Higher Education News

NCAA Questions Host Cities on Possible Discrimination

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 22, 2016 - 12:30pm
Cities that will host NCAA events or have expressed interest in doing so are being asked about local laws, regulations, or policies that might be biased.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. Proposes Rules to Clarify State Oversight of Online Courses

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 22, 2016 - 9:40am
The new regulations would close what's been called a loophole in which distance-education providers enroll students in states where the institutions are not located.
Categories: Higher Education News

Protecting Students of All Religious Backgrounds from Unlawful Discrimination

U.S. Department of Education Blog - July 22, 2016 - 7:30am

All students—regardless of race, national origin, religion, disability, or sex—deserve access to a high-quality education, from preschool through college. Throughout the last seven-and-a-half years, the Obama administration and the Department of Education have worked to safeguard the rights and protections of our students by enforcing our nation’s civil rights laws and implementing regulations that prohibit discrimination and providing additional support to educators to prevent such discrimination.

Building on these critical efforts, today, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched a webpage that consolidates resources from across the Federal government about religious discrimination. The new page links to OCR’s relevant policy guidance and case resolutions involving religious discrimination claims, as well as resources in various languages and from other Federal agencies.

We also revised our online complaint form to clarify when OCR can investigate complaints from individuals who believe they have experienced racial, ethnic, or national origin discrimination involving their religion. Both efforts aim to ensure that students of all religious backgrounds receive the full protection of federal civil rights laws.

OCR’s jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including membership in a religion that may be perceived to exhibit ethnic characteristics (e.g., Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh students). Our updated online form reaffirms that students and parents of all faiths can file complaints with OCR that include aspects of religious discrimination in education, even though Title VI does not expressly prohibit religious discrimination.

Such complaints are not new to OCR. Last year, we received more than 450 complaints of racial or national origin harassment, including some involving religion. We have used enforcement as a key tool to protect students of many religious backgrounds from unlawful discrimination. For example, we have resolved cases involving Jewish students subjected to anti-Semitic epithets or Muslim students targeted for wearing a hijab and called terrorists. In instances where schools failed to address a hostile environment, we have secured commitments from those schools to improve their harassment policies and procedures, train staff and students, and conduct school climate surveys.

In addition to resolving cases, OCR has conducted outreach and worked to share resources with the field in order to support schools in their efforts to prevent religious discrimination. Since March, OCR has participated in a series of roundtables with other federal agencies on issues of religious discrimination, including bullying of students from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds. Our participation in the Justice Department’s Combating Religious Discrimination Today roundtables also has given us the opportunity to hear from communities and advocates around the country on the issue of religious discrimination in our nation’s schools. In June, OCR issued a fact sheet about combating discrimination against Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian students, and I recently blogged about OCR’s work to prevent discrimination involving religion at schools and universities.

We recognize, as the Department recently stated in the Federal Register, that there are “an increasing number of incidents of anti-Semitic bullying and harassment in public schools . . . [and] reports documenting that students who are or are perceived as Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Southeast Asian are frequent targets of bullying and harassment.” In response, the Department revised the regulations for the Equity Assistance Centers (EACs). The EACs, starting in October, will be authorized to provide technical assistance, on request, to public school districts, students and parents, and community organizations to prevent and combat religious discrimination.

Recognizing that data are critical in understanding the problem and measuring progress, later this year every public school district in the country will be required, for the first time, to report to OCR through the Civil Rights Data Collection on the number of incidents of religious-based bullying or harassment in their schools in the 2015-2016 school year. We hope that this information will be useful to schools, policymakers, researchers, and others to facilitate a broader understanding of the scope of this issue.

We look forward to continuing this important work by using all the tools at our disposal to address unlawful discrimination so that all students can learn in safe, inclusive, and welcoming school environments.

Catherine E. Lhamon is Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.

The post Protecting Students of All Religious Backgrounds from Unlawful Discrimination appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

As Dual Enrollments Swell, So Do Worries About Academic Rigor

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 22, 2016 - 2:59am
Courses that give high-school students college credit before they graduate are expanding rapidly. In Texas, where the idea is especially popular, many educators are watching the trend warily.
Categories: Higher Education News

How Alabama Is Trying to Diversify Its Greek Organizations

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 22, 2016 - 2:56am
This month the university released an "action plan" that seeks to promote inclusiveness within its traditionally white fraternities and sororities. But concerns remain about the possibility of lasting change.
Categories: Higher Education News

When Pokémon Goes to Campus: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 22, 2016 - 2:55am
The hit augmented-reality game has prompted many colleges to jump on the bandwagon. Sometimes, though, players are finding themselves in unusual situations.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Michigan Board Chair Withdraws $3-Million Gift Over Naming Concerns

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 3:40pm
He and his wife had pledged to fund a new building to be named for them, but they dropped the idea after critics noted that it would replace the only campus building named for an African-American.
Categories: Higher Education News

Behind the Shake-Up at Temple U.: A Merit Scholarship That Grew Too Fast

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 12:07pm
Though no administrators have taken the blame for the $22-million deficit that led to the president’s resignation, it’s clear that a financial-aid program had become too successful for its own good.
Categories: Higher Education News

How to Hold Research ‘Rock Stars’ Accountable for Sexual Harassment

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 2:58am
A panel on harassment in academe, particularly in the sciences, explored why it’s difficult to punish professors for inappropriate behavior and what can be done about that. Here are three themes from the discussion.
Categories: Higher Education News

Turkey’s University Leaders Are Expected to Face Loyalty Inquiries

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 2:57am
Turkish scholars in the United States say the recent turmoil appears to have been part of a long dispute between former allies who shared an interest in making the country more Islamic.
Categories: Higher Education News

Which Ed-Tech Tools Truly Work? New Project Aims to Tell Why No One Seems Eager to Find Out

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 2:55am
Jefferson Education, an incubator affiliated with the University of Virginia, has enlisted more than 100 educators, entrepreneurs, and experts to examine why neither companies nor their customers tend to rigorously evaluate their products.
Categories: Higher Education News

‘Historians Against Trump’ and ‘Historians on Donald Trump’: Scholars Sound Off About Why They Joined

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 21, 2016 - 2:54am
Academics in the two groups say they see it as their duty to point out historical precedents for a Trump presidency and to help the public make educated choices.
Categories: Higher Education News

HBCU Presidents to Hold Symposium on Gun Violence

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 20, 2016 - 5:06pm
The leaders of 34 colleges seek to raise awareness of the "debilitating impact" of the trauma caused by recent shootings.
Categories: Higher Education News

A Team of Political Scientists, a Convention Like No Other, and a Search for One Good Protest

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 20, 2016 - 3:44pm
Student researchers from Penn State arrived at the Republican National Convention expecting chaotic — and perhaps frightening — scenes of activism. Instead they got a lesson in the unpredictability of social-science fieldwork.
Categories: Higher Education News

Education Dept. Plans to Improve Customer Service for Student-Loan Borrowers

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 20, 2016 - 1:07pm
The agency has released a memorandum detailing five changes, including new economic incentives for loan servicers that help borrowers avoid default.
Categories: Higher Education News

Why I Can’t Wait to Get Back to the Green Strides Tour

U.S. Department of Education Blog - July 20, 2016 - 12:00pm

In June 2013, when we launched the first “Education Built to Last” Green Strides Tour, little did I know that I would be embarking on the best component of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition award program to date. The 2013 tour took me to 11 states to engage in 40 events;  spanning Alabama, New England, New York, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington, DC.  Like the award, it was a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and make connections at federal, state, local and school levels for facilities, health, and environment.

In 2014, under the theme “Healthy Schools, High-Achieving Students,” and with an additional 46 events in 6 states, I enhanced my knowledge about green schools practices. From Boulder and Fort Collins, CO to Palm Beach and Broward, FL, from West Virginia to Kentucky, from Prior Lake Savage and Waconia, MN to Maryland, – practices that save money, improve health and achievement, and just happen to help our planet to boot – all of which make sense for school administrators, teachers, and the students we serve.

I took fall 2015 off of to care for my son, but this fall I am headed back on tour, this time to focus our efforts on “Real World Learning” — authentic, hands-on education that connects students to their school, grounds, communities, and the world. As we think toward this fall’s tour, here is a bit of what I learned during the first 17 states, 86 events and two seasons of our Green Strides Tour:

1.) An unused swamp, forest, or stretch of asphalt can become a living, green classroom to engage students in science, engineering, social studies, music, and language arts as well as connect the school to its community.

Purdy Elementary School in the School District of Fort Atkinson, WI rehabilitated a wetlands area, now open to the public and the location of student wetland walks and mallard release.


At Five Hawks Elementary in Prior Lake Savage Area Schools, MN, outdoor learning began as a schoolwide focus and has come to form part of the fabric of the district

2.) Alternative transportation programs reduce district costs and harmful air pollution. Walk and bike to school programs also get students and families active while engaging the community.

Boulder Valley School District showcases both alternative transportation and energy at Casey Middle School.

Students at Grand View Elementary in Manhattan Beach Unified School District, California participate in a Walking School Bus that ensures adequate supervision while students walk to school.

3.) Students joyfully eat veggies that they plant, grow, and harvest in their carefully planned gardens. Our ED-GRS honorees use school gardens to learn science, social studies, nutrition, agriculture, art, and civics, among many other subjects.

Longfellow Elementary School students show me around their garden and even buddy up to teach each other.


In addition to integrating the garden into school curriculum, Waconia Public Schools in Minnesota allows college students to use their edible garden classroom to advance their studies.

4.) Kids get excited learning about the world around them when they learning outdoors. Thinking about the interconnected social, economic, and ecological systems that make up our planet and the challenges that our communities face exercises complex thinking, problem-solving and collaborative working skills.

In Kent School District, Washington, we toured Millennium Elementary School wetlands, walked the trails and had a seat in students’ outdoor classroom.

5.) Where students learn matters. Period. Ventilation, moisture, contaminants, daylight, acoustical and thermal comfort, and design that encourages collaboration and inquiry.  All of these aspects of a school can hasten or hamper learning.

Locust Trace Agriscience Farm, in Lexington, KY is a modern, healthy, sustainable, and net zero agricultural career and tech center where we got to see aquaponics, greenhouses, culinary, veterinary programs, and even visit with livestock.

6.) Students don’t want to read about science.  They want to do science. Environment and sustainability concepts make for engaging, project-based learning.

In Broward County Schools, we got our feet wet (and sandy) to visit with students collaborating with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at Birch Taylor State Park.

7.) Student tour guides tell it best. Everywhere we went, students wowed us with their health, environmental, and sustainability learning.  This wasn’t rote memorization.  They owned the concepts because they live them.

At Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins, CO students described the how and why of their conservation practices and sustainable building features to rival any architect.

Green schools exist everywhere. There is amazing continuity among the practices, partnerships, and leadership that makes a school, district, or postsecondary institution effective in its greening efforts. For this reason and so many more, I can’t wait to visit state number 18 this fall, when Green Strides will head to Pennsylvania!

Andrea Suarez Falken is Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and Facilities, Health, and Environment Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education. In her spare time, she hikes with a toddler on her back.

The post Why I Can’t Wait to Get Back to the Green Strides Tour appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

Celebrating Five Years of Incentivizing Sustainable School Practices

U.S. Department of Education Blog - July 20, 2016 - 8:00am

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) began in 2011-2012, by defining “green school” according to three Pillars and recognizing 78 schools. In 2012-2013, ED added a District Sustainability Award and honored 64 schools and 14 districts.  It also began an annual tour spotlighting the practices of honorees and launched a Green Strides resources portal for all to employ. The 2013-2014 cycle named 48 school and 9 district honorees and added an honor for state officials. 2015 brought a postsecondary category, honoring 9 colleges and universities, 14 districts, and 58 schools recognized, and saw the revamping of the Green Strides portal.

Watch the Livestream: 

Just as I find it hard to believe my baby will turn one next week, I don’t know how it is that U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) hit five years of operation this one. On Wednesday, we recognized 47 schools, 15 districts, 11 postsecondary institutions, and one state education agency official at a Washington, DC ceremony for their efforts to cultivate sustainable, healthy facilities, wellness practices, and authentic, place-based learning.

As ED-GRS Director, I celebrate the honorees’ achievements each passing year while continuing to look for ways to make this recognition award fresh and useful to the school communities we serve. From tentative beginnings, it has become quite clear to us here at ED that sustainable school practices are here to stay and that our federal agency requires some understanding of school facilities, health, and environment matters, particularly as they affect learning.  I’ve been honored to serve in this evolving role, to read each and every one of our nominations in full every year of this award, and to preside over our annual ceremony, which is always a wonderfully celebratory event.

Learning from the many national non-profit and federal colleagues who have educated us in these areas over the last five years, I too have come to think of healthy, safe, sustainable schools that offer real-world learning opportunities as something should be the norm in all of our schools. These are certainly what I now look for in educating my own son, who will begin in a nature-inspired preschool in the coming year, and has spent every day of his first year getting outdoors and active with me, whether swimming, hiking, running, or biking.

Five years and many schools, districts, postsecondary institutions, resources, webinars and tour legs later, it’s my hope that this low-budget — but, we like to think, still highly relevant — award will continue to ignite change well beyond the deserving schools that we honor, spreading the gospel of sustainable practices and free Green Strides resources from which all schools can benefit.   Five years, and I believe that the green school revolution is just taking off.

In the upcoming 2016-2017 awards cycle, state education authorities are once again invited to nominate green schools, districts, colleges, and universities by February 1st, 2017 and to encourage all schools to make use of these money-saving, health- and  achievement-enhancing environmentally sustainable practices.

To learn more about this year’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees, visit our website and annual Highlights Report. You may also subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Andrea Suarez Falken is Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and ED’s Facilities, Health, and Environment Liaison.

The post Celebrating Five Years of Incentivizing Sustainable School Practices appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

N.C. State Settles Free-Speech Lawsuit by Revising Disputed Policy

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 20, 2016 - 2:55am
The case was brought by a Christian group that said its rights had been violated by a university policy requiring it to obtain a permit to solicit students on the campus.
Categories: Higher Education News

How One English Professor Plans to Turn Melania Trump Into a Teachable Moment

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 20, 2016 - 2:55am
Terri Coleman, an adjunct at Dillard University, says the apparent plagiarism by the wife of the Republican nominee will make it onto her syllabus.
Categories: Higher Education News

Yale Rehires Worker Who Smashed Window Depicting Slavery

Chronicle of Higher Education - July 19, 2016 - 2:13pm
Corey Menafee, a dishwasher at the university's Calhoun College dining hall, resigned in June after he destroyed the window, which he said was offensive.
Categories: Higher Education News


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