Renascence School Education News - private school

Friday, January 30, 2015

After Heavy Criticism, Obama Drops Changes to 529 Plans

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“After harsh criticism, President Obama has decided to reverse course on a proposal that would have cut the tax benefits of a popular college savings account. White House officials said the criticism had reached a point that it became too much of a distraction, and the only thing they could do was to withdraw the proposal, which would have ended the ability of families to take money out of their college savings accounts, referred to as 529 plans, tax free. The proposal had suggested that the plans were being used by the wealthy more than anyone else, and the suggestion of eliminating the tax break would in fact make more money available to middle class citizens…However, this theory turned out to be untrue. The accounts are in fact used, and relied on, by around 12 million families across the country. In addition, an increasing number of people who earn less than six figures are opening accounts.”(more)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Number Of U.S. STEM Graduates Rises Slightly In Past Decade

SiliconBeat – MICHELLE QUINN

“If you listen to politicians and tech leaders, the country is in dire need of more people trained in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called “STEM” fields. Students appear to be responding somewhat to this message, according to a new study from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Twenty-six percent of all bachelor’s earned by men and 12 percent earned by women were in hard sciences in 2014, up from 24 percent and 11 percent respectively in 2004…But when it came to one specific degree — computer science bachelors — women lost ground. In 2014, 18 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to women were in computer science, down from 23 percent in 2004…”(more)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New SAT, New Problems

The Atlantic – James S. Murphy

“In his announcement last spring that a new version of the SAT would be launched in 2016, The College Board President David Coleman drew on a favorite buzzword: opportunity. In his speech, Coleman finally acknowledged the common criticism that the current SAT has little to do with the work students do in high school and will do in college. He promised that the redesigned test would be more in tune with what happens in the classroom. “No longer will the SAT stand apart from the work of teachers in their classrooms,” he said. The preview last week of 94 sample questions—half of which were previously released—from the redesigned test helps reveal whether the new SAT will deliver on its promise. Early indicators are not encouraging. The new test will correspond with the Common Core Standards—the controversial math and reading benchmarks whose design and implementation Coleman happened to spearhead before taking over the College Board. That means the new SAT could have the opposite of its intended effect, at least in the near term, closing opportunities for students who aren’t yet well-versed in the standards. Kids who lack access to in-person test preparation from tutors like me—who are trained to analyze the new test material and develop strategies for raising scores—could also suffer. The most vulnerable students are those who live in low-income areas or don’t speak English as a first language.”(more)

A Quiet Revolution in Helping Lift the Burden of Student Debt

The New York Times – Kevin Carey

“Has the student loan crisis already been solved? This might seem an absurd question. Student loan debt is at a record high of $1.1 trillion, and the average undergraduate who borrows to attend school graduates nearly $30,000 in debt. Almost 20 percent of student borrowers are in default. Yet a couple of little-noticed legislative tweaks to a small, obscure loan repayment program — revisions made under two very different presidents — appear to have created the conditions for far-reaching changes in how a college education is bought and paid for. The result may make it much easier for students to get out from under their debts. The first changes happened in September 2007, when Congress passed a major overhaul of the federal college financial aid system. Most of the news coverage at the time focused on the fact that government subsidies would shift from private banks that offered loans to Pell Grants for low-income students. But the bill that President George W. Bush later signed contained another modest change in the law that would later gather significance.”(more)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Youths Must Be Trained For High-Tech Jobs

The Hartford Courant – Bruce Dixon

“The Obama administration has emphasized the critical need to prepare American students for future job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM. The president is right to make STEM a national priority. Yet he must be careful to also back critical efforts by industry to develop the next generation of high-tech workers. Our leaders must not only support STEM education, but those who create jobs and drive growth in a technology-based economy. Even as the economy is still recovering, workers with a background in STEM subjects are in high demand. Between 2000 and 2010, high-tech jobs grew three times faster than opportunities in other fields. There are now 2.8 STEM jobs for every unemployed person in Connecticut, and by 2018, the state will have an astonishing 116,000 positions to fill.”(more)

Helping students ‘climb the mountain’ of higher education

The Deseret News – Morgan Jacobsen

“SALT LAKE CITY — Fewer than half of Utah’s college freshmen graduate within six years of consecutive enrollment, many of them falling from the ranks before their sophomore year. Institutions measure this as retention, or the percentage of students who come back each year. But beneath the numbers lies a problem of student persistence — individual effort toward college completion — that challenges every college and university in the state. The numbers reveal a sobering trend. Last year, 86 percent of high school graduates said they intended to graduate from college, but only 40 percent of them who didn’t leave for a church mission or military service enrolled, according to a recent Utah Foundation report. And currently, only 47 percent of college students end up graduating within 6 years.”(more)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

An Investment in Education for the Next Generation of STEM Innovators Is a Smart Bet

The Huffington Post – Vivian R. Pickard

“It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has steadily increased over the years. As that price tag continues to rise, it becomes even more important for parents and their college-aged children to seriously consider the schools and majors they choose…As the focus on innovation and technology in American industries continues to sharpen, the need for qualified applicants in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) fields will also become more evident. Students who choose a STEM-related major can expect to enter a market where the number of jobs is projected to grow twice as fast as jobs in other fields over the next five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”(more)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

College Students Have No Idea How Much They’re Borrowing

Forbes – Kate Ashford

“Student loan debt isn’t getting any better. The average college borrower graduated with $28,400 of debt in 2013, according to the Project on Student Debt. And while more Millennials are staying at home to save on college costs, seven in 10 graduating seniors still have student loans. And it turns out—they’re not even sure how much they’re borrowing. Barely half of respondents at a public university were able to pinpoint what they paid for their first year of college within $5,000…In other words, undergraduates are not only borrowing vast sums of money to go to school, but they’re doing it blindly.”(more)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Want more kids in college? Check school counselor caseloads

The Seattle Times – Robin Respaut

“The job of high school guidance counselor is a catch-all: Part graduation-credits overseer, testing administrator, shrink and higher-education shepherd. Seem like too much to do well? New research agrees. So while President Obama talks about getting more students into community college, and Washington state does its part with College Bound Scholarships, the people actually tasked with guiding kids in this direction — high school counselors — are spread much too thin. The result: Many states essentially expect students to “just figure it out,” says the Education Commission of the States, a think tank tracking education policy.”(more)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Failure To Follow Up: The Sad Truth About Millennial Financial Literacy

Forbes – Robert Farrington

“…why, as millennials, do we fail to follow up with our money and financial life? It’s a growing trend that is harming millennial financial health. Millennials, as a generation, have a larger delinquency rate on their bills compared to all other ages…Why are millennials (or anyone really) late on their bills? It’s a lack of follow up and understanding of financial organization. Many young adults expect everything to just happen…As a society, we need to improve financial literacy among millennials, but it’s a challenge…We need to reach millennials financially in ways they understand – by teaching them about apps that could help manage all of their accounts in once place, and showing them how to setup online bill pay…All of that is possible with a little financial education about the tools needed for financial organization. Then, they won’t have to follow up…as much.”(more)