The new school year marches on, and so does our weekly roundup.
Tropical Storm Florence closes schools in the Carolinas
Rain measured in feet, not inches. Storm surges and power outages are the reality of this huge, slow-moving storm. Schools were closed Friday across coastal North Carolina and South Carolina. In the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, leaders made the controversial choice to keep nearly 150,000 students home under blue skies on Thursday to prep some schools as shelters.
DeVos loses court case on borrower forgiveness
A federal judge ruled this week that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ delay of a key Obama-era student borrower protection rule was unlawful. The judge is expected to order a remedy next week.
Sylvia Acevedo grew up on a dirt road in New Mexico. Her family was poor, living “paycheck to paycheck.”
After a meningitis outbreak in her Las Cruces neighborhood nearly killed her younger sister, her mother moved the family to a different neighborhood. At her new school, young Acevedo knew no one. Until a classmate convinced her to become a Brownie Girl Scout.
And from that moment, she says, her life took on a new path.
On one camping trip, Acevedo’s troop leader saw her looking up at the stars.
“I didn’t know that there were planets,” Acevedo remembers, “I didn’t know there were constellations.” Her troop leader pointed out the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper and a few planets. Later, when the girls were earning badges, Acevedo’s leader remembered her fascination with the stars and suggested she try for her science badge.
The popular culture tells us that college “kids” are recent high school graduates, living on campus, taking art history, drinking too much on weekends, and (hopefully) graduating four years later.
But these days that narrative of the residential, collegiate experience is way off, says Alexandria Walton Radford, who heads up postsecondary education research at RTI International, a think tank in North Carolina. What we see on movie screens and news sites, she says, is skewed to match the perceptions of the elite: journalists, researchers, policymakers.
Today’s college student is decidedly nontraditional — and has been for a while. “This isn’t a new phenomenon,” Radford says. “We’ve been looking at this since 1996.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos earlier this week visited with sixth through eighth grade girls participating in the Smithsonian’s “She Can” STEM Summer Camp to highlight the exciting opportunities available in STEM fields. The camp, which was open to Washington, D.C. area girls who attend Title 1 Schools, doubled in size with support from the Department of Education. President Donald J. Trump donated his second quarter salary to the Department of Education to fund a STEM-focused camp.
At the camp, students learned about the science of flight and were exposed to a wide array of aviation-related activities and career paths. During the Secretary’s visit she worked with a group of girls to build and fly their own drones, was a passenger in an FAA-certified flight simulator and toured the Boeing Aviation Hangar.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Education today announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes to rescind Gainful Employment (GE) regulations in order to provide useful, transparent higher education data to students and treat all institutions of higher education fairly.
“Students deserve useful and relevant data when making important decisions about their education post-high school,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “That’s why instead of targeting schools simply by their tax status, this administration is working to ensure students have transparent, meaningful information about all colleges and all programs. Our new approach will aid students across all sectors of higher education and improve accountability.”
From the policy of separating immigrant families, to limiting the power of labor unions, to naming the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, this summer the DeVos family name has been all over the news.
Over the years, the parents, in-laws and husband of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have given hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes. And many of those causes are front and center of policy initiatives and goals of the Trump administration right now.
Those foundations include the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation (founded by the education secretary and her husband); the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (formerly the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation), founded by Betsy DeVos’ in-laws; and the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, founded by her parents.
Have you ever paid your kid for good grades? Have you driven to school to drop off an assignment that they forgot? Have you done a college student’s laundry? What about coming along to Junior’s first job interview?
These examples are drawn from two bestselling books — How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Both are by women writing from their experiences as parents and as educators. Lahey is a teacher and a writer for The New York Times and The Atlantic, currently at work on a new book about teens and addiction. Lythcott-Haims was the longtime freshman dean at Stanford; in 2017 she published the memoir Real American and is working on a sequel to How to Raise an Adult about “how to be an adult.”
The books make strikingly similar claims about today’s youth and their parents: Parents are “too worried about [their children’s] future achievements to allow [them] to work through the obstacles in their path” (Lahey) and “students who seemed increasingly reliant on their parents in ways that felt, simply, off,” (Lythcott-Haims).
In the U.S., more than 4 out of 10 undergraduate college students are above the age of 25. When people talk about these adult students, you usually hear words like “job skills” and “quickest path to a degree.”
But for more than four decades, a special program in Washington state has sought to offer much more than that.
It’s called the Tacoma Program. Back in 1972, Maxine Mimms, a professor at The Evergreen State College, created a new kind of college at her kitchen table, designed to serve students who are starting over in life, and to give them access to deep, transformational learning.
IN THE LAND OF parenting there are two camps: those who think educational videos can be good for their kids and those who think they’re a mind-numbing wasteland.
I tended to side with the latter when my daughter was in her preschool years because I was convinced that books and active play were superior. But we’ve all been exhausted at 6 a.m. and streamed videos from YouTube. Let’s just assume that my daughter watched more videos in her early childhood than I care to admit. Over time, I convinced myself that the videos I chose were better than most of the crap out there.
A team of four education researchers, led by Susan B. Neuman at New York University, conducted an in-depth study published in April 2018 of 100 of the most popular videos that claim to be “educational” and stream over Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Google Play. They include “Sesame Street,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Martha Speaks” and “Dora the Explorer,” all highly regarded programs that frequently turn up on recommended lists. The researchers found that the majority of the videos taught specific vocabulary – more educational content than critics might assume. They also found that 4-year-olds were actually paying attention and learning new words.
HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR Michael Okrah wants to study engineering, a choice that he credits to the FIRST Robotics Championship, recently held in Detroit and Houston.
“When I first came (to Frederick Douglass Academy), I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do,” Okrah says. “Experiencing knowledge through robotics and the mentorship we’ve had has inspired me to study engineering.”
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Championship landed in Detroit this year. Held April 25-28, the championship saw more than 15,000 students in grades K-12, from 25 states and 45 countries, with their custom-built robots. FIRST Championship offers four levels of competition and one student exhibition for students aged 6 to 18.