Some of the News Fit to Print
EDUCATION IN THE STATE OF THE UNION
OBAMA PUTS FEDERAL WEIGHT AROUND CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
In the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Obama asked Congress on Tuesday night to limit looming cuts in education and research, and called on lawmakers to link some federal student aid to college "affordability and value."For the second year in a row, Mr. Obama used the speech to take colleges to task over rising tuition, warning that "taxpayers can't keep subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education." "Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do," he said, urging Congress "to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid." The article is in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
OBAMA URGES BIG PRE-SCHOOL EXPANSION
President Barack Obama called on Congress in his State of the Union address to significantly expand access to preschool to all 4-year-olds from moderate- and low-income families, and to create a new spin-off of his Race to the Top program aimed at pushing high schools to adopt curricula that better prepare students for the jobs of the future. He framed both proposals as part of a broader strategy to invest in the nation's economic future and bolster the middle class—the overarching theme of his first State of the Union speech since winning re-election. The president told the nation his ideas wouldn't add to the federal deficit, as Washington struggles to rein in spending. The preschool expansion proposal would include incentives and support for states that want to substantially grow their early-childhood education offerings. And it would entice states to offer full-day kindergarten, which right now is only available in 10 states and the District of Columbia, White House aides said. The article is in Education Week.
NCLB WAIVERS WEAKEN GRAD RATE ACCOUNTABILITY
Many states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law are relaxing or ignoring federal regulations designed to hold schools accountable for the number of students who graduate from high school on time, according to a new study released Tuesday. When No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002, states used so many different ways to calculate graduation rates it was almost impossible to know how many students in the U.S. finished high school with a regular diploma in four years. The article is from Education Week.
UTAH SCHOOLS GET NEW ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM
Utah educators are hard at work implementing a new program they've named the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS). Under UCAS, each school will be graded based on a 600-point system -- next year they hope to nix the point system and offer a letter grade -- based primarily on two categories: growth and achievement. The article is in the Salt Lake Tribune.
ABOUT HIGHER ED
REJECTING THE NEW NORMAL
Professors pushed back against what they called the “new normal” of higher education – namely that it can no longer be free or at least affordable – Tuesday during a forum organized by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education. “Times are changing; I think there’s a broad, public consensus that the defunding of public higher education is a huge problem,” said Stanton A. Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and vice president of the Council of University of California Faculty Associations, during the news telephone conference. Now, he said, “We’ve got to get policy makers and individuals who represent institutions to stop wringing their hands and address the problem.” The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
POLITICIANS, BUSINESS LEADERS ASK HIGH SCHOOLERS TO CONSIDER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Students should consider pursuing a two-year technical degree after high school, experts say. Four-year colleges are often seen as the natural next step for high school students, but business leaders and politicians want teens to consider another option: community college. An associate degree from a two-year technical program may be the quickest route for recent high school graduates to enter a stable, lucrative career field. It may also be the only way to keep up with workforce demands, said President Obama. "Jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience," the president said at a 2010 summit of community college leaders. "We will not fill those jobs—or keep those jobs on our shores—without the training offered by community colleges." The article is in U.S. News & World Report.