A draft of new regulations proposed as part of the Education Department's negotiated rule making process for teacher preparation programs would require states to report data on such programs' employment outcomes (for their newly graduated teachers) and student learning outcomes (for those teachers' students). The draft regulations, which will be discussed and modified at the rule making panel's meeting next week, also would require states to make "meaningful differentiations in teacher preparation program performance," based in large part on learning outcomes for their graduates' students. So far, the regulations leave the definition of a "high quality teacher preparation program," a key point in the panel's discussions, to individual states to determine.
Higher Education Quick Takes
Two more colleges have sued the Obama administration over its requirement that religious employers, including colleges, provide insurance covering birth control -- despite a recent compromise that would require the insurance company, not the institution, to pay for that coverage. Louisiana College, a Baptist institution, and Geneva College, a Pennsylvania college affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, filed lawsuits Tuesday with assistance from the Alliance Defense Fund. They join two colleges that have filed suit through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Alliance Defense Fund says that more lawsuits can be expected.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted Tuesday to oppose a bill in the State Senate that would ban graduate research assistants from unionizing, The Detroit Free Press reported. In doing so, the board disregarded the wishes of senior administrators at the university, who believe that the graduate assistants should count as students and should not unionize.
The University of Utah has changed its admissions policy for older applicants -- those who have been out of high school for seven years and who have not previously enrolled in a college -- following a complaint that it violated the rights of one such individual, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy specifies exactly which courses in high school applicants must have completed, earning certain minimum grades. The complaint concerned an applicant who was rejected -- without as clear a system in place -- when he mentioned having only a fourth grade reading level.
California's community colleges face an unexpected $149 million budget cut this year because of low property tax revenue and a "dramatic" increase in the number of students who qualify for tuition waivers, Jack Scott, chancellor of the 112-college system, said in a written statement. The shortfall, which would represent a 2.75 percent decrease in the system's overall budget, follows $502 million in previous cuts. Scott said colleges would have to cope by further reducing course offerings, borrowing more money and eliminating jobs.
The Community College League of California told the Los Angeles Times that the state typically picks up the slack when the system's tuition and tax revenue lag. But a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance said the gloomy predictions were premature, according to the newspaper.
Rick Santorum last week told an audience at the Detroit Economic Club that President Obama "had a war on private education" and that his administration has unfairly attacked private-sector, or for-profit colleges, that do most of the worker training for new jobs, according to a transcript published by The Detroit Free Press. The surging Republican presidential candidate promised that his administration would have a different attitude.
"He believes that private sector schools are somehow evil and they're abusive, and his Education Department has done everything they could to make it harder for them to compete for loans and other things and to stay in business," Santorum said. "Yet they are going to be the principal tool, along with community colleges, to respond to this, what I believe will be exploding demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers to do the jobs of the future."
Junior faculty members at Israeli universities have announced an open-ended strike, saying that their negotiations with the Committee of University Presidents failed to result in a contract agreement, The Jerusalem Post reported. The presidents' committee responded by saying that the faculty union "has decided to hurt university students without any justification."
Some students are discovering that it is possible to play games in person, offline. The Boston Globe reported on a club at Northern Essex Community College whose members meet twice a month to play board games. "You really connect with people," said Angela Bowie, a club member. "You’re not in front of a computer or playing video games or getting yourself into trouble."