Every week, The Next America will produce collection of education stories that catch our eye. This roundup encompasses Oct. 7-14. Got a news tip? Email email@example.com.
Can States Ban Affirmative Action? This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Schuette vs. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, a case that seeks to answer that question. Since an amendment to Michigan’s constitution banned public colleges and universities from using race as a criterion in admissions, African-American enrollment at the University of Michigan has dropped nearly 40 percent. Al Jazeera America
Are Americans Falling Behind? A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development comparing American academic achievement to test-takers in other wealthy countries fueled fears that American economic competitiveness is declining. “The first question these kinds of studies raises is, ‘If we’re so dumb, why are we so rich?’ ” Georgetown researcher Anthony Carnevale asks. “Our economic advantage has been having high skill levels at the top, being big, being more flexible than the other economies, and being able to attract other countries’ most skilled labor. But that advantage is slipping.” The New York Times
More Trouble for For-Profit College Chain. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed a lawsuit against Corinthian Colleges, arguing that the chain intentionally deceived prospective students and investors. In internal documents, Corinthian discussed “how to recruit students who are ‘impatient,’ have ‘low self esteem’ or can claim ‘few people in their lives who care about them’,” according to Harris’s complaint. The chain also promised unrealistically high job-placement rates. The Sacramento Bee
New Centers Aim to Coordinate College Completion The Kresge Foundation has provided three-year grants to new “student success centers” in Michigan, Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, and New Jersey, and together with nonprofit Jobs for the Future has issued a request for proposals for three more such state centers. The five success centers will have relationships with their state community -college associations, but will have different budgets to keep them independent as they seek to coordinate successful completion strategies. Inside Higher Ed
Maryland Desegregation Ruling Could Have Wider Impact. Maryland has failed to fully desegregate its public higher-education system, by allowing traditionally white colleges to duplicate popular degree programs, a federal District Court has ruled. As a result, Judge Catherine C. Blake ruled, historically black colleges can’t compete for white students. The case could reverberate to Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Chronicle of Higher Education
The Longer the Government Shutdown, the More Trouble for Head Start. A $10 million contribution from a pair of Texas philanthropists gave shuttered Head Start programs across the country a lifeline. But as the government hiatus enters its third week, it remains to be seen how long the emergency funds can keep federally funded early childhood education programs afloat for 7,000 children in six states. If the government doesn’t reopen by Nov.1, an additional 86,000 children in 41 states and a U.S. territory will also lose access to Head Start Funding. Politico
NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s Charter School Legacy Threatened. Charter-school leaders and advocates are worried about the ascent of Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, an outspoken critic of charter schools. De Blasio has said that he would stop offering many of the city’s 183 charter schools free rent and he has opposed increasing the number of charters. Mayor Bloomberg’s pro-charter administration is so worried about de Blasio’s ascent that officials are scrambling to place two dozen more charter schools into public school buildings before Bloomberg’s term ends. The New York Times
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."