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Quick Takes: Pentagon Withdraws Proposed Restrictions, Fredonia Professor Wins Promotion Fight, Canadian Universities Unite Against Rankings, Bush Signs Technical Education Bill, Stanford Opens Online High School

August 15, 2006
  • As expected in recent months, the Pentagon has pulled back from a series of proposals -- under fire from academic groups and others -- that would have put severe restrictions on the work of foreign scientists in some laboratoriese at American universities. Administration officials, after initially saying the rules were necessary, have been backtracking on them amid the criticism. The Defense Department announced the withdrawal of the new rules in Monday's Federal Register.
  • The State University of New York at Fredonia has promoted Stephen Kershnar to full professor of philosophy -- without any conditions on the new title. Kershnar has been critical of numerous college policies and last month he went public with his dispute over a promotion, saying that the university had violated his academic freedom by promising to promote him if he would agree, among other things, to subject any writing or public statements about the institution to prior review for approval. He was backed in the case by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. A spokeswoman for Fredonia confirmed the promotion and said that it took place after Kershnar resubmitted his application for full professor.
  • Eleven Canadian universities on Monday jointly announced that they will not cooperate with this year's survey by Maclean's of Canadian higher education. Maclean's uses the survey for rankings that -- like those of U.S. News & World Report -- are very popular with prospective students and widely derided by educators. A statement from the University of Toronto charged that the magazine engages in "misuse of data in establishing a spurious 'ranking' table that is, at best, useless and, at worst, misleading to students ." An editor of the magazine told The Globe and Mail that the data needed for the rankings are publicly available and that the survey would continue without the universities' cooperation.
  • President Bush signed legislation over the weekend to extend the nation's primary career and technical education program. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act easily passed both houses of Congress and renews federal postsecondary career education programs through 2012.
  • Stanford University is opening an online high school for gifted students this fall, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. The high school will eventually enroll 300 students and Stanford officials hope to provide an educational alternative and to have a lead on recruiting some of the brightest students for college.
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