Measuring Up 2008 is the most recent in the series of national and state-by-state report cards for higher education that was inaugurated in 2000. The key findings this year reveal that the nation and most of the 50 states are making some advances in preparing students for college and providing them with access to higher education. However, other nations are advancing more quickly than the United States; we continue to slip behind other countries in improving college opportunities for our residents.
Changing state revenues have prompted heightened concern about the immediate short- and long-term future and stability of state investments in higher education. Just what is going on in the field in terms of access, funding, and overall support for community colleges? These are the questions that originally spurred the need for a formal survey of funding issues in U.S. community colleges. This report summarizes the perceptions gleaned from community college state directors (or their designees) during the third administration of the survey in 2007. It is offered as a barometer of the current situation and future prospects for community college funding and access.
As compensation for municipal services, Worcester, MA, city officials are considering funneling money from area colleges to the public library as branches prove the largest allure for drawing people to the downtown area.
City officials in Worcester, MA, may have come up with a novel way to support public libraries in a time of shrinking municipal budgets: ask local colleges. The presence of several tax-exempt colleges in the city has prompted perennial debate about requiring the institutions to provide compensation for municipal services via payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs). Now, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, there may be a middle ground, via the libraries.
Source: Jeffrey J. Williams, Dissent, Vol. 55 no. 4, Fall 2008
College student loan debt has revived the spirit of indenture for a sizable proportion of contemporary Americans. It is not a minor threshold that young people entering adult society and work, or those returning to college seeking enhanced credentials, might pass through easily. Because of its unprecedented and escalating amounts, it is a major constraint that looms over the lives of those so contracted, binding individuals for a significant part of their future work lives. Although it has more varied application, less direct effects, and less severe conditions than colonial indenture did (some have less and some greater debt, some attain better incomes) and it does not bind one to a particular job, student debt permeates everyday experience with concern over the monthly chit and encumbers job and life choices. It also takes a page from indenture in the extensive brokerage system it has bred, from which more than four thousand banks take profit. At core, student debt is a labor issue, as colonial indenture was, subsisting off the desire of those less privileged to gain better opportunities and enforcing a control on their future labor. One of the goals of the planners of the modern U.S. university system after the Second World War was to displace what they saw as an aristocracy that had become entrenched at elite schools; instead they promoted equal opportunity in order to build America through its best talent. The rising tide of student debt reinforces rather than dissolves the discriminations of class, counteracting the meritocracy. Finally, I believe that the current system of college debt violates the spirit of American freedom in leading those less privileged to bind their futures.
From the summary:
This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2017. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2017. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.
In choosing between the new and old educational benefit programs, veterans have many variables to consider. Here’s a primer.
Source: Jessica Davis and Kurt J. Bauman, U.S. Census Bureau, P20-559, August 2008
From the press release:
Enrollment in two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. reached 20.5 million in 2006, up 3 million since 2000. This included 17.1 million undergraduates and 3.4 million students in graduate or professional schools.
These statistics are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s School Enrollment in the United States: 2006, a report that describes the characteristics of the nation’s 79 million students in 2006.
This is the first school enrollment report from the Census Bureau to use data from both the Current Population Survey (on which previous reports have been based) and the American Community Survey. Incorporating these data result in new state-by-state comparisons of enrollment characteristics while preserving the historical comparisons of school enrollment.
In 2006, there were more students in college and high school, but fewer in nursery school, kindergarten and elementary school, than in 2000. This change reflects the composition of school enrollment by age in the United States for that time period.
– Detailed tables
The percentage of colleges offering domestic partner benefits grew gradually in 2007-8 — a year in which the benefits received intense scrutiny from critics of gay marriage.
The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources surveyed colleges and universities and found that 42 percent offer health care benefits for same-sex domestic partners, up from 40 percent a year ago. In addition, 34 percent of institutions provide the benefits to opposite sex domestic partners, up from 31 percent a year ago.
In states where voters have approved measures to ban gay marriage, domestic partner benefits have faced legal and political challenges in the last year, but many institutions have shifted the way benefits are provided to avoid cutting off health insurance to employees’ partners.
Publicly funded two year colleges are facing daunting challenges in dealing with surging enrollments of disadvantaged and unprepared students.
From the abstract:
The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) 2004 Brown University decision held that graduate student teaching and research assistants were not employees, and therefore, were not protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Deciding whether individuals are employees as defined by the NLRA is critical to labor law, as it determines whether individuals have a protected right to engage in freedom of association, self-organization, collective bargaining, and acts of mutual aid or protection. This article explains and critiques the Brown decision as a departure both from precedent as well as from the central purposes of the NLRA. It also examines how Brown University “foreshadowed other cases in which the Board would ignore precedent and the policies underlying the NLRA.” The piece advises readers about the importance of precision in criticizing such decisions, because “if that criticism is not targeted to the specific wrong, it can do damage.” It further cautions that, while criticizing specific failures to enforce NLRA rights is essential, it is important to not wholly abandon the NLRA as a vehicle for protecting such rights, stating “We must insist that the promise of the NLRA to actively promote freedom of association in order to create equality of bargaining power between employers and employees . . . is kept.”