Lost in Translation: N.J. Lawmakers and Higher Ed Try to Understand Each Other

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-03-28 02:55

A wide-ranging package of 20 bills illustrates how college officials and legislators are not on the same page.

Categories: Higher Education News

Student Debt and Federal Loan Policy Take Center Stage at Senate Hearing

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-03-28 02:55

Overborrowing, abusive loan servicers, and the complexities of navigating the system were among the issues discussed by lawmakers, who also announced plans for legislation.

Categories: Higher Education News

Four New Civil Rights Data Collection Snapshots

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Thu, 2014-03-27 10:09

Last week, the Department of Education released the latest data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The CRDC is a vital resource that provides the public an opportunity to understand how our nation and individual states, districts, and schools serve all students, including our students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities. The troubling disparities revealed in this comprehensive, searchable database serve as a reminder of the importance of ensuring all students have equal access to educational opportunities.

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with a student following the announcement of the latest CRDC collection at J.O. Wilson Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

For the first time in more than a decade, the CRDC contains information on approximately 16,500 school districts, 97,000 schools, and 49 million students. The data shines a spotlight on educational equity in areas such as discipline, access to preschool, teacher equity, and access to college- and career-ready courses.

To coincide with the most recent data release, the Office for Civil Rights has created four new snapshots to help understand the data:

Data Snapshot: Early Childhood Education


  • Public preschool access not yet a reality for much of the nation: About 40 percent of school districts do not offer preschool programs.
  • Black children make up 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschool children suspended more than once. Boys receive more than three out of four out-of-school preschool suspensions.

Data Snapshot: School Discipline, Restraint, & Seclusion Highlights


  • Disproportionately high suspension/expulsion rates for students of color: Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. On average, 5 percent of white students are suspended, compared to 16 percent of black students. American Indian and Native-Alaskan students are also disproportionately suspended and expelled, representing less than 1 percent of the student population but 2 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 3 percent of expulsions.
  • Disproportionate suspensions of girls of color: While boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates (12 percent) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys; American Indian and Native-Alaskan girls (7 percent) are suspended at higher rates than white boys (6 percent) or girls (2 percent).

Data Snapshot: College and Career Readiness


  • Limited access to high-level math and science courses: Nationwide, only 50 percent of high schools offer calculus, and only 63 percent offer physics.
  • Significant lack of access to other core courses: Nationwide, between 10-25 percent of high schools do not offer more than one of the core courses in the typical sequence of high school math and science education — such as Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, and chemistry.

Data Snapshot: Teacher and Counselor Equity


  • Teacher salary disparities: Nearly one in four districts with two or more high schools reports a teacher salary gap of more than $5,000 between high schools with the highest and the lowest black and Latino student enrollments.
  • Access to school counselors: Nationwide, one in five high schools lacks a school counselor.

Learn more about the 2011-12 CRDC collection at ocrdata.ed.gov.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education

Categories: Higher Education News

Stopping the Summer Slide

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Thu, 2014-03-27 09:20

Summer is the perfect time for students of all ages to relax, but it’s also a time when summer learning loss can occur. This learning loss is called the “summer slide,” and happens when children do not engage in educational activities during the summer months.

Members of the Washington Kastles get kids moving during the Department of Education’s annual Let’s Read, Let’s Move event. The events focus on keeping children’s minds and bodies active during the summer.

While summer vacation is months away, many parents are starting to plan for summer now. As you’re thinking about your plans for the upcoming summer break, we’ve gathered a few ideas and activities that you and your children – no matter their ages – can complete throughout the summer.

For Elementary and Middle School Students:

  • Parents of younger students can create a summer reading list with their children, and then reward them when they finish each book.
  • Additionally, parents can encourage their kids to think outside of the box with arts and crafts. Sites such as kids.gov and NGA Kids have great ideas that will let any child’s imagination run wild and stimulate creativity.
  • Summertime can be a great time to teach healthy eating habits. Parents can get ideas for tasty and nutritious meals at Let’s Move! and kidshealth.org. There is also information available about the USDA Summer Food Program, which was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

For High School Students:

  • Summer can be the perfect time for high school-aged children to prepare for college, and setting aside at least one day a week to keep math and science skills fresh is an excellent way to start off the summer. Local libraries are an excellent place to find books full of practice problems – and they’re quiet and often air-conditioned too!
  • Summer is also a good time to sit down and discuss financial aid and other expenses. Our Office of Federal Student Aid has prepared checklists geared toward students of all ages.
  • Many high school students might also want to take the time to start developing their professional resumes. Finding a part-time job can help students gain valuable experience and line their pockets with a bit of extra cash.  Visit www.wh.gov/youthjobs for more information.
  • Volunteering is also an option. Youth-oriented summer camps, local museums, animal shelters and, of course, libraries are often looking for extra help during warmer months. This experience is not only valuable for personal and professional development, but it often looks good on college applications. Find opportunities at volunteer.gov.

Share your own summer tips and resources with the hashtag #SummerSuccess on Twitter, and look for more information from the U.S. Department of Education in the coming months as we count down to Summer Learning Day on Friday, June 20.

Dorothy Amatucci is a new media analyst in the Office of Communications and Outreach

Categories: Higher Education News

Northwestern U. Football Players Win Bid to Unionize

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-03-27 02:59

The case could take years to settle but might prompt colleges to do more to help athletes, observers say.

Categories: Higher Education News

‘The Days of the Brown U. Ruling Are Numbered’

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-03-27 02:58

The Northwestern case doesn't change a 2004 decision that bars graduate-assistant unions at private universities, but experts say it could spur challenges.

Categories: Higher Education News

Negotiators Tussle Over Proposed Rule to Compel State Scrutiny of Online Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-03-27 02:56

In a renewed discussion of the Education Department’s state-authorization rule, one critic called it a "bureaucratic nightmare." A defender said it was "not overkill."

Categories: Higher Education News

Employees or Not? Graduate-Student Assistants Versus Scholarship Athletes

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-03-27 02:55

In two key rulings, the National Labor Relations Board has come to opposite conclusions about whether two types of students could unionize. Here’s how they differed.

Categories: Higher Education News

Educators Suggest Ways to Improve Federal Oversight of Teacher Preparation

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-03-26 02:56

Witnesses at a Senate hearing urged lawmakers to streamline the reporting requirements on programs and make clear why specific data are collected.

Categories: Higher Education News

'Sparklepony' Quest Helps Break the Ice at a Scholarly Meeting

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-03-26 02:55

People attending the Conference on College Composition and Communication competed in a game designed to help them network and get more out of the event.

Categories: Higher Education News

Five Ways Race to the Top Supports Teachers and Students

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-03-25 11:26

In the four years since the Obama Administration announced its first Race to the Top grants, the President’s signature education initiative has helped spark a wave of reform across the country, according to a new report released today by the White House and Department of Education.

Since the Obama administration announced the first Race to the Top grants to Tennessee and Delaware four years ago – many state and local leaders, educators, and communities are deep in the hard work of education improvement, and the nation is seeing progress.

Today, the innovations unleashed by Race to the Top are touching nearly half the nation’s students and 1.5 million teachers in schools across the country – for an investment that represents less than 1 percent of education spending.

Amid that climate of positive change, America’s educators, students and families have made major achievements. The high school graduation rate is now at its highest on record (80 percent). Student test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are the highest since the test was first given 20 years ago. And there have been double- digit gains on state tests at some of the lowest-performing schools – many of which had not seen any improvement for decades.

Today’s report highlights examples of the most innovative and effective reforms that are taking place in states across the country to prepare students for college and careers, support educators, and spur innovative educational strategies. Below are five ways Race to the Top is supporting teachers and students.

1. Race to the Top Has Provided More Students with Access to Challenging Classes

Under Race to the Top, states have spearheaded efforts to create plans tailored to their students’ needs. For example, Massachusetts provided more students with access to AP classes by training more than 1,100 middle and early high school teachers to prepare their students for new, high academic standards. Initial findings from the external evaluation of Massachusetts’ college- and career-readiness initiatives indicate patterns of increased AP course-taking, exam-taking, and exam performance.

2. Race to the Top Has Supported Hard-working Educators in New Ways

Under Race to the Top, schools and districts are making sure we have excellent principals leading our schools and skilled teachers who inspire students. In Rhode Island, the state had more than 400 first-year and 40 second-year teachers engage with the state’s new teacher induction program, which includes weekly coaching and professional development.

Delaware launched the Delaware Talent Cooperative, which provides retention awards – between $2,500 and $10,000 over two years – to highly effective educators and leaders willing to work and stay in schools with the highest needs.

3. Race to the Top Has Provided More STEM Opportunities to Students

Maryland developed and translated five STEM curriculum modules for use in language programs statewide, and in Florida, Race to the Top funds have helped hundreds of students from rural communities get new STEM opportunities through the STEM Scholars initiative.

4. Race to the Top is Helping Educators Transition to New Standards

With the help of Race to the Top, Ohio expanded alternative certification pathways for teachers and principals; developed 800 curriculum resources aligned to higher standards; and trained 24,000 teachers to use those resources. And in an ambitious and comprehensive effort, Tennessee provided 30,000 teachers with intensive summer training as part of its transition to the Common Core State Standards—more rigorous academic standards in English language arts and mathematics.

5. Race to the Top is Supporting States in Turning Around Lowest-Performing Schools

Under Race to the Top, states have designed plans to turn around some of their lowest-performing schools using new ideas that engage students and transform school culture. In Georgia, the state created two non-traditional schools to accommodate high school students at risk of dropping out. And in Tennessee, the state awarded grants or provided Tennessee Academic Specialists to address performance gaps at the 167 schools identified as Focus Schools based on significant achievement gaps in school year 2011-2012. Based on 2012-2013 state assessment results, the state made progress closing achievement gaps in these 167 schools.

Read the entire report: Setting the Pace: Expanding Opportunity for America’s Students under Race to the Top.

Sara Gast is director of strategic communications at the U.S. Department of Education

Categories: Higher Education News

Grad-School Debt Is Said to Rise Rapidly and Deserve More Policy Attention

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-03-25 02:56

A new report questions whether a lack of loan limits and the availability of income-based repayment programs are partly to blame.

Categories: Higher Education News

Coursera Hires Former Yale President as Its Chief Executive

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-03-24 14:01

Richard C. Levin brings international business savvy and academic bona fides to the MOOC company.

Categories: Higher Education News

National Data Signal College Success for Veterans

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-03-24 02:59

A new report suggests that students who use GI Bill education benefits graduate at about the same rate as their traditional peers.

Categories: Higher Education News

Attention on Crimea Highlights Flux in Russia Studies

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-03-24 02:58

Scholars may be in the limelight again, but departments devoted to studying the region are not what they were during the Cold War. What will support the next generation of scholars?

Categories: Higher Education News

Brown U. Tests Approach to Interdisciplinary Graduate Work

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-03-23 22:01
Administrators want to bring the spirit of the college’s open undergraduate curricula to its doctoral programs.
Categories: Higher Education News

Plans for Free Community College Meet Resistance in Several States

Chronicle of Higher Education - Sun, 2014-03-23 22:01

A proposal in Tennessee, for example, has prompted turf wars with other higher-education institutions.

Categories: Higher Education News
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