A dean’s farewell

Dean Don Heller with his wife Anne Simon and Sparty I have mixed feelings as I write my final blog post and column for the New Educator magazine. I will be leaving the university at the end of December and will be moving to a new position as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs …

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Duncan’s higher education legacy

Courtesy U.S. Department of Education As Arne Duncan, one of the longest-serving Secretaries of Education, announces his forthcoming resignation, observers are starting to reflect on his impact on education policy in the nation. Duncan will most likely be remembered more for his focus on K-12 education, not surprising given his background as the superintendent of …

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Don’t craft student loan policy based on Governor O’Malley’s experience

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president, challenging front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Among his key proposals as a candidate are to offer students in public colleges and universities “debt-free college” and for states “to immediately freeze tuition rates.” While these may sound like good ideas to address …

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Rankings galore

College rankings have become big business.  There are numerous media and other organizations that have jumped in to create their own rankings, each with a unique methodology.  In 2013 President Obama announced that the federal government would get into the college ratings business as well.  After almost two years of effort, and the release of …

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Awarding financial aid to students earlier

Grants and scholarships are critical for helping many students afford college.  Data from the College Board show that the largest single grant program, the federal government’s Pell Grant program, awarded $33.7 billion to 9.2 million students in the 2013-14 academic year.  Without the support of Pell Grants, millions of students across the country would not …

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The “End of College”? Not so fast

A recently-published book, The End of college: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, by New American educational analyst Kevin Carey, has received a lot of media attention.  Carey predicts that most colleges as we know them today will likely disappear, and be replaced by online courses that will be widely and …

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Talent management, part 2

Last week I wrote about recruiting new faculty to the College of Education, and this week I turn to another important part of our efforts at developing and retaining faculty: the reappointment, promotion, and tenure review process, or RPT as it is known here at Michigan State. Like most universities, MSU has very detailed guidelines …

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“Easy A’s” gets an F

I have written in the past about problems with reports on the teacher preparation industry issued by the National Council on Teacher Quality (see here and here, for example).  In order to keep its name in front of the media in-between the releases of its annual major report on teacher preparation, NCTQ has released a …

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Engaging in Educational Policy Issues

Last week, the College of Education launched its new educational policy blog, Green & Write.  The blog, coordinated by faculty member and educational policy expert Rebecca Jacobsen, focuses on four main topics: Teacher quality; Common Core and curriculum standards; Student accountability and assessment; and Governance and finance issues. The purpose of the blog is articulated …

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Back to school . . .

It’s back-to-school time for approximately 55 million children and 20 million college students around the country.  For those of us who are educators, it’s an exhilarating – and at times exhausting – time of the year.  Teachers have been busy getting their classrooms ready for the new school year, and college faculty have been working …

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A 0.000007 percent chance

Hamilton Place Strategies Student loans continue to be a popular topic in the media, with most of the stories (at least upon a quick glance) focusing on how terrible the growing volume of student loans is.  A Google news search on one day for the phrase “student loan debt” turned up the following headlines among …

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NCTQ misses the goal again

Originally I was going to title this post “NCTQ fumbles the ball again,” but since it is World Cup season I decided to go with something a little more timely.  No matter how you phrase it, however, the second iteration of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s attempt to evaluate teacher preparation program is even …

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Undermatching is overblown

Troy Simon, a student at Bard College who was homeless as a child, is greeted by President Obama at a White House summit on college access in January (Chronicle of Higher Education) The Chronicle of Higher Education website this morning had a feature article titled “The $6 Solution,” which focuses on a college access issue known as …

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Student loan hysteria hits Yahoo

I’ve written in the past about the hysteria surrounding student loans, and the focus in the media about how student loans are the next “bubble.”  I recently published an op-ed in the Answer Sheet blog on education of The Washington Post in which I attempted to counter some of the rhetoric with facts about student loans.  The piece received a number …

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A Celebratory Weekend

This past weekend marked MSU’s commencement ceremonies, with over 9,000 students across the university receiving degrees (including those graduating both this spring and summer).  There are a number of different ceremonies, and the College of Education was well represented across many of them. The weekend started on Friday morning when we held the college’s Doctoral …

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Help wanted

Last week we held our annual Teacher and Administrator Recruitment Fair at Spartan Stadium, and once again, we hosted over 130 school districts from around the world who came to recruit graduates of the Michigan State University College of Education.  Before our graduates arrived, I visited the fair and talked to recruiters from around the …

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#1 for 20 years in a row

This morning U.S. News & World Report issued its rankings of the nation’s best graduate schools in a number of disciplines, including education.  I wrote in detail last year about these rankings, so I won’t repeat much of what I said at that time. Overall, our college was ranked 15th in the nation among all …

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Pornography to pay for college?

The Internet and mainstream media have been abuzz the last couple of weeks with the story of a first-year student at Duke University who is financing her education by working as an actress in pornographic movies.  A Google search today for the terms “duke university porn star tuition” returned 179,000 results.  The story evidently surfaced …

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NCTQ is at it again

I wrote earlier this year about the review of teacher preparation conducted by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).  In that post I described many of the methodological problems in the NCTQ analysis.  The organization has sent a new request for information to education schools around the country, and in a commentary to be …

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A wake-up call on teacher selection

We recently received the results of our students’ performance on the Michigan Department of Education’s Professional Readiness Examination (PRE).  The department requires students to pass all three parts of the PRE test – reading, writing, and math – before they are allowed to do their student teaching.  In our college, we require students to pass …

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Teacher bashing 101

The New York Times has published an op-ed column titled “How I helped teachers cheat.”  It was written by Dave Tomar, a self-professed “academic ghostwriter,” whose job was to work for an online custom paper mill.  Students would contact the website with an assignment, and they would receive a response with a price to complete the paper.  Mr. Tomar …

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Teacher supply and demand

Education Week recently published an article about the overproduction of elementary school teachers in the nation.  The article included data from a handful of states, showing the most recent annual production of elementary school teachers in each as compared to the demand, based on projected openings in school districts.  Michigan was one of the states highlighted, …

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