College for more — since 1940


This MetricMaps GIF shows how college attainment has spread. In 1940, no more than 7 percent of adults in any state had a bachelor’s degree, notes Vox. That rose to 10 percent by 1960. Fifty years later, the best-educated states are nearing 40 percent.

Core tests spark revolt

Common Core testing revolt is spreading across the nation, reports Politico.

The Obama administration put more than $370 million in federal funds into the PARCC and Smarter Balanced testing consortia. Forty states signed on — but at least 17 have backed out, including New York, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Louisiana, Missouri and New Jersey may go too.

Opposition is coming from all directions. Even Common Core supporters aren’t happy about the tests.

PARCC estimates its exams will take eight hours for an average third-grader and nearly 10 hours for high school students — not counting optional midyear assessments to make sure students and teachers are on track.

PARCC also plans to develop tests for kindergarten, first- and second- graders, instead of starting with third grade as is typical now. And it aims to test older students in 9th, 10th and 11th grades instead of just once during high school.

The new tests will cost more and the online exams will require states to “spend heavily on computers and broadband,” notes Politico.

Meanwhile, teachers in many states don’t know what sort of test their students will face.

In Michigan, second-grade teacher Julie Brill says she and her colleagues are expected to spend the coming year teaching Common Core standards — while preparing kids for a non-Common Core test that measures different skills entirely. “It’s just so crazy,” she said.

And in Florida, which broke with PARCC last year, third-grade teacher Mindy Grimes-Festge says she’s glad to be out of a Common Core test she believed was designed to make children fail — but she has only the most minimal information about the replacement exams.

“We’re going in blind,” Grimes-Festge said. “It’s like jumping from one frying pan to another. Just different cooks.”

Only 42 percent of students are slated to take PARCC or Smarter Balanced tests — and that’s certain to drop as more states go their own way.

Good riddance to Common Core testing, writes Diane Ravitch.

All accountability testing is at risk, writes Jay Greene. “The Unions are using Common Core not only to block new tests, but to eliminate high stakes testing altogether.”

Corinthian crashes

Under investigation for falsifying job placement rates, for-profit Corinthian Colleges will sell 85 campuses and close 12 others. The national company runs Everest, WyoTech and Heald career colleges.

Bye, bye, boobies

I’m back from my travels in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I’ve hiked through the cloud forest and soared over it on a “sky bike” at Mashpi Lodge.

In the Galapagos Islands, I saw giant tortoises, sea lions, iguanas, blue- and red-footed boobies, frigate birds, short-eared owls and finches, hiked over lava fields, snorkeled and kayaked.

For nearly five days I lived without Internet access! Meanwhile, Diana Senechal, Michael E. Lopez and Rachel Levy were blogging up a storm. I’m very grateful to my guest bloggers.

Carnival of Homeschooling

Dewey’s Treehouse is hosting this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling.

New name, new identity

A Florida community college is changing its name — and offering 10 bachelor’s degrees, dorms,  intercollegiate athletics and study-abroad opportunities. The newly named Florida SouthWestern State College also will recruit “brighter” applicants and out-of-state students. State universities aren’t happy about the competition.

An Amazon for aid

Single Stop, known for helping low-income community college students access   benefits, is creating an Amazon-like platform to link needy people with government and community aid.  That will include student grants and loans, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, food stamps and food pantries

Structure leads to speedy degree

While most community college students spend years pursuing a credential — and often fail to complete one — accelerated students at Indiana’s Ivy Tech complete a two-year degree in 11 months. The program is designed for first-generation students from low-income families.

Text ‘nudges’ boost persistence

Text-message reminders about applying for financial aid boosted second-year enrollment rates for community college students at a cost of $5 per student.

Community college is free with a C

Tulsa Community College is free for local high school graduates with a C average or better. Property taxes pay for most of the cost of Tulsa Achieves.