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.
Florida A&M University has dismissed four students for their roles in the death of a marching band member widely believed to have been hazed, the Associated Press reported. The university has said that it has a "zero tolerance" policy toward hazing, but others have charged that hazing in the band has been well-known for some time.
The National Science Foundation on Thursday released "Rebuilding the Mosaic," outlining the agency's plans for providing support in the social sciences. The report places a strong emphasis on research that is "interdisciplinary, data-intensive and collaborative." Among the subject areas identified for a special focus:
- Population change.
- Sources of disparities.
- Communication, language and linguistics.
- Technology, new media and social networks.
The report is the result of a year-long review.