EDUCATION REFORM MORPHS INTO OVERSIGHT – The big new ideas for education that President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan pushed the first two years of his presidency might be the peak accomplishments of this administration’s first term. They started with Direct Pay for college loans, which took out third-party bank officials in the loan process; and included “Race to the Top” competitions for state school systems reform. But with a now-Republican-dominated Congress, it seems that new education initiatives will focus on oversight. This means an enhanced push for teacher evaluations based on student performance and accountability studies of schools of education. There is bipartisan support for the concept of major pro-grams such as charter schools and No Child Left Behind, but the amount of resources for program expansion vs. accountability first will be what is fought over in the months to come. The underlying question that support will depend on is this: “How does this program increase American competitiveness?”
CEOS DOING WELL – EVEN IN UNIVERSITIES – Seven years ago, no college presidents made salaries of one million dollars. But that was before university trustees pushed their institutions to be operated more like businesses. One indication they were heard: many college presidents added CEO to their titles. As of 2008, 30 of these chiefs made seven-figure salaries, according to an annual survey in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dozens of public and private college presidents make more than $500,000. “We have to remain competitive,” said a University of George Washington spokesman. “Salaries reflect the stressful 24/7 nature of the position,” said David Warren of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
“Presidential salaries have virtually no impact on tuition increases.”
RACE DIVERSITY INCREASINGLY MIXED – Diversity in America increasingly means not only mixing among various ethnic and racial groups, but also increasingly inside those groups themselves. A comprehensive series of articles in The New York Times in late January, “Race Remixed: A New Sense of Identity,” shows that “the crop of students moving through college right now includes the largest group of mixed-race people ever to come of age in the United States, and they are only the vanguard: the country is in the midst of a demographic shift driven by immigration and intermarriages.” Almost all of them prefer to be referred to as “mixed race” and are increasingly marking their census forms as such. Within the ethnic groups, stratification is also taking place. Every Latino knows (even if the American media do not) how diverse the Hispanic community is. But so is the Black community, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson. According to his new book, Dis-Integration, the Black community has been dividing into four different socioeconomic and cultural groups since the 1970s. One group includes the 10 percent of the Black population who are foreign-born – “the highest educated immigrants ever seen,” Robinson writes. No one knows quite how the growth of the multiracial population will change the country, the Times reports. Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race. Pessimists say that a more powerful multiracial movement will lead to more stratification at the expense of the number and influence of other minority groups, particularly African-Americans
CONGRESSIONAL COMS POLITICAL NAME CHANGES – Regular readers of Uncensored
already know that the House Education Committee’s name changes depending on who is the
majority: Democrats name it the Education and Labor Committee; Republicans rename it to Education and Workforce. Now the Republicans have changed the name of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Refugees; now it’s simply the Immigration Policy Group.
IS OBAMA “FIRST TIGER DAD?” – Suddenly, everyone is talking about Tiger Moms – those audacious, usually Asian-heritage mothers who push, demand and expect their children to earn only the highest grades, perform the best in athletics and music, win top prizes, trophies, awards and scholar-ships – beginning in elementary school. Their target: to get their kids into the best universities in America. The furor started with a book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom, by Any Chua and raged throughout the media. Are American parents too soft? Are Asian parents too hard? How much should be demanded and expected? How much discipline? The book came out in early January at the same time as two documentary films hit urban theaters, Race to Nowhere, about our overstressed American schoolchildren, and Two Million Minutes, contrasting the study lives of Indian, Chinese and American pre-college stu-dents. Even President Barack Obama took up the theme in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 19. “The responsibility begins in our homes and communi-ties,” said the president. “Parents need to make sure the TV is turned off, homework gets done, the winners of science fairs are celebrated and our kids are taught that success is a function of hard work and discipline.” Could Obama be America’s First Tiger Dad?