Shutdown’s impact on ed programs uncertain

A variety of education programs will feel effects of shutdown

government-shutdownAs Congress failed to reach a budget agreement on Sept. 30, triggering a federal government shutdown, education leaders and ed-tech stakeholders wondered how long, and to what extent, education programs would be impacted.

Experts are unsure how long the shutdown will continue, and while some education programs receiving mandatory funding will be sustained, others will see a delay in funds and activity.

The federal eRate program, which is administered independently and funded by the Universal Service Fund, will continue to function. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which sets eRate policy, is impacted by the shutdown, and anything needing approval or guidance would likely be delayed or halted during the shutdown due to staff limitations, said Clare McCann, a New America Foundation policy analyst. As of October 1, the FCC’s website displayed a bare-bones message informing visitors of the shutdown.…Read More

New law is a win for improved STEM education

At a meeting of my peers, I often wonder why there are so few female business leaders, especially in the STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — industries so vital to our state’s economic prosperity and national security, The HeraldNet reports. The stats are grim: Women hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs, a number that has been stagnant throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have grown their share in the overall workforce. While there is definitely a gender issue at play, STEM is saddled with a bigger PR problem as evidenced by the fact that 61 percent of middle school students would rather take out the garbage than do their math homework…

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Study: Legislators only care about white students

Legislators are more likely to enact education reforms when white students, as opposed to black students, are failing, a recently released study suggests, the Huffington Post reports. The research, titled “The Political Foundations of the Black-White Education Achievement Gap,” found that state legislators rarely enact reforms when white students are achieving, even if black students are not; it is only when white students begin failing that legislative action is taken. In this case, the achievement gap is defined as the persistent discrepancies in measures of school performance between black and white students, whereby white students attain more educational success…

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RI House delays vote on social media privacy bill

Rhode Island lawmakers have put off a vote on legislation that would stop employers or higher education officials from demanding access to a person’s Facebook or Twitter accounts, the Associated Press reports. The House was scheduled to vote Wednesday but decided to wait to allow for more work on the legislation. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy says he wants to prevent employers or school coaches from requiring access to a person’s social media accounts as a condition of their employment or enrollment…

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Bill to lower barriers to pregnant teens’ education

UPI reports that a U.S. Senate bill would help states and local school districts support pregnant and parenting youth who face challenges staying in school, legislators say. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.; Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., said each year approximately 750,000 U.S. teens get pregnant and almost one-fifth of students across the country drop out of high school. In a nationwide survey, 33 percent of female dropouts and almost 20 percent of male dropouts reported that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school…

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Senators to debate immigration bill amendment on foreign students

The Washington Post reports that a Senate panel took up amendments to a comprehensive immigration bill Tuesday and was expected to consider a proposal aimed at tightening the monitoring of foreign students in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The measure, offered by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), would require the Department of Homeland Security to transfer all student visa information to border control agents at ports of entry. Aides on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is overseeing the amendment process, said the proposal was inspired by reports that alleged accomplices of the accused Boston bombers were living in the country on expired student visas…

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Lawmakers to colleges: No more social media prying

UNC’s social media policy drew criticism from many civil libertarian groups.

College students’ social media privacy is officially a bipartisan issue.

Oregon legislators passed a bill through the state’s Senate April 21 barring community colleges and universities from asking prospective students for their social media log-in information as part of a school’s application process.

The Oregon bill passed unanimously, and now goes to the House. Wisconsin lawmakers could follow suit, as legislators from both sides of the aisle advocate for a bill that would disallow employers, landlords, and universities from requesting social media log-in information from tenants or aspiring college athletes.…Read More

Education, STEM receive boost in federal budget proposal

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) would see a 4.6 percent boost in discretionary funding, to $71.2 billion, under President Obama’s proposed 2014 budget, which focuses on STEM education and emphasizes early education in a proposed partnership with states that would ensure access to high-quality preschools for 4-year-olds.

The budget proposes a “major reorganization effort” that would see ED partner with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal agencies to boost the impact of STEM education investments.

Obama has put forth a recommendation for a $150 million STEM Innovation Networks program, which would create effective strategies to boost and strengthen STEM education, direct $35 million to create a STEM Master Teacher Corps, and allocate $80 million to recruit and train STEM teachers for high-need schools.…Read More