January 2013

  • High School Graduation Rate at Its Highest Since 1976

    Barry Lenson

    Here’s some progress. The U.S. high school graduation rate has climbed back to where it was back in 1976. That means that about four-fifths of all high school students are now finishing up and graduating. (Or if you are one of those people who prefer to look at life through the “my glass is half empty” lens, it means that about one-fifth of all high school students are not currently graduating.) The graduation statistics were released by the U.S. Department of Education earlier this month, and have been reported in many newspapers nationwide.  Here’s an overview of what is going on . . . 3.1 million students nationwide earned their high school diplomas in the spring of 2010. Of those students, 78% finished in four years. T ...

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  • Bloomberg Article: More College Students Opt for Online Courses

    Barry Lenson

    “College Crackup and the Online Future,” a post by Mark C. Taylor on Bloomberg.com, documents the rising number of college students who are opting to take courses online. Taylor writes, “Some changes are well under way. In 2009, about 29 percent of college students took at least one course online; by 2014, that number is projected to increase to 50 percent. Much of this growth has been driven by for-profit schools, but in the past couple of years, traditional colleges and universities have designed their own programs in an effort to increase tuition income without expanding the physical plant. It remains to be seen whether this financial bet will pay off.” Here are some trends that Taylor cites . . . Students aren’t who ...

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  • Shut Out of Class in California? Western Governors University Could Solve the Problem for You

    Barry Lenson

    Is your California community college in the throes of a budgetary crisis? Are classes being cancelled? Did you just get shut out of a course that you need to graduate? If so, StraighterLine has a solution for you. Why not leave the troubles of the California community college system behind and enroll at Western Governors University instead? Thanks to StraighterLine’s Partner College program, doing so is easy. Western Governors University (WGU) will accept the credits that you have earned after you have completed your coursework at StraighterLine and in only a few months, you could be attending WGU, a solid and respected university. And in case you think that WGU sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. In fact, hundreds of students f ...

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  • Help, I Took a MOOC – Now What?

    Jeffrey Simons

    Or, “How to get credit for what you learned in a non-credit-bearing course” By Jeffrey Simons Taking a MOOC sounded like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to take a free online course from top professors at the best universities in the world, like Harvard and Stanford and MIT? That’s probably why hundreds of thousands of students signed up for them. Some of them even finished the courses, although sadly, fewer than you’d think. (Many MOOCS have dropout rates of 90% or so, according to articles like this one in The Chronicle of Higher Education.) But let’s assume you’re one of the students who stuck with your MOOC to the end. Now what? What do you do with what you learned? Because you see, with MOOCS, to some extent, ...

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  • Let’s Get Serious about Snow Days

    Barry Lenson

    Boy, did I love snow days when I was in public school. I’d wake up in the morning to the sound of the town’s firehouse siren, which signaled that schools were closed. I’d look out the window to confirm that there was white stuff on the ground. Then I’d grab my sled and meet my friends at the sledding hill in the park. It was about as close to paradise as any kid could get. Now I’m grown up and days off from school are more serious business.  I live in New Jersey, where schools in many towns were closed for a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy rolled through here.  Were kids happy? Sure, they were ecstatic. But they’re not so happy now. In an effort to make up some of the days that were lost, school systems have cancelled tradi ...

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