Future middle school mathematics teachers in the United States are less likely than their counterparts in several other countries with advanced education systems to have taken advanced courses like linear algebra and calculus, according to an international comparison that will be released today, The New York Times reported. The study looks at future mathematics teachers in elementary and middle schools, and raises questions about the impact of the middle school teachers' levels of preparation on long-term efforts to attract more talent to math and science fields.
Higher Education Quick Takes
South Carolina legislators voted narrowly Wednesday to keep the only black member of the board of the University of South Carolina, The State reported. Many political observers expected the lawmakers to vote for another candidate, leaving the board all white, and some black legislators set off a debate by threatening -- if a white candidate won -- to discourage black athletes from enrolling at the university.
Eamonn Daniel Higgins pleaded guilty Wednesday to visa fraud in a case in which he was accused of writing papers and taking exams for foreign students, the Los Angeles Times reported. Authorities said that dozens of students from the Middle East paid Higgins for his inappropriate help from 2002 to 2009, and that he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in his illegal business.
A House of Representatives subcommittee on Wednesday approved legislation that would extend the National Science Foundation's spending authority for five years, approving a slew of new programs as well as affirming lawmakers' intention to continue on a path of doubling the agency's budget. The measure passed by the House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education is part of a package of bills that together would renew 2007's America COMPETES Act. The legislation approved Wednesday would, among other things, direct NSF to spend at least five percent of its research budget on high-risk, high-reward research proposals, give grants to colleges to support fundamental research leading to "transformative advances" in manufacturing, and provide grants to encourage research-based reforms in science education.
The appointments above are drawn from The Lists on Inside Higher Ed, which also includes a comprehensive catalog of upcoming events in higher education. To submit job changes or calendar items, please click here.
Middlebury College, long known for its excellence in foreign languages, is forming a partnership with K12, an education company, to offer language instruction online at the pre-college level, The New York Times reported. Middlebury hopes that the new venture will help more high school students learn languages, and will provide the college with more revenue. The Times article did not quote Middlebury faculty members. But Philip G. Altbach, the Monan professor of higher education at Boston College, told the Times: “I have problems with the whole thing, particularly for a place like Middlebury, which has a reputation as one of the best liberal-arts colleges in the country, and for doing a very good job with languages. They should protect that brand. They are not known for online programs, and to jump in to the deep end of the swimming pool, with a for-profit, is in my view dangerous.”
Controversy is growing over an invitation by the foundation of California State University at Stanislaus to Sarah Palin. Jerry Brown, the attorney general of California, is starting an investigation into the foundation and whether it is appropriate for it to use funds to bring the former vice presidential candidate to campus, the Los Angeles Times reported. Meanwhile, students say they have found in a trash bin shredded documents -- which the university failed to turn over to legislative committees -- about the visit. Brown said his inquiry would include the issue of the documents' authenticity and -- if they are real -- how they ended up in the trash.
Michigan State University announced Tuesday that it is ending the practice of offering retiree health benefits to new employees, starting July 1, The Lansing State Journal reported. Current employees will continue to be covered. The announcement said that that Michigan State's current liability from those benefits is about $1 billion and "is expected to double every 15 years through 2040 if unabated."
Anthony Morgan has resigned from the Utah Board of Regents to object to legislative action authorizing a new engineering program at Weber State University that did not receive approval from the regents, as state procedures would normally require, The Salt Lake Tribune required. "If local legislative interests are not restrained, either by self discipline or by legislative leadership or by you, we could easily have a higher education system where the establishment and distribution of academic programs is designed by local political interests rather than academic and economic criteria," he said in his resignation letter.
The University of California at Berkeley has released a consultant's report recommending $75 million in savings through better management, including streamlined business systems and the elimination of "redundant" management positions, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Berkeley officials commissioned the report -- and say they will try to carry out its recommendations -- in response to large cuts in state support (that far exceed the projected savings).