Monthly Archives: December 2009

Reform is Approved in Michigan

Today Detroit News announced on their webpage that Michigan legislators passed  education reform, which allows them to qualify for the $400 million up for contention in the Race to the Top campaign.

Seems like Michigan is set to change the way the state handles education, with Legislation coming up with a list of laws they plan to follow in order to compete competitively for the reform money. I like the idea of having a separate cyber high school for students who choose to drop out of high school. My only question would be if a kid that dropped out be willing to attend a cyber school or not? I have to wonder what these schools will have to offer in order to convince students who weren’t interested in attending a regular high school in the first place.

Lawmakers also gained cooperation from teacher unions, which plays a part in who gets the award money for the Race to the Top program.  Despite this however, there is still opposition from the Michigan Education Association and the Detroit Federation of Teachers, more specifically toward bargaining made for teachers that are working in failing schools taken over by the state. Iris Salters, president of the Michigan Education Association felt that though they made the steps necessary to agree with the Race to the Top program, they do not agree of stripping away educators’ rights of helping students in struggling schools. I agree, it would not be right to take away the right for them to decide what to do with students and the school in general. They are the ones working there after all so they should have at least some say in what is going to happen in the schools.

Still, its great news to hear, and so close near the holidays! 🙂 Hopefully Michigan will keep their word and work on improving the schools, not to mention maybe they’ll mention more about these ‘cyber high schools’ I’m curious to see if it is going to be something like a virtual classroom or something different.

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No More Free Tuition From Harvard

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported on Harvard ending their program, the Public Service Initiative, after having an unexpectedly large

Harvard University's Logo

amount of students sign up for it.

Like a lot of private schools have been doing, the one I’m more familiar with here in Texas being Rice University, there were programs being created to bring in more students to the school. The tuition would either be waived the first year if they were a first generation student, or they would get free intuition their first year. Harvard’s program offered to pay the tuition for third-year students who pledged to spend five years working for either a private, non-profit organization or the government.

Now it seems the programs that were created to benefit students and families tight on money are being cut to save money for the institution:

Harvard’s endowment declined 27 percent between June 2008 and June 2009, falling to $26 billion, and the university has adopted a number of cost-cutting moves. In fact, on Tuesday, Harvard’s largest division, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, announced a voluntary retirement plan for professors. Other schools will offer similar packages in the near future.

Although there is a positive mixed in with the loss of the program. The money that was used toward the Public Service Initiative will move to other programs, including a loan-repayment plan for graduate students who are working low-paying jobs. Something that is heavily needed with today’s economy. And despite the program being dropped, Harvard (as well as other law schools) offer free-tuition scholarships to students for their first three years.

Still, if Harvard is starting to cut back on programs that helped out families that were tight on money, it will only be a matter of time before other colleges follow in their direction. Hopefully, though, other schools will have other programs, like Harvard offers, that will help out students that are having a harder time paying for school.

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Hutchinson’s Education Plan Lacking in Originality

Hutchinson; running candidate for govenor in TexasWhile Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who’s running for governor in Texas, criticizes Governor Rick Perry’s Education plans and goals, she’s receiving criticism herself because her list of proposals is very similar to programs that already exist.

Still, even though she may not have anything new on her proposals, at least she lists them on her site, unlike Perry’s who doesn’t have much, save for a mention of  expanding STEM schools and the UTeach program, which specializes in training math and science teachers at the University of Texas in an article on his site.

So at the moment, Hutchinson’s education plan, resembles pretty much the plan from the Texas Education Agency site, but I’m curious to see what she and her campaign team will do to make her stand out from Rick Perry’s. I’m wondering if her campaign will change the claim that her plan for the Education system won’t “throw more tax dollars at the problem”

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