April 17, 2015

7:35 PM | The 'Self Esteem' Strategy to Improve Community College Completion
So America’s community college are working on a new strategy to improve graduation rates. It’s pretty… interesting. According to this piece at the Chronicle of Higher Education: A project known as Connect2Complete provides low-income students who are in remedial classes with peer mentors, many of whom have been through the program themselves. During the first few weeks of the semester, the students, mentors, and instructors participate in a service-learning project that is […]
4:32 PM | Senate Proposes a New Education Technology Program in No Child Left Behind, with Teacher Training a Priority
Legislation headed for debate on the U.S. Senate floor would create a new program to provide the nation’s schools with more money for technology and for training to make the most of it. The program has a nickname, I-TECH, but it’s not yet known how much money will be dedicated for it - or if it will make it as written into whatever version of the legislation eventually becomes law. The program is included in the bill that the Senate committee responsible for education approved on […]

April 16, 2015

4:05 PM | Sure, More Education Will Reduce Inequality (A Tiny Bit)
A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal entered a long and contentious debate about the economic impacts of college. Would more Americans earning further credentials beyond high school reduce the well-known problem of American inequality? The piece answers this question with a resounding yes. This is technically true. More education would reduce inequality, but only by a very, very small amount. According to the article: Education remains the chief American institution that promotes […]
3:06 PM | The For-Profit College Job Placement Rate Scandal Revisited
Now that the U.S. Department of Education has taken decisive action against Corinthian Colleges for cooking the books on its job placement rates, I thought that it was worth revisiting a series of posts we ran on our retired blog Higher Ed Watch in 2011 warning of an emerging “for-profit college job placement rate scandal.” I hope these posts are helpful reminders that this is not just a problem at Corinthian Colleges but throughout the for-profit higher education industry. “A […]

April 15, 2015

8:25 PM | Our Adjunct Professors Are on Welfare
In the last 20 years or so, even as college tuition keeps rising, schools are not spending more money on professors. What they are spending money on is a matter of debate but they’re increasingly relying on adjunct professors, teachers who are paid only by the classes they teach, and who don’t receive the generous benefits provided to full professors. But how bad is the problem? Colleges often suggest that, yes, they use adjunct professors, but there’s nothing inherently […]
4:57 PM | Conversations on conservation: how can science better inform policy?
New threats to Europe’s birds and habitats directives highlight broader tensions – and opportunities – at the interface between conservation science and policy. Two years ago, the conservation community celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which currently protects more than 1,400 plant and animal species across the United States and its territories. It’s one of the strongest and oldest laws for protecting biodiversity passed by any nation, and […]
3:34 PM | A Conference in Arizona Emerges as a Power-Player in Education Technology
Pop quiz: Define equity. That question, posed to an educator, will probably spark a conversation about the uneven learning outcomes for disadvantaged students. But the word ‘equity’ means something very different to venture capitalists who invest in education technology. This dynamic was on display last week in the halls and lobby of the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The ASU+GSV Summit, an annual education technology conference, was the place to be and be seen. […]

April 14, 2015

3:24 PM | Test Case New Orleans: Will Charters Choose Community Over Union Busting?
Tiana Nobile, co-president of the new United Educators Morris Jeff teachers union, starts the day with her kindergarten class on October 28, 2014. Teachers at Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans voted to unionize last year, making them the first to do so in a city that has had virtually no union representation since Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Alex Neason) Don’t call it a comeback. But unions are beginning to take root once again in the New Orleans “portfolio […]

April 13, 2015

11:21 PM | Stories that shape: What are the best novels about the politics of technology?
Georgina Voss: Which fiction books offer us useful and powerful ways to engage with the politics of science and technology?‘Words are important. And when there is a critical mass of them, they change the nature of the universe.’ (Terry Pratchett, Going Postal)Last week, Rebekah Higgett put out a call at The H word for an alternative ‘best 13 books about science’ for the general reader. Looking beyond out-dated, historical, and male-dominated texts, Higgett asked for […]
5:26 PM | Demanding Divestment of Fossil-Fuel Investments, Protesters Block Harvard President's Office
Students camped out Sunday night outside the president's office at Harvard University. (Mallory Noe-Payne/WGBH). Students woke up Monday morning on the ground outside of Harvard University's oldest building. They had spent the night there, protesting the university's choice to invest part of its endowment in fossil-fuel companies. Students and climate change activists will gather in Harvard Yard in Cambridge all this week, demanding that nation's oldest -- and the world's wealthiest -- […]
5:19 PM | Room and Board Charges Rising Faster Than Inflation
American students, and their parents, have been complaining about the rising price of college since the 1980s, when schools began hiking annual tuition charges well above the rate of inflation. But rarely do we hear politicians or student groups railing against the sticker prices of college food and dorm rooms. They should be. Room and board fees, which average over $9000 a year, generally exceed tuition at public universities.  And they account for more than a quarter of the annual bill […]

April 10, 2015

8:35 PM | ESEA Compromise Includes a Few Steps Forward for Early Learning
Earlier this week, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) released their compromise to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). You can find a good summary of the bill at Education Week’s Politics K-12. There are provisions to like and plenty to not like, but generally, it rolls back federal oversight of PreK-12 education. While the bill does not include a separate title for early education or a dedicated funding stream for high-quality pre-K, there […]
5:00 PM | Online Education Works Great, if Only Totally Different People Signed Up
I’m a skeptic of many technology initiatives in education. In particular, I find the idea of college transmitted over the Internet to be a fad at best, and a scam at worse. But as far as the learning goes, it turns out people online do pretty well. In fact, almost just as well as in real college. That’s according to a report out by Derek Wu. a research analyst at Ithaka S+R. In a literature review of research of online education he concludes something interesting: The three […]
2:41 PM | What are parties saying about science policy ahead of the election?
If you’re struggling to form a view on what’s on offer for science at the general election, these interviews with six major parties are a starting pointVoters with an interest in science may be struggling to form a view on what’s on offer at the general election, if two recent public debates are anything to go by.A few weeks ago, the Society of Biology brought together science representatives from six leading parties, but little emerged to differentiate them. Consensus seemed […]
3:00 AM | Online Courses Might Offer a Path to More Degrees - and to Reducing the Carbon Footprint
Students walk to and from classes on the campus of Arizona State University. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Older students who don’t want the full on-campus experience - and the costs associated with it - might be served effectively through high-quality online college degree programs, according to a new report. And that might reduce the carbon footprint, too, saving money for both college and student. The typical student pursuing an online degree through Arizona State […]

April 09, 2015

5:23 PM | How to Get Free College: Start Demanding It
As college tuition keeps increasing, publications occasionally put out pieces about how to get free public college. It often looks like a progressive pipe dream but as many journalists, myself included, often argue, it’s entirely affordable and would help this country greatly. The Nation, in its latest 150th anniversary edition, has an article about how to do this: just look at other countries: Tuition at public colleges should be free. You may say that’s impossible, but, as […]
3:46 PM | How Schools Can Lower Suspension Rates and Raise Graduation Rates
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Having racked up multiple absences and missed assignments, a high school sophomore showed up in his English class last year, hopeful for another chance. “Where have you been?” his teacher asked. “You can’t pass this class if you don’t show up.” Without warning, the young man exploded. “Shut the f— up,” the 16-year-old shouted. “You think you’re better than me? Who the f— do you think you are?” […]

April 08, 2015

10:17 PM | The University of Florida's Online Bait and Switch
Florida’s flagship state university has an innovative new admissions program: force people to study online as their only chance for admission into the school. According to an article in the Washington Post: Some 3,100 students accepted as freshman by the University of Florida for the fall got a big surprise along with their congratulations notices: They were told that the acceptance was contingent on their agreement to spend their first year taking classes online as part of a new […]
Editor's Pick
10:10 PM | Why is 'High Quality' So Elusive in Mississippi's Child Care Centers?
JACKSON, Miss. — After 25 years as a commercial lender for a large bank in Indiana, Glenn Farmer’s future suddenly looked uncertain. His company was going through a restructuring that would phase out his department. Instead of looking for a new finance job, Farmer made an unexpected career move: He took over his parents’ preschool business and revamped it top to bottom. “A lot of people thought I was crazy,” Farmer said on a recent morning at Education Depot, his […]
10:00 PM | In Brazil, Fast-Growing Universities Mirror U.S. Wealth Divide
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Her face and bare arms painted with the words “medicina” and “UFRJ” — her major and the acronym, in Portuguese, of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro — Ana Carolina and some classmates stand on the busy Rua Visconde de Pirajá in Rio’s sunny Ipanema district and ask for spare change. The money isn’t for tuition; UFRJ doesn’t charge any. It’s for beer. Spurred on by upperclassmen, she and her […]
7:31 PM | The Power of One-on-One Tutoring in Early Literacy
Before coming into work this morning I made a stop at the Center City Public Charter School Shaw campus, like I do most Mondays. Down in the school’s basement is a small room with approximately 12 desks; the walls are covered with maps, colorful posters, and student worksheets. There are carts full of books and a shelf lined with about 50 student folders. Source: Reading Partners This is the school’s designated Reading Partners “reading center,” where kindergarten […]
7:25 PM | What do Rhode Island, Ohio and Colorado Have in Common? Hint: A Partner for Blended Learning
Swiftly transforming a school to a successful digital learning model requires more than good intentions and a can-do spirit. Teacher training, budget planning and crafting a solid instructional plan for the classroom are critical prerequisites, pioneers in blended learning say. Another piece of the puzzle: local community support. Expect to see that boots-on-the-ground outreach in Colorado soon. Last week, leaders in that state announced a new partnership that blended-learning advocates say […]
5:14 PM | Which College Will Replace Washington University as the Least Socioeconomically Diverse in the Country?
For years, Washington University in St. Louis has held the dubious distinction of being the least socioeconomically diverse college in the country. That’s about to change. In January, the university announced a plan to double the proportion of Pell Grant recipients that it enrolls by 2020. Under the plan, Wash U. will spend at least $25 million a year for five years to increase the share of students receiving Pell Grants, federal grants that go to students from families making less than […]
7:59 AM | Ernest Moniz and the physics of diplomacy
In his pivotal contribution to the US-Iran nuclear negotiations, Ernest Moniz, US Secretary of Energy, offers a role model of how to integrate science and politics. He has been called President Obama’s “secret weapon” and a “rock star”, and his long hair has garnered comparisons to the distinctive coiffure of Javier Bardem, who played a psychotic assassin in the 2007 movie “No Country for Old Men.” I write, of course, of Ernest Moniz, the US Secretary […]
3:17 AM | Bad Day for Journalism, Good Day for Journalism Schools?
Steve Coll, the dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, has published a comprehensive report on a Rolling Stone story about a brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia. The report finds the magazine fell short on multiple counts, citing faulty reporting, editing and fact checking. According to the report, Rolling Stone failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” in reporting on an alleged rape case at UVA. Read the full report […]
2:57 AM | The Strange History of the Student Borrower Defenses Provision
The only thing growing faster than the cost of college is the number of former Corinthian College students refusing to pay their debts. What started as a 15 person strike has now grown to approximately 100 people. The protest is raising important big-picture questions of what role the U.S. Department of Education should play in eliminating loans for potentially fraudulent educations. But its actual mechanics are being fought on a hyper-granular scale over a single provision–a […]

April 07, 2015

1:58 PM | Louisiana, How Can You Use Collegians as Your Debit Card?
Louisiana legislators and Governor Bobby Jindal are shutting doors on an increasing number of high school students. The percentage of Louisiana high school students crossing graduation stages is growing. More students and a greater share are enrolling in colleges and universities. Over 90 percent of these student attend an institution in Louisiana. Increases in the proportion of graduates in Louisiana are in-line with national trends, which show the country climbing to an 81 percent high school […]
10:06 AM | Human genetic engineering demands more than a moratorium
Expert calls for a moratorium on germline gene engineering are no substitute for richer public debate on the ethics and politics of our biotechnological futures.On April 3 2015, a group of prominent biologists and ethicists writing in Science called for a moratorium on germline gene engineering; modifications to the human genome that will be passed on to future generations. The moratorium would apply to a technology called CRISPR/Cas9, which enables the removal of undesirable genes, insertion […]

April 06, 2015

2:02 PM | Head Start Works Particularly Well for Dual Language Learners
There’s been a lot of interest in the past few years in how public investments in high-quality pre-K can serve—or not serve—young dual language learners (DLLs) and children of immigrants. We’ve done some writing and thinking about this at the DLL National Work Group (here, here, here, and here, to flag just a few posts). This is as it should be, since pre-K is a winning political issue at present and changing American demographics mean that new pre-K investments will […]
1:31 PM | The Gap Between Rich and Poor Schools Grew 44 Percent Over a Decade
The growing gap between rich and poor is affecting many aspects of life in the United States, from health to work to home life. Now the one place that’s supposed to give Americans an equal chance at life — the schoolhouse — is becoming increasingly unequal as well. I’ve already documented the startling increase since 2000 in the number of extremely poor schools, where three-fourths of the students or more are poor enough to qualify for free or discounted […]
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