Archives for category: Higher Education

There’s is a lot of money to be made in education but not by teachers.

 

“In the Publiic Interest” reports on privatization scams. Today it wrote:

 

“Politico reports that the National Urban League “is stepping up its advocacy in support of the Common Core with new radio and TV spots narrated by CEO Marc H. Morial.” In July, Black Agenda Report reported that “the National Urban League got a $1 million check from now-doomed Corinthian Colleges after president Marc Morial wrote a favorable op-ed in the Washington Post. Morial then joined Corinthian’s board of directors, a sinecure that is worth between $60,000 and $90,000 a year in cash and deferred stock.”

Nancy Bailey taught for many years but retired due to the misguided reforms that now plague our students, teachers, and schools. She lives in Tennessee. She now devotes her time to writing in support of public education and sensible reforms.

In this post, she asks a simple question: if our public schools are “failing” (PS, they are not), why is that the majority of freshmen at our nation’s most prestigious universities come from public schools?

Consider a few of her examples:

Princeton University: 26,641 Applicants; 1,939 Admissions; 61% are from Public Schools.

Brown University: 30,432 Applied; 2,619 Admitted; 63% are from Public Schools; 37% are from Private or Parochial Schools.

Stanford University: 42,167 Applied; 2,145 Admitted; 60% are from Public Schools; 30% Private Schools; 10% International.

Vanderbilt University (Class of 2017) 31,099 Applied; 3,963 Admitted; 64% are from Public Schools; 36% are from Private Schools; < 1% Other.

I had a message from a relative who works in a program helping youngsters in Harlem apply to college. The kids are wonderful, she says: bright, ambitious, and energetic. Their biggest stumbling block, she says, is the SAT.

I contacted Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest, which maintains a database of colleges and universities that do not require the SAT.

He wrote:

“A complete database of the more than 830 accredited, bachelor-degree granting colleges that will make admissions decisions about all or may applicants without regard to ACT/SAT scores is online at: http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional — the list includes 160+ colleges and universities ranked in the top tiers of their respective categories.”

Politico reports this morning that the giant for-profit charter chain Corinthian College is in deep financial trouble and is under criminal investigation as well:

“MORE CORINTHIAN INQUIRIES: Corinthian Colleges is facing two more criminal investigations, the dismantling for-profit giant reported in an SEC filing late Friday [http://bit.ly/1mwDAFi]. The company disclosed a federal grand jury subpoena in Florida related to employee misconduct and the return of student aid funds, plus one in Georgia requesting information on job placement, admissions, attendance and graduation rates. The subpoenas follow last week’s news that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is suing the company for nearly $569 million over an “illegal predatory lending scheme: http://1.usa.gov/1oW68U3&#8243;

For a real eye-opener, read the charges made against this for-profit corporation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This “illegal predatory lending scheme” is stunning in its scope. The administration and Congress should regulate these predatory institutions or put them out of business. Unfortunately, Congress has held off because the industry hired the top lobbyists from both parties to fight needed regulation. If it were up to me, I would ban for-profit education, including for-profit charter schools and colleges. Many, most, are worthless diploma mills whose purpose is profit, not education. Why urge young people to get a diploma when the choices include places like this one?

Lloyd Lofthouse, a frequent commenter, offers advice about how to beat the SAT and ACT: Apply to a college or university that does not require applicants to present scores from either examination as a part of the admission process. There are good reasons to do this: First, it is unfair

Here is Lloyd Lofthouse’s advice:

All is not lost to the SAT/ACT profit monger machine.

There are colleges and universities that do not use the SAT/ACT scores for admitting substantial numbers of students into Bachelor degree programs.

http://www.fairtest.org/schools-do-not-use-sat-or-act-scores-admitting-substantial-numbers-students-bachelor-degree-programs.

Pull Quote from site: “More than 800 four-year colleges and universities (almost 28 percent of total) do not use the SAT or ACT to admit substantial numbers of … applicants.”

http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional

In 2010, there were 2,870 4-year colleges in the US.

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84

There’s still hope.

This is a must-see. Peter Greene here presents and discusses comedian John Oliver on student debt.

Most students will leave college with heavy debts; some will spend years trying to pay it off. The arrangement was created by the federal government and state governments, which have steadily decreased their responsibility for subsidizing the cost of higher education, transferring the burden to students. There once was a time when community colleges were tuition-free. No longer. For-profit institutions and online “universities” have moved in to fill their place. These institutions have terrible completion rates. Despite repeated calls to regulate the for-profits, Congress and the U.S. Department of Education have failed to do so. The for-profit industry hires top lobbyists from both parties to protect their interests. Who protects the students?

When one of the worst for-profit institutions (Corinthian) teetered near bankruptcy, the US DOE extended a bail-out instead of closing it down.

Most of us are familiar with the college-university rankings published by Forbes and U.S. News and other journals. Here is a different approach to ranking these institutions, looking at them more from the students’ experiences and opportunities than to their SAT test scores and AP classes taken in high school. The author, journalist Iris Stone, divides them into the most affordable 25 public institutions and 25 private institutions. The results will surprise you.

Download the pdf here 50_Great_Affordable_Colleges_in_the_Northeast.

The best public universities include Towson University, the University of Delaware, Binghamton University, the University of Vermont, and several campuses that are part of the State University of New York and the City University of New York. The best public university, she concludes, is the City College of New York, which is the flagship campus of the City University of New York, which has a library of 1.5 million books, nearly 80 academic majors, more than 100 academic clubs, and a staggeringly low tuition of less than $6,000 per year.

The best private colleges and universities include such superstar institutions as Harvard University, MIT, Johns Hopkins University, Wellesley College, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Haverford College, Williams College, Amherst College, and Yale University. No surprises there.

But here is the shocker: the best private institution, she decides, is St. Joseph’s College, which has campuses in Brooklyn, New York, and Patchogue, New York. With tuition under $14,000 a year, it is the least expensive of all the campuses on the list of private colleges and universities. Its retention rate is about 85%. She writes that “the more than 500 faculty members spend a lot of individual time with students and keep the student-faculty ratio down to only 11:1.” St. Joseph’s College has supplied a large number of the teachers and administrators for public schools in New York City and its suburbs. As it happens, I know this institution well. Its recently retired president, Sister Elizabeth Hill is a kind, humble, brilliant woman. SJC is noted for the compassion and kindness that it directs to its students. It is an institution that cares about each student as an individual.

Bigger and richer is not necessarily better.

“Wag the Dog” notes that advocates for Common Core are growing desperate. With more and more states dropping out, the CCSS pressure is now turned to higher education to demand that incoming students show their worth by Common Core standards.

He writes:

“As data-driven and evidence-based challenges to the efficacy of the untested Common Core State Standards grow stronger and louder, it appears CCSS supporters are growing desperate and resorting to Maxwell Smart’s catchphrase and tactic of backpedaling from unconvincing and unsubstantiated claims.

This “Would you believe…” survival strategy is apparent in a new report from the New America Foundation.

“America’s primary and secondary schools may be busy preparing for the onset of the Common Core standards, meant to better prepare students for college, but one key partner isn’t even close to ready: colleges and universities themselves.”

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the New America Foundation, which finds that “there is little evidence to suggest colleges are meaningfully aligning college instruction and teacher preparation programs with the Common Core standards.”

The report adds:

“The findings follow earlier alarms that the people who run higher education have, for the most part, gotten involved only late in the Common Core process…

“One reason, it said, is that it’s hard to come up with a single definition of what makes a student ready for college. Another is the huge variety of colleges and universities…

“The report recommends that colleges add the results of Common Core assessment tests to the measures by which they gauge students’ eligibility for admission and financial aid..”

So, no need to test the validity of Common Core. Just require everyone to use it. If SAT and demand it, if higher education values it, why bother with evidence?

Peter Greene takes a hard look at AP (Advanced Placement) courses and wonders how the U.S. Department of Education got involved in pushing a for-profit product as a mark of distinction.

He notes that:

“AP tests are a product of the College Board, the same people who bring you the SAT, and although the name seems to suggest a group of college scholars who gather together on some altruistic mission to guard the gateways of higher education for the Greater Good, the fact is that the College Board is just a business intent on making a buck and keeping its market share (it is also currently run by David Coleman, one of the co-authors of the Common Core).

“Every time a teacher goes to a seminar to learn about designing an AP course, the AP folks make money. Every time a school buys AP materials, the AP folks make money. And every time a student takes the AP test, the AP folks make money– a bunch of money.

“It was a great day for these folks when they hopped on the Education Reform Gravy Train and became the Official Education Course Product of Race to the Top. In Pennsylvania, for instance, a school’s rating factors in how many AP courses are offered. This is extraordinary, like Ford getting the government to rate school district excellence based on how many Ford school buses they used.”

Another coup for the College Board marketing efforts: the rankings of the nation’s best high schools by U.S. News and World Report. One factor in the rankings is what proportion of your students took AP exams.

Laura Chapman writes in response to a post about OECD ratings for higher education in different nations based on ability of adults to answer standardized test questions. This comes as the U.S. Department of Education has declared its intention to rate, rank, and evaluate colleges and universities by a variety of criteria, then to tie funding to ratings. That is, to bring the data-based decision making of NCLB to higher education.

Chapman writes:

“OCED should not be messing around with ratings of higher education programs based on totally flawed assumptions, statistical and other wise.

“Meanwhile, two developments bearing on higher education in the United States are worth noting.

“ALEC, the conservative provider of model state legislation, wants to close a lot of public colleges and universities on a fast track.

“According to Politico (June 27, 2014) in ALEC’s next meeting members will consider endorsing the “Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Act,” which would require all public universities to offer degree programs that cost less than $10,000 total for all four years of tuition, fees and books.

“What’s more, the bill would mandate that at least 10 percent of all four-year degrees awarded at state schools meet that price point within four years of the act’s passage.

“Universities would be encouraged to use online education and shift to competency-based models rather than the traditional credit-hour model to keep costs down. If members of ALEC endorse the bill, they will begin circulating and promoting it in state legislatures.

“I think the bait will be taken in state legislatures. This is a fast track toward the demolition of higher education with the political point of saving taxpayers money. The suggested cap on the cost at $2,500 a year for two full semesters of course work is about what my undergraduate program cost in the mid 1950s.

“I believe part of the intent is to devalue specific degrees, namely those in the liberal arts and humanities, and “impractical” sciences (e.g., archaeology, philosophy, and history) where competencies are not cut and dried and tend to consolidate over multiple years. The unstated agenda is for all public colleges and universities to function as engines for economic growth, literally as vocational schools, with on-line completion of specific tasks the primary evidence of competence. ALEC model legislation also opens the door for more degrees based on “skill sets” from life experience–not entirely without merit—but a can of worms and general attack on the value of formal education, leaving only a diploma or certificate as a credential worth the investment.

“Concurrently, the Gates Foundation is promoting the use of the same flawed measures being foisted on K-12 education for higher education, specifically a version of student learning objectives (SLOs) to rate teachers, courses, programs, and entire universities on their success in improving “outcomes.”

“Aided by first-year funds from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nine states and 68 participating two-year and four-year institutions will document how well students are achieving key learning outcomes. The Association of American Colleges and Universities and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association appear to have bought into this version of K-12 accountability including a process that sounds just like that “multi-state” project known as the common core initiative.

“In essence, these institutions are being enticed to think that Peter Drucker’s debunked theory of management–by-objectives (The Practice of Management, 1954) is the best way to map learning outcomes of higher education, course by course, with “summative” grades for programs, and for the institution as a whole- one size fits all. The whole project is marketed as value-based education— a phrase that is likely to tempt statisticians into using all the new metrics into dubious evaluations of faculty performance. See http://www.aacu.org/&#8221;

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