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News Links | December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Senators say net neutrality rollback could harm rural education

Washington’s U.S. senators are worried that the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to roll back net neutrality rules could harm the nation’s students and schools — especially those in rural and low-income communities. U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Tuesday urging him to preserve the Obama-era regulations until the commission has fully examined the order’s impact on education. ... In their letter, the senators also warned of dire potential consequences for colleges and universities. “Should the draft order be adopted, video lectures and online learning resources that are essential to institutions of higher education may be rendered unavailable by ISPs that decide to block them or otherwise privilege a computing resource,” the letter said. At Lower Columbia College, for example, nearly 2,200 students took at least one online course last year — more than 35 percent of the school’s population. And well over half of LCC students participated in at least one “web-enhanced” course in 2016, said Wendy Hall, the school’s communications director.
Longview Daily News, Dec. 14, 2017

Forging a family bond and love for farming

It was kind of always a given that the Mianecki brothers would grow up to become farmers as Rick and Frank Jr. (Skeeter) already had a lifetime of experience in the business having worked alongside their parents since childhood. ... Skeeter attended Big Bend Community College and Spokane Community College. He took morning classes, worked on the farm in the afternoons, and then returned to the classroom in the evenings. He studied business mostly, but always knew he wanted to continue farming. ... Rick attended Wenatchee Valley College, where he was recruited to play football for the Knights. He, too, continued to work on the farm, coming home every weekend to help out.
Columbia Basin Herald, Dec. 14, 2017

Two reasons why the chum salmon run was off this fall

A sharp decline in chum salmon returns to Whatcom County this year is likely cyclical and isn’t an immediate cause for concern, a Bellingham fisheries scientist said. “The chum run was really low this year,” said Sara Smith, an instructor in fisheries and aquaculture sciences at Bellingham Technical College. “We ended up with a third of our expected egg take,” Smith said. She teaches students who are gathering eggs and sperm from salmon on Whatcom Creek at Maritime Heritage Park. BTC’s Whatcom Creek hatchery counted only 1,378 fish returning this year, compared to 10,089 fish in 2016, Smith said. She said the hatchery’s egg take goal was 2.5 million, but researchers took only 834,750 eggs this year.
The Bellingham Herald, Dec. 13, 2017

Price tag for community colleges’ new IT system goes up $45 million

With a new information technology system for Washington’s community colleges an estimated $45 million over budget, five years behind schedule and still not working properly, some legislators wonder if they should put a cap on how much more the colleges should be allowed to spend on the troubled project. ... The new system was installed at Spokane and Tacoma community colleges as a pilot project in 2015 and immediately created problems for students, staff, administrators and accountants. The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges postponed plans to install it in the state’s remaining community colleges until all the problems were fixed. That process is not yet complete.
The Spokesman-Review, Dec. 12, 2017

Backstory: A Dreamer’s saga and how I came to tell it

In September, Jessica Esparza posted this photo of us sitting together, preparing for an interview, on Facebook. We did not plan to meet every two years, but interesting changes kept happening in her life. Jessica is an undocumented immigrant, brought to the U.S. by her parents as a child. Our reunions have happened because of a broken immigration system and whipsawing political winds that first safeguarded Jessica from deportation, but now threaten to send her “home” to a country she hardly knows. When we first met in 2013, Jessica was attending Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Wash. She was completing her associate’s degree and had her sights set on getting into the school’s nursing program.
KCTS 9, Dec. 12, 2017

Getting engaged with themselves and their community

A local school district will attempt to inspire it's minority students during a day-long event today. “Our percentages and populations of black and brown students in particular are smaller,” says Shomari Jones with the Bellevue School District. “And we’re trying to put forth efforts to ensure they feel connected to each other and to the system.” So today, for the third straight year, they're presenting something called BOOM. It’s an acronym for “Breaking Out Of the Margin,” and it’s a day where 300 male high students are taught about potential, community, and being an exception. The event is being held at Bellevue College.
KOMO News, Dec. 12, 2017

CPTC dental students serve at Project Homeless Connect

Students in Clover Park Technical College’s Dental Assistant program recently had the opportunity to put some of their training to use while serving in the community, as the program’s third-quarter students volunteered at Project Homeless Connect. According to its website, Project Homeless Connect “provides a starting place on the journey back to safety, stability, health and hope.” The annual event provided Pierce County’s homeless population with basic medical, dental and clothing needs while also connecting them to local resources. CPTC has partnered with Pierce County Dental Society to help run a dental clinic at the event for close to a decade. Students assist the attendees with filling out forms, obtaining blood pressure, and assisting doctors in dental screenings. The opportunity provides students a chance to serve the community while also growing their own learning.
The Suburban Times, Dec. 12, 2017

Ivy Tech to give help to SNAP recipients

Ivy Tech's Fort Wayne campus announced Monday the start of a pilot program designed to alleviate non-academic barriers for students receiving federal nutrition assistance benefits. Ivy Works will provide students in certain short-term workforce ready programs with services and support addressing such needs as transportation, child care, tax preparation and housing, officials said during a news conference in the Student Life Center. These non-academic barriers might otherwise keep at-risk students from enrolling in and completing college, said Chris Douse, director of student success and engagement and head of Ivy Works. ... Chancellor Jerrilee Mosier was inspired to start Ivy Works after seeing a similar program take off at a community college in Washington state, she said. She noted Ivy Tech gleaned wisdom from Edmonds Community College while developing its program.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Dec. 12, 2017

Providence makes global impact through medical supply warehouse

Four billion pounds of medical supplies, many brand-new, unexpired and without defect, are thrown out every year in the United States. At the same time, other countries all over the world have a shortage of these same types of medical supplies and equipment, as well as limited access to health care. The Providence Medical Supplies Recovery Program of Providence St. Joseph Health, through its Medical Supply Warehouse in Lacey, is taking huge strides to help solve both of these issues by collecting and sorting medical supplies destined for landfills and distributing them to communities in need. [Laura] Rodriguez’s program sends short-dated supplies to free clinics and local organizations such as Olympia Rescue Mission, Seattle Rescue Mission, Catholic Community Services, Swedish Community Program, the Thurston County Food Bank and others. Supplies are also sent to instructional facilities such as Bates Technical College and Tacoma Community College.
Thurston Talk, Dec. 12, 2017

SCC students step up to provide Christmas to family displaced by fire

The eyes of 4-year-old Alizea and 16-month old Julius flashed fear as they were led Monday into a room of carol-singing Spokane Community College students. Then their eyes and faces softened as they were handed a pile of Christmas gifts to restore the holiday cheer to a family that was dislocated by a Nov. 12 fire in which they lost everything. “I’m really thankful,” mother Kandra Warren, 24, said. “I cried so much the first two weeks. I didn’t expect this huge thing. This is really nice.” An electrical fire burned into the attic of Warren’s rental home. In her second year at Spokane Community College, Warren was delayed in attending the ceremony so she could finish a final exam. With the help of the local Red Cross, she and her children have been staying in a hotel since the fire.
The Spokesman-Review, Dec. 11, 2017

Career connected learning and apprenticeship program award

Career Connect NCW, a collaboration of organizations including Wenatchee School District, received full funding of a $854,540 grant to support career connected learning and youth registered apprenticeships. The grant was awarded by Career Connect, a Washington statewide public/private partnership founded by Governor Jay Inslee that supports career connected learning in order to prepare the workforce with the 21st century skills that employers need. ... The Career Connect NCW partnership includes organizations in Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan and Adams counties. The Chelan/Douglas county segment will receive $400,000 and includes Wenatchee School District, SkillSource, WorkSource, Wenatchee Valley College, the Apple STEM Network and Chelan County PUD as the business champion.
KPQ, Dec. 11, 2017

A bridge to employment

Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Wash., is part of a statewide effort to connect prisoners with education and career training upon their release. These efforts begin while inmates are still on the inside. As a reentry navigator, Hansen describes his role as a “bridge” to employment opportunities for inmates who are about to be released. He spends much of his time in the state’s correctional facilities, holding college nights and running peer-to-peer programs. He also meets individually with prisoners to discuss their plans for when they get out.
Community College Journal, Dec. 7, 2017 

Trends | Horizons | Education

When students are fair game

Sometimes professors have positive memories of students, and sometimes they don’t. They usually don’t share their memories publicly — at least with names — either way. Yet sometimes they’re asked to weigh in on the intellect or character of a former student, or feel the need to do so — particularly when those students become public figures. Case in point: Guy V. Martin, an adjunct professor of law at the University of Alabama, wrote a deeply unflattering op-ed for AL.com earlier this year about the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. Much of the piece was about teaching Moore — or trying to, unsuccessfully.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

Higher ed inflation hits highest level since 2008

An important marker of the rate of inflation in the costs colleges and universities pay increased more quickly in 2017 than it had in nearly a decade. The Higher Education Price Index inflation rate was 3.7 percent in 2017, according to the Commonfund Institute, which calculates the index annually. That’s the highest level since a 5 percent rate in 2008. Seven of the index’s eight components increased. Notably, the cost of fringe benefits rose by 5.9 percent, the largest increase since the financial crisis. Commonfund attributed the jump to an aging work force using more medical care and driving up prices.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

Monitoring undergraduate STEM education

Quality instruction goes a long way toward keeping students — especially underrepresented minorities and women -- in the sciences, technology, math and engineering. But measuring educational quality isn’t easy. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education,” says that assessing quality and impact in STEM at the national level will require the collection of new data on changing student demographics, instructors’ use of evidence-based teaching approaches, student transfer patterns and more.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

Bill and Melinda Gates give $15 million to complete UW building that bears their names

Even in Seattle these days, it takes considerable work to raise $70 million in private donations for a new classroom and lab building on the University of Washington campus. And so, despite a two-year campaign and multimillion-dollar gifts from Microsoft, Amazon, Zillow, Google and well-heeled private donors, the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering was still short — by $15 million — of the money it had pledged to raise for its new building by the end of this year. Then Bill and Melinda Gates offered to make up the difference, said computer-science professor Ed Lazowska, who has helped lead the private-funding effort. The irony: A small group of well-heeled funders, calling themselves “Friends of Bill and Melinda,” had already talked about naming the building after the Gateses.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 13, 2017

A threat to campus? Or a panic attack?

Hampshire has said that it removed a student — without specifying a name, per privacy regulations — from campus because of “a threat [that] was made to members of our campus community,” according to a message sent out by the administration Monday. Supporters of Allen say that he was unfairly kicked off campus and has since been suspended through the end of the spring semester, for outbursts and panic attacks that were related to his autism, and that those panic attacks did not constitute a threat.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 13, 2017

A reader asks if teachers must focus on students with the lowest skills. Here’s how four star teachers answered

In our latest Education Lab IQ feature, we answer the question: “Is it true that teachers must concentrate their teaching on the lowest common denominator of learning capability in each classroom?” Not all first-graders entered class this fall with the same level of ability and skills. Neither did all second-graders, or high-school seniors. How do teachers create lessons for a wide range of needs? Reader and retired teacher Richard Pelto wondered whether they end up focusing on students who need the most help — which is what one principal once told him to do. “Is it true,” he asked, “that teachers must concentrate their teaching on the lowest common denominator of learning capability in each classroom?” To answer that question, Education Lab talked with four teachers — all of whom have earned the prestigious National Board Certification and have been honored as regional or statewide teachers of the year.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 13, 2017

Another Evergreen professor resigns in the wake of campus tensions and protests

Another professor at The Evergreen State College has resigned after allegations of racism and intolerance erupted into protests on the Olympia campus last spring. Naima Lowe, a media arts professor, resigned Dec. 6, according to Evergreen spokesman Zach Powers. Lowe had been on personal leave since the beginning of the school year because of “online attacks on her (that) have multiplied through the summer,” according to a letter to faculty in September. Powers said the resignation was a condition of a settlement Lowe reached with the college. She will receive $240,000, which includes final wages and attorney fees, to settle a tort claim she filed claiming discrimination and a hostile work environment, according to Powers.
The News Tribune, Dec. 12, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

Growing number of borrowers are in default

The U.S. Department of Education this week released new federal loan data showing that 4.6 million student loan borrowers were in default as of Sept. 30, an increase from the 2.2 million who were in default four years earlier. Roughly 298,000 borrowers entered into default during the quarter that ended in September, the department said, with 274,000 defaulting for the first time. The federal student loan portfolio has grown to $1.37 trillion, according to the department, up from slightly more than $1 trillion four years ago. On Thursday, the Center for American Progress released an analysis on student loan defaulters. The left-leaning think tank found that defaulters tend to borrow less than their peers. The median defaulter owed $9,625, according to the analysis, which is $8,500 less than the median loan balance for a nondefaulter.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

‘Too much, too fast’?

The Republican-led Congress's early attempt at rewriting the federal Higher Education Act uses incentives and deregulation to encourage new twists on college, including competency-based education, short-term programs and nonaccredited providers. Experts continue to absorb details about the complex bill from Republican leaders on the U.S. House of Representatives’ education committee, which on Tuesday voted to pass a 590-page version. Some applauded the innovation push but worry about the bill’s lack of “guardrails” that seek to keep low-quality offerings in check.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

Opinion: student loans, bankruptcy and the silence of presidents

In the 13 years that I have been working on the student loan problem, I have personally yet to find even one instance where a college president has decried or even acknowledged the fact that bankruptcy protections, allowed in virtually all other instances, have been stripped distinctly from student loans. A decade ago, I engaged in a conversation with one president who, to my astonishment, was not even aware that this protection had been removed from student loans. After I informed him of that fact, he expressed genuine surprise. I suppose that was understandable 10 years ago. Today, however, such claims of ignorance would be hard to believe.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 14, 2017

Democrats object to net-neutrality rollback

Democrat senators have spoken out against the repeal of net-neutrality rules, which they believe will pave the way for the creation of so-called internet fast lanes and harm higher education. The Federal Communications Commission, which has a Republican majority, is expected to vote Dec. 14. The FCC is expected to vote to repeal Obama-era rules that ensure internet providers treat all internet traffic equally. In a letter addressed to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Senator Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, outlined the ways in which the repeal of net neutrality could harm higher education, especially students and institutions in rural and low-income areas.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 13, 2017

No one likes to talk about them, but deferred-maintenance costs won’t go away

Ask college presidents about the health of their institutions, and they’re happy to rattle off enrollment figures or capital-campaign progress reports. Ask about how deferred-maintenance costs on their campuses are piling up, and they get a little quiet. That’s because most colleges are crowded with aging buildings that will need to be replaced, renovated, or retrofitted, and the millions of dollars needed to tackle such projects are hard to come by when other urgent priorities beckon.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 13, 2017

GOP pushes ahead on higher ed act

After debating and voting on amendments all day Tuesday, the House education committee advanced to the full chamber on a party-line vote a rewrite of the federal law governing higher education in the U.S. The legislation, called the PROSPER Act, would change accountability for colleges and universities, alter the student financial aid landscape, and loosen restrictions on short-term and for-profit programs. Representative Virginia Foxx, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the education committee, said Americans can't afford simply a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, but need real reform of the law. Her Democratic counterpart, Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, however, said Republicans chose to do so in a partisan manner, behind closed doors and with no input from committee Democrats.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 13, 2017

New higher education bill rolls Back Obama-era safeguards

Congressional Republicans began work Tuesday on an extensive rewrite of the law that governs the nation’s system of higher education, seeking to dismantle landmark Obama administration regulations designed to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges and to repay the loans of those who earned worthless degrees from scam universities. But in its systematic effort to erase President Barack Obama’s fingerprints from higher education, the measure before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce could undermine bedrock elements that have guided university education for decades. One provision could do away with the system of “credit hours” that college students earn to complete their degrees, which could help for-profit colleges inflate the value of their degrees.
The New York Times, Dec. 12, 2017

House Republicans press for higher-ed overhaul in 2018

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives began in earnest on Tuesday to finalize an ambitious bill to reauthorize the main federal law governing higher education. The House’s Committee on Education and the Workforce, led by Rep. Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, kicked off a marathon session lasting nearly 14 hours — until just before the stroke of midnight — to consider amendments and other changes in a draft of the Higher Education Act legislation that she introduced this month. Ms. Foxx’s proposed changes in current law are meant to streamline student aid, pare regulations, and open the federal coffers to a wider variety of institutions that offer skills training. The legislation, known by the acronym "Prosper" for Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform, passed out of committee on a party-line vote and will now go to the full House for consideration.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 12, 2017

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