Social Media Tips for Educators: Building Capacity Among Your Staff

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Mon, 2014-06-30 07:00

Our second social media tip sheet for educators is now online!

Last Monday, we told you about the fact that we’ve developed social media tip sheets specifically to help state and local education agencies expand online engagement.

Our first tip sheet discussed how to develop innovative engagement in a specific community. This week’s tip sheet talks about how to effectively build capacity within a state or local district.

Staff capacity is not a new challenge.  State education agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) listed staffing and lack of training as their top two concerns when ED’s Reform Support Network asked them about social media implementation challenges, trumping worries about negative comments and privacy issues.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t solutions.

Our latest tip sheet goes into detail about how some state and local districts are solving their capacity challenges. Sharing content creation, sharing duties across offices, and creating brand ambassadors are just some of the innovative ways different districts are working to reach out to constituents via social media.

During the next two weeks we will present more tip sheets that will highlight interesting and innovative aspects of digital communications within the education sphere. Next week, we will discuss driving success through smart policies.

Dorothy Amatucci is a digital engagement strategist at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Founding Dean of School of Education Works to Make Classrooms Inclusive

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:01

Arcadia University’s Graciela Slesaransky-Poe is known for training teachers to be sensitive to their students’ diverse identities, including gender dysphoria.

Categories: Higher Education News

Chemist Who Studies the Environment Begins Deanship

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:01

Joseph S. Francisco leaves his job as a professor at Purdue University to lead the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Categories: Higher Education News

Critics Assail Government's Response to Student-Aid Fraud

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:01

Distance-education programs are particularly vulnerable, because many aid applicants never appear in person.

Categories: Higher Education News

Michael Ignatieff Returns to Harvard Full Time; Pace U. Names Chief Information Officer

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:01

The former Canadian politician, who has been dividing his time between Harvard and the University of Toronto, will be a professor of press and politics. Read about that and other job-related news.

Categories: Higher Education News

While Debating Visas, U.S. May Miss Bigger Keys to Scientific Success

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:00

Sure, green cards would be nice, foreign scientists say, but they’d rather have the money. And Chinese universities, in competing for stars, are offering more.

Categories: Higher Education News

How One Investment Manager Gambled Away $13.1-Million of Her University’s Money

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:00

As fraudulent investments are made public, Ball State University creates new safeguards.

Categories: Higher Education News

In Sexual-Misconduct Policies, Difficulty Arises in Defining 'Yes'

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 22:00

Language varies widely from college to college, but pressure is growing to toughen the standards.

Categories: Higher Education News

Database: Explore All of Mellon's Grants Since 2000

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:01

Over 13 years the Mellon Foundation awarded $2.9-billion in grants, more than 40 percent of which supported projects in higher education. Use The Chronicle's interactive database to explore Mellon's grants.

Categories: Higher Education News

A Scholar of the Black Experience Shapes Giving at Mellon

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:01

The understated philanthropy’s new president may widen its influence on diversity and the value of the humanities.

Categories: Higher Education News

At Mellon, Signs of Change

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:00

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a major supporter of the humanities and arts, studies its strategy for saving the humanities.

Categories: Higher Education News

Empowering Our Children by Bridging the Word Gap

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-06-27 12:05

Reposted from the White House blog.

Research shows that during the first years of life, a poor child hears roughly 30 million fewer total words than her more affluent peers. Critically, what she hears has direct consequences for what she learns. Children who experience this drought in heard words have vocabularies that are half the size of their peers by age 3, putting them at a disadvantage before they even step foot in a classroom.

This is what we call the “word gap,” and it can lead to disparities not just in vocabulary size, but also in school readiness, long-term educational and health outcomes, earnings, and family stability even decades later.

It’s important to note that talking to one’s baby doesn’t just promote language development. It promotes brain development more broadly. Every time a parent or caregiver has a positive, engaging verbal interaction with a baby – whether it’s talking, singing, or reading – neural connections of all kinds are strengthened within the baby’s rapidly growing brain.

That’s why today we are releasing a new video message from President Obama focused on the importance of supporting learning in our youngest children to help bridge the word gap and improve their chances for later success in school and in life. The President’s message builds on the key components of his Early Learning Initiative, which proposes a comprehensive plan to provide high-quality early education to children from birth to school entry.

The President’s message is part of a week-long campaign organized in partnership with Too Small to Faila joint initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, to raise awareness of the importance of closing the word gap. The video series follows the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families that explored innovative solutions to help expand opportunities for working families and businesses. The Summit explored a wide range of issues, including expanding access to affordable child care and early education opportunities for families.

Our children’s future is so important, bipartisan leaders are all doing their part to help close the word gap. Watch messages from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Cindy McCain, and share these messages with your networks to help spread the word about this cause.

This fall, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services will team up with Too Small to Fail and the Urban Institute to host an event designed to increase public understanding and make progress on this important issue. This event will highlight initiatives across the country focused on bridging the word gap, including:

  • Too Small to Fail’s Talking is Teaching public action campaign aimed at educating parents about the importance of talking to one’s baby and testing out community-level approaches, including in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Too Small to Fail is working in partnership with the George Kaiser Family Foundation. This campaign will engage pediatricians, business owners, faith-based leaders, librarians, and others to share with parents and caregivers how simple actions (e.g., describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories) can significantly improve a baby’s ability to learn new words and concepts.
  • Georgia’s Talk with Me Baby, a scalable, public action strategy aimed at increasing early exposure to language and public understanding of the primacy of language. This program provides professional development to nurses, the nation’s largest healthcare workforce, who will coach new and expectant parents to deliver “language nutrition” to their kids. With funding from the Greater United Way of Atlanta, this collaborative effort brings together the Georgia Department of Public Health and Department of Education, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Georgia Tech.
  • The City of Providence’s Providence Talks, which provides members of the Providence community, where two-thirds of kindergarteners enroll below national literacy standards, with home-based caregiver coaching interventions. These interventions harness innovative technologies from the LENA Foundation, including word “pedometers” that record and provide quantitative feedback to caregivers on the number of words spoken and the number of conversations had with children. Providence Talks is hosted by Mayor Taveras of Providence, Rhode Island, and is supported by the Bloomberg Foundation.
  • The University of Chicago, School of Medicine’s Thirty Million Words® Initiative with its tiered intervention approach to optimizing caregiver-child talk at the individual, community, and population levels. Researchers recently received funds from the PNC Foundation to support a five-year longitudinal study of the program’s impact.

To learn more about the Administration’s commitment to early childhood education, click here. Stay tuned for more details on our fall event. And if you’re interested in joining this effort or sharing the great work you’re already doing, email us at

Maya Shankar is Senior Advisor for the Social and Behavioral Sciences at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Categories: Higher Education News

The Road Often Traveled: My Story of Student Loan Debt

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-06-27 09:40

Dexter L. McCoy discussed college affordability and student loans with Secretary Arne Duncan and Dr. Jill Biden. (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Education)

Bogalusa, the Louisiana town where I was born, is far from an example of economic success or upward mobility. With high unemployment and abject poverty, education is the only option for individuals who want to move beyond the community.

I was born to a teenage mother who, despite having a child when she was still a child herself, worked hard to achieve more than was expected in Bogalusa. She was fortunate to have hard-working parents who supported her, and she earned a scholarship to attend Louisiana State University. Yet, my mom had to take on the burden of significant student loans. My stepfather, son of a schoolteacher and an electrician, found that he, too, had to take out sizable loans. Years later, I was fortunate that my parents made sacrifices that took me away from Bogalusa to Houston, where I had exposure to more opportunity.

Going to college was seen as mandatory in my family. But, when they looked at just how much higher education would cost, their zeal for sending me to get my degree was dampened. Simply put, the $52,000 in tuition and fees at a university in Boston — a school I loved and wanted to attend — were too much for my parents to pay. Even with a partial scholarship, the education I sought was unaffordable for us. Like many middle-class Americans, my parents did not make enough to pay for my school, out-of-pocket, but earned too much for me to get enough financial aid. So, I had to take out student loans.

I was blessed with parents who helped pay for my education, despite still paying off their own student loans. I was also fortunate to work at on-campus jobs that helped ease the financial burden on my family. It was a lot to manage on top of being very active in campus leadership and having a rigorous course load, but somehow we found a way to make it work.

My time in college did not come without its share of problems, though. I had medical issues arise that required test upon test and numerous hospital visits in search of answers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the mounting financial burden became huge: my family was forced to decide if I would get the treatment I needed or continue paying for school. This choice is not one that any family should have to make.

We are told from an early age that college is the commodity necessary to have a stable, solid lifestyle and to be contributing members of society. The reality is, though, that college expenses are so great that many, including me, will have to work that much harder for years to get ahead of the tens of thousands of dollars we’ve had to take out in loans. It is a sobering thought, but one that we must face.

What other choice do we have?

Dexter L. McCoy graduated from college in May 2014. He recently attended a conversation on college affordability with Sec. Arne Duncan and Dr. Jill Biden, where he discussed his experiences with student loan debt.

Categories: Higher Education News

Proposals by House Republicans Seek to Ease College-Application Process

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-06-27 02:55
Newly introduced bills would streamline the federal student-aid form and give students and their families better access to higher-education metrics.
Categories: Higher Education News

Starbucks Plan Shines a Light on the Profits in Online Education

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-06-27 02:55

That Arizona State University can offer big discounts suggests how much such institutions earn from distance learning.

Categories: Higher Education News

Key U.S. Official Wants to Ease Accreditors' Compliance-Monitoring Role

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-06-26 02:59

Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education, says much of that work might more appropriately belong to the state and federal governments.

Categories: Higher Education News

In O’Bannon Antitrust Case, NCAA’s Best Chance May Come on Appeal

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-06-26 02:55

With the trial concluding this week, legal experts say the plaintiffs have proved their case. But higher courts may not agree.

Categories: Higher Education News

5 Key Areas of the Senate Democrats’ Bill to Renew the Higher Education Act

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-06-26 02:55

The 785-page legislation reveals what the Democrats plan to push for in negotiations with House Republicans.

Categories: Higher Education News

Higher Expectations to Better Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Wed, 2014-06-25 10:11

President Obama has said that we are stronger when America fields a full team. Unfortunately, too many of the 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities in this country leave high school without the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in a 21st century, global economy. While the vast majority of students in special education do not have significant cognitive impairments that prohibit them from learning rigorous academic content, fewer than 10 percent of eighth graders with disabilities are proficient in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Too often, students’ educational opportunities are limited by low expectations. We must do better.

That’s why the Department is changing the way it holds states accountable for the education of students with disabilities. For many years, the Department primarily focused on whether states were meeting the procedural requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Generally, we have seen significant improvement in compliance.

But if kids are leaving high school without the ability to read or do math at a high-school level, compliance is simply not enough. This year, we also focused on improving results when we made determinations as to whether states are effective in meeting the requirements and purposes of IDEA.

With this year’s IDEA determinations, we looked at multiple outcome measures of student performance, including the participation of students with disabilities in state assessments, proficiency gaps in reading and math between students with disabilities and all students, and performance in reading and math on NAEP.

I believe this change in accountability represents a significant and long-overdue raising of the bar for special education. Last year, when we only considered compliance data in making annual determinations, 41 states and territories met requirements.

This year, however, when we include data on how students are actually performing, only 18 states and territories meet requirements.

In enacting IDEA, Congress recognized that improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.  We must do everything we can to support states, school districts, and educators to improve results for students with disabilities. We must have higher expectations for our children, and hold ourselves as a nation accountable for their success.

Michael Yudin is Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

College Lawyers Confront a Thicket of Rules on Sexual Assault

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-06-25 02:59

Institutions want to protect their students, but some worry that campuses are being thrust into a law-enforcement role.

Categories: Higher Education News
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