Community College as a Path to Amherst

What will adding a more selective, partly online curriculum at two-year schools achieve?

The bucolic campus of Amherst College.
National Journal
Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
Dec. 15, 2013, 11:50 p.m.

Every Monday, The Next Amer­ica pro­duces a col­lec­tion of edu­ca­tion art­icles that catch our eye. These date from Dec. 9 to Dec. 16.

AN HON­ORS PRO­GRAM FOR COM­MUNITY COL­LEGES. Four com­munity col­leges have cre­ated com­pet­it­ive, more ex­pens­ive two-year pro­grams for tal­en­ted stu­dents, and 27 highly ranked four-year schools have agreed to give gradu­ates of the pro­grams pref­er­ence as trans­fer ap­plic­ants. For four-year col­leges, the part­ner­ship is a way to re­cruit from a more di­verse pool of ap­plic­ants. The ex­tent of the com­mit­ments, an­nounced last week, builds on a pro­gram called Amer­ic­an Hon­ors de­veloped by for-profit Quad Learn­ing. Amer­ic­an Hon­ors sup­plies aca­dem­ic ad­visers and oth­er help to two-year col­leges in the pro­gram. The cur­riculum is de­livered both on­line and face to face. The New York Times and In­side High­er Ed

GEOR­GIA TECH TRIES TO MAKE MOOCS WORK. The Geor­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­no­logy is tak­ing no chances in its part­ner­ship with massive open on­line course pro­vider Uda­city. A small group of stu­dents with high GPAs will take part in the pi­lot for the on­line mas­ter’s de­gree in com­puter sci­ence — mak­ing the par­ti­cipants the kind of ma­ture stu­dents most likely to per­sist in an on­line course. Mean­while, Uda­city views the pro­gram mainly as a part­ner­ship with AT&T, which is un­der­writ­ing the cost in the hopes of re­cruit­ing a pool of en­gin­eers. Chron­icle of High­er Edu­ca­tion and Fast Com­pany

STU­DENT HOME­LESS­NESS ISN’T JUST A CITY PROB­LEM. As The New York Times draws at­ten­tion to the city’s home­less chil­dren, the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion notes that sub­urbs have seen a 138 per­cent in­crease in poverty since 2000. Na­tion­wide, pub­lic schools have ex­per­i­enced a 72 per­cent jump in stu­dent home­less­ness. In the sub­urbs, home­less fam­il­ies can be found crammed in­to the homes of friends and fam­ily, mov­ing from motel to motel, or liv­ing in shel­ters. Con­front­ing Sub­urb­an

A TYSON FOODS PLANT TRANS­FORMS COM­MUNIT­IES. Im­mig­rants drawn to jobs at meat­pack­ing plants are trans­form­ing Noel, Mo., and Garden City, Kan., NPR re­ports. Tiny Noel isn’t pre­pared to spend big on so­cial ser­vices for the new­comers, in­clud­ing an in­flux of South­east Asi­an and Afric­an refugees. “We are the gov­ern­ment agency in town,” the loc­al ele­ment­ary-school prin­cip­al told NPR. “People come here if they need shoes, if they need clothes, if they’re hungry. We send 37 back­packs home every week­end with kids that just don’t have enough food.”

CHICA­GO IN­TRO­DUCES NEW AFRIC­AN-AMER­IC­AN STUD­IES CUR­RICULUM. Chica­go Pub­lic Schools has in­tro­duced a new cur­riculum guide  that will help teach­ers in­cor­por­ate more Afric­an and Afric­an-Amer­ic­an stud­ies in­to core sub­jects, from kinder­garten through tenth grade. A 1990 state law man­dates that Afric­an-Amer­ic­an his­tory be taught in pub­lic schools, but the re­quire­ment has only been ob­served sporad­ic­ally. Chica­go Tribune

HOU­S­TON STU­DENTS STILL CAN’T READ. Stand­ard­ized test scores are go­ing up in the Hou­s­ton In­de­pend­ent School Dis­trict, but many stu­dents can’t read a short story very well, the Hou­s­ton Press re­ports. Mean­while, MIT re­search­ers find that Bo­ston pub­lic schools that have suc­cess­fully raised stu­dent test scores haven’t seen im­prove­ment in stu­dents’ work­ing memory or abil­ity to solve ab­stract prob­lems. Hou­s­ton Press and MIT News

BAD NEWS FOR FOR-PROFITS. Un­der the Edu­ca­tion De­part­ment’s latest rule as­sess­ing wheth­er vo­ca­tion­al pro­grams at for-profit in­sti­tu­tions and com­munity col­leges provide gradu­ates with gain­ful em­ploy­ment, 13 per­cent of pro­grams would risk los­ing fin­an­cial aid. Afric­an-Amer­ic­an stu­dents dis­pro­por­tion­ately en­roll in for-profit pro­grams. Chron­icle of High­er Edu­ca­tion


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