To Improve Adjuncts' Plight, 'Step 1 Is to Acknowledge the Problem'

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-02-07 14:00

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, responds to questions about how change might happen.

Categories: Higher Education News

Students Share Magical Moments at Art Exhibit Opening

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-02-07 11:37

A student’s work of art is displayed as part of the National PTA’s Reflections Program art exhibit at ED’s headquarters.

Magic to Do, the opening number in Pippin, could have been the theme song for the recent opening of the National PTA’s Reflections Program art exhibit at ED’s headquarters.

For nearly half a century, the National PTA has inspired millions of students to become involved in the arts through Reflections, and each year many of the winners are recognized at the Department through its Student Art Exhibit Program. This year’s exhibit includes 65 works by K–12 students from across the country and in U.S. schools abroad on the theme The Magic of a Moment. Writing, dance and film are also showcased in the exhibit.

Before the official ribbon-cutting that opened the exhibit, a capacity audience applauded the artistry of two Reflections competition winners in music and dance. Eighth-grader Bailey Callahan sang and performed on guitar her award-winning composition, The Magic of Moments. Jessica Clay, a high school senior and award winner for dance choreography in the newly created Special Artist Division for students with disabilities, performed her winning dance, Born to Be Somebody, with freshman dancer Kendyl Kokoyama.

The value of both the Reflections program and arts education in America’s schools was affirmed by the guest speakers at the event. Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Jim Shelton welcomed guests to the Department and delivered the important message that arts education matters for “every school and every child.” Art not only tell a child’s personal story, he observed, but it also gives the U.S. a vital leading edge over other nations in “creativity, design, and innovation.”

National PTA President Otha Thornton explained that the PTA’s mission is to engage parents to make sure their students’ education is challenging and rewarding.  And echoing the acting deputy secretary’s observation, Thorton said the arts in education helps “students develop critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and communication skills that the core subjects can’t foster alone.”

Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), spoke about the importance of the arts as a tool to solve schools’ performance challenges, using the PCAH Turnaround Arts initiative to illustrate her point.

Click here to learn more about the magical moments shared at the Reflections exhibit opening from the OII home room blog, including photos from the event.

Doug Herbert is a special assistant in the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

Categories: Higher Education News

Kansas public universities seek bill that they say would streamline process to offer online courses in other states / LJWorld.com (February 6, 2014)

WICHE in the News - Fri, 2014-02-07 11:20
Public universities in Kansas urged legislators on Thursday to approve a bill that higher education officials said would streamline their ability to offer online courses to out-of-state students. The bill would allow the Kansas Board of Regents to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, (SARA.)

Kansas public universities seek bill that they say would streamline process to offer online courses in other states / LJWorld.com (February 6, 2014)

WICHE in the News - Fri, 2014-02-07 11:20
Public universities in Kansas urged legislators on Thursday to approve a bill that higher education officials said would streamline their ability to offer online courses to out-of-state students. The bill would allow the Kansas Board of Regents to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, (SARA.)

Fill Out Your FAFSA, Get Help Paying for College

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Fri, 2014-02-07 07:35

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) workshop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Cross-posted from the White House Blog. Read more about AmeriCorps member Margaret Montague who advises students at T.C. Williams.

On Wednesday, during her visit to T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, First Lady Michelle Obama asked students a good question: Why would the First Lady of the United States come to a school and spend time with students “just to watch you fill out a computer form?”

The answer is that filling out one particular form – the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid – is one of the most important things students and families can do in planning for college success.

“You don’t have to be the valedictorian. You don’t have to major in a certain subject,” the First Lady said in her remarks. “You don’t even have to be at the bottom of the income ladder to receive the money.”

There is no income cutoff to qualify for financial aid, and most federal student aid programs don’t take grades into consideration when you apply.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who joined the First Lady at the event, pointed out in his remarks that recent changes have made filling out the FAFSA much easier.

“For too long, applying for financial aid and securing the best aid package has been much more complicated, and much less transparent, than it should have been,” Secretary Duncan said.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan talk with students working on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms during a workshop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

The FAFSA, Secretary Duncan said, now uses “skip logic” so students need only to answer questions relevant to them. Improvements to the web-based form – now used by 98 percent of applicants – makes the form faster and easier to fill out, less than 30 minutes on average.

Federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, provides more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students paying for college or career school.

“Almost everyone is eligible for some kind of financial aid, and all you have to do to access that aid is fill out this one little form,” said the First Lady. “It’s so simple.”

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students working on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms during a workshop at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Later, Secretary Duncan and the First Lady visited with parents and students, discussing plans for college and how the FAFSA is a key step to achieving their post-secondary dreams. They also talked with school counselors about their work with students.

You can take action by filling out the FAFSA today.

In case you missed it: January 16, 2014: Taking Action to Expand College Opportunity January 16, 2014: First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts a Discussion on Education November 12, 2013: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on The Power of Education To learn more about how the federal government can help you attend college, check out http://studentaid.gov/ Jennifer Simon is Senior Policy Advisor to the First Lady.
Categories: Higher Education News

A New Kind of Study Seeks to Quantify Educational Quality

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-02-07 03:59

The researchers are using an unusual methodology that allows them to quantify rigor and teaching in ways that conventional tools might fail to convey.

Categories: Higher Education News

Data, Not Dollars: Twitter Announces a Grant Program

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-02-07 03:57

The social-networking service is offering researchers access to data that might otherwise be challenging to obtain.

Categories: Higher Education News

Clash Over Professor’s Lectures on Sex Tests Academic Freedom at Religious College

Chronicle of Higher Education - Fri, 2014-02-07 03:55

Pacific Union College won't fire a longtime psychology professor, but other faculty members say the damage has been done.

Categories: Higher Education News

Corel(R) Signs 41-State Pricing Agreement with Midwestern Higher Education Compact (February 05, 2014)

WICHE in the News - Thu, 2014-02-06 09:12
Alliance provides MHEC, SREB and WICHE constituents significant discounts on Corel Creative Software. Provides public and private not-for-profit institutions, K-12 districts and schools, cities, states, and local governments with the member states, significant discounts on Corel's collection of creative software. Faculty, staff, and students will also be eligible to purchase under the agreement.

Free Community College? Tennessee Proposal Draws Praise and Concerns

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-02-06 03:59

A plan put forward this week is gathering positive reviews, but some experts also wonder about its cost and limitations.

Categories: Higher Education News

Analysts Map Some of the Challenges a College-Ratings System Would Face

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-02-06 03:57

A look at how colleges are performing now highlights the difficulties ahead for President Obama's proposal, scholars with the American Enterprise Institute say.

Categories: Higher Education News

California Agency Seeks More Federal Regulation of Loan-Default ‘Manipulation’

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-02-06 03:57

The state’s student-aid commission worries that some colleges are masking poor performance in ways that add to borrowers’ burdens.

Categories: Higher Education News

Marketing Students at Metro State U. of Denver Are Graded on Ticket Sales

Chronicle of Higher Education - Thu, 2014-02-06 03:55

The controversial practice, which took in more than $14,000 last year, has drawn criticism in part because the university profits from it.

Categories: Higher Education News

Budget Outlook Sees Long-Term Profits on Federal Student Loans

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:58

A report from the Congressional Budget Office also projects that the Pell Grant program will remain in the black until 2016.

Categories: Higher Education News

Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-02-05 03:55

The expansion since 2000, particularly in student services, highlighted a relative decline in full-time instructional positions.

Categories: Higher Education News

Making Progress on ConnectED

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-02-04 13:13

Cross-posted from the White House Blog

Today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.

Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 30% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to connect to today’s technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.

As the President announced today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will invest $2 billion over the next two years to dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America’s schools and libraries — connecting more than 20 million students to next-generation broadband and wireless. He also announced that private-sector companies have committed more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies to classrooms, including:

  • Apple, which will donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products, along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged U.S. schools
  • AT&T, which pledged more than $100 million to give middle school students free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years
  • Autodesk, which pledged to make their 3D design program “Design the Future” available for free in every secondary school in the U.S. — more than $250 million in value
  • Microsoft, which will launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will decrease the price of Windows-based devices
  • O’Reilly Media, which is partnering with Safari Books Online to make more than $100 million in educational content and tools available for free to every school in the U.S.
  • Sprint, which will offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million
  • Verizon, which announced a multi-year program to support ConnectED through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments

For more information on how ConnectED works, click here.

David Hudson is Associate Director of Content in the Office of Digital Strategy.
Categories: Higher Education News

Undergraduate Science Gains Are Tied to Hands-On Lab Experience

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-02-04 12:41

A study of the Sea-Phages program found that more first-year students continued to a second year, and they got higher grades too.

Categories: Higher Education News

#AfAmEdChat to Discuss How the State of the Union Affects African-American Communities

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-02-04 09:38

President Obama began the 2014 State of the Union address emphasizing his commitment that all American children have access to a world class education, stating in his first comments, “today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.”

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans will be hosting a special #AfAmEdChat on Twitter to discuss what the President’s address means for African-American communities.  The chat will explore the importance of the President’s emphasis on education including high-quality early childhood education, rigorous preparation for college and careers, supporting parents and communities, and recruiting the next generation of great teachers.

    • What:  #AfAmEdChat on what the State of the Union Address means for African-American Communities
    • When: 12-1 pm EST Thursday, February 6, 2014
    • Where:  Follow the Twitter conversation with #AfAmEdChat hashtag and follow @AfAmEducation

On the first and third Thursday of each month, the Initiative hosts a one-hour #AfAmEdChat to increase awareness of the educational challenges faced by African American students, whether they are in urban, suburban, or rural learning environments. The chats are facilitated by Executive Director, David J. Johns with guest panelists offering expertise on a range of issues and strategies supporting the President’s commitment to Opportunity for All.

Learn more about the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans by signing up for email updates.

Khalilah Harris is a fellow with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. She is an education program and policy advisor, attorney and a doctoral student at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Silicon Valley Weighs in on Adult Education Challenges

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-02-04 07:25

If you want to engage the high-tech industry to help improve job readiness for the nation’s 36 million low-skilled adults, a good place to start is Silicon Valley.

That is just what the Wadhwani Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education did. In January, Wadhwani staff, led by Chief Executive Officer Ajay Kela, were joined by ED’s Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education; Johan Uvin, deputy assistant secretary for policy and strategic initiatives; and Cheryl Keenan, director of the Adult Education and Literacy Division, for a listening-and-working session at Cañada College, in Redwood City, Calif.

Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier (seated, second from left) and Wadhwani Foundation’s Gayatri Agnew (standing, left) are joined by colleagues viewing new learning technology presented by Leslie Redd of LearnBIG (seated, third from left) at the adult reskilling session in Redwood City, Calif. (ED photo credit: Joe Barison)

This engagement event, “Time for the U.S. to Reskill,” brought more than 50 San Francisco Bay Area adult-education stakeholders together, with representation from local workforce, community, and advocacy organizations. The welcome by Wadhwani’s Kela, ED’s Dann-Messier, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Regional Administrator Robert Garcia described the magnitude of the low-skilled-adults challenge. The speakers emphasized how a worker’s low skill level directly affects life beyond employment, starting with a person’s health.

The format was “to put people in a room who may not typically come into a room together and convene unlikely stakeholders,” said Gayatri Agnew, Wadhwani’s program director for Race to a Job – USA.

The immediate goal, Dann-Messier said, “is a national plan to improve the foundation skills of the 36 million low-skilled adults in this country.” She explained her imperative to travel to California and to be in the room. “I need to hear what the folks are saying regionally, what the challenges are, what the solutions are, and it’s very important for me to hear all of that first-hand, and not have it filtered.”

Agnew moderated a panel comprised of adult-education stakeholders, followed by general discussion. The participants then dispersed to a half-dozen small rooms for a working lunch and creating the start of solutions. Later, during a break, participants talked about their reasons for attending the session and assessed how things were going.

“We’re trying to serve an issue here of equality, access issues, in both the field of Latinos moving up in the corporate world and in social equity,” said Luis Chavez, chairman of the board, Latino Institute on Corporate Inclusion, and a senior director for the Career Ladders Project.

Silicon Valley employers gave their perspectives as well. Kris Stadelman, director of the Nova Workforce Investment Board, said, “In education – I hear this from employers – your product is supposed to be a trained, ready, educated, prepared workforce.” In this light, she said, the day’s program was on the right track. “It was really good to start out with evidence, with the data, to really quantify what it is we’re talking about. I think the questions were all the right ones.”

This engagement session was one of five ED nationwide sessions, with others held in Philadelphia, Chicago, rural Cleveland, Miss., and the greater Boston, Mass. area. While each session is unique, Dann-Messier sees the Silicon Valley session as different from the rest. “If you’ve got 36 million folks – and federally we’re only serving two million – traditional means aren’t going to work,” she said. “We have to really make sure that we utilize technology-enabled solutions.”

Joe Barison is the director of communications and outreach for ED’s San Francisco Regional Office.

Categories: Higher Education News
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