Some of the News Fit to Print
Some of the News Fit to Print
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CALIFORNIA STRUGGLES TO ASSESS TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMS
In California, there are various routes to becoming a teacher, all requiring attainment of a bachelor’s degree, passing several competency exams, and spending time in a classroom. Yet nearly 10 years after the reforms, there is little more than anecdotal evidence—and no hard data—to show whether programs, and graduating teachers, are better than those who graduated before the reforms. Student test scores, which are increasingly used to assess teacher performance, have shown little improvement. By 2011, the number of California students proficient on the national reading exam had increased only five percentage points, to 25 percent from 20 percent. David Rattray, senior vice president of education and workforce development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, co-chaired a transition committee in the wake of the reforms, and says that there is still a need for changes throughout the arc of the process, from recruiting students to continuously developing experienced teachers. The article is in The Hechinger Report.
ENROLLMENT DECLINE PICKS UP SPEED
The decline in college enrollments appears to be accelerating, with 2.3 percent fewer students enrolled on campuses this spring than there were in spring 2012, according to data published Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse. The 2.3 percent dip is steeper than the 1.8 percent decline that the clearinghouse reported in December when it compared fall 2012 numbers to those from fall 2011. These reports represent the clearinghouse's first such twice-yearly analyses of fall and spring enrollments, which the Virginia-based organization says will be annual going forward. The clearinghouse collects data from institutions that represent about 95 percent of all enrollments at colleges that grant degrees and are eligible to award federal financial aid. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
REPORT EXPLORES DIVERSITY GAP
The pool of college graduates who earned degrees in the 2007-8 academic year was considerably less diverse than the overall student body, and that finding presents challenges for colleges because more and more individuals seeking a higher education do not fit the prototype of a traditional student, concludes a broad analysis of student outcomes released on Thursday by the American Council on Education. The report, “With College Degree in Hand: Analysis of Racial Minority Graduates and Their Lives After College,” is the third in a series of ACE reports on diversity and inclusion in higher education. It explores a range of student outcomes broken down by racial and ethnic categories, and also examines recent graduates’ performance in the job market and pursuit of advanced degrees. The report says that graduates were predominantly white students who tended to be young, unmarried, childless, and dependent on their parents while in college. The information is from The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Ticker.
Independent School Administrator Peter Gow writes in Education Week’s Common Perspectives blog:The most effective and successful schools understand deeply that developing outstanding teachers and faculties of lifelong professional learners is every bit as important as their work with students. I see more schools thinking ever more intentionally about the training and support of newer teachers and the ongoing professional learning of veterans. If we are to claim to be schools that have a broader and higher purpose than churning out happy graduates, attending to the skills and professionalism of our teachers must be at the center of our work.
MATH SKILLS AT AGE 7 PREDICT HOW MUCH MONEY YOU WILL MAKE
A recent study found that how much money people make at midlife can be predicted by math ability at age seven, and, for girls only, by early reading ability. Other factors may have helped them on the path to success, but even when those were controlled for, the association between basic math and reading skills and future socioeconomic status remained, and remained significant: one jump in reading level, for example, was associated with an increased midlife salary of about $7,750. The article was in The Atlantic.
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JERRY BROWN URGES UC TO STRESS GRADUATING STUDENTS IN FOUR YEARS
SACRAMENTO — The graduation rates of UC students came under more scrutiny Wednesday as Gov. Jerry Brown urged administrators and faculty to prod more undergraduates to earn a degree in four years, not six. Brown recently proposed giving UC and Cal State more funds if they increase their graduation rates by 10% by 2017. UC leaders have said that is an admirable but unreasonable goal and that such issues as students' outside employment and their desire to take double majors slow them down. The article is in the LA Times.
TEXAS LAUNCHES ONLINE TOOL TO COMPARE STATE’S HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched Compare College TX, an online interactive tool designed to make the most relevant data about public higher education. The online comparison tool allows users to access and interact with information for every public university and community college, including tuition and fees, graduation rates, and salaries for graduates by major. The article is from the Houston Chronicle.
REACHING STUDENTS EARLY
College-going rates could go up significantly if students in high school received counseling as freshmen, and not just when they are juniors and seniors, a new study from the National Association for College Admission Counseling says. The impact may be greatest on those in groups less likely than others to go to college. Among high school freshmen whose parents did not hold a bachelor’s degree, the study found positive correlations between. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
YALE JOINS THE MOOC CLUB
Yale announced on Wednesday that it would soon offer MOOCs through Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based company. Yale plans to offer four courses beginning in January, focusing on constitutional law, financial markets, morality, and Roman architecture. The move was a long time coming. Yale, which in 2007 became among the first institutions to make its course content available free on the Web with its Open Yale Courses lecture series, has taken a distinctly deliberate approach to MOOCs. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
TRYING TO RESET ONLINE FIGHT
Seeking to “reset” a contentious debate about the role of technology in California public higher education, the authors of a new report argue that California policy makers need a statewide approach to end what they call years of isolated, segmented and ineffective online offerings. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
ONLY ONE TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM?
Pearson Foundation Senior Fellow John Wilson writes in his John Wilson Unleashed blog in Education Week: How much longer are we going to continue down the path of absurdity seeking the promised land of teacher evaluations? Spending millions of dollars on complicated and convoluted systems that only demoralize teachers will eventually result in backlash from taxpayers and voters. Evaluating teachers on student test scores will inevitably prove once again that low income students do not test as well as affluent students and that effective teachers who want good evaluations will move to schools with higher income students. Coupling test scores of students to the evaluations of teachers who never taught those children will never hold up in court. The irony in all this is that there is an effective system for teacher evaluations, one that has been around since the 1980's. Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) programs have been the exemplar for strong teacher evaluation systems. Teachers trained to evaluate their peers are able to distinguish the inexperienced from the ineffective---a significant difference from other evaluation systems---and can help teachers improve their practice.
COMMON CORE SUPPORTERS FIRING BACK
Supporters of the Common Core State Standards are moving to confront increasingly high-profile opposition to the standards at the state and national levels by rallying the private sector and initiating coordinated public relations and advertising campaigns as schools continue implementation. In states such as Michigan and Tennessee, where common-core opponents feel momentum is with them, state education officials, the business community, and allied advocacy groups are ramping up efforts to define and buttress support for the standards—and to counter what they say is misinformation. The article is in Education Week.
LAWMAKERS VOTE TO BOOST STEM EDUCATION IN IMMIGRATION BILL
Good news for STEM fans: There's even more federal resources for science, mathematics, engineering and technology in the big, comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill making its way through the U.S. Senate. The Senate Judiciary committee, which is holding a markup of the bill today, voted unanimously to take money collected on fees for labor certifications under the bill and direct the money towards STEM education at the U.S. Department of Education. That could mean an additional $100 million annually for STEM education. And those resources would come on top of the roughly $100 million to $150 million in extra funding for STEM education at the National Sciences Foundation, which was already included in the bill, according to James Brown, the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition, which backs the bill. The post is from Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog.
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ADDRESSING THE ECONOMIC DIVIDE
Century Foundation Senior Fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg writes in The New York Times: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon curtailing the ability of universities to use race in admissions. Polls suggest the American public would support such a ruling as a strong majority do not want race to be used as a factor in who gets ahead. But Americans also do not want our institutions of higher education to resegregate — so paradoxically, a conservative ruling on race could create a unique political space in which a series of progressive public policy proposals aimed at class inequality could prevail.
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR CALLS FOR TUITION FREEZES, DROPS PROPOSAL FOR UNIT CAPS
Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal calls for spending more on the state's colleges and universities each year through 2016-17 -- and for a 4-year tuition freeze at CSU and UC. But the plan the governor unveiled Tuesday backs away from the more sweeping changes he had proposed for California's three public college systems. Among the higher education reforms he scrapped or postponed: capping the number of units students can take while receiving state tuition subsidies, shifting adult education programs from K-12 districts to community colleges, and funding community colleges based on how many students complete a term, rather than by a count taken a few weeks into the semester. The article is in the San Jose Mercury News.
CALIFORNIA’S ROCKY PATH TO PROSPERITY
Unless California helps low-income parents learn basic skills, train for jobs and pursue higher education, the state’s prosperity is at risk, concludes Working Hard, Left Behind. The Campaign for College Opportunity, the Women’s Foundation of California and Working Poor Families project collaborated on the report. California leads the nation in low-income working adults and in poorly educated adults. More than 1 out of 10 adults over 24 years of age have less than a ninth-grade education; nearly 1 in 5 adults didn’t complete high school. The state will be 2.3 million vocational certificate, two-year and four-year degree graduates short of meeting the needs of the state economy by 2025, the report estimate. The article is in the Hechinger Report.
INVEST IN SUCCESS OF LOW-INCOME STUDENTS
Institute for Higher Education Policy President Michelle Asha Cooper writes in the Huffington Post: For several years, I have watched the higher education community engage in hand-wringing over strategies for improving the educational outcomes for low- and moderate-income students. At present, low-income students remain less likely to enroll and complete college, when compared to their higher-income peers. Given these trends, the attention being dedicated to these students is certainly warranted. However, long-standing efforts designed to improve the outcomes for low- and moderate-income students, such as the federal Pell grants and TRIO programs, are constantly being thrashed and called ineffective. This chorus of opposition is growing more and more audible. While there is a need to enhance these programs to effectively serve more deserving students, I do believe that it is not in our best interest to scrutinize the outputs of these programs, without simultaneously scrutinizing the inputs.
WHY EDUCATION SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A CIVIL RIGHT
Morgan State University President David Wilson writes in The Baltimore Sun: The last several decades have seen significant increases in educational expenditures at all levels of the educational system. During this period, there have also been a variety of educational reform movements designed to raise the achievement levels of students across the board. It appears that the best that can be said of these efforts is that students in the upper middle class have been in the best position to benefit from educational improvements, and the rapid increases in their educational outcomes reflect this. Unfortunately, leaving half of the talent in the country behind is not the best way to reinvigorate our economy or to avert the many personal and social problems that result from this lack of upward mobility.
WEINGARTEN EXPLAINS HOW SHE WOULD TEACH THE COMMON CORE
Teachers in schools across the nation are changing how they teach. It’s part of the switch to the Common Core, a new set of national standards for what students should know and be able to do in reading and math. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten earlier this month explained how she would teach under the Common Core. Weingarten supports the Common Core, but has been calling for a pause in using the results of new Common Core tests for purposes including evaluating teachers and sanctioning low performing schools. Weingarten said teachers have not had enough time or help understanding the new standards and how to change how they teach. “Teachers are really supportive of it, but they want to get it done right,” she said. The article is from NPR’s State Impact.
ED FUNDERS GIVING MORE TO SAME FEW
As more and more foundation money floods into K-12 education, it is being channeled to fewer and fewer groups, according to new research presented at the American Educational Research Association meeting here last week. Researchers also found that foundation money is moving away from traditional public schools and toward "challengers to the system"—primarily charter schools—and that the funders in general are becoming much more active in shaping how those challengers develop. The article is in Education Week.
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FEDERAL SPENDING THAT WORKS
Most community colleges could easily put federal grant money to good use plugging up budget holes after years of slashing by states. But the U.S. Department of Labor’s $2 billion in workforce development funding for the sector was designed to encourage two-year colleges to make lasting, ambitious changes instead of just back-filling budgets. And that approach seems to be working. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
STUDENTS TRY TO BREAK TABOO AROUND SOCIAL CLASS ON CAMPUS
Spurred by growing income disparities, the aftereffects of the recession, and debates over admissions policies that consider students' ability to pay, students on many campuses are trying to ignite frank—and sometimes uncomfortable—conversations about class. They are running flash seminars, financial-literacy workshops, and surveys. They're big on "dialoguing." And many students are pushing their administrations for more support—stepped-up recruitment, more-egalitarian admissions policies, mentoring networks, resource guides—to help underprivileged students thrive. The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.