July 3: Education News We're Reading This Week


July 3, 2015Here are the best articles from education news this week.

Recent data shows a record-high graduation rate, though many have suggested the numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. In this piece on NPR, Anya Kamenetz spoke with policy experts to learn what can be done “to improve how the graduation rate is tracked and reported—and how to ensure students are really succeeding.”

Education Next asks if per-pupil spending by school districts makes a difference for both educational attainment and adult earnings. Findings show that for low-income students, a 10 percent increase in per-pupil spending for 12 years of public school would lead to approximately “0.5 additional years of completed education, 9.6 percent higher wages, and a 6.1-percentage-point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty.”

President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper recently spoke about the rising cost of higher education in West Virginia and nationwide. “We are advocating for increases in financial aid…but we’re also advocating for institutions to find ways to be more efficient in terms of their costs,” said Cooper, according to The Exponent Telegram.

The Washington Post reports that in response to extensive testing, districts such as Montgomery County, Maryland, are considering scrapping final exams in favor of unit tests, projects, portfolios, essays or labs. Proponents say the swap could add “nearly two weeks of instructional time” to each grading period.

Right now the federal government is owed $1.3 trillion in student loans, and many struggling to pay are low-income college graduates. Visit NPR to learn the top five ways we can ease the burden of student loans and make college more affordable in general.

The Birmingham Times has announced the 2015-2016 national tour of From the Top, a long-time Cooke Foundation grantee. This year the two organizations will provide $200,000 in scholarships for promising young musicians across the country.

Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold Levy wrote an op-ed for The Worcester Telegram titled “As I See It: Meeting the Needs of All Students” on the national, and Massachusetts-specific, excellence gap in higher education.

Brookline featured new College Scholar Cristel Callupe Chavez, who is leaving Brokline High School in Massachusetts to attend Dartmouth College.