This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: new NAEP results, gearing up for low-income success in college, irresponsible behavior from US Department of Ed, and ongoing education mentions on the presidential trail.
New NAEP Results
This week, Connecticut got its results on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP). Administered every two years, NAEP is the only test that compares performance state-to-state. Although Connecticut’s scores continue to exceed the national average, we saw a decline in 4th grade reading results--as well as significant achievement gaps between both students of color and white students, and economically disadvantaged students and their peers.
GEAR UP for Low-Income Students’ College Success
On Friday, Governor Lamont announced that Connecticut will receive a seven-year $25.8 million grant from the US Department of Education to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared for postsecondary success. The funding is used to develop partnerships between school districts and community colleges to help students prepare for college--starting in seventh grade with early college awareness and support activities. Connecticut was awarded a similar seven-year grant in 2012.
The Senate Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, Will Haskell, also published an op ed in the Hartford Courant last week about college affordability. He describes Connecticut's passage of debt-free tuition for community college students, tax credits for businesses that help to pay off their employees' student debt, and the recent announcement from UConn that the university will admit students tuition-free if their family incomes fall below $50,000.
DeVos Making News for Irresponsible Behavior
Over the past week, US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been making headlines for a host of irresponsible actions around higher education. DeVos has been held in contempt of court for failing to stop collecting loan payments from students who were defrauded by for-profit colleges. Also, a top aide who oversaw a portfolio of student loans at the Education Department resigned--citing flaws in the student loan system. Now running as a Republican for an open Georgia Senate seat, this former aide has proposed both canceling a portion of student loan debt for every student and providing tax credits to Americans who have completed repaying their student loans. Finally, to round out last week’s hat-trick, the beleaguered Secretary and her department were exposed by the House Education and Labor Committee for providing millions of dollars in student aid to ineligible for-profit colleges that were unaccredited. Some students pursuing degrees were not even informed that their schools had lost accreditation, although their debts continued to grow.
Ongoing Education Mentions on the Presidential Trail
Julian Castro talks about his education plan, including pre-K access, support for charter schools that are transparent and accountable, and increasing teacher pay. (Education Week)
Visiting New Haven, Marianne Williamson talks about reparations as both a monetary award to those who have been systemically excluded from wealth accumulation, and as a national admission of wrongdoing. (New Haven Independent)
The backlash continues against Senator Warren's plan to clampdown on public charter schools; a recent article from the Editorial Board of the Washington Post observes that the losers in Senator Warren’s plan are the children that charters help. (Washington Post)