Friday, March 25, 2016
Posted by: Michele Streeter
Morning Education: More relief for former Corinthian students — North Carolina ‘bathroom' legislation draws criticism — Job site for ‘middle-skills’ workers
By KIMBERLY HEFLING | 03/25/16 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Allie Grasgreen Ciaramella, Caitlin Emma and Aubree Eliza Weaver
LOAN FORGIVENESS FOR EX-CORINTHIAN STUDENTS: Education Secretary John B. King Jr. is in Boston today for an announcement that could smooth the way for more former Corinthian Colleges students to have their student loan debt wiped away. He and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will announce that evidence gleaned from work with multiple state attorneys general has opened the door for a “clear path” for students left with debt from 91 campuses to get relief. They can just fill out this form: http://1.usa.gov/1QikBw5. The department last year created a similar form for students at 12 Heald College campuses once owned by Corinthian after fining the institution $30 million for misrepresenting job placement rates to current and prospective students.
— At the event, Joseph Smith, the department’s special master overseeing repayment work, will also present an updated report reflecting that the department has already approved discharging loans totaling $130 million for more than 8,800 former Corinthian students. The report: http://1.usa.gov/1RBXOfL.
BREAKING DOWN N.C.'S NEW ‘BATHROOM' BILL: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to sign legislation affecting bathroom access brought a sharp reaction Thursday from groups such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Under the bill, schools and universities are among the government-run facilities that must assign all multiple-occupancy bathrooms and locker rooms to a single sex and keep anyone who doesn't match that biological sex from using it. [http://n.pr/1RzE6ei] North Carolina is the first state to enact such a measure. "Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislature have demonstrated that discriminating against some of their state's most vulnerable residents is among their top legislative priorities. Their actions strike a blow to the health and well-being of students and educators across the state," GLSEN said.
— The bill was passed to block a provision in Charlotte taking effect soon that would have allowed transgender individuals to use bathrooms for the gender with which they identify. McCrory said he took the action because “the basic expectation of privacy in the most personal of settings, a restroom or locker room, for each gender was violated by government overreach and intrusion by the mayor and city council of Charlotte.” http://bit.ly/22yXlAa.
— In other state news, the Kansas Legislature sent Gov. Sam Brownback a school funding bill designed to satisfy a state Supreme Court order [http://politico.pro/21JLSYM] to fix school funding problems by June 30 or risk the shutdown of public schools. The Associated Press says the measure “redistributes $83 million of the state's $4 billion-plus in annual aid.” The total spent on schools wouldn’t increase, but no district would lose promised aid for the next school year: http://bit.ly/1WMQEDq.
CHOOSING COLLEGES BASED ON PELL USERS’ SUCCESS: The Education Department has released the data set from its new report highlighting colleges doing the best job providing opportunities for students who use Pell Grants. The department hopes to leverage change without calling out the poorest-performing institutions by name, as Allie Grasgreen Ciaramella reported: http://politico.pro/1LISdlA. But officials said prospective students from low-income families could peruse the data and draw conclusions for themselves. The data file and full report: http://1.usa.gov/22yfqOO.
— The Institute for Higher Education Policy said the report “makes clear the need for all institutions to focus on enrolling and graduating low-income students, including selective colleges where students have the best chance at succeeding.”
— In other Pell news: A House bill committing grants to eighth grade students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch was referred to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training this week. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, a Democrat, introduced the Early Pell Promise Act [http://1.usa.gov/1RoqIg7] last month, as a companion bill to legislation that Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow dropped in April. The Education Finance Council, a trade group of nonprofit and state-agency loan organizations, told Lawrence the bill “would give students, early in their academic careers, the motivation and support that stems from knowing that a college education is financially possible for them”: http://bit.ly/21JdInU.
NOW HIRING ‘MIDDLE-SKILLS’ WORKERS: LinkedIn, labor-market analysis organization Burning Glass and the Markle Foundation have joined forces to roll out a new kind of job website — Skillful.com — specifically designed for middle-skills workers, or people who have a high school diploma but not a bachelor’s degree. The site launched in Colorado this month with an initial emphasis on the information technology, advanced marketing and healthcare fields, with plans to branch into the greater Phoenix area as early as next month. The project has the support of Colorado’s state government as well as Arizona State University and MOOC provider edX.
— “Skillful is a network of online tools and on-the-ground resources that connects job seekers to fast growing and well-paying jobs and to the educators who can help them get training, acquire new skills and advance their careers,” the Markle Foundation explained [http://bit.ly/1PrVYX8], noting that as many as 40 percent of Colorado’s top jobs do not actually require a four-year degree. “By working with employers to clearly define the skills needed for these jobs, and by making it easier for job seekers to learn or demonstrate these skills, Skillful will create more career paths for those without a college degree.”
— Jobs will be categorized in terms of occupational skills, foundational skills or soft skills, and will allow job seekers to find positions posted in a selected area, as well as training programs that could help them actually get the job or move up in their field. Those individuals will also be able to create a profile showcasing their abilities, which will match them with possible career choices, and then access guides outlining which competencies are useful in different professions and more.
NO CANDIDATE LEFT BEHIND: Not only is Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan “prohibitively expensive” and “not viable in its current form,” it’s poised to drive risk for the higher education industry through the election, Compass Point Research & Trading said Thursday. “Secretary Clinton continues to struggle among younger voters, and as we head into the general election we expect her campaign to focus intently on her higher education plan as a means of connecting with that voter demographic,” the report says. “She will begin aggressively advocating for her higher education plan, which could pose headline risks and possibly even entice her GOP opponent to embrace similar proposals.”
— Some Emory University protesters said they’re “in pain” after “Trump 2016” chalkings appeared across the campus this week. After meeting with the few dozen students, President Jim Wagner conveyed their concerns “that these messages were meant to intimidate rather than merely to advocate for a particular candidate, having appeared outside of the context of a Georgia election or campus campaign activity," CBS News: http://cbsn.ws/1XQ2E7D.
COURT VICTORY FOR DEFUNCT FOR-PROFIT: Decker College closed more than a decade ago, after the Education Department cut off federal funding when an accreditor said its building trade and construction trade programs were not approved to be delivered through distance education. But an administrative law judge has found that claim from the Council on Occupational Education to be “factually inaccurate,” and officials representing the former Kentucky-based for-profit are now off the hook for repaying at least part of the $32 million sum demanded by the department. Inside Higher Ed has the scoop: http://bit.ly/1q4sCcV.
‘INTELLIGENCE UNLEASHED’: Professor Rose Luckin of the University College London expects to see artificial intelligence used more in teaching in the near future. Luckin is one of the authors of a recent Pearson paper that makes the case for using artificial intelligence in education. She cautions that it can never replace good teachers, but the technology can recreate a one-on-one tutoring environment for students or serve as a “virtual peer,” introducing new ideas to students or fostering discussion or deeper reflection. The technology can also help teachers find and share the best resources. “There’s a lot of money being invested into AI and it will reach into education without a doubt,” Luckin said. The paper: http://bit.ly/22oLNPN.
— Speaking of artificial intelligence, PARCC says many states with Common Core-based assessments will use automated scoring for student essays this year. A spokesman says that in these states, about two-thirds of all student essays will be scored automatically, while one-third will be human-scored. As in the past, a spokesman said about 10 percent of all responses will be randomly selected to receive a second score as part of a general check. States can still opt to have all essays hand-scored.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
— Outgoing Association of American Universities President Hunter R. Rawlings III will serve as Cornell University’s interim president, following the death of Elizabeth Garrett: http://bit.ly/1PtFtd4.
— Tiffany Miller is joining Communities In Schools as vice president of government relations. She previously was director of education policy at the Center for American Progress.
REPORT ROLL CALL
— Questions of free speech and academic freedom have been ignored in recent positions taken by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. American Association of University Professors: http://bit.ly/21IPqul.
— Tennessee House passes Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to give six public four-year universities their own boards. The Associated Press: http://bit.ly/1UP1mKG
— Ohio State University announces it will pay for 100 early childhood educators to get a bachelor’s degree. Cleveland Plain Dealer: http://bit.ly/1UKUI9D
— Former law student loses case claiming Thomas Jefferson School of Law misrepresented data on graduate employment rates. The San Diego Union-Tribune: http://bit.ly/1UdBn0T
— Indiana Gov. Mike Pence vetoes a bill that would have sheltered police departments at private colleges from following the same crime reporting requirements as all other law enforcement agencies. South Bend Tribune: http://bit.ly/1q4yDGl
— Chicago Public Schools officials file lawsuits over charter school commission’s decision to block plans closing three low-performing charter schools. The Associated Press: http://bit.ly/1XQMV84
— New Hampshire House passes bill allowing town to send students to private, non-religious schools. Union Leader: http://bit.ly/1UnXqSR
— Arizona House approves bill that would allow half the state’s students to use school vouchers. Arizona Daily Sun: http://bit.ly/1UOXQjs
— After numerous incidents, University of California at Berkeley announces new sexual misconduct initiatives. The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://bit.ly/1RoRuEY
— Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs bill allowing high school graduates with service or religious commitments to keep their Florida Bright Futures Scholarships. Tampa Bay Times: http://bit.ly/1RoL496