NY Education

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless ...

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless Education Programming for McKinney-Vento Grantee Districts

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design and conduct a statewide assessment of homeless education programs supported by McKinney-Vento grant funding. The study will focus on promising features of program implementation at the LEA level; outcomes for students experiencing homelessness; and academic and social-emotional program supports and resources provided by NYSEDís Homeless Education current technical assistance vendor, NYS-TEACHS.
News and Notes: New Professional De...

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials
Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title ...

Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title I School Improvement Section 1003(a) - Basic School Improvement Grant Application

Section 1003(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that State Education Agencies allocate funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for Title I Priority and Focus Schools to meet the progress goals in their District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and School Comprehensive Education Plan(s) (DCIP/SCEP) and thereby improve student performance. These funds are to be used to support implementation of school improvement activities identified through the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) reviews or a school review with district oversight and included in the DCIP/SCEP.
RFP Posted: Special Education Media...

RFP Posted: Special Education Mediation Technical Assistance Center

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) P-12 Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to provide annual training to approximately 125 individuals who serve as New York State special education mediators, promote the use of special education mediation, provide reimbursement of mediation administrative costs to the Stateís twenty one (21) Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) and to collect and report data on the number and type of special education mediation sessions conducted throughout the State. NYSED seeks applicants for mediation training (Part I) with documented experience and expertise in alternative dispute resolution processes in special education and for data collection (Part II) with demonstrated experience in the collection and reporting of statewide data.
RFP Posted: State Performance Plan ...

RFP Posted: State Performance Plan Indicator 8; Parent Survey for Special Education Consumer Satisfaction

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is seeking proposals for the distribution, collection and analysis of a parent survey relating to special education.
RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categoric...

RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categorical Bilingual Education Programs

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design, develop, and conduct evaluations of all Categorical Bilingual Education Programs funded by New York State and managed by the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (OBE-FLS). The selected vendor will design and develop protocols to assess implementation and effectiveness of all programs. Due to the variety of goals and objectives of each program to be evaluated, in addition to protocols that can be used for all programs (demographic data, evaluation elements that are common to all programs, etc.), each program is likely to also require evaluation components that are specific to that programís evaluation (See Attachment C).

InsidehigherEd

Essay on alt-ac work during holiday...

Essay on alt-ac work during holiday season

When your faculty friends are far from campus, what's an alt-ac administrator to do? Brenda Bethman has a plan.

Essay on conflict between activism ...

Essay on conflict between activism and career advancement, after Ferguson

Post-Ferguson, how can young scholars balance their desire to join in activism with the demands of winning tenure? Kerry Ann Rockquemore considers the issues.

Essay on conflict between activism ...

Essay on conflict between activism and career advancement, after Ferguson

Post-Ferguson, how can young scholars balance their desire to join in activism with the demands of winning tenure? Kerry Ann Rockquemore considers the issues.

Essay on technology tools to help P...

Essay on technology tools to help Ph.D.s and postdocs in job hunts

Joseph Barber reviews websites and databases that can help the Ph.D. or postdoc doing a job search.

How to ask interview questions that...

How to ask interview questions that show you're interested in the job (essay)

About to interview for an academic position? Elizabeth Simmons suggests how to ask questions that convey your enthusiasm and readiness for the role.

Essay on how academics can use smal...

Essay on how academics can use small chunks of time

Nate Kreuter seeks more productivity by making better use of those groups of minutes between major tasks.

BBC News Education

Pakistan arrests over school attack

Pakistan arrests over school attack

Pakistan's interior minister says police have arrested several suspects in connection with last week's massacre at a school in Peshawar.
Record 500,000 started university

Record 500,000 started university

Record numbers of students entered university this year, but the gender gap has never been wider, according to annual admission figures.
Statistics watchdog ticks off Morga...

Statistics watchdog ticks off Morgan

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is criticised by the UK Statistics Authority over her use of statistics.
Minister in maternity leave first

Minister in maternity leave first

Scotland's children's minister becomes the first member of the Holyrood government to take maternity leave.
Minister 'tackling' poor pupil fund...

Minister 'tackling' poor pupil funds

The government is "working on a solution" to avoid a drop in school funding for the poorest pupils because all England's infants now get free meals.
Primary school pupils 'still hungry...

Primary school pupils 'still hungry'

Half of younger primary school children in Wales are still hungry some or all of the time after eating their school meal, the children's commissioner says

US Govt Dept of Education

For Public Feedback: A College Rati...

For Public Feedback: A College Ratings Framework

"As a nation, we have to make college more accessible and affordable and ensure that all students graduate with an education of real value. Our students deserve to know, before they enroll, that the schools they've chosen will deliver this value.
Progress Toward Designing a New Sys...

Progress Toward Designing a New System of College Ratings

This is the third in a series of posts about the Department?s new college ratings system. Read the first blog in this series.
2015-2016 Teaching and Principal Am...

2015-2016 Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellowship Program Applications Now Available!

“The Ambassador Fellows are a critical investment in ensuring that the decisions affecting students are informed and implemented by our nation?s best teachers and leaders. The answers to our most challenging educational problems lie in the voices of the courageous principals and passionate teachers our Fellows bring us every day.? ? Secretary Arne Duncan
Student Voices Session: Shining a S...

Student Voices Session: Shining a Spotlight on Native Youth in Foster Care

Youth from every ethnicity and population group experience challenges. American Indian and Alaska Native youth in the foster care system often also must contend with a disconnection from their tribal communities and cultures.
University of Cincinnati, U.S. Educ...

University of Cincinnati, U.S. Education Department Reach Agreement to Ensure Equal Access to UC?s Websites for Individuals with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that its Office for Civil Rights has entered into an agreement with the University of Cincinnati to ensure that the school’s websites comply with federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability.
Improving Education One Classroom a...

Improving Education One Classroom at a Time

Elise Patterson faces challenges in her classroom every day, but there?s nothing else she?d rather be doing than teaching. Patterson is an English teacher who, like so many educators across the country, is tackling challenges and making a difference in her classroom and in her students? lives.

Yahoo

Inslee criticized for ignoring scho...

Inslee criticized for ignoring school levy equity

When the Washington Supreme Court told the Legislature it needed to fix the way the state pays for public schools, it also ordered lawmakers to stop relying so much on local levy dollars to pay for basic ...
How two words stir controversy on f...

How two words stir controversy on federal plan to rate US colleges

It?s just a two-word phrase, but it goes to the heart of what?s both controversial and promising about an Education Department proposal for rating of US colleges.
White House releases snapshot of pl...

White House releases snapshot of plan to rate U.S. colleges

A woman lies in the grass at Columbia University in New YorkBy Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Friday released a draft of its plan to rate U.S. colleges and tie federal aid to performance as a way to coax institutions to pull up their socks. The U.S. Education Department will rate institutions on their performance, intake of low-income students, completion rates, affordability, employment prospects and student loan repayment rates. ...

Ed Dept. releases 'framework' to ra...

Ed Dept. releases 'framework' to rate colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Colleges and universities have fretted over how they will be judged under a new college ratings system President Barack Obama announced last year would be developed to encourage transparency and affordability.
Analyzing Colleges' Graduation Rate...

Analyzing Colleges' Graduation Rates for Low-Income Students

U.S. News has used exclusive data to analyze how successful colleges and universities have been at graduating their low-income students compared with their overall student bodies.
Race in school discipline: Study lo...

Race in school discipline: Study looks at silence among educators

As protests and anger continue to percolate around the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and other unarmed black men, one group is calling attention to the fact that many of the racial stereotypes that may have contributed to these events begin at much younger ages.

Independent

Schools ?not getting resources for ...

Schools ?not getting resources for Roma?

Schools are struggling to find the finances and resources to educate Gypsy and Roma children because fear of discrimination means many of their parents are not revealing their true ethnicity, hampering efforts to provide extra funding, inspectors have said. The finding comes as official figures show the number of Gypsy and Roma pupils in UK schools have increased from 16,735 to 19,030 in the past year, after work restrictions were lifted for Romanians within the EU.

Pupils with special educational nee...

Pupils with special educational needs are being failed by mainstream schools, says Mencap

Parents who have children with special educational needs (SEN) believe that mainstream schools are failing to help them reach their full potential, according to a report published today. A survey of 1,000 parents by the charity Mencap, which supports people with learning difficulties, found mainstream schools are failing children with learning disabilities ? with 81 per cent of parents saying they are not confident their child's school is helping them do their best.

Pupils with special needs are being...

Pupils with special needs are being failed by mainstream schools, says Mencap

Parents who have children with special educational needs (SEN) believe that mainstream schools are failing to help them reach their full potential, according to a report published today. A survey of 1,000 parents by the charity Mencap, which supports people with learning difficulties, found mainstream schools are failing children with learning disabilities ? with 81 per cent of parents saying they are not confident their child's school is helping them do their best.

New careers college set to fill ski...

New careers college set to fill skills gap

It has a marine simulator which can reproduce at the touch of a button a replica of ports around the world that any ship's navigator will sail into. It can also conjure up a range of weather conditions from calm to stormy as you stand at the helm of your ship ? giving you the impression of listing when you are, in fact, on terra firma.

Prospect of higher salaries makes m...

Prospect of higher salaries makes maths more attractive

Teenagers would be more likely to study maths at A-level if they were told what salaries it would help them earn in future, according to new research.

Progress in the three Rs is lower i...

Progress in the three Rs is lower in rural and coastal areas

Pupils in rural areas are underachieving, according to performance tables showing that location plays a large part in how well children do in the three Rs at primary school.

Education Week

Colorado's high court hears school ...

Colorado's high court hears school voucher case

Obama announcing $1B for early chil...

Obama announcing $1B for early childhood education

Early child care workers reject joi...

Early child care workers reject joining union

Maine to receive $5M for preschool ...

Maine to receive $5M for preschool programs

Va. receives $17.5m grant to expand...

Va. receives $17.5m grant to expand preschool

Congress relaxes whole grain standa...

Congress relaxes whole grain standards for schools

Educause

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.

read more

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:

read more

Huffingtonpost.com

Requirements Of Student Athletes' P...

Requirements Of Student Athletes' Preseason Physicals Vary Between States

Before joining a high school sports team, most students in the U.S. have to complete a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE). This preseason physical is intended to check that a student is healthy enough to participate in competitive sports, but a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the requirements of the physicals vary widely across states -- so students are not always screened for conditions that could lead to big problems. The study found that the District of Columbia and every state, except for Vermont, requires a PPE for student athletes, but there are no national standards for them. The National Federation of State High School Associations endorses PPEs, but does not have the jurisdiction to require them nationally. State high school athletic associations typically determine the requirements in each state. PPE-4 is the evaluation recommended by leading medical organizations, including the AAP. The PPE-4 asks about 12 items regarding personal and family history that can help "identify subjects with rare electrical cardiac abnormalities," the study says. However, only 23 states require or recommend using the PPE-4 or a version similar to it, the study found. On average, states' PPEs completely addressed seven of the 12 personal and family history items that the PPE-4 recommended. Twenty-two states addressed all 12 of the items, while 15 states addressed three or fewer of the items. To investigate how frequently states reviewed their PPEs, researchers collected data on the most recent PPE revision from each state. According to the study, "the NFHS states that the participation evaluation process should be reviewed no less than every 3 years." Most states had not revised their PPE forms in the past two years, and 10 states either did not revise forms in the past five years or did not provide the researchers with a revision date. The study didn't explain what types of revisions were made. The content and usefulness of PPEs is highly debated, as physicians attempt to ascertain the best -- and most practical -- way to identify abnormalities. "The preseason physical is so important, because some of these pre-existing cardiac conditions may be very subtle and difficult to screen for," Barry Boden, a sports researcher and doctor, told The Huffington Post in a conversation last month. However, he explained, "there are a lot of cardiac anomalies which you?re not going to be able to detect, even with [an electrocardiogram]." This season alone, at least nine high school football players died after collapsing on the field or sidelines. Many student athlete deaths on fields and courts are caused by pre-existing conditions, such as cardiac problems, that players are unaware they have. There were twice as many indirect fatalities -- caused by conditions such as cardiac arrests, asthma or heat stroke -- than direct fatalities -- caused by head injuries, for example -- between 1990 and 2010 in high school and college football, a 2013 study led by Boden found. "We do need to do a better job of screening these athletes," Boden said.
5 Tips for Managing Credit and Boos...

5 Tips for Managing Credit and Boosting Your Score

Credit is complicated. For many, understanding how a credit score is calculated and what the number actually means is often a mystery. But it's critically important and can open doors to many things: a home or auto loan, a credit card or even a job. Bank of America has recently partnered with nonprofit education leader Khan Academy to create BetterMoneyHabits.com, a free online resource that offers easily digestible information to help people achieve their financial goals. We've received thousands of requests from users asking us for certain types of content. As credit is one of the topics least understood and most asked-for, we wanted to share a few helpful hints on how to crack the credit score code: 1. Know the score and how it's tallied. The FICOģ Score is the most widely used credit bureau score in the U.S. and ranks individuals on a scale of 300 to 850. According to myfico.com, a score of 680 or higher would generally be considered good, and the national average hovers around 692. The two most important factors affecting your credit score are payment history - the presence or absence of negative information such as a late payment - and debt burden, which is based on things such as your personal debt-to-limit ratio and the number of accounts with outstanding balances in your name. Other factors include the length of credit history and credit utilization. 2. Pay your bills on time. Your payment history is very important to your credit, making up 35 percent of your overall score. So, the best thing you can do to achieve a high score is to pay your bills on time every month, including loans, utilities, credit cards and mortgage payments. Timely bill payment shows potential lenders that you're financially responsible. Setting payment reminders on your accounts can be very helpful so you don't forget to make a payment on time. Pay your credit card balance in full to avoid additional interest, but if you're unable to do that, pay at least the minimum amount to keep the account active. Keep in mind, however, that credit card balances that remain after the grace period accrue interest and add to your overall debt. 3. Establish your credit. In order to have a good credit score, you need to build up your credit. While this may sound intimidating, start with the basics. For instance, opening a checking or savings account allows you to establish a relationship with a bank so they can see you are responsible in managing your money. If you don't already have a credit card, you may consider applying for one. If you are just starting out, you might want to consider a secured card, which requires a cash collateral deposit that establishes the line of credit for the account. You can watch this video for more tips on building credit from scratch. 4. Keep an eye on your credit. Each year, every person is eligible for a free credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion and Equifax) through Annualcreditreport.com. Your credit report summarizes information about your accounts, and it's the only place where you can see the full picture of all your previous and current credit activity. Regularly checking your credit report is also the best way to monitor for the possibility of unauthorized accounts opened in your name. 5. Keep credit utilization low. Credit card utilization is the ratio of how much credit you're using compared to how much credit you have available. For instance, if you have a $6,000 credit limit and your balance is $1,500, then your credit utilization ratio is 25 percent (1,500/6,000 = 0.25). People who keep their credit utilization ratio between 10 and 30 percent tend to have the highest credit scores, according to CreditKarma.com. If the amount you owe is more than 30 percent of your available credit limit, it may have a negative impact on your credit, as this video explains. For a reminder of these tips and more, download an overview of how to boost your credit score. For more in-depth information, watch this video on building credit and keeping yours healthy. Video presented by Better Money Habits (function(){var src_url="https://spshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=577&width=570&height=321&playList=518564599&responsive=false&playerActions=49159&onVideoDataLoaded=HPTrack.Vid.DL&onTimeUpdate=HPTrack.Vid.TC";if (typeof(commercial_video) == "object") {src_url += "&siteSection="+commercial_video.site_and_category;if (commercial_video.package) {src_url += "&sponsorship="+commercial_video.package;}}var script = document.createElement("script");script.src = src_url;script.async = true;var placeholder = document.querySelector(".js-fivemin-script");placeholder.parentElement.replaceChild(script, placeholder);})(); The material provided on the video is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its partners assume no liability for any loss or damages resulting from one's reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment management.
Jameis Winston Cleared In Campus Se...

Jameis Winston Cleared In Campus Sexual Assault Hearing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared Sunday of the accusations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing involving an alleged sexual assault two years ago. Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding wrote in a letter to Winston that the evidence was "insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof." Prosecutor Willie Meggs made a similar decision a year ago when he decided not to criminally charge Winston, citing a lack of evidence. This month, a two-day hearing was held to determine whether Winston violated four sections of the code of conduct - two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment. The ramifications for Winston ranged from a reprimand to expulsion from school. The woman can request an appeal within five days. "We will consider an appeal but right now we feel a little duped," Baine Kerr, one of the woman's lawyers, said in an emailed statement. "At some point we have to recognize that Florida State is never going to hold James Winston responsible." AP is not identifying the woman because it does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse. "Somehow Jameis Winston still wins," Kerr said. "The order doesn't even follow the Student Conduct Code and it ignores the bulk of the evidence." Kerr said that between his client, Winston, and two teammates that were at the off-campus apartment - Chris Casher and Ronald Darby - only the woman would answer questions about what happened. Winston did submit a lengthy statement detailing his version of events. Florida State president John Thrasher said the university selected the former state Supreme Court justice to remove any doubt about the integrity of the process. "He (Harding) conducted a thorough Student Conduct Code hearing and reviewed more than 1,000 pages of evidence generated by three other investigations, and we would like to thank him sincerely for his service," Thrasher said. Harding wrote that both sides' version of the events had strengths and weaknesses, but he did not find the credibility of one "substantially stronger than the other." "In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charged violations of the Code," Harding wrote. Winston family adviser David Cornwell did not respond to requests for comment. Cornwell has contended that attorneys for the former student pushed for the hearing after they were rebuffed in an attempt to reach a settlement with Winston. Florida State faces Oregon in the College Football Playoffs semifinal on Jan. 1. Before the ruling, there were questions whether Winston would be available to play. The Seminoles won a national championship with Winston at the helm last season and have not lost a game since he earned the starting job before the beginning of the 2013 season. Florida State is currently being investigated by the Department of Education on how hit handles possible Title IX violations. The woman who said Winston assaulted her filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which decided the university should be investigated for possible Title IX violations over the way it responds to sexual violence complaints. Title IX is a federal statute that bans discrimination at schools that receive federal funding. The Department of Education in 2011 warned schools of their legal responsibilities to immediately investigate allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence, even if the criminal investigation has not concluded.
English Teachers Adopt Statement on...

English Teachers Adopt Statement on Academic Freedom

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has adopted a new position statement on academic freedom. The statement consists of two introductory paragraphs and five principles. I can't object to any of the principles, which were adapted from those proposed in my book Liberty and Learning. But I thought I might elaborate a bit. The first paragraph defines academic freedom as "intellectual freedom in academic contexts." It notes that NCTE's "support of intellectual freedom" includes recognizing the right of students "to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others." The "protection of academic freedom," concludes the first paragraph, is "required at all levels of education" for four reasons. First, it "serves the common good" of society as a whole. Second, it enhances the "academic integrity" of the educational institution by insulating academic decision making from external pressures. Third, it enhances the overall quality of education, which thrives on intellectual freedom. And finally, it protects students from indoctrination. The second paragraph notes that academic freedom includes an "obligation to uphold the ethics of respect and protect the values of inquiry necessary for all teaching and learning" and characterizes this obligation as both "moral and educational." It "encourages the discussion of the principles of academic freedom, listed below, within faculties and institutions for the purpose of developing policies and procedures that will protect such freedoms." The statement then lists five principles concerning freedoms of belief, expression, and inquiry; freedom from indoctrination; and associated rights. I will address these in turn. Freedom of Belief and Identity. The principle reads: "Educational institutions may present alternative views and values, but may not impose or require belief or commitment." The reference to identity acknowledges that some of our beliefs fit together into religious, political, or other ideologies to which we have deep, self-defining commitments. Freedom of Expression and Discussion. This principle reads: "In academic contexts, students and teachers have a right to express their views on any matter relevant to the curriculum." This requires viewpoint neutrality but not content neutrality. The First Amendment protects the right to speak about anything. Academic freedom, in contrast, is limited to the topic of the course and oriented toward academic argumentation. Freedom of Inquiry. The principle reads: "Inquiry must not be suppressed by restricting access to particular authors, topics, or viewpoints or by hindering the formulation of objectionable conclusions." Inquiry is not just formal research. Students at all levels of education should, and often do, engage in inquiry. All such inquiry should be free. Freedom from Indoctrination. This principle has two parts. First, "Educators and educational institutions must not require or coerce students to modify their beliefs or values. Efforts to convince students to modify their beliefs or values must be academically justifiable." This is consistent with the first principle in respecting freedoms of belief and identity. The second part of the nonindoctrination principle reads: "Curriculum must be determined by teachers and other professionals on the basis of academic considerations. Suggested modifications of the curriculum should go through a process in place by the school or district." Here we see most clearly that academic freedom is not just freedom of speech. Students have a right to a curriculum that has been devised on academic grounds by teachers and other experts. Equality, Privacy, and Due Process. This final principle could be seen as three: First, "All students and faculty have an equal right to academic freedom." Second, "Educators and educational institutions must refrain from academically unjustified inquiries into beliefs, values, interests, or affiliations of students and faculty." And finally, "Academic institutions must ensure that their formal and informal procedures provide sufficient due process to protect intellectual freedom." Equality, privacy, and due process are basic human rights that complement other civil liberties, including free expression and religious liberty, and are crucial for protecting intellectual freedom in education. To the extent that equality, privacy, and due process protect intellectual freedom in education, they are part of the institutional support for academic freedom. The bottom line: As NCTE has understood, academic freedom is intellectual freedom for all students, teachers, and researchers at all levels of education.
Teaching, Learning and the College ...

Teaching, Learning and the College Ratings Framework

In a tale worthy of O.Henry's combs and watch fob, just as colleges and universities across the country have begun to get the hang of good practices in learning outcomes assessment, in large part due to pressure for accountability imposed by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) on accrediting agencies, USDE has now declared learning outcomes impossible to consider in its framework for establishing ratings on the quality and value of institutions of higher education. Instead, reverting to the outmoded academic practice of determining quality through inputs, the Department's metrics are heavy on inputs data about the economic profile of students (highlighting the percentage of Pell Grantees in the student body is like counting books in the library) but short on true learning outcomes (the seriously flawed federal graduation rate measuring seat time in one place is a surrogate for the question of whether students have actually learned anything). By dismissing the primary work of colleges and universities -- teaching and learning -- as impossible to measure across institutions, the proposed framework exposes the utter folly of the Administration's plan to impose some kind of generic rating system on the thousands of disparate institutions of higher education in this nation. The inputs metrics set forth in the ratings framework emphasize low income students while glossing over other students and important student characteristics. In its quixotic effort to socially engineer the economic profile of the student bodies of some elite colleges and universities, the Obama Administration appears to dismiss as unimportant such fundamental other inputs as student abilities, K-12 preparation, academic interests, and the kinds of personal characteristics that lead hundreds of thousands of students to choose Catholic and other religiously affiliated colleges, HBCU's and Minority Serving Institutions, women's colleges, Hispanic-serving and Tribal colleges, and other institutions that align mission with student interests and characteristics quite successfully. Access to higher education is surely a worthy social goal, and many colleges and universities like my own, Trinity in Washington, do focus on broad access for all students as part of mission. But rather than providing more support for those of us who do the very hard work of broad access for marginalized students, the inputs of the proposed ratings framework are perversely aimed at elite institutions that have different missions and different student bodies. For quite some time, the Obama Administration has promoted the idea that elite institutions should enroll more low income students on the theory that such students will suffer opportunity loss if they choose more modest colleges that don't spend a lot of money on climbing walls and presidential expense accounts. The theory actually reinforces elitism, an irony that seems lost on its advocates. Nothing in the framework reveals what really counts for student success in college: the level of student academic preparation for collegiate level work, the ability of the faculty to teach to a range of learning styles in one classroom, the college's support network and range of engagement strategies, the student's socialization to collegiate culture, and personal factors such as health, family obligations, friends and personal motivation to persist when the going gets rough. Faculty are absent from the ratings framework as if their work does not count at all. Student learning in college, particularly for at-risk students, is a product of focused, consistent and somewhat relentless faculty engagement with students who must devote considerable amounts of time, struggle, passion and pride in mastering general education goals and major learning objectives. The fact that faculty are completely absent from the framework is probably a good thing considering the damage that the Department of Education has done to K-12 teachers. Nevertheless, the framework's inability to account for teaching and learning guts the whole idea of a quality rating for an academic institution. Graduation rates in their current form and future measurements of post-graduate income are not appropriate substitutes for assessments of academic quality. Such academic outcomes assessments do exist in accreditation reports and program reviews, among other internal sources. The assessment data across many academic programs and degree levels simply cannot be reduced to a single factoid, a truth the Department of Education acknowledges as a reason for dismissing consideration of true learning outcomes data entirely, rather than admitting that the idea of a single rating cannot work. USDE should do the right thing and step back from this expensive, time-consuming and ultimately misguided effort to create a master algorithm that will produce a single rating for the very complex processes that occur in every college and university across a broad range of programs and degree levels. Instead, if the Department truly believes that the metrics it has identified are important for the public to know, then select and present the data points on a chart with clear identification of what they measure and what they mean. The White House College Scorecard already exists for this purpose, though its utility to consumers is debatable. Nonetheless, expand the scorecard if the data points in the ratings framework are that important for the public to know. Colleges don't shrink from data, we simply object to its misuse for political purposes. If access, affordability and quality are the goals, then align each metric to each goal in a sensible way and explain why that is important. But mixing up all of the data into one big pile of fudge that becomes a singular rating unrelated to the real work of higher education in teaching, learning and research is a grave disservice to colleges and universities, our students and faculties, and the remarkable national asset that is American higher education.
Mindful Final Exams?

Mindful Final Exams?

Today is Thursday of university finals week, and the air is electric. My twenty students in the Buddhism seminar have just arrived in class to take their final exam, anxious and excited. Christmas break will begin tomorrow. Rather than getting out their pens and pencils, bluebooks, or computers, however, we arrange our desks in a circle and place two meditation cushions at the center of the classroom. I am about to administer what is known at Naropa University as the Warriors' Exam. I sit on one cushion, facing the empty cushion in front of me. A student I'll call George is the first to be examined, and he comes, laughing nervously, to sit in front of me. We sit silently for a moment, then we very simply bow and begin. "According to the Buddha, why do we suffer?" I ask, and we're off. This is one of the signature forms of oral exam we have been practicing at Naropa University for most of our forty-year history. It has been adapted from the tradition of debate from Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, but is framed not as an adversarial form, but as a dialogue. There are various ways we conduct the exam -- sometimes students question each other and sometimes the faculty member asks the questions. The main point is that students are asked to express their understanding orally, on the spot, integrating their study of a subject with their personal experience and insight. In the context of the Mindfulness Revolution (TIME Magazine cover story, January 23, 2014), mindfulness has been introduced to many college and university campuses as an element of classroom activities, student clubs, and offerings from wellness centers. Most of the time, students practice mindfulness for a few minutes, and then their classes continue in the completely conventional way, with lectures, written exams, term papers, and grades. From the time of Naropa's founding in 1974, the intent was to integrate contemplative methods into every aspect of the University curriculum. We founding faculty members endeavored to see how mindfulness and awareness practices might change assignments, discussions, readings, and examinations. Our group of about twelve founding faculty members met weekly in our storefront offices to hatch experiments for our classrooms, and we co-taught in order to see what would happen. The Warriors' Exam was developed initially by Naropa's founder, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, the innovative Tibetan Buddhist artist, poet, and meditation master, who designed it as a method to draw out the spontaneous insight of his western students. It was adapted for use at Naropa University in the earliest years, and is beloved in many departments and academic programs. Within the varieties of its forms, students find that they can trust not only their knowledge gained through study but their wisdom. The students received copies of the basic questions a week in advance. Each will be asked one question -- no one knows which one they will get. For today, I have selected a specific question for each of them as a place to begin the exchange. They already completed written exams and term papers; this day crowns the semester. They know that the criteria for this exam grade are three: freshness of response, understanding of content, and appropriate examples from their own experience. They have been asked to study the readings and lecture notes, but not regurgitate a pre-prepared answer. Instead, they are to listen to the question, let it land in a new way, and respond with trust in their present-moment insight. Their answers are to include an example from their own experience. As we begin, I remind the students that we are all doing the exam together. The circle practices mindful listening and compassion practices, supporting and appreciating the examinee of the moment. This creates an atmosphere of respect, kindness and openness. As George hesitates in his answer, unsure how to proceed, I ask, "Have you experienced suffering?" "Lots of times." "How about right now, in this exam?" He lights up. "Yes!" And he laughs, explaining why he suffers now, and we all laugh together. A beautiful answer, fresh and authentic, full of the confidence of his own experience. The students take turns, each more beautiful than the last, each with the shaky genuineness and truth of a warrior. They show their fundamental goodness, even when blanking out, doubting themselves, or falling into scripted responses. We stay with that, and I encourage them and subtly draw their attention to their inherent wisdom and to their present-moment experience. Their classmates are witnesses and supports, present together with them, silently encouraging them. There is no way to fail if they "show up." Afterwards the students are giddy. How was the exam? "A refreshing experience of present-time awareness." "A great summary of the whole course, but from us!" "Wonderful to hear other students' answers." Sal wrote, "You arrive at a Warriors' Exam needing to be prepared for everything, sit down prepared for anything, and are always guaranteed an original experience, while all your classmates are doing the same."

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When is it Too Early to Start Prepa...

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I had a parent of a 7th grader contact me this week about working with her student. Now early preparation, particular for students interested in BS/MD programs and other highly selective colleges, is great, can you start preparing for college too early? Yes and no. It depends on how you define preparing. I typically don’t...Continue Reading >

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Lab Research vs Clinical Research

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BS/MD programs like to see that you have done some type of research. Does that mean more research is better? No. Let’s back up and understand why BS/MD programs like to see that students have performed some type of research. †Most students who are interested in medicine want to do some type of research. That...Continue Reading >

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In a recent post I talked about the need for significant experience volunteering.†But what exactly does significant mean? There is no absolute definition of significant. You can’t say that 99 hours is insignificant but 100 hours is significant. Rather, what is important is how the hours are accumulated. Doing an hour of volunteering each week...Continue Reading >

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