NY Education

Funding Opportunity: Program Develo...

Funding Opportunity: Program Development Grant to Prepare Students with Disabilities to Exit School with Work Readiness Skills

The Program Development Grant program is a competitive grant program to provide funding for schools to enhance their instructional programs to increase students with disabilities’ access to and participation in career and technical education (CTE) coursework, instruction in the Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) learning standards, and work-based learning opportunities to fulfill requirements for the award of the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential.
RFI Posted: Child Nutrition Program...

RFI Posted: Child Nutrition Program: Administrative Review System

NYSED hereby issues this “Request for Information” (RFI) to solicit information from vendors regarding the availability of software systems and services to assist NYSED with administrative reviews of its Child Nutrition Programs as mandated by the USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS).
News and Notes: Responding to the L...

News and Notes: Responding to the Learner

In the latest edition of News and Notes, a NY parent says higher standards are helping her child make progress.
RFP Posted: Early Childhood Directi...

RFP Posted: Early Childhood Direction Centers

The New York State Education Department (NYSED), P-12: Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to establish fourteen (14) Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDC) to act as Special Education Technical Assistance Centers (TACs). The purpose of the TACs is to assist families and professionals in securing services that meet the needs of children with disabilities, birth through age five, by providing information and training about available service options and service delivery systems.
RFP Posted: Alternate Assessment fo...

RFP Posted: Alternate Assessment for New York State Students with Severe Cognitive Disabilities

The New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of State Assessment (OSA), seeks proposals for the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics (Service 1), and separately for Science and Social Studies (Service 2). The NYSAA in ELA and Mathematics is administered to students each year in Grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. The NYSAA in Science is administered to students in Grades 4 and 8 and once in high school. The NYSAA in Social Studies is administered to students once in high school.
RFP Posted: Continuing the Developm...

RFP Posted: Continuing the Development of State Assessments in Elementary–and Intermediate–Level English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Measuring the Common Core State Standards

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to continue the development of tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 for multiple school years as defined in this RFP.


Essay on writing academic book revi...

Essay on writing academic book reviews

A guide from Casey Brienza.

Essay on facing isolation when star...

Essay on facing isolation when starting a new tenure-track job

The thrill of being hired for a tenure-track job can easily be replaced by feeling all alone in a new town, far from your loved ones. Kerry Ann Rockquemore helps you evaluate your options.

Essay on issues of time and timing ...

Essay on issues of time and timing in a job search for a new Ph.D.

Natalie Lundsteen discusses calendars and scheduling in the new Ph.D. job search.

Steps to help professors better adv...

Steps to help professors better advise graduate students (essay)

Given how little training professors get on advising grad students, David H. Monk offers ideas on the principles that should guide that working relationship.

Essay on the messages colleges send...

Essay on the messages colleges send to new hires

College send subtle and not-so-subtle messages to new faculty hires, and frequently these early lessons hurt morale and the sense of community, writes Becky Wai-Ling Packard.

Essay on what to do when an academi...

Essay on what to do when an academic job interview goes off the rails

Karla P. Zepeda recalls a set of odd and inappropriate interview questions -- and how she dealt with them.

BBC News Education

'Rise in child mental health issues...

'Rise in child mental health issues'

More children have mental health problems than two years ago, according to a union's survey of education staff.
A-levels and GCSE subjects culled

A-levels and GCSE subjects culled

Ofqual sets out the range of A-levels and GCSEs that will no longer be taught amid moves to toughen examinations in England.
Many young pupils 'can't communicat...

Many young pupils 'can't communicate'

A study suggests too many children in England are starting school unable to communicate well enough or control their behaviour.
Homeless children at six-year high

Homeless children at six-year high

The number of children living in temporary accommodation in England is at a six-year high, according to official figures.
Schools 'facing big budget cuts'

Schools 'facing big budget cuts'

Schools in England will have less to spend per pupil over the next five years, no matter who wins the election, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Grooming bans 'could stop sex abuse...

Grooming bans 'could stop sex abuse'

Councils in England and Wales want new powers to combat men suspected of grooming children for sex, by using Asbo-style preventative measures.

US Govt Dept of Education

Teaching and Leading at the 5th Int...

Teaching and Leading at the 5th International Summit on the Teaching Profession

Each March I look forward to joining colleagues from around the world at the International Summit on the Teaching Profession to learn from high-performing and rapidly improving education systems about ways to elevate and enhance the teaching profession in order to improve student learning. I never imagined when we started the International Summit in New York City in 2011 that it would become a vibrant and lasting international community of practice.
The Pathway to Success at King/Drew...

The Pathway to Success at King/Drew Magnet High School

King/Drew Magnet High School isn?t just preparing its students for graduation; it?s preparing them for life. The school may be located in one of the most disadvantaged parts of Los Angeles, California, but its students are reaching for the highest levels in education ? and they are succeeding. Students at King/Drew not only gradate in high numbers, fully 90% of those who graduate go on to attend college, including many of the country?s top schools, and they receive millions of dollars in merit-based scholarships and university grants.
4 Reasons to Apply for the 2015 Pre...

4 Reasons to Apply for the 2015 President?s Education Awards Program

Principals! It?s time, once again, to nominate students for the President?s Education Awards Program! We?ve got four great reasons as to why you should nominate students in your school. 1) Motivation!
Secretary Duncan: ?Step Up and Fund...

Secretary Duncan: ?Step Up and Fund Education?

On Friday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Edwin M. Stanton Elementary in Philadelphia to highlight the need to support teachers and students by investing in our nation?s schools.
A Different Approach to NCAA Bracke...

A Different Approach to NCAA Bracketology

Know It 2 Own It: Helping People wi...

Know It 2 Own It: Helping People with Disabilities Access Middle Class Careers

March is National Disability Awareness Month, a month dedicated to promoting awareness of the strengths and achievements of Americans with disabilities. Today, many people with disabilities are living and working in the community and pursuing higher education. Yet, even now folks with significant disabilities often face additional barriers when trying to find jobs.


Colleges getting out of health insu...

Colleges getting out of health insurance business

In this Dec. 15, 2014 photo, Stacy Crites, right, a nurse on campus at the University of Washington's Hall Health Primary Care Center in Seattle, takes the temperature of Kandice Joyner, left, a junior studying archeology, during a routine check-up. An unintended side-effect of federal health care reform is leading colleges across the country to transition out of the health insurance business. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)SEATTLE (AP) ? The federal health care overhaul is leading some colleges and universities to get out of the health insurance business.

University of Oklahoma frat brother...

University of Oklahoma frat brothers taught racist chant at leadership event

SAE brother apologizes for racist chantThese lyrics from ?South Pacific,? the musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, easily come to mind with the latest news about a racist fraternity chant at the University of Oklahoma. An investigation ordered by university President David Boren reveals that the videotaped racist chant by brothers of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity had been taught at a leadership event organized by SAE?s national organization four years ago. Boren said about 25 members of the school's SAE chapter will face punishment ranging from two expulsions the school announced previously to mandatory community service and cultural sensitivity training. Boren said the investigation found alcohol was "readily available" at the fraternity house before the start of the event, and that about a dozen high school students whom he described as "potential recruits" were also on the bus.

Arkansas budget bill boosts money f...

Arkansas budget bill boosts money for schools, prisons

Arkansas' public schools, prisons and Medicaid programs are set to receive boosts in funding while most other state agencies will see a 1 percent cut under a nearly $5.2 billion proposed state budget unveiled ...
Students, staff left scrambling aft...

Students, staff left scrambling after Bucks Co. school abruptly closes

Students, staff left scrambling after Bucks Co. school abruptly closesDozens of Bucks County high school students and their parents are scrambling to find a place to finish the academic year.

Charges against Arizona teens in al...

Charges against Arizona teens in alleged murder plot dropped

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) ? Prosecutors say there isn't solid evidence that five Arizona high school students who were charged with conspiracy to commit murder actually planned to carry out the killing of a fellow student.
Debunking Myths About the U.S. News...

Debunking Myths About the U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings

Each spring, after college admissions letters have been mailed, U.S. News sees an uptick in visitors to the Best Colleges rankings. High school seniors and their parents turn to our website to research tuition, financial aid resources, academic life and all of the other information we gather on 1,800 colleges and universities nationwide. One parent recently wrote: "After reading through the ("Best Colleges" guidebook), my daughter has seriously started considering a gap year and knows that a small liberal arts college is probably best for her. I also like that there are regional and state rankings since she has very particular ideas about where she wants to live while she studies.


Numbers studying physics rise as bl...

Numbers studying physics rise as blockbuster films, the Hadron Collider and the Mars Rover inspire students

Blockbuster films such as Gravity, Interstellar and The Theory of Everything, combined with a huge interest in machines such as the Large Hadron Collider at Cern and the Mars Rover, are creating a buzz around physics and leading to higher numbers of students applying to study the subject.

A-level in leisure studies to be sc...

A-level in leisure studies to be scrapped

Leisure studies is to be scrapped as an A-level subject ? but the sometimes ridiculed media studies will remain.

Pay teachers at schools in disadvan...

Pay teachers at schools in disadvantaged areas more, says social mobility adviser

The best teachers should get a 25 per cent pay rise to work in schools in disadvantaged areas, the Government?s adviser on social mobility has proposed.

Birmingham's two-tier grammar schoo...

Birmingham's two-tier grammar schools entrance plan wins support

A radical plan which has seen a city?s grammar schools double the number of disadvantaged pupils they take in won support from education campaigners today.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark...

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer children

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year ? by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark ? the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today ? appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Grammar schools set lower pass mark...

Grammar schools set lower pass mark for poorer kids

A group of grammar schools have doubled their admission of disadvantaged pupils in a single year ? by quietly setting a lower 11-plus qualification score for children from disadvantaged homes. The new two-tier pass mark ? the first results of which are revealed by The Independent today ? appears to represent one of the most radical and effective ever attempts to reduce the middle-class strangehold on good grammars.

Education Week

Decoding the Common Core: A Teacher...

Decoding the Common Core: A Teacher's Perspective

The common standards have had positive and negative results for teacher Ariel Sacks, who says that the key to realizing their potential is teacher input.
Teaching the Common Core Requires F...

Teaching the Common Core Requires Fine-Tuning School Policies

While the standards offer depth, they are not well supported by school instructional policies, writes teacher John Troutman McCrann.
Why My School District Is Holding O...

Why My School District Is Holding Off on PARCC Tests

Following his district's big academic gains, receiver/superintendent Jeffrey Riley explains why he won't yet implement the standards assessment.
Which 'Common Core' Are We Talking ...

Which 'Common Core' Are We Talking About?

Sometimes the common core seems like a blank projection screen for what people want to see, says teacher Peter Greene.
Helping Educators Overcome 'Initiat...

Helping Educators Overcome 'Initiative Fatigue'

Charlotte Danielson explains what a study uncovered about the kind of support educators need to implement the standards.
Fight Looms in Kansas on Funding K-...

Fight Looms in Kansas on Funding K-12 Via Block Grants

Lawmakers approve a plan that would ditch the state?s current education formula, but its fate is entangled with a long-running legal dispute over the funding.


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

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Finland's Schools Are Overhauling T...

Finland's Schools Are Overhauling The Way They Do Things. Here's How

Finland?s education system, often held up as an exemplary model for the rest of the world, is on the verge of making some major changes. For years, Finland has led the pack in international test scores, becoming a source of fascination for education policymakers and experts. Now, the country is changing the way it teaches students. Going forward, Finnish schools will be placing less emphasis on individual subjects like math and history, and will instead focus on broader, more interdisciplinary topics. The goal, according to Finnish leaders, is to provide students with the necessary skills for a more technological, global society. Here are three things you need to know about Finland?s changing education system: 1. Finland Is Instituting ?Phenomenon-Based Teaching? Finnish schools will begin reorganizing their classrooms during the 2016-2017 school year based on the country's new National Curriculum Framework. Some classrooms in Helsinki, the country?s largest city, have already begun the process, according to The Independent. The National Curriculum Framework serves as a broad outline for educators, and requires that for at least a couple of weeks each year, educators use ?phenomenon-based teaching" -- an approach that emphasizes broad interdisciplinary topics rather than single-subject classes. Instead of teaching about history or economics, for example, educators could give lessons on the European Union, blending aspects of history and economics, according to The Independent. Schools and localities will be given some degree of freedom over how they implement this method of teaching. In a video posted to the website of the Finnish National Board of Education, Irmeli Halinen, the board's head of curriculum development, says that Finnish students will need to keep up with a changing world that is more technological and global and that faces challenges associated with sustainability. ?We are often asked, 'Why improve the system that has been ranked as top quality?' The answer is, 'Because the world is changing around the school,'? Halinen says in the video. ?We have to think and rethink everything connected to school. We also have to understand that competencies needed in society and working life have changed and they are changing rapidly." Later in the video, Halinen explains that being good at one specific subject is not enough in the changing world, and that students must be able to apply their skills and knowledge to a multitude of contexts. ?It is great if you?re good in math or in music, but it?s not good enough,? says Halinen. ?It?s not enough, not in today's world and not in the future.? 2. Students Will Be Involved In Helping To Plan Lessons Finland?s students will be involved in planning these new, interdisciplinary projects, and will be expected to evaluate their success. ?Some teachers in Finland see this current reform as a threat and the wrong way to improve teaching and learning in schools," wrote Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish education expert, in a blog post reprinted in The Washington Post Thursday. "Other teachers think that breaking down the dominance of traditional subjects and isolation of teaching is an opportunity to [effect] more fundamental change in schools." 3. There Will Be An Emphasis On Student Collaboration Finnish classrooms will literally be redesigned under the new curriculum framework. Instead of a traditional classroom, where kids sit in rows of desks in front of a teacher, students in the near future will work in clusters to promote communication skills, says The Independent. A press release from the Finnish National Board of Education also notes that the new approach will emphasize the "joy of learning." ?The core curriculum is based on the learning conception that positive emotional experiences, collaborative working and interaction as well as creative activity enhance learning,? says the press release.
Colleges Are Getting Out Of The Hea...

Colleges Are Getting Out Of The Health Insurance Business

SEATTLE (AP) -- The federal health care overhaul is leading some colleges and universities to get out of the health insurance business. Experts are divided on whether this change will be good or bad for students. Some call it an inevitable result of health care reform and a money-saver for students since insurance in the marketplace is usually cheaper than the college plans. Others worry that more students will go without health insurance since their premiums won't be folded into the lump sum they pay for school, and they say college health plans offer more coverage for the money than other options. The main driver of colleges getting out of the insurance business is a provision in the Affordable Care Act that prevents students from using premium tax subsidies to purchase insurance from their college or university, according to Steven M. Bloom, director of federal relations for the American Council on Education, a Washington, D.C., group representing the presidents of U.S. colleges and universities. Add to that the provision that allows young people to stay on their parent's health insurance plans until age 26, plus the expansion of Medicaid in some states and the rising cost of student insurance. The result is cheaper health insurance available for students off campus. But Bloom worries more schools will decide to drop insurance coverage. "I've heard of instances where schools are thinking about it, but they are reluctant, particularly in instances where states declined to expand Medicaid," Bloom said. An administrator who managed the process of dropping student health insurance at William Patterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, said he originally worried about vulnerable students not getting health insurance, but changed his mind after doing more research. "I actually went into the exchange myself and did a bunch of `what ifs' to see if this was actually a better deal for them. In many cases it is," said Stephen Bolyai, the school's vice president for administration and finance. The change in New Jersey began with advocacy by community college leaders, who said health insurance was getting so expensive students couldn't afford it, Bolyai said. Richard Simpson, who is the student health insurance manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, contends, however, that student health plans are a better deal for students. College plans give students more coverage for their money, they usually have lower deductibles, and they are more flexible than some state plans bought on the exchange, said Simpson, who is also chair of the student health insurance coalition for the American College Health Association, an association of college health officers based in Hanover, Maryland. "Student plans provide `gold' or `platinum' level coverage at a `bronze' price," Simpson said. "We believe that in the vast majority of cases, student insurance is the best option." As more states expand Medicaid eligibility - as a number of states are now debating - it's likely more colleges will push their students into the marketplace - a development being seen from coast to coast. Four of New Jersey's 11 state public colleges and universities stopped selling health insurance to their students this past fall: Richard Stockton College, William Paterson University, Ramapo College and New Jersey City University, all four-year schools. Meanwhile, three of Washington state's six four-year colleges and universities made the change at the same time: the University of Washington, Washington State University and The Evergreen State College. In some states, student plans are still cheaper than individual plans that can be purchased through the exchanges. And students who work part-time and are not on their parents' insurance often can get covered for free in states that expanded eligibility for Medicaid. Levi Huddleson, a telecommunications major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, has not had health insurance since 2012. He looked into buying student health insurance, but found it would cost more than he could afford on the $6,200 he makes annually working part-time. Huddleson said his parents are retired and cannot afford to pay for his health insurance, his tuition or other bills. If Indiana had expanded access to Medicaid, he would likely be eligible for free health insurance. He currently makes too much money for Medicaid but too little to afford the $166 a month premium he found by searching the federal exchange. "I cannot afford it, so it is definitely not by choice," Huddleson said about his decision not to buy health insurance. "I considered buying it, but just taking the hit and paying the penalty was significantly cheaper than either option. Luckily, I'm young, and I don't have any serious pre-existing conditions."
Thoughts on John Donne and Harvard ...

Thoughts on John Donne and Harvard Divestment

John Donne's famous poem of bell tolling begins: No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main... This poem's poignant, heart-stopping beauty rests in the clarity and power of its message to humankind. I view the Donne message to human beings as applying with equal force to institutions. In particular to institutions of higher learning, and even more particularly, to Harvard University. To capture my meaning, consider some re-wording (and try to ignore the missing rhythm): No part of a university is an island, Entire of itself, Every part is a piece of the whole, A part inseparable therefrom. Donne's message casts a dark shadow across the Harvard excuse for not divesting from fossil fuel company investments. That excuse is rooted in the idea that Harvard's endowment can somehow be treated separately from the rest of the University and all that it stands for, that the lofty principles on which the University's aspirations rest need not, and indeed, in holding fossil fuel investments, demonstrably do not, extend to that endowment. The Harvard position, examined through the lens of John Donne's insight, is indefensible. It is Janus-faced and cynically hypocritical. The University accepts the science of climate change and the catastrophes that scientists (including Harvard scholars) foresee if radical changes in energy usage are not made. And it is dedicating University resources to research, education and reducing its own carbon footprint. Yet Harvard insists through its endowment in seeking to profit from increasing sales of fossil fuels around the world. There are sources of profit that great universities, as responsible investors, don't touch. Fossil fuel companies, today, top the list of untouchables. Reserves of fossil fuel amount to three or more times the amount that can be burned to hold to the two degree C limit, as established by the nations of the world on the basis of science. The use by fossil fuel companies of huge amounts of stockholder wealth to discover and exploit more carbon -- by itself -- makes fossil fuel investment a moral outrage. For a world leader in education such as Harvard to remain thus invested is hard to accept. The ongoing tragedy of a failure of leadership like Harvard's in regard to climate change is found in the vast potential for leadership that Harvard squanders for what - adding, perhaps, a few extra dollars to its endowment? At this critical juncture in global efforts to come to grips with the threat, great leadership is going to be necessary to accomplish what becomes more challenging by the day. The private sector must drive the process forward, compelling governments to act. Possessing the large potential for doing so much as a leader, as Harvard does, involves a correspondingly large duty to act. As an alumnus and citizen, and on behalf of all concerned alumni and citizens disappointed over Harvard's failure to lead, I suggest to that great institution: And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.
More Attention Given to a Small Lib...

More Attention Given to a Small Liberal Arts College Closing Than a Giant For-Profit College System Shutting Down

When tiny Sweet Briar College announced its closing, it was front page news. It was heralded as the beginning of the end for liberal arts colleges and single sex schools. But when the large Corinthian College system closed campuses across the country, it did not receive the same level of attention. It should have received more focus. Same-sex school Sweet Briar College, located in rural Virginia, had a healthy endowment but a declining enrollment. The administration that recently decided to shut down the school, to the dismay of the students and faculty, and especially the alumni, which is challenging that closing. Last year, Corinthian Colleges Inc., one of the largest for-profit education companies (consisting of Everest College, Heald College, and WyoTech), with 72,000 students on 85 campuses in 26 states, decided to shut down after clashes with the U.S. Department of Education. According to The Daily Record "Regulators have grown increasingly concerned about inconsistencies in its job placement claims for graduates." It's only one of several cases where national and state prosecutors have been investigating for-profit institutions for the quality of education, inflated job claims, and pushing students toward expensive private loans with high default rates. Even the well-known University of Phoenix (with its impressive football stadium) is seeing a huge decline in enrollment numbers. How the media responded to both school closings says a lot about how we perceive both types of school. The press seems to have made up its own mind that all small colleges are doomed, while for-profit schools are the exciting future, even if the latter is in more financial trouble. A Google search on the number of times Sweet Briar College was mentioned as closing down was 374,000. The number of times Corinthian College closings were mentioned was 119,000 times. Looking on Yahoo, I found 76,000 hits about Sweet Briar College closing. There were 79,000 hits on Corinthian Colleges closing, even though there are many more students affected by the for-profit meltdown. Many are aware of the rising default rates among those with student loans, the highest in two decades, the sixth straight year of their increase. But not all know which colleges have these problems. USA Today notes that there are 117 for-profit institutions with higher default rates than graduation rates. The Wall Street Journal reported that for-profit colleges claim that they are serving lower-income students and working adults, which explains their higher default rates. But the Wall Street Journal also found the following: "Students who took out government loans to pay for their education at for-profit colleges had a 21% default rate in the first three years they were required to make payments, about three times the level of four-year public and nonprofit institutions." Market Watch recently reported that a third of all private colleges are about to go under, unable to keep up with their for-profit college competitors. The term "return on investment" was mentioned, as a standard, but nowhere was the concept applied to the for-profit institutions. Sweet Briar was mentioned seven times. Nowhere in the story are the woes of Corinthian and the University of Phoenix even noted. A colleague in academia brings up Sweet Briar College on a frequent basis, concerned that it's fall might be the demise of small colleges everywhere. Will it be the death of the liberal arts institution? "What about Corinthian Colleges?" I asked him. He gave me a puzzled expression. "Who are they? What's the story behind them?" John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu.
Cybrary Man's Jerry Blumengarten on...

Cybrary Man's Jerry Blumengarten on the Unrealized Potential of "Learning Machines"

Nearly 50 years ago, Jerry Blumengarten predicted that "learning machines" would eventually transform classroom instruction. Today he laments that while everybody is connected, "they are not always connected for educational purposes." Thankfully Blumengarten, who for 32 years taught social studies and other subjects in the New York Public School system, remains passionate about making sure the right digital learning materials are accessible to teachers, students and the public at large. He is the publisher of Cybrary Man, a site launched in 1999 that showcases more than 20,000 online educational resources he has personally curated over the last several years. Blumengarten's selections are informed by his own personal experience, as well as via recommendations he gets from other trusted educators that he meets through his many walks of life. "A lot of apps come out, you want somebody who personally is using it before you try it out," he said. "It helps to find the right people so you can build a personal learning network." A Personal Learning Network for apps, videos and websites Readers of appoLearning are learning that our mission is to help K-12 teachers, students, and others identify the best educational apps, videos and websites by topic, grade level, and Common Core Standard. So, if you are searching for resources to teach first grade subtraction, Android apps that cover astronomy, or resources that teach Common Core Standards that assess how high school students draw evidence from informational text (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.11-12.9), you can type in a keyword to find expert-reviewed options. From there, you can filter by device type, platform, and whether the resource is free or paid. Blumengarten is always expanding his personal learning network. Since retiring from classroom teaching in 2002, he has served as an educational consultant, author, national speaker, and Twitter icon. You can find him at @cybraryman1, and he is also one of the moderators of #edchat and other online discussions around education. Website selections on Cybrary Man are organized by age group, subject area, and various teachers tools. And while Blumengarten does a fantastic job reaching educators and others who are active on Twitter, he understands that teachers who share and evangelize online are the exception, not the rule. "Most teachers don't realize what they should be doing and are not using technology properly," he said. "Everything right now is too geared toward testing. The shame is that kids get so excited when they just start school. But now they're even testing in kindergarten. They took the play away, so learning is no longer fun." Blumengarten's overarching educational philosophy is to test kids once but thoroughly at the beginning of the year, identify skills that need to be sharpened and enhanced, and allow kids to build on those skills throughout the year. "Every classroom has different levels of learners," he said. "The teaching machines should help teachers identify where their kids are, and make sure they are working at the proper level. Otherwise, too many kids fall through the cracks."
New Federal Data Show Student Loan ...

New Federal Data Show Student Loan Borrowers Suffering More Than Previously Believed

About one-third of borrowers with federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education are late on their payments, according to new federal data. The figures, released by the Education Department on Thursday, are the first comprehensive look at the delinquency plaguing those who hold federal student loans. By the new metric, which the department has never used before, roughly 33 percent of borrowers were more than five days late on one of their federal student loans as of Dec. 31. (Since the department only released individual figures for its four largest contractors, rather than a total percentage, however, the actual figure may be a few percentage points higher or lower.) Previous measures had put the delinquency rate much lower, masking the true amount of distress among borrowers trying to make good on their taxpayer-backed debts. Some 41 million Americans collectively carry more than $1.1 trillion in education loans owned or guaranteed by the Education Department, a total that surpasses every form of consumer credit in the U.S. except home mortgages. Thursday's figure reflects more than two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion total. The remainder is owned by the private sector as part of a bank-based federal loan program that has since been discontinued. The new measure of borrower distress comes as the White House urges the Education Department to improve its management of the growing federal student loan program and to give borrowers more protections against unmanageable debt loads. In recent years, groups ranging from federal financial regulators and Federal Reserve policymakers to chief executives of banks and other industry groups have warned about the increasing risk that student debt poses to U.S. economic growth, noting that debt burdens are sapping households' purchasing power amid an era of stagnant inflation-adjusted wages. Borrower advocates and the White House want the Education Department's loan contractors to communicate more effectively with borrowers and to increase their efforts to enroll struggling borrowers in repayment plans that cap payments relative to earnings. Improved loan counseling and caps on payments are both generally believed to lead to lower delinquency rates. While the Education Department ultimately guarantees the debts that are owned by banks and investors, it doesn't publicly release details about their performance. The department has been criticized for its relative opacity when it comes to publicly reporting details on its loan portfolio. It has also been slammed for not knowing enough about its loan program. For loans that it owns, the Education Department has previously publicized delinquency totals measured by number of loans and by dollar volume, but not by borrower. Past delinquency totals also only included loans that were 31 days late or more. Previous figures based on both the number of loans and the dollar amounts of those loans from the department?s main student loan program had suggested delinquency rates of around 20 percent. Measured by loan dollars that are at least a month late, the Education Department's main program had a 17 percent delinquency rate as of Dec. 31. By contrast, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently estimated that just 6 percent of all outstanding consumer debt was at least 30 days late as of the same date. "We know that the rising cost of higher education and growing levels of student debt hit home for millions of Americans," said Denise Horn, an Education Department spokeswoman. She added that the department enables borrowers to keep current on their loans by making payments based on their earnings, and said it is also trying to keep costs low for future borrowers by rating schools and helping students evaluate college costs before they enroll. But the data released Thursday suggest that those efforts aren't having much effect on former students struggling to manage their federal debt burdens. "Anyone looking at these numbers would have to say that the needs of borrowers aren't being met," said Chris Hicks, who leads the Debt-Free Future campaign at the advocacy group Jobs With Justice. That's the kind of conclusion President Barack Obama has sought to forestall. Last June, before signing a memorandum instructing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to improve the way their departments work with vulnerable borrowers, Obama announced that the Education Department would renegotiate its contracts with loan companies it pays to collect borrowers' monthly payments. "We?re going to make it clear that these companies are in the business of helping students, not just collecting payments, and they owe young people the customer service, and support, and financial flexibility that they deserve," Obama said on June 9. The new contracts, officially signed in August, created new metrics by which the Education Department would grade its loan servicers' performance. The main contractors that service the department's loans are Navient Corp., the student loan giant formerly known as Sallie Mae; Nelnet Inc.; Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates; and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is more commonly known as FedLoan Servicing. One of those new metrics was the percentage of borrowers in repayment who were more than five days late on their monthly payments. Those were the figures that the department publicly released for the first time on Thursday. However, while the White House has succeeded in getting the department to produce more precise data, the dismal figures indicate that the underlying problem does not appear to have improved. Of the Education Department's four main loan contractors, Nelnet was the worst performer. As of Dec. 31, more than 38 percent of its borrowers were late on their payments. More than 17 percent of its borrowers were between three months and 12 months overdue. "I think most of us would agree that's a failing grade," Hicks said of Nelnet. "While we are not pleased with the overall results and the repayment metrics, we are adapting our approach and working hard to increase our ranking under the new metrics," said Nelnet spokesman Ben Kiser. "Offering our customers the best student loan experience possible has been a priority and we continue to make changes to enhance their experience." Great Lakes had the best delinquency figure with a rate of just under 26 percent. "None of these servicers are meeting standards that the Education Department should be holding them to," Hicks said. "If they're failing borrowers who are trying to repay their debts, we shouldn't be giving them taxpayer dollars." Representatives for Great Lakes, FedLoan and Navient did not respond to requests for comment. The Department of Education offers contractors a bonus of up to $200,000 if the proportion of their borrowers who are 30 days late or more is below 23 percent. While the data released Thursday doesn't indicate whether any of the four major contractors have achieved that milestone, the department declined to say when asked on Thursday whether any bonuses were given. Hicks pointed to this as an example of the department's lack of transparency, which he said is leading to an overall decline in trust in its management of the federal student loan program. By contrast, the Education Department's smaller loan contractors -- a group of nonprofits that collectively service less than 10 percent of the department's loan portfolio -- had much lower delinquency rates. The smaller contractors recorded rates ranging between 10 and 19 percent. But the departments limits how many new loans it sends to these smaller companies, despite calls from some in Congress to increase their market share.


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