Monthly Archives: February 2011

Texas group fundraising for whites-only scholarship

The Austin American-Statesman reports:

Colby Bohannan , a mass communication major and Iraq war veteran, and others formed the Former Majority Association for Equality — a San Marcos [Texas]-based nonprofit group that is offering five $500 scholarships exclusively to white male students.Bohannan, the group’s president, said the name comes from the idea that “if you’re not a male, and if you’re not white, you’re called a minority.” However, he said, “I’m not sure white males are the majority anymore.”

Recent U.S. census data indicate Bohannan is right, at least in Texas, where Hispanics accounted for two-thirds of the population growth over the past decade and where non-Hispanic whites now make up about 45 percent of residents.

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Feeding hungry school children

Colorado Public Radio interviewed a representative of Share Our Strength, a national group that fights hunger. The discussion ranges from an explanation of common school breakfast and lunch funding challenges to some innovative ways schools are trying to ensure their students are fed.

Share Our Strength recently released this report on hunger in America’s schools.

South Florida schools renting out space in an effort to raise funds

WPTV (West Palm Beach, FL) reports:

When it comes to generating revenue, no space is off limits for Palm Beach County schools…Classrooms, auditoriums and cafeterias are being rented out and used for sewing classes, dance classes, church services and banquets…

The money raised is used for school supplies. Rental profits helped pay for the electronic marquee at Palm Springs Community Middle school.

February 18 Higher Ed news round-up

  • USA Today reports that the current federal budget battle will have major impacts on higher education, regardless of which side prevails. Among other programs that will be affected:
    • Pell Grants will certainly see a cut in the maximum per year grant amount (although the Obama Administration calls for smaller cuts that are desired by Republicans in Congress)
    • The end is in sight for the program that pays the interest charged to graduate students on certain government-backed loans while the students are in school
  • Although college students will be affected by the proposed budget cuts, the Obama Administration, which has called for increased research and development in the U. S. to foster economic growth and increase global competitiveness, has proposed funding increases for the NSF, K-12 STEM education, and green energy research. [Wired]
  • Michigan State U. researchers have published this study (PDF), which describes  major factors that lead students to drop out of college. Among the factors:
    • Getting a job
    • Poor grades
    • Loss of financial support

Pennsylvania school district sued over policy of fining truant students

The Associated Press reports:

A federal lawsuit accuses a Pennsylvania school district of imposing excessive and illegal fines on truant children or their families, including one parent ordered to pay $27,000 and a 17-year-old student fined more than $12,000.

The suit against the Lebanon School District, filed Thursday in Harrisburg by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia on behalf of four parents and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, targets the court-imposed fines it says were above the state’s limit of $300 per violation.

Politicians of all political stripes target teacher unions

Politico reports:

On both sides of the aisle, politicians are unhappy with how teachers are compensated, hired and fired, and are eager to introduce reforms. The fiercest opposition to the status quo is coming from fiscally conservative Republicans, who are mixing concerns about their states’ children with the desire to cut spending and shrink the size of government.

They’re pushing against the power that the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and their affiliates have amassed over the course of many decades of political activism and stubborn negotiations in a way that hasn’t been seen since the rise of organized labor in the first half of the 20th century.

New study examines “the economic value of higher teacher quality”

Dailyfinance.com reports:

Forget the cliche of bringing an apple to your favorite teacher. You may want to send her your next bonus check instead — because she’s a big part of why you got it.

That’s the gist of a recent report by the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) that attempted to measure the economic value of effective teachers compared to their less effective counterparts.

The study found that during the course of a school year, a student may learn as much as three times more material from a top-performing teacher as a similar student does from a bottom-performing teacher. And that extra learning translates to the bottom line once the student leaves school.

In fact, in one year, a well-above-average teacher — in this case, one that’s in the 84th percentile of effectiveness — may lead to as much as $400,000 in additional lifetime earnings for her class of 20 compared to an average teacher, the NBER study said.

The study is available here.