Here’s a roundup of the education articles that caught Next America’s eye from Jan. 14 to Jan. 20. All address trends that particularly affect minority students.
COLLEGE ACCESS TAKES CENTER STAGE AT D.C. EVENT. At the White House’s urging, more than 100 college presidents and corporate and nonprofit leaders have made commitments to enrolling and graduating more students from the ranks of the low income and minorities. (The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great graphic of the commitments made by institutions). Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are wondering whether money spent on two federal programs aimed at increasing access would be better spent on funding more need-based Pell Grants. New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education
DREAM ACT ADVANCES IN WASHINGTON STATE. The House passed the Evergreen State’s version of the Dream Act less than an hour after this year’s session started, sending the bill back to the Senate, where the proposal has previously died in committee. H.R. 1817 would allow Washington students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status to be eligible for state financial aid. The Spokesman-Review
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS INTRODUCES TOOL FOR EVALUATING DEGREES. The University of Texas system’s seekUT website allows current and prospective students to compare the salaries, student-loan debts, and career trajectories for thousands of alumni who remained in Texas. Administrators hope the tool will help students make smart choices and prove to lawmakers that college degrees do indeed lead to higher earnings. The Chronicle of Higher Education
CENSUS RELEASES REPORT ON CREDENTIALS. A Census Bureau report finds that 5 percent of Americans who have not attended college have earned a professional certificate or license. Non-Hispanic whites were more likely that other groups to hold such certifications, which are linked to higher earnings. Inside Higher Ed
EARNING COLLEGE CREDIT IN HIGH SCHOOL IMPROVES COLLEGE COMPLETION. Or so says a multiyear study of the Early-College High School Initiative, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Almost 25 percent of graduates from high schools offering college credit completed a degree — typically an associates degree — two years after high school, compared with 5 percent of their peers, the study found. Education Week
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"Even as he acknowledged the importance of an open internet, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Wednesday set his telecom agency on a course to scrap the tough, broad net neutrality protections imposed by the Obama administration. During a major speech in Washington, D.C., Pai outlined the need for a total revision of existing federal rules that seek to prevent companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon from blocking or slowing down web content, including the movie or music offerings from their competitors." Separately, Pai told Reason's Nick Gillespie that the Clinton Administration "basically got it right when it came to digital infrastructure. We were not living in a digital dystopia in the years leading up to 2015."
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today established the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), as called for in a presidential executive order from January. The new office's website states that its staff "will be guided by a singular, straightforward mission—to ensure victims and their families have access to releasable information about a perpetrator and to offer assistance explaining the immigration removal process."