December 4: Education News We're Reading This Week

December 4, 2015—Our weekly roundup of the biggest news you might have missed! The ESEA reauthorization is close to being passed, and tensions over admissions policy and troubling metrics on underrepresented students surface in higher education.


Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been approved by the House of Representatives and is expected to be passed by the Senate next week, according the The New York TimesThe Washington Post outlines the new facets of the bill, titled the Every Student Succeeds Act, and The Fordham Instititure describes how language about computer-adaptive testing could be used by states to better measure the capabilities of their high-achieving students.

  • The American Association of Community Colleges highlights the success of Maine’s dual enrollment program, Early College for ME, which targets the state’s low-income, first-generation, and rural high school students.

  • In response to ideas from the White House’s Next Generation High Schools focus, EdCentral declares that efforts should go beyond instruction and additionally include improved college counseling.

Higher Education:

  • Arguments for Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas, a case challenging affirmative action policies in higher education admissions, will begin next week in the Supreme Court. The New York Times quotes Micheal C. Dorf, a law professor at Cornell, who notes, “It’s quite possible that the way the court frames the discussion will be colored by the justices’ views of the campus protests.”

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education explores a pattern of admissions departments receiving pressure from their univeristy’s trustees and presidents and possibly giving preference to certain student applications as a result.

  • Inside Higher Ed summarizes the findings of new analysis from the American Council on Education: “In the years since 2008, the proportion of low-income recent high school graduates who enroll in college has seen a significant drop.”

  • A similarly troubling report by The Education Trust found that while many colleges and institutions are increasing their overall graduation rates, “a 14-percentage-point gap in completion remains between underrepresented and white students.”

  • Mandatory college athletic fees have become standard across college campuses. The Washington Post lists the public Power Five athletic departments with the highest collection of student fees, and a joint project by The Huffington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education discovers that institutions with the highest athletic student fee subsidies averaged 44 percent more Pell grant recipients than those with the lowest subsidies.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Cooke Young Scholar Angela Serwaa-Marfo’s achievements are profiled on the Aurora Public Schools website.

  • Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM), a grantee of the foundation for more than four years, is featured in Chalkbeat New York for facilitating access to college-level math courses for low-income middle school students.

  • The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application is open! Community college students who wish to continue their studies at a four-year institution in fall 2016 can apply now through December 15, 2015. Cooke Scholars will receive up to $40,000 for each year – plus college planning support, ongoing advising, and the opportunities for study abroad and internship stipends. They also become eligible for a $50,000 per year Cooke Graduate Scholarship. Click here to learn more and apply.