Proposed Federal Regulations Designed To Force States To Regulate Online College Courses That Enroll Their Residents
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which is part of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a proposed rule change in July (Notice: OIRA Conclusion of EO 12866 Regulatory Review and View Proposed Rule) that could potentially require states to regulate online college courses that their residents enroll in, even if the college institution is not psychically located in their state.
This rule could have a number of adverse impacts. For starters, it could force each institution to obtain approval from each state it has online students enrolled. If a school in Kansas offers an online supplemental class, for example, to a group of students, that class would have to be approved from each state each student in the class is officially a resident in. Not only is this heavily bureaucratic and costly, but it not guarantee there will be any additional safeguards to academic quality. It also could create problems for students who enroll in colleges or universities to take courses, only to discover that some of their courses have been rejected by one state but not others.
Right now, this type of regulation impacts all colleges and universities, as well as for-profit colleges, because the rule covers “institutional eligibility for participation in Federal student financial aid under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.” Since Federal student financial aid is the profitability life-line for almost every higher education institution, this proposed rule impacts all distance learning and correspondence schools.
One of the most difficult challenges for education reform are the requirements schools must face, either for accreditation or for Federal financial aid eligibility. The only change real education reform has, in my opinion, is for a school model to be built that does not require Federal financial aid enrollment or assistance for its students, and does not care about meeting accreditation standards, which could limit changes in curriculum structure.
On December 2 at 6:30 pm at the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) building, the LCPS school board will meet to hear testimony in favor of making field hockey a high school sport.
As a parent, co-founder of the Loudoun County Field Hockey League, assistant coach for the Broad Run Spartans varsity and junior varsity field hockey teams, and a single parent of a high school field hockey player, I encourage all local parents to come out and support making field hockey a recognized sport in the high schools.
Loudoun County is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. We also have a greater proportion of male student athletes to female athletes. As the Loudoun County League and other recreational leagues have demonstrated, there are hundreds of young women who play field hockey in Loudoun County. However, none of these girls have official high school teams. While their classmates sell team gear, promote their games and celebrate victories on-campus, these young women do not get the same opportunity. They deserve to have the same high school sports experience as their male and female classmates.
For more information on attending this meeting, please contact Michael Hackmer at: 703-362-1586.
Interesting piece from the Washington Post on the changing demographics in Fairfax County, Virginia, and what it could mean for education and the county’s financial resources. The title of the headline and corresponding picture are more positive then the story’s content.
Here are some of the key excerpts:
Fairfax has experienced a dramatic demographic shift in recent years that is nowhere more obvious than in the county’s kindergarten classrooms.
The white student population is receding and is being replaced with fast-growing numbers of poor students and children of immigrants for whom English is a second language.
More than one-third of the 13,424 kindergartners in the county this year qualified for free or reduced-price meals, a federal measure of poverty, and close to 40 percent of the Class of 2026 requires additional English instruction, among the most ever for a Fairfax kindergarten class.
The demographic changes in Fairfax are likely to have long-term implications for the school system: Most of this year’s kindergarten class will spend the next 12 years in county schools.
Schools officials believe that the challenges that come with a less-affluent and less-prepared population will exacerbate the system’s struggles with a widening achievement gap for minorities and ballooning class sizes.
The rising enrollment — the overall student body has surged by more than 22,000 since 2004 — is not sustainable at the current funding level, schools officials said, which could intensify already contentious battles for tax dollars with the county’s Board of Supervisors.
What does this mean?
Well, for starters, it means that Fairfax County has a severe problem.
I have personally seen a similar case in Loudoun County on a much smaller scale at Catoctin Elementary – where the student population had a significantly higher number of foreign-born minorities who did not speak English fluently / as a first language, and were on reduced / free lunch programs. It was very similar to the 40% that need to learn additional English because it is not their primary language in Fairfax county’s class of 2026.
At Catoctin, the results were extremely problematic as the school was not certified to state standards in academic performance. Parents of students zoned for Catoctin were allowed by the Loudoun County school system to choose alternative schools if they wanted. There was a significant drain in financial and personnel resources as well.
What the story in the Washington Post does not report is the fact that parents from many other cultures do not get actively involved in their children’s education – especially if their English speaking language skills are poor. It is a huge communication and cultural challenge. Not having parental involvement in a student’s education has been proven to statistically reduce that student’s chance of success. It also makes it significantly more likely that the next generation also will be poor, and require government assistance.
One of the solutions to this challenge is conducting far greater cross-cultural parental outreach than schools have ever done. This requires the school system (or each individual school) to produced accurately translated school notices (daily and weekly) in other languages and host events (with a translator) every month designed specifically to bring parents into the school community. Of course, the challenge with this solution is that most parents in these households work multiple jobs and do not have the time for school meetings. It is, however, a starting point.
Another solution is to target these students with required intensive English learning and skills development all throughout the school year. I understand that this also is another drain on limited education resources. However, what are the alternatives for Fairfax County?
If Fairfax County does not begin to increase its focus on English language learning and skills development for these students, it runs the risk of parents from other students demanding the ability to choose alternative schools to fight against lowering academic performance and quality of education. This will create a block of under-performing schools, and lead to defacto segregation of students based on ethnicity and income.
The problem with common core and our education model is that we are actually taking kids backwards. And not for the reasons often cited by conservatives.
Do I think Common Core will turn students into lefist robots? Will common core dumb-down America’s youth?
The truth is, Common Core is just part of the problem harming the ability of our young people to get a quality education. It’s all in our approach to education, and the fact that our curriculum and the format of our schools are outdated – based on a model created by industrialists who wanted factory workers.
The data shows that improving education is not really about increasing education funding, because we spend more than any other country in the world on education. It’s not about increasing teacher training or hiring better teachers, because studies show students retain the same level of information regardless how well the teacher engages students.
No, to really understand what we are up against we need to look at the students and find out why they are disengaged and bored. If we did that, we would realize that its because we have a curriculum that has no application to their modern lives. To make matters worse, our solutions are more standardized systems and tests, longer class hours and school days. We want to produce a generation of leaders, artists, inventors and technologists who will carry the nation into a new golden age. And to accomplish this, we are going to lock all these wonderful minds in almost windowless, cinder-block rooms all day long and make them read Beowulf? Does that make sense?
The schools we have today do not help students become divergent thinkers, comprehend data and analytics, learn logic and technology, or even write and communicate well. Over 80% of high school teachers think their students are ready for college work. Only 25% of college professors agree. And business leaders find graduates are not prepared to work or be productive contributors. We are hurting kids, especially minorities, by giving them the wrong education and then forcing them to borrow obscene amounts of money to get the basics.
On October 21, 2009, The Catholic University of America announced that more than 1,000 solar panels would be installed on several campus buildings before the end of year to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide emissions. This project, implemented by Herndon, VA-based Washington Gas and Gaithersburg, MD-based Standard Solar, has now been completed – resulting in the largest solar panel system in the metro DC region in terms of the amount of electricity produced.
According to data released by Standard Solar, the system will produce about 340,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and result in 294 fewer tons of carbon dioxide being emitted annually. The avoided emissions will be the equivalent of reducing the use of 30,300 gallons of gasoline in 2010.
Standard Solar, the Mid-Atlantic region’s largest designer and installer of solar electric systems completed the installation right before this past Christmas. The four arrays that were installed consist of 1,088 3-by-6-foot panels on the roofs of the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center, the academic building Aquinas Hall, and the dorms Gibbons Hall and Flather Hall. Under the terms of the arrangement, The Catholic University of America, the national university of the Catholic Church in America with over 6,700 graduate and undergraduate students, will purchase the energy produced by the solar panels from Washington Gas at guaranteed prices.
In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, Catholic University also used the installation process as an educational experience for students studying solar power and renewable energy. Students received instruction from Standard Solar and Washington Gas on the technology, and will continue to get hands-on experience in the years ahead.
“As climate leaders from around the world take stock of the climate meetings in Copenhagen, it is fitting the University and Washington Gas Energy Services are ‘walking the talk’ about sustainability,” said Scott Wiater, Standard Solar President. “We look forward to helping other colleges and universities connect what’s going on in the classroom to what we can help their schools achieve on many rooftops all over campus,” Wiater added.