April 22: Education News We're Reading This Week


April 22, 2016—Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. K-12 media coverage uncovers disparities in funding, educational opportunities, and science achievement. Also, higher ed leaders confront the lack of progress toward college access for low-income students.


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • Launching the first of its three-part “School Money” project, NPR outlines the disparities in school district funding across the United States and the compromises that education leaders make when faced with a lack of resources.

  • Following state and national discussions on career and technical education, The Atlantic finds that some school districts that have established engaging programs – but notes that many career academies “may inadvertently propagate inequality.”

  • Addressing the need for school desegregation at a Tuesday event, Secretary of Education John King Jr. stated, “We have not made as much progress as this front as we could have and should have,” reports The Huffington Post. “The question is how do we shift direction, how do we seize the moment?”

  • Quartz addresses the leaky STEM pipeline by sharing recent findings on science achievement gaps: “About 65% of low-income children entered kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge. Only 10% of high-income children did so. … general knowledge gaps by kindergarten strongly predicted science achievement gaps by third grade.”


Higher Education:

  • Summarizing a new study from the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and PennAhead, MSN Money writes: “The richest 25% of American families account for more than half of all college graduates.” Education Week encapsulates the findings by noting that “gaps in college attainment by socioeconomic status have worsened slightly since 1970” (paywall).

  • Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell grades the administration’s own efforts as “incomplete” toward higher education equity. Mitchell envisions the streamlined use of data across government divisions to better identify pathways for students, says U.S. News & World Report.

  • In an op-ed published by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and several other California media outlets, James G. Nondorf and Jarrid J. Whitney write about how the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is acting on our “True Merit” report findings to assist under-resourced and first-generation students through the admissions process.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Executive Director Harold O. Levy describes how merit aid programs at many colleges and universities can reduce funding available for need-based scholarships in an op-ed for CNN.

  • Cooke Scholar Sean Moore has been selected as the 2016 New Jersey Truman Scholar. Sean is one of the 54 college juniors selected for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation’s prestigious graduate scholarship.

  • The International Journal of Transitional Justice recently published an article by Cooke Scholar Huma Saeed on her experience with war victims in Afghanistan.

  • Read about the seven local nonprofits who are 2016 Good Neighbor Grants recipients! These academic and art enrichment programs will serve more than 3,600 students through a total of $150,000 in grants from the Cooke Foundation.

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