Posts

November 06, 2014

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5:38 PM | Why Can't We Fire Bad Teachers? There's a More Important Question to Ask Here.
Erstwhile Washington Monthly editor Haley Sweetland Edwards has written a great article about teachers’ unions. I urge you to read it because it's a balanced and compelling piece that looks seriously about what's going on in education policy and how the profession is going to change. It was also a highly controversial piece, but largely because of the cover treatment and headline it received from Time, where Haley now works. It was called "Rotten Apples: it's nearly impossible to fire a […]
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5:20 PM | What Removing Default Rates Means For Gainful Employment
The most controversial change from the Department’s proposed version of the gainful employment regulation in the spring and the one released at the end of October is no longer judging programs based upon the percentage of borrowers that defaulted on their loans within three years of entering repayment. Removing this program cohort default rate got a lot of attention because it was the only measure that looked at all borrowers, regardless of whether they dropped out. In […]
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5:17 PM | Financial Benefits of Popular Short-Term Certificates Questioned
Hugely popular short-term certificates—educational credentials designed to be completed within one year, and being pushed by community colleges and other higher-education institutions—provide almost no financial return to students, according to new research. While earning an associate’s degree or long-term certificate results in a higher likelihood of finding a job, and at a higher salary, short-term certificates generally resulted in neither of those, the research, by the […]

November 05, 2014

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9:15 PM | Federal Policy Can Help Avoid Tragedies of Unlicensed Child Care
The dirty underbelly of child care sometimes has the worst possible outcome: the injury or death of a child. A report by the Washington Post earlier this year found that 60 children had died in child care programs, with several more since, according to an op-ed published last week by the executive director of Child Care Aware of Virginia. Worse yet, some of those deaths might have been preventable: The Washington Post report found that more than 7 in 10 of the deaths occurred in child care […]

November 04, 2014

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10:15 PM | The Halloween 'Sexy' Treatment Goes Horribly Awry, Again
Halloween is that wonderful, fun time of year every possible professional or existential quality and can be reduced down to a (mildly to incredibly) offensive "sexy" costume for young women. Some professions, however, are rather more likely to generate outrage than others. And so I give you: the sexy PhD graduate (right). According to an article at Inside Higher Education: The “Delicious Women's Phd [sic] Darling Sexy Costume,” sold by Amazon, received a lot of virtual eye […]
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7:06 PM | For Boys, Present Laws Can't Substitute for Absent Fathers, and I Should Know
Editor’s Note: Son of a Saint is a support group for boys whose fathers are incarcerated or dead. At the organization’s annual gala Nov. 1, Hechinger Report columnist Andre Perry delivered a keynote speech in which he revealed that as a child, he faced the same situation as the boys helped today by this group: Good evening family. My lovely wife and I thank Sonny Lee and the boys of Son of a Saint for asking me to be the keynote for tonight’s important event. I’m deeply […]

November 03, 2014

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7:30 PM | Teach For America, Public Relations, and the Haunting Specter of Education Conspiracies
It’s Halloween, that cursed day when spooks and apparitions lurk around darkened corners and the line between real and fantasy blurs for a moment. To a degree, every day is Halloween in education policy. Conspiracies and evil spirits haunt coverage of the Common Core State Standards, state assessment contracts, and most any reform efforts. But a story published this week in The Nation traces out a particularly fantastical yarn about Teach For America (TFA). Most of the article is […]

October 31, 2014

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2:38 PM | What's Different, What's New in Final Gainful Employment Rule
The Department of Education finally released its final gainful employment rule this morning. This is a high-profile attempt to address concerns about the quality of career education programs, particularly those offered by private, for-profit institutions. This version is the fourth major version of the text we’ve seen, after a proposed version back in March, as well as a proposed and final version that came out during a prior effort that was finalized in 2011 only to be struck […]
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2:35 PM | Gainful Employment and the Federal Ability to Sanction Colleges
The U.S. Department of Education’s second attempt at “gainful employment” regulations, which apply to the majority of vocationally-oriented programs at for-profit colleges and certain nondegree programs at public and private nonprofit colleges, was released to the public this morning. The Department’s first effort in 2010 was struck down by a federal judge after the for-profit sector challenged a loan repayment rate metric on account of it requiring additional student […]

October 30, 2014

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9:00 PM | How States Stopped Funding Higher Education
The Great Recession was pretty terrible for higher education. In state after state legislatures cut funding for public colleges. The economy has recovered, but the damage is permanent, particularly for poor students. According to this piece at Inside Higher Ed: A new report from the Center for American Progress details -- on a state-by-state basis -- the extent to which recession-driven reductions in public college financing since 2008 have sent tuitions soaring, and how disproportionately […]
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2:00 PM | The Two Sides of TFA: An Internal Memo Shows the Teacher Group's Defensiveness Over a Story About How it Changed in the Face of Criticism
EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, The Hechinger Report published a story about a group of idealistic young Teach For America recruits who arrived in Seattle hoping to start jobs teaching in some of the city’s most struggling schools. Many of them remained unemployed, however, because Seattle didn’t really need more teachers. In fact, the district had an oversupply: “13,800 teachers had applied for just 352 full- and part-time positions,” Alexandra Hootnick reported in her […]

October 29, 2014

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7:00 PM | What Happens If You Just Pay Teachers a Hell of a Lot of Money?
One of the reform ideas proposed by education advocates—though not, admittedly, one of them that’s seen much implementation in policy—has been just paying teachers really well. Maybe if we paid teachers like small business executives they’d perform a lot better. Well the Equity Project (TEP) Charter School actually tried this. The results are pretty interesting. TEP is located in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and enrolls mostly low-income, […]

October 28, 2014

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8:00 PM | Education Doesn't Matter in the 2014 Election
Despite the fact that education issues matter a great deal in policy discussions lately, and despite the fact that, as a reader of this blog, you’re probably pretty interested in education reform, it turns out politicians mostly don't care. An article in the Washington Post explains that candidates for election mostly aren’t saying much about education. This shouldn’t really surprise us, however. According to the piece: A systematic analysis of campaign Web sites for the 139 […]
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