At an event last week, two Bay Area members of the U.S. House of Representatives were aggressively critical of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges for its treatment of City College of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, both Democrats, said they hope the three lawsuits filed by supporters of City College will prevent the college from losing its accreditation next year.
Higher Education Quick Takes
edTPA, the new "performance-based" assessment tool and career-entry test that measures teacher preparation, is "fully operational" and ready for nationwide use after a two-year field test in about two dozen states, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education officials said Friday. The assessment, which has drawn criticism from some educators who say it could override authority of teacher programs and faculty, uses new and purportedly more valid tools, including videotapes and and evidence of student work and learning to determine whether a teacher is prepared to run a classroom from day one. Currently, preparation is measured in part via a multiple-choice test of basic skills and subject matterisn't it also now measured by student teaching that is supervised? -sj *** this is what AACTE said; I guess to show the differences in approach -ag. Only about 58 percent of the 12,000 prospective teachers who attempted edTPA during the field test would have passed. AACTE notes in a report that factors including a lack of consequence for test-takers and lack of support systems or appropriate coursework among teacher programs, which will presumably improve as more institutions use the assessment.
The massive open online course provider edX announced a new open-source platform on Friday: Edraak, an online education platform for Arabic-speaking students. The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, which promotes efforts to strengthen education in Jordan, will use Open edX, the MOOC provider's open-source platform, to feature select courses translated into Arabic. As the platform grows, faculty members in Arabic-speaking countries will contribute their own courses. The creation of Edraak follows expansion initiatives in France and China.
Note: This article has been updated to clarify that Edraak is an independent platform, not an edX consortium.
More than one million veterans, service members and their families have received tuition assistance and other benefits from the post-9/11 GI bill, Jill Biden announced Friday. The post-9/11 GI bill began in August 2009 and the Department of Veterans Affairs has since spent more than $30 billion in tuition and benefits for veterans, service members and their families. "The post-9/11 GI bill is one way to help make the transition into civilian life a successful one," said Biden, wife of the vice president, in a teleconference Friday.
The millionth beneficiary of the bill, Steven Ferraro, is studying communications at Middlesex County College in New Jersey. Ferraro served in the Army from 2003 to 2013 and was deployed to Iraq in 2008. “Going back to school after serving in the military is a very big challenge, especially trying to manage school with a family,” he said.
Turnover in the senior ranks at the University of Wyoming has increased substantially in the five months that Robert Sternberg has been president, The Casper Star-Tribune reported. Eleven deans or other administrators have resigned, a number at the request of Sternberg, and the departure of the law dean has been particular contentious. Higher education experts in the article noted that turnover in the administrative ranks is fairly common when a new president takes over -- and puts his or her own team in place. But others said that the pace of change has been unusual.
Hundreds of academics have urged the University of Zurich to restore the job of Iris Ritzmann, a professor at the university's Institute for the History of Medicine, SwissInfo reported. She was fired for confidential documents to reporters that deal with criticism of Christoph Mörgeli, the head of the university’s Medical History Museum, who is also a politician. Statements by Ritzmann's supporters say that she has defended academic standards, and was punished for political reasons. The rector, Andreas Fischer, has resigned amid the controversy, saying he took "ultimate responsibility" for what has happened.
President Obama on Thursday nominated Ericka M. Miller, vice president for operations and strategic leadership at the Education Trust, to be assistant secretary for postsecondary education. If Miller is confirmed by the Senate, she would largely complete the team of political leaders who will guide the Education Department's higher ed agenda in the president's second term.
Miller has spent six years at Education Trust, which advocates for educational equity at all levels, particularly on behalf of students from low-income backgrounds. Much of Miller's work at Ed Trust and previously has focused on elementary and secondary education. Before her current position, she led the K-12 practice at the executivfe search firm Isaacson Miller, ran an education consulting firm, and worked as a legislative assistant for then-U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat.
Earlier in her career she was an assistant professor of English at Mills College, an independent women's college in California. (She started her career in journalism, at Washingtonian magazine.)
Miller, who is not well-known in Washington higher ed policy circles, would join an Education Department team that would include Ted Mitchell, the New Schools Venture Fund chief who President Obama nominated last month as under secretary of education, and Jamienne Studley, who was named deputy under secretary of education this fall.
The Army has suspended plans to eliminate Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs at 13 universities, most of them in rural and/or Southern parts of the country, The New York Times reported. The announcement of the plan to shut the ROTC units stunned the campuses involved, many of which said that they highly valued the programs. Army officials had said that they planned to shift resources to units in large urban areas. A number of the universities whose programs were slated for closure appealed to members of Congress for help, and on Thursday they saluted the lawmakers who helped them. Information from Arkansas State University -- which was active in the movement to save the ROTC units -- may be found here.