Jan. 8: Education News We're Reading This Week


Jan. 8, 2016—Here’s our weekly roundup of the biggest news you may have missed. Stories focused on ideas for improving K-12 and higher education, as well as uncovering the issues of admissions and diversity.

Elementary and Secondary Education:

  • The coming of the New Year brings thoughts and reflections on improving education. The Atlantic identifies reasons for hope and despair in K-12 learning (with a complimentary higher ed piece) and Brookings advocates for three steps to improve outcomes for low-income students, including budget flexibility to deliver needed services.

  • In Missouri, Superintendent Tiffany Andersen has dramatically improved success metrics in the Jennings School District. NPR reports that her approach included establishing a food pantry, a shelter for homeless students, parenting classes, and a health clinic.

Higher Education:

  • While the Supreme Court is considering a case that could result in a decision ending race-based affirmative action policies nationally, Michigan is one state where the practice is banned at public colleges and universities. The New York Times highlights how despite this policy, the University of Michigan was able to increase the number of minority students in its freshman class by 20 percent.

  • If you’ve ever wondered how graduate admissions decisions are made, Inside Higher Ed shares the “troubling” observations of Julie R. Posselt, who obtained permission to watch proceedings at three research universities.

  • In comparing diversity among state flagship schools, The Chronicle of Higher Education finds that student bodies are often more diverse than their faculty. Thirty-eight of the flagships have student diversity levels equal to or greater than their state population. However, only 21 have faculties at least as diverse as their state population.

  • “More than 95 percent of states in the U.S. have been spending less on their public higher education systems than they did before the Great Recession,” writes U.S. News & World Report. The article shares key findings of a new report by advocacy group Young Invincibles.

Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • The second Cooke edX Challenge was launched this week, and THE Journal has details about this opportunity for 7th-grade students to complete an edX online course for special consideration in the Cooke Young Scholars Program application process.

  • The Sheridan Press speaks with Rebecca Cullen, director of the Young Scholars Program, about what the scholarship program provides for students.

  • The Lubbock Independent School District announces that Cooke Young Artist Award winner Yuna Langehennig will have an upcoming performance recorded and broadcast by NPR.

  • In the Arkansas Times, Corey Alderice, director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (a grantee of the foundation), encourages leaders to invest in closing the state’s Excellence Gap.

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