Here’s a roundup of the education articles that caught Next America’s eye from Mar. 10 to Mar. 17. All address trends that particularly affect minority students.
Education Department Unveils Latest Gainful Employment Rule. Hundreds of vocational degree programs at for-profit and community colleges would be in danger of closing down under newly proposed federal standards that take into account student debt and default rates. About 16 percent of the 8,000 programs affected by the new standards would fail to meet them. Programs that fail to meet the standards for two out of three consecutive years would no longer be allowed to enroll students receiving federal financial aid — a death knell for some programs. The latest version of the rule will almost certainly be contested in court. InsideHigherEd, Politico
States Are Also Cracking Down on For-Profits. The Education Department’s “gainful employment” rule-making has dragged on for five years. So state attorneys general are taking the matter into their own hands, investigating (and in some cases taking legal action against) for-profit colleges accused of leaving students with significant debt but few marketable skills. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also brought legal action against one for-profit provider, and is considering suing another. The fast-growing for-profit sector enrolls 16.9 percent of all African-American and 14.1 percent of all Hispanic undergraduates. The Hechinger Report
Does Community College Help Some Students Graduate? Thirty percent of four-year college dropouts would have been more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree if they had started at a two-year college, according to a new working paper form the American Institutes of Research. Forty percent of first-generation students who dropped out of four-year programs would have been more likely to graduate if they had started out at a two-year college. The study “suggests that students who choose community college often know what they’re doing, even if much of the commentariat doesn’t,” InsideHigherEd’s Matt Reed writes. Washington Monthly, InsideHigherEd
Louisiana Embraces Career Education. Louisiana may introduce a ramped-up high school “career diploma” that would conclude with a credential approved by relevant state employers. The goal is to open the doors to good-paying jobs for students who don’t pursue postsecondary education. Louisiana Education Superintendent John White “considers the initiative both a moral and business necessity,” The Times-Picayune writes; only 28 percent of Louisiana students earn a two- or four-year college degree. Washington Monthly, Times-Picayune
Illinois Changes Testing Policy to Help Minority Teachers. In a bid to increase the number of minority teachers in the state, the Illinois State Board of Education removed a limit to the number of times prospective teachers can take required basic skills tests. Last year, fewer than one-third of all aspiring teachers and fewer than 18 percent of black and Hispanic candidates passed the state’s Test of Academic Proficiency. Eighty-four percent of Illinois public-school teachers are white, compared with just half of public-school students. Catalyst Chicago
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First, it was Sean Spicer. Then Reince Priebus. Now, presidential adviser Steve Bannon, perhaps the administration's biggest lightning rod for criticism, is out. “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” That's not to say the parting of ways isn't controversial. Bannon says he submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, but earlier today, "the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon."
"The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups."
"Liberal groups are raising questions about a speaking appearance Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch plans to make next month at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Gorsuch is scheduled to headline a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of conservative group The Fund for American Studies on September 28, days before the next SCOTUS term begins October 2. Steve Slattery, a spokesman for The Fund for American Studies, said Gorsuch had nothing to do with venue choice, which was made long before the group asked Gorsuch to speak."