The Complexity of Accountability
By Michael Stratford, Inside Higher Ed
BALTIMORE -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s call on Monday for a greater focus on student outcomes at colleges was an effort to pivot away from discussions that he said are focused too narrowly on the burden of student loan debt -- discussions administration officials feel are crowding out the debate over structural flaws in America’s higher education system.
The refocusing of attention on accountability, though, again exposed contentious political fault lines that tend to emerge when the federal government tries to use its hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of leverage to reward and punish colleges and states, as Duncan proposed. (A written transcript of his speech is available here.)
Some of those politics have complicated previous efforts that the Obama administration touted as important accountability measures.
New State Goal: 60 Percent of Adults With a Degree By 2030
By Matthew Watkins, The Texas Tribune
With an eye on keeping up with demographic changes and competing with other states and countries, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted a new overarching goal Thursday: Get 60 percent of Texans between 25 and 34 a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.
That will be a difficult task — only 38 percent of Texans in that demographic currently have such a degree.
Grant Dispute Throws an Unwritten Rule of Academic Poaching Out the Window
By Paul Basken, The Chronicle of Higher Education
A less-than-collegial battle between two major research universities in laid-back Southern California says much about the severity of the financial pressures mounting on American higher education.
Among research universities a longstanding gentlemen’s agreement has held that a scientist who moves from one institution to another is allowed to carry any grant support along to his or her new home.
Now, with universities counting every dollar, that bit of protocol may become a quaint courtesy of days gone by.
The Self-Defense Self-Delusion
Owning guns doesn't actually help stop gun violence
By Steve Rendall, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
In the gun lobby’s arsenal of propaganda, the claim that guns make people safer may be the most potent.
After all, while gun advocates make grandiose—and historically inaccurate (Consortium News, 12/21/12)—claims about the Second Amendment being designed to enable armed citizens to resist government tyranny, no sane person believes individuals armed with handguns and rifles would stand a chance against a trillion-dollar 21st century military backed by vast surveillance systems.
But protecting one’s family, home or person? That seems sensible enough. If guns make us safer, as they say, then having a gun for self-defense isn’t an irrational choice.
Now that the responses are in on the SB11 Survey I would like to give you the results and some suggestions for your campus. I received approximately 60 responses, which is good for mid-summer when many people are not on campus, and all but two were opposed to guns with one person not being sure.
Most people responded that they should not be allowed anywhere, but that is not an option at this point, since the law passed. We were simply outnumbered at the capitol by the pro-gun lobby that arrived in large numbers for the hearings. We were also up against the NRA “scorecard” which rates legislators based on their gun stance. Until there is a change in the makeup of the legislature we will not win this fight.
Four year schools have one year until implementation and two year schools have two years.
The paragraph below is from a sample letter to Presidents regarding the implementation of the law. The discussions are to take place before rules for your campus are put in place. Most Presidents are opposed to guns on campus so it should be a good working relationship.
I am writing to ask when our campus is planning to "[consult] with students, staff, and faculty . . . regarding the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations, and the uniqueness of the campus environment, . . . [in order to] establish reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns" on campus, as provided by Sec. 411.2031, subsection (d-1) of the bill.
However, we do have some options as to where guns can be limited. Some of the places mentioned in the legislative session that can probably be eliminated are day-care centers on campus, labs with hazardous materials, health facilities and counseling centers, and dorms. Since classrooms can be high stress areas I would suggest including those as well. There is also an issue with high school students on campuses. Can all areas where high school students are present be eliminated? I do not know the answer to that, but would certainly bring it into the discussion.
I suggest that you call a meeting of local TFA members, discuss the places that you think can be eliminated, and ask others to join you in the discussions on your campus before formal discussions take place so that you can be unified and prepared with a response.
Mary Aldridge Dean
Kalamazoo Promise 'significantly' increases college graduation rates, study finds
By Julie Mack, MLive
KALAMAZOO, MI — The Kalamazoo Promise "significantly" increases college college graduation rates and offers a substantial return on the dollars spent, according to the first major study of the scholarship program's post-secondary outcomes.
The biggest finding: Promise-eligible students are a third more likely to graduate college within six years of finishing high school compared to their pre-Promise peers.
The researchers also estimate The Promise yields an estimated $4.60 in benefits for every $1 invested. That means the $66 million spent so far on the program has an estimated return on investment of more than $300 million, based on the projected increase in wages over 30 years for students who wouldn't have graduated college otherwise.