December 18: Education News We're Reading This Week

Dec. 18, 2015—Here’s our weekly roundup of the biggest education news you may have missed. This week, academics continue to debate Justice Scalia’s recent comments; new data show that more students are graduating high school; and college enrollment rates are shrinking.

Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • The U.S. Department of Education releases data that show the national high school graduation rate hit a record high of 82.3 percent for the 2013-14 school year. Although achievement gaps have progressively narrowed since 2010-11, students who are low-income, black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native are still less likely to graduate.

  • Minnesota’s Richfield School District is moving towards universal gifted screening for second graders. The Sun Current says the district’s decision is prompted by concern for educational equity.

Higher Education:

  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks are criticized by University of Michigan Law School Professor Richard Lempert in The Guardian: “Study after study tells us that whether one looks at graduation rates or future earnings, minorities admitted to more selective schools with an assist from affirmative action do at least as well as and more often better than they could have been expected to do had they gone to less selective institutions.”
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education clarifies the details of a study referenced by Justice Scalia in recent headline-generating comments on “mismatch” theory during oral arguments of Fisher v. University of Texas II. Researchers “did not find such [race-conscious admissions] policies to be harmful to all students, only those who ended up pursuing science-related careers at highly selective campuses for which they were academically unprepared.”

  • Enrollment at U.S. colleges dropped by 1.7 percent this fall. The Wall Street Journal ties this four-year trend in decreasing college attendance to concerns about cost and the improved economy.

  • “Low-income community college students have an average of $7,734 annually in ‘unmet need’ in paying for college,” writes The Hechinger Report in its summary of a recent forum hosted by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Cooke Scholar Amelia Bagwell is awarded the 2015 Poster Presentation of the Year at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. “She has masterfully balanced her personal, professional, and academic life in a way that shines beyond expectations,” notes the University of West Georgia’s Perspective magazine.

  • Cooke Scholar Jerry Mathes II is interviewed on Boise State Public Radio after being awarded a North American Book Award for his memoir on fighting wildfires, “Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire.”

  • Executive Director Harold O. Levy comments on personalized learning to Inside Higher Ed. Levy’s upcoming SWSWedu panel on edtech procurement with Hal Friedlander and Celina Morgan-Standard is called “a presentation that should make us all stand up and take notice” by the Display Daily.

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