WASHINGTON (July 1, 2013) — We are disappointed that Congress was unable to agree on a solution to keep interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans from doubling today. By failing to pass a plan to keep interest rates from increasing to 6.8 percent, Congress missed an important opportunity to limit college debt for the millions of students who receive subsidized Stafford loans every year, most of them low-income.
The Supreme Court’s decision on June 24 to send Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin back to the Fifth Circuit Court was a judicial win for affirmative action policies. In this 7-1 decision, the Court reaffirmed the precedent that pursuing diversity through a balanced admissions policy is a legitimate pursuit that justifies the consideration of race as one factor. This is good news because diversity on campus and in the classroom benefits all students — not just students of color.
WASHINGTON (June 27, 2013) — The results from the 2012 long-term trend National Assessment of Educational Progress show that over the last four decades, our nation has made very real progress for all groups of students.
Since the 1970s, reading and math performance for 9 and 13-year-olds has increased significantly. At all ages, gains have been largest among students of color. And they are meaningful: In math, for example, African American and Latino 9-year-olds are performing about where their 13-year-old counterparts were in the early ’70s.
WASHINGTON (June 24, 2013) — The Supreme Court’s decision today in Fisher v. University of Texas reaffirmed the bedrock constitutional principle that universities have a compelling interest in considering racial and ethnic diversity as one factor in developing a carefully crafted admissions policy. Although the Court found that the Fifth Circuit applied the wrong standard, it did not question the compelling nature of diversity as a factor in admissions. Even when you control for income and other advantages, students of color are still admitted to college at lower rates than their white peers. Colleges and universities need tools to address this inequity, and today’s decision ensures those tools remain available.
Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce followed in the path of the Senate HELP Committee by marking up its own Elementary and Secondary Act reauthorization bill, the Student Success Act. Unlike the Senate proposal, this bill is close to an exact replica of last year’s bill, which didn’t make it to the House floor. Despite numerous concerns, particularly with its lack of a robust accountability system, the Student Success Act was reported out of committee and is expected to reach the House floor before the August recess.
WASHINGTON (June 18, 2013) — Today’s Department of Education announcement misses the mark on a responsible transition to new college- and career-ready standards and assessments. If students are going to meet these new standards, then we need teachers to teach to the standards and schools to support them. But today’s announcement does little to make that a reality. Rather, the department is sending harmful mixed signals that students should meet the new standards, but it’s still okay for teachers and schools to be evaluated on the old ones.
WASHINGTON (June 19, 2013) —The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is an important step toward putting the lessons learned over the past decade to work for the benefit of students, particularly low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English-language learners. We know when they are provided quality instruction, interventions and support by effective teachers and school leaders committed to their achievement, these students can succeed in school. Today's House Education and Workforce Committee markup of legislation proposed by Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) is welcome as it moves us forward in updating this landmark legislation for K-12 students. Unfortunately, we believe the legislation falls short of the lessons learned and the need to ensure all students, especially those most in need, are college and career ready.
When new teachers graduate from preparation programs unprepared to manage their classrooms or help all their students learn at high levels, it’s not just unfair to the teachers, but unjust to their students — often low-income students and students of color who tend to be disproportionately assigned to novice teachers. True, most teachers will grow their skills with experience. But, in the meantime, teachers struggle, students suffer, and districts are left to do the work that teacher preparation programs aren’t doing.
Last week, the Senate HELP Committee marked up Chairman Tom Harkin’s (D-Iowa) Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, the latest bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill was reported out of committee as amended.
On June 4, The Education Trust submitted comments in response to the Department of Education’s request for public comment on whether it should reinitiate a process for developing gainful employment regulations. These crucial regulations can ensure that for-profit institutions of higher education provide value to students and taxpayers by meeting minimum standards of quality and economy.