Ed Reform Politics
Those who have long claimed that public funding cuts do lower the educational quality of public universities are finally seeing the connection go mainstream. The New York Times made it explicit again in the title of last week's coverage of the ongoing crisis in Caifornia higher ed: "California Cuts Threaten the Status of Universities." The story's accompanying photo is an image of the kind of factory-style higher ed that everyone from commercial e-learning companies to small-seminar advocates agrees will no longer do. Simultaneous news came last week that "S.F. City College can't afford all its campuses" suggesting that even the cheapest public ed factories are facing closure. Remaking the University: Quality Public Higher Ed: From Udacity to Theory Y
Why Is College So Expensive? - To the Point on KCRW College students and graduates have racked up more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt, as the cost of a higher education is rising fast. Why are colleges and universities increasing tuition instead of cutting expenses? Is online learning on the verge of changing the way Americans prepare themselves for employment in the so-called "knowledge economy?" Also, the G8 Summit convenes at Camp David. On Reporter's Notebook, this weekend, six playoff games will be played in both hockey and basketball — in one single arena. Crews will have 80 hours to change a wood floor into an ice rink and back again.
U.S. Subsidies to Profit-Making Colleges Keep Growing
Best content in ATL Future Visions
Villaraigosa is one of several Democratic mayors in cities across the country — Chicago, Cleveland, Newark and Boston, among them — who are challenging teachers unions in ways that seemed inconceivable just a decade ago. “This is a very, very interesting political situation that is way counterintuitive,” said Charles Taylor Kerchner, who has written two books about teachers unions. At at time when most Americans believe that U.S. education is imperiled, and cities are especially struggling to improve schools, the tension between the mayors and the unions is causing a fundamental realignment of two powerful forces in urban politics. In the clash over what is best for children, adults on both sides are gambling. Democratic mayors challenge teachers unions in urban political shift
What Ails Us Forgive American consumers if they feel a bit perplexed. Policymakers and pundits have been warning them about the prospect of deflation (a prolonged and widespread decline in prices), but there’s no sign of any decline in many of the prices that people pay every day. Car-insurance premiums jumped more than nine per cent last year. Health-insurance costs are soaring, to say nothing of the cost of a haircut. Cable-TV prices have risen sixteen per cent since 2000.
How, and How Not, to Improve the Schools by Diane Ravitch
Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? by Pasi Sahlberg, with a foreword by Andy Hargreaves Teachers College Press, 167 pp., $34.95 (paper) In recent years, elected officials and policymakers such as former president George W. Bush, former schools chancellor Joel Klein in New York City, former schools chancellor Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C., and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have agreed that there should be “no excuses” for schools with low test scores.
Undermining Protections for Students With Disabilities The ALEC Special Needs Scholarship Act has been introduced in Wisconsin as AB 110 by Rep. Michelle Litjens, and co-sponsored in the Senate by Leah Vukmir, who was an ALEC "Legislator of the Year" in 2009. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction said: This bill strips special education students of due process rights and rights to services. Privatizing Public Education, Higher Ed Policy, and Teachers - Alec Exposed
ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection Untold sums of cash poured into ALEC by Charles and David Koch have been an effective investment in advancing their worldview. This article is part of a Nation series exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council, in collaboration with the Center For Media and Democracy. John Nichols introduces the series. Hundreds of ALEC’s model bills and resolutions bear traces of Koch DNA: raw ideas that were once at the fringes but that have been carved into “mainstream” policy through the wealth and will of Charles and David Koch. Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.
Duncan Calls for Urgency in Lowering College Costs
Steven Brill's Class Warfare: What's wrong with the education reformers' diagnosis and cures If you saw Waiting for "Superman," Steven Brill's tale in Class Warfare will be familiar. The founder of Court TV offers another polemic against teacher unions and a paean to self-styled "education reformers." But even for those who follow education policy, he offers an eye-opening read that should not be missed. Where the movie evoked valiant underdogs waging an uphill battle against an ossified behemoth, Brill's briskly written book exposes what critics of the reformers have long suspected but could never before prove: just how insular, coordinated, well-connected, and well-financed the reformers are. Class Warfare reveals their single-minded efforts to suppress any evidence that might challenge their mission to undermine the esteem in which most Americans held their public schools and teachers.
By Stanley N. Katz In a January speech at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, laying out his policy for higher education, President Obama opened by noting his agenda: "How can we make sure that everybody is getting the kind of education they need to personally succeed but also to build up this nation—because in this economy, there is no greater predictor of individual success than a good education." Although the United States still has "the best network of colleges and universities in the world," he said, "the challenge is it's getting tougher and tougher to afford it." Thus his primary policy concerns were high tuition and student debt. At Ann Arbor, President Obama captured the spirit of the megafoundation program for higher education. Big Philanthropy's Role in Higher Education - The Chronicle Review
The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence. Sergey Ivanov/Flickr Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West's reigning education superpower, Finland.
Last year, as Washington State faced a severe budget crisis, legislators embraced a novel way to fund student financial aid: a public-private partnership between the state and private corporations. Called the Opportunity Scholarship Fund, the fund attracts private donations and matches them with public money in order to support students in science, technology, and other “high demand” fields. As Inside Higher Ed reporter Paul Fain wrote, “the thinking in Washington was that if corporations had more direct control of how their donations were used, they might be more inclined to give. “ This is exactly right -- Boeing and Microsoft quickly pledged $50 million -- but the creation of the fund must be placed in the broader context of state defunding of public higher education. Essay: Washington college grant program favors vocational over liberal education
Policy-Making Billionaires Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, has invested more than $13 billion in public health initiatives around the world through his foundation. William E. Conway Jr., a founder of the Carlyle Group investment company, is planning to give away $1 billion of his personal fortune, and is said to be considering how his money can aid in financing major infrastructure projects. “What’s going on at a broader level is a sense of, ‘Hey, we can be much more effective and efficient than government in doing things,’ ” said Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor of philanthropic studies and public affairs at Indiana. “And it’s become more pervasive in recent years.”
This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. If the national movement to “reform” public education through vouchers, charters and privatization has a laboratory, it is Florida. It was one of the first states to undertake a program of “virtual schools”—charters operated online, with teachers instructing students over the Internet—as well as one of the first to use vouchers to channel taxpayer money to charter schools run by for-profits. How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools
For-Profit College Rules Scaled Back After Lobbying
Chip Litherland for The New York Times Full Sail University near Orlando, Fla., focuses on training for entertainment industry careers but has low graduation rates and tuition that can run to $80,000 for a 21-month program. A week later in Iowa, Mr. Romney offered another unsolicited endorsement for “a place in Florida called Full Sail University.” By increasing competition, for-profit institutions like Full Sail, which focuses on the entertainment field, “hold down the cost of education” and help students get jobs without saddling them with excessive debt, he said. Mitt Romney Offers Praise for a Donor’s Business