Here’s a roundup of the education articles that caught Next America’s eye from Feb. 24 to Mar. 3. All address trends that particularly affect minority students.
Obama: “When I was their age, I was a lot like them.” President Obama’s new initiative aimed at helping young, minority men is small in scale: a $200 million philanthropic commitment from the private sector, plus an interagency task force. But Obama’s speech launching the initiative was one of the most passionate and personal he’s made in a while. The president noted that demographic shifts have made helping young minority men more important than ever. “This is a moral issue for our country,” Obama said. “It’s also an economic issue for our country. After all, these boys are a growing segment of our population. They are our future workforce.” New York Times
The Statistics That Explain Why Young, Minority Men Lag Behind. ThinkProgress, a policy blog at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, breaks down the odds stacked against the young African-American and Hispanic men President Obama’s initiative hopes to serve. The barriers begin with lower levels of early childhood education and end with high adult unemployment rates. Gaps in income and wealth between white and black Americans have been rising for 40 years. ThinkProgress
With Lower Aspirations, White Men Go Further In Community College. White male students at two-year colleges are less engaged in the classroom than their black and Latino peers. Yet 32 percent of white, male community college students go on to earn a degree or certificate within three years, compared to just 5 percent of black and Latino male community college students, according to a report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas. The report criticized administrators for steering academically weak minority students into programs focused on addressing weaknesses, rather than on tapping into students’ strengths. The Chronicle of Higher Education
College Supply Matters, Too. Demand for higher education needs to be met with enough supply — in the form of adequately funded seats at colleges and universities, according to columnist Eduardo Porter. A 2006 study from John Bound of the University of Michigan and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia found that when states had a large college-age population, public spending per student fell and so did graduation rates. Other researchers have found that the wage premium associated with a college degree rises when state institutions charge more in tuition and enroll fewer students. New York Times
Americans and business leaders weigh in on skills and immigration. Just over half of Americans would favor a policy that would issue green cards to international students who graduate from U.S. college or university, according to a Gallup survey conducted on the behalf of the Lumina Foundation and released last week. Thirty-four percent of the over 1,000 people surveyed in English-language phone interviews said family ties to U.S. citizens should be the highest priority in immigration policy decisions; 29 percent said work skills should take precedence. In a separate survey, 42 percent of about 600 business leaders chose work skills. Gallup
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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.