Education

Students play waiting game while Congress catches up on student loan debacle

This summer, millions of students might see the interest rate double on their student loans unless Congress takes action. Doubling of the interest rate will cost the average college student about $1,000 more per year of school.
 
Think you’re having déjà vu? Last summer, Congress narrowly stopped interest rates from doubling. One year later, here we are facing the same crisis. This time around, students and taxpayers need a strong long-term solution that makes the student loan system more effective and affordable for students and families.

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Overhaul 'No Child Left Behind' now

It’s widely recognized that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has seriously failed to achieve its goal of raising virtually all public school students, especially the disadvantaged, to academic proficiency. The Obama administration, responding to widespread opposition to key NCLB accountability mandates, has now waived them for most states. But to qualify for waivers, states must agree to implement the administration’s requirements instead.

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Be wary of for-profit colleges' charm offensive

This week, members of the Association for Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) are visiting Capitol Hill, hoping to put a good face on the for-profit college industry. No doubt APSCU leaders are touting the academic and vocational courses they offer and the successes of their students. They are probably plugging the special programs created for active-duty military, veterans and their families.
 
However, there are many facts they don’t bother telling Congress. Among them: taxpayers spend twice as much to send a veteran to a for-profit college than they do to a public or non-profit college. For-profit colleges have collected nearly one-third of all Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits ($1.6 billion). And, many for-profit schools’ earnings continue to come almost entirely from federal funds.

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New budget cuts will short-change public schools

My former California Assembly colleague, Tom Torlakson, hit the mark in his letter to House and Senate Congressional leadership this week: struggling families and children will bear the heavy load of sequester burden. All students in California schools and especially those who are living in poverty will feel its effects. It seems absurd to me that we would short-change our public schools and the programs that target underserved youth. We live in one of the most prosperous countries in the developing world and yet we fund schools so poorly. The sequester will further diminish school funding in addition to negatively affecting the economy.

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Career colleges promise transparency, accuracy to veterans

Our bravest citizens wear our nation’s uniform and enlist in the Armed Services. They face many harsh realities both at home and abroad, making sacrifices for the good of our nation – and they ask nothing in return. Disproportionately, they suffer the consequences of a stagnant economy, which has made finding high-quality jobs difficult.
 
I believe we can and must do better; therefore, several months ago, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) convened a Blue Ribbon Taskforce to ensure that every service member, veteran and family member utilizing their earned, postsecondary education benefits are provided with the quality education to which they are entitled at every institution of higher education. 

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US must bring STEM education up to par with overseas competitors

When it comes to math and science the United States needs to do its homework. Currently, less than one-third of eighth graders in the U.S. are proficient in science and mathematics and only nine states allow computer science courses to count towards graduation requirements.
 
These statistics are a stark reminder that while the U.S. is a global superpower in every definition, our country’s leaders and educators can’t sit on the sidelines when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields.

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Equity and excellence in US education policy

The future of the American Dream depends on what we do at this decisive moment. As an educator of more than 30 years, I know the dream is first ignited in the classroom. Education is the origin of opportunity in our cities and towns, and it is the engine of exceptionalism on the world stage. Now, more than ever before, the attainability of the American dream is imperiled by an opportunity gap in public education — a gap exacerbated by wealth disparities at the local level. Our nation’s global leadership is also threatened by widening disparities between American children and students from other developed nations, as our children and families fall further below the poverty line.

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Afghans are moving forward

The Afghanistan orchestra that recently appeared at the Kennedy Center represents the future of our country. A future based not on hatred and war, but on a life full of harmony and joy promoting the highest human values of tolerance, culture and education.  

While extremists and others are trying to tear us apart, these youth are demonstrating the wishes of the Afghan people and the future they envision for themselves complimenting one another and working together to create a strong Afghan voice combining Eastern and Western tools while appreciating the international director assisting them with taking the best of the Western culture and merging it with the Afghan culture in a beautiful collaboration. 

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Politics, not reality, dominate Obama’s preschool appeal

At first glance, it may seem curious that a state President Obama lost by 8 percentage points got a shoutout in this week’s State of the Union, but there Georgia was, in all her glory.
 
On a day deemed ‘Georgia Day’ by Governor Nathan Deal, a celebration of James Oglethorpe’s initial landing, the commander-and-chief recognized the state for its lauded Pre-Kindergarten program, which provides free preschool for children in the state.
 
Obama used the example to call for universal preschool for all children, through the federal government “working with” the states.
 
He’s following that up with a trip to Atlanta, where it’s largely expected he’ll tout the Pre-K program yet again.

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Head Start leading in early education

Earlier this week, President Obama delivered his State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress. In a speech outlining many of his priorities for America, the president identified early childhood education as a critical investment to make in our children. Not only do children perform better in school after early education, they go on to lead richer lives and achieve greater success. We know now that the early years of life are critical to cognitive and social development, and we applaud President Obama’s choice to emphasize the economic growth we can guarantee with stronger early education investments.
 
Presenting a bold plan that could transform the nation's education system, the president made clear that all children should have access to early education. Those of us who have dedicated our lives to providing early learning services to at-risk children agree wholeheartedly.

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