Better Together: 2015 California Teachers Summit

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The event is FREE to all California PreK-12 teachers and will be held at 33 locations from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. To register for the free day of learning or to locate a host site, visit:

http://www.cateacherssummit.com

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Graduation Time is Here, Time to Save

 

Graduation is the Perfect Time to Think About the Future

Graduation season is here. Whether you have a child finishing kindergarten or high school, graduation is the perfect time to reflect and think about the future. Planning for college can be daunting at times, and that’s why graduation is a natural time to consider your options about saving for college, which may be just around the corner. ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, offers families a tax-advantaged way to save early and help them ease the burden of rising tuition as well as provide some additional encouragement for that college-bound child in your life. Also, a great graduation gift could be one your graduate can’t unwrap, a contribution to a ScholarShare 529 account. Family members and friends can easily make a gift contribution to that special graduate’s college savings account.

ScholarShare is proud to be partners with GEAR UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.scholar

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare plan include:

  • Accounts can be opened with as little as $25;
  • A wide variety of low-cost investment options are offered;
  • There are no annual account maintenance fees;
  • Potential earnings are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and certain room and board costs;
  • Funds may be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide, and some abroad;
  • Anyone can contribute to the account, making it a great gift idea for family and friends for special occasions.

To learn more or to open an account, visit www.scholarshare.com or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

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Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings. Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss. The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager

 

Site helps community college students find best online classes

virtual campus

(from SF Gate article originally published here)

A website overhaul that makes it easier for community college students to know which online classes are best for their academic goals is the first tangible product of California’s $59 million push to make cyber college available for all.

State college officials unveiled the new website Monday, two years after lawmakers authorized spending the money over five years and made online education a key part of their plan to transform community college students from aimless course-takers into scholars with an eye toward university transfer.

The colleges offer thousands of online courses. But students complained that information they needed was often hard to find on the old site and that it couldn’t be used where they needed it the most: on their phones. Now it is.

“California may well be one of the largest providers of online education in the country,” said Brice Harris, the state’s community college chancellor. “We have a responsibility to make it good as we can and to provide support.”

The improved website — dubbed the “Virtual Campus” of the community colleges’ Online Education Initiative — is supposed to make it easy for students to find what they need from among more than 19,000 online courses offered at every level: community college, California State University, University of California, and even private schools.

But its main goal is to steer students toward the 2,500 classes that will earn them not merely an associate’s degree, but an associate’s degree “for transfer.” That degree premiered in 2013 and guarantees admission as a junior to CSU. The site “now provides search priorities that can be set for the associate degree for transfer,” said Steve Klein, program director of the Online Education Initiative.

Bold headlines — “Find your career path with an associate degree for transfer” or “Interested in guaranteed admission into a CSU?” — flash across the screen. But California has 2.1 million community students, and backing those promises up with enough courses to make it possible for all students to get the classes they need requires a huge amount of virtual assistance through online classes.

Online enrollment has more than doubled since 2005, from 13 percent to more than 29 percent this year, college officials said. That’s more than 650,000 students.

But the news isn’t all rosy.

Success in online courses is 11 to 14 percentage points lower than in traditional classrooms, says a 2014 study by the Public Policy Institute of California. The study looked at a wide range of students, subjects and colleges and found that students were less likely to complete online courses than those taken in the classroom, and were less likely to pass them.

Rather than give up, the college system — at the urging of Gov. Jerry Brown, a champion of online education — hopes to improve those outcomes. A new Public Policy Institute study with recommendations for the online effort is due out Tuesday.

A big reason students drop out is that they “don’t know what they’re getting into,” said Pat James, executive director of the online education initiative, who has taught online for years. “Very often they think it’s going to be easier. But you have to be self-motivated.”

One student who is self-motivated is Cristina Puente, 18, of Davis who has just graduated from high school and community college at the same time. Puente took all of her college courses online through Foothill Community College and will be a junior at UCLA this fall.

“A family friend who is savvy and technically smart worked alongside me” to sign up for the right courses, she said. “Without her, it would have been more challenging.” The new website, Puente said, “is a tool, like having a counselor. I think that’s wonderful.”

James and Klein said the next step in the online education initiative is to train instructors to do a better job, and to help students learn how to be students in the virtual world, where no one is there to welcome them with an open door and a clock on the wall to say that class is starting.

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Many blacks in educational limbo, some college credit, no degree

 

 

 

 

 

 

From LA Times June 2, 2015

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Ida Marie Briggs, shown at Cal State Long Beach, enrolled in community college as a young woman, but family and work kept her from earning a degree. Now, at 58, she’s about to re-enter school at Cal State Long Beach in the fall, determined to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology.  (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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Earning a college degree has eluded Ida Marie Briggs for nearly 40 years.

Growing up the eldest of seven in a poor New Jersey household, she wasn’t able to accept a scholarship at a local university because of family responsibilities. Out on her own, she went to work, relocated to California and raised two children.

There were fits and starts over the decades: She enrolled in community college, attended a fashion and design school, and a San Fernando Valley business college that lost accreditation and cost Briggs time and money.

Her experience mirrors that of a population beginning to receive more attention from academic experts and colleges themselves: African Americans who have some college training but never made it to graduation. Their challenges are important because many would likely fill higher-wage jobs if they attained a degree.

In California and around the nation, campus-based programs have sprung up to coax many of these adults to re-enter college. These efforts, however, face a number of hurdles, including a lack of awareness that a degree may be within reach, limited financial resources and inadequate outreach and support services, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Campaign for College Opportunity.

About a third of black adults in California — 385,250 — have some college education but no degree, the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group, according to the report. Overall, about 4.5 million California adults never completed their studies.

There is no statewide strategy to help those who want to return to school, nor adequate funding for programs, said Michele Siqueiros, president of the advocacy group.

“The numbers are pretty stunning,” Siqueiros said. “We should be incentivizing adults interested in finishing and earning those degrees to come back. Not all will, but this is low-hanging fruit. Growing capacity, though, is going to require additional funding from the state.”

Under budget proposals by Gov. Jerry Brown, state funding for the University of California, Cal State and community colleges has increased this year. The 2015-16 plan calls for the three higher education systems to ease transfer policies, boost basic skills instruction and improve graduation rates — particularly for low-income and minority students.

Many of those goals may help re-entry students, but no specific funds are targeted to that group. And both UC and Cal State officials have complained that the budget plan doesn’t provide funding needed to increase enrollment.

The problems are not confined to California.

Nationally, enrollment of older, nontraditional students (adults 25 and over) is expected to grow more than twice as fast as for younger students in coming years, according to a recent report by the Center for Law and Social Policy.

But many financial aid and transfer policies are not keeping pace. A survey of the nation’s largest state-funded financial aid programs by the Education Commission of the States found that 33 of them link eligibility to the SAT and other college entrance exams, high school GPAs or other measures geared toward recent graduates. Many programs fund only full-time students, leaving out adults who may need to attend part time.

In California, the availability of Cal Grants dips steeply for students who don’t apply within a year of graduating from high school, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

Additionally, many colleges and universities may not accept credits previously earned at other institutions, through online programs or for military training or work experience and may require students to take pre-college courses. Such policies could have a disproportionate impact on African Americans, who typically are heavily recruited by for-profit institutions and may end up with huge debt.

Many experts believe that the role of adult re-entry students may loom large in efforts to substantially increase the ranks of degree holders needed to bolster the nation’s workforce and economy, an agenda being pressed by President Obama and nonprofit organizations such as the Lumina Foundation.

“Unfortunately, this group is not at the top of anybody’s priority,” said Christina Sedney, project coordinator for the Adult College Completion Network.

“We need to think of ways to make coming back as efficient as possible for nontraditional students,” Johnson said. “Both UC and CSU are increasingly offering more online courses, and that will help. All of these are incremental changes but incremental changes in the right direction and necessary to help close some of those gaps.”

A program at UC Berkeley includes a course that helps re-entering students connect with each other. Many are low-income, underrepresented students who’ve had little experience at a competitive research-oriented institution such as Cal, said Ron Williams, director of Re-entry Student and Veteran Services at the campus.

Their life experiences and maturity may even be a “selling point” in the competitive admissions process, he said, adding that “it does set them apart from other applicants.”

Cal State Long Beach is actively recruiting African Americans to complete their degrees, with counseling, academic support and help with financial aid, said Bruce Vancil, assistant director for transfer and re-entry services.

Briggs attended a recent luncheon meeting of the African American initiative in Long Beach, which landed her in Vancil’s office to determine her prospects and whether her previous credits can be transferred.

At 58, she hopes to enroll at the Long Beach campus in the fall, determined to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Being unable to complete her education after high school had always been a big regret, Briggs said.

“Now I understand that I got accepted once and can get accepted again,” she said.

Twitter author: @CarlaRiveraLat

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GEAR UP Regional Leadership Forums Make Strides

 

Developed to meet the diverse and complex needs of California GEAR UP middle schools, the 2015 Spring Regional Leadership Events provide a forum for school teams to problem solve together and learn from each other about school practices, challenges and solutions.  The events were designed to build on the progress made at the Fall events and were facilitated by Whole School Services Coaches with content designed to respond to the needs of each unique middle school community in their region. Activities were customized to engage and support participating schools within each region aligned with target areas of growth identified in the School Self Assessment Rubric.

Goals of the Regional Leadership Events:

  • Develop and expand working, cohesive school teams;
  • Share and reflect on leadership and approaches for developing leadership;
  • Network to share smart practices and opportunities for continued regional work;
  • Reflect on progress in building a sustainable college-going culture using the SSAR;
  • Use data to identify and address challenges to access and equity for All students;
  • Develop implementation plans for of GEAR UP partner resources and services;
  • Complete the PDAP and Communication Plan.


Below is the complete regional events report including attendees, content areas, presenters, and locations.

2014 Regional Institutes: 360 participants; 15 counties, 29 school districts, and 1 charter school were served

Title: North State Regional Collaborative                                                           October 15 & 16, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Brad Trimble                                                                         Number of Participants: 55
Focus: Support and engage students transitioning to high school.
Presenters: Brandon Santiago (YouthSpeaks), Mark Cerutti—Assistant Superintendent (Elk Grove USD).
Region: North State                                                                                           Counties: Tehama and Shasta
Districts: Red Bluff, Antelope Elementary, Happy Valley Union Elementary, Richfield Elementary, and Gateway.

Title: 2014 Bay Area Regional Learning Institute                                             October 7 & 8, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Michele Molitor                                                                    Number of Participants: 60
Focus: Achieving social justice and equity through Common Core strategies to ignite student success.
Presenters:
Tovi C. Scruggs, Principal, San Lorenzo High School, and Alice Kawazoe.
Region: Bay Area                                             Counties: Alameda, San Francisco, Solano, and Contra Costa
Districts: San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Vallejo, and West Contra Costa.

Title: 2014 Southern California Regional Institute                               September 30-October 1, 2014
GEAR UP Coaches: Mary Unverferth and Barbara Sedano                   Number of Participants: 105
Focus: Advancing Equity and Access for ALL Students through High Quality Teaching
Presenters: Robert Kaplinsky (Glenrock Consulting), Bruce Arnold and Mary Sirody (MDTP).
Region: Southern California                                                         Counties: San Bernardino and Los Angeles
Districts: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Palmdale, Rialto, San Gabriel, Baldwin Park, San Bernardino, Hacienda La Puente; Charter: The Accelerated School.

Title: 2014 Riverside Regional, GEAR UP Round-Up                                                September 30, 2014

GEAR UP Coach: Jon Sides                                                                                   Number of Participants: 55
Focus: GEAR UP Leadership Team progress & connecting with the School Self-Assessment Rubric (SSAR).
Presenters: Jon Sides
Region: Riverside                                                               Counties: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino
Districts: Moreno Valley, Azusa, Los Angeles, and Upland.

Title: Central Valley Regional Institute 2014                                                                    October 1, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Martin De Mucha Flores                                                     Number of Participants: 45
Focus: Developing the “Why?” in Leadership and Cohesive Teams to influence school change.
Presenters: Encarnacion Ruiz—Director of Admissions (UC Merced); Raul Moreno—Coordinator (CSU Fresno, University Migrant Services), Sharon Twitty, Robyn Fisher, & Martin De Mucha Flores.
Region: Central Valley                                                                       Counties: Fresno, Stanislaus, and Tulare
Districts: Caruthers, Empire Union, Parlier, Pleasant View, and Raisin City Elementary.  

Title: ELA Differentiated Instruction                                                                                October 15, 2014
GEAR UP Coach: Frank Holmes                                                                         Number of Participants: 40
Focus: Strategies in English — Differentiated instruction in middle school Language Arts.
Presenters: Lynne Lertzman (the College Board).
Region: San Diego                                                                                                   County: San Diego County
Districts: Oceanside and San Diego County.

 
2015 Regional Forums: 318 participants; 12 counties, 21 school districts, and 1 charter school were served

Title: Southern California Regional                                                                                        March 6, 2015
GEAR UP Coaches: Mary Unverferth, Barbara Sedano & Frank Holmes        Number of Participants: 132
Focus: Engaging GEAR UP Schools in their continued work of achieving the conditions on the SSAR.
Presenters: James Kass (YouthSpeaks), Carole Gallagher (WestEd), Julie Mendoza (CAIC), and ScholarShare.
Regions: Southern California & San Diego   Counties: San Bernardino and Los Angeles, San Diego County
Districts: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mountain View, Palmdale, Rialto, San Gabriel, Baldwin Park, San Bernardino, Hacienda La Puente, Oceanside and San Diego County.

Title: 2015 Bay Area Learning Forum                                                                                    April 15, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Michele Molitor                                                                    Number of Participants: 66
Focus:
Enhancing student engagement and building community.
Presenters: Vicki Rice, Cloteal Thrower-Herron, Carlene Davis (CEP), Mildred Gains & Joe Lara (PIQE), Patrice Hill (YouthSpeaks), Tyrone Weaver (Samuel Jackman Middle School), ScholarShare.
Region: Bay Area                                             Counties: Alameda, San Francisco, Solano, and Contra Costa
Districts: San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Vallejo, and West Contra Costa.

Title: Elk Grove/Sacramento Regional Leadership Forum                                              March 25, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Jill Campbell                                                                          Number of Participants: 60
Focus: The purpose and value of building strong community for all students.
Presenters: Kadhir Rajagopal (Grant Union High School), Jay King, Tyrone Weaver (Samuel Jackman Middle School), Alice Kawazoe, and ScholarShare.
Region: Elk Grove/Sacramento                                                                  Counties: Sacramento and Amador
Districts: Elk Grove and Twin Rivers.

Title: GEAR UP Spring Symposium                                                                                 _____May 15, 2015
GEAR UP Coach: Jon Sides                                                                                 Number of Participants: 60
Focus: Foster care system—resources and tools to support foster youth in Riverside County.
Presenters: Tamera Trotter (Child Protective Services), Alyssa Heckmann (Guardian Scholars, UCR), Christopher Dech (Advisor Student Support, Moreno Valley College), Julie Orozco (EAOP, Cal State San Bernardino), Bruce Petersen (Riverside County, Office of Education & Student Programs) and Cedric De Visser (Upland Unified Child Welfare and Former Principal at Upland Junior High School).
Region: Riverside                                                         Counties: Riverside, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino
Districts: Moreno Valley, Azusa, Los Angeles, and Upland.

Big takeaways: The exchange of ideas, events, projects, etc. as a result of the “reflecting on the past” exercise has been mentioned a number of times.  One (GEAR UP) site contact returned to school and, using her notes, immediately drafted a memo of implementation listing ideas to share with the rest of her staff.  The group-alike breakout sessions gave teachers, administrators, counselors and out of classroom advisers a chance to share job specific experiences in building a college-going culture.  The regional event provided an opportunity for participants to work collaboratively and function as a learning community.

 Jon Sides-California GEAR UP School Services Coach

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The mission of California GEAR UP is to develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a statewide network of support for adults who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. As a result of this expanded capacity, a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, will enroll and succeed in higher education. California GEAR UP is a program of the University of California Office of The President Education Partnerships department and has served whole school communities across the state since 1999.

The State of Higher Education in California: Black Report

Black Report

In the newest report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, The State of Higher Education in California – Black Report  is being released today. California is home to the fifth largest Black population in the nation, and while the research has some good news – more Black adults today have a high school diploma and college degree than in the past there is also disheartening findings. Black high school students are still less likely to graduate from high school and when they do, less likely to have completed the college preparatory curriculum needed for admission to the University of California and California State University systems compared to other major racial/ethnic groups. Black students who do make it to college are the most likely to be placed into pre-college level coursework, the least likely to graduate from college, and the most likely to enroll in for-profit colleges – some of which have traditionally poor rates of student success and high tuition costs and student debt levels.

Inadequate high school preparation, a broken college remedial education system, and significant funding cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities all play a major role in the ability of Black students to both enroll in and complete college.

A few key findings from the report:

  • Only 23 percent of working-age Blacks in California have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 42 percent of their White counterparts.
  • One-third of Black adults aged 25-64 attended college but earned no degree.
  • Black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private, nonprofit universities and overrepresented at California Community Colleges and For-Profit colleges.
  • Only 37% of Black students earned a degree, certificate or transferred after six years from a California community college.
  • Only 37% of Black students who started at the California State University system as freshman will complete after six years.
  • At least 2/3 of Black applicants were denied admission to six of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses.

In addition to the recommendations listed in our report, they have highlighted the work of two San Diego State University professors who launched the Minority Male Community College Collaborative and created free assessment tools that community colleges can use to inform strategies to increase the success rates of Black students. You can access the new report, infographic, press release and the profile using the link.

Please save the date for the upcoming webinar on Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am where they will discuss the key findings of both the Latino and Black report.

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Celebrate 529 College Savings Day May 29

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Celebrate 529 College Savings Day with ScholarShare’s Special One-Day Match Promotion

Our valued partner, ScholarShare, California’s 529 College Savings Plan, knows saving for college can be overwhelming. Often parents don’t know where to start; they might believe there’s nothing they can do to prepare enough. At ScholarShare, they believe in education, and in California families. That’s why on National 529 College Savings Day on May 29, 2015, they are offering to anyone who opens a new ScholarShare account with at least $50 (and sets up automatic contributions of at least $25 per month), a match of $50. You start it, they match it.  For details on this special one-day promotion including the complete Terms and Conditions, visit www.scholarshare.com/529day. By saving early and often, your little one (soon to be big) could have a nice little nest egg. It’s true, paying for all of college with your 529 may not be possible but you can make it happen to cover books, room and board, or other qualified higher education expenses. A 529 can be part of your larger “paying for college” family strategy. Every little bit helps.

According to a 2013 survey by Hart Research Associates, 92% of parents considered getting a college degree worth it, but only 46% of parents have set up a dedicated savings or investment account for their child’s higher education costs. ScholarShare, recently awarded a Bronze metal rating by Morningstar, a prominent ratings agency, is administered by the state of California and managed by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. Named for the section of the internal revenue code under which they were created, 529 plans offer families a tax-advantaged way to save for college.

Some of the benefits of the ScholarShare plan include:

  • Accounts can be opened with as little as $25.
  • A wide variety of low-cost investment options are offered.
  • There are no annual account maintenance fees.
  • Potential earnings are tax-free if used for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and fees, books and supplies, and certain room and board costs.
  • Funds may be used at eligible educational institutions nationwide, and some abroad.
  • Anyone can contribute to the account, making it a great gift idea for family and friends.

 To learn more or to open an account, visit www.scholarshare.com or call 1-800-544-5248. Like ScholarShare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/scholarshare529 and follow us on Twitter at @ScholarShare529.

ScholarShare is proud to partner with California GEAR-UP, so we can work together to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college. Preparing for college academically and financially can help keep students on the path toward success.

 Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan. Please visit www.scholarshare.com for a Program Disclosure Booklet containing this and other information. Read it carefully.

Before investing in a 529 plan, you should consider whether the state you or your Beneficiary reside in or have taxable income in has a 529 plan that offers favorable state income tax or other benefits that are only available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.

The tax information contained herein is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax. Non-qualified withdrawals may also be subject to an additional 2.5% California tax on earnings.

Investments in the Program are neither insured nor guaranteed and there is the risk of investment loss.

The ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan Twitter and Facebook pages are managed by the state of California. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Plan Manager

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The In-State Tuition Break is Slowly Disappearing

out of state

This is a repost from The New York Times, the original article by Kevin Carey can be found here.

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter to see the latest Disney movie. Because it was early in the afternoon, and my daughter is 5, I expected to get a significant discount on the price of our tickets. The electronic ticket kiosk had other intentions. “1 Adult: $11.00” and “1 Child: $10.00.”

It turned out that the full matinee discount applied only to the 10:45 a.m. showing. The child price break, meanwhile, had been squeezed to a single dollar. Technically, both discounts still existed. But by limiting their size and availability, the theater was steadily pushing more tickets toward the full-market price.

Something similar has been happening in the market for higher education. Over the last decade, state governments and universities have been chipping away at a pillar of American opportunity: in-state tuition.

Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place.

Fans rejoiced after Alabama’s football team defeated Tennessee last October. A shrinking percentage of University of Alabama students are actually from the state. CreditIcon Sportswire, via Associated Press 

A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.

To understand why, it helps to divide public universities into two categories. The nonprofit Carnegie Foundation classifies 147 public universities as national leaders in conducting research. These are the flagship universities and land-grant institutions that often have selective admissions criteria and Division I football teams. An additional 500 regional public universities conduct less research and often have less selective admissions policies. These two groups — national and regional public universities — each educate about the same number of students.

Most students attending public universities stay in the state where their parents reside, in large part because in-state students have traditionally received a steep tuition discount. Out-of-state students have long been in the minority and pay tuition closer to that charged by private universities. As recently as 2000, national and regional public universities were similar in this regard. That year, 80 percent of national public university students were in-state, compared with 86 percent at regional public universities.

But in the years that followed, the two groups began to diverge. At regionals, little changed. College enrollment swelled in every state after 2000 as the baby boom echo generation finished high school and a larger share of high school graduates enrolled in college. The additional students at regional universities looked much like the old ones. From 2000 to 2012 (the latest year of available federal data), nine out of 10 additional regional public university students were in-state.

The pattern at elite national universities was very different. There, the majority of additional students were from other states. Instead of extending their traditional mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to local residents, national universities focused on recruiting students from other states and nations, many of whom paid much higher tuition rates. As a result, the number of in-state spots relative to the college-going population as a whole declined significantly at national public universities.

As my colleague Stephen Burd documented in a recent report, the change at some national universities has been striking. The University of Alabama’s football program has an aggressive nationwide recruitment machine, and its coach, Nick Saban, has led the team to three national championships in the last decade. Less well known is the university’s equally ambitious recruitment program for nonathletes. With 30 full-time admissions officers across the country armed with millions of dollars in scholarships, the university has more than quadrupled its class of out-of-state students since 2000, to the point that they now represent the majority of all freshmen arriving in Tuscaloosa. Many if not most of the undergraduates bleeding Alabama crimson in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoons come from somewhere else.

Alabama accomplished this in part by substantially expanding the total number of students it enrolls, including in-state students. Other public universities have made space for out-of-state students by allowing fewer in-state ones to attend. The University of California, Berkeley, enrolled 384 fewer in-state freshmen in 2012 compared with 2000, while out-of-state American students grew by more than 300 and the number of international students increased eightfold. This happened at the same time that in-state tuition and fees increased to $13,200 from $3,964. (Out-of-state and international students pay more than $36,000 per year.) Purdue University cut annual in-state slots for incoming freshmen by more than 500 students, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign by more than 300, and Auburn and Michigan State by more than 200, with each enrolling hundreds of additional out-of-state and international students in their stead.

Replacing in-state with out-of-state students can be easier than raising prices because tuition increases are highly public and are frequently regulated by state legislatures and governing bodies. Universities often have more discretion over the in-state/out-of-state of mix.

This isn’t the case everywhere. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is prohibited by law from enrolling more than 18 percent of students from out of state. Not coincidentally, in-state enrollment there has remained robust. In 2000, U.N.C. admitted 32 international students as undergraduates. At U.C.L.A., by comparison, the number was 43. Twelve years later, U.N.C.’s international freshman enrollment had risen slightly, to 48. U.C.L.A., by contrast, enrolled 1,046 international freshmen in a single year, almost 25 times more in little more than a decade. The number of in-state slots at U.C.L.A. barely changed, even as the number of in-state applications surged.

The slow death of in-state tuition is a case where declining public investment and selfish institutional interests tend to coincide. National public universities are cutting in-state enrollment in part to make up for state budget cuts. But they also have a strong desire to become more like elite private universities — Stanford, Duke, the Ivy League — that have the freedom to enroll the best and the brightest from around the world and charge whatever prices the market will bear. Budget cuts give them an excuse to become what they wanted to be all along.

6 of 48 GEAR UP Schools Receive Gold Ribbon Honor

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SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 193 middle schools and 180 high schools, and 6 of 48 California GEAR UP Middle Schools have been honored under the state’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program. The awards, introduced in 2013, reflect Torlakson’s goals outlined in his A Blueprint for Great Schools report, which provides direction for California’s education system.

“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”

The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.

Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.

The Gold Ribbon awards recognize California schools that have made gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education. These include, the California Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, California English Language Development Standards, and Next Generation Science Standards.

California GEAR UP Gold Ribbon Schools:

Jones Middle School (Baldwin Park)

Jones Junior High: The school was honored for creating a college-going culture supported through a variety of programs. Efforts range from Geared UP for College, a college and career readiness program funded through a grant from California GEAR UP. As part of that program, the school offers a pre-Advanced Placement pilot program called SpringBoard.

Jones reinforces college options with an annual College Week that includes a college fair, an annual panel of college students who describe their experiences to more than 150 students, a partnership with Kaiser Permanente to encourage exploration of medical careers and a program to boost parent-school communication called the Parent Institute for Quality Education. In the last two years, nearly 200 parents have taken part in the institute.

Landmark Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Vista Heights Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Sunny mead Middle School (Moreno Valley Unified)

Upland Junior High (Upland Unified)

Vista Preparatory Academy (Redbluff Union)

The Gold Ribbons are intended to run for two years, providing the state with an interim way to recognize excellence while California adopts new statewide assessments in math and English language arts (ELA) aligned with the California Common Core.

The former assessments were used to generate the state’s Academic Performance Index score for each school – a figure that helped establish eligibility for the Distinguished Schools program.

But California dropped its ELA and math assessments in 2014 while it tested a new system that went into effect this spring. The state also put the API on hiatus while it builds a new model for determining school success that is broader than the test-score driven tool previously used.

Unlike the Distinguished Schools program, Gold Ribbon applicants nominate themselves. But both systems include site visits by a team of educators as part of the final determination of winners; both also rotate annually between secondary and elementary schools.

The purpose of California GEAR UP is to develop and sustain the organizational capacity of a cohort of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a systemic network of support for adults who influence middle school students, specifically their counselors, faculty, school leaders and families. This expanded capacity is expected to result in a higher proportion of students, particularly from backgrounds and communities that have not historically pursued a college education, enrolling and succeeding in higher education.

The ultimate outcome expected from this Program is that a higher proportion of students will be prepared to enroll and succeed in advanced courses in middle school and high school and enter and graduate with a degree from a higher educational institution.

The fact that six of our 48 schools were honored by this program is indicative of the mission focused culture of focusing on ALL students and setting expectations for school communities extremely high.

Please visit the California Gold Ribbon Schools Program on the California Department of Education’s Web site.

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Teachers Who Blog To Stay In Touch

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(from NPR)

Katie Morrow became a teacher, among other things, because of wanderlust.

“I’m going to be a teacher because I can go anywhere in the world,” she thought.

She’s originally from a small town in Nebraska called O’Neill, population 3,700. “In the middle of nowhere, literally,” she says.

So where did she end up teaching? Right back in O’Neill. She fell in love with a hometown boy and ended up at O’Neill’s only public school. It’s K-12, with 750 students.

Morrow teaches middle-school English; she’s also a technology integration specialist.

She says she loves Nebraska, but teaching in a small town comes with its own set of problems. A big one is the sense of isolation. “Let’s say you’re the music teacher in O’Neill, Neb. You’re the only music teacher.”

In 2007, Morrow became an Apple Distinguished Educator and met with other outstanding teachers from around the world. She says she was in awe of their achievements, but also thought, “We’re doing good things, too, in O’Neill that people just don’t hear about.”

She started a blog, Teach 4 2 Morrow. Like many educators across rural America, she has tapped into a way to keep in touch with other teachers far beyond her small community.

Don’t Forget About The Small Towns

Morrow says her main goal in writing is to shine a spotlight on what teachers in small town America are doing. Unlike inner-city schools, she explains, “We don’t have a local news station that can report when my class does this awesome project, so putting it on a blog is an easy way to do it.”

She’s also big on making her students blog.

Part of Morrow’s job is leading the school’s one-to-one initiative, in which every student has a laptop to use throughout the day.

She assigns her seventh- and eighth-graders to blog about their everyday lives and about the projects the class is working on.

Most of the kids who grow up in O’Neill “never leave a two-hour radius,” she says. “Bringing the technology to them and allowing them to bridge that outer part of the world that they aren’t exposed to normally is huge.”

Inspiration

Sarah Hagan, recently featured in our 50 Great Teachers series, grew up thinking she was from a small town in Oklahoma until she began teaching in Drumright, Okla., which has a population of less than 3,000.

“There are tinier towns than I realized,” she jokes. “I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. I always assumed I’d go work at this school where I would have this fabulous math department, and I’d collaborate with them. And then I ended up in a tiny town where there’s one other math teacher.”

Hagan’s own love of teaching was born in part from reading a math teacher’s blog when she herself was in high school. It was called Math Teacher Mambo by Shireen Dadmehr.

“I just became amazed,” Hagan recalls. “I thought, ‘This is the way I want to teach.’ For the rest of high school and college I read all the teacher blogs I could get my hands on.”

She still follows about 400 different math blogs for ideas. One of her favorites is Kalamity Kat, by Megan Hayes-Golding, based in Atlanta, which Hagan says gave her the idea to ditch textbooks and have students create their own manuals.

Hagan writes her own very successful blog, Math = Love, part of the Math Twitter Blogosphere, on which she says she has met wonderful friends — and her boyfriend.

She says she never expected her own blog to get almost 3 million page views. It’s a combination of project ideas and very cute “Things Teenagers Say.” (Sample: “I’ll be here all week with the pi jokes. I’m like a baker.”)

After learning so much from blogs herself, Hagan says, “I felt like I should give something back to the community I’d been stealing ideas from.”

But for her, it’s about more than just exchanging ideas: “It reminds me that I’m not alone.”

A Little Positivity

“There’s two traffic lights,” is how Katherine Sokolowski describes Monticello, Ill. She teaches fifth-grade language arts there, in a school that serves adjacent towns as well, with about 120 kids per grade.

And she writes a blog, Read, Write, Reflect. She started it in 2011, for two big reasons:

First, she felt that if she wanted to be a language arts teacher, she should be willing to challenge herself to write. Second, and most importantly, she felt the conversation about teaching in America was too negative.

“It’s easy in the media to shed a negative light on the state of our education system,” she says. “But there’s so much good happening across the country.”

“It’s not all rosy” Sokolowski clarifies. For example, she debates other teachers on her blog about issues that concern her, like standardized testing. She gives advice about how to connect with difficult students.

And she writes about the bad days, too. Like the time her class came back from a break and only half of the students had read their assigned books. She says the response from her fellow teachers always brightens those bad days. “One commenter told me, ‘It’s like we all live in the same area.’ ”

And there’s one unexpected reward from her blog: a closer relationship with students and parents in Monticello.

Even though she’s in a small town where relationships are more intimate, Sokolowski says students and parents read her blog and get to know her better. For example, her students know from her blog that she’s scared of flying. So when she had to travel recently, kids were checking in to make sure she was OK.

Some Things Are Still Local

These rural teachers say there’s a definite urban bias in the teaching blogosphere. “Most of the blogs I read are either people teaching in the suburbs or teaching in the inner city,” Hagan says.

That leaves out issues that are unique to teaching in remote locations, like the nature of bullying in a small town, where everyone has known each other for generations.

“By the time [these kids] get to high school, bullying becomes a real issue,” Hagan explains. “They know how to push each other’s buttons exactly.”

It’s an issue she finds answers to locally, not online. “I feel like that’s something I speak to my actual colleagues about, because they really understand the environment we’re working in. A lot of my colleagues have worked here for 25 years. A lot of the kids I have now, they taught their parents. They have a lot of understanding of the area. ”

Read original article and commentary here on the NPR site.

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