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News Links | March 28, 2017

March 28, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Discouraged in high school, inspired in college: Renton Tech student earns national honor

When he was in high school in South King County, Mohamed Abdullahi says, his counselors never pointed out SAT deadlines or suggested he should be applying for college. When the Somali refugee tried to get into Running Start, the community-college program that offers college credit to high-school students, a counselor discouraged him from applying — until his mother intervened. But at Green River College, where Abdullahi first started taking college-level classes, he was challenged in ways that bore no resemblance to his high-school experience. ... And after graduation, when he enrolled in Renton Technical College (RTC) for a computer-science degree, he found a support system that recognized leadership qualities he himself didn’t know he had, and college instructors who encouraged him to get involved — as a tutor and, later, as a student leader. ... This month Abdullahi, who is 24, was selected to be on the All-USA Community College Academic Team, recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending a community or technical college. More than 1,800 students were nominated nationwide for the honor, and only 20 were recognized.
The Seattle Times, March 27, 2017

We need to talk about opportunity

In the U.S., education and opportunity are nearly synonymous – particularly in an economy where education attainment, social, and economic outcomes are increasingly linked. I had the chance last week to explore this topic with other philanthropic leaders at the Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) Leadership Conference, and was heartened by the path forward. ... For Carlos, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was the answer. He was able to enroll at Everett Community College and to pursue a career as a firefighter / paramedic. Carlos also works full-time at a restaurant yet still finds the time to tutor and mentor middle school and high school students.
The Huffington Post, March 27, 2017

Walla Walla students in competition with tiny homeless shelter

Inside Eric Matson’s construction technology shop at Walla Walla’s Southeast Area Technical Skills Center [at Walla Walla Community College], a little brown building on Tuesday was 96 square feet of hope and promise. Waiting to be topped with an arched ceiling bearing a land and skyscape mural envisioned by Walla Walla-based artist Brad Rude, the small structure had been christened “Find Your Own Path.” The 8-by-12-foot homeless shelter was in the final phases of completion for a statewide competition in Olympia that started this weekend. More than 20 teams of high school and college students from around Washington are participating in the state’s Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board’s “Showcase of Skills Homeless Shelter Project.”
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, March 26, 2017

Push to lower state’s recidivism rate finds allies in the Legislature

For people being released from prison, employment and housing reduce the chances of them committing another crime and ending up back behind bars, say Washington’s corrections officials. With that in mind, state lawmakers this year have been trying to give prisoners more help paying rent and getting a job. ... A third proposal with large bipartisan support would let some inmates participate in associate degree programs while in prison.
The Olympian, March 25, 2017

K-12 funding, EdCC international enrollment among topics discussed during ‘State of Schools’ meeting

The challenges and accomplishments facing both the school district and community college serving many of South Snohomish County’s residents were topics of discussion during the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce “State of the Schools” lunch meeting Thursday, March 23 at Edmonds Community College. Edmonds CC Vice President Dr. Tonya Drake and Edmonds School District Superintendent Dr. Kris McDuffy were the featured speakers, and they touched on a range of issues, from state funding for K-12 schools to the possible impacts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban efforts on Edmonds CC’s international student attendance.
My Edmonds News, March 25, 2017

Grays Harbor native Joe Kalisch helps preserve salmon habitat

Joe Kalisch enjoys the “popping” sound most of all. That’s right: Give the 31-year-old a weed wrench, some ornery scotch broom and enthusiastic workmates, and he’s likely to be in seventh heaven. At least for a couple of days a month. That’s when the Cosmopolis man leads his hardy troop of Grays Harbor Stream Team volunteers as they clean trash, plant trees and, yes, rip out invasive plant species such as scotch broom along the county’s rivers and streams. ... Kalisch, who was born in Aberdeen and has lived in Grays Harbor County his whole life, was hired in September to coordinate events for that county’s Stream Team. He works about 17 hours a week while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at The Evergreen State College. He graduated from Grays Harbor College in 2016.
Grays Harbor Talk, March 25, 2017

Community Colleges of Spokane to offer classes at WSU in Pullman

The Community Colleges of Spokane will start offering classes on the Washington State University campus starting April 3. The program, according to a news release, “will expose community college students to university life and enhance college transfer opportunities.” “Washington State University has always been a strong partner to our community colleges,” said Spokane Falls Community College President Janet Gullickson, in a news release. “Moving our Pullman operations onto their campus takes that partnership to a whole new level and allows us to greatly enhance the educational opportunities for our students.”
The Spokesman-Review, March 24, 2017

Two Centralia College students chosen for the All-Washington Academic Team

Two Centralia College students were honored on Thursday as members of the 2017 All-Washington Academic Team. The representatives for Centralia College are Joseph Lawrence and Tyler Layden. The students were selected based on their academic achievement, community involvement and service to the college, according to a press release.
The Centralia Chronicle, March 24, 2017

Deaf man working to achieve childhood dream of flight

Zack Kukorlo is a man who is an incredible example of what the human spirit can achieve when determination overcomes adversity. "He's already showed that the sky's the limit, and he's going to push that limit," said Jackie Vazquez, Director of Maintenance for Bergstrom Aviation on the Tri-Cities Airport. Bergstrom Aviation recently hired Zack as an aircraft mechanic, and his boss Vazquez said his resume blew him away. ... Zack started his journey taking courses at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, where he recently earned his FAA Mechanics Certification in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance. His certification even required a special exemption from the FAA just for him to be eligible.
KEPR TV, March 24, 2017

Two SPSCC students honored at All-Washington Academic Team ceremony

South Puget Sound Community College hosted the 22nd annual All-Washington Academic Team ceremony on Thursday, March 23, and honored two of its most distinguished students. Marina Bae Graham and Gyanna Lam were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements, extracurricular experiences, and their roles within the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society.
Thurston Talk, March 24, 2017

Forward thinking

Things can get pretty noisy when you put several middle schoolers in one room. But on Friday, March 17, the only sounds in the mechatronics lab were from the equipment, as professor Christopher Lewis demonstrated some of it to the young visitors, a group of 40 eighth-graders from Jemtegaard Middle School. Otherwise, all eyes were on Lewis and the various machines in his lab at Clark College’s Columbia Tech Center campus.
Camas-Washougal Post-Record, March 24, 2017

Wekiva turtles have been caught and studied for decades

As the Wekiva River awakens with daybreak, its cooters and loggerhead musks claw onto fallen tree limbs to bask their mossy shells in sunlight. If a canoeist ventures too near, the cautious turtles dive for an escape. But they likely won’t get far if Eric Munscher, director of the North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group, and his students are in the river. ... For nearly two decades, Munscher, other scientists and university students from across the nation have returned twice a year to the federally designated Wild and Scenic River north of Orlando. Their mission is to bring awareness to the hidden lives of Wekiva turtles: their species; life expectancy; growth rate; health condition; sex ratio; and population. ... “Softshells are notoriously hard to capture because they are so fast,” said Brian Hauge, biology professor at Peninsula College in Washington. “So what we do is, when someone sees one, they come up and yell ‘softshell, softshell,’ and everybody converges on it.”
Orlando Sentinel, March 24, 2017

‘Emotionally connected’ students build tiny houses for homeless

Geometry class filled with the pounding of hammers and buzzing of saws Tuesday morning. ... Students from Arlington High School’s geometry in construction class are participating in a statewide competition. So are teams from Mountlake Terrace and Snohomish high schools. In all, 20 high schools and five groups from community and technical colleges plan to gather in Olympia on Monday. Each team is building a tiny house without the plumbing and electricity. The houses will be donated as transitional shelters for homeless people in Seattle.
Everett Herald, March 24, 2017

Home Builders Association: New home permits surge in 2016

If you’ve been thinking about building or purchasing a new home the Tri-Cities, you’re not alone. In 2016, new single family home permits surged up 25 percent over the prior year with the majority of growth in Pasco and Kennewick. Pasco dominated the trend with a 65 percent increase in new home starts. ... The ongoing Achilles’ heel for the industry is attracting qualified, skilled labor. The current median age of 55 in the construction industry makes it paramount to ensure our education system does not overlook the trades. Home building provides stable, living-wage jobs and the trades present an excellent opportunity to young people who do not want to follow the traditional college path. Local programs such as those found at Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick and Walla Walla Community College carpentry program help fill a vital need in our community.
Tri-City Herald, March 23, 2017

Gig Harbor native follows dream, becomes part of Walt Disney Studio team for Oscar-winning films

Alexandra (Poston) Naut is doing what many people only dream about: The 26-year-old Gig Harbor native is making her living as an artist. Naut just finished a three-year stint working at Walt Disney Studio in Burbank, California and just accepted a position with DreamWorks Animation. ... Naut attended Goodman Middle School and then Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, returning to Gig Harbor High School to attend the Running Start program at Tacoma Community College. “Running Start was such an important step for me,” she explained. “It gave me a leap ahead for college.”
The News Tribune, March 23, 2017

Bates: Bates nominates nursing student for All-Washington Academic Team

Bates Technical College has selected Practical Nurse student Bridgette Leech to represent the college as a member of the All-Washington Academic Team. Governor Jay Inslee will honor Leech and other nominees from across the state at a recognition ceremony in Olympia on March 23 at South Puget Sound Community College.
The Suburban Times, March 23, 2017

Meet Nhan Ta, All Washington Academic Team member

Nhan Ta, an international student from Vietnam, began learning English in Kindergarten and has attended English-speaking schools for gifted students ever since. Ta, 18, will receive his high school diploma and associate of arts degree simultaneously at the end of spring quarter. ... For as long as he could remember, his biggest goal growing up was to study in America. But after arriving in Washington state, he soon realized the transition would not be easy. The culture shock was intense, but those difficult early days inspired him to take action. Rather than wallowing in his frustrations, Ta joined a number of clubs on campus. He has worked as an outreach chair and ambassador for American Honors at Pierce College, and also served as the Diversity and Equity Coordinator for the Puyallup Office of Student Life.
The Suburban Times, March 23, 2017

Automotive student finds art in restoration and customization

Ericka DeBoer is an artist, and her canvas is a car. The Clover Park Technical College Automotive Restoration and Customization student knows some people will hear that and look at her funny, but it’s true. ... It’s that passion that drives DeBoer in her work at CPTC and has helped her overcome numerous obstacles to reach this point. Growing up she was drawn to cars, but she never had the opportunity to work with them.
The Suburban Times, March 23, 2017

Yakima Valley College students honored with state award

Two local college students are heading to Olympia where they're being honored for making the state all-academic team. Jose Zuniga and Kylie Ergeson will be going to Olympia Thursday to represent Yakima Valley College. They also have the potential to get more than four thousand dollars in scholarships.
KIMA TV, March 22, 2017

Auburn among winners in Highline College’s annual poetry contest

“Imaginative” earned Elizabeth Abramchuk first place in the Highline College Student Poetry Contest. Abramchuk was one of 54 writers who submitted 101 poems during the contest, which is a prelude to Highline’s fifth annual celebration of National Poetry Month in April.
Auburn Reporter, March 22, 2017

Trends | Horizons | Education

Professor Caveman

Why Bill Schindler is teaching college students to live like early humans. ... Over the course of this semester-long class, Experimental Archaeology and Primitive Technology, Schindler’s students learn to build fires with wooden hand drills, make rope from plant fibers, and gather tree nuts, among other things. Although most of us no longer rely on these skills, Schindler argues that they are essential to understanding what it means to be human, and should be a part of our educational curricula.
The Atlantic, April edition

Study: Income-based repayment reduced defaults

A new study links the drop in home prices during the Great Recession to the increase in student loan defaults over the same period. The study, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, also finds student loan defaults concentrated among individuals with low-income jobs, which were shed as housing prices dropped. Significantly for student loan policy, the study finds that the income-based repayment program introduced after the recession led to fewer student loan defaults and protected borrowers against adverse income shocks.
Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2017

How for-profit colleges sell 'risky education' to the most vulnerable

For-profit colleges have faced federal and state investigations in recent years for their aggressive recruiting tactics — accusations that come as no surprise to author Tressie McMillan Cottom. Cottom worked as an enrollment officer at two different for-profit colleges, but quit because she felt uncomfortable selling students an education they couldn't afford. Her new book, Lower Ed, argues that for-profit colleges exploit racial, gender and economic inequality.
NPR, March 27, 2017

Opinion: Can we afford free textbooks?

When it comes to student success, “new” open resources ultimately do little more than further entrench an ineffective status quo, argues Robert S. Feldman.
Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2017

Nearly 40 percent of American colleges say fewer international students are applying

The U.S. has been rated the best country in the world for higher education and boasts world-class facilities and professors. And as such, America has attracted increasing amounts of international students. From the 2005-2006 academic year over the next decade, the number of foreign-born students has increased every year, almost doubling in total by 2015-2016. But now, that number might be poised to drop. According to a study from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, nearly 40 percent of American colleges are reporting a decline in international applications, while 35 percent say there’s been an increase.
The Olympian, March 26, 2017

The free certificate movement

When people talk about free community college, they’re most likely thinking about tuition-free programs like those in Tennessee or the one proposed by President Obama, which focus on getting students to an associate degree with as little debt as possible. But in Indiana, a new proposal — the Workforce Ready Grant — would instead offer free community college to those students who want a certificate in a high-demand field. While the certificates would vary by program, they typically take anywhere from 18 to 34 credit hours to complete or at most one year for a full-time student.
Inside Higher Ed, March 24, 2017

Gates Foundation unveils open-access platform

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday unveiled Gates Open Research, an open-access publishing platform designed exclusively for the foundation's grant recipients. The platform, which was developed by F1000 and is scheduled to launch in the third quarter of 2017, gives grant recipients another option for where to publish their work that complies with the foundation's open-access requirements.
Inside Higher Ed, March 24, 2017

Opinion: CTE: Not your grandpa’s shop class

By Eleni Papadakis, Workforce Board executive director, and Perry England, Washington Workforce board chair. In the quest for higher graduation rates, it’s easy to focus on the “three R’s” of reading, writing and arithmetic, or even adding science and technology to the mix. After all, our students should be graduating with the basics firmly under their belt. If they can’t master these subjects, not only might they be sidelined come graduation time, but their ability to get ahead, raise families, buy homes and contribute to our economy is in doubt. But too often this focus on fundamentals has equated to book learning and spitting back facts in essays and multiple choice tests. For many of Washington’s students, this method of learning is hopelessly abstract. It’s one reason that Career and Technical education has attracted renewed interest.
The Olympian, March 23, 2017

Editorial: Student loans shouldn’t be a debt sentence

We’re just weeks away from “Pomp and Circumstance” for high school graduates, and for many the months between then and the start of college will go by quickly. But more than fleeting attention should be paid by high school graduates and their parents regarding student loans and the task ahead in paying off student loan debt after college. A post-secondary education, whether that produces a vocational certificate or a degree following two, four or more years of college, remains a young adult’s best opportunity for employment. And the job prospects for those with at least some college are improving.
Everett Herald, March 22, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

With IRS data tool down, lawmakers ask Department of Ed to assist students

In a letter released Monday, the Senate and House education committees called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to assist students affected by the continued outage of the IRS data retrieval tool. The recommendations in the letter overlapped with requests made by college access groups earlier this month as the complications from the tool's shutdown became apparent.
Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2017

Cutting college prep

The White House budget proposal released this month would make significant cuts to college-prep programs for low-income and first-generation students but promises to do so guided by evidence of which ones are effective. The problem, higher ed policy analysts and researchers say, is that there has been little in the way of comprehensive evaluations of the programs under the umbrella of TRIO and Gear Up in more than a decade. And supporters of such services say if the Trump administration is interested in re-evaluating those programs, officials should do so before cutting funding across the board.
Inside Higher Ed, March 28, 2017

Democrats in Olympia have plan to fund schools: $3B in new taxes

Washington House Democrats on Monday released a budget plan that aims to satisfy court-ordered K-12 education funding by enacting a new tax on capital gains and restructuring the state’s business taxes. The Democratic proposal, a $44.6 billion 2017-19 state operating budget, would raise about $3 billion in new taxes. It would institute a 7 percent tax on capital-gains earnings above $25,000 for single filers and $50,000 for joint filers.
The Seattle Times, March 27, 2017

The closing of the Republican mind on for-profit colleges

In Congress, on the presidential campaign trail, and in the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, Republicans have been unified in the belief that the Obama administration badly overreached in its attempts to regulate for-profit career colleges that leave graduates unable to pay off student debt with income from the jobs for which they were trained. Rolling back the Obama administration’s so-called “gainful employment” requirements for postsecondary career programs is thought to top the GOP’s current higher-education agenda. What’s surprising about this GOP consensus is that it is deeply at odds with conservative practice: Republican administrations, dating back to President Eisenhower, have traditionally pressed for tighter regulation of for-profit colleges, often over the objections of Democratic lawmakers.
The Atlantic, March 27, 2017

Long road for regulatory rollbacks

Republicans swept to power after years of complaints about the Obama administration's crackdown on for-profit colleges. But only tentative steps to roll back regulations have followed, and two major rules could be headed for a drawn-out negotiation process.
Inside Higher Ed, March 27, 2017

Senate passes $43 billion state budget proposal

The Senate on Friday passed a $43 billion two-year state budget proposal that relies, in part, on a statewide property tax earmarked for education, while also making cuts to some social services. The spending plan, which cleared the Republican-led Senate on a 25-24 vote after a multi-hour, middle-of-the-night debate, would raise property taxes for some, while lowering taxes for others in the state. House Democrats are set to release and pass their own budget proposal next week, and then both chambers will begin the work of negotiating a final compromise that must satisfy a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding.
Associated Press, March 24, 2017

In first college visit, DeVos praises career prep and community colleges

Betsy DeVos made her first official visit to an institution of higher education as education secretary on Friday, touring the jobs-training programs at Valencia College, a two-year college in Florida. Ms. DeVos’s interest in community colleges — specifically, in career preparation — is consistent with her past statements on higher ed. In her first higher-ed address, in February, she noted “the importance of expanding vocational and technical education, the types of career and technical education that community colleges excel at providing.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 24, 2017

Virginia judge sides with Trump administration on new travel ban

A Virginia federal judge ruled in favor of President Trump’s revised travel ban Friday, saying the president’s inflammatory comments about banning Muslims do not erase his broad national security powers. The decision hands the administration a symbolic victory, but the attempt to forbid travel from several majority-Muslim countries remains blocked by two other federal courts.
The Washington Post, March 24, 2017

Scrutiny ordered for certain visa applicants

Memos from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offer a first glimpse of what President Trump’s proposed “extreme vetting” of visa applicants will look like, Reuters and The New York Times reported Thursday. The memos direct consular officials to identify "populations warranting increased scrutiny" and to put applicants from these populations through more rigorous questioning. The memos also direct consular officials to check social media histories for all applicants who have been in areas controlled by the Islamic State. State Department officials say the changes will likely lead to increases in visa denials and further slow the visa application process. Immigration attorneys also expressed concern about profiling of visa applicants based on religion or national origin.
Inside Higher Ed, March 24, 2017

Chapman rural jobs bill: One year of free tuition for high-demand fields

Rep. Mike Chapman has introduced a bill that he claims will create jobs in rural counties with persistently high unemployment by offering one year of free tuition for students from rural counties pursuing careers in what are considered mid-level jobs.
The Daily World, March 23, 2017

The Supreme Court rules in favor of a special education student

School districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in an 8-0 ruling. The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States. The case centered on a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents removed him from public school in fifth grade. He went on to make better progress in a private school. His parents argued that the individualized education plan provided by the public school was inadequate, and they sued to compel the school district to pay his private school tuition.
KNKX, March 22, 2017

Opinion: GOP’s state budget plan has right focus on basic education

The Republican-led state Senate’s two-year state budget proposal appears to take a reasoned approach to fully funding basic public education without unleashing a torrent of new taxes. The $43 billion 2017-19 budget plan adds $1.8 billion toward K-12 education, which would come from projected growth in current tax revenue and spending cuts in other state programs.
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, March 22, 2017

State attorney general targets student loans, other consumer protections

If you think you are seeing the state take more businesses to court than in the past, you’re right, according to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. There was just one consumer protection trial in the 17 years before he took office, he told the Herald editorial board Tuesday during a visit to the Tri-Cities. ... Now Ferguson is taking on Navient Corp., an offshoot of education-finance giant Sallie Mae, as part of work to protect students who take out loans for their education. The lawsuit against Navient alleges that it has used deceptive practices, such as overstating the amount due when borrowers fall behind on payments.
Tri-City Herald, March 21, 2017

Last Modified: 2/9/18 11:42 AM
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