Plagiarism Allegations on Textbook's Definition of Plagiarism

The five co-authors of a Miami Dade College communications department textbook are feuding over allegations of plagiarism -- including plagiarism of the textbook's definition of plagiarism, The Miami Herald reported. One communications professor at the college says her colleague lifted several passages from other sources. But a college investigation of the matter largely dismissed those charges, finding that more clarification was needed for certain passages and blaming some of the inadequate sourcing on changes the publisher made. The college's faculty union backs those findings. However, communications among the communications textbook co-authors have broken down, reports the newspaper, and the future of the book is in question. 

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New workforce fund in Louisiana ties money to jobs and private donations

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Louisiana's two-year colleges get the backing of business -- and more state funding -- thanks to workforce focus and program cuts.

White House Talks College Success With Education Leaders from 10 Cities

The White House summoned officials from higher education, K-12 and business in 10 cities to a meeting Thursday at the U.S. Department of Education. The group was brought together to discuss collaborative strategies on college completion, according to a brief written statement from the department. It was a follow-up to the college "summit" the White House held earlier this year. One area of focus was improving college preparedness and remedial success rates, sources said.

The represented cities and counties were Albany, New York; Baltimore County, Maryland; Camden, New Jersey; Denver, Colorado; Kansas City, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Providence, Rhode Island; Rio Grande Valley and McAllen, Texas, Riverside County, California; and Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

CCSF Applies for Accreditation 'Restoration' Option

City College of San Francisco this week applied to have its accreditation status restored, a solution that could buy the college two more years to work on fixing problems the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has identified. City College's lengthy accreditation crisis has become politicized. And many critics of the embattled commission had pushed for the college to resist the restoration option and to instead hold out to see the results of a legal challenge filed by San Francisco's city attorney. That trial is scheduled to begin October.

But the college's chancellor, Arthur Q. Tyler, wrote a letter to the commission to initiate restoration, which he said appears to be the "only remaining administrative option." Tyler said the college had "serious reservations" about the process.

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With enrollment low, stakes are high, a community college learns

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Declining enrollment in the post-recession period leaves community colleges with little room for error. A Virginia college found out the hard way.

Education Commission of the States takes on inconsistency in tracking remedial education

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States have chaotic lack of consistency in how they track college remediation, according to the Education Commission of the States, which seeks national standards.

California Auditor Criticizes CCSF's Accreditor

The California State Auditor on Thursday issued a scathing report on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the regional accreditor that has come under fire for its handling of the City College of San Francisco crisis.

The auditor's office said the commission acted in an inconsistent manner with its decision to terminate City College's accreditation. The report found that City College was given less time to come into compliance than were other institutions. It also criticized the commission for a lack of transparency.

In its recommendations, the auditor said the California community college system's chancellor should consider the possibility of finding a new accrediting body for the state's 112 community colleges. A spokesperson for the system said a single accreditor is the best approach, and that having multiple accreditors operate in the state would "create a number of distracting challenges."

The commission fired back at the auditor's findings, saying in a written statement that the state agency lacks the authority and expertise to audit the commission. "While the analysts attempted to be thorough," the commission said, "the lack of expertise in accreditation regulations and practice created difficulties."

In January the U.S. Department of Education renewed the commission's recognition. That process, which occurs every five years, gives accreditors the authority to act as gatekeepers for federal financial aid.

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Senate Passes Work Force Training Bill

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that will overhaul federal job training programs and funding for vocational education.

Lawmakers passed the measure, which reauthorizes the Workforce Investment Act, on a 95-3 vote. Democrats and Republicans struck a bipartisan deal on the legislation earlier this year.

The bill would streamline job training programs an emphasize partnerships between higher education and employers. Community colleges and other higher education have praised the bill.

The Obama administration on Wednesday formally backed the Senate-passed bill, which now heads to the House of Representatives. It’s unclear what path the legislation will take in that chamber since House lawmakers previously passed a vastly different rewrite of the Workforce Investment Act that drew opposition from Democrats and mixed reviews from community colleges. 

Senate Democrats Introduce Reverse-Transfer Bill

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, last week introduced a bill that would seek to encourage four-year institutions to identify transfer students who have earned enough credits for an associate degree but never received one. Through this process, which is dubbed "reverse transfer," students at four-year institutions can earn associate degrees they failed to receive before transferring. The bill would encourage reverse transfer by creating competitive grants for states.

Revocation of CCSF's Accreditation to Be Reconsidered

An independent panel on Friday instructed City College of San Francisco's accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, to reconsider its decision last year to terminate the college's accreditation. The commission appointed a five-member panel to rule on the college's appeal of the termination decision. While City College may have deserved that decision when it was made, the panel ruled, the college's efforts to fix its problems during the last six months deserve a look by the commission.

"CCSF was not in substantial compliance with accreditation standards and eligibility requirements as of June 7, 2013," the panel said. "However, for the reasons discussed above, ... there is 'good cause' for a consideration of CCSF’s achievement of compliance with accreditation standards and eligibility requirements though January 10, 2014 and up to and including the end of the evidentiary hearing sessions on appeal (May 21, 2014)."

The panel directed the commission to set aside its termination decision until it can consider the expanded body of evidence on City College's progress.

There are two other ways the college could avoid losing its accreditation, and almost certainly shutting down as a result. Last week the commission announced a change in its policies to create the option of a "restoration" period during which the college could get an extra two years to come into compliance. And a lawsuit San Francisco's city attorney filed, which seeks to block the commission's termination action, is due in court in October.

A statement the commission distributed on Friday included the headline "CCSF Loses Appeal on Termination." That claim apparently was based on the panel's rejection of much of City College's arguments in its appeal.

The college quickly fired back to "set the record straight" with a news release of its own.

"The ACCJC’s statement earlier today creates the misleading impression that City College of San Francisco has 'lost' its appeal to the ACCJC," the release said.

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