Some of the News Fit to Print
ABOUT HIGHER ED
HOW TO HELP COLLEGE STUDENTS GRADUATE
David Kirp writes in The New York Times: American students are enrolling in college in record numbers, but they’re also dropping out in droves. Barely half of those who start four-year colleges, and only a third of community college students, graduate. That’s one of the worst records among developed nations, and it’s a substantial drain on the economy. The American Institutes for Research estimates the cost of those dropouts, measured in lost earnings and taxes, at $4.5 billion. Incalculable are the lost opportunities for social mobility and the stillborn professional careers. There’s a remedy at hand, though, and it’s pretty straightforward. Nationwide, universities need to give undergraduates the care and attention akin to what’s lavished on students at elite institutions.
ED DEPT PLANS SYMPOSIUM ON RATINGS
WASHINGTON -- The Education Department is convening a panel of experts to make public presentations later this month on how the Obama administration should develop a federal college ratings system, a department spokesman said Tuesday. The National Center for Education Statistics, the department’s research arm, will host a symposium on January 22 featuring “experts on empirical methods for measuring performance, metric development, and state and federal postsecondary data and data collection and dissemination infrastructures,” according to a forthcoming department announcement. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
TENNESSEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRANSFERS RECEIVE HELP GETTING DEGREES
In an effort to boost graduation rates, Tennessee universities unveiled a reverse transfer program that allows community college students who transfer to four-year colleges without completing their degree to have a chance to finish what they started. The program would allow students to collect an associate degree when requirements are met in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. The article is in the Tennessean.
NUMBER OF MAJOR MATH CHANGES FOR CALIFORNIA STUDENTS
Math is getting a major makeover. By fall, traditional textbooks mostly will be tossed aside in California classrooms. What's taught in each grade will get shuffled around and, often, merged. First-graders will get tiny tastes of algebra while learning to add, and middle school students will be exposed to statistics and geometry while still solving for X. The changes are part of a national shift to Common Core standards, which identify the skills and topics to be taught at each grade level, with a focus on critical thinking and real-world applications rather than rote memorization. The article is in the San Francisco Chronicle.
SCHOOL SYSTEMS SHAKE UP ORGANIZATIONAL MODEL
The school district—long the fundamental unit overseeing public education for some 50 million American children—is an institution in flux. Like a landmark building that keeps its facade while undergoing massive renovation, most of the nation's more-than 13,000 districts hold to a familiar structure even as they evolve in response to economic, demographic, and educational pressures. The article is in Education Week.