Higher Education News
Crowd-work platforms like Mechanical Turk have revolutionized some types of research, but at what cost?
Doctors, coaches, and investment officers sometimes take home a bigger paycheck, a Chronicle analysis shows.
In this week’s address, the President laid out his plan to ensure more children graduate from school fully prepared for college and a career.
Our elementary and secondary schools are doing better, as demonstrated by the news this past week that our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high, but there is still more that can be done to ensure every child receives a quality education. That’s why the President wants to replace No Child Left Behind with a new law that addresses the overuse of standardized tests, makes a real investment in preschool, and gives every kid a fair shot at success.
He reminded everyone that when educating our kids, the future of our nation, we shouldn’t accept anything less than the best.
While many students face challenges when it comes to growing up and pursuing academic success, Native American and Alaskan Native youths are more likely than most of their peers to experience poverty and trauma, and to drop out of high school. Their school environment has a significant role in their development.
This is just one of the reasons why ED recently invited 15 young Native Americans to attend a Student Voices Session with Secretary Duncan.
This session was also a capstone to ED’s first-ever School Environment Listening Tour, a nine-city tour in seven states designed to identify the impact of school environment on young Native Americans.
During the session here at ED, the students expressed their great need for cultural and personal support.
“When native students have a space for cultural continuity in an educational setting, they are tremendously more successful,” commented Laree, a Lakota and Oglala undergraduate student from Wisconsin.
Blue and Kele, siblings from Oklahoma, are members of the Cherokee Nation and of Osage and Choctaw descent. They stressed the significance of their participation in Operation Eagle, a cultural and community group for native youths. Despite the existence of programs like this, however, they highlighted the fact that education about their culture needs to extend beyond their native community.
Blue recalled from one community event that, “volunteers came in wearing headdresses and paint on their faces … one kid had a Halloween costume of a native American. … They need to teach the kids that not everyone has a headdress; you have to earn everything … I just think it would be better to have them learn.”
Autumn, a high school student from the Pokagan Band of Potawatomi Indians, described a similar experience. Her high school mascot is the chieftain – an offensive Native American caricature – and the derogatory term “wahoo” is used for the yearbook and school dances. While these harmful images had caused many of her native friends to lose interest in school or drop out, Autumn said that she couldn’t really be mad. “It’s not [non-native students’] fault – they’ve been programmed to think we are savages by the history they’re taught.” Autumn agreed that a more inclusive history should be taught to all students.
When Secretary Duncan asked the students about how to increase college access and make learning relevant for Native American and Alaskan Native youths, they opened up with recommendations that included cultural programs, tutors and career counselors, more accurate history curricula, and increased college affordability. There was consensus among the students that creating a supportive school culture should start with principals and teachers modeling culturally sensitive behaviors.
Referring to the need for recognition of Native culture within schools, Benton, of the Jicarilla Apache tribe, the youngest of the group at only six years old, concluded, “It matters, my tribe is important.”
This session was a part of the ongoing “Student Voices” series at the Department through which students engage with senior staff members to help develop recommendations on current and future education programs and policies.
Samuel Ryan is a Special Assistant and Youth Liaison in the Office of Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education.
If you’re planning on going to college this fall, you will definitely want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The FAFSA not only gives you access to grants and loans from the federal government, but many states and schools also use information from the FAFSA to award their financial aid.
If you are considered a dependent student for the purposes of the FAFSA, you are required to provide information about your parent(s) on the application. (Note: The dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are set by Congress and are different than those used on your tax return.) You might be wondering which parent’s information to report or what you should do if your parents are divorced, remarried, or if you live with another family member.
Don’t worry; we can help you figure out whose information to include. For a quick visual reference, check out our infographic, Who’s My Parent When I Fill Out the FAFSA?
Or, if you want to more information, here are some guidelines. Unless noted, “parent” means your legal (biological or adoptive) parent.
- If your parents are living and legally married to each other, answer the questions about both of them.
- If your parents are living together and are not married, answer the questions about both of them.
- If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent. If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well.
The following people are not considered your parents on your FAFSA unless they have adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.
If you still have questions or are unsure what to do if your parents are unable or unwilling to provide their information for your FAFSA, you can get more information at StudentAid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info.
Tara Marini is a communication analyst at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
Critics of the legislation, versions of which have passed both chambers of the legislature, say it would discourage students from seeking help.
A Congressional task force, led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, assails the Education Department for burdening colleges with an increasing volume of rules and reporting requirements.
An external probe of admissions practices challenges Bill Powers’s image as a bulwark against political meddling.
For more than a decade, states and schools throughout this country have worked within the narrow confines of the No Child Left Behind law. It’s long past time to move past that law, and replace it with one that expands opportunity, increases flexibility and gives schools and educators more of the resources they need.
Today, seven years after the law was due for renewal, there is real movement on Capitol Hill toward a new law, with many important decisions happening in just the next few weeks. But it is by no means certain what that law will look like — or whether it will, indeed, be a step forward.
No Child Left Behind is the title applied to the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the most important education law in the country, which turned 50 years old in January.
Since its beginnings in 1965, ESEA aimed to give students living in poverty, minority students and others who had historically struggled for a fair chance, in part, by providing billions of dollars in Title I funds to schools with high concentrations of poverty, and by supporting teacher professional development, and other essentials. When he introduced it in January 1965, President Lyndon Johnson said the law would establish “full educational opportunity as our first national goal,” and said, “I believe deeply [that] no law I have signed, or will ever sign, means more to the future of America.”
In hundreds upon hundreds of conversations with educators, I have heard about frustrations with the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, and I am hopeful that lawmakers will find their way to a bipartisan agreement on a law that serves students, teachers and principals better.
The intentions of the No Child Left Behind revision were good, but the implementation, for many, has been frustrating. It aimed to bring transparency and meaningful responsibility for the learning progress of “subgroups” of students who had struggled in the past — students in poverty, minority students, those with disabilities, those learning English and others. That’s a good idea. But in practice, the law created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed.
I believe we need to do precisely the reverse, giving schools more resources, more support and more flexibility. I believe we need to scrap No Child Left Behind and replace it with a far better law — a law that continues key supports for equity in education as a national priority, rather than making equity of opportunity optional.
Recently, I laid out core ideas for a new law that ensures real opportunity. Teachers, principals, students and families have helped to spur enormous progress in education throughout the country — leading to our highest high-school graduation rate in history, dropout rates at historic lows, and a million more black and Hispanic students in college than there were in 2008.
I believe we need to double down on that kind of progress and expand opportunity for America’s children — not turn back the clock. In order to do that, I called for doing several things that have enormous relevance to educators.
First, we must make sure that schools and educators have the resources they need to do their vitally important work. Among significant increases for education in the budget the President recently laid out, he requested $2.7 billion in new funding for ESEA, including a billion-dollar increase for Title I.
A new ESEA should ensure that students are ready for school, by making high-quality preschool available and affordable for every family that wants it.
It should support teachers better throughout their careers, including through improved training.
It should provide support and funding to cut back on the time devoted to standardized testing in places where testing is excessive, without walking away from annual statewide assessments that provide valuable information to drive improvement and are critical to measuring growth instead of just proficiency.
In fact, the law should focus on the learning growth of all students, including subgroups that have struggled in the past, and ensure that where groups of students or schools do not make progress, there will be a plan for action and improvement.
It should help to ensure that students receive a well-rounded education that includes the arts, physical education, financial literacy, the sciences, and much more.
It should ensure that funds intended for high-poverty schools actually get to those schools.
It should ensure that all students have the benefit of high, state-chosen standards aligned with readiness for college and career.
And it should support innovation by educators at the state and local levels that drive improvements in student learning.
All of these steps will help accelerate the progress that America’s students are making, strengthen opportunity for all students, and ensure greater economic security for our nation.
I am hopeful that lawmakers from both parties will be able to come to agreement on a law that does all these things. I have been clear about my concerns about early proposals that have gone in a very different direction — one that would impose painful cuts on our schools, including a potential loss of as much as $675 million in the neediest schools. But I’m delighted to see that the leading Republican and Democrat on education in the Senate, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, have announced their intention to develop a bipartisan bill.
I believe that ensuring a strong education for our young people — and ensuring that schools and educators have the resources they need to provide that education — is among the nation’s most important responsibilities.
I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will work together to reach bipartisan agreement on a bill that holds true to the promise of real opportunity.
I urge you to get the facts about this vital decision.
Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education.
Earlier this week, the Road Map Project, a Seattle-area partnership of school districts, local government, colleges and nonprofit organizations, released the latest results from their efforts to double the number of students in the region that are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020. While there is still hard work ahead, the Road Map Project has led remarkable progress for Washington students since they began in 2010.
With support from a $40 million Race to the Top – District grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2012, schools and their partners in the Road Map Project region are working to boost student achievement from early childhood through college. Together, they have some made impressive gains for their youngest children:
- This year, all incoming students across the seven participating school districts are enrolled in full-day kindergarten
- 43 percent of low-income children in South Seattle (which comprises a portion of the Road Map Project region) were enrolled in formal early learning opportunities in the 2013–14 school year, in large part due to a city-led program
In addition, elementary school students have made large gains since the project started. And the Road Map Project partners are building a pathway to provide their students the tools they need to obtain meaningful educational or career opportunities after high school:
- Nearly two-thirds of high school graduates took rigorous, college-level courses in 2014, a 6 percentage point increase over 2013—and American Indian and African American students made the biggest gains, with a 10 and 12 percentage point gain over 2013, respectively
- 8 percent of 9th graders had suspension(s) or expulsion(s), down from a peak of 19 percent in the 2010–11 school year, and like other districts across the country, Road Map Project districts are revising their disciplinary policies and practices to address racial disproportionality
- While the region’s overall submission rates for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, decreased slightly from the previous year, the Tukwila School District’s submission rate in 2013–14 was 84 percent— a 13 percentage point increase over last year, and a model the rest of the region can learn from
These are encouraging results that speak to the dedication of local educators, parents, service providers and community leaders who work diligently every day to expand opportunities for the region’s students. By setting common goals and being transparent about their results along the way—including what’s working and where additional attention is needed—the Road Map Project team is building the shared commitment, resource alignment and accountability that it takes to get great results for their students. Check out the Road Map Project’s 2014 Results Report to learn more about their efforts to make college a reality for all.
Nadya Chinoy Dabby is the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education.
The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 81 percent in 2012-13, which is the highest rate since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating grad rates five years ago.
In a statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”“This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country.”
Starting in 2010, states, districts and schools starting using a new, common metric called the adjusted cohort graduation rate. Before this, comparing graduation rates between states was often unreliable because of the different methods used. The new method is more accurate and helps states target support to ensure students are graduating on time and are college and career ready.
See the data here, including what the graduation rate is in your state. Check back in the coming weeks when we hope to release grad rates for minority students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.
Of course, although this progress is a big milestone, we can’t slow down now. Learn how the Obama Administration is working to maintain and accelerate progress and opportunity through an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
In June 2013, I joined the President in Mooresville, NC, to launch ConnectED – an initiative to close the technology gap in our schools and bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of America’s students within five years. This vision – that all students should have access to world-class digital learning – is well on its way to becoming a reality.
Thanks to the leadership of the President and the FCC, the resources are in place to meet the President’s connectivity goal. In addition, various private-sector partners are making over $2 billion worth of resources available to students, teachers, and schools. These include tablets, mobile broadband, software, and online teacher professional development courses from top universities. Fewer than 40 percent of public schools currently have the high-speed Internet needed to support modern digital learning.
But now we have the resources to solve this problem. We just need help from our nation’s superintendents and school technology chiefs.
Last year, the FCC approved the first major update to the E-Rate program since it was created in 1997. E-Rate (also known as the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries) makes it more affordable for schools and libraries to connect to high-speed Internet – with the goal of making the gigabit speeds we see in cities like Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tennesseethe norm in schools across the country.
These updates have unlocked funding to support internal Wi-Fi network upgrades in schools and libraries this year for the first time since 2012. Wi-Fi is important because no matter how fast the Internet connection is to a school, students can’t take full advantage of it without a robust wireless network within the school.
To secure E-rate support for Wi-Fi, schools and libraries must submit a form describing their project needs to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC then posts the request for competitive bidding. The Department of Education has prepared an Infrastructure Guide to help district leaders navigate the many decisions required to deliver cutting-edge connectivity to students. That said, schools and libraries have the final say when they submit an application to USAC for approval.
Bringing our schools up to speed is a major priority, and E-rate provides an opportunity to make doing so much more affordable. For all of the superintendents and technology officers: If you haven’t yet done so, get your requests submitted by February 26, 2015, and your applications in before March 26, 2015 (requests must be up for 28 days before a school can choose a vendor). Your students, your community, and your country will thank you for bringing our classrooms into the 21st century.Arne Duncan is U.S. Secretary of Education.
UNC-Chapel Hill distances itself from its head wrestling coach’s combative blog, which argues that accused male students have little chance of defending themselves.
The report, funded by the Gates Foundation, assesses policies in 35 states and spotlights the strategies that seem to work best.
The Institute of International Education, a nonprofit group, is attempting to enlist schoolteachers in its bid to double the number of American college students who study abroad.
Overall enrollments fell 6.7 percent from the fall of 2009 to the fall of 2013, the latest survey by the Modern Language Association finds.
Andy Schwarz, known for his irreverent commentary on the economics of college sports, has punched holes in one university's rationale for killing football.
The public is sharply divided on whether the city should bid for the Games. But many of the region’s institutions are all-in.