WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) presented his new bill on higher education reform, attacking the current accreditation and federal loan system as a "higher education cartel."
"Restrictive policies artificially narrow America's path into the middle class and into economic opportunity," Lee declared at The Heritage Foundation on Monday. "In effect, the federal government today operates a kind of higher education cartel — federally approved accreditors act as a gatekeeper to keep unwanted providers out of the market."
Lee argued that the current rules do not protect students from "bad actors" so much as they protect "incumbent colleges from innovative competitors." He explained that, in America's information economy, college education is more important than ever before but also blocked by many barriers. more >>
Indiana's Senate unanimously passed a bill last week that would protect the celebration of Christmas in the state's public schools, allowing students to decorate Christmas trees and share traditional holiday greetings such as "Merry Christmas" with their pupils.
Senate Bill 326, if passed into law, would specifically allow teachers and students to say traditional seasonal greetings such as "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," and "Happy Holidays" while at school. Additionally, it would allow classrooms to display "symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah, Christmas tree, Nativity scene or other religious symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations," as long as more than one religion is represented or a secular symbol accompanies a religious one.
The state senate passed the bill unanimously last week, with the legislation's co-author, Sen. Jim Smith, saying the purpose of the bill was to avoid the lawsuits that have taken place in other states regarding religious expression during the holiday season. "Christmas is under attack," Smith said in reference to the bill, according to The Associated Press. "That's just crazy that we even have to move a bill like that, but I think it's very well needed in the state and in every state." more >>
Barring transgender boys from using the girls' bathroom is a violation of Maine's Human Rights Act, according a state Supreme Court ruling last month.
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled 5-1 that banning transgender boys from using girls' bathrooms violates their rights, in a decision from a 2009 lawsuit brought by the family of Nicole Maines' and the Maine Human Rights Commission.
In Doe v. Regional School Unit 26, the court found that a public school in Orono was in the wrong when it required then fifth-grade transgender student, Nicole, to use a faculty unisex bathroom instead of the girls' bathroom because a boy, who did not identify as transgender, twice followed her into the girls' bathroom, citing that he should have the same right. more >>
The provost of a Christian academic institution has written a book meant to help older college students get an introduction to the upper education experience.
Rick Ostrander, provost and chief academic officer at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., has recently published Reconsidering College: Christian Higher Education for Working Adults.
"More and more adults are seeking to develop themselves and improve their professional opportunities by completing a college degree. Whether business professionals, salespersons, nurses, parents, or persons engaged in any other profession, many working adults recognize the value of furthering their education," reads a press release in part. more >>
Students enrolled in one Central Michigan University course are studying zombies, and will be examining biblical texts as well as the apocalyptic themes found in popular books and movies.
The course, titled "From Revelation to 'The Walking Dead,'" is being taught by philosophy and religion professor Kelly Murphy. Murphy is a fan of AMC's hit show "The Walking Dead," according to a press release, and has always wanted to teach an apocalyptic literature course.
"The prevalence of apocalyptic stories in various media gives us a window into what people are worrying about, what they hope for and how they imagine they would react in the face of a cataclysmic event," said Murphy. "In the same way, we can read the Book of Revelation or other ancient apocalyptic texts and learn what ancient Jewish and Christian groups were concerned about and what kind of world they hoped might exist." more >>
My parents taught me that education was one of the most important factors for my future. In fact, my father told me that he was giving me my inheritance early by paying my way to a fine institution like prestigious Williams College. And I have continued his legacy with my own daughters.
I have made no secret about my belief that educational opportunities are essential to help people lift themselves out of poverty. And there is no question that not all schools are created equal. For example, in 2011, Montgomery County Public Schools here in Maryland had a graduation rate of 85.7 percent. Detroit Public Schools, by comparison, graduated just 62 percent of their seniors. All of us know anecdotally that students from top performing public schools are taking AP classes, while students at failing public schools are sitting in chaotic classrooms where the teachers may have to spend more time on discipline issues than the lesson plan. Upon finishing high school, the former group is prepared to enter top colleges, while the latter may not even be prepared for an entry level job.
This disparity is one of the reasons that the new Common Core State Standards Initiative had many education reformers excited. According to its website, "The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers." more >>