Some of the News Fit to Print
ABOUT HIGHER ED
N.Y. REFORM COMMISSION STRESSES TEACHER PREP
The N.Y. Education Reform Commission, summoned into existence by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo last April, has released its report containing several recommendations for big changes to New York state's K-12 public schools that include setting a new, higher GPA for admissions to teacher and principal preparation programs, extending the school day, and using educational technology to overcome barriers between high school and higher education. The commission was set up, according to Cuomo, to identify strategies to help prepare more Empire State students to be "college and career ready," at a time when only 37 percent of students fit that definition. The post is from Education Week’s State Ed Watch blog.
OVER TIME, LESS REMEDIAL COURSEWORK
A study released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, "First-Year Undergraduate Remedial Coursetaking: 1999-2000, 2003-04, and 2007-08," shows that the proportion of first-year undergraduate students reporting that they took remedial courses rose slightly from 2003-4 to 2007-8, to 20 percent from 19 percent. But the 2007-8 figure was significantly lower than the 26 percent reported by first-year students in 1999-2000, a pattern that holds for many different types of institutions and students. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
SAVING U.S. HIGHER EDUCATION SEEMS TO BE A TAXING PROPOSITION
After the momentous Proposition 30 referendum in November last year in which a majority of Californians voted to put more money into public higher education, there have been further signs of a rebound in taxpayer support for America's long-suffering universities. In one recent poll, Americans said they'd rather spend money on higher education than on defence. Now other public universities are asking for more money from their state legislatures, with a promise to freeze tuition fees in return. But experts caution that it is unlikely US universities will ever be in receipt of a free flow of money, and that efficiency and thrift will remain the rule. The article is in Times Higher Education UK.
CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER PUSHES $10,000 COLLEGE DEGREE
With the cost of going to college already more than $30,000 a year at many California campuses, is it possible to earn a bachelor's degree for just $10,000 – total? Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville, hopes so. Borrowing an idea being promoted by Republican governors in Texas and Florida, the GOP assemblyman has introduced a bill that would create a pilot program in California for what he's billing as a $10,000 bachelor's degree. The article is in the Sacramento Bee.
GROUP SEEKS TEACHER PREP DATA
The National Council on Teacher Quality announced on Thursday that it had settled a lawsuit against the University of Wisconsin system in a dispute stemming from the advocacy group’s controversial effort to rank teacher-preparation programs nationwide. Wisconsin had said earlier that it would not participate in the project, and the group filed a lawsuit seeking access to course syllabi, saying the documents were subject to the state’s public-records law. Under the terms of the settlement, the system will turn over syllabi for core undergraduate education courses taught last year at the system’s universities, according to The Journal-Sentinel, a Milwaukee newspaper. The system will also pay the group nearly $10,000 in damages and other costs, though that payment “is not an admission of liability or of a public-records-law violation,” the newspaper reported. The group agreed not to quote directly from any course syllabus, nor to identify specific departments, instructors, or courses in its review. The information is from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
MEASURES OF SEGREGATION
Court decisions dating to the 1950s theoretically ended racial segregation of higher education in the United States. But data to be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association show that the pace of desegregation has slowed over time. And in a finding that could be controversial, the study finds that states that ban the consideration of race in admissions may see the pace of desegregation accelerate. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
HOW CAN SCHOOL SYSTEMS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE?
The Institute of Education Sciences is getting a lot of support for its proposal to go beyond research on "what works" in education to explore the process of how schools in different contexts can continue to improve over time. Back in October, I reported that the Education Department's research arm was asking for input about a proposed new education research program covering "continuous improvement research in education." It's obvious IES really wants to make this new topic a centerpiece in the coming year. In addition to the standard requests for comment, IES Director John Q. Easton personally reached out to top researchers in the learning sciences field—Chris Dede, a professor of learning technologies at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Stephen Raudenbush, the chairman of the University of Chicago's committee on education, Douglas Fuchs, a special education professor at Vanderbilt University, and Bror Saxberg, the chief learning officer of Kaplan, Inc., among them—all of whom seemed enthusiastic about the new topic. The post is from Education Week’s Inside School Research blog.