Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.
Topic: higher ed
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December 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Can a practice that was popular in the Middle Ages help improve worker training and education today?
A new national report is urging states and the federal government to expand the use of apprenticeships — work that couples on-the-job training with class work, usually at a community or technical college.
“Apprenticeships have been a tried and true method of educating and training workers since the Middle Ages,” says the report by Ben Olinsky and Sarah Ayres, researchers with the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. They’re the authors of “Training for Success: A Policy to Expand Apprenticeships in the United States.”
An apprenticeship is both a job and an education. Under the “earn while you learn” model, apprentices take community or technical college classes while also working side-by-side with skilled employees to learn the trade or skill.
December 6, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Wither the college guidance counselor, that beleaguered tracker of student transcripts, entrusted to match hundreds of high school kids each year with a higher education?
Their caseloads are, on average, nearly double the recommended rate of 250 students per counselor. (In Washington, it’s 510-to-1.)
And much of the time, they’re tasked with a host of other duties – everything from clerical work to fundraising and crisis control. A report by education professor Patricia McDonough at UCLA found that they offer average high school student about 38 minutes of college advising per year.
Not surprisingly, a wave of websites and apps has flooded the void, purporting to aid students in their search. But weeding through the options can be an exhausting time waste for students and their parents.
November 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM
For many years, some of the lowest college completion rates in the country have been at community colleges, where more than half the students who start never finish their degree.
What can colleges do to improve the numbers?
There’s a renewed focus on trying to answer that question at Bellevue College, the state’s largest community college and the third-largest higher-education institution in the state.
It’s focusing on closing the gap for students who usually fare poorest — including low-income students and underrepresented minorities, said Ata Karim, vice president of student services for the college.
Of those Bellevue students who say they’re seeking an associates degree, 83 percent return to school after the first quarter, Karim said. But only 76 percent of students who enrolled in the fall return for the spring quarter. And fewer still — about 64 percent — are still in school after a year has passed.
November 5, 2013 at 4:06 PM
November is a big month for college-bound high school seniors. As college applications open up and some deadlines near, students who need help will find a smorgasbord of options.
College application completion events: These provide one-on-one support for high school seniors filling out college applications, with much of the help coming from college counselors.
Students will get help researching colleges, filling out applications and drafting personal statements. This program travels from high school to high school throughout the month and into December; for example, there’s an event at Seattle’s Cleveland High this Wednesday and one at Roosevelt High on Thursday.
Go to the Road Map to College website for more details and to check the schedule.
October 31, 2013 at 7:30 AM
Going to college has never been more important — or more expensive — says U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The federal Department of Education is working on a college rating system, expected to go live next fall, that will promote college affordability and value.
In a telephone press conference with reporters Wednesday, Duncan discussed elements that will likely be part of the rating system.
He was deliberately short on specifics, emphasizing that the ratings system doesn’t exist yet, and won’t be drafted until after a series of four public forums and other meetings to determine what measures should be included. (Only one of the forums will take place on the West Coast, in California on Nov. 6. More details are available here.)
Duncan called the nation’s higher-education system “the best system in the world, but a very inefficient system (with) a tremendous lack of transparency.”
October 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM
It’s that time of year, the season when high school seniors add college essay writing to their general homework load.
Educational consultant Dave Marcus spoke on Boston public radio recently, offering some do’s and don’ts for harried applicants, and their parents:
- When choosing a topic for your essay, avoid the D’s: Divorce, disease, death, disabilities. “Often, the simpler moments are far more interesting,” Marcus says.
- Get right into your subject. (No throat-clearing or engine-revving.)
- Be as specific as possible with your examples.
- Stay humble. “A lot of kids feel they have to boast,” Marcus finds, as if they have to impress the admissions officer. “It’s not that way,” he says. “It’s wrong.”
October 30, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Using data-mining techniques and a close read of college transcripts, a national research organization has helped more than 4,500 students receive associate’s degrees retroactively — students who had enough credits to earn an associate’s degree, but never got one.
Washington did not participate in the project, which started in 2009. But state education leaders “are aware of the project and think it has some lessons for us,” said Marty Brown, the executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, by email.
The study highlights red tape and institutional policies that often stand in the way of a student earning a diploma, said Clifford Adelman, a senior researcher for the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
October 24, 2013 at 2:20 PM
College fair season is here again.
Some 15,000 high-school students and parents will descend on the Washington State Convention & Trade Center Nov. 8-9 for the annual Seattle National College Fair. Part of the National Association for College Admission’s circuit of fall fairs, the free event is the biggest college fair in our area—and can also be the most daunting.
Planning to attend a college fair this year? Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience:*
- Do your homework. Many events offer a list of participating schools ahead of time. (Attendees at the Seattle National College Fair are listed here.) Budget your time by mapping out your must-visit booths—and keep in mind that you might have to wait in line to talk to admission reps at the more popular schools.
About the authors
Katherine Long has been a reporter for The Seattle Times since 1990, focusing for the past three years on higher ed, with stories that have ranged from the complexities of prepaid tuition programs to nontraditional ways to earn a degree.
Claudia Rowe joined The Seattle Times’ reporting staff in 2013. She has written about education for The New York Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, among other publications.
Mike Siegel has been a news photographer at the Seattle Times since 1987. His photography was used in a series titled "Methadone and the Politics of Pain," which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for investigative reporting.
Janet Horne Henderson is The Times’ education editor. She has directed award-winning stories and projects examining race, immigration, religion and health, in addition to education
Caitlin Moran is community engagement editor for Education Lab. Her role is to help foster constructive dialogue online and in person
Read extended bios.
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