Higher Education News

How to Improve Arab Research

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 7, 2015 - 10:07am

Sari Hanafi, a sociologist who has studied academics in the Arab world, says "lack of freedom of expression" holds back reseachers in the region.

Categories: Higher Education News

MIT Unveils 'MicroMaster's,' Allowing Students to Get Half Their Degree From MOOCs

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 7, 2015 - 10:05am

The pilot program, for the institution's master's in supply-chain management, introduces "a new academic credential for the digital age," the university says.

Categories: Higher Education News

Naropa U. Is No Longer Seeking Permission to Kill 100 Prairie Dogs

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 7, 2015 - 9:50am

The "Buddhist-inspired" university's application for a lethal-control permit prompted protests from animal-rights activists.

Categories: Higher Education News

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: How IDEA Public Schools is Closing the Gap

U.S. Department of Education Blog - October 7, 2015 - 8:00am

Cross-posted from the Office of Innovation and Improvement blog.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and Secretary Duncan’s visit to South Texas, today we are highlighting IDEA Public Schools, a Texas-based Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) grantee that’s been recognized for helping Latinos, particularly English language learners, make strong achievement gains. Just last month, the White House Initiative on Education Excellence for Hispanics named IDEA a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.

In 2012, IDEA won a Race to the Top – District (RTT–D) award aimed at personalizing student learning and closing achievement gaps. IDEA is also a past recipient of an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant and grants from OII’s Charter Schools Program. IDEA’s network serves approximately 24,000 students in 44 public charter schools across Texas. More than 90 percent are Hispanic, and a third are still acquiring English speaking, reading, and writing skills.

For nine consecutive years, 100 percent of IDEA’s graduating seniors have been accepted to college, and achievement scores have consistently been above the state’s average. We checked in with Tricia Lopez, IDEA’s Director of Special Programs, about what’s behind the network’s success and how the RTT–D grant has been helping the network meet its goals.

Meeting Local Needs and Personalizing Learning

Author and illustrator Patricia Polacco speaks to IDEA Public Schools students in Texas’ Mid-Valley.

The 2012 RTT–D grant came during a critical period for the network. Around that time, IDEA was experiencing increased demand for its schools, particularly from students with limited English proficiency, according to Lopez. “The grant came at an important time, and it helped us to really step back and think strategically about how we were serving this population,” she said.

To help their English language learners, IDEA educators and leaders have created personalized learning experiences that differentiate instruction for each English language learner. IDEA uses adaptive technology designed for kids learning English and assesses their individual reading, writing, and speaking skills and helps them improve at the appropriate pace.

“This differentiation is critical. I could have 50 English language learners in a grade. They can range from having not one word of English to being pretty far along in terms of their language acquisition, but not quite fluent. It only makes sense to vary their instruction, but that doesn’t always happen in schools,” Lopez said.

Supporting Teachers

The RTT–D grant has also helped IDEA with teacher training, particularly making sure educators have the tools and background they need to close gaps between English language learners and their peers. The grant has helped pay for teachers across grades to receive in-person and online training in “sheltered instruction,” which gives general education classroom teachers specific training in working with students still acquiring English language skills to access grade-level content.

“It touches on things like: what kind of materials you should have in your classroom; what kind of strategies you should use for math; the value of word walls; having more frequent checks for understanding; and giving students more time to answer questions,” Lopez said. “These are common sense but not necessarily intuitive, especially for teachers early in their careers. It has to be on your radar, and the training helps with that.”

These efforts are paying off. Scores on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) for ELL students rose by double digits over the past two years, faster growth than for any other subgroup of students in the network. As it continues to progress, IDEA is proving that when given the right supports, all students—no matter their background or first language—can learn and succeed.

Categories: Higher Education News

Every Student, Every Day

U.S. Department of Education Blog - October 7, 2015 - 7:15am

Danny wasn’t coming to school. When he would come, he sat quietly in his seat, eyes downcast. His academic advisor had noticed he was in school less and less and was disconnected. She followed a ladder of intervention, which guided her to reach out to his teachers and the guidance counselor. As his advisor, she knew her students well, because she cycled with them for all four years of high school. When Danny wasn’t in class, the entire school team engaged in supporting his return.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education—in partnership with the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice—launch Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism to raise awareness about our national chronic absenteeism problem and to support states, school districts, communities, and schools that are committed to solving this problem. Typically defined as missing at least 10% or more of school days in a year for any reason, excused or unexcused, chronic absenteeism affects as many as 7.5 million kids a year and is a strong predictor of low academic achievement and high school drop out.

It is common knowledge that in order to learn, kids need to be in school. Yet, Danny’s story is familiar to all of us. Many of our children are not attending school on a regular basis, causing them to fall further behind.

Children cannot be anonymous. Oftentimes, if a child has been away from school for an extended period of time, they fear returning. When they enter class, they are so far behind, it seems impossible to catch up. And so the cycle continues. They no longer return to school – they are further removed from learning, disenfranchised and lost.

The teacher action plan is one example of how a school provided guidance to all educators in the building to support students. The counselor worked with social services and arranged home visits. We learned that Danny was a homeless gay youth, struggling with his identity and his family. There were many obstacles stopping Danny from coming to school.

In the end? Danny graduated and went to college. He emailed his advisor and guidance counselor, telling them “you saved my life. Thank you.” For a young man who was lost in the world, school gave him an anchor. His teachers noticed, and his counselor provided supports.

This approach is critical to combatting chronic absenteeism. It wasn’t just that his teachers cared. It was that the school had a comprehensive, clear system to help all stakeholders support this child. Teachers could follow a plan that they had a voice in crafting.

It truly takes a village to raise a child. We talk a lot about college and career readiness, but if the child is not sitting in his seat in school, he cannot learn. This story is the story of my school, and how through teacher leadership, a team approach, and a commitment to teaching the whole child, we were able to help this young man achieve his potential. What’s your story? How can we help all our children get to school, and stay there, every day?

To learn more about Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism, please visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/chronicabsenteeism/index.html.

 Alicia Pérez-Katz is a Principal Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Louisiana State U. Faculty Censures Administrators for Firing Profanity-Prone Professor

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 6:22pm

The Faculty Senate voted 39 to 5 for censure, saying administrators applied "a standard that is chilling in its breadth and ambiguity" to the fired professor.

Categories: Higher Education News

How Video Games Are Becoming University-Approved Sports

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 3:36pm

When the gamers arrived on Saturday morning, 8,000 feet of extension cords and 11,000 feet of Ethernet cables waited inside the University of Cincinnati’s basketball arena.

Categories: Higher Education News

A Faculty’s Stand on Trigger Warnings Stirs Fears Among Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 3:20pm

Even as it draws praise for shielding academic freedom, the skeptical stance taken by American University professors is also being denounced for potentially undermining students who are psychologically vulnerable.

Categories: Higher Education News

Same-Sex Hiring Policies Polarize Some Christian Colleges

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 2:59pm

The Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage has caused religious institutions to reiterate, or redefine, their stances.

Categories: Higher Education News

Irascible Student's Demands for 'Mac and Cheese' Prompt Arrest and Viral Video

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 11:13am

The student, whose tirade has tens of thousands of views on YouTube, was charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Attorney General Who Wants to Keep Private Colleges on Course

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 6, 2015 - 10:55am

Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s top law-enforcement officer, took an activist role in forcing the struggling Cooper Union to submit to state oversight. His office plans to steer other institutions away from trouble, too.

Categories: Higher Education News

Research Raises Questions About Colleges That Shift From For-Profit to Nonprofit

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 10:01pm

Four higher-education companies converted to nonprofit status but now act like "covert for-profits," a report says.

Categories: Higher Education News

‘I Got Nobody’: Scholars of Gun Violence Describe Their Lonely Battles

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 9:00pm

Two university researchers say they’re optimistic that their work will have long-term benefits. But the sometimes-vitriolic response they receive can be deeply frustrating.

Categories: Higher Education News

5 Things Colleges Should Know About the New Secretary of Education

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 7:25pm

John B. King Jr., who will take over for Arne Duncan in December, isn’t well known in higher-ed circles. But his track record offers some clues about how he will lead the Education Department.

Categories: Higher Education News

Can Online Education Help Refugees Earn Degrees?

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 5:51pm

Refugees often lack the paperwork needed to enroll in conventional universities. But some online universities have begun recruiting those students.

Categories: Higher Education News

State Student Aid Ticks Up in Latest Survey

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 4:18pm

Following the recession, states are continuing to put more money back into grants and other aid to students, according to a new report.

Categories: Higher Education News

Calling All Dads: Nationwide Efforts Highlight Ways Fathers Can Get More Involved in Their Children’s Education

U.S. Department of Education Blog - October 5, 2015 - 1:40pm

With another school year underway, student success in the classroom depends in large part upon family engagement. Children thrive when parents and caretakers are more involved in their child’s education. Throughout the country, state and local governments, organizations, and schools are working hard to involve parents – and fathers in particular – in the success of all students.

Fathers of PS 37Q students.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Family and Community Engagement team released a new parent checklist to give families the right tools and appropriate questions to ask as they become more engaged. To the extent that it’s possible, it is important that both parents – mothers and fathers – are involved during this process.

Fathers of students at PS MS147Q.

President Obama has frequently stressed the importance of “responsible fatherhood” in remarks about his own personal experience and the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Other tools such as www.fatherhood.gov are valuable resources to dads who want to become more involved.

In New York, the New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has partnered with HHS, ED and other federal partners to sponsor the annual Dads Take Your Child to School Day. The yearly September event reaches hundreds of schools and thousands of fathers and father figures throughout the State and provides them with the tools they need to become active partners in their children’s lives and education.

Through this initiative, fathers and mentors participate in various motivational training sessions that help build a strong bond between father and child. Fathers are introduced to leaders in the national, state and local “responsible fatherhood” movement and learn about resources that will help them support the positive educational growth for their children.

The saying that “It takes a village to raise a child” continues to resonate because there is real truth in those words. When fathers are more engaged in the education of their children, these same children have the opportunity to become the nation’s next great leaders.

For additional information, visit the Dads Take Your Child to School Day website or view the 2015 public service announcement.

Taylor Ramsey is an Education Program Specialist in the Department of Education’s Region 2 and Scott Leach is Director of the Fatherhood Initiative, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

Categories: Higher Education News

Clinton Rips Free-College Proposals as Benefiting 'Donald Trump's Kids'

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 1:22pm

The Democratic presidential candidate's remarks served as a rebuke to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her chief rival for the party's nomination.

Categories: Higher Education News

United Negro College Fund Receives $50-Million Gift for Career Development

Chronicle of Higher Education - October 5, 2015 - 11:47am

A gift from the Lilly Endowment aims to help historically black institutions prepare students for jobs after college.

Categories: Higher Education News


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