Crossing the Finish Line – Aligning Our Community to Support Kids from Cradle to Career
This Week in Education: A Look Back at November 2012
Education news in early November focused mainly on the question of which presidential candidate was the best choice for education. Obama’s re-election raised questions about whether his Race to the Top initiative would continue, or if he has some new plans for education. While that remains to be seen, education news included:
- Student achievement in relation to teacher involvement
- Performance standards for teachers tied to their compensation, benefits, and pensions, and the ensuing strikes over those matters
- Educational technology, especially in the form of digital and electronic device use in the classroom and online learning
- The future of higher education and whether traditional or distance learning will be most widely-used
- Social media and its use in the classroom
Significant education news headlines in the latter half of the month included:
Time for Higher Education to Wake Up: While students of all ages continue to seek higher education opportunities, a recent opinion poll conducted by FTI Consulting revealed details that should serve as a wake-up call to higher education, according to Joseph Aoun, president of Northeastern University. Aoun stated the results of the poll indicated that more adult learners are concerned about the ability to pay for higher education and find jobs after graduation, as well as growing concern over the U.S. retaining its standing as a global leader in higher education. Additional results indicated adult learners want “more flexibility, online/hybrid education options and opportunities for experiential learning, entrepreneurship and global experiences.”
Wisconsin Governor Calls for More Fiscal Accountability in State’s University System: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed changing the way the Wisconsin public university system receives funding. Walker believes state appropriations should not be based just on the size of a university, but also on factors such as the school’s on-time graduation rates, making the universities more accountable for the money they receive from taxpayers. Without giving specific goals for colleges to meet, Governor Walker emphasized the need for universities to produce graduates for the state’s most under-staffed professional fields, including healthcare, manufacturing, and information industries.
61 Finalists Announced for $400 Million Funding in Race to the Top Competition: The U.S. Department of Education announced 61 finalists eligible for $400 million in funding related to the Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) competition, Obama’s first-term education reform initiative. The RTTT-D funding is designated “to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers.” Out of the 61 finalists, only 15 to 25 will eventually win four-year awards by or before the end of the month, ranging from $5 million to $40 million, depending on number of students served.
Minnesota Task Force Restructuring State’s Education Funding: In more education funding news, a task force in Minnesota has a plan under consideration for restructuring how the state’s schools receive funds, in order to create a more fair and stable designation and distribution process. The task force believes the state’s current education funding system is “broken” and not keeping up with inflation. Instead of designating and distributing funds based on voter approval, the task force wants the state to return to acquiring increased funding for Minnesota’s schools through levying a portion of property taxes.