U.S. Department of Education Proposes Overhaul of Gainful Employment Regulations

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.”

Full story at ed.gov

Electronics in the Classroom Lead to Lower Test Scores

USING ELECTRONIC devices in the classroom can be distracting to students and lead to lower grades.

A study published in the journal Educational Psychology found that students who had cellphones or laptops present while a lesson was being taught scored five percent, or half a letter grade, lower on exams than students who didn’t use electronics.

Researchers separated 118 college students enrolled in the same course into two groups. Each group was taught the same material by the same professor, but one group was allowed to have cellphones and laptops open for non-academic purposes, while the other group was not. While the students allowed electronics didn’t score lower on comprehension tests during lectures, they scored lower on exams at the end of the term.

Full story at US News

For Many College Students, Hunger ‘Makes It Hard To Focus’

As students enter college this fall, many will hunger for more than knowledge. Up to half of college students in recent published studies say they either are not getting enough to eat or are worried about it.

This food insecurity is most prevalent at community colleges, but it’s common at public and private four-year schools as well.

Student activists and advocates in the education community have drawn attention to the problem in recent years, and the food pantries that have sprung up at hundreds of schools are perhaps the most visible sign. Some schools nationally also have instituted the Swipe Out Hunger program, which allows students to donate their unused meal plan vouchers, or “swipes,” to other students to use at campus dining halls or food pantries.

That’s a start, say analysts studying the problem of campus hunger, but more system-wide solutions are needed.

Full story at NPR

U.S. Department of Education Announces Opportunity for Federal Student Loan Borrowers to be Reconsidered for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has launched a process for federal student loan borrowers to be reconsidered for loan forgiveness under a temporary expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

This limited opportunity—which the Department is referring to as Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF)—was made possible by a $350-million appropriation through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. The law provides additional conditions under which borrowers may become eligible for loan forgiveness if some or all of their payments made on William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans were made on a nonqualifying repayment plan for the PSLF Program. This opportunity is only available on a first-come, first-served basis until the $350 million has been allocated or other criteria are met.

The Department will reconsider eligibility for the TEPSLF opportunity using an expanded list of qualifying repayment plans, which includes the Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment Plan, Consolidated Standard Repayment Plan, and Consolidated Graduated Repayment Plan. Funds for this opportunity are limited, and borrowers will be considered on a first come, first serve basis. Once funds under this opportunity are depleted or other criteria are met, the program will end.

Full story at ed.gov

Cars Get Students ‘On Track’ for STEM Careers

It wasn’t the 110-octane fuel or the race car suspension that captured the attention of sixth-grader Finn Alcott at Bowling Green Junior High School.

Sure, having his tympanic membrane rattled when the 1980 Corvette’s 750-horsepower engine roared to life was cool and all, but Alcott was more interested in the sports car’s sleek lines.

“I’m more into engineering,” Alcott said. “I had a collection of Hot Wheels cars when I was younger, and I always liked this one car that went faster than the others. What it was was aerodynamics.”

That a sixth-grader is even using such scientific terms serves as proof that this past Wednesday’s On Track event is serving the purpose envisioned by the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce and Western Kentucky University’s SKyTeach program.

Full story at US News

Teachers Take School Funding Fight Straight To North Carolina’s Capitol

The months-long wave of teacher protests, which has rolled through roughly half a dozen states already, swelled and crashed on the front stoop of North Carolina’s Capitol building Wednesday. Demonstrators donned red and gathered in the capital, Raleigh, to demand better pay and better school funding.

And there they stayed for hours, crowding into the opening session of the Legislature and eddying in the streets outside, gathering for a massive rally nearby organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators, the state’s biggest teacher advocacy group.

Schools across the state, meanwhile, were shuttered as teachers attended the protests. More than three dozen school districts closed, according to member station WUNC, which notes that that represents more than 1 million public school students — or two-thirds of the state’s public school population — who had their classes canceled.

Full story at npr.org

More Than Just A Job: Stories Of Teachers Who Deserve An A+

Teachers across the country are pushing for better pay and increased school funding. They consistently make less than other college graduates with comparable experience — even though, for many teachers, working with students is more than a full-time job.

There are long days in the classroom, clubs and activities, planning and grading, and the many after-school hours spent with students.

Earlier this spring, we asked NPR Ed readers to send in stories of teachers going to great lengths to help students succeed in and out of school. We heard from hundreds of you. Many of you said that every teacher you know fits the bill.

Here are a few teachers that caught our eye.

Full story at NPR.org

A Conspiracy Video Teaches Kids A Lesson About Fake News

As the bell rings students file into class at Maxence Van der Meersch middle school. This morning the kids have a visitor – investigative journalist Thomas Huchon.

Without telling them the topic of his visit, Huchon says he’s going to show them a mini-documentary.

The video tells how the CIA spread the AIDS virus in Cuba, and says that was the real reason behind the decades-long U.S. embargo. It was only lifted, the narrator says, so American and French pharmaceutical companies could cash in on an AIDS vaccine developed by Cuban doctors.

Full story at NPR.org

Angry and Fearful Parents Lash Out at School District Over Parkland Shooting

More than two months after the Valentine’s Day mass murder of 17 students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., fear and rage continues to grip a school system still reeling from the incident’s aftermath.

During a public safety forum held Wednesday in the Broward County school district, shaken students and enraged parents and educators appealed to school leaders to protect campuses from violence, demanding fixes for what they consider lax security, the district’s indifference, and failure to act to stop the former student who brought an AR-15 onto campus and killed and injured dozens.

Full story at edweek.org

What Happens When 2-Year Schools Offer B.A. Degrees?

WHEN FLORIDA OPENED THE door 17 years ago for two-year colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees, they expanded rapidly into a host of new areas: business, nursing, teaching, and more. St. Petersburg College alone created 25 bachelor’s programs. Thousands of students flocked to them, paying a fraction of what they would pay for an equivalent degree at the University of Florida. By 2014 nearly 6,000 students a year were earning their bachelor’s degrees from a community college. Despite their popularity, many people feared that the 28 taxpayer-financed community colleges were unnecessarily duplicating programs at the state’s 12 four-year public universities—and then awarding them substandard degrees. As a result, Florida’s legislature put a one-year moratorium on new programs, and then officials slowed down the creation of new ones after 2015.

Now a team of University of Florida researchers has looked back at the results of this experiment and come to a surprising conclusion: four-year state schools actually saw an increase in business even as two-year institutions expanded into their terrain. But for-profit, private universities generally took a big hit. While four-year public schools awarded 25 percent more degrees a year in the programs where local community colleges offered a competing degree, the private for-profit universities saw their degree output fall 45 percent when a nearby two-year institution posed direct competition. The results of the study were slated to be released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in New York.

Full story at US News