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Texas leaders say enrollment, FAFSA applications down because of COVID-19

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The number of Texas high school seniors filling out the federal financial aid application for college, known as FAFSA, is down so far from last year, a sign worrying state higher education leaders that the COVID-19 pandemic is still disrupting many students’ pathway to college.

According to the National College Attainment Network’s FAFSA tracker, just 24% of Texas seniors have filled out the vital financial aid application as of November 20, a 14.6% decline compared to the same time last year.

Preliminary enrollment data from the state shows this fall’s college enrollment was down 3%, or more than 47,000 students, primarily among community colleges.

The enrollment and application data was discussed at a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board press conference, where officials said they

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Louisiana education leaders look to improve child literacy

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s education leaders are working on plans aimed at improving reading skills for the state’s youngest students, hoping to reverse years of neglect that has stifled education achievement for decades.

The Advocate reports that students from kindergarten through second grade have long been absent from Louisiana’s accountability system. The state’s focus on improving public schools has long centered on third graders and older.

“We have to give K-2 more attention,” state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said in an interview.

Thousands of the state’s youngest students are unable to read on grade level, which has devastating consequences as they move from grade to grade.

“This is the foundation of education,” said Tia Mills, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators, one of the state’s two teacher unions. “At that level students are learning to read so they can ultimately read to learn.”

A state report

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Austin school leaders press for education spending as tight budget awaits lawmakers – News – Austin American-Statesman

When the coronavirus pandemic abruptly shuttered schools in March, Austin school leaders scrambled to transition learning online but it quickly became clear that thousands of students without access to the internet and a home computer were being left behind.

District leaders dipped into reserves to spend millions of dollars upgrading technology and getting students WiFi access, laptops and other learning devices. Staff prepared and delivered meals to district families to ensure children remained fed while campuses were closed, and the district purchased masks, gloves, face shields and gallons of hand sanitizer for employees.

The scene played out in school systems across Texas.

As the unexpected costs piled up, the boost in public education funding approved by the Legislature last year proved to be a lifeline. But, as lawmakers prepare to write a new two-year budget amid cost-cutting pressures, school district officials in Austin worry that the hard-fought funding gains will

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Law enforcement leaders say education key to mask mandate

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Violations of North Dakota’s mask mandate carry a possible fine of up to $1,000. But many law enforcement leaders say issuing a citation for failing to wear a face covering is a last resort and that education is the priority.

Gov. Doug Burgum encouraged law enforcement to prioritize education when he imposed the mandate Friday after months of refraining from an order. He also issued an executive order limiting capacity for bars, restaurants and event venues, and suspended prep sports and extracurricular activities. Burgum directed all local, county and state law enforcement to enforce his executive order.

Bismarck Police Chief Dave Draovitch said officers will respond to calls about violations, but won’t actively be looking for people or businesses that have not complied with the mandate. A citation would be the last resort, Draovitch said.

“I understand that some do not agree with this executive order,

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Leaders need education on bias to stamp out inequality: Boeing exec

The chances for more diverse executive leadership start early, Ted Colbert, CEO of Boeing Global Services, said in an interview at the CNBC Evolve Summit on Tuesday.

As the aerospace manufacturer evaluates and tries to improve its own diversity, it keeps track of how its workers are progressing, to manager and executive level positions. Having that diverse talent early on means those employees end up in succession plans. Having a small number of people on numerous succession plans is a warning sign of a problem, Colbert said.

In October, Boeing expanded its executive council to 21 from 12 members, and one-third are people of color. Six members of the top executive council are Black.

But Colbert, who leads the aerospace giant’s division that services defense and commercial products, said leaders themselves also need to reevaluate their own behaviors, warning that data on talent pools is hardly enough to solve the

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3 critical objectives for higher education leaders to move into the future

COVID-19 has created new financial and operational challenges for higher education leaders, and has accelerated the impact of long-standing demographic, organizational, and economic trends, according to a new whitepaper.

Released by TIAA and EY-Parthenon, “The new normal: Higher education in a post-COVID-19 world” was the focus of a panel at the TIAA Institute Virtual Higher Education Symposium.

During the event, leaders from Bucknell University, Rutgers University, and St. Olaf College shed light on how institutions and higher education leaders can adapt to their new realities and ensure higher education remains attractive for future generations of students.

Related content: How one college fosters robust remote learning

“The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly transforming the higher education industry. While the challenges vary among institutions, leaders are finding ways to adapt and address the needs of current and prospective students,” said Christina Cutlip, Senior Managing Director, Head of Client Engagement & National Advocacy at

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USF trustees criticize how leaders handled College of Education plan

Administrators at the University of South Florida faced tough criticism Tuesday from USF’s board of trustees for how they released the news last month that undergraduate programs in the College of Education might be phased out.

Trustee Byron Shinn said he heard it from a donor to the college and couldn’t believe it. He said he had to call university leaders to confirm it.

“I understand we’re not closing down the college, however, I’m upset about process and I’m upset about communication,” Shinn said during a trustees work group meeting. “How we went about this is absolutely inconsistent with the history of my board and my involvement, and I’m not pleased about it. And to be blindsided as a trustee with our community is inappropriate and unsatisfactory.”

Shinn added: “We lit up the community in a bad way. I know I caught some flak. And so did probably some of

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Lincoln University student leaders speak to historic win of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

Heaven Lassiter, Lincoln University’s Miss Orange and Blue, shares in the excitement so many HBCU students and graduates feel after the historic win of one of their own, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Lincoln University speaks to historic win of HBCU Graduate, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

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“Oh, we all woke up shouting, praising God that Black women, Black educated women have this opportunity,” Lassiter said.

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Fellow student leaders say they feel more empowered than ever.

Kamala Harris: A representation of hope for women of color in Philadelphia

“They’re highlighting our HBCUs and seeing so much more can come from our HBCUs. Now is the time to showcase who we are,” MIss Lincoln University Brianna Blake said.

University President Dr. Brenda Allen is Kamala Harris’ fellow Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters and also a graduate of Howard University.

“Even though HBCUs make up 3% of

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Leading Organizations Urge Policymakers and Higher Education Leaders to Improve Higher Education Transfer Policies and Practice

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Anticipating a larger-than-ever wave of students transferring across higher education institutions due to COVID-19 and the economic recession, today a diverse group of 25 policy, advocacy, research and institutional membership organizations issued a call to action to policymakers and higher education leaders to improve transfer policies. Highlighting the racial justice implications at stake, the organizations elevate the urgency of addressing practices and policies that result in credit loss.

The signatories are all members of the Scaling Partners Network convened by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organizations work together under the principle that greater connection and coordinated action will enable the higher education field to scale innovations faster, more efficiently and with deeper impact.

“Calls for systemic change demand a hard look at practices and policies in higher education that continue to produce inequitable student outcomes by race and ethnicity,” said Nyema Mitchell

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With unprecedented numbers of failing grades, reports of student anxiety, Sonoma County education leaders call emergency summit

Facing a steep spike in students with failing grades as well as emerging evidence of pervasive mental health woes among area teens, education leaders in Sonoma County have scheduled an unprecedented emergency summit to address what they are describing as a looming crisis.

High school students are failing classes at rates never before seen in Sonoma County — in some cases double the number recorded in the first six weeks of school last year, superintendents of secondary districts are reporting.

As educators begin a search for solutions to the surge of low grades, they are also grappling with the troubling results from a national survey of student mental health. Sonoma County students, unlike the majority of their peers elsewhere in the state and nation, are reporting feeling deep anxiety over their futures.

More than 7 out of 10 of the more than 4,500 high school students in Sonoma County who

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