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News Links | November 30, 2017

November 30, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

Jenny Durkan takes step on free-college promise on 1st full day as Seattle mayor

Jenny Durkan cemented a key campaign vow on her first full day as mayor Wednesday, signing an order for Seattle to make community college free for high-school graduates. She still needs to figure out how to pay for the program in the long-term, however, and voters may get to weigh in on that. Durkan in August pitched a Seattle Promise program she said would offer all of the city’s public high-school grads up to two years of tuition help at community and technical colleges. The new program will be modeled on the existing 13th Year Promise Scholarship, which has been privately funded by Seattle-area businesses and which has allowed students graduating from Cleveland, Chief Sealth International and Rainier Beach High schools to attend South Seattle College free for one year.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 29, 2017

Automotive instructor from Centralia receives national award

An automotive instructor from Centralia recently received a national achievement award as the Byrl Shoemaker and ASE Education Foundation Instructor of the Year. Norman Chapman, of Centralia, is a professor of automotive technology at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia. He is an Automotive Service Excellence certified automobile technician. Chapman was one of 47 automotive professionals recognized on Nov. 15 at the fall board of governors meeting of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence held in San Diego, California, according to a press release.
Centralia Chronicle, Nov. 29, 2017

He traded Olympia for ‘amazing honor’ in Trump administration

Kirk Pearson can’t hide his smile because he’s living the dream right now. When Pearson enlisted last year in the movement that carried Donald Trump into the presidency, he hoped this year to be able to help him succeed as the nation’s leader. That opportunity arrived earlier this month when Pearson, a Monroe resident, was named state director of the U. S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office. ... Pearson, who attended Wenatchee Valley College and Central Washington University but did not earn a degree at either institution, is the face of the federal agency in the state. One of his chief tasks is making certain Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Trump are aware of the unique challenges and needs of rural communities in Washington.
Everett Herald, Nov. 29, 2017

Pierce College celebrates 50 years of service

It all started in a grocery store. A grocery store and a vision. And it ended with students, programs and a reputation literally around the world. And if you have visited one of the campuses lately, you just might have the feeling that this story is, in fact, just beginning. ... Pierce College started out, as many of the colleges of the ’60s and ‘70s did, as a loose collection of temporary or borrowed sites like grocery stores or local high schools. ... Prior to Tacoma Community College and Pierce College, Washington had a state law which prohibited the establishment of a community college in a county where there was already a four year college. ... In 1967 the state legislature passed the Community College Act, which separated community colleges from school districts. Pierce College had originally been part of the Clover Park School District, and in Tacoma, Bates Technical College had been part of the Tacoma School District. ... The Community College Act also established the State Board for Community College Education (which later became the SBCTC, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges). ... With UWT, TCC, Pierce College, Clover Park Technical College, Bates Tech and a multiple of online educational opportunities, it’s difficult to imagine how few options we had only a few years ago. But thanks to these schools – and the visionary people that made them possible – our choices seem to keep expanding every year.
Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 29, 2017

Bellevue College’s radio station recognized for excellence in reporting of disability issues

Bellevue College’s public radio station 91.3 KBCS received national recognition in journalism last night for producing a two-piece segment chronicling the experiences of a wheelchair user trying to navigate public transportation in Seattle. “Dorian Wants Transit Policy Towards Disabled Persons to Change” placed third in the prestigious 2017 Katherine Schneider Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability contest. First place went to the Chicago Tribune, and second place went to the Houston Chronicle.
Bellevue Reporter, Nov. 28, 2017

Mayor Jenny Durkan takes office, with city tour including West Seattle stop

We’re at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge, where newly inaugurated Mayor Jenny Durkan will be appearing soon. ... The mayor, by the way, promised she would be back in West Seattle often – so often we’ll “get sick of” her. In fact she is already planning a second visit tomorrow, at South Seattle College, to talk about her plan to expand college access. 
West Seattle Blog, Nov. 28, 2017

Now they’re really cooking at Clark College

Soup’s on for Clark College culinary students, where the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Culinary Institute is open for classes and business. On Tuesday, the warm smell of roasting beef and chicken bones, undercut with the sharp tang of grated lemon zest, filled the newly opened kitchen as students cooked broth and prepared lemonade in anticipation of a ribbon-cutting celebration later that afternoon. It was the fourth day that students had been in the new building, which will house revamped Cuisine Management and Baking and Pastry Arts curriculums. Baking students will move into the space later.
The Columbian, Nov. 28, 2017

Trends | Horizons | Education

A call to reform undergraduate education

What was once a challenge of quantity in American undergraduate education is increasingly a challenge of educational quality. In other words, getting as many students as possible to attend college means little if they’re not learning what they need to and — crucially — if they don’t graduate. That’s the recurring message of a new report, “The Future of Undergraduate Education, The Future of America,” from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. More than a challenge, the report says, delivering on educational quality and completion is a must — not only for institutions but the country. The U.S. is more diverse and technology based than ever, and workers can expect to change careers multiple times, it says, perhaps eventually transitioning to jobs that don’t yet exist. College-educated Americans also enjoy a higher quality of life than their high school-educated peers across a variety of measures and are more able to pay off college debt.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 30, 2017

New charter high school planned for South Seattle

Though not entirely free of legal hurdles, charter schools continue to open in Western Washington under a much-debated state law that now allows up to 40 such schools by 2021. Next up: a college-track program for ninth- through 12th-graders in Rainier Valley — less than 2 miles from Seattle Public Schools’ Rainier Beach campus. The California-based Green Dot organization is seeking city approval to build its Rainier Valley Leadership Academy at 3900 S. Holly Park Drive. If completed as planned, the school would be a 58,000-square-foot, three-story edifice offering 600 teenagers “an inclusive, A.P.-for-all setting,” said Bree Dusseault, Green Dot’s leader in Washington, referring to the high-rigor, Advanced Placement courses typically taken by students headed for college.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 30, 2017

UW team wins $500,000 for conversational computer

A team from the University of Washington has won a major award for artificial intelligence: the inaugural Alexa Prize from Amazon. The $500,000 award was announced today at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas. ... Team Sounding Board was one of three international finalists. Their task was to develop a “socialbot” capable of sustaining a coherent conversation about popular topics for 20 minutes. Fang said the team didn’t want just a chatterbot, they wanted it to have meaningful conversations using trending topics on the web.
KNKX, Nov. 28, 2017

Navigating life on campus when you're on the autism spectrum

James Carmody never had any doubt that he would go to college. He loved learning, he worked hard and he was excited to make a positive impact on the world. But as the end of his senior year approached and college loomed, James was a little worried. James has Asperger's syndrome — now included under the umbrella term "autism spectrum disorder." The condition means social interactions can be difficult or awkward for James, who is 18. ... James says he worried that Asperger's syndrome might make all the changes that accompany college — new friends, new surroundings, new classes — harder.
NPR, Nov. 28, 2017

What really happened at the school where 'every senior got into college'

Brian Butcher, a history teacher at Ballou High School, sat in the bleachers of the school's brand-new football field last June watching 164 seniors receive diplomas. It was a clear, warm night and he was surrounded by screaming family and friends snapping photos and cheering. It was a triumphant moment for the students: For the first time, every graduate had applied and been accepted to college. The school is located in one of Washington, D.C.'s poorest neighborhoods and has struggled academically for years with a low graduation rate. For months, the school received national media attention, including from NPR, celebrating the achievement. But all the excitement and accomplishment couldn't shake one question from Butcher's mind: How did all these students graduate from high school?
NPR, Nov. 28, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

How the tax bills would hit higher ed

As Republican leaders in the Senate lobbied to secure the votes needed for a drastic overhaul of the U.S. tax system, higher education leaders and student groups have continued to keep the spotlight on provisions in both houses of Congress that would significantly affect — and, they believe, badly hurt — institutions and college-goers alike. Both tax reform plans would for the first time tax the income of college endowments by targeting the largest endowments at private institutions — a "disastrous precedent for universities and indeed, for all charitable organizations," said Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, in a statement this week. But the effects of the two bills on students and colleges are wide-ranging.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 30, 2017

GOP begins rewrite of federal aid law

The education committee of the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is set to release an opening salvo in Congress’s long-overdue reauthorization the Higher Education Act, the law that oversees federal financial aid programs. Policy wonks circulated bullet points from the committee, which plans to release the full proposal later this week. And The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday published four articles about the pending legislation based on a summary the newspaper reviewed.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 30, 2017

Education Department signals possible changes to gainful-employment rule

In documents released this week ahead of a negotiated rule-making session on the gainful-employment rule, the Department of Education signaled potential limits to the Obama-era regulation that went into effect last year. The gainful-employment regulation was written to weed out poor-performing career education programs that produce too many graduates with debt they can't repay. To hold programs accountable, it ties access to federal student aid funds to performance on a debt-to-earnings metric. For-profit colleges sued twice to block the rule, but it went into effect last year and the first set of full data for career programs subject to the rule was released in January. However, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in June that she would appoint a rule-making panel to overhaul the rule, taking account of many of the complaints from colleges.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 30, 2017

House Republicans eye sweeping changes in Higher Education Act

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to release a bill this week that would reauthorize the federal law governing higher education, the Higher Education Act of 1965, and it includes several significant changes, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed a summary of the proposal. Among the changes in the overhaul package from the U.S. House’s education committee, led by Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, are a plan to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Fafsa, and cap the amount that students may borrow. And it would end a loan-forgiveness program for public servants who have made payments on their loans for 10 years. The bill would repeal the gainful-employment regulation, a thorn in the side of for-profit colleges, which is slated to undergo negotiated rule-making next week and be rewritten. The House Republicans’ bill also would expand job-training and apprenticeship opportunities, which have been championed by the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. The bill would also maintain the ban on a unit-record system, which would foster the tracking of students’ attainments and has seen a groundswell of bipartisan support.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 29, 2017

These minority-serving institutions could lose money under the House Republicans’ new plan

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to release a bill this week that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act of 1965, and one proposal could adversely affect minority-serving institutions. According to The Wall Street Journal, the bill — which seeks to revise higher education’s landmark law — will include a provision that would stiffen eligibility requirements for colleges, including historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions, to receive funds under Title III and Title V of the law. Those programs are intended to help minority-serving institutions increase academic resources and offerings, among other things. Under the bill, the institutions would be required to graduate or transfer at least 25 percent of their students. The details of the plan beyond that are few and far between, and once the bill is released, it is likely to look much different than the first draft.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 29, 2017

Opinion: McCleary saga still looms over state lawmakers

The 2017 legislative cram session that finally produced a state plan to amply fund public education unfortunately will have to continue next year. The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that while the Legislature has made progress, it still has a ways to go before it has fulfilled its constitutional duty in the ongoing McCleary saga. That means lawmakers will have to push through significant budget changes in next year’s “short” 60-day session, and that likely won’t be easy. Historically, the even-numbered session years are supposed to be used for relatively minor legislative tweaks to the state budget. That won’t be the case this time around.
Tri-City Herald, Nov. 29, 2017

FAFSA goes mobile

Nationally, just three out of five high school seniors complete an application for federal student aid. And completion rates are lowest among low-income students, meaning those students leave billions of dollars in aid on the table. The Office of Federal Student Aid wants to boost those numbers by putting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in front of students on the device that rarely leaves their hands — their cellphones. Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, told student aid professionals in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday that her department will move the FAFSA to a mobile application as part of a larger effort to modernize the federal student aid system.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 29, 2017

Net neutrality rollback concerns colleges

Last week the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission published his plan to dismantle Obama-era regulations protecting "net neutrality" — the idea that all web content should be treated equally by internet service providers. Under the FCC proposal, due to be voted on Dec. 14 by the majority-Republican commission, ISPs would have the freedom to slow down or even block websites or online services that do not serve their commercial interests. They could also charge their customers a fee to prioritize the delivery of their content through the creation of internet “fast lanes.” Higher education groups have been united in their condemnation of the net neutrality rollback, which they say could make it more difficult for students and the public to access educational resources, and potentially impose huge costs on institutions.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 29, 2017

Is it finally time to simplify the Fafsa? Signs point to yes.

Elaine G. Williams earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in May. But the road to graduation was anything but easy. She first experienced homelessness in middle school, and the burden of maintaining a healthy living environment weighed on her. But she made it to high school, where she graduated, only to hit another obstacle: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or Fafsa. Filling out the application is a rite of passage for college-bound students and their families, and for homeless applicants the bureaucratic requirements can seem insurmountable. Among those who have struggled through the Fafsa, there is near unanimity that the application needs to be simplified. On Tuesday, that sentiment was on the minds of some of the nation’s top education policy-setters.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 28, 2017

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