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As legislatures vote to end pay bumps for master's degrees, colleges get strategic to stay in business.
Penn State's next president will join a group of college leaders who have taken the helm of an institution in the wake of a crisis.
More than 500 colleges have made a standardized form a cornerstone of the admissions process. Is that really a good idea?
Two-year colleges are natural laboratories for experimenting with such self-paced programs, said speakers at a conference on Monday.
A bipartisan group of senators echoed lawmakers' concerns that government red tape drives up college costs and stifles innovation.
In today’s increasingly competitive, global economy, we must deliver a world-class education to all students—regardless of the circumstances that they bring to their learning. This is a promise we must keep to our nation’s English learners, and to all of America’s learners. Working together at the federal, state, and local school levels, I know that we can achieve this goal.
I am committed to making this goal a reality as a researcher, educator, and as the newly appointed assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education. OELA supports high-quality instruction for linguistically and culturally diverse students as well as professional development programs for teachers of English learners. Our programs are supporting progress in classrooms across the country, but I know we have so much more work to do.
Recently released results from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as the Nation’s Report Card—show us why. Students, including English learners, made modest performance gains in reading and math. But a wide achievement gap between English learners and their English proficient peers persists. Particularly worrisome is a 45-point gap in achievement in eighth grade reading, given the importance that reading skills play in literacy development and accessing knowledge in other subjects.
I was especially disappointed that the NAEP results reflect a persistent wide achievement gap between English learners and English proficient students, portending diminished socioeconomic opportunities for the nation’s fastest growing population of students—which numbers approximately 4.7 million, or 9.4 percent of K-12 enrollment.
The achievement gap and its potential impact on our nation’s economic competitiveness serve as a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do. Ensuring that English learners are supported and educated to achieve the same rigorous learning standards for all students is not only a moral obligation; it’s an economic imperative.
America’s long-term prosperity is linked to whether English learners attain the knowledge and skills they need to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate and enter a fulfilling career that will not only afford them an enhanced lifestyle, but also ensure that they are productive contributors to our society.
This is why the Department remains committed to the advancement of English learners by including this population in large-scale education reform initiatives, such as Race to the Top, Promise Neighborhoods, and the Investing in Innovation program.
Since 2001, OELA has provided national leadership in helping to ensure that English learners and immigrant students attain English proficiency and achieve academic success with appropriate social, emotional and cultural supports. OELA continues to oversee a number of federal funding programs that aim to improve instruction for English learners and assist educators who work with this student population.
For example, OELA’s National Professional Development (NPD) program helps to train teachers so that they may facilitate and accelerate students’ progress toward English language and academic proficiency. To date, the NPD program has achieved tremendous outcomes with more than 7,200 pre-service teachers having completed programs that led to teaching credentials. More than 6,700 in-service teachers have completed programs that have led to bilingual or English as a Second Language certification and hundreds of bilingual paraprofessionals are enrolled in and completing associate degree programs.
Another example of OELA’s support to the field includes the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAANCS program. This initiative provides grants to eligible entities that support language instruction projects for limited English proficient children from Native American, Alaska Native, native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander backgrounds. The program is designed to ensure that limited English proficient children master English and meet the same rigorous standards for academic achievement that all children are expected to meet.
I’m also pleased to announce that OELA recently awarded a new contract for the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA). Under the terms of the new contract, NCELA will be given a fresh, newly designed website that will be more interactive and will include an upgraded and updated resource library. The new clearinghouse will collect, analyze, synthesize, and disseminate information about the latest research and best practices for educating English learners.
Through the new clearinghouse, OELA reaffirms its continued commitment to supporting research, technical assistance and teacher professional development. We hope that the information and resources will spur meaningful progress that moves us closer to the goal of ensuring every student’s success.
–Libia Gil is the Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition at the U.S. Department of Education
Robert J. Sternberg was in office just four months, a period that saw rapid turnover among senior administrators and unsettled the campus.
A hearing found consensus on ideas like simplifying the Fafsa, getting aid estimates to students sooner, and streamlining the array of programs used now.
The law will raise costs for colleges, said speakers at a Congressional hearing, and will force contingent faculty members to work fewer hours.
Several months ago, Vanneur Pierre, Haitian Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, invited me to visit his country and see firsthand a glimpse into the Haitian education system. Since the devastating earthquake hit in 2010 the U.S. Government has pledged its support as Haiti seeks to rebuild its economy and infrastructure, including its education system. The two days I spent in Haiti were inspiring and heartbreaking. From a school that is educating kids that live on the streets during the day to a hundred children crammed into a 7th grade classroom, the thirst and hunger for learning was incredible.
Along with visiting three schools, I had the opportunity to join USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein and Senior Advisor for International Education Christie Vilsack to announce a multi-million dollar program in Haiti for USAID’s Room to Learn. This program will help to support equitable access for vulnerable children.
Each school we visited, while lacking modern amenities was full of an entrepreneurial spirit and will to learn. The school buildings were unlike anything we could imagine in this country. Most were semi-outdoor structures with little or no electricity and stark dusty walls with paint generations old. No fancy gyms, libraries or cafeterias to see, only brick, mortar and gravel to make up the landscape. Each student sat at a desk or on a bench attentively looking towards the front of the room. Classroom after classroom, student after student, each was focused on the lesson plan of the day. When the teacher spoke, you could hear a pin drop.
The first school we visited was Ecole St. Jean de Dieu, which is part of the Minister’s initiative to promote access for vulnerable school-aged children who are outside of the education system. Most of the students at this school are homeless and live on the streets during the day but attend classes in the afternoons. I met 16 year olds who were in the second grade, far behind where they should be but trying to get an education to build a better life.
While traveling through Haiti I also had the opportunity to visit the Haitian Education and Leadership Program (HELP) program which provides university scholarships in Haiti for straight-A students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One student, overcome by her past, cried as she told me about her life’s journey. I sat and listened to the passionate and personal stories of students in this program discussed how their world was changed as a result of the opportunity to continue their education.
I visited another school, Ecole Nationale de Tabarre, an outdoor set of buildings, where I witnessed students reading books in their native tongue of creole donated by USAID’s read to learn program to make education more accessible for all children. From there we went to Lycee de Petionville, one of Haiti’s model high schools. I saw a classroom of over 100 7th graders packed into a room built for 30-40. After visiting some classrooms, I joined the basketball team for a brief scrimmage in the school’s cement courtyard and basketball court. It was a remarkable sight to see, two and three stories up an entire school looking down on the court.
The future of Haiti was looking down on me. I saw hundreds of eyes, full of optimism and hope for a better tomorrow recognizing that having a strong education can put you on a path to a better life. These children, like other Haitian children across the country, want an education and are willing to try despite the odds against them.
It’s inspiring to see so many children, teachers, and national leaders committed to making much needed investments in Haiti’s next generation. Parents and leaders in the U.S. and Haiti share a common desire to create a high quality education system for all that adequately prepares our children for success in their personal and professional lives. A strong Haiti can be built by a strong education system and a strong ministry of education. I want to continue being a good partner with President Michel Martelly, Minister Pierre and the entire Haitian government to strengthen the nation, one child at a time.
Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education
Sylvia Manning led the regional accreditor through a period of controversy centered on its oversight of for-profit colleges.
Cross-posted from the Joining Forces Blog.
Yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden joined Google for their announcement of a Global Impact Award to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Student Veterans of America, the Posse Foundation and Veterans of Foreign Wars to help ensure colleges and universities have the information they need to help veterans succeed in obtaining higher education.
“I have seen it in my own classroom — veterans bring the same determination and focus to their studies that they brought to serving our country,” said Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator and military mom.
Dr. Biden said the efforts were “exactly what the First Lady and I hoped to see when we started our Joining Forces initiative two years ago … individuals, businesses, and nonprofits working with the public sector to step up and do what they do best to help veterans and military families.”
Over the next few years, more than a million service men and women will end their military careers and transition back to civilian life. For many, education will be at the front line of that transition. Ensuring that our returning veterans and military families have access to the programs and resources that will help them successfully navigate their educational paths is critical.
As Dr. Biden noted, many of the student veterans she has met face unique challenges – they differ from their classmates in terms of age and experience, they often find a more relaxed schedule on campus to be very different from the rigid military schedule they are used to, and are juggling multiple priorities outside of school.
As part of Joining Forces, Dr. Biden plans to visit programs at colleges and universities around the country who are supporting veterans and military families to learn more about how successful programs can be replicated at other institutions.
One perk of having a federal student loan instead of a private student loan is that you are not required to start making payments right away. In fact, many federal student loans have a grace period*, or a set amount of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment before you must begin repaying your student loans. For most student loans, the grace period is 6 months but in some instances, the grace period could be longer. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan.
Here are four things you should do now, before your first student loan payment is due:
1. Get Organized
Start by tracking down all of your student loans. Did you know that there is a website that allows you to view all your federal student loans in one place?
Note: Don’t forget to check your personal records to see if you have private student loans.
2. Contact Your Loan Servicer
Your loan servicer is the company that will be collecting payments on your federal student loan on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. They are also there to provide support. Your loan servicer can help you choose a repayment plan, understand loan consolidation, and complete other tasks related to your federal student loan, so it’s important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.
To find out who your loan servicer is, visit nslds.ed.gov. You may have more than one loan servicer, so it is important that you look at each loan individually.
3. Estimate Your Monthly Payments Under Different Repayment Plans
Federal Student Aid recently launched a Repayment Estimator that allows you to compare our different repayment plans side by side. Once you log in, the repayment estimator pulls in information about your federal student loans, such as your loan balance and your interest rates, and allows you to estimate what your monthly payment would be under each of our different repayment plans. It also allows you to compare the total amount you will pay for your loan over time depending on the repayment option you choose. Try it!
4. Select The Repayment Plan That Works For You
Some of the greatest benefits of federal student loans are their flexible repayment options. Take advantage of them! Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time. There are options to tie your monthly payments to your income and even ways you can have your loans forgiven if you are a teacher or employed in certain public service jobs. Once you have determined which repayment plan is right for you, you must contact your loan servicer to officially change your repayment plan.
* Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for many loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.
Nicole Callahan is a new media analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
This year's National Survey of Student Engagement has a new focus on quantitative reasoning.
The second public forum on Obama's proposal to rate colleges heard concerns about consequences that might undermine other higher-education goals.
The company is providing $3.2-million in grants to support research to quantify how veterans perform in college and what programs help them most.
The winners of this year's honors talk about the major role played by classroom challenges in their growth as teachers.
Sylvia Manning led the regional accreditor through a period of controversy centered on its oversight of for-profit colleges.