April 02, 2014

1:16 PM | College - Worth It or Worth Less?
College has never been worth so much – or so little. New research from the Pew Center shows the wage gap between those with a college degree and those without is at an all-time high. Moreover, the college wage premium has actually been widening. Yet at the same time, real average earnings for young college graduates are at historic lows – down 6 percent from 2007 levels, even as the labor market recovers. Average student debt per borrower has climbed to a staggering $29,400. Does […]

March 31, 2014

10:10 PM | Assigning One's Own Books to One's Students
The Ethicist has a problem that will interest Henry: I am a graduate student at a state university. One of four required texts for a course was written by the professor, and the subject matter of the text is also the content of his lectures. A significant portion of my grade is based on a ‘‘review’’ I write of his text. Is it ethical to require students to buy a book that you wrote? Aren’t I already paying tuition for this professor’s expertise and […]

March 28, 2014

6:36 PM | The New G.I. Bill Is Sort of Not Working
A few years ago, after President George W. Bush signed the New G.I. Bill into law in 2008 to help and reward veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, people started to suspect that this program was being abused, by colleges. But it was hard to tell how effective the program was, because no one knew the graduation rateof those attending college using New G.I. Bill funds. Now we've got answers. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was a major critic of the program. According to an article in the Los […]
2:55 AM | Should Payscale's Earnings Data Be Trusted?
Despite the large amount of money spent on higher education, prospective students, their families, and the public have historically known very little about the earnings of students who attend college. This has started to change in recent years, as a few states (such as Virginia) began to publish earnings data for their graduates who stayed in state and the federal government publishes earnings data for certain programs through gainful employment rules. But this leaves out many public and […]
2:43 AM | Doing Right by Dual Language Learners in New York City's Pre-K Expansion
After nearly three months as head of New York City’s “ship of state,” Mayor Bill de Blasio is still finding his sea legs. From his approach to snow removal to his (ongoing) attempts to tamp down the controversy over his administration’s treatment of charter schools, de Blasio has had little time to craft and drive political narratives of his own choosing. This has even been true for his top political priority: establishing universal pre-K. For a variety of reasons, the […]

March 27, 2014

7:39 PM | University of Southern Maine Students vs. Their President
Well this is unusual. According to an article at The Free Press, the student paper of the University of Southern Maine, students at the college have apparently issued a vote of no confidence in the school's president and administration. What does this mean? Well, it’s not going to topple the administration, but it sure doesn’t mean good things. According to the piece: The student senate voted no confidence tonight in President Theo Kalikow and her council following a series of […]

March 26, 2014

1:37 PM | The Big Bang Fair puts PR above education
The science and engineering community fails young people by letting events like the Big Bang Fair be led by PR rather than teachersTwo minutes in the NEC auditorium and there was already a large explosion. It boomed around the halls. I stood still, as did a few people around me. Then we realised it was just part of a kids science show, laughed, and felt silly. We were there for something called the Big Bang Fair a massive annual science and engineering event for 7-19 -year-olds so we should […]
3:05 AM | Bama Totally OK With That Big Racism in its Greek System
The University of Alabama, in an astounding display of cultural insensitivity, has decided it has no business reforming the Greek system despite the fact that it still seems to maintain essentially segregated fraternities and sororities. According to an article in the Crimson White, the student newspaper at the University of Alabama: At the final session of the 2013-14 SGA Senate, a proposed resolution in support for full integration of the University of Alabama Greek system was sent to […]

March 25, 2014

2:37 PM | The Myth of the Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage
Given how crowded policy commentary is these days, with blogs, articles, e-books, and the like, the surest way to break through and get attention is to write the “man bites dog story.” And that is exactly what we have seen with the issue of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and skills. While the evidence shows that the United States is not producing enough STEM workers, a cottage industry of STEM shortage naysayers has emerged. Most recently, Michael […]

March 24, 2014

6:52 PM | Schools Struggle to Count Algebra Classes
Politico posted a nice roundup of new data from the U.S. Department of Education on March 21, 2014 that highlights racial inequities in education. They led with the provocative statistic that more than 8,000 three- and four-year olds were suspended from preschool in 2011, but most of the story covers how minorities have less access to important math and science classes and experienced, well-trained teachers. Deep into the story, there’s a critique of the data that made me pause. The […]

March 21, 2014

8:16 PM | The Department of Ed Needs Bang for its Buck in Preschool Development Grants
The Department of Education got a surprise from Congress in its fiscal year 2014 budget passed in January: $250 million for Race to the Top grants that will support early childhood education. According to the Department of Education, the dollars will be used for a competition to promote systems-building for high-quality early learning, similar to the Preschool Development Grants program included in President Obama’s original pre-K proposal last February. The last few years have shown […]
1:01 PM | Higher Education's Innovation Problem
Recently the New Republic published an interesting piece about America’s strange obsession with innovation, a fun economic buzzword that rarely translates into actual policy. As the author wrote, “Innovation” appeals to the left and the right, both of which claim it as their own. For the left, the case is plausible, at least in the abstract. The values of innovation—uncompromising experimentation, radical impatience with the current order—seem squarely of […]

March 20, 2014

8:48 PM | Student Loans Still Growing Faster Than Any Other Debt
Back in 2010, student loan debt outstanding in the United States surpassed outstanding credit card debt. Student loan debt hit the $1 trillion mark in 2013. It’s still the fastest growing consumer debt and a lot of it isn’t getting paid back. That’s according to the most recent consumer debt report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released on February 18, 2014. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York tracks student loans, both those issued by the federal government and […]
4:56 PM | Knowledge Pills, Robo-Graders, Brain Implants and Other Dystopian Edtech
It’s been a good week for the weird fringes of ed-tech. On Tuesday,  Nicholas Negroponte took the stage at the 30th anniversary of TED, the starry technology-entertainment-design conference. He’s the mastermind of One Laptop Per Child. It pioneered the idea of low-cost personal devices for students around the world. Negroponte has been criticized as an extreme apologist for the “teachers don’t matter, kids + tech = MAGIC” view of ed tech. Chris […]
3:33 AM | How Do Americans Feel About College? The Princeton Review Asked.
Americans get really worried about college. Potential college students are mostly worried about where they'll get in. Their parents are mostly concerned about how they'll pay for it. But what, specifically, is everyone concerned about? The Princeton Review is on the case. According to a survey recently published by the organization, which surveyed incoming college students and their parents, Among respondents overall, the plurality (39%)'s biggest concern is the "Level of debt…to pay […]

March 19, 2014

9:32 PM | Barriers to Credit Transfers Lower Graduation Rates, New Study Finds
Universities’ unwillingness to award academic credit to community-college students for courses they already took is driving down graduation rates for the increasing number of people following that route to a degree, according to new research. Six-year outcomes by starting institution type (Source: National Student Clearinghouse) If not for the loss of academic credits when students transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges and universities, 54 percent of them would […]
2:56 PM | Pre-K's Wave of the Future
A new approach to financing early education could mean taxpayers lose out if pre-K programs don’t meet specific targets. The plans, called social impact bonds, offer the government a less risky way to fund early intervention services, by collecting upfront costs from private investors and returning their dollars (plus some) if the programs are successful. A new report from the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP) lays out how social impact bonds generally work and why they’re […]
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