Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News Links | September 9, 2014


Quality early childhood education provides students keys to lifelong success
What’s more exciting than starting school, especially if you are beginning kindergarten? However, beneath the excitement, is the reality that on the first day of school not all 5-year-olds will have the abilities and social skills they need for success. Some can almost read a story and write their names. Others have not had the opportunity to open their own book or hold their own crayon. Early learning experiences prepare children for school and for future success. At Whatcom Community College, we believe children deserve high-quality early learning experiences so they might succeed in school and into the future. By Sally Holloway, Early Childhood Education project director at Whatcom Community College.
The Bellingham Herald, September 9, 2014

Construction begins on new college campus in Lacey
Construction is underway on South Puget Sound Community College’s new Lacey campus, an $11 million project that Lacey officials expect to be a shot in the arm for the neighborhood and possibly fill long-vacant buildings. Work began last month and the project is expected to be finished in summer 2015, college spokeswoman Kellie Purce Braseth said.
The Bellingham Herald, September 8, 2014

Bates Technical College welcomes new officers Theresa Pan Hosley, Lillian Hunter
At its July 29 meeting, the Bates Technical College Board of Trustees elected Theresa Pan Hosley and Lillian Hunter to serve as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively.
South Sound Talk, September 8, 2014

New educational opportunities at Bates Technical College
In response to evolving industries and demand for skilled employees, Bates Technical College has added new educational pathways to its diverse list of program offerings. With demand for accountants on the rise, the college revitalized its Accounting/Bookkeeping program for online learning, with opportunities for students to meet with the instructor in-person. The new structure will make it easier for working adults, or those who prefer online learning, to earn a degree that will help them pursue a career in high demand.
The Suburban Times, September 7, 2014

Column: WWCC opens, accelerates paths to success
Did you know that 75 percent of post-secondary students aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree? Over the decades many local students have started their collegiate pathway to success in the bright glow of the dome at Walla Walla Community College. Many chose to live at home, stay in Walla Walla and save tens of thousands of dollars getting a transferrable associate degree before heading on to the final two years of college and their bachelor’s degree.
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, September 6, 2014

Big Bend program will help low-income students
Big Bend Community College is one of four Washington community colleges participating in a program designed help low-income students finish their degrees. The Working Families Success Network will help potential students with low incomes to figure out how to stay in school, according to a press release from Achieving the Dream, a national organization that promotes community colleges. ...  Washington is one of four states to get involved in the program, starting with four community college in each state. In Washington, the others are Clark College, Vancouver; Walla Walla Community College and Highline College, Des Moines.
Columbia Basin Herald, September 5, 2014

The Grandest of Openings
Last Thursday evening as black and gold balloons floated up in to threatening skies Debbie Scannell, Coordinator at the Forks Extension site, welcomed dignitaries and west end residents to the grand opening of the Peninsula College Forks extension site. The event which was held outdoors drew several hundred people. Scannell credited Peninsula College President Dr. Luke Robins with having the vision two years ago for this new facility. For his part Robins said he hoped the $4 million dollar facility would lead to greater economic development in the West End.
Forks Forum, September 5, 2014

Work starts on Clark College STEM building
Construction crews from Skanska arrived at Clark College on Wednesday morning with heavy equipment and started preparation for a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics facility on a campus west of Fort Vancouver Way. The site formerly was a parking lot for the Clark College Foundation.
The Columbian, September 4, 2014


Credential Creep Confirmed
The broad public policy push for more Americans to get a higher education leans heavily on the idea that those without a college degree are up a creek, because so many jobs in today’s technology and information economy (and more in tomorrow’s) will require a credential. Many critics of higher education, in turn, complain that the "college completion" movement has been fed by (and feeds) credential inflation, with employers imposing a degree requirement for many jobs that never required one (and still don’t) simply because they can. A new report offers evidence to support both arguments
— and reasons both for college officials to be optimistic about continuing demand for their degrees and to see danger signs on the horizon.
Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2014

The Long View on Wages
A Virginia state agency has released what is likely the first broad look at the mid-career earnings of college graduates, with a newly released report tracking wages at all degree levels for up to two decades after graduation. The new data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia advances the large and growing amount of proof that college pays off, at least for graduates. It includes wages for students who earned associate, bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in the state in 1993, also comparing earnings across disciplines. The overall trend lines were good for graduates as they reached the middle of their careers.
Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2014

Report Highlights 3 Universities’ Efforts to Help Disadvantaged Students Succeed
First-generation and minority students borrow far more for college and are much less likely to graduate, a problem that will worsen with demographic shifts. But three public universities have shown how, even in an era of declining state support for higher education, colleges can reverse those trends, according to a report being released on Tuesday by theCenter for American Progress. All three — the University of California at Riverside, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of South Florida at Tampa — offer generous need-based scholarships as well as robust support services, including summer bridge programs and learning communities that allow freshmen to work in groups. All three have increased their percentages of enrollees with Pell Grants and all but eliminated graduation gaps between white and black or Latino students.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 9, 2014

Measuring What?
The New York Times kicked off its higher education conference here Monday night by releasing what it called a "revolutionary college index" that ranks institutions that enroll students from low-income backgrounds. The rankings are derived from a formula based on the proportion of undergraduates who receive Pell Grants and the net price (what students actually pay as opposed to sticker price) paid by those with family incomes of $30,000 to $48,000. But the Times applied this formula only to institutions with a four-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent. That's a bar that only about 100 colleges meet, and all but three of them are private institutions.
Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2014

OECD ‘Education at a Glance’ report published
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has released its annual Education at a Glance report, an almanac of indicators on such topics as educational attainment, employment rates by level of education, funding for educational systems, and student mobility across the 34 OECD member nations as well as for 10 additional countries.
Inside Higher Ed, September 9, 2014

Young families and student debt
Studies that show student loan debt increasing are a dime a dozen these days. But while a new report from the Federal Reserve Board reinforces the idea that more Americans are taking on more debt to finance their postsecondary education, it also suggests a slowing of that trend in the last three years.
Inside Higher Ed, September 8, 2014

Editorial: Washington’s tuition stability good for students, GET program
Washington's prepaid tuition plan rebounded into financial solvency on the wings of a rebounding stock market and a shift in legislative policy. That’s good news for the state: In 2013, the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program was underfunded by $631 million. Absent the rebound, Washington would’ve been on the hook. But the real winners in the rebound are Washington college students and their families, whether they had GET accounts or not. The prepaid plan’s deficit had been compounded by a ruinous state policy of huge tuition increases.
The Seattle Times, September 7, 2014

Think college rankings are useless? Use your imagination
Year after year, college rankings maintain their hard-fought relevance. The leader of the pack, as every admissions officer knows, is U.S. News & World Report, whose annual rankings are due out next week. Colleges have long maneuvered to improve their standings on the hallowed list, changing various policies (and sometimes cheating) to jibe with the magazine’s methodology. U.S. News’s stranglehold on colleges needs to end, writes Vox’s Libby Nelson in a post published Friday morning. While college rankings are usually chided for being arbitrary or useless, she writes, the real crime is how colleges are enslaved by them, in ways that hurt students. By indicting the U.S. News list, Ms. Nelson is indicting the whole of college rankings. But what critics like her might forget is the indisputable fact that, while college rankings are, like any metric, of limited use, they can serve students—anyone, for that matter—in very concrete ways.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 5, 2014

Is a degree still worth it? Yes, researchers say, and the payoff is getting better
One could be excused for thinking the value of a college degree is in a downward spiral. With overall student-loan debt topping $1-trillion and tuition racing upward, to college graduates facing high levels of underemployment and stagnating wages, it might appear college simply isn’t worth it. However, a study released on Tuesday by two researchers with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concludes the opposite is true: The value of a bachelor’s degree is near an all-time high.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 5, 2014

Converting reading teachers
Physics professors don’t teach students how to read better. That’s what Lilit Haroyan, a physics instructor at Pasadena City College, thought when she was introduced to a faculty training program called Reading Apprenticeship. "It's a reading teacher's job," Haroyan said she thought at the time. “The discipline I’m teaching is already complex enough." ... Reading Apprenticeship is an academic method for instructors across academic disciplines to learn how to incorporate reading into their teaching methods. The approach, which was originally designed for K-12 teachers and later adapted for community college instructors, seeks to help students better engage with texts and improve their comprehension of academic material.
Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2014

GET, state’s prepaid college-tuition plan rebounds
What a difference a tuition freeze and a surging stock market make. Washington’s embattled prepaid college-tuition plan — once threatened with a shutdown by state lawmakers who worried it would go belly-up and cost the state millions of dollars — is now fully solvent, State Actuary Matt Smith announced Thursday. The Guaranteed Education Tuition plan, or GET, has a funded status of 106 percent, meaning it can meet all of its financial obligations for current enrollees, and then some.
The Seattle Times, September 4, 2014


Opinion: School funding needs a super-session in Olympia
Of the nine members of the Washington Supreme Court, there must be at least five who realize that war with the Legislature is not the path to full funding for the state’s public schools. Rather than punish lawmakers, the court might want to consider simply telling them to stay in Olympia next year until they’ve got a solution.
The News Tribune, September 7, 2014

Feds suspect more FAFSA errors, will again reprocess forms
For the second time this year, the U.S. Department of Education will reprocess tens of thousands of federal student aid applications because of a decimal place error, officials announced Thursday. The department said that next week it will reprocess "less than 160,000" applications where officials suspect a student may have incorrectly inserted a decimal place into the online application's income box, artificially boosting his or her wealth in the eyes of the federal formula that determines aid.
Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2014

Inslee scolds legislature on school funding but cautions court on sanctions
Gov. Jay Inslee says the Legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government.
KPLU, September 4, 2014

Governor: Revenue needed to pay for education
Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday that closing tax exemptions will have to be part of the equation to put more money into Washington state's education system. Inslee's statements come a day after the state Supreme Court held a hearing to have lawyers representing the state Legislature explain why they had not set out a plan for fully paying for basic education.
KIRO, September 4, 2014