Privilege retreats. That’s the first thing to understand about it: it doesn’t just stand still, waiting for everyone else to catch up, but keeps moving. Sneak past the velvet rope keeping the great unwashed out of the party, and another rope will materialise behind it, guarding an even more exclusive gathering. Level a playing field, and soon the lucky few start getting invites to play in another more exclusive game. The good stuff always seems to be just out of reach.

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Six tumultuous months into the Trump administration, at least one constant remains: On higher education, Betsy DeVos is still seen as a black box.

When Ms. DeVos was narrowly confirmed as education secretary in February, she was known chiefly for her greatest passion: elementary- and secondary-school choice, an issue she framed as an act of advocacy for students and parents as consumers. How, higher-education observers asked, would that vision play out in their sector?

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Claremont McKenna College announced Monday that it is punishing seven students — five with suspensions — for their role in blocking an audience from hearing a speech by Heather Mac Donald in April.

The Claremont McKenna protest is among those highlighted by many observers who say that some students in American higher education have become intolerant of views with which they disagree. In the case of Mac Donald, those protesting say that her views on criminal justice are racist — a charge that she denies — and that her views justified their protest.

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In an effort to improve academic achievement among African Americans, a Kentucky school board has approved the creation of an academy tailored to Black male students in Louisville.

The Jefferson County board voted 6-1 to create the Academy that will be housed in the county. Jefferson County is the largest district within the state and has around 100,000 students of which roughly 17,500 are African American, according to the U.S. Census.

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Jo Johnson (Don’t scrap tuition fees, they have been a great success, 5 July) paints a distorted view. Whatever the merits of tuition fees, it is the way they have been managed that is a disgrace. George Osborne sold the tuition fee debt to the private sector, which obviously wishes to make a profit; originally fees were paid back with interest set at the rate of inflation. The well-off have no problem paying them off. No profit there. Those that struggle are the less well-off and those going into vital but relatively low-paid jobs such as social work, nursing and the public sector generally. They now face interest charges of up to 6% to provide the necessary profit. (The Bank of England’s interest rate is 0.25%.) So yet again the less well-off have to pay up for the private profit that the well-off can avoid. Not fair.
Dr Peter Estcourt
South Chailey, East Sussex

 

 

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Middle school-age boys aren’t known for their emotional candor. Boys of color, even less so. So when Enrique Aguayo asks a group of eighth graders if they are nervous about entering high school, he gets only a couple of nods, and one acknowledgment. “I’m worried about not passing,” admits Hipolito, a student at Consuelo Mendez Middle School. “I can handle basic math, but algebra — uh-uh.” “You think you got it bad. I got geometry,” Alberto chimes in. The boys are more comfortable dissing Enrique, a graduate student in college administration at the University of Texas at Austin. “Your layups are trash,” one boy says. “You work out with calculators,” says another.

Welcome to Project MALES, a mentoring program at Austin that is part of a small but growing effort to get more Latino males into and through college. The program, which pairs undergraduates with middle- and high-school students and graduate students with undergrads, has sent more than 50 mentors into Austin public schools this year. Over pizza and pickup basketball, the student mentors offer lessons in leadership and college preparation.

 

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Growing up I always loved to read and write, just as other people loved to build or play sports. In fact, I loved those things too. However, when it came to applying to school, I didn’t think twice about applying for an English degree. I knew that I wanted to be one of those people who loved what they did for a living. I mean, isn’t that what we all want? To go to work every day and not have it feel like an obligation, but to have it feel like a hobby or something you truly love.

Now, I’m in my final week of classes in my undergrad, and I have absolutely no regrets. The love I had for English and literature before entering school is nothing compared to the love I have for it now. The skills that I have learned are remarkable.

Others may look at me and think it’s great that I can read and write, but so can most people in the country we live in. They may wonder what on earth I’m going to do with a degree like this. They may even frown upon my choice as something impractical or unrealistic. In fact, many even wonder what the point is behind all of the humanities and arts degrees.

 

 

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College affordability and access has been a story of success and setbacks in recent years. There have been some strides made in giving more students access to higher education through initiatives like the expansion of financial aid coverage through “free” community college initiatives in Tennessee and Chicago. On the other hand, the landscape of higher education access and affordability has been characterized by the removal of previous gains and the erosion of certain channels of access through various means.

One example of this kind of erosion is the Bright Futures Scholarship Program in Florida. The achievement based umbrella program for state-funded scholarships has seen a series of major changes to the ACT and SAT score thresholds that made students eligible for financial aid. By consistently raising the standards, the state government has pulled back resources for students who are most in need and tilted the scales in favor of those who are already in the best position to financially afford to pay for college. Studies have shown that the students who typically score in the upper echelon of ACT/SAT scores are those who can offer to pay for extensive test preparation courses and resources.

 

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