The quality of data used to inform state policy decisions on education has improved, according to a new analysis from the Data Quality Campaign, but still lags in many areas. For example, only a few states are using broad data on whether students need remediation in college. Also of concern are efforts to track workforce development: 38 states are not adequately matching and sharing data between colleges and the workforce.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Inadequate and diluted resources at the state regulatory level have led to lax oversight of for-profit colleges, according to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, and those regulatory gaps have contributed to fraud and other problems. The Boston-based consumer advocacy group found that regulators are often understaffed, particularly in Delaware, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Washington and Wyoming. The report also claims state for-profit supervisory boards often include industry representatives, sometimes even a majority hailing from for-profits, which is a conflict of interest that gives the industry "undue influence."
A black student at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort has set off a campus debate by displaying the Confederate flag in his dormitory window, the Associated Press reported. The student removed the flag at the request of university officials, but is now considering a return of the flag. While many see the flag as a symbol of white supremacy, Bryon Thomas disagrees. "When I look at this flag, I don't see racism. I see respect, Southern pride," he said. But Thomas added that "I know it's kind of weird because I'm black."
Barbara D. Savage, a professor of history and American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named winner of the 2012 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Savage was honored for her 2008 book Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press). The award is given jointly by the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
The Justice Department has started a probe of the multibillion-dollar collegiate licensing industry, USA Today reported. The IMG College Licensing Company -- the dominant player in the field -- confirmed that it is cooperating with an investigation into how colleges market their logos and names for the sale of clothing and other items. Details of the inquiry were not available, but some have charged that IMG and colleges have tried to limit the number of manufacturers in the field.
Pennsylvania State University, still reeling from the recent sex-abuse scandal, announced Thursday that it will give $1.5 million to groups with which the university will form partnerships to fight the sexual abuse of children. The money will come from Penn State's share of Big Ten bowl revenue.
The U.S. Education Department today published final rules to update the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, making relatively few substantive changes from proposed regulations that drew significant comment and quite a bit of criticism from some college groups. The rules give colleges and universities more latitude to share student-level information with state agencies and others, without student consent.
The first civil suit has been filed against Pennsylvania State University in the sex-abuse scandal that broke last month. The New York Times reported that the suit was filed by a 29-year-old man who was not one of the victims cited in the original indictments. The suit says that Jerry Sandusky abused him more than 100 times during a four-year period when he was a boy. The suit says that the abuse took place in many locations, some of them at Penn State and in one instance at a bowl game. Sandusky has denied abusing boys, but has not commented on the suit, which is against him, Penn State and a charity Sandusky founded.
Citing recent protests, the California State University System called off a board committee meeting scheduled for next week, saying that it could not be sure of the safety of the gathering. The committee was expected to discuss issues of presidential compensation -- and one of the complaints of protesting students (and some faculty members and politicians as well) is that the system is spending too much on pay for its executives.