Daily News Roundup, August 4, 2011

Perspectives: News You Can Use
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Some of the News Fit to Print

GATES FOUNDATION GAVE AWAY $2.5 BILLION IN 2010
SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave away $2.5 billion in 2010, but its CEO acknowledged in its annual report released Wednesday that the world's largest charitable group isn't doing a good job making sure recipients know what they're expected to do. Part of the problem is how difficult it is to get useful, honest feedback from the organizations that get the grants, foundation head Jeff Raikes said. The AP article is in the Sacramento Bee.

ARE 82 PERCENT OF SCHOOLS FAILING UNDER NCLB?
States are beginning to report the results from their 2010-11 standardized tests, which means we're learning how many schools are not making "adequate yearly progress" under No Child Left Behind.  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, as part of his campaign to get Congress to rewrite the law, issued dire warnings that 82 percent of schools would be labeled "failing" this year, when many of them may not deserve that label. He used this draconian number to illustrate how NCLB is "broken," since it sets an unrealistic deadline that 100 percent of students be proficient in math and reading by 2014. But many people were skeptical that the number would actually be so high this year. Education policy wonks called the department's P.R. move "misleading" and not "responsible." The post is from Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog.

INTRODUCING THE BORROWING TO CREDENTIAL RATIO
Rising student debt and high student dropout rates are major problems facing American higher education. Most colleges are judged on these issues by two federally-calculated numbers: six-year graduation rates and student loan default rates. Each number provides important information, but neither shows the complete picture. A college could, for example, achieve a stellar graduation rate by passing students along and handing out degrees that have little value in the job market, making it difficult for graduates to earn enough money to pay off their debt. Alternatively, a college could keep tuition and loan default rates low while also providing a terrible education and helping few students earn degrees. In a new report released today, Education Sector has created a single measure that looks at debt and graduation simultaneously: the “borrowing to credential ratio.” The post is from the Quick and the Ed.

BUDGET CUTS HURT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITIES
Ten prestigious University of California research campuses like UCLA and Berkeley and the sprawling, 23-campus Cal State University system had their budgets cut this year by a combined $1.3 billion. Together they serve more than 600,000 students.  "The California prison system is funded higher than both the University of California and the California State University taken together," said Charles Reed, chancellor of the California State University system. "Now that is outrageous." At least 24 other states have cut higher education funds this year, but none as deeply as California. The story, an interview with Reed, was on the CBS Evening News.

NEW DATA ON STEM GENDER GAP
The U.S. Department of Commerce released new data on Wednesday on the gender gap in science and technology fields -- stressing the economic impact on women. The study noted that women hold almost half of all jobs in the United States, but less than 25 percent of those in STEM fields. This trend continues even though women in STEM jobs earn 33 percent more, on average, than do women in other fields. And the data show that of those who study STEM fields in college, women are less likely to seek out STEM jobs. Of men with a STEM degree, 40 percent work in science and technology fields, while only 26 percent of comparable women do so. The information is from Inside Higher Ed.
 

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