Can States Ban Affirmative Action?

Roundup: Supreme Court will address a state amendment that drastically impacted the University of Michigan’s minority enrollment.

Students and other attendees listen as US President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on January 27, 2012 expanding on his State of the Union proposals to keep college affordable and within reach for all Americans. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
Oct. 16, 2013, 2 a.m.

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 nex­tamer­ica@na­tion­al­journ­al.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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"Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reviving calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol following the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia." Rep. Cedric Richmond, the group's chair, told ABC News that "we will never solve America's race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States." And Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol." But a CBC spokesperson said no formal legislative effort is afoot.

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