Education Legislation, College Readiness and Education Budget Cuts


April 14, 2017 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. The New York State Legislature approves legislation to eliminate public college tuition for many students; college admission practices are criticized as being discriminatory against low-income students; President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Department of Education Budget are called harmful; and states are not embracing school choice proposals in plans they are submitting the Department of Education.

Elementary & Secondary Education

  • States “seem to be shirking Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ suggestion that they include policies to expand school choice” in proposed school accountability plans they are submitting to the Education Department, according to U.S. News and World Reports.
  • New data from the Los Angeles Unified School District shows that 53 percent of graduating high school seniors are ineligible to enroll in California’s four-year public universities. LA School Report notes that in recent years, the district has been making strides in preparing students for post-secondary opportunities.

Higher Education

  • The New York Legislature enacts Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to eliminate tuition at the State University of New York and City University of New York for students with family incomes of up to $100,000 this year and up to $125,000 by 2019, Inside Higher Ed reports. New York Times columnist David Brooks criticizes the action as the “worst public policy idea of the year” and Diverse Issues in Higher Education reports on criticism by others.
  • The debate over the legacy admissions preference and preferential admissions for children of big donors at elite colleges continues. Blogger Jeffrey R. Selingo writes in the Washington Post that legacy admissions should end in order to enable more low-income students to be admitted. Our executive director, Harold Levy, writes in the Washington Post that children of big donors should not be given special consideration in admissions. He states: “If colleges and universities refuse to end the abhorrent and discriminatory favoritism for the rich in admissions, elected officials should consider outlawing the practice in the name of equal treatment for every student seeking a college education.”
  • Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar An Garagiola-Bernier writes in the Washington Post that President Trump’s proposals to sharply cut the budget of the Department of Education will hurt low-income students. She states: “The Trump budget sends a stark message to all of us who want to work our way into the middle class: DO NOT ENTER.”

Cooke Foundation Highlights

  • Harold Levy writes in the New York Times about how the late philanthropist Eugene Lang helped thousands of low-income young people go to college.

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