- BROWSE INITIATIVES
- BY INTEREST GROUP
- BY PRIORITY ISSUE
- BY WICHE DEPARTMENT
- BY WICHE STATE
- ALPHA LIST ALL
- PROJECT ARCHIVE
- WICHE REGION
- NEWS ROOM
- ABOUT US
- WICHE DIRECTORY
- ASK WICHE
Controversial resolutions have led to a debate about when the associations should speak up.
Graduate students aren’t being paid enough, but that’s changing.
Allan W. Whitman would appear at protests with President John Silber, who liked to confront student demonstrators.
After five tumultuous years, Francisco G. Cigarroa will return to his roots in surgery.
Richard Carpenter, who has been a college chief for 32 years, will retire as chancellor of the Lone Star College system. Read about that and other job news.
Taft E. Armandroff, who has led the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii for eight years, will be in charge of the University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory.
As more high schools offer ways to earn college credits, some educators worry that students are being set up to fail.
The number I’ll wear – 80 – is rarely seen on a basketball jersey – but represents a record in education.
That number – 80 percent — is the newly announced high school graduation rate, the highest in American history. Never before have 4 out of 5 American students completed high school. We have further to go, but this is a moment to celebrate the hard work of our educators.
Often in sports, but rarely in education, do you hear about the heroes whose skill, hard work, creativity and tenacity resulted in an achievement the whole country should know about. We should all take heart from the passionate, caring work being done in classrooms, schools, and communities across the country.
Who’s to credit for this progress? Here, as elsewhere, you can be sure that the best ideas come from outside Washington, D.C. The best ideas come from teachers, principals, superintendents, and other educators who are determined to see their students succeed.
These ideas come from communities like Seattle, Wash., where Grover Cleveland High School was struggling just a few years ago. But Cleveland’s educators and students wouldn’t let the school fail.
With federal grant funds and other reform dollars, Cleveland transformed from a traditional neighborhood high school to one that emphasized project-based learning, connected students with mentors in the surrounding community, and offered internships in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. School leaders and staff met every week and included parents, employers and other partners in designing a new approach to learning.
Cleveland seized the opportunity to innovate, and it worked. The school’s four-year-graduation rate rose from 60.5% in 2011 to 75% in 2013. And in 2013, Cleveland was named a Washington State School of Distinction.
Elsewhere, in Tennessee and the District of Columbia, state and local leaders looked honestly at student underperformance – and did something about it. They raised standards, strengthened classroom instruction, and revamped systems for teacher support and evaluation.
At Cleveland – and at schools in states from Ohio to Texas – change was, and is, hard. It takes tenacity, compassion, and courage from both students and educators.
The 80 percent number – the graduation rate for the class of 2011* — represents not only the collective progress we’ve made as a nation, but individually as communities, schools, students, and families.
But I see 80 percent as a starting point. We have so much further to go – for the one in five students who don’t graduate; for the many who graduate less than fully prepared for college; and for the groups of students that, despite recent progress, are achieving and graduating at lower rates. The potential of American students is limitless – it’s on our schools, families and communities to help them achieve at higher levels.
All students should have the opportunity to achieve in high school and thrive in whatever career or college they pursue. We owe 100 percent of our students that chance.
Today, I’ll celebrate where we are, and recognize where we need to go.
Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education
*2010-2011 Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate
The cards may financially benefit colleges more than students, says the Government Accountability Office.
The case against a prominent academic has made both local and visiting professors cautious about what they study and say publicly.
As her teacher taught a lesson on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the struggle to advance civil rights, Catherine E. Lhamon’s then-four-year-old daughter proudly informed her class, “My mom does that!”
Lhamon has dedicated her life’s work to equity and justice. Appointed by President Obama, she is doing that as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
“My own parents were active in civil rights and I attended law school knowing I wanted to make a difference,” said Lhamon, who earned her law degree at Yale after graduating summa cum laude from Amherst College.
Before joining the administration, Lhamon was one of California’s top civil rights lawyers. She worked at the nation’s largest pro bono law firm as Director of Impact Litigation at Public Counsel. She practiced for a decade at the ACLU of Southern California as well as served as a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center after clerking for The Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
A mother of two young girls, Lhamon moved with her husband and children after her confirmation last summer to continue the work she loves in our nation’s capital. And while Lhamon – who was named one of California’s top 20 lawyers under 40 – brings impressive credentials to her new role, her fresh perspective is vital too.
“After 17 years in the field, I’ve mostly been the one asking government to do more. Now I’ve joined government,” she said.
Lhamon has spent nearly two decades reaching out to and fighting for the civil rights community—resulting in thick skin and extensive knowledge. While she highlights these qualities as assets, above all else, Lhamon credits the tremendous team around her for assisting in a seamless transition and continued accomplishments under her leadership.
The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which Lhamon heads, is a team of almost 600 people, in 12 regional offices, that she describes as “diverse, well-educated, and passionate.” Lhamon speaks fluently about the office’s ability to handle a wide range of discrimination violations, including novel cases requiring new and creative solutions. Among other cases, she cites a resolution ensuring equitable access to Advanced Placement courses for students of color and a resolution with a virtual charter school ensuring students with disabilities equitable access to their school’s website as evidence of OCR’s success. The Department’s first-ever guidance on the excessive and disproportionate use of out of school discipline was widely hailed as a vital step for the field.
Some 10,000 complaints a year are sent to OCR and Lhamon calls her predecessor’s review of these cases “breathtaking.” In recent years, OCR released guidance to ensure that students with disabilities have equal opportunity in extracurricular athletics; clarify full requirements of Title IX in regards to sexual harassment and violence; and encourage the voluntary use of race in the interest of achieving diversity in schools.
Lhamon knows there remains no shortage of civil rights violations occurring across the country today. She recognizes the difficulties and urgency of the moment and seeks to head an office that “uses our time well and in the process gets a lot more justice for a lot more kids.”
For the remainder of the Obama administration, she will be fighting on behalf of those kids. Lhamon’s younger daughter sees her mom as quite simply: President Obama’s lawyer. She is also every student’s lawyer—a challenging job Lhamon is eager to tackle.
Dan Griffin is a confidential assistant at the U.S. Department of Education
Edward O. Blews Jr. says the group had no grounds to dismiss him last fall, after barely 10 months on the job. He says he is owed more than $2-million.
The new president sees the system as an engine of social mobility for the state.
There’s a transformation occurring at an elementary school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation’s capital and it begins, each day, with chants and song. “Stand up!” and “C-O-L-L-E-G-E! College is the place for me!” ring out of the cafeteria where students gather for a daily morning ritual of activities designed to build school culture and student confidence. Just a few years ago, DC Scholars Stanton Elementary struggled with chronic underperformance and was long known as a place ruled by chaos, where neither students nor educators felt it was possible to focus on learning. Today, the school is turning around. With the help of strong partnerships and engaged stakeholders, chaos is being replaced with joy, as educational outcomes improve for the school’s young “scholars.”
On Monday, Secretary Arne Duncan visited DC Scholars Stanton to observe the school’s progress and to participate in a roundtable discussion, highlighting the importance of partnerships in the effort to dramatically improve teaching and learning in persistently low-achieving schools.
Secretary Duncan joined a group of local leaders and stakeholders including District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) CEO Wendy Spencer, and City Year Co-Founder and CEO Michael Brown, for the visit.
Three years ago, DCPS engaged in a partnership with Scholar Academies, a national nonprofit education management organization, to run Stanton. As Chancellor Henderson noted, “Back then, there was a sense that if you went here, you were coming because you could go nowhere else.”
Third grade teacher Sheryl Garner spoke poignantly about the school’s transformation. She remarked that before the turnaround, almost daily she was “kicked and punched by students,” many of whom had difficult backgrounds and limited understanding of how to manage their emotions in school. She said, “I’m glad I decided to stick with it because I’ve seen so much growth here.”
Now, there is order in the classrooms where university pennants line the walls, reminding students that higher education is within their reach—and a goal that they can strive for each day. In addition to college banners and achievement awards, it’s not uncommon to see students working in classrooms and hallways with City Year AmeriCorps members—who represent another key element in the story of progress at DC Scholars Stanton.
City Year has partnered with the school for six years; but this year, DC Scholars Stanton was able to double its number of City Year service members. These young people provide intensive before-, during-, and after-school support to students in reading, math, and social-emotional skills development. Principal Rena Johnson and Assistant Principal Sanja Bosman also credit City Year members with helping to improve overall school culture.
Eighteen City Year AmeriCorps members work at the school now through a federal School Turnaround AmeriCorps grant, jointly administered by the Department of Education and CNCS, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the AmeriCorps program this year. Wendy Spencer, CNCS CEO, noted, “This partnership expands the role of AmeriCorps members in helping students, teachers, parents, and school administrators transform schools into models of achievement.” With the help of Jeff Franco, executive director for City Year-Washington D.C., approximately 150 City Year members serve in more than a dozen schools across DCPS.
Students and families at DC Scholars Stanton also benefit from a home visiting program, coordinated by the local Flamboyan Foundation, a private, family organization focused on improving educational outcomes for children. Through the program, teachers are trained to visit families and build relationships with parents and caregivers, with the aim of helping students to succeed in school.
Secretary Duncan acknowledged the efforts of all the partners at DC Scholars Stanton, saying, “Turning around a school is some of the hardest, most controversial, and yet most important work in the country. … Together, you are doing something remarkable.”
The hard work is beginning to show results. Since 2011, students at DC Scholars Stanton have improved their proficiency rates in mathematics from 10 to 42 percent. Reading proficiency rates have doubled from 10 to 20 percent.
As Mayor Gray stated, “Education reform is never done.” There is still much to do to ensure all Stanton scholars achieve to their fullest potential. But, even though the work is ongoing and challenging, Lars Beck, CEO for Scholar Academies, summed up the experience, saying, “You might think it’s crazy, but working together to turn around schools is … exciting and exhilarating … it can even be joyful.”
Tiffany Taber is senior communications manager in the Office of Communications and Outreach
At a few institutions, a new choosiness about awarding AP credit has coincided with a rethinking of their own general-education requirements.
More than one million students in the high-school graduating class of 2013 completed an Advanced Placement exam, the College Board reports.
Supporters say the legislation would help fix a "broken budget process." Critics say it would make some programs appear to cost more than they actually do.
At a meeting in Washington, trustees and presidents question the feasibility and fairness of such a system to their institutions.