Daily News Roundup, March 18, 2013

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

ABOUT HIGHER ED

COLLEGES USE PROJECT WIN-WIN TO BOOST GRADUATION RATES
Project Win-Win has helped community colleges and four-year schools in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin find hundreds of ex-students who have either earned enough credits to receive associate degrees or are just a few classes shy of getting them. Backed by financial support from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education, the pilot project began several years ago with 35 colleges in six states. As it winds down, some participating schools plan to continue the effort on their own. The article is in the Huffington Post.

WHITHER WORKFORCE TRAINING BILL?
WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives approved legislation Friday that would consolidate the number of federal job training programs and make other changes in the government's system of work force training. But the measure, which would renew the law governing work force training for the first time in 15 years, is a highly partisan piece of legislation that has virtually no chance of being enacted in its current form. The Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803), crafted without significant Democratic involvement by the Republican majority of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, would eliminate dozens of small and often group-specific programs and consolidate the many streams of federal revenue that flow to those programs into a more centralized Workforce Investment Fund that states and local Workforce Investment Boards would have significantly latitude in allocating. The article is in Inside Higher Ed.

HOW COMMUNITY COLLEGES COULD CUT COSTS
The state's 72 community college districts spend tens of millions of dollars on administrative positions that could be consolidated or shared by districts a short drive away, a California Watch analysis has found. That's money that could be spent educating students at a time when state budget cuts have shut so many out of the system. At the start of the fall 2012 semester, more than 470,000 students had been wait-listed for classes at community colleges statewide. The article is in the San Francisco Chronicle.

UC FACULTY LEADERS BLAST ONLINE EDUCATION EXPANSION
In a crossing of swords between academics and politicians, the University of California’s top two faculty leaders on Friday strongly criticized legislation that would allow students bumped from overcrowded core courses at state schools to instead take online courses from other colleges or private companies. The bill, authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), “raises grave concerns,” Robert L. Powell and Bill Jacob, the chairman and vice chairman of the UC system’s faculty Senate, wrote in a letter to colleagues. Among other things, “the clear self-interest of for profit corporations in promoting the privatization of public higher education through this legislation is dismaying,” they said. The article is from the L.A. Times.

THE PROFESSORS WHO MAKE THE MOOCS
What is it like to teach 10,000 or more students at once, and does it really work? The largest-ever survey of professors who have taught MOOCs, or massive open online courses, shows that the process is time-consuming, but, according to the instructors, often successful. Nearly half of the professors felt their online courses were as rigorous academically as the versions they taught in the classroom. The survey, conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, attempted to reach every professor who has taught a MOOC. The online questionnaire was sent to 184 professors in late February, and 103 of them responded.

ABOUT K-12

IN COMMON CORE, TEACHERS SEE INTERDISCIPLINARY OPPORTUNITIES
The common core standards lay out specific literacy requirements for history/social studies, science, and technical subjects, and they emphasize research and synthesizing skills. Rather than tackling these new objectives in subject-area silos, some teachers are choosing to address them by integrating real-world themes and social issues into projects, and by reaching across hallways to do this work with colleagues. The article is in Education Week.

MORE TEACHERS ARE GROUPING KIDS BY ABILITY
New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups." The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28% to 71%. In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40% to 61%. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, rising from 71% to 76%. Data for other eighth-grade subjects was incomplete or inconclusive. The article is in USA Today.

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