Higher Education News

A Second Chance for an Education

U.S. Department of Education Blog - June 24, 2016 - 9:06am

The Obama Administration is committed to creating a fairer, more effective criminal justice system. We want to lessen the impact of mass incarceration on our communities and help the men and women who rejoin society from our jails and prisons to build successful, crime-free lives.

Today, we’re announcing the selection of 67 postsecondary institutions to participate in the Second Chance Pell Program, which will evaluate the impact that Pell Grants have in helping incarcerated men and women pursue and attain a high-quality postsecondary education.

In total, nearly 12,000 students at more than a hundred federal and state correctional institutions will access approximately $30 million in Pell Grants, across 27 states in every region of the country.

Through both classroom and online instruction, eligible students in these programs can get associate and bachelor’s degrees, technical certificates in areas like welding, carpentry, and non-technical certificates in fields like business administration and marketing.

Right now, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world with more than 2.2 million prisoners and as President Barack Obama has noted, for the money this country currently spends on prison, we could provide universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old in America, or double the salary of every high school teacher in the country.

According to a 2014 study funded by the Department of Justice and conducted by the RAND Corporation, incarcerated individuals who participated in high-quality correctional education at all levels were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than prisoners who didn’t participate in any education programs.

Reducing recidivism will make our communities safer and save taxpayers’ money and the Second Chance Pell program is a step in the right direction, but it is not the entire solution. We need to rethink our policies that determine student access and success in higher education.

We all agree that crime must have consequences. But the men and women who have done their time and paid their debt deserve the opportunity to break with the past and forge new lives in their homes, workplaces and communities. And, helping incarcerated men and women to gain new knowledge, skills, and credentials increases their chance of living successful lives, saves public dollars, and makes our communities—and our country—safer and stronger.

Our belief in second chances is fundamental to who we are as Americans.

Categories: Higher Education News

67 Colleges Will Take Part in Education Dept.'s Pell-for-Prisoners Program

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 24, 2016 - 2:55am
The pilot program's rollout comes more than 20 years after Congress prohibited inmates from receiving the grants.
Categories: Higher Education News

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration Plan — and to Hopes of ‘Dreamers’

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 24, 2016 - 2:55am
A deadlocked vote by the justices preserves a lower court’s ruling against a proposal that would have shielded from deportation many parents and siblings of college students.
Categories: Higher Education News

As ‘Fisher’ Churned, Conversations About Campus Diversity Evolved

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 11:55pm
Shifts in economics and student demographics, along with resurgent activism, have altered the tenor of the discussion about affirmative action over the past eight years.
Categories: Higher Education News

Federal Panel Votes to Shut Down an Accreditor Blamed for Failures of For-Profit Higher Ed

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 11:00pm
The recommendation to strip the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools of its federal recognition won’t be the final word. But it starts a process that could lead to the agency’s demise.
Categories: Higher Education News

Race-Conscious Admissions Policies Just Got Easier to Defend

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 8:12pm
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the University of Texas both fleshes out how colleges can stay out of legal trouble and blunts some of the weapons used to attack affirmative action.
Categories: Higher Education News

Grambling State President Resigns After Less Than a Year in Office

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 3:41pm
The historically black university's Faculty Senate in February voted no confidence in Willie D. Larkin.
Categories: Higher Education News

A View from the Field: Building Comprehensive ESSA Stakeholder Engagement

U.S. Department of Education Blog - June 23, 2016 - 12:23pm

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, presents an opportunity to continue making progress towards educational equity and excellence for all. For the first time, the reauthorization of the nation’s defining elementary and secondary education law explicitly supports a preschool to college- and career-readiness vision for America’s students. It also creates the flexibility for states, districts, and educators to reclaim the promise of a quality, well-rounded education for every student while maintaining the protections that ensure our commitment to every child — particularly by identifying and reporting the academic progress of all of our students and by guaranteeing meaningful action is taken in our lowest performing schools and school with low performance among subgroups of students.

To realize this promise, states should engage meaningfully with a wide range of stakeholders to create a common vision of educational opportunity and accountability. This engagement can take many forms and still be successful. Regardless of the form, however, to be meaningful it must be wide-spread, inclusive, ongoing, and characterized by true collaboration. For the law to work we need all those who have a stake in our education system to have a seat at the table as states are making their plans.

While many states are still contemplating how to move forward, several have launched stakeholder engagement processes to start determining how to develop the best education systems for students in their states, and to explore the new flexibilities and opportunities within ESSA. Some have committees chaired by senior state officials working to develop plans for accountability systems, school interventions, and assessment systems, among other elements of the law.   Others have solicited input more broadly and are taking a grass-roots approach to beginning their planning.

Although each state will ultimately pursue an engagement strategy that works for its local context, the work of others, and the guidance and tools that national education organizations have created for state and local government officials and stakeholders, may prove useful in devising those strategies. Here are a few examples of states and their unique approaches:

  • There is grassroots engagement afoot in Pennsylvania, where Education Secretary Rivera has held a series of stakeholder sessions at the local level, creating working groups focusing on core issues of the law – e.g. accountability and assessment – to better allow citizens throughout the Commonwealth to engage on specific issues within the ESSA law. These working groups are comprised of a wide array of stakeholders including teachers, principals, community based organizations, education non-profits, businesses and higher education institutions.
  • Strong executive leadership is the highlight of Alabama’s outreach strategy, where the Governor established a committee through an executive order to lead the development of the ESSA state plan. This ESSA Implementation Committee includes representatives from across the education community, including parents, educators, superintendents, school board members, school leaders, state Department of Education officials, and education policy advocates. In addition to the meetings of the committee itself, the chair and vice chair are holding subcommittee meetings on a variety of topics (including accountability, early learning, and standards and assessments), and plan to host public forums so local leaders and members of the public have an opportunity to weigh in on the development of the state plan. A full list of committee members, along with meeting dates, times, and locations, is available here. The Committee is also soliciting feedback and comments from the general public through an online webform.
  • The Colorado Department of Education created an ESSA working group and in May led listening sessions in different regions of the state to gather input from stakeholders such as parents and teachers. The ESSA working group committees will utilize this information from the sessions to develop the state plan that will ultimately be approved by the Colorado State Board of Education.

As states continue to refine their plans it is important that citizens, civil rights groups, parents, educators and many more stakeholders become involved in the state and local level conversations on how to best implement ESSA both initially and in the months and years to come. Here are some highlights of the tools national organizations have created to help their members create a thoughtful and inclusive engagement plan:

We look forward to supporting state and local leaders as they work to engage their constituents in developing high quality implementation plans that provide every student with a high quality world class education. For additional information, please read Secretary King’s Dear Colleague Letter to state and local leaders that highlights additional engagement materials developed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Lindsay O’Mara is Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education.

Categories: Higher Education News

Why Twitter Is Calling Abigail Fisher 'Becky With the Bad Grades': A Brief Explainer

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 11:58am
Ms. Fisher, the white female student who sued after she was denied admission by the University of Texas at Austin, has become the "Becky" of the moment.
Categories: Higher Education News

'Fisher' in Context: Making Sense of the Decision

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 10:30am
How might the Supreme Court's latest ruling change the college-admissions landscape? Get up to speed with a collection of past Chronicle coverage.
Categories: Higher Education News

3 Key Takeaways From the Supreme Court's Decision on Race-Conscious Admissions

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 10:19am
The University of Texas at Austin is not off the hook, even though its holistic process is legal, the majority ruled. But this was not a sweeping affirmation of affirmative action.
Categories: Higher Education News

Supreme Court Upholds Use of Race-Conscious Admissions at U. of Texas

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 8:16am
The justices’ ruling puts an apparent end to one of the most closely watched cases in higher education, though the fight over colleges’ consideration of race is likely to continue.
Categories: Higher Education News

It’s Time for Some Stability

U.S. Department of Education Blog - June 23, 2016 - 5:57am

Class act! Principal Nauiokas and students at Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx. (Photo courtesy Jessica Nauiokas)

Every year, hundreds of thousands of youth enter the foster care system in America and become one of our most vulnerable groups of students, as each move from home to home is frequently accompanied by school transfers and educational disruption.

As the principal of a school specifically designed to meet the needs of children in foster care, Mott Haven Academy in the Bronx, I have seen how factors like unnecessary school transfers and untrained educators allow child welfare-involved youth to fall through the cracks. As a result the country’s half-million foster children have poorer attendance rates than their peers, are less likely to perform at grade level, are more likely to have behavior and discipline problems, are disproportionally assigned to special education classes, and are less likely to attend college.

Fortunately, the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and joint guidance released today from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) finally shine a light on the unique educational needs of children in foster care. As a school leader, I eagerly await the day in December 2016 that these provisions go into effect for our students. In many places, your address dictates your school zone and for foster care youth, addresses change frequently. Imagine being in second grade and, overnight, you are pulled from the only caregivers you have known and moved to a new home. The next morning you are enrolled in a new school, introduced to a new teacher, and expected to make new friends.

Over the last 10 years, I have witnessed countless times when transportation has been a barrier to preserving a school placement, but when addressed, the results can be lifesaving. In 2015, my colleagues and I tracked the “transitions” of one of our young scholars and found that in the six years we knew her, she had moved nine times – from foster care back to her biological mother twice, in and out of shelters, and from two more foster homes until reunited with and adopted by her original foster family. During those years of crisis and uncertainty, we worked tirelessly with city agencies to keep her at our school and solve the transportation issues. Instead of becoming a statistic, this young scholar thrived. She created healthy attachments with teachers and gained comfort from supportive friends. She moved from being three academic years behind her peers as a second grader to a fifth grader with grade level skills. She trusts people again. And she loves school.

For many children in foster care, school is the one predictable and safe place in their life. Adding to the trauma and crisis caused by a new home placement by placing children in a new school of strangers is preventable. I am hopeful that the new foster care provisions in ESSA and guidance from ED and HHS will assist more school systems in taking the steps necessary to protect the educational experiences of youth engaged with child welfare. Let’s give them the stability they so desperately need and deserve.

Jessica Nauiokas is principal of Mott Haven Academy Charter School and a 2015 Principal Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education.

The post It’s Time for Some Stability appeared first on ED.gov Blog.

Categories: Higher Education News

Controversial 'Sports University' Draws Scrutiny From 2 North Carolina Agencies

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 2:55am
A company calling itself Forest Trail Sport University could be stymied in its plans to team up with Waldorf University, a for-profit institution that operates mostly online.
Categories: Higher Education News

South Carolina Calls Proposal to Abolish Pledging a 'Game Changer'

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 2:55am
As it tries to confront hazing and a student’s death, the state’s flagship university proposes a new recruitment and initiation process for campus Greek life.
Categories: Higher Education News

‘Fem Fog’ Fallout: Scholars Wrestle With Honoring a Colleague Tarnished by a Blog Post

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 23, 2016 - 2:54am
Well before Allen J. Frantzen’s comments on feminism were widely condemned by fellow medievalists, scholars started compiling a work celebrating his career. Five years later, some are getting cold feet.
Categories: Higher Education News

Kentucky Attorney General Sues Governor Over U. of Louisville Shake-Up

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 22, 2016 - 12:26pm
The attorney general is also seeking a restraining order to block the governor from abolishing the university's board.
Categories: Higher Education News

ACT Plans Center to Help Underserved Students Succeed in College and Work Force

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 22, 2016 - 11:29am
Officials at the testing company aim to study how to make more headway in closing achievement gaps.
Categories: Higher Education News

Fine-Tuning the ‘Nudges’ That Help Students Get to and Through College

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 22, 2016 - 2:57am
A researcher describes her group’s work to design and test behavioral interventions that colleges can use to help students find and stay on their path to a degree.
Categories: Higher Education News

Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning?

Chronicle of Higher Education - June 22, 2016 - 2:55am
The evidence is largely anecdotal, and the research is inconclusive, but many professors say reading online clearly hampers students’ ability to take in what they study.
Categories: Higher Education News

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