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Higher Ed – eSchool News

eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.

Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 07:00:20 +0000


HBCUs wary of Trump administration

Thu, 25 May 2017 10:00:03 +0000

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has pledged "unwavering support" for the critical educational missions of historically black colleges and universities, invited leaders of those institutions to the White House and even dispatched his education secretary to deliver her first commencement address of graduation season at one of the schools. The moves, by a president who won just 8 percent of the black vote in November, have surprised and pleased some African-American educators, who say Trump already has outpaced the steps taken by previous administrations, including that of the nation's first black president. While some leaders and groups associated with black colleges have welcomed the young administration's overtures, others, notably students, remain wary of Trump and assail the White House as tone-deaf and insensitive. Those views were on display this month when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered the commencement address at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla. As DeVos began to speak, students booed and turned their backs on her. Following his inauguration, Trump's most overt outreach to African-Americans has been his efforts to woo students and leaders of black colleges that were founded in the years after the Civil War and today consist of 101 public and private schools nationwide. "For [President] Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything--especially for black people. ... But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs," said Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, using the common abbreviation for the schools. Now, he says, the reverse has happened--Trump came in with no expectations placed on him, and some black educators have been pleasantly surprised. "So people now want to see what's going to happen because he's coming in saying he's going to be the president for HBCUs," Kimbrough added. "It's a very different perspective, but it's still the first 150 days, so we'll see what happens." Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that helps provide financial assistance to students who attend black colleges, says the signs from the White House are encouraging. "In the first four months of this presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration," Taylor said. "I, for one, judge people by what they do--not what they say." Taylor points to, among other things, the bipartisan spending bill Congress passed and Trump signed this month, which includes an expansion of Pell grant eligibility to year-round. (In recent years, Obama signed budgets that only allowed Pell grants to be used for two semesters in a school year.) Moreover, Taylor says, Trump's own budget proposal left funding for black colleges and universities untouched, even as it proposed slashing the Department of Education budget 13.5 percent. "Level funding is a win for HBCUs in a season where large cuts were made across the board," said Taylor, who has penned op-eds lauding Congress and the Trump administration's work on behalf of black colleges. Historically black colleges and universities are located primarily in Southern and Midwestern states and in 2015 enrolled nearly 300,000 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In recent years, many black colleges, which educate students of all races and ethnicities, have struggled to bolster enrollment and graduation rates.[...]

This program could skyrocket AP scores

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 07:00:47 +0000

(image) Participating in a specific college readiness program could cause a massive increase in qualifying Advanced Placement (AP) scores for students. Schools that complete the first year of the National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program see the number of qualifying Advanced Placement scores in math, science and English increase by an average of 67 percent, based on data from the College Board. The increase at NMSI-supported schools is more than 10 times the average annual increase. The program also is expanding its access to underrepresented student populations. NMSI’s three-year College Readiness Program has expanded access to rigorous AP classes in more than 1,000 schools across 34 states. Among African-American and Hispanic students, the average increase in the number of qualifying scores is more than six times the national average, and for female students the increase is 10 times the national average. An AP exam score of 3 or higher (on a 5-point scale) demonstrates mastery of college-level coursework and qualifies students for course credit at the majority U.S. colleges and universities. Students who master AP courses in high school are better equipped to succeed in post-secondary coursework and are three times more likely to graduate from college. At West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pa., the number of AP qualifying scores in math and science went up from 16 in 2015 to 103 in 2016 — more than 500 percent. That was the greatest percent increase in the country for those subjects. “Based on these first-year results after partnering with NMSI’s College Readiness Program, I think it’s fair to say that the program has contributed significantly to our unprecedented results,” said Dr. Jerri Lippert, the district’s superintendent. “The fact that our school ranked first in the nation in percent increase in math and science qualifying scores is a source of great pride for us. Our teachers are to be commended for their extraordinary efforts. And our students are to be celebrated for their exceptional results. It confirms that they will be well-prepared for what lies ahead.” Among other NMSI partner schools: • For the second consecutive year, the School of Science and Engineering in Dallas ranked number one in the country for the number of AP qualifying scores earned (396) by African-American and Hispanic students in math and science. • IDEA Frontier College Preparatory in Brownsville, Texas, had the greatest percentage increase nationwide--304 percent--in math and science qualifying scores among African-American and Hispanic students.

The 2 edtech fields with the most potential under Trump

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 07:00:12 +0000

(image) The tumultuous early weeks of the Trump administration have produced plenty of headlines and controversy, but almost nothing on higher education. The nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has only recently been confirmed, and given her background in K-12, higher education was not a major theme of her Senate hearing. The announcement of a task force to reform higher ed, to be led by Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell, Jr., gave little detail about its policy priorities or objectives but remains the young administration’s only substantive action on higher ed to date.

Trump pledges support for HBCUs, but no additional money

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 19:36:35 +0000

(image) President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to increase support and oversight of the nation's historically black colleges and universities within his administration--but stopped short of providing the federal money the schools badly need. Nor did administration officials hold the in-depth meeting that some presidents and chancellors of the black schools had sought. And Betsy DeVos, Trump's education secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser, ignited firestorms. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, said scheduled time to engage administration officials in a listening session about the challenges HBCUs face blew up when it was decided to take the large group of college presidents and chancellors to the Oval Office for a group photo with Trump. "Needless to say, that threw the day off and there was very little listening to HBCU presidents today. We were only given about two minutes each, and that was cut to one minute, so only seven of maybe 15 or so speakers were given an opportunity today," Kimbrough said in a statement. DeVos created a social media explosion with her statement about HBCUs on Monday. She called the institutions the "real pioneers when it comes to school choice," glancing over the fact that government-enforced segregation laws for decades prevented African-Americans from attending many majority-white colleges and universities. "Was there a better way to word it? Yes," said Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is African-American. "Clarity in your statements is always important, but if in the end we are able to make progress going forward compared to the last several years, I think they'll be happy." Conway, counselor to the president, stirred her own social media storm when she was seen casually kneeling on an Oval Office couch while taking photos of Trump and the HBCU presidents. Trump's administration was eager to stress the president's order moving the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which pushes the federal government to do more business with the colleges, from the Department of Education directly into the White House. The president will name a director to oversee the effort.

This pathway helps students better prepare for college

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 07:00:06 +0000

(image) A new “MicroMajor” program from the University of Texas at Austin will help high school students better prepare for the rigor of university life. The TEXAS MicroMajor program has its roots in UT Austin’s work with school districts, educators and students across the state to bridge gaps between traditional high school courses and the expectations

5 critical considerations for CBE and CBL implementation

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 07:00:46 +0000

(image) As schools begin to invest in competency-based education (CBE) and higher ed institutions set up competency-based programs, two of the big questions often unanswered become “is their focus on education or on learning?” And “what’s the difference?”

Here’s why Idaho implemented badges for high schoolers

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:00:41 +0000

(image) Think of Idaho’s SkillStack as a way to gather merit badges that will help you earn college credits or a job. The online tool was created by Idaho Career & Technical Education using federal grant money. The program kicked off in high schools across the state this fall. While it’s more complicated than getting dual credit for a high school course, badges earned through SkillStack can be used toward credit at any Idaho technical institution — and, its online resume-building tool can also help match employers to future employees. “I think CTE’s goal is to ensure that the students meet the quality standards for employment and industry,” said Karrie Hornbacher, College of Southern Idaho’s coordinator for accelerated learning. How it works On, a student creates an account and finds a pathway to pursue for college credit like welding technology. If a student wants to earn two credits for a safety and leadership course at an Idaho technical college, the student can take a career and technical education course, or in some cases several courses, at their high school. To get credit, the student must earn four badges — the “Lab Rules & Procedures” badge, the “Hand Tools” badge, the “Power Tools & Equipment” badge and a “Work & Job Place Readiness Skills” badge. Each badge is made up of skills. A Hand Tools badge, for example, requires two skills: safe handling and use of appropriate tools; and proper cleaning, storage, and maintenance of tools. Once a student has demonstrated a skill, it’s checked off online by the high school instructor. Skills stack up to badges, which stack up to credits, Hornbacher said. But before receiving credit, the student also has to pass a state-approved technical skills assessment and a hands-on assessment in front of a college professor. “It displays skills that people have obtained, not just a grade for being in a classroom for a specific amount of time,” said Caty Solace, spokeswoman for Idaho Career & Technical Education. “That is the power of SkillStack.” Credits are transferable to any of the six technical colleges in Idaho: CSI, North Idaho College, Idaho State University, College of Western Idaho, Eastern Idaho Technical College and Lewis-Clark State College. “It’s only for a few programs which have gone through the alignment process,” Solace said. The intent, Hornbacher said, is to align postsecondary CTE programs across Idaho’s technical institutions, to make the freshman first-semester experience the same.

Dual credit programs boost college-going rates

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:00:00 +0000

Hawaii public school students who earn college credits while still in high school are 1.5 times more likely to enroll in college than their peers, far surpassing state and national college-enrollment averages, a new report on the state’s so-called dual credit programs shows. Ten percent of graduates in the class of 2015, or 1,058 students, participated in one of three dual credit programs that allow students to earn college credit toward a future degree through various University of Hawaii campuses while satisfying high school diploma requirements. Among those students, 81 percent enrolled in college after graduation while 53 percent of their classmates who did not participate in dual credit programs enrolled in college. By comparison, the state’s overall college enrollment rate for public school graduates was 56 percent in 2015; the national rate is 68 percent. Karen Lee, executive director of the nonprofit Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, which compiled the data, said the results show dual credit programs are effective at increasing college-going rates. “We suspected this from the national data around momentum and self-confidence in going to college, and we’re actually seeing this realized here in Hawaii,” Lee said at a recent state Board of Education meeting, where the results were shared. The three dual credit programs offered in some high schools are: >> Running Start, which began in 2001, involves individual high school students taking a college-level course along with college students on a UH campus. >> Jump Start, which began in 2011, also is offered on UH campuses. High school seniors spend their senior year taking all of their classes full-time at a community college campus for credit toward a career-focused associate degree. >> Early College, which began in 2012, differs from the other two programs in that it’s taught on high school campuses by college faculty. Students take college-level courses that are offered during the school day, after school or during the summer. Narrowing the gap The Hawaii P-20 data also show that participation in dual credit programs can boost college enrollment among low-income students, helping close the achievement gap with their noneconomically disadvantaged peers. Based on the data from the 2015 graduates, 76 percent of economically disadvantaged students who earned college credit in high school enrolled in college while 85 percent of their nondisadvantaged peers who also took dual credit courses enrolled in college — a gap of 9 percentage points. Meanwhile, economically disadvantaged students who did not participate in dual credit programs had a 41 percent college-going rate compared with a 61 percent college-going rate among their nondisadvantaged peers who also didn’t earn college credit in high school. That represents a 20-point gap. University of Hawaii President David Lassner said he was most struck by those results. “Not only is it proving the success of dual credit and early college programs, but it’s particularly compelling in showing the way it reduces the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and others who are not economically disadvantaged,” Lassner said in an interview. “I’m not aware of another intervention or program that is that impactful in terms of closing that gap.” Education officials hope the data will be helpful in seeking funding in the upcoming legislative session. The Department of Education plans to seek $9 million over two years to expand the Early College program to all high schools. The funding would pay for two college courses, or six credits, for every graduating senior.[...]

New CTE bill creates new routes to credentialing

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 07:00:50 +0000

(image) U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a bill to give more high school students the opportunity to take career and technical education college courses that can help prepare them for success in the 21st century. The Workforce Advance Act will help strengthen and expand dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school options as part of Perkins-supported career technical education (CTE) programs. Strong CTE programs can provide vital access to the knowledge and skills needed for job and career success. "At a time when higher education is more important for success in the 21st century economy than ever before, we need to help create opportunities for students in high school to prepare for college and their future careers," Bennet said. "Tens of thousands of kids in Colorado are already taking advantage of dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities, which has helped more of them enroll and do well in college. This bill will help improve career and technical education programs by expanding these opportunities across the country to allow even more students to benefit." "This bill creates a fast, affordable route for students to gain the skills and earn the credentials they need to compete in today's global economy," Hatch said. "Concurrent enrollment programs are demonstrably effective in helping young men and women prepare for their future careers. Take, for example, my home state of Utah: In 2015 alone, our students earned a variety of career certifications and collectively completed more than 180,000 credit hours of college-level courses-all before graduating high school. With each class students took, they were one step closer to finding a job or earning a college degree. I urge my Senate colleagues to help us empower America's youth and strengthen our nation's workforce by supporting this critical legislation." The Workforce Advance Act encourages states to examine how they can expand access to CTE dual and concurrent enrollment and early college high school courses. Dual and concurrent enrollment programs and early college courses allow students to earn college credit while still in high school. The bill would allow states to invest leadership dollars in expanding access and supporting teachers and districts to increase the number of courses offered. It would also encourage districts to strengthen CTE programs by incorporating college credit opportunities.

7 new standards for excellent online learning leadership

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 07:00:36 +0000

(image) As online learning evolves from amateur experimentation to a mainstream professional entity on campus, new standards for quality online learning leadership are emerging in order to not only sustain these distance programs, but ensure they meet the growing demands of 21st-century academe.