Hello, and welcome to the first installment of our weekly education news review!
Transgender Student Rights: Where do they stand now?
In February, the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era administration protections for transgendered students in public schools. The withdrawal would eliminate previously established protections that allowed students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. The joint statement that was originally announced by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education essentially stated that policy regarding transgender bathroom use should be decided at the state level. This would allow individual states to determine what protections, if any, they would give to transgender students.
Presently, many transgender students are finding that what government support they once had has since quickly diminished. Across the country transgender students are issuing antidiscrimination lawsuits over bathroom access, citing protections under the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX. Many states that have adopted anti-transgender stances and policies are requiring students to use either gender-neutral bathrooms, or the bathroom matching their biological sex.
Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education issued a statement that Title IX should be interpreted to ensure that schools handled transgender students and non-transgender students possessing the same gender identity in the same way. In other words, a transgender girl would receive the same treatment as any non-transgender girl. However, the Department of Justice issued a brief that argues that LGBTQ populations are not protected under Title VII under the basis of sex.
For many years, federal court systems have determined that discrimination based upon LGBTQ status is unlawful. Yet, we are presently seeing stiff opposition to the protections that were once in place to protect transgendered students.
Predatory Programs: Making the right decision with higher education.
This week, Harvard’s ART Institute, a graduate theatre program, has announced that it will be suspending admissions. The Department of Education listed the program as one of hundreds of higher education programs across the country that burden its graduates with unmanageably high amounts of student debt.
How is it that a program from Harvard, an institution that many consider to be at the forefront of contemporary education, could have one of its programs listed as “predatory”? A predatory program is any that would cause students to take on a considerable amount of debt as compared to the expected income of a graduate from that program. Now, a program listed as predatory is not necessarily a scam, although, nearly all scam programs are predatory. That is, Harvard’s program is legitimate and is likely well respected, but anyone graduating from the ART Institute would have difficulties paying off the student loans that they would expect to be making post-graduation (visit: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/school/ge for more information about how the department of education identifies “predatory” programs).
So, what can you do in order to avoid getting sucked into a decision that would result in accruing substantial debt? First, consider program cost when applying or thinking of prospective schools. While one school’s reputation may be better than another’s, the more renowned program may also come with prohibitive expenses. Secondly, consider the debt-to-earnings ratio that you can expect after graduation, assuming that you are able to find a job in the field you desire. Will you be forced to should over $30,000 in student loans per year by attending your dream school, or is there a cheaper alternative? Finally, consider you ultimate goal. Do you plan to join the workforce immediately upon graduating? Or, do you have aspirations of pursuing additional graduate or professional degrees? Is a specific degree necessary for the position you want, or does your goal just need any degree? These are just some of the criteria to take into consideration when deciding whether you are going to the right college or university.
Back to School: Overcoming the Summer Slide.
We are entering August, the last month of summer vacation, which means that the school year is right around the corner! While most kids love summer break since it means they can spend more time with friends and drastically less time in the classroom, the summertime can be hazardous to student learning. Known as the “summer slide”, most kids have a tendency to loss some of the educational gains that they made in the last school year.
Much like the body, if one does not regularly exercise and stimulate their mind, it will grow dull and out of shape. However, for most students, summer lacks routine. The extended break simply does not have the same degree of rigor that students become accustomed to during the school year. As a result, students often need a readjustment period at the beginning of the year in order to get reacquainted with the challenges that are presented by attending school.
To give students a competitive edge and avoid regressing, one solution is to utilize digital learning technologies. Educational apps and websites serve as great resources to ensure that kids are appropriately mentally stimulated and retain the knowledge they received from the previous school year. While many people fear that technology may have harmful effects on children, such as causing technology addiction and hindering a child’s ability to pay attention, technology if utilized correctly, can be extremely beneficial for promoting student growth and development.
According to a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that engaging in virtual spaces allow students to develop and foster skills such as collaborative learning and socialization. The competitive aspect of some educational games and apps can prompt students to develop the critical thinking skills needed to succeed both in school and in life.