Every week, The Next America produces a collection of education articles that catch our eye. These date from Oct. 28-Nov. 4.
State Department to Boost Exposure to U.S. Learning via Coursera. Online course provider Coursera is working with the State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world, where students can get Internet access to free courses, plus weekly class discussions with local teachers or facilitators. For the U.S. government, the appeal lies in exposing students from all over the world to American universities and perhaps spur them to study in the U.S. Instruction will be in English, and neither the facilitators nor MOOC providers will be paid. New York Times
Should Full-Time Enrollment Be Calculated Differently? Only three of 10 students who are technically enrolled in college full time will graduate on time, according to a report from nonprofit Complete College America. The federal government defines “full time” as 12 credit hours per semester, but students who do not take summer courses need to take 15 credit hours per semester to complete an associate’s degree in two years or a bachelor’s in four. Chronicle of Higher Education
Ta-Nehisi Coates on His Howard University Return. If you haven’t yet, you should read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ moving New York Times column on attending homecoming at his alma mater, Howard University, with his son. “As the options for kids like my son have grown in unimaginable ways, the fortunes of black schools have declined,” The Atlantic senior editor writes.
The End of College Board School-Support Program. This summer, 20 College Board schools in Colorado, Maryland, and New York lost $100,000 in per-school additional funding and access to College Board resources, like leadership retreats and data-tracking, when the College Board abruptly ended a program that had supported small middle schools and college-focused high schools. Nonprofit news organization Gotham Schools links the change to the College Board’s new focus on achievement at all grades, rather than on just the college-admissions process.
What Happens to Children Who Fail High-Stakes Tests? Progressive magazine In These Times tracks down El Paso, Texas, students who say they were pushed out of high school because of their low test scores. As recently as three years ago, hundreds of low-scoring Latinos in El Paso were illegally diverted to GED programs, the article states.
Chinese Students Explain Cultural Differences to American Peers. Chinese students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a YouTube channel to help address cultural differences with their American peers. Among the topics explained:
Why Chinese students prefer to speak Mandarin instead of English, why they don’t party as much as Americans, and difference concepts of physical attractiveness. Quartz
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The Signal app is fast becoming the new favorite among those who are obsessed with the security and untraceabilty of their messaging. Just ask the Democratic National Committee. Or Edward Snowden. As Vanity Fair reports, before news ever broke that the DNC's servers had been hacked, word went out among the organization that the word "Trump" should never be used in their emails, lest it attract hackers' attention. Not long after, all Trump-related messages, especially disparaging ones, would need to be encrypted via the Snowden-approved Signal.
The Republican Study Committee may lose several members of the House Freedom Caucus next year, "potentially creating a split between two influential groups of House conservatives." The Freedom Caucus was founded at the inception of the current Congress by members who felt that the conservative RSC had gotten too cozy with leadership, "and its roughly 40 members have long clashed with the RSC over what tactics to use when pushing for conservative legislation." As many as 20 members may not join the RSC for the new Congress next year.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued emergency authorization for a Zika diagnostics test from Swiss drugmaker Roche, skirting normal approval channels as the regulator moves to fight the disease's spread." Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new study in Nature identifies "about a dozen substances" that could "suppress the pathogen's replication." Some of them are already in clinical trials.
According to 37 newly released audits, "some private Medicare plans overcharged the government for the majority of elderly patients they treated." A number of Medicare Advantage plans overstated "the severity of medical conditions like diabetes and depression." The money has since been paid back, though some plans are appealing the federal audits.
"GOP leaders and House Democrats are already laying the groundwork for a short-term continuing resolution" on the budget this fall "that will set up a vote on a catch-all spending bill right before the holidays." As usual, however, the House Freedom Caucus may throw a wrench in Speaker Paul Ryan's gears. The conservative bloc doesn't appear willing to accept any CR that doesn't fund the government into 2017.