Education in the Trump era: What now?

Donald Trump won the presidency by mobilizing the frustration of non-college educated whites who feel left out and left behind. (Donald Trump will be president of the United States of America. Oy vey.) What now?

On the campaign trail, Trump called for cutting “the power and reach” of the Education Department.

Donald Trump spoke in New York in June. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

Donald Trump campaigning in New York. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP

“Education has to be run locally,” he said. “Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top are all programs that take decisions away from parents and local school boards. These programs allow the progressives in the Department of Education to indoctrinate, not educate, our kids.”

He backed school choice, including charters, vouchers and magnet schools.

Trump said he’d make colleges cut tuition. “If the federal government is going to subsidize student loans, it has a right to expect that colleges work hard to control costs and invest their resources in their students,” Trump said. “If colleges refuse to take this responsibility seriously, they will be held accountable.”

He also threatened to end the tax-exempt status of colleges and universities with large endowments and high tuition rates, notes Inside Higher Ed. Colleges need “to spend endowments on their students, not themselves,” Trump said. “They need to use that money to cut the college debt and cut tuition, and they have to do it quickly.”

Trump’s education platform includes making it easier for people to afford vocational and technical training.

Here are education quotes.

What’s he really going to do? Would Congress go along? I have no idea. Still in shock.

Trump’s victory “leaves widespread uncertainty about what’s in store for public schools,” writes Ed Week.

Fordham’s Mike Petrilli predicts “quick changes” at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, including an end to applying “disparate impact theory” to school discipline.

Massachusetts voters rejected lifting the cap on charter schools.

California voters repealed limits on bilingual education.

Poor achievers do little better than rich slackers

“Poor kids who do everything right don’t do much better than rich kids who do everything wrong,” writes Matt O’Brien in the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog.

The chart, based on research by Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill, shows that 14 percent of wealthy high school dropouts stay in the top income tier, while 16 percent of low-income college graduates stay in the lowest tier. “These low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells,” writes O’Brien. “Some meritocracy.”

Rich kids who can go work for the family business — and, in Canada at least, 70 percent of the sons of the top 1 percent do just that — or inherit the family estate don’t need a high school diploma to get ahead. It’s an extreme example of what economists call “opportunity hoarding.” That includes everything from legacy college admissions to unpaid internships that let affluent parents rig the game a little more in their children’s favor.

By contrast, low-income graduates are more likely to earn a low-value degree from an unselective college or a “diploma mill.”  Blacks who earn a “good degree” are more likely to “live in impoverished neighborhoods that keep them disconnected from opportunities,” writes O’Brien.

Downtown College Prep, a San Jose charter that primarily educates low-income and working-class Mexican-Americans, offers career networking to help its graduates find professional jobs once they complete college. (Go ahead: Read the book.)

They all want to go to college, but . . . 


Students at Topeka High School. Photo: Christopher Smith/New York Times

In Senior Year at Topeka High in the New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis talks to 12th graders, their parents and their counselors at her old high school. Nearly all students want to go to college, but some never enroll and many who do never earn a degree, she writes. It’s called the “aspirations-attainment gap.”

“Applying to college requires a huge amount of social capital — the support of family, friends, mentors and teachers — as well as personal drive and initiative,” she writes.

Topeka High is in many ways an all-American school, the largest public high school in this sprawling low-rise city of about 127,000 people. The school has a strong racial, ethnic and economic mix among its 1,800 students.

. . . A handful of students, mainly affluent ones, will go to the Ivy League. But the graduation rate hovers in the low 70 percent range, the principal said; 45 percent of graduates go to a four-year college, and 17 percent go to a two-year college.

She talks to a boy who’s taking honors classes, but considering technical school as well as college. His farmer dad wants him to enlist in the military or work before starting college. His mother favors college, but doesn’t know how the application process works.

Another boy, a frequent truant from a “downwardly mobile” family, wants to be a musician. Can he do better than his dropout brother?

An ambitious black girl wants to be a doctor. She’s done everything right in high school, but can she get the counseling and financial aid she’ll need to make her dream a reality?

A racist came to Shabbat dinner and now …

Once the “heir” to the white nationalist movement, Derek Black accepted a Jewish classmate’s invitation to Shabbat dinner, made new friends, listened to their arguments and ultimately abandoned his family’s racist beliefs, reports the Washington Post in a remarkable story.

Black’s father created Stormfront to promote white nationalist ideas online; Derek did the child’s version. His godfather is David Duke.

Derek Black Derek Black, 27, was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he began to question the movement’s ideology. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)


Derek Black was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he made liberal friends who changed his views. Photo: Matt McClain/Washington Post

Now, “Black is now a liberal who supports immigration, doesn’t believe race should divide people, and admires President Obama,” writes Reason’s Robby Soave.

Black’s conversion is “a subtle repudiation of the kind of emotional safe space that liberals want to foist on college campuses,” concludes Soave.

After attending community college, Black enrolled in Florida’s liberal New College to study medieval European  history. Despite doing a weekly white-supremacist radio show, he hid his views on campus. But, eventually he was outed.

Most students ostracized him. Matthew Stevenson, an Orthodox Jew, invited Black to his Friday night Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner.

Matthew always drank from a kiddush cup and said the traditional prayers, but most of his guests were Christian, atheist, black or Hispanic — anyone open-minded enough to listen to a few blessings in Hebrew.

. . . He went back and read some of Derek’s posts on the site from 2007 and 2008: “Jews are NOT white.” “Jews worm their way into power over our society.” “They must go.”

Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him.

Black became a regular at the dinner.

Week by week, conversation by conversation, Derek softened his views. His new friends challenged him—firmly but politely—and systematically convinced him that he was wrong about everything.

Eventually, he publicly repudiated white nationalism and apologized for his past actions. Black is now a graduate student in history.

Halloween is too scary for college kids

Is your Halloween costume racist? Does it “appropriate” the culture of another group (Native Americans, Latinos, zombies)?

At U-Mass Amherst, students can check the “threat level” of their costume idea on the “Simple Costume Racism Evaluation and Assessment Meter” (S.C.R.E.A.M.) poster.

“If one intends to represent a person on Halloween, the only way to get a ‘green’ threat rating is for the person to be of one’s own race,” reports Campus Reform. “If one represents a person of another race, the ‘threat level’ increases roughly in conjunction with the amount of makeup that one intends to use.”

The flyer also warns about “thing/idea” costumes that reflect “controversial current events or historically accepted cliches,” particularly if “these events or cliches relate to a person or people not of your race.”

One of the displays does give another point of view, reports Campus Reform.

“It’s not fair to ask any culture to freeze itself in time and live as though they were a museum diorama,” one poster quotes author Susan Scafidi. “Cultural appropriation can sometimes be the savior of a cultural product that has faded away.”

Novelist Lionel Shriver defended cultural appropriation at a Melbourne writers’ conference. “I am hopeful that the concept of ‘cultural appropriation’ is a passing fad,” she said. “People with different backgrounds rubbing up against each other and exchanging ideas and practices is self-evidently one of the most productive, fascinating aspects of modern urban life.”

I wonder if students will turn to creepy clowns as a safe costume choice this year. On the other hand, there’s a “moral panic” about the threat of clowns on campus, writes Anne Hendershott. Everything’s scary this year.

From ‘no excuses’ to college success

Chicago’s Noble Street College Prep, a no-excuses charter high school, raises the test scores of students who win its admissions lottery, conclude researchers Matthew Davis and Blake Heller in Education Next.

The benefits don’t end there: Noble Street College Prep students are more likely to enroll in college, stay in college and get into a competitive four-year school.

Nearly all students in the Noble network of schools are Hispanic or black and 89 percent are eligible for subsidized school meals.

Schools in the network feature “frequent teacher feedback, data-driven instruction, high-dosage tutoring, increased instructional time, and high expectations,” Davis and Heller write.

The school day and year are longer, giving Noble students 18 percent more learning time than students in district schools.

Students are taught at their level in smaller groups organized by performance.

During morning and afternoon meetings, teachers track individual academic progress, mark behavioral infractions, and hold students accountable as a group for maintaining academic and behavioral standards. Each afternoon, teachers maintain office hours for optional academic support, which becomes mandatory if a student’s performance falls below a certain threshold. Most campuses also feature some form of after-school tutoring provided by outside organizations.

Noble aggressively recruits teachers with a demonstrated track record of success and rewards teachers whose students demonstrate above-average academic growth with performance bonuses.

Ninth graders, who often come from low-performing schools, score below the average for Chicago Public School students, Davis and Heller write. In only a few years, these students “are prepared to enroll and succeed in college”

U-Florida offers Halloween costume counseling

Counselors will be standing by around the clock to help University of Florida students deal with offensive Halloween costumes, reports The American Mirror.

University officials advised students to avoid costumes that “reinforce stereotypes of particular races, genders, cultures, or religions.”

offensivehalloween

Students who are “troubled” are urged to e-mail the U Matter, We Care program, phone “a 24/7 counselor in the Counseling and Wellness Center” or contact the Bias Education and Response Team.

At the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, students were invited to attend a seminar called “Is Your Costume Racist?”

The UWL Hate Response Team has also launched investigations into sidewalk chalk on campus that read “Trump,” “Build the wall,” and “All Lives Matter” because the phrases are considered “hostile,” the Mirror reports.

At the K-12 level, Colorado has banned clown costumes in school because of the “creepy clown” panic.

How are NOLA’s KIPPsters doing in college?

How are KIPP’s New Orleans graduates doing in college? Danielle Dreilinger has a fascinating series in the Times-Picayune.

Joshua Johnson dropped out and can't get his transcript until he pays $2,000 college debt. He hopes to become a police officer. Photo: Ted Jackson/Times-Picayune

Joshua Johnson dropped out of college and can’t get his transcript until he pays a $2,000 debt. He hopes to become a police officer. Photo: Ted Jackson/Times-Picayune

KIPP Through College provides counseling to help graduates navigate financial and academic problems.

It helped Keishunn Johnson cope at Howard when he considered coming home to help care for his injured brother.

Private college was too expensive for Larionne Clark, who transferred to a public university.

Currently, 61 percent of KIPP New Orleans graduates are in college — most in four-year institutions — or the military. Here’s where they are.

Nationally, about 45 percent of low-income 18- to 24-year-olds are in college, according to the Pell Institute. Only 9 percent will earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24.

Dreilinger talks about the story here.

‘Smart drugs’ may not be very smart

“Smart drugs” — stimulants prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — are popular college study aids, reports NBC News.

A Boston University student named Wyatt, said everyone he knows uses drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Focalin, Vyvanse. “You can go up to the second floor of the library and see, you know, a full wing of people just cracked out.”

Image result for study drugs college

In my day, we used caffeine: No Doz, now marketed as an “alertness aid,” was popular.

Nearly one-third of college students have misused stimulant prescription drugs at least once, according to the Center on Young Adult Health and Development. They tend to have lower grades and be more likely to skip classes.

Stimulants don’t  help children with ADHD complete homework or get better grades, according to a Florida study, reports Reuters’ Lisa Rapaport.

Children who received medication did no better than those who got a placebo.

Providing daily report cards for kids and coaching parents to help with homework did make a difference: Students improved enough to raise their average grade from an F to a C.

Apprentices train for white-collar jobs

Apprenticeships aren’t just for future plumbers, writes Hechinger’s Matt Krupnick. Community colleges are partnering with employers to create apprenticeships to fill white-collar jobs.

At Illinois’ Harper College, a community college just northwest of Chicago, Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance asked educators to try a Swiss-style apprenticeship program to train more claims adjusters and other workers for its Chicago-area offices. Zurich pays tuition and other expenses for each student, and each spends three days a week getting paid to work at the insurance company and two days in the classroom.

. . . The program lasts two years, after which the graduates have an associate degree in business administration with insurance industry certificates.

More than 150 people applied for the first 24 spots.

After two years, they’ll earn an associate degree in business administration with insurance industry certification. They’ll also have two years of job experience.

Harper College's insurance apprenticeship students.

Some of Harper College’s insurance apprenticeship students.

Even academic courses, such as English and math, are focused on skills relevant to the insurance industry. Students don’t read Shakespeare, writes Krupnick. They learn technical writing.

The Department of Labor, which certifies apprenticeship programs, is slow keeping up with the times, writes Krupnick. Its list “includes accordion-making and pneumatic tube repair apprenticeships among more than 1,200 apprenticeship-friendly professions, for example, but not yet cybersecurity.”

New America will analyze how to expand high-quality high school apprenticeships, writes Mary Alice McCarthy. “Our young people need options other than just enrolling in college and hoping they beat the odds.”