Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Increasing Educational Opportunities


The College Board published recommendations on increasing college education rates, all of which are unlike the current US model of education as punishment. In the US we have seen zero-tolerance policies, impoverishment of education opportunities of lower classes via property-based tax policies, and a system that disproportionately favors the gifted and affluent.

The 10 Recommendations

The commission believes that American education is the nation’s greatest strength and most powerful force for advancing the common good in America. To once again return America to its place as the global leader in educational attainment, the commission recommended the following 10-part action agenda:
  1. Provide a program of voluntary preschool education, universally available to children from low-income families, such that all children at or below 200 percent of the offi cial poverty line have a chance to enter school ready to learn.
  2. Improve middle and high school college counseling by meeting professional staffing standards for counselors and involving colleges and universities in college planning.
  3. Implement the best research-based dropout prevention programs, which include early identification of those students who are at risk of dropping out and subsequently providing them with a safety net.
  4. Align the K–12 education system with international standards and college admission expectations so that all students are prepared for future opportunities in education, work and life.
  5. Improve teacher quality and focus on recruitment and retention an education system can only be as good as its teachers.
  6. Clarify and simplify the admission process; a transparent and less complex process will encourage more first-generation students to apply.
  7. Provide more need-based grant aid while simplifying the financial aid system and making it more transparent; to minimize student debt and at least keep pace with inflation, make financial aid processes more transparent and predictable, and provide institutions with incentives to enroll and graduate more low-income and first-generation students.
  8. Keep college affordable by controlling college costs, using available aid and resources wisely, and insisting that state governments meet their obligations for funding higher education.
  9. Dramatically increase college completion rates by reducing the number of dropouts, easing transfer processes and using “data-based” approaches to improve completion rates at both two- and four-year institutions.
  10. Provide postsecondary opportunities as an essential element of adult education programs by supplementing existing basic skills training with a new “honors GED” and through better coordination of existing

NY Times Opinion by Devorah Baum: Jewishness

In response to a NY Times piece in the Opinion section We Are All Jew-ish Now , with the synopsis "Jewishness” can be the sensibility o...