Is College Worth It? Poll Finds Only 36% of Americans Have Confidence in Higher Education — from usnews.com by Associated Press
A new poll finds Americans are increasingly skeptical about the value and cost of college

Americans are increasingly skeptical about the value and cost of college, with most saying they feel the U.S. higher education system is headed in the “wrong direction,” according to a new poll.

Overall, only 36% of adults say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, according to the report released Monday by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation. That confidence level has declined steadily from 57% in 2015.

 

From DSC:
I realize I lose a lot of readers on this Learning Ecosystems blog because I choose to talk about my faith and integrate scripture into these postings. So I have stayed silent on matters of politics — as I’ve been hesitant to lose even more people. But I can no longer stay silent re: Donald Trump.

I, too, fear for our democracy if Donald Trump becomes our next President. He is dangerous to our democracy.

Also, I can see now how Hitler came to power.

And look out other countries that Trump doesn’t like. He is dangerous to you as well.

He doesn’t care about the people of the United States (nor any other nation). He cares only about himself and gaining power. Look out if he becomes our next president. 


From Stefan Bauschard:

Unlimited Presidential power. According to Trump vs the US, the “President may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for his official acts.” Justice Sotomayor says this makes the President a “king.” This power + surveillance + AGI/autonomous weapons mean the President is now the most powerful king in the history of the world.

Democracy is only 200 years old.

 

Career and Technical Education Clears New Pathways to Opportunity — from educationnext.org by Bruno V. Manno; via Ryan Craig
A student’s post-secondary options need not be binary

Many Americans, including the last wave of Gen Z-ers now entering high schools, want schools to offer more education and training options for young people like career and technical education, or CTE. They broadly agree that the K–12 goal of “college for all” over the last several decades has not served all students well. It should be replaced with “opportunity pluralism,” or the recognition that a college degree is one of many pathways to post-secondary success.

School-based CTE programs (there are also programs for adults) typically prepare middle and high school students for a range of high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers. These include fields like advanced manufacturing, health sciences, and information technology which often do not require a two- or four-year college degree. CTE programs award students recognized credentials like industry certifications and licenses.

 

From DSC:
As I can’t embed his posting, I’m copying/pasting Jeff’s posting on LinkedIn:


According to Flighty, I logged more than 2,220 flight miles in the last 5 days traveling to three conferences to give keynotes and spend time with housing officers in Milwaukee, college presidents in Mackinac Island, MI, and enrollment and marketing leaders in Raleigh.

Before I rest, I wanted to post some quick thoughts about what I learned. Thank you to everyone who shared their wisdom these past few days:

  • We need to think about the “why” and “how” of AI in higher ed. The “why” shouldn’t be just because everyone else is doing it. Rather, the “why” is to reposition higher ed for a different future of competitors. The “how” shouldn’t be to just seek efficiency and cut jobs. Rather we should use AI to learn from its users to create a better experience going forward.
  • Residence halls are not just infrastructure. They are part and parcel of the student experience and critical to student success. Almost half of students living on campus say it increases their sense of belonging, according to research by the Association of College & University Housing Officers.
  • How do we extend the “residential experience”? More than half of traditional undergraduates who live on campus now take at least once course online. As students increasingly spend time off campus – or move off campus as early as their second year in college – we need to help continue to make the connections for them that they would in a dorm. Why? 47% of college students believe living in a college residence hall enhanced their ability to resolve conflicts.
  • Career must be at the core of the student experience for colleges to thrive in the future, says Andy Chan. Yes, some people might see that as too narrow of a view of higher ed or might not want to provide cogs for the wheel of the workforce, but without the job, none of the other benefits of college follow–citizenship, health, engagement.
  • A “triple threat grad”–someone who has an internship, a semester-long project, and an industry credential (think Salesforce or Adobe in addition to their degree–matters more in the job market than major or institution, says Brandon Busteed.
  • Every faculty member should think of themselves as an ambassador for the institution. Yes, care about their discipline/department, but that doesn’t survive if the rest of the institution falls down around them.
  • Presidents need to place bigger bets rather than spend pennies and dimes on a bunch of new strategies. That means to free up resources they need to stop doing things.
  • Higher ed needs a new business model. Institutions can’t make money just from tuition, and new products like certificates, are pennies on the dollars of degrees.
  • Boards aren’t ready for the future. They are over-indexed on philanthropy and alumni and not enough on the expertise needed for leading higher ed.

From DSC:
As I can’t embed his posting, I’m copying/pasting Jeff’s posting on LinkedIn:


It’s the stat that still gnaws at me: 62%.

That’s the percentage of high school graduates going right on to college. A decade ago it was around 70%. So for all the bellyaching about the demographic cliff in higher ed, just imagine if today we were close to that 70% number? We’d be talking a few hundred thousand more students in the system.

As I told a gathering of presidents of small colleges and universities last night on Mackinac Island — the first time I had to take [numerous modes of transportation] to get to a conference — being small isn’t distinctive anymore.

There are many reasons undergrad enrollment is down, but they all come down to two interrelated trends: jobs and affordability.

The job has become so central to what students want out of the experience. It’s almost as if colleges now need to guarantee a job.

These institutions will need to rethink the learner relationship with work. Instead of college with work on the side, we might need to move to more of a mindset of work with college on the side by:

  • Making campus jobs more meaningful. Why can’t we have accounting and finance majors work in the CFO office, liberal arts majors work in IT on platforms such as Salesforce and Workday, which are skills needed in the workplace, etc.?
  • Apprenticeships are not just for the trades anymore. Integrate work-based learning into the undergrad experience in a much bigger way than internships and even co-ops.
  • Credentials within the degree. Every graduate should leave college with more than just a BA but also a certified credential in things like data viz, project management, the Adobe suite, Alteryx, etc.
  • The curriculum needs to be more flexible for students to combine work and learning — not only for the experience but also money for college — so more availability of online courses, hybrid courses, and flexible semesters.

How else can we think about learning and earning?


 

Microschooling Movement’s Latest Wave of Major National Media Coverage — from microschoolingcenter.org by Don Soifer

Today’s microschooling movement continues to attract major coverage in national and local media outlets around the country. This week saw important new feature articles highlighting microschools in two of the most influential.

The New York Times ran this piece by its lead national education reporter Dana Goldstein, who visited several Georgia microschools and conducted research and interviews with leaders there and around the country. “…The appeal goes beyond the Republican base and includes many working- or middle-class Black and Latino parents — especially those whose children are disabled, and who feel public schools are not meeting their needs,” the article found. The National Microschooling Center was pleased to see several of the Times’ explanations and background about our exciting movement cited in our own published research.

Also this week, The Hill, Congress’ own daily newspaper, published its own article, “What Are Microschools? The Small Classrooms Growing Large in the School Choice Movement.”


Also relevant, see:

Maine’s Microschooling Movement: As New Wave of Schools Launch, Many Old Ones Are Redefining Themselves — from the74million.org by Kerry McDonald; via GSV
McDonald: Founders across the state see a growing movement toward smaller, simpler, more holistic educational models.

It’s part of a growing trend, both in Maine and nationally, of new schools and spaces offering smaller, more individualized, more flexible learning options that parents and teachers desire. Many of these programs, including School Around Us, are part of the VELA Founder Network that supports alternative education environments across the U.S. with grants and entrepreneurial resources.

According to the new Johns Hopkins UniversityHomeschool Hub, homeschooling numbers now hover around six percent of the total K-12 school-age population, a dramatic increase from pre-pandemic estimates. Maine has seen its homeschooling numbersremainhigh since 2020. 


Public Schools Violate Their Sacred Mission When They Turn Students Away — from the74million.org by Tim DeRoche
DeRoche: There needs to be more legal oversight of school and district enrollment policies to ensure that public education is truly open to all.

Some readers may be surprised to learn that many U.S. high schools deny entry to legally eligible students. It is, after all, conventional wisdom that public schools are open to all families and that they eagerly seek to serve all potential students.

Available to All launched in early 2023 as a nonpartisan watchdog defending equal access to public schools. We have documented many cases in which schools turn away students, either unfairly or illegally, based on discriminatory criteria…

Families should have the legal right to apply to any public school, and the school should be required to publish a formal letter of denial if a child is rejected, explaining the legal basis for the decision. Every public school should be required to publish application and enrollment data, and every American family should have the right to appeal denial of enrollment to a neutral third party (as families already do in a handful of states, including California and Arkansas).


And speaking of homeschooling…

Outschool Launches Courses to Support Increased Interest in Homeschooling and Alternative Education — from prnewswire.com by Outschool

SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, 2024/PRNewswire/ — Leading online learning platform, Outschool announced today the launch of Courses, new classes and features designed specifically for homeschool and alternative education families. Outschool’s Courses is designed to empower homeschooling families and power-users of Outschool to craft their own individualized education with expert teachers, unique and engaging classes, easy scheduling, and progress tracking. Outschool Courses has been created to help families put their learner’s unique educational needs first.


A Record Number of Kids Are in Special Education—and It’s Getting Harder to Help Them All — from wsj.com by Sara Randazzo and Matt Barnum (behind a paywall)
What’s driving a rise in special education: pandemic disruptions, a shrinking stigma

More American children than ever are qualifying for special education, but schools are struggling to find enough teachers to meet their needs.

A record 7.5 million students accessed special-education services in U.S. schools as of 2022-2023, including children with autism, speech impairments and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. That is 15.2% of the public-school student population…

From DSC:
For anyone who really believes that teaching is easy, try attending a few Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. You’ll be blown away about how intricate and challenging teaching can be.

 

The future of career exploration is virtual — from fastcompany.com by Bharani Rajakumar
Maximizing our investment and reinvigorating the workforce will take a whole new approach to educating students about the paths that await.

A PUSH TOWARD EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
There is an answer to our narrow-view career exploration, and it starts with experiential learning.

Over the last decade, educational institutions have been reaping the rewards of more engrossing learning experiences. As Independent School magazine wrote a decade ago, when experiential learning was becoming more popular, by setting young people “loose to solve real-world problems, we are helping students find that essential spark not only to build their academic résumés, but also to be creative, caring, capable, engaged human beings.”

Rather than take students on field trips, we have the technology to create extended reality (XR) experiences that take students on a journey of what various careers actually look like in action.

 

NYC High School Reimagines Career & Technical Education for the 21st Century — from the74million.org by Andrew Bauld
Thomas A. Edison High School is providing students with the skills to succeed in both college and career in an unusually creative way.

From DSC:
Very interesting to see the mention of an R&D department here! Very cool.

Baker said ninth graders in the R&D department designed the essential skills rubric for their grade so that regardless of what content classes students take, they all get the same immersion into critical career skills. Student voice is now so integrated into Edison’s core that teachers work with student designers to plan their units. And he said teachers are becoming comfortable with the language of career-centered learning and essential skills while students appreciate the engagement and develop a new level of confidence.

The R&D department has grown to include teachers from every department working with students to figure out how to integrate essential skills into core academic classes. In this way, they’re applying one of the XQ Institute’s crucial Design Principles for innovative high schools: Youth Voice and Choice.
.

Learners need: More voice. More choice. More control. -- this image was created by Daniel Christian


Student Enterprise: Invite Learners to Launch a Media Agency or Publication — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • Client-connected projects have become a focal point of the Real World Learning initiative, offering students opportunities to solve real-world problems in collaboration with industry professionals.
  • Organizations like CAPS, NFTE, and Journalistic Learning facilitate community connections and professional learning opportunities, making it easier to implement client projects and entrepreneurship education.

Important trend: client projects. Work-based learning has been growing with career academies and renewed interest in CTE. Six years ago, a subset of WBL called client-connected projects became a focal point of the Real World Learning initiative in Kansas City where they are defined as authentic problems that students solve in collaboration with professionals from industry, not-for-profit, and community-based organizations….and allow students to: engage directly with employers, address real-world problems, and develop essential skills.


Portrait of a Community to Empower Learning Transformation — from gettingsmart.com by Rebecca Midles and Mason Pashia

Key Points

  • The Community Portrait approach encourages diverse voices to shape the future of education, ensuring it reflects the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders.
  • Active, representative community engagement is essential for creating meaningful and inclusive educational environments.

The Portrait of a Graduate—a collaborative effort to define what learners should know and be able to do upon graduation—has likely generated enthusiasm in your community. However, the challenge of future-ready graduates persists: How can we turn this vision into a reality within our diverse and dynamic schools, especially amid the current national political tensions and contentious curriculum debates?

The answer lies in active, inclusive community engagement. It’s about crafting a Community Portrait that reflects the rich diversity of our neighborhoods. This approach, grounded in the same principles used to design effective learning systems, seeks to cultivate deep, reciprocal relationships within the community. When young people are actively involved, the potential for meaningful change increases exponentially.


Q&A: Why Schools Must Redesign Learning to Include All Students — from edtechmagazine.com by Taashi Rowe
Systems are broken, not children, says K–12 disability advocate Lindsay E. Jones.

Although Lindsay E. Jones came from a family of educators, she didn’t expect that going to law school would steer her back into the family business. Over the years she became a staunch advocate for children with disabilities. And as mom to a son with learning disabilities and ADHD who is in high school and doing great, her advocacy is personal.

Jones previously served as president and CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities and was senior director for policy and advocacy at the Council for Exceptional Children. Today, she is the CEO at CAST, an organization focused on creating inclusive learning environments in K–12. EdTech: Focus on K–12 spoke with Jones about how digital transformation, artificial intelligence and visionary leaders can support inclusive learning environments.

Our brains are all as different as our fingerprints, and throughout its 40-year history, CAST has been focused on one core value: People are not broken, systems are poorly designed. And those systems are creating a barrier that holds back human innovation and learning.

 

6 Ways State Policymakers Can Build More Future-Focused Education Systems — from gettingsmart.com by Jennifer Kabaker

Key Points

  • Guided by a vision – often captured as a Portrait of a Graduate – co-constructed with local leaders, community members, students, and families, state policymakers can develop policies that equitably and effectively support students and educators in transforming learning experiences.
  • The Aurora Institute highlights the importance of collaborative efforts in creating education systems that truly meet the diverse needs of every student.

The Aurora Institute has spent years working with states looking to advance competency-based systems, and has identified a set of key state policy levers that policymakers can put into action to build more personalized and competency-based systems. These shifts should be guided by a vision–co-constructed with local leaders, community members, students, and families–for what students need to know and be able to do upon graduating.


Career Pathways In A Rapidly Changing World: US Career Pathways Story — from gettingsmart.com by Paul Herdman

Key Points

  • There has been a move away from the traditional “Bachelor’s or Bust” mentality towards recognizing the value of diverse career pathways that may not necessarily require a four-year degree.
  • Local entities such as states, school districts, and private organizations have played a crucial role in implementing and scaling up career pathways programs.

While much has been written on this topic (see resources below), this post, in the context of our OECD study of five Anglophone countries, will attempt to provide a backdrop on what was happening at the federal level in the U.S. over the last several decades to help catalyze this shift in career pathways and offer a snapshot of how this work is evolving in two very different statesDelaware and Texas.


U.S. public, private and charter schools in 5 charts — from pewresearch.org by Katherine Schaeffer
.

 

From DSC:
My wife does a lot of work with foster families and CASA kids, and she recommends these resources for helping children who have experienced adversity, early harm, toxic stress, and/or trauma. 


TBRI: Trust Based Relational Intervention — from child.tcu.edu by Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development

TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.

The Connected Child by Karen Purvis

The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion. Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, The Connected Child will help you:

  • Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child
  • Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders
  • Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened
 

The Making of the Access to Justice (A2J) Crisis — from by Nora Freeman Engstrom & David Freeman Engstrom

After decades of neglect, access to justice has roared onto legal and political radars, fueled by a growing realization—first among lawyers but increasingly among the wider American public—that the civil justice system is in crisis. In roughly three-quarters of the 20 million civil cases filed in state courts each year, one side lacks a lawyer—a dynamic that poses a direct challenge to the system’s adversarial core.1  And these are the cases and litigants we can see. Beneath them lies a larger but hidden crisis. It consists of tens of millions more Americans who face genuine legal problems but take no formal legal action to protect their interests.2  As this double-layered calamity has come into focus, state supreme courts, bar associations, and even the crusty American Law Institute are taking note.3

These institutional plaintiffs have built business models around high-volume litigation practices, in large part by leveraging “legal tech,” from e-filing to AI. Yet the legal tech that serves individual Americans on the other side of the “v” remains clunky and limited. The result is a lopsided litigation landscape that’s wreaking havoc on litigants and courts alike.

 

This viral Down Syndrome ad is smashing assumptions from every angle — from cnn.com by AJ Willingham; with thanks to Mr. Bob Bender for this resource

“When I was born, the doctor told my mom and dad that life would be really hard for me, saying that I can’t talk, or walk, or dance, or model, or act — or drinking or getting married — any of this stuff that’s part of normal life,” she said. “And it’s so much fun proving people wrong.”

.

 

The Edtech Insiders Rundown of SXSW EDU 2024 — from edtechinsiders.substack.com by Ben Kornell, Alex Sarlin, and Sarah Morin
And more on our ASU + GSV Happy Hour, GenAI in edtech market valuations, and interviews from The Common Sense Summit.

Theme 1: The Kids Are Not Alright
This year’s SXSW EDU had something for everyone, with over a dozen “Program Tracks.” However, the one theme that truly connected the entire conference was mental health.

36 sessions were specifically tagged with mental health and wellness, but in sessions on topics ranging from literacy to edtech to civic engagement, presenters continued to come back again and again to the mental health crisis amongst teens and young adults.

Theme 2: Aye AI, Captain
Consistent with past conferences, this year leaned in on the K12 education world. As expected, one of the hottest topics for K12 was the role of AI (or lack thereof) in schools. Key takeaways included…


AI Literacy: A New Graduation Requirement and Civic Imperative — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark and Mason Pashia

Key Points

  • There is still time to ensure that all of your students graduate with an understanding of how AI works, why it is important and how to best use it.

What would it look like to make a commitment that come graduation every senior will have at least basic AI literacy? This includes an appreciation of AI as a creation engine and learning partner but also an understanding of the risks of deepfakes and biased curation. We’re entering a time where to quote Ethan Mollick “You can’t trust anything you read or see ever again.” Whether formal or informal, it’s time to start building AI literacy.


New Alabama Education Law Represents Small But Significant Advance — from forbes.com by Jeanne Allen

Valiant Cross Academy raises the bar for young men. A young man seated in a pew is raising his hand.

More than 50 years later, across the street from the church and concerned with declining education and the pace of social change, brothers Anthony and Fred Brock founded Valiant Cross Academy, an all-male academy aimed at “helping boys of color become men of valor.”

Valiant Cross embodies King’s hopes, pursuing the dream that its students will be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, and working to ensure that they are well prepared for productive lives filled with accomplishment and purpose.

“We’re out to prove that it’s an opportunity gap, not an achievement gap” says head of school Anthony Brock. And they have. In 2022, 100 percent of Valiant seniors graduated from the academy, pursuing post-graduate options, enrolling in either four- or two-year college, or established career-training programs.


 

 

Immersive virtual reality tackles depression stigma says study — from inavateonthenet.net

A new study from the University of Tokyo has highlighted the positive effect that immersive virtual reality experiences have for depression anti-stigma and knowledge interventions compared to traditional video.

The study found that depression knowledge improved for both interventions, however, only the immersive VR intervention reduced stigma. The VR-powered intervention saw depression knowledge score positively associated with a neural response in the brain that is indicative of empathetic concern. The traditional video intervention saw the inverse, with participants demonstrating a brain-response which suggests a distress-related response.

From DSC:
This study makes me wonder why we haven’t heard of more VR-based uses in diversity training. I’m surprised we haven’t heard of situations where we are put in someone else’s mocassins so to speak. We could have a lot more empathy for someone — and better understand their situation — if we were to experience life as others might experience it. In the process, we would likely uncover some hidden biases that we have.


Addendum on 3/12/24:

Augmented reality provides benefit for Parkinson’s physical therapy — from inavateonthenet.net

 

6 work and workplace trends to watch in 2024 — from weforum.org by Kate Whiting; via Melanie Booth on LinkedIn

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The world of work is changing fast.

By 2027, businesses predict that almost half (44%) of workers’ core skills will be disrupted.

Technology is moving faster than companies can design and scale up their training programmes, found the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report.

The Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024 found that “lack of economic opportunity” ranked as one of the top 10 biggest risks among risk experts over the next two years.

5. Skills will become even more important
With 23% of jobs expected to change in the next five years, according to the Future of Jobs Report, millions of people will need to move between declining and growing jobs.

 

How This College Dropout Raised $29 Million for His Online Education Platform and Landed the Biggest Investor of All — Shaq — from entrepreneur.com by Dan Bova; via GSV
Campus founder Tade Oyerinde and investor Shaquille O’Neal discuss the debt-free mission of the online community college.

Key Takeaways

  • Campus offers two-year associate degrees with tuition costs that allow many students to go for free.
  • The online community college has garnered $29 million in investment.
  • Shaq says the company met his criteria for investment: a passionate founder, a mission to change lives and a solid exit strategy.

Colleges Were Already Bracing for an ‘Enrollment Cliff.’ Now There Might Be a Second One. — from chronicle.com by Dan Bauman; via GSV

[In addition to the decline of high school graduates starting in 2025] In recent months, however, the Census has updated its forecasts — instead of rebounding at some point in the mid-2030s, the number of 18-year-olds is now projected to contract after cresting at around 4.2 million people in 2033, shrinking to around 3.8 million by 2039. After that, the Bureau doesn’t anticipate the population of 18-year-olds will exceed 4 million people in any year this century.


How this Vietnam vet started a college program at a desert prison — from opencampusmedia.org; an essay by James “Sneaky” White as told to Charlotte West.

James “Sneaky” White, 80, spent nearly four decades incarcerated in California. His nickname “Sneaky” comes from his days as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. While he was incarcerated, he helped create a college program that has since graduated more than 1,500 men. In this “as told to” story, he shares how he started a college program for veterans at a desert prison.


Virtual Forum – On Demand
Starting a Program for Incarcerated Students — from chronicle.com by Charles B. Adams, Ruth Delaney, and Laura Massa; via Goldie Blumenstyk

Does your institution have programming in place for incarcerated students? Thanks to new federal assistance, students in many prisons can now take college courses for credit. While colleges are interested in starting or expanding programs to serve those students, they often have no idea how to do so.


 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian