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News Links | February 2, 2017

February 02, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Opinion: Disrupting higher education, one click at a time

By Jean Floten, retired chancellor of WGU Washington. I earned my higher education stripes at brick-and-mortar institutions, first teaching at a university, followed by student services and instructional administration, then as president of Bellevue College for more than two decades. Over a 45-year career, I’ve witnessed amazing innovations in postsecondary learning and been privileged to contribute during that extraordinary era.
The Spokesman-Review, Feb. 2, 2017

Mayor, RTC president respond to Trump executive orders

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities and restrict travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, the city of Renton is stressing its commitment to “build an inclusive city with opportunities for all.” ... Renton Technical College President Kevin McCarthy also released a statement in response to Trump’s executive order, saying that the order “could disrupt the lives of students, faculty and staff at RTC.”
Renton Reporter, Feb. 1, 2017

Finding the hidden jobs of the future

Haven’t you always wanted to work in sustainable forestry, or salmon restoration? How about a steady, working-wage job operating, maintaining and repairing machinery used in crop harvesting, or food processing? Washington state lawmakers might like to help you get there, by bringing two-year colleges and employers together around under-promoted career paths tied to agriculture, natural resources and the environment. New bipartisan legislation is part of that push. ... Katherine Mahoney is the Worker Retraining Program Administrator for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Those schools are known as CTCs. She told the House committee it’s crucial to understand employer needs, and to ensure “our CTC programs are lined up in providing a skilled and educated workforce for these jobs.”
The Business Institute of Washington Lens, Feb. 1, 2017

WCC receives $650,000 grant to help STEM students

Whatcom Community College will use a five-year $650,000 National Science Foundation grant to provide scholarships and academic support for 36 low-income, academically talented students pursuing associate degrees in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics and physics.
Lynden Tribune, Feb. 1, 2017

Pierce County colleges support foreign students following Trump immigration ban

One Pierce County college is calling President Donald Trump’s executive orders banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries un-American, and others are voicing support for affected students and staff members. ... “These are unprecedented times that challenge us,” Tacoma Community College leaders said in a statement released Monday. The college is committed to providing a safe and secure atmosphere for all of its students, regardless of citizenship and immigration status, according to the statement.
The News Tribune, Jan. 31, 2017

Mental health services could improve for college veterans

In an effort to improve access to mental health services for veterans in college, the six four year colleges in Washington would be required to have a counselor on staff who specializes in issues veterans commonly have. ... Having counselors who specialize in veterans issues such as PTSD treatment would help veteran students and non-veteran students, said Natalie Shanke, the assistant director of student care and community standards. Although Clark College is not a state college and would not be affected by the proposed legislation, it offers counseling services and has a sizeable veteran population.
The Reflector, Jan. 31, 2017

Need a good job? Richland nuclear plant hiring for outage

Hiring has started for Energy Northwest’s biennial refueling and maintenance outage at its nuclear power plant near Richland. Many of the 1,300 workers needed for the outage will be brought to town by contractors on the project, filling hotels, motels and RV parks, and spending money in Tri-City area restaurants and stores. But Energy Northwest has begun posting some of the 200 jobs available to Mid-Columbia residents, if only for two to three months. ... Some workers, particularly those who work more than one outage, use it as a stepping stone to become permanent employees of Energy Northwest. ... It also is an internship opportunity for students in the nuclear technology program at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
Tri-City Herald, Jan. 31, 2017

Trends | Horizons | Education

School stats: A patchwork of exceptions nets some districts extra cash

Some 100 school districts get to collect more money from taxpayers or pay their teachers higher rates than the rest of the state. Just another piece of the elaborate puzzle now confronting lawmakers on school funding.
The Seattle Times, Feb. 2, 2017

Amid violence, Yiannopoulos speech at Berkeley canceled

California campus is latest to be inflamed by protests — reportedly fueled by visiting mob from off the campus — over appearances by the Breitbart writer and provocateur. UPDATE: Trump suggests university should lose federal funds.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

Direct-to-student data

Data dashboards and performance feedback can motivate middle-range students to work a little harder to earn a desired grade, a new study found. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Information and the educational technology company Blackboard, explores a growing trend in higher education — that of collecting data about students and presenting it to them at important junctures during their college careers, with the hope that doing so will lead to higher grades and improved retention and graduation rates.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

FCC urged to keep ban on robocalls

The National Consumer Law Center and 17 other consumer groups asked the Federal Communications Center Wednesday to reject debt collection firms' request to reconsider rules limiting robocalls and text messages to student loan borrowers and other debt holders.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

Apollo Group finalizes sale for $1.14 billion

As expected, a group of private investors have completed their $1.14 billion purchase of Apollo Education Group, the company announced Wednesday. The now-private Apollo, which had been publicly traded, owns the University of Phoenix. The U.S. Department of Education and Phoenix's regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, previously signed off on the sale.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

WSU-Spokane agreement with private university creates pipeline for pharmacy students in the Yakima Valley

The Yakima Valley has a shortage of health care workers, particularly family doctors. In the sprawling agricultural region, home to one of the state’s most culturally diverse populations, patients often face long waits to see a primary care physician. Washington State University-Spokane has a solution: train more Yakima-area students to be pharmacists.
The Spokesman-Review, Feb. 1, 2017

Seattle U. student leader resigns to help others lacking legal status, like him

The president of Seattle University’s student government, a 21-year-old who as a child was brought into the U.S. illegally, is stepping down in the aftermath of the national election.
The Seattle Times, Jan. 31, 2017

No free lunch: Donors come forward to erase students’ debts

Ashley C. Ford felt driven to act by a sad fact of life in the nation’s school cafeterias: Kids with unpaid lunch accounts are often embarrassed with a substitute meal of a cold cheese sandwich and a carton of milk. Ford, a New York City writer, appealed to her 66,000 Twitter followers with a solution. “A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.” ... In the nearly two months since, people around the country have been inspired to donate thousands of dollars to erase debts owed by parents that can follow kids throughout their school careers.
The Seattle Times, Jan. 31, 2017

International students caught off guard by Trump's travel ban

Universities in Washington state are scrambling to respond to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration. It bans some people from seven countries — including Iraq and Syria — from entering the United States for 90 days. At the University of Washington, more than a dozen scholars and just under 100 international students are affected by Trump's travel ban. People report feeling afraid, cut off from family back home, and in some instances stuck abroad.
KUOW, Jan. 30, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

Collins, Murkowski to vote no on DeVos

Two Republican senators who expressed serious doubts about Betsy DeVos's nomination for education secretary confirmed in remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday that they will not support her confirmation. The defections of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins mean if Democrats can hold the line in opposing DeVos, they would need one more Republican no vote to block her confirmation.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

Data fears and downloads

Some education researchers have begun downloading federal data amid questions about the new administration's commitment to continuing transparency efforts.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2, 2017

Washington state Senate OKs education-funding plan

The Senate has narrowly approved an education funding plan that seeks to replace local school levies with a statewide uniform rate earmarked for schools. The chamber passed the Republican proposal on a 25-24 vote, with no Democrat — except one who caucuses with Republicans to give them their majority — voting in favor of it. The measure now heads to the Democratic-controlled House, where it will be negotiated as both sides continue to work toward a compromise.
The Seattle Times, Feb. 1, 2017

After tuition cut, Washington college students lobby for a freeze

Washington college students, who lobbied two years ago for a tuition cut that lawmakers did approve, are now back at the Capitol, asking for a tuition freeze this year, plus financial aid for all low-income students who qualify for it. It’s hard to know how that will play out in a year when legislators are also on the hook for more robust funding of K-12 education, under a state Supreme Court mandate called the McCleary decision. In his budget, Gov. Jay Inslee has also called for a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates.
The Seattle Times, Feb. 1, 2017

On the fence about DeVos

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced the nomination of Betsy DeVos to lead the U.S. Department of Education Tuesday with a party-line vote of 12-11. But her confirmation by the full Senate does not appear to be a sure thing after two Republican committee members expressed doubts about voting for her confirmation on the Senate floor. Maine Senator Susan Collins said DeVos's focus on charter schools as a philanthropist and activist raised questions about whether she understood her primary focus as education secretary would be to strengthen all public schools. And Collins voiced concerns about the nominee's commitment to enforcing the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 1, 2017

What Trump’s Supreme Court choice might mean for higher ed

What happens on college campuses often depends on what men and women in black robes decide. So anyone with a stake in higher education had good reason to tune in on Tuesday night and see who President Trump would choose to fill the U.S. Supreme Court’s long-empty seat. The answer: Neil M. Gorsuch, a conservative federal appellate judge who, if confirmed by the Senate, just might help shape academe for decades to come.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 1, 2017

Legislature considering back-to-school sales tax holiday, but not everyone likes idea

When she lived in Texas — but before she had children — Alene Averett thought the Lone Star State’s practice of waiving sales tax one weekend a year for back-to-school purchases was a great way to help parents. “It is expensive to outfit your kids for school,” the Selah resident and mother of four said. And when she was raising her kids in Washington, she wished she could have received the tax break that Texans enjoyed. A Republican legislator from Enumclaw thinks it’s time that Washington state offers families the same benefit.
Yakima Herald, Jan. 31, 2017

Jerry Falwell Jr. says he will lead federal task force on higher-ed policy

Jerry L. Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, has been asked by President Trump to head up a new task force that will identify changes that should be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s policies and procedures, Mr. Falwell told The Chronicle on Tuesday. The exact scope, size, and mission of the task force has yet to be formally announced. But in an interview, Mr. Falwell said he sees it as a response to what he called “overreaching regulation” and micromanagement by the department in areas like accreditation and policies that affect colleges’ student-recruiting behavior, like the new “borrower defense to repayment” regulations.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 31, 2017

Last Modified: 2/9/18 11:37 AM
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