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STATISTIC OF THE WEEK

Fall enrollment in for-profit degree-granting institutions grew by more than 100-fold from 18,333 in 1970 to 1.85 million in 2009. During that same time period, total fall enrollment in all degree-granting institutions increased 2.4-fold from 8.58 million in 1970 to 20.43 million in 2009 (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], Digest, 2010, Table 197). Thus, for-profit enrollment increased from 0.2 percent to 9.1 percent of total enrollment in degree-granting schools from 1970 to 2009. For-profit institutions for many decades also have accounted for the vast majority of enrollments in non-degree granting postsecondary schools (those offering shorter certificate programs) both overall and among such schools eligible for federal (Title IV) student financial aid.

Source: CAPSEE: The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?

 

THE NEWS

ACADEMIC PREPARATION
K12 Inc.'s Public Status and Growth Attract Scrutiny: Virtual ed. company faces critical press and a recent lawsuit
By Jason Tomassini, Education Week
In a scant few months, K12 Inc. and its fluctuating performance on Wall Street are proving that the combination of being a publicly traded company and operating in the school marketplace can lead to heightened levels of scrutiny in a growing but controversial sector of education. On Dec. 12, the common stock price for the company, the nation's largest for-profit operator of online K-12 schools, sat healthily at $28.79 per share, a dip from highs of $39.37 earlier in the year but a $10 increase from two years before.

At Las Vegas charter school, iPads power project-based learning
By eSchool News
A dozen Las Vegas second-graders were given a common English assignment one recent morning: Write a story using new vocabulary words. But instead of picking up a pencil and paper, these students launched the Pages word processing application on their iPads and started tapping. One precocious youngster in the back of the room raised his hand. “Mrs. Gilbert, can we go on Keynote to do this?” the second-grader asked. (Keynote is Apple’s version of Microsoft PowerPoint.)

Head Start Providers Stand to Lose Funding
By Lesli A. Maxwell, Education Week
Concerns are mounting that strict new federal rules meant to improve the quality of Head Start preschool services for poor children could drive good providers out of business, as scores of Head Start programs begin to face the specter of losing the federal funding they have received for decades. Under regulations that were announced late last year by President Barack Obama, agencies that fall short of the new federal quality standards for the Head Start program have to compete with other potential providers for funding, rather than automatically qualifying for it.

 

POSTSECONDARY ACCESS SUCCESS
Selectivity vs. Diversity
By Libby A. Nelson, Inside Higher Ed
WASHINGTON -- If getting into a college's teacher preparation program were as difficult as gaining admission to its law school or medical school, would that college's graduates be more effective teachers? Many proposals to change elementary and secondary education answer that question in the affirmative, arguing that better students make better teachers. The notion is strewn throughout education reform proposals, from programs like Teach for America that recruit high achievers to the positions of groups like the National Council on Teacher Quality, which argues that at some colleges, it's easier to qualify academically as a teaching candidate than as a Division I athlete.

Colleges deferring more students
By Gary Stern, USA Today
They are neither accepted nor rejected. They are the deferred. With growing numbers of seniors applying for "early action" from colleges — an abbreviated application process in the fall that promises a decision by January — more and more applicants are being deferred. It is a mysterious state, unfamiliar to many families going through the process for the first time, that leaves applicants with several basic questions. "The number of deferrals keeps increasing and the message to the kids is so unclear," said Elizabeth Jensen, a longtime guidance counselor at Ardsley High School in Ardsley, N.Y. "You're really being thrown back into the regular applicant pool, and there isn't much you can do.

Justices Take Up Race as a Factor in College Entry
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — In a 2003 decision that the majority said it expected would last for 25 years, the Supreme Court allowed public colleges and universities to take account of race in admission decisions. On Tuesday, the court signaled that it might end such affirmative action much sooner than that. By agreeing to hear a major case involving race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas, the court thrust affirmative action back into the public and political discourse after years in which it had mostly faded from view.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Despite Challenges, Iraq and U.S. Universities Agree to Work Toward More Partnerships
By Ian Wilhelm, The Chronicle of Higher Education
University officials from Iraq and the United States pledged Wednesday to deepen their academic ties, but they said there are significant challenges to increasing opportunities for Iraqi students to study in America and creating dynamic university partnerships. During a conference here organized by the Iraq Embassy and supported by the U.S. State Department, government officials from both countries emphasized the need to rebuild the Iraqi higher-education system, which historically has been one of the strongest in the region.

The India Question
By Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed
WASHINGTON --- A booming middle class, shortage of local university spots and ready supply of talented English speakers have long made India a favorite recruiting target of American colleges.The billion-person subcontinent sends more students to the United States than any other country except China, and American institutions are looking to expand their presence in India. But many colleges are still trying to perfect their approach to recruiting Indian students, particularly undergraduates.

Worldwide student numbers forecast to double by 2025
By Geoff Maslen, University World News
The number of students around the globe enrolled in higher education is forecast to more than double to 262 million by 2025. Nearly all of this growth will be in the developing world, with more than half in China and India alone. The number of students seeking study abroad could rise to eight million – nearly three times more than today. In a new book, higher education consultant Bob Goddard writes that the worldwide increase is being fuelled by greater numbers of young people entering the peak education ages along with sharply rising participation rates, especially in the non-compulsory education years.

 

REPORTS WORTH READING
UTPA report: Early college breeds greater success
EDINBURG – An internal University of Texas-Pan American study reveals students who earn college credit while still in high school consistently outperform their traditional peers in several key measures. UTPA completed its report Tuesday but shared the findings with local school district officials at a semi-annual Leadership Alliance conference on Wednesday. With new retention, graduation and grade-point average data to back them up, educators at both the high school and higher education levels praised the value of expanding early college opportunities to more Rio Grande Valley students.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative
Partly motivated by the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, which were below the national average for Alabama’s grade 4–8 students in mathematics and grade 8 students in science, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) developed a statewide initiative to improve mathematics and science teaching and student achievement in kindergarten through grade 12 (K–12). The Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) is a two-year intervention intended to better align classroom practices with national and statewide teaching standards—and ultimately to improve student achievement—by providing professional development, access to materials and technology, and in-school support for teachers.

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