Some of the News Fit to Print
ABOUT HIGHER ED
THE HIGHER EDUCATION MONOPOLY IS CRUMBLING
Kevin Carey writes in The New Republic: The historic stability of higher education is remarkable. As former University of California President Clark Kerr once observed, the 85 human institutions that have survived in recognizable form for the last 500 years include the Catholic Church, a few Swiss cantons, the Parliaments of Iceland and the Isle of Man, and about 70 universities. The occasional small liberal arts school goes under, and many public universities are suffering budget cuts, but as a rule, colleges are forever. I think that rule is going to change, and soon.
BIG JOB, BIG PROBLEMS
The top job for an enormous swath of American higher education is opening up. It offers the potential to play a lead role in determining the success of the national college “completion agenda,” as well as a laundry list of problems daunting enough to intimidate even the most ambitious of applicants. At the end of August, when Jack Scott steps down as chancellor of California’s community college system, his successor will take on a budget with a hole of at least a half-billion dollars in this cycle alone. The new chancellor will also arrive amid a heated debate over priorities as the system, which will turn away an estimated 200,000 students this year, wrestles with a plan to for the first time restrict access intentionally and give first dibs to students who are most likely to succeed. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.
TEST DRIVING A PILOT EVALUATION SYSTEM
Education officials agree that test scores, alone, are not a sufficient way to rate a teacher. That is why New York State is using its $700 million federal Race to the Top grant to develop a new teacher evaluation system in which test scores will count toward 40 percent of a teacher’s rating. The other 60 percent will come from observing teachers at work. New York City is considering using a new framework for evaluating teachers designed by Charlotte Danielson for that 60 percent. The article is in The New York Times.
POLL FINDS MOST VOTERS FAVOR RELEASE OF TEACHER RATINGS
A majority of New York City voters approve of the public release of ratings for thousands of public school teachers, even though a plurality of voters believe that the ratings are flawed, a new poll has found. The poll, released early Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, found that 58 percent of voters approved of the release of the ratings, known as teacher data reports, while 38 percent disapproved and 5 percent were undecided or did not answer. The poll was conducted less than two weeks after the teacher rankings were made public by the city. The article is in The New York Times.
KHAN ACADEMY CREATOR TALKS ABOUT K-12 INNOVATION
Salman Khan, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Business School, was working as a hedge fund manager when he began posting videos on YouTube six years ago to tutor young family members in math. That led to the 2008 creation of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that has built a free, online collection of thousands of digital lessons (nearly 3,000 of them created by Mr. Khan himself) and exercises in subjects ranging from algebra to microeconomics. Education Week Staff Writer Lesli A. Maxwell recently interviewed Mr. Kahn about the evolution of the academy and its potential for changing K-12 education.