Supremes Uphold Affirmative Action

DC Shuttle …

Supreme Court Rules to Uphold Affirmative Action. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin is constitutional. The court ruled 4-to-3 in the case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The New York Times reported that the ruling says that admissions may continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body, but that not all types of affirmative action programs would be found constitutional. The court had considered the case before in 2013, ordering the federal appeals court that had initially sided with the university to consider the case again.

NACIQI Recommends that Ed Dept Not Recognize Accreditor ACICS. The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) recommended denying recognition to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Based on that recommendation, it is likely that the U.S. Department of Education will deny recognition of the accrediting agency. ACICS accredits mostly for-profit universities, which has also drawn accusations that the decision was based on the institutions and the sector as much as the accreditor. Institutions would have to apply to another accreditor, if ACICS does lose recognition, though the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the process will take 18 months before accreditation is threatened.

Ed Dept Releases Accreditor Reports Before NACIQI Meeting. The U.S. Department of Education released data reports on the performance of accrediting agencies to assist in the NACIQI meeting last week. NACIQI advises the department on accreditation. The new data was released just before NACIQI kicked off a three-day meeting last week in Arlington, VA. The department’s accreditor scorecards detail how the colleges overseen by a particular accreditor perform on a range of metrics, such as earnings, loan repayment and graduation, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Senate Democrats Send Letter to Administration Asking for Stricter 90/10 Rule Implementation. A group of 30 Senate Democrats, led by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Patty Murray (D-WA), wrote a letter to the Obama administration asking to “improve the transparency and accountability” of the 90/10 rule.  The rule stipulates that for-profit colleges’ receipt of federal student aid money may constitute only 90% of their annual revenue. In a letter to Education Secretary John B. King Jr., the lawmakers praised the Obama administration’s legislative proposal to change the cap to 85%. They add that “there is more the department can do to hold colleges accountable under the current 90/10 rule.” The senators want the Education Department to publish the percentage of funds that colleges receive from Veterans Affairs and Pentagon education programs.

ESSA Hearing. The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Next Steps in K-12 Education: Examining Recent Efforts to Implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).” Secretary of Education King testified before the committee. As the Education Department, states and local districts work to implement ESSA, debate remains about the role of the Ed Dept. Congress was clear in directing more authority to the states under the new law, but many are now concerned that the department is trying to maintain that authority. Chair John Kline (R-MN) said Congress would continue to ensure authority was returned to the states, according to a summary of the hearing.

Teacher Preparation Report. Teacher-preparation programs for preschool teachers are leaving out a number of best practices and critical content needed to teach the nation’s youngest learners, the National Council on Teacher Quality says in a new study. The study looks at 100 programs across 29 states and finds that 41% of programs didn’t dedicate all or part of a course to teaching language development. Just 40% of the programs dedicated course time to teaching basic math concepts in preschool, like comparing shapes or exploring patterns. Teacher-prep programs also aren’t evaluating student teachers on their ability to manage a classroom, according to the report. One of the study’s big takeaways is that having a bachelor’s or master’s degree doesn’t necessarily mean that a preschool teacher is prepared.

Report Says Average Students Prepared for Selective Universities. A new analysis from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds that the theory that an average student will be overmatched at a selective university and will do poorly is empirically unsound.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of June 27, 2016. For more information, please visit: www.newenglandcouncil.com.

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