September 11: Education News We're Reading This Week


September 11, 2015Here are the best articles from education news this week.

Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • EdSurge reports on the states with the highest percentages of Future Ready school districts. In a separate piece, Betsy Corcoran and Christina Quattrocchi detail Facebook’s entrance into the education market. The social media giant is working in partnership with Summit Public Schools to develop a Personal Learning Platform that it hopes will eventually be free for educators.
  • Contention over money matters in educational outcomes continues. Real Clear Markets writes that “increasing per-pupil spending by 10 percent in the K-12 years increases the probability of high school graduation by roughly 10 percentage points for low-income children.”

Higher Education:

  • The biggest story this week is the Heads Up America kickoff to the College Promise Campaign announced by President Barack Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. The Cooke Foundation is honored to have our Executive Director Harold Levy serve on the College Advisory Board for this initiative. Local, state, and federal governments will work together in an effort to increase the college-educated population – currently, the United States ranks 12th in the world and only 40 percent of adults ages 25-64 have education beyond a high school diploma.
    • Noting the significance of free community college, the President stated: “Every American willing to work hard should have a shot at a higher education. Because as the economy globally becomes more competitive, everybody has got to upgrade their skills just a little bit … no kid should be priced out of a college education.”
    • Many local initiatives demonstrate early interest in College Promise Campaign values. The News & Observer describes the “RichmondCC Guarantee” for high-acheiving students in two North Carolina counties. In November, Denver residents will be voting on a sales tax increase to support scholarship organizations and student grants, according to NACAC’s Admitted blog.
  • The Texas State University System joins Arizona State University in allowing freshman year to be completed online through edX MOOCs. The TSUS “Freshman Year for Free” program will be open to students in fall 2016.
  • The New York Times Magazine featured a strong focus on education issues. Adam Davidson analyses the startling data on tuition costs, which have tripled in real dollars since 1974; median family income fell from $62,000 to $52,000 during the same period.
  • While significant changes to simplify FAFSA are debated, Education Week describes the various ways community organizations and local advocates attempt to assist families through the financial aid maze.
  • A new report from Brookings discovers that student loan debt is a “selective crisis.” Most of the increase in defaults belong to non-traditional students from “lower income families, [who] attended institutions with relatively weak educational outcomes, and experienced poor labor market outcomes after leaving school.”
  • A tongue-in-cheeck college ranking tool is available through The Chronicle of Higher Education. Filtering options include factors such as “prestige,” “fat paychecks,” and “party scene.” We’ve decided to retain our stance on the value of applying to selective colleges and universities, however.

Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Cooke Scholar Marjada Tucker is profiled in The Hechinger Report for the comprehensive College Readiness Program she created for high school students in Starkville, Mississippi. Using funds from her Cooke Summer Internship stipend, she provided transportation, pens, paper, and other supplies for the program she organized and led.
  • Philadelphia Public Schools celebrated the start of the school year on the campus of Carver High School of Engineering & Science. The Notebook describes Superintendent William Hite’s theme of equity for the year, and how a grant from the Cooke Foundation has allowed the district to offer a Saturday STEM Scholars program to recruit more low-income students into its magnet high school.
  • Texas Women’s University welcomes its first Cooke Scholar to campus. Karen Meacham received the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to continue her studies after completing her associate’s degree at Tarrant County College.
  • Executive Director Harold Levy provides commentary in a feature for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the stigmas and self-perception issues that first-generation college students often experience.
  • Money describes the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in an article encouraging community college graduates to explore scholarship options for continuing their education.