As tuition discounts skyrocket, college aid is not equitably distributed

The bottom line on college tuition is that there is no bottom line.
At most four-year institutions, admitted students are quoted all sorts of different prices. Often masquerading as “merit aid” or “scholarships,” the discounts are aimed at persuading students to attend, much like online retailers dangle coupons to persuade you to purchase the items in your shopping cart.
The college coupons are a lot larger than what you might get at Target – sometimes knocking off $30,000 or more from the published “sticker” price. The discounts are tailored by commercial algorithms that use each prospective family’s circumstances to find the right number that will tempt a student to enroll. That’s why college students on today’s campuses are paying different prices for their degrees, just like we pay different prices for our airplane seats.
Tuition discounts have been escalating in recent years, according to Department of Education data released in July 2023. More students are getting even more ..

Teachers sue over Tennessee law restricting what they can teach about race, gender and bias

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Tennessee’s largest teacher organization has joined with five public school educators to legally challenge a 2-year-old state law restricting what they can teach about race, gender, and bias in their classrooms.
Their lawsuit, which was filed late Tuesday in a federal court in Nashville by lawyers for the Tennessee Education Association, maintains the language in the 2021 law is unconstitutionally vague and that the state’s enforcement plan is subjective.
The complaint also charges that Tennessee’s so-called “prohibited concepts” law interferes with instruction on difficult but important topics included in the state’s academic standards. Those standards outline state-approved learning goals, which dictate other decisions around curriculum and testing.
The lawsuit is the first legal challenge to the controversial state law that was among the first of its kind in the nation. The la..

Choosing children’s books that include and affirm disability experiences

When it comes to disability representation in children’s literature, historically, books have been authored by non-disabled people and for non-disabled people, according to award-winning author Corinne Duyvis. These books don’t “[consider] that the people reading them might themselves be disabled” or “that the perspective of an actual disabled person might differ from what a non-disabled author offers,” Duyvis said.
The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison has analyzed the diversity of about 18,000 children’s books published in the U.S. between 2018 and 2022. Of the 975 books that had a disability theme or featured a significant character with a disability, 27% were by creators who publicly identified as disabled.*

To counter this imbalance, Duyvis recommended that educators, librarians and parents seek out books by disabled people. Duyvis and two librarians talked with MindShift about what else educators and caregivers should look for when selecting..

Thinking about tutoring for your child? Here’s what you should consider.

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As educators look for ways to help students as they recover academically from pandemic interruptions, tutoring can play a key role.
But across the country, many leaders are seeing that some of the students who need the help the most aren’t taking advantage.
So, as parents, what questions should you be asking about tutoring and whether your student can benefit? Here are answers to some common questions.
When should I consider tutoring for my child? Rhonda Haniford, associate commissioner of the school quality and support division at the Colorado Department of Education, said the first thing to keep in mind is that different tutoring programs are designed to achieve different goals.
While parents might think tutoring is only to help students who are struggling academically, sometimes programs are designed instead to keep students engaged, accelerate their learning..

High schoolers account for nearly 1 in 5 community college students

When you think of a college student, you might imagine a young adult leaving home, moving into a dorm, navigating a campus and maybe attending a fraternity party. That’s an outdated image. We’ve written a lot about how older adults with jobs and children are a giant group on campus. But a more surprising species is spreading through the college registrar’s rolls: teenagers living at home, taking yellow buses to high school and maybe scrambling home before curfew.
The number of high schoolers taking college classes has been surging for more than two decades. In what is called dual enrollment, students simultaneously earn high school and college credits from a single class. These advanced college-level courses are no longer just for gifted students who have exhausted the high school course catalog. Now they’re a tool to encourage more Americans to enroll in college by giving them an early taste of post-secondary education and a head start with a few credits.
Dual enrollment students w..

This online tutoring company says it offers expert one-on-one help. Students often get neither.

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Lauren Williams took a job with Paper, one of the biggest virtual tutoring companies used by U.S. schools, because she wanted to help kids.
Williams, a self-described English and history buff who lives just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, liked the work at first. As she helped students with their writing, it felt like students were getting personal attention they badly needed.
But as Paper ratcheted up the pace and volume of her tutoring assignments last year, Williams grew alarmed.
By this spring, she was routinely working with five students at once on the company’s online platform, which resembles a text-based instant messenger. She found herself toggling between kindergarteners learning to read and high-schoolers writing college essays, frantically trying to respond to each student’s message within Paper’s 50-second time limit.
Her breaking point came as Paper put new pres..

Living with an eating disorder, a teen finds comfort in her favorite Korean food

Updated July 18, 2023 at 9:51 AM ET A version of this story originally appeared on the Student Podcast Challenge newsletter. Learn more about the contest here.
Grace Go’s award-winning podcast starts with her favorite comfort food, budae jjigae, which she describes as “ham, sausage, spam, a packet of instant noodles all cooked in a spicy broth topped with American cheese and chopped scallions.”
Budae jjigae, which means army stew in English, became popular in South Korea in the 1950s, during a time of poverty following the Korean War. “It contains traditional Korean staples such as gochujang and kimchi but with a twist of American foods,” Grace explains.
Grace’s podcast, which explores her complicated relationship with budae jjigae and her own body, is the winner of the Best Mental Health Podcast Prize in this year’s Student Podcast Challenge. Her podcast is called Discomfort Food.
“This was the first piece that I’ve made where I put myself in the spotlight,” says Grace, a student ..

Teens want to know how to have better relationships. Consent education can help

“Only yes means yes, take nothing more and nothing less.”
“Your body, your choice, consent gives everyone a voice.”
Rhymes like these are often used to teach and reinforce the essential definition of consent: that all parties need to fully agree to take part in an activity or behavior. While they’re catchy and memorable — a consent-related song and dance even became a popular TikTok trend — these kinds of phrases don’t cover the full extent of what’s needed for kids to understand consent in today’s world.
The primary goal of consent education is to foster healthy and respectful relationships rooted in mutual understanding and effective communication. And kids want to learn these skills. Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common (MCC) surveyed over 3,000 young adults and high school students and found that young adults want more guidance about developing caring, long-lasting relationships. “We do almost nothing to prepare young people for the subtle, tender, genero..

American confidence in higher education hits a new low, yet most still see value in a college degree

Americans’ confidence in the nation’s colleges and universities has plummeted, according to a new Gallup poll. If that lack of support continues, it could have long-term ramifications for both higher education and the U.S. economy as a whole. Fewer educated workers could stymie innovation, aggravate labor shortages and hinder social mobility.
But complicating our understanding of this poll, which was released on July 11, 2023, are several other more sanguine Gallup surveys. Even as confidence in institutions of higher education seems to be in free fall, Americans continue to feel that a college degree is valuable.
Stephanie Marken, a partner at Gallup who oversees its research in education, describes the conflicting polls as an “interesting juxtaposition.”
“Our theory is that people generally believe that higher education will get them a better job or a higher wage,” said Marken, “and yet they feel like the system of higher education is flawed in a rather significant way that’s imp..

So your tween wants a smartphone? Read this first

Your tween wants a smartphone very badly. So badly that it physically hurts. And they’re giving you soooo many reasons why.
They’re going to middle school … they need it to collaborate with peers on school projects … they need it to tell you where they are … when they’ll be home … when the school bus is late. It’ll help you, dear parent, they vow. Plus, all their friends have one, and they feel left out. Come on! Pleeeeeease.
Before you click “place order” on that smartphone, pause and consider a few insights from a person who makes a living helping parents and tweens navigate the murky waters of smartphones and social media.
Emily Cherkin spent more than a decade as a middle school teacher during the early aughts. She watched firsthand as the presence of smartphones transformed life for middle schoolers. For the past four years, she’s been working as screen-time consultant, coaching parents about digital technology.
Her first piece of advice about when to give a child a smartphone..