOCUSED ON JOBS
Today's freshmen are focused on the future. They are certain they'll finish their degrees in four years, despite evidence to the contrary; they want to land good jobs after graduation; and they increasingly aspire to be well-off. Those are among the many findings of the 2012 Freshman Survey, published on Thursday by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program, part of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. The annual survey delves into nearly every aspect of first-year students' lives: study habits,
religious beliefs, family income, career goals, even exercise habits. This year's survey was administered last fall to 192,912 first-time,full-time students at 283 four-year colleges and universities. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
‘INSIDERS’ NOT SANGUINE ON FEDERAL TEACHER PREP REGULATIONS
Stephen Sawchuk writes for Education Week’s Teacher Beat blog: Nearly two-thirds of the "education insiders" questioned in a recent survey are skeptical that the U.S. Department of Education "will take concrete steps to improve teacher preparation in 2013," according to a release today from Whiteboard Advisors, a Washington-based consultancy. The group periodically surveys insiders—think former Capitol Hill staffers, agency appointees, and policy wonks—for their insight into current federal education policy matters. The latest survey shows that just 36 percent of those surveyed think that the ED will make a mark on teacher preparation this year.
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PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES TO OFFER FREE ONLINE COURSES FOR CREDIT
In an unusual arrangement with a commercial company, dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program. The universities — including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system — will choose which of their existing online courses to convert to a massive open online course, or MOOC, in the new program, called MOOC2Degree. The proliferation of free online courses from top universities like Harvard and Stanford over the past year has prompted great interest in online learning. But those courses, so far, have generally not carried credit. The article is in The New York Times.
'BILL OF RIGHTS' SEEKS TO PROTECT STUDENTS’ INTEREST AS ONLINE LEARNING EXPANDS
A dozen educators met last month in Palo Alto, Calif., to discuss the future of higher education. They had been convened at the epicenter of technological innovation in higher education by Sebastian Thrun, a pioneer of massive open online courses, and yet the task at hand had nothing to do with software or strategy. It had to do with citizenship. The Philadelphia Convention, it was not. But the 12 educators, many of them well known in online-education circles, did manage to draft a document that they hope will serve as a philosophical framework for protecting the interests of students as online education, propelled and complicated by the rise of MOOCs, hurtles into a new phase. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Today's provosts are a skeptical lot. That may come with the territory, as they must constantly prioritize some ideas (and some people's careers) over others -- tasks that are never easy and have been made more challenging by the economic downturn. But the 2013 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers finds evidence that in some areas of higher education (MOOCs or massive open online courses, for example) provosts aren't yet ready to jump on the bandwagon, and relatively few see these offerings playing a positive, transformational role in higher education. In other areas (tenure), provosts see established practice as the norm at their institutions, but an apparent skepticism for tenure shows up in the very high percentage who are open to the idea of long-term faculty contracts in its stead.
HOW CALIFORNIA’S BUDGET CRISIS COLORS MINORITIES’ COLLEGE HOPES
Changes to the California's public higher-education system will affect large number of students of color attending any of the Golden State's approximately 145 public colleges and universities. California Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget, released earlier this month, moderately increases state spending on higher ed and freezes tuition for the next four years. The budget also encourages state colleges and universities to rein in costs, increase graduation rates, and reduce the amount of time it takes students to earn a degree. Although Brown’s changes haven’t been framed as a minority issue per se, they will affect many students of color across the state. In California, “almost anything you do to the higher-education system one way or another is going to affect students of color,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute in San Jose, Calif. “I would say these are modest constructive initiatives that will help California students and certainly will help students of color - especially if we make sure we can serve more students at a reasonable cost. The article is in the National Journal.
COLLEGES OVERPRODUCING ELEMENTARY TEACHERS
Though universities' economics departments preach the gospel of supply and demand, that principle is not always followed when it comes to their education departments. Data, while imprecise, suggest that some states are producing far more new teachers at the elementary level than will be able to find jobs in their respective states—even as districts struggle to find enough recruits in other certification fields. The article is in Education Week.