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News Links | December 19, 2017

December 19, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Skagit Valley College hopes new turf field a boon

The improvements being made to the soccer field at Skagit Valley College are still a ways from completion, but when they are finished next year, coaches and administrators believe the field will be a boon not just to the school’s soccer programs, but the community overall. The Wally Sigmar Field project will include LED overhead lights, new fencing and a new artificial turf surface that will replace the former grass field, which was prone to sogginess that limited its availability.
Skagit Valley Herald, Dec. 18, 2017

Great Careers event shows Issaquah students there’s nothing wrong with path less traveled

In the Issaquah School District, 20 percent of students do not go on to four-year colleges. So does that mean that one-fifth of ISD students are not successful? Absolutely not. And it is this message — that there are other career paths besides the standard four-year university track — that the Issaquah Chamber gave local high school students at the sixth annual Great Careers conference on Thursday at Bellevue College.
Issaquah Reporter, Dec. 18, 2017

Minority students aren’t pulled to magnet schools

Anastasia McAllister still remembers not feeling well when she left her interview at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. It’s been more than a decade, so it’s hard to pinpoint why, she said. Maybe it had something to do with the stern white woman who interviewed her, the now 23-year-old Native American artist said. Would her art, deeply rooted in her Hopi and Colville roots, be understood or taken seriously at the school? ... Dolly England, diversity outreach manager at Clark College, is a VSAA graduate. She joked she was one of “three brown kids” in her graduating class. England didn’t pursue a career in music like she thought she might as a child. But the opportunities to collaborate with her peers, to advocate for things she believed were important and to build community through the arts — opportunities she believes she may not have had otherwise — led her to a career in community organizing.
The Columbian, Dec. 17, 2017

Here’s to the vineyard workers of the Walla Walla Valley

While Walla Walla sleeps on cold fall nights, the thought of wine grapes and the vines they hang on freezing stirs Frank Jimenez from his bed at 3 a.m. His day will not end until 6 p.m. Jimenez, a contracted vineyard manager, drives in the pre-dawn to various vineyards to come to the rescue, monitoring the weather and switching on wind machines to deter frost from forming on the grapes, allowing them to hang longer on the vine and develop a richer flavor curve. ... In 2000, Jimenez went to Walla Walla Community College for a year when it began its enology and viticulture program and has been learning and refining his own expertise ever since.
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Dec. 17, 2017

New BBCC program proving popular

A new program at Big Bend Community College that provides students training they need to work at data centers is proving so popular BBCC is adding a second class. Instructor Tom Willingham updated the BBCC trustees at the regular meeting Thursday. The one-year program offers training, and two certificates, in data system operation and maintenance. 
Columbia Basin Herald, Dec. 17, 2017

Opinion: Hilltop needs higher wages and local hires

A recent article in The News Tribune highlighted the fact that people are being priced out of living on Tacoma’s Hilltop. As executive director of a financial opportunity center located in the center of the business district, I can attest that our neighbors are being displaced at a rapid clip as rents and home values rise, but wages stagnate. ... With support from United Way and through partnerships with the City of Tacoma and Bates Technical College, we help people develop skills for local employment opportunities that have high wages and less restrictive minimum qualifications. ... We welcome employers willing to take a chance on hiring people from our local neighborhoods coming out of training programs at Sound Outreach, Goodwill, Tacoma Community College, Bates and Clover Park technical colleges, and WorkSource programs.
The News Tribune, Dec. 16, 2017

OC Workforce Development helps students pay for tuition, fees, books, child care

The Workforce Development & Basic Studies Division at Olympic College has received $1.7 million for student financial support from Washington state and various grants. Through its Better Job, Brighter Future campaign, Workforce Development partners with students to fund their next step as they complete a professional-technical certificate or degree. ... The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges reports: “Washington state will have 740,000 job openings in the next five years. More than half of those openings will be filled by people with a college education or training. Employers are having the hardest time filling mid-level jobs. These jobs require more than a high school education, but less than a four-year degree — the level of education provided by community and technical colleges.”
Kitsap Daily News, Dec. 15, 2017

Seattle Stand Down offers hundreds of veterans much-needed services

Hundreds of veterans — many of them homeless or at-risk — are getting some much needed help. Organizers say as many as 450 veterans turned out for Seattle Stand Down at the Georgetown campus of South Seattle College. The two-day event, which ended Friday, is a "one-stop shop" for veteran services. It includes social services like housing, employment, and legal help. The event offers vets medical and dental care, hair cuts, and even such supplies as blankets and boots to survive on the streets.
KOMO, Dec. 15, 2017

Skagit Valley College Foundation meets $3 million fundraising goal

The Skagit Valley College Foundation celebrated this week surpassing its $3 million goal for the “Removing Barriers” campaign. The program aims to support students facing financial issues that could get in the way of their education, as well as provide opportunities for excellence in college programs. The money goes to a variety of needs, including emergency funding, childcare vouchers and “opportunities for excellence.”
Skagit Valley Herald, Dec. 15, 2017

Local businesses bone up on new sick leave rules

The critical message coming out of this week’s business seminar on implementing the upcoming changes to paid sick leave requirements under Initiative 1433 - document everything. ... Initiative 1433 was designed to increase the state's minimum wage to $13.50 by Jan. 1, 2020. After that, the minimum wage will be tacked to increases in the cost of living. The measure also requires employers to provide all employees with paid sick leave, which was the topic of the CliftonLarsonAllen sponsored event at the ATEC Building at Big Bend Community College.
Columbia Basin Herald, Dec. 15, 2017

Holiday House provides gifts for 100 families

As fall quarter closes and Clover Park Technical College students take the next few weeks away from classes for the holidays, more than 200 children are set to receive presents this year thanks to the contributions of CPTC’s Holiday House. Since the 1980s, a dedicated committee of CPTC faculty and staff members has worked to ensure children of the college’s students would have gifts to open during the holiday season.
The Suburban Times, Dec. 15, 2017

With new grant, Spokane Falls Community Colleges looks to attract diversity in engineering

Aiming to bring more diversity to the field, Spokane Falls Community College has announced that it won a grant to provide scholarships to low-income students who want to pursue a career in engineering. The five-year grant comes from the National Science Foundation, totaling $649,790. It will fund scholarships for 36 students — women, minorities and students from rural areas — over five years.
Inlander, Dec. 14, 2017

‘Hour of Code’ builds foundation for future coders

To help students build a foundation in an ever-expanding technological world, Yelm Community Schools joined in the international “Hour of Code,” as part of National Computer Science Education Week last Wednesday. The event allows students to hear from guest speakers who work in the technological field and gives students a chance to build a foundation for coding. ... Recent YHS and South Puget Sound Community College graduate Sven Akerman began coding with his father when he was a young kid which helped him earn an associates degree in computer science. He came back to help with “Hour of Code” to share his experience as he is just starting his career as an intern at Alliance Enterprises. Akerman doesn’t know if he will go to a four-year university or take a full-time position after his internship but does know that being introduced to coding set him up for a successful career in technology.
Nisqually Valley News, Dec. 14, 2017

Grant County makes economic development work

It’s sometimes easy to forget that even with all the high tech businesses moving into the area, agriculture is still Grant County’s largest employer. Its biggest, and fasted growing, industry. “This is what drives your economy,” said Paul Kimmell, the Palouse area regional business manager with Avsita Energy in Spokane. “High tech is great, but agriculture is big and it will continue to be big.” Kimmell, who has worked for Boise Cascade, the Wyoming State Land Office, and as the North Idaho Regional Director for the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, gave the keynote address last week at Celebrate Grant County, hosted an organized by the Grant County Economic Development Council. ... He also said Big Bend Community College was a significant advantage for Grant County. “That’s an important piece,” he said. “Community colleges are great delivery platforms that can cater to the needs of existing businesses.”
Columbia Basin Herald, Dec. 14, 2017

Chelan County Fire District 1 chief announces retirement, names successor

Chelan County Fire District 1 will have a new fire chief come July, 2018. Chelan County Fire District 1 Chief Mike Burnett has announced his retirement and named his successor as current Douglas County Fire District 2 assistant chief and Fire Marshal Brian Brett. Chief Burnett has had two-five year contracts with the district; his current one ending in February of 2019. ... Chelan and Douglas County fire districts work closely on a number of issues the valley faces, including the need for volunteers. Projects such as the Recruitment Academy for the two districts will begin in January 2018. There is currently a resident firefighter program which pays for tuition in full at Wenatchee Valley College for a Fire Science Associate's Degree.
iFiber One News, Dec. 14, 2017

Lewis County service agencies address state, local leaders on needs

Service agencies from Lewis County addressed eight state and local elected officials at a forum at Cascade Mental Health in Centralia on Tuesday to express the issues they face and what they would like to see completed in the upcoming legislative session. In all, there were 14 service providers that included the Human Response Network, Reliable Enterprises, Valley View Health Center and the Hub City Mission. ... Centralia College’s Child and Family Services stressed the importance of supporting and providing funding for ECEAP — the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.
Centralia Chronicle, Dec. 14, 2017

Denzel Washington and other major celebrities you didn’t know played college basketball

Jim Caviezel: The Person of Interest star played two seasons of college ball at Bellevue College in Washington before he transferred to the University of Washington. Jim Caviezel never took the court for the Huskies however, as knee injuries cut his collegiate career short.
The Cheat Sheet, Dec. 14, 2017

City forest updates trail maps with help

The City of Montesano is looking to make the public’s use of the 20 miles of trails on the 5,000 acres of watershed property it owns surrounding Lake Sylvia a safer and more enjoyable experience. To that end, the city council was scheduled to consider adoption of an intern-designed forest trail system management plan at its council meeting on Dec. 12. ... Two Green River College (Auburn) interns to the city’s forestry department are behind the plan. Chad Horky put together the plan as his capstone project for his bachelor’s degree in forest resource management with assistance from fellow student Jake Jaraczeski.
Montesano Vidette, Dec. 14, 2017

PSD students are learning how to teach, and may help your child learn next semester

Emily Hewitson spends her afternoons in front of a class with about 15 students and tries to teach them how to teach. “I want all of you to take time today to pull from the theories we discussed and see what you do and don’t agree with,” she says to the class. “Then work on your teaching methods.” Hewitson, a teacher at Gig Harbor High School, is helping senior students from Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools find their passion to become future educators. ... This year, Hewitson’s class has visited colleges including Tacoma Community College, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University and Washington State University.
The News Tribune, Dec. 14, 2017

Trends | Horizons | Education

OER adoptions on the rise

More and more instructors are choosing open educational resources over traditional textbooks, a survey of more than 2,700 faculty members reveals. The "Opening the Textbook" survey, published by the Babson Survey Research Group today, reports that the number of faculty members at two- and four-year institutions using OER as textbooks has nearly doubled in the last year — from 5 percent in 2015-16 to 9 percent in 2016-17. ... But while increases in adoption and awareness have been significant, Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, points out that over all, awareness of OER is still low. He noted that many faculty members also continue to report significant barriers to wider adoption of OER, particularly finding and evaluating the quality of materials.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 19, 2017

Use of free textbooks is rising, but barriers remain

A growing number of professors are replacing the traditional textbook with an openly licensed one, according to a survey released on Tuesday. But their overall numbers remain small — and widespread adoption of the practice could remain out of reach unless key barriers are overcome.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 19, 2017

The degrees that really pay off for graduates in Washington state

A year after graduating from college, a student with a community-college degree in a health profession earns nearly double what someone with a bachelor’s degree in English does. It also really pays to get a master’s in business or education, but not so much in mathematics or statistics. And those who complete apprenticeships in mechanic and repair technologies make as much as computer-science majors — at least at the start of their careers. Those are some of the interesting tidbits in a newly revamped public-information dashboard that shows students and colleges how much various fields pay. The dashboard is published by the state’s Education Research & Data Center (ERDC), an arm of the Office of Financial Management.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 18, 2017

Student debt in the city

Among New York City boroughs, the Bronx has the lowest percentage of residents with student loans. Bronx residents with loans tended to borrow smaller amounts than those living elsewhere in the city, and the Bronx has the smallest percentage of borrowers who owe more than $100,000. Yet the Bronx also has the highest student loan delinquency rate out of New York’s five boroughs. The seemingly contradictory statistics can be explained by comparing student loan balances to income. The median student loan balance represents 43 percent of the median income in the Bronx — the highest percentage in New York’s five boroughs and a full 11 percentage points higher than the citywide average.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18, 2017

Negative findings on performance-based funding

Two newly released academic research papers identify negative consequences linked to states' performance-based funding formulas. So far 35 states tie some funding for public colleges to metrics like graduation rates or degree production. And the Higher Education Act rewrite the GOP is advancing in the U.S. House of Representatives also includes aspects of performance funding by requiring that 25 percent of students at minority-serving institutions must complete in order for those colleges to be eligible for some federal funding streams. Research findings about the effectiveness of state-based performance funding so far have been mixed. But the two new studies add to a growing amount of research that indicates the policies may not work or have unintended consequences, with some of those problems being linked to design flaws.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18, 2017

Opinion: Creating social change and student success

Behavioral science has gone mainstream across all sectors and represents a powerful underlying force in consumer life, from browsing music to planning travel online. Improving social outcomes sometimes requires counterintuitive tactics. Higher education professionals, too, have an opportunity to deploy behavior science principles and techniques to help solve the seminal challenges in postsecondary education: increasing completion and closing achievement gaps.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18, 2017

Opinion: Tacoma high school grad rate soars; will college follow?

Imagine sizing up a class of five-year-olds on their first day of school knowing that statistically the odds are stacked against them. Imagine knowing that nearly half should expect higher unemployment and lower overall lifetime earnings, in addition to a shorter life expectancy and an increased chance of incarceration. It sounds like an absurd, dystopian scenario, but actually it’s a haunting reflection of the year 2010. That was when Tacoma Public Schools recorded a shameful high school graduation rate of 55 percent. ... The outlook is immensely brighter today. Seven straight years of improvement preceded last week’s announcement that Tacoma’s on-time graduation rate now stands at 86.1 percent.
The News Tribune, Dec. 16, 2017

Is higher education really losing the public?

Last summer’s Pew Research Center and Gallup surveys showing sharply declining public support for colleges and universities — especially among Republicans — seriously rattled higher education leaders. Understandably so: with the GOP running the federal government and two-thirds of the states, those trend lines can translate not just into fewer Americans willing to finance a college education personally, but also less favorable treatment of colleges and universities by politicians and policy makers. A pair of new surveys conducted this fall offer a more nuanced picture of public attitudes about higher education. The surveys, by Civis Analytics and Echelon Insights, probably won’t make college leaders rest easy: they reveal meaningful public doubts about college affordability and the value of degrees. (More than four in 10 Americans agreed, for example, that “for most high school students today, pursuing a college degree is not a worthwhile investment because it will lead to student debt with little chance of finding a good-paying job.”) But the new surveys may help focus the conversation on the issues on which higher education appears most vulnerable and on the audiences that are most skeptical.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 15, 2017

National college completion rate rises again

The national college completion rate increased 2.1 percentage points compared to last year, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit that tracks the progress of almost all U.S. college students. The six-year completion rate for students who enrolled in college in the fall of 2011 was 56.9 percent. Last year's rate of 54.8 percent also was up roughly two percentage points from the previous year. That increase followed a two-year slide in national completion rates. However, this year's rate now surpasses the pre-recession high of 56.1 percent for students who started college in 2007.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 15, 2017

More colleges try income-share agreements

In recent weeks two private institutions have joined the small but growing list of colleges that give students the option of using some of their postgraduate income to help pay for college. Late last month Lackawanna College, which is located in Scranton, Pa., announced the creation of its income-sharing agreement. Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, N.Y., this week issued a similar announcement. Under the two programs, students would pay a set amount of their wages after graduation for an agreed-upon number of years in exchange for having some of their tuition waived. The two private institutions teamed up with Vemo Education, a technology company, to help design and launch their programs. Vemo said in November that it has been involved in $23 million of such agreements this year.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 15, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

State Supreme Court to hear charter-schools case again

For the second time, Washington’s Supreme Court will decide the fate of charter schools in Washington state. Two years ago, the court ruled that the state’s charter schools were unconstitutional, sending charters — which are public schools, funded with public dollars and run by private groups — into turmoil. But after the state Legislature came up with a fix by funding charters out of state lottery money rather than the general fund, a coalition of parents, educators and civic groups filed suit again. The group lost in Superior Court in February, when a King County judge ruled that, with the funding change, the state’s charter-school law is constitutional.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 19, 2017

Legal pot? Doesn’t matter, colleges say

While some states have removed criminal penalties for marijuana, and many others have legalized it for medical and — more rarely — recreational use, the drug remains forbidden at colleges in such states. That’s because of a hovering federal threat, but one that has never been realized -- that the government could yank funding to institutions that disobey the law banning drugs on college campuses and public schools.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 19, 2017

White House may restrict some foreign students

A National Security Strategy document issued by the White House Monday reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to increasing vetting of foreign nationals coming to the United States and floated the possibility that certain international students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields could be subjected to new restrictions in an attempt to prevent intellectual property theft.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 19, 2017

Opinion: Cancellation of DACA is a blow to agricultural communities

Congress needs to pass a clean DREAM Act by the end of December. It’s the right thing to do for our country, and it is the best start toward resolving the larger immigration issues before us by creating an immigration system that allows us to protect the immigration of families and to protect our economy. Each day we wait, thousands of lives and families are being thrown into chaos, and our state is losing economic prosperity.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 18, 2017

Final GOP deal would tax large endowments

A proposal to tax some large private college endowments made it into the final version of a tax reform bill agreed to by House and Senate negotiators last week. The provision matches the more modest proposal included in the Senate tax bill passed this month, rather than a House proposal that would have affected many more institutions. But many college leaders have said the tax is bad policy and sets a dangerous precedent. At the same time, many provisions in the tax legislation that alarmed colleges and students were left out of the final bill.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 18, 2017

Final tax bill would spare some higher-ed worries, but could lead to state budget cuts

The Republican-backed tax overhaul is headed for final floor votes in Congress without some of the measures that would directly target higher education. Notably, a proposed tax on tuition waivers for graduate students and other college employees is no longer in the compromise legislation. But a high-profile tax on the investment earnings of some of the largest college endowments stayed in the bill.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 15, 2017

DeVos on GOP's Higher Education Act rewrite

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday that she viewed the U.S. House of Representatives' update to the Higher Education Act as "conceptually, a starting point," although she declined to address specific provisions and said she hadn't had an opportunity to look at the details of the bill. House Republicans advanced the bill out of committee late Tuesday night on a party-line vote just over a week after introducing the legislation. The bill alters the student financial aid landscape, creating one federal grant and loan and making repayment options less generous. It also would eliminate regulations aimed at the for-profit college sector while imposing some new performance requirements for higher ed institutions to receive federal support. As Congress considers reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, DeVos said, "the bigger question is what is the role of the federal government in the 21st century in supporting education beyond high school."
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 15, 2017

Democratic AGs sue DeVos on borrower defense

Four Democratic attorneys general filed separate lawsuits Thursday seeking to compel Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to grant debt relief to students defrauded by for-profit colleges. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California arguing that delays in approving borrower-defense claims of defrauded Corinthian Colleges students violate federal law. A separate lawsuit filed in the D.C. District Court by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Illinois and New York argues that the Department of Education has illegally delayed review of pending claims and improperly rejected group discharge for thousands of borrowers who were misled by for-profit institutions.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 15, 2017

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in new plan to fully fund education

Gov. Jay Inslee wants to pull $950 million from budget reserves to satisfy a state Supreme Court deadline for Washington to end chronic and unconstitutional underfunding of public education. As part of a 2018 supplemental budget proposal announced Thursday, Inslee asked the Legislature to dip into the reserves to hasten a state investment in salaries for teachers and other public-school employees. To backfill the withdrawal, Inslee, a Democrat, said he’ll once again propose a tax on carbon pollution, with details to come next month. Inslee said his plan would finally bring the state into compliance with the 2012 school-funding order known as the McCleary decision. The state has been in contempt of that order since 2014, accruing a fine of $100,000 a day.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 14, 2017

Opinion: Free college in Seattle and beyond is an idea worth pursuing

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposal to give every Seattle high school student two free years of community college is intriguing. The Seattle Promise could have a profound impact on the city’s young people and the region’s economy. Durkan’s proposal builds on an existing program that has already helped about 500 young people attend South Seattle College free for one year. Seattle should continue a measured approach to push more young people toward college and vocational training.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 14, 2017

FCC scraps net-neutrality rules; opponents and Washington state AG vow court challenge

Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow internet providers to speed up service for websites they favor — and block or slow down others — in a decision repealing landmark Obama-era regulations overseeing broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon. The move by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deregulate the telecom and cable industries was a prominent example of the policy shifts under President Donald Trump and a major setback for consumer groups, tech companies and Democrats who had lobbied heavily against the decision.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 14, 2017

Repeal of net-neutrality rules disappoints higher-ed associations

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday repealed Obama-era regulations that required internet-service providers to treat all online traffic equally. The move is widely seen as a shift in power toward big internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Those hoping to see so-called net neutrality untouched under the Trump administration warned that the change would allow internet-service providers to throttle some online traffic and allow companies to pay extra for faster delivery of their content. The decision came in a party-line vote, with three Republican commissioners voting to scrap the regulations and two Democrats voting to retain them. Several higher-education associations had spoken out against the move by Thursday evening. Some submitted opinions during the four-month public-comment period, urging the FCC to keep the regulations in place.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 14, 2017

Last Modified: 2/9/18 11:39 AM
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