Higher Education News
Recently, ED invited student athletes from Urban Squash to speak about how they can use sports for leadership development and academic success. The organization is a youth development program that combines the sport of squash with academics, mentoring, community service, and college placement for public school students in under-served communities.
Unanimously, the students expressed that being involved in the sport has made them more confident to speak up, taught them what it means to respect and help each other as a team and inspired them to make changes in their community. They also spoke about the difference it made to their academic and personal growth and how empowering it was to be part of something, “larger than ourselves.”The student athletes encouraged everyone – regardless of neighborhood or background – to get involved with community building opportunities inside and outside of school. These activities are not limited to sports teams. They identified programs in their neighborhoods geared to support youth such as non-profit organizations, community service, internships and even employment opportunities.
While most of these programs welcome students with open arms, the students acknowledged the challenge that often goes along with finding out about these opportunities. To promote accessibility and diversity in these programs, they recommended expanding outreach to a more diverse population.. As a sport that is still largely outside the mainstream, the issues of awareness and diversity are even more pressing in squash.
Ultimately, these afterschool associations serve as a cultural program to connect different students and inspire them to advance their goals. It also gives them a chance to learn from each other by working in a team with diverse backgrounds and interests. Program participants are committed to making the most out of these educational opportunities – both on and off the court – to better themselves and their communities. As one student explained, “We are student athletes but the student part comes first”Squash is an indoor racket sport played by more than 15 million people in 153 countries. Until recently, it was played almost exclusively at prep schools, elite colleges, and exclusive clubs in the United States. Thanks in large part to programs like Urban Squash the sport has become more popular in recent decades. Because of its strong link to top-tier educational institutions, it has become an effective after-school program “hook.”
Hannah Pomfret was a 2015 summer intern at the U.S. Department of Education.
A series of free surveys is the first part of an effort to bring best practices on a variety of safety issues to institutions of all sizes.
Yoni Freedhoff has long been a fierce advocate on health and nutrition. Now he has helped to expose what many scientists see as a serious conflict of interest.
Hoping to avoid a $400,000 payment, the board has begun a process that could bring more messy details to light.
President Phillip C. Stone discusses what students and faculty can expect this fall and how he'll work with alumnae.
Phillip C. Stone talks about the pressure he feels to succeed for the sake of all liberal-art colleges and what his school might look like in five years.
Phillip C. Stone, the new president, thinks he can succeed where others have failed. Part 1 of 3.
The campus faces challenges in restoring its reputation among academics, but experts say its real work continues.
The shooting of Michael Brown last summer galvanized nationwide protests. But for Harris-Stowe State University, the fallout has been much more personal.
The strength of the American economy is inextricably linked to the strength of our workforce. As the U.S. economy continues to grow, employers report difficulty in finding workers with the specific skills and knowledge that they need. In order to maintain America’s competitive edge, it is critical that employers have access to highly skilled workers to meet the challenges of today’s labor market. With nearly one in five people in the United States identified as having a disability, individuals with disabilities comprise a large group of potential employees who, with the necessary skills and credentials, could help fill this unmet need and participate fully in the labor market and our society.
We know, however, that only about 20 percent of people with disabilities are participating in the labor force, and, that rate is significantly lower for those with only a high school diploma or less. For employed people with disabilities, data reveal that they are underrepresented in management and professional/technical jobs, and overrepresented in service, production, and transportation jobs.
Too often, however, our systems for preparing low-skilled individuals with disabilities with marketable and in-demand skills can be complex and difficult to navigate for students, job seekers, and employers. Career pathways can offer an efficient and customer-centered approach to training and education by integrating the necessary educational instruction, workforce development, and human and social services and supports that are linked to labor market trends and employer needs, leading to stackable credentials.
The State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency often serves as the primary vehicle in the workforce development system for assisting individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals with the most significant disabilities, to prepare for, obtain, retain, or advance in competitive integrated employment. As partners in the one-stop service delivery system established under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), State VR agencies are well-positioned to coordinate and collaborate with other entities, such as secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, workforce centers and other training providers, human and social service agencies, employers, and other community stakeholders, to develop workforce approaches that are effective in assisting individuals to attain knowledge and skills that can lead to employment in high-demand occupations.
Accordingly, we are pleased to announce a notice inviting applications to establish model demonstration projects to develop and use career pathways to help individuals with disabilities, including youth with disabilities, acquire necessary marketable skills and recognized postsecondary credentials. We expect to award $3.5 million to State VR agencies, in partnerships with other entities, to develop and implement a collaborative model project demonstrating promising practices and strategies in the use of career pathways to improve the skills of individuals with disabilities, including youth with disabilities, and help them attain the credentials to succeed in our 21st century economy.
We know that the use of career pathways is an effective workforce development strategy that can provide individuals, particularly those with the greatest barriers to employment, with seamless transitions into postsecondary education and employment in careers that provide a family-sustaining wage. Take, for example, the three seniors with disabilities from North Bend High School in Oregon who, with the help of the school transition specialist, a VR counselor, and the local community college, completed a program for Certified Nursing Assistance I (C.N.A). Students were required to attend a total of 75 hours of class training and complete an additional 80 hours of clinical training after school and weekends at a local assisted living center. These students are now enrolled in the C.N.A. II class.
We believe this career pathways investment by the Department of Education, and similar investments by this Administration, will serve to improve the well being of individuals with disabilities, the families they support, the communities in which they live, and our economy.
Michael Yudin is Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and Johan Uvin is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education
A skeptical journalist finds a touch of optimism during a recent meeting on how to help universities in war-torn countries in the Middle East and beyond.
Paul S. Aisen’s decision to move his Alzheimer’s-research program from one California university to another led to a nasty dispute.
Domestic "study away" programs can expose students to diverse cultures closer to home.
The goal is to make it easier for students to come forward, but questions of loyalties and legalities complicate the picture.
A gallery of criminal justice experts, educators, and formerly incarcerated individuals gathered at a 2008 conference at SUNY Old Westbury to examine how access to higher education in prisons and for formerly incarcerated individuals could positively transform individual lives and communities. The conversations held at this conference revolved around the need to dedicate advocacy efforts towards eliminating barriers to higher education for currently and formerly incarcerated people. We were a lone wolf of sorts; a singular outlier in the field—at the time, no criminal justice reform organization exclusively addressed this issue. This conference was the first of its kind dedicated to expanding higher education access for the incarcerated.
We saw then, as we do now, that access to higher education must be the central element of any substantive effort to reform the criminal justice system, and to improve the lives of the individuals this system is intended to rehabilitate.
Our personal interest in the subject stems from the fact that each of us had a very different experience while incarcerated. Glenn Martin was incarcerated with the opportunity to earn a degree from the Niagara Consortium. He eagerly pursued this opportunity realizing that his in-prison education would grant him opportunities for a civically engaged life post-release. On the other hand, the facility where Vivian Nixon served her sentence lacked any postsecondary programs, thus squandering the potential of the women incarcerated within and creating additional barriers to successful reentry.
Education became a tool that Glenn could use to chip away at the barriers before him—his opportunities for employment and further postsecondary education were improved substantially. More than anything, though, having access to these classes empowered Glenn and allowed him to think critically about what had led him to prison and what he could do to ensure he never returned.
Both of us realized that to deprive anyone of access to higher education, when the circumstances themselves merited the highest kind of educational intervention, was to limit them from tapping into their full potential.
To adequately address these issues, we formed the Education from the Inside Out Coalition – currently led by the College and Community Fellowship, JustLeadershipUSA, and the Center for Community Alternatives. It is a national, non-partisan collaborative of organizations, individuals affected by the criminal justice system, advocates, and educators dedicated to increasing access to higher education.
Our initial efforts centered on restoring Federal Pell Grants to incarcerated individuals.
In 1994, as part of the Violent Crimes Control and Law Enforcement Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, students incarcerated in Federal and State prisons, of which there were approximately 23,000 at the time, lost the ability to access Pell Grants to fund higher education. A product of the era’s “tough on crime” mentality, this legislation reflected the misguided belief that only heavy-handed tactics could solve the period’s soaring crime rates. Research in the intervening decades has helped shatter the myth that education for the incarcerated doesn’t reduce crime. This research clearly demonstrates that access to higher education is actually a boon for public safety; it drives down recidivism rates, improves the lives of incarcerated students and returning citizens, and improves the lives of their families and communities.
On July 31st, Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Lynch, along with several Obama Administration officials and members of Congress, announced an initiative that will waive the ban on Pell Grant eligibility for individuals in select Federal and State penal institutions. We hope that this announcement will be a step towards ultimately reversing the ban.
When Senator Claiborne Pell created Pell Grants, he wanted to ensure that everyone would have access to higher education, especially those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. He was concerned with creating access for those who most needed education. Senator Pell saw education as a human right that could help lift up individuals, not a privilege that could be denied as a punitive measure.
While much work needs to be done to ensure that the full promise of Pell is fully restored, we are hopeful that the Obama Administration will continue to take steps towards making that future a reality. We applaud Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Lynch for their combined efforts to reverse the school-to-prison pipeline by making in-prison education accessible to those in need of a second chance. Because of our own disparate experiences in accessing higher education in prison, we know firsthand the transformative power education can have on the life of someone who involved in the justice system. It can take these individuals, the ones that society often overlooks and forgets, and forge them into future leaders and change makers.
Vivian Nixon is Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and their families. Glenn E. Martin is the Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), a national advocacy organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030.
The Democratic candidate’s proposal, announced on Monday, would require states to preserve higher-education funding in order to be eligible for a large grant pool. In some states, experts say, lawmakers won’t be eager to do so.
Government reviews may take years, and resolution agreements often come with dizzying lists of steps to comply with the law.
Robin S. Engel, a criminologist, will work with James L. Whalen, a new public-safety director. The two have teamed up before, encouraging police officers and scholars to collaborate more closely.