Alternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect | Learning Innovation - Inside Higher Ed

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Alternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect | Learning Innovation - Inside Higher EdAlternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect | Learning Innovation - Inside Higher EdPosted: 10 Aug 2020 01:44 PM PDT HBS Online saw a 650 percent increase in enrollment between April and June compared to the same period in 2019…Online degrees offered by the Gies College of Business, including an iMBA priced under $22,000 offered in partnership with online learning platform Coursera, have seen record applications this year, Elliott said. Applications have particularly increased among women. More than 2,500 applications have so far been submitted to the iMBA program starting this fall -- a 35 percent increase from August 2019.Since mid-March, more than 18 million registered users have joined Coursera, a more than 400 percent increase from the same time period last year. Enrollments in India increased by 1,044 percent, followed by Italy at…

Naming names: Identifying minors - Student Press Law Center

Naming names: Identifying minors - Student Press Law Center


Naming names: Identifying minors - Student Press Law Center

Posted: 24 Jan 2020 05:50 PM PST

Good high school journalists take seriously the obligation to cover their peers in meaningful ways. As student publications struggle to provide both a voice for other students and serve as a watchdog of student misbehavior, many reporters and editors are facing challenges when it comes to telling student stories that some would rather not be told. A growing number of young journalists are being asked by school administrators to leave out of information that identifies individual students. And many, questioning the wisdom and legality of these restrictions, have begun to ask why.

What the courts say

In a unanimous 1979 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Daily Mail that the First Amendment protects the right of journalists to use the names of minors in newsworthy stories as long as the information is "lawfully obtained" and "truthfully" reported.1 In that case, the Court struck down a West Virginia law that had been used to prosecute two West Virginia newspapers that printed the name of a 14-year- old junior high school student alleged to have shot and killed a 15-year-old classmate.

Following the Daily Mail ruling, other courts have, for example, ruled that newspapers can publish the name of a minor charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and hit-and-run driving,2 the name of a 7-year old boy who was brutally beaten,3 the name of a high school student viciously attacked by his classmates at school,4 the name and photograph of a 12-year-old who was charged with the attempted murder of a police officer,5 the names of juveniles who testified in a trial in which the adult defendants were charged with supplying alcohol to minors,6 the photograph of a minor child taken while in the arms of her mother on the courthouse steps following a much-publicized paternity hearing7 and the name and course of mental health treatment of an individual convicted of sexual assault when he was 14, but who was no longer a minor at the time of publication.8

Even where a court proceeding or government record can be lawfully closed by government officials, courts have generally said that the government may not restrict the press from publishing newsworthy information from such records or proceedings — including minor names — when such information has been lawfully obtained through other means.9

However, where a reporter voluntarily makes an agreement ahead of time that allows them to obtain access to information that would otherwise be off-limits, that agreement must generally be honored. For example, in most states juvenile court proceedings and records can be closed to the public. Some states also allow judges to close down the portions of adult trials that require juvenile testimony or evidence. In such cases, the decision of whether to allow access is often left to the discretion of a judge.

In such cases, judges have occasionally placed conditions on reporters' access to otherwise closed juvenile proceedings by allowing reporters in — but only after they have promised not to disclose certain information about minor participants that might be revealed during the proceeding. Such conditions are probably valid.10

But even in such sealed proceeding, the power of judges to restrict press coverage is limited. For example, a California appellate court struck down an order that prohibited reporters admitted to a juvenile custody proceeding from revealing virtually any information about the minors involved, including a ban on interviewing the minors without an attorney present, interviewing their caretakers with the minors present, interviewing any mental health professional to whom the minors had been referred or "doing any act in the future that might interfere with reunification or have a negative impact upon the providing of reunification services."

While the news media could have been denied access to the proceeding altogether and the ban on information obtained in the sealed proceeding was enforceable, the appeals court said, it was beyond the juvenile court's power to restrict the press' right to investigate and publish information it had lawfully obtained outside of the courtroom.11  

A more recent case out of New Jersey followed suit when it upheld a judge's order that news media not publish the names of minors involved in an alleged sexual assault "if that information was obtained through access to the court's confidential records or proceedings." The court made clear that its ruling would not "prohibit publication of information the media appellants have obtained or may in the future obtain through lawful means."  ***Add footnote:  State ex rel. Doe, 2015 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 281 (NJ Super. Ct. 2015). ***

Despite the Supreme Court's clear ruling in Daily Mail and the lower court cases that have followed, the misconception that juvenile names are strictly "off-limits" persists. Student journalists continue to battle — and educate — school officials over their right to publish student names or other identifying information as part of their regular news coverage.

Of course, the same invasion of privacy rules that limit the publication of identifying information about adults in certain situations apply to information about minors as well.12 But these limitations are based on restrictions that apply to all, not just minors.

Student Information and FERPA

Many school officials — predominately at the high school level — have become particularly squeamish about allowing student journalists to publish information about their classmates. In some cases they have even required parents to sign consent forms before their child's name or photo can be published in student-editedmedia. In rare instances they have simply banned the use of student names or photos entirely. Often, they justify their censorship or restrictions by pointing to a federal law known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, also sometimes called the Buckley Amendment.13 While their intentions in such cases is usually not sinister, their interpretation of the law is misguided.

FERPA was enacted in 1974 after Congress found that some school officials were mishandling student records. The law has two parts. First, the law requires that students and parents be given access to the students' own school records. Second — and this is the provision that causes most of the confusion — FERPA penalizes schools that have a policy or practice or indiscriminately releasing certain student "education records" to third parties.

Where the policies directed at student media miss the mark is that FERPA only restricts the release of information by school officials or those acting for them. Outside parties — including student reporters, who are neither state actors, employees nor agents of the school14 — are not restricted by the law. Unfortunately, school and government officials sometimes do not understand — or simply choose to ignore — this distinction.

While it is entirely appropriate, for example, that school districts create a policy regarding a principal's disclosure of protected student information to a student reporter (or anyone else) during an interview, it is wrong for the school to impose the same limitations on student-edited media prohibiting them from disclosing to their readers accurate information lawfully obtained by student journalists during the newsgathering process. This would include attempts by school officials that require student-edited media to adhere to so-called "opt-in" or "opt-out" FERPA polices often distributed to parents at the beginning of each school year that give parents the right to control how school district officials disseminate information about their children, such as in an official school district newsletter or district marketing materials.  Rules that may apply to school officials do not necessarily apply to students and any policy that imposed such a flat ban on the publication of accurate, newsworthy and lawfully obtained information by student-edited media would almost certainly be unconstitutional.15

In the only published court decision to address the issue in the context of student media, a New York federal court refused to extend FERPA to cover the release of student information published in a high school student newspaper, ruling "the prohibitions of the amendment cannot be deemed to extend to information which is derived from a source independent of school records."16

Requiring student media to limit news coverage to "approved" students destroys the student media's reputation as a credible source of news. It also creates a logistical nightmare, forcing staff to consult an ever-changing master list of "approved" students who had consented to coverage before writing or publishing a story about them or including their photo in the yearbook. Under such a complicated scheme it is inevitable that students or school officials will make mistakes. "Unapproved" names or photos will be published in some cases and "approved" students mistakenly omitted from student publications such as the yearbook in others. Such mistakes could expose a school district to liability — or certainly accusations of incompetence — that had previously not existed.

School district lawyers and administrators that attempt to enforce such policies are simply asking for for trouble. FERPA does not require it, the Constitution almost certainly prohibits it — and common sense suggests the system is both fraught with problems and just plain stupid. Indeed, over the years student news organizations have published millions of individual publications — full of student names and photos — without incident. Since FERPA's passage in 1974, no school has ever been fined under the law because of anything published in a student publication.

Online Publications

From the moment the first high school student media Web sites went online in the mid-1990's, school officials began imposing special restrictions on their use by student journalists. Among the more common restrictions were limitations, or outright bans, on the posting of student photos or names in the online version ofstudent-edited publications. Such policies were often justified by pointing to some unspecified privacy or safety concern, often accompanied by a blanket claim that the law required such restrictions.17

In fact, there are no federal laws that require school officials to prohibit or restrict student journalists from publishing the names or photos of students in their online publications when that information is lawfully obtained, accurate and newsworthy.18 Where information can be lawfully published in the print version of a student publication, it should be lawful for student editors to publish it in their online media as well.

While federal law presents no barrier to accurate, otherwise lawful news reporting of student information in online student media, at least two states — Maine and New Jersey — passed laws that govern the publication of student information online. Fortunately, no attempt has been made in either state to enforce the law against student media. (The New Jersey law was passed in 2002) and to date there have been no court decisions in either state to suggest that the plain language in both statutes applies to anything other than material posted by school officials.19 

Besides merely being silly, though, policies could have serious legal implications for the student media and school districts. Every libel law primer begins with essentially the same advice: publish only complete and accurate information. By requiring the publication of misleading or incomplete information, a strong argument can be made that the policies prohibiting the use of full names or other identifiers like photos increase, not decrease, the odds that student media — and possibly the school district that created such a faulty system — will be subjected to libel or invasion of privacy lawsuits because of misidentifications created from the confusion. Such polices — which have been criticized by various journalism groups — also hurt an online publication's reputation as a serious and credible news source.

The decision to publish or not publish

Even though there should generally be no across-the-board legal barriers to student media publishing minor names — in print or online — there are valid reasons for not doing so in some circumstances. For example, many news organizations do not, as a rule, publish the names of young people accused of less serious crimes. Children, the thinking goes, should not be stigmatized for the rest of their lives for an error in judgment they made while growing up.

The Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins, who has written widely on media ethics, has created a useful list of questions and factors that student journalists may want to consider when deciding whether or not to identify juveniles, particularly those involved in criminal activities.20

Among them:

  1. Who is served by identifying the juvenile?
  2. How newsworthy is the story?
  3. What is the juvenile's history?
  4. Would others be harmed if the minor was not named or if rumors were allowed to circulate unchecked?

The decision about when and how to identify young people involved in news stories can sometimes be tough. In the end, however, the decision should be an editorial and ethical choice — not one dictated by law.

Endnotes

  1. Smith v. Daily Mail, 443 U.S. 97 (1979). See also Oklahoma Publishing Co. v. District Court, 430 U.S. 308 (1977)(Supreme Court lifted an injunction that prohibited publication of the name or photograph of an 11-year-old boy charged with second-degree murder). A narrow variation to this general rule may exist in cases involving the publication of the names of minors obtained during otherwise closed hearings. Where reporters have agreed not to disclose information as precondition to attending such proceedings, they may be legally bound to honor their agreement (see discussion, below).
  2. Mikan v. Valley Publishing, 589 P.2d 1201 (Ore. App. 1979).
  3. Juan L. v. E. W. Scripps Co., 2013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3506, 41 Media L. Rep. 1972, 2013 WL 2145090 (Ca. Ct. App. 2013)
  4. Tucker v. News Publishing Co., 397 S.E.2d 499 (Ga. Ct. App. 1990)
  5. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette v. Zimmerman, 20 S.W.3d 301 (Ark. 2000).
  6. George W. Prescott Publ'g Co. v. Stoughton Div. of the Dist. Court, 701 N.E.2d 307 (Mass. 1998).
  7. Heath v. Playboy Enterprises Inc., 732 F.Supp. 1145 (S.D. Fla. 1990) (men's magazine's publication of photograph of minor child — the grandson of former talk show host Johnny Carson — did not give rise to private facts case brought by child's court-appointed guardian despite lack of consent to photo by child).
  8. Register-Herald v. Canterbury, 449 S.E.2d 272 (W.Va. 1994).
  9. See, e.g., In re H.N., 632 A.2d 537 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1993) (New Jersey appellate court upheld the right of a newspaper to publish the name and other identifying information about a 16-year-old charged with scalding her two-month-old nephew to death while bathing him. The court noted that the information was lawfully obtained from press conferences and other disclosures made by law enforcement officials.)
  10. Austin Daily Herald v. Mork, 507 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1993) (Minnesota Supreme Court upheld lower court order permitting media to attend closed trial only if they agreed not to reveal the names of the juvenile victims and witnesses); In re A Minor, 595 N.E.2d 1052 (Ill. 1992)(Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a reporter admitted to a juvenile proceeding after agreeing not to disclose names could not publish the identities of two minor children, which he had learned during the course of the proceedings); In re Minor, 563 N.E.2d 1069, 1077 (Ill. App. 1990). See also, Edward A. Sherman Publ'g Co. v. Goldberg, 443 A.2d 1252 (R.I. 1982).
  11. San Bernadino County Dep't of Public Social Services v. Superior Court, 283 Cal.Rptr. 332 (Cal. Ct. App. 1991). See also, In re A Minor, 595 N.E.2d 1052 (Ill. 1992)(information obtained by reporter outside of closed juvenile hearings not subject to non-publication agreement).
  12. See SPLC Legal Brief: Invasion of Privacy Law , Available online at:http://www.splc.org/legalresearch.asp?id=29 (last viewed Dec. 5, 2006).
  13. 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1232g.
  14. See, e.g., Owasso Independent School District No. I-011 v. Falvo, 122 S.Ct. 934, 939 (2002) (a student is not a person "acting for" educational institution for purposes of FERPA); Yeo v. Lexington, 131 F.3d 241 (1st Cir. 1997) (en banc), cert. denied, 524 U.S. 904 (1998)(student editors of high school yearbook were not "state actors" and their editorial acts must be judged apart from school administrators); McEvaddy v. City University of New York, 633 N.Y.S.2d. 4 (1995). See also, Sevier County Bd. Of Educ. v. Worrell, 1994 WL 666926 (Tenn.App. 1994)(distinguishing between information about students obtained by reporter and student records maintained by the school and protected from disclosure by state's version of FERPA). The U.S. Department of Education, the agency charged with enforcing FERPA, has said: "FERPA was not intended to apply to campus newspapers or records maintained by campus newspapers. Rather, FERPA applies to 'education records' maintained by an educational agency or institution, or by a person acting for such agency or institution. Letter from LeRoy S. Rooker, Director, Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education (Sept. 1993).
  15. 15 For a thorough discussion of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and its application — or misapplication — to student media, see "FERPA Fundamentalism," Student Press Law Center Report, Spring 2001, at 35. http://www.splc.org/report_detail.asp?id=685&edition=18. For a discussion of public high school students' First Amendment rights, see the SPLC's Hazelwood Guide, available online at: http://www.splc.org/legalresearch.asp?id=4. For information about the rights of students attending private schools, see the SPLC's Legal Guide for the Private School Press, available online at:http://www.splc.org/legalresearch.asp?id=52 (documents last viewed Dec. 5, 2006.)
  16. Frasca v. Andrews, 463 F.Supp. 1043, 1050 (E.D.N.Y. 1979). See also Williams v. Howell Cheney Tech. High Sch., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162539, 2012 WL 5507259 (D. Conn. 2012) (finding that FERPA does not "extend to information which is derived from a source independent of school records[,]" that is, information that is widely "known by members of the school community through conversation and personal contact[,]" because "Congress could not have constitutionally prohibited comment on, or discussion of, facts about a student which were learned independently of his school records.")
  17. See, e.g., Policy restricts newspaper's online edition, Student Press Law Center Report, Fall 1998, at 20 (http://www.splc.org/report_detail.asp?id=295&edition=10)(last viewed Dec. 4, 2006).
  18. There has been some question about whether a provision in the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 47 U.S.C. § 254, could be construed to prohibit school-sponsored online student publications from publishing identifiable information about students. CIPA, a federal law that requires schools and libraries receiving subsidized rates for Internet access to install filtering software on their computers, contains a provision that requires schools to adopt and implement an Internet safety policy that addresses unauthorized disclosure, use and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors. 47 U.S.C. Sec. 254(L)(1)(a)(4). Some school districts have interpreted this provision as prohibiting the publication of minors' names or photos in student-edited publications that are hosted by school Web sites. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission has offered no guidance as to what constitutes personal identification information. Instead, the FCC has concluded that "local authorities are best situated to choose which … Internet safety policies will be most appropriate for their relevant communities." Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service: Children's Internet Protection Act, 47 CFR Sec. 54 (2001). This vague directive — and the lack of a mandated definition regarding whatconstitutes 'personal identification information' — hardly supports the argument by some school school administrators that CIPA compelsthem to prohibit the publication of students' names or photos on school Web sites.
  19. For example, the Maine law states that: "[A] public school may not publish on the Internet or provide for publication on the Internet any personal information about its students without first obtaining the written approval of those students' parents." Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 20-A, sec. 6001 (2009)(emphasis added). New Jersey's law seems even more clear: "The board of education of each school district and the board of trustees of each charter school that establishes an Internet web site, shall not disclose on that web site any personally identifiable information about a student without receiving prior written consent from the student's parent or guardian… ." N.J. Stat. Ann. sec. 18A:36-35 (2009)(emphasis added). Moreover, were such statutes to be used to enforce a blanket ban against student media, they would certainly be subject to a constitutional challenge. (The same would apply to any local or school district policies that may exist.)
  20. Tompkins, A., "Guidelines for Identifying Juveniles," The Poynter Institute. Available online at: http://www.poynter.org. (Last viewed Jan. 24, 2020).

University of Minnesota mines China connection but worries about future - Minneapolis Star Tribune

Posted: 25 Jan 2020 02:45 PM PST

Jieie Chen and Dong Xuan felt a strong connection to the University of Minnesota long before they arrived from China with their son, Ken, an incoming freshman.

They had spent hours online researching the university. They had heard the director of the U's Beijing office make a case for joining the "Gophers family" at a meeting with admitted students in Shanghai last spring. They had later taken in testimonials from U students and alumni at one of the orientations the university hosts in China each summer.

In Minneapolis, the family joined some 50 fellow Chinese parents for a campus tour in Mandarin and a welcome session that included gifts of maroon-and-gold T-shirts with Mandarin lettering.

"Your children are central to education at the University of Minnesota," assistant dean Barbara Kappler told the parents.

Ken Xuan is one of 3,000-plus Chinese students enrolled at the U — more than triple the number from 15 years ago. Chinese students now make up 45% of all international students on the university's campuses. Their tuition payments over the past decade total nearly half a billion dollars, according to data the Star Tribune obtained through public records requests. That windfall helped the U weather the Great Recession of 2007-09 and avoid higher tuition increases for Minnesota students.

But the U's success recruiting students from China is facing fresh threats.

A trade war between the U.S. and China, fears about anti-immigrant sentiment and a push by China to invest more heavily in its own universities mean fewer Chinese students are studying in the United States.

The U's Twin Cities campus has held the line on enrollment, but Chinese student numbers are down across its campuses in greater Minnesota. Meanwhile, applications systemwide are down about 6% from five years ago, while graduate applications have fallen a more worrying 20% during the same period.

The federal government is also casting an increasingly critical eye on the relationship between U.S. universities and China. In 2019, the U was one of more than a dozen U.S. universities that shuttered their Confucius Institute — Chinese government-sponsored centers to promote that country's language and culture — under pressure from federal lawmakers, who branded them hotbeds of academic espionage. Meanwhile, two cultural centers the U had opened on Chinese campuses with U.S. government funding closed, as Chinese government support faltered.

The 2018 arrest in Minneapolis of a billionaire participant in a U program for high-level Chinese executives drew its own uncomfortable spotlight.

Meredith McQuaid, the U's dean of international programs, and other administrators stress that despite current political tensions, the U has no plans to retrench: University officials hope to open a second outpost in China and deepen ties with the U's closest academic partners there.

Still, she fears there is no Plan B. "I worry our leadership is not yet fully focused on what would happen if the Chinese market stopped," McQuaid said. "As an institution, we haven't planned on the alternative."

More Chinese students on every U campus, at every educational level

The number of international students from China has been increasing on every U campus around Minnesota since the mid-2000s. In 2018, tuition revenue from this group topped $65 million, far more than a decade ago.

Calculated move

From Morris to Minneapolis, Chinese students are leaving their mark on the U.

On the Twin Cities campus, there are almost a dozen Chinese student organizations. A counselor specializes in helping these students with challenges from academic to visa issues. The U's international student office hosts workshops on properly pronouncing Chinese names and on better understanding Chinese students. For example, faculty and staff learned that some Chinese students may feel they are dishonoring the professor by asking a question in class.

Yu Zhou, a math and economics major, shared the story of a U professor who tried to overcome this hurdle by encouraging students to text him questions during his class.

In some departments, Chinese students dominate the ranks of graduate assistants and sometimes stick around to teach. The U now employs more than 230 Chinese professors and staff and hosts more than 400 visiting faculty and researchers. Meanwhile, alumni living in China, now numbering more than 5,000, have become enthusiastic ambassadors and generous donors.

The strong "U brand" in China dates back to 1914, when the first three Chinese students arrived in Minnesota. In 1980, the U was the first school in the nation to send students and faculty to a Chinese campus after diplomatic relations between the two countries resumed.

Then, the U's decision to open its first international office in Beijing in 2009 came at an opportune time. China's middle and upper-middle classes were on the rise, and scarce seats at Chinese universities sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese students to American campuses. Big Ten universities across the Midwest have been among the biggest beneficiaries.

Two Beijing office staffers now plan and make more than 40 high school visits a year across China to pitch the U — and they follow up with guidance counselors and families after recruiters from competing schools have long left the country. The U also pays current Chinese students to visit their former high schools or undergraduate campuses in China and promote the university.

Meanwhile, records show that U leaders and faculty have made more than 700 trips to China in the past three years to recruit, pursue research collaborations, nurture relationships with alumni and sign partnership deals with Chinese universities. Many of these deals are meaningless stock documents — part of a flurry of such papers U.S. universities signed as they hastened to make inroads in the China market.

But some led to joint programs or helped put the university on students' radar.

The U's Humphrey School of Public Affairs signed deals with three Chinese institutions that allow students to gain early admission into its graduate programs and pay in-state tuition.

On a Duluth campus plagued by enrollment losses, officials have pursued dual degrees, including a joint cultural entrepreneurship program with Ocean University of China in Qingdao. They also recently hired two recruitment firms in China.

Ken Xuan, the freshman from Shanghai, said much drew him to the U: its statistics department's rankings, the economic vibrancy of the Twin Cities and the cachet of an American degree. He felt studying here would broaden his perspective.

"You should force yourself out of the area you are really comfortable," he said.

Huge benefits

Sri Zaheer, the dean of the U's Carlson School of Management, travels to China at least once a year. Her itinerary is often packed with stops in several cities.

In September 2018, for example, she spoke to a new batch of students enrolled in the Carlson's doctorate in business administration program with Tsinghua University in Beijing, a program geared toward Chinese CEOs that brought in nearly $13.5 million in tuition revenue in its first four years.

Weeks before Zaheer's trip, Minneapolis police arrested Richard Liu, a billionaire internet entrepreneur and participant in the program, after a student volunteer reported he had sexually assaulted her. Liu was never charged, but the incident generated intense publicity in China, with many on social media attacking Liu's accuser and questioning the U's handling of the matter.

This past summer, only 11 CEOs attended the Twin Cities residency, compared with 40 the year before — a decrease Carlson officials attribute to visa problems.

Zaheer did not address the controversy in her address to incoming doctoral students.

She also visited Hong Kong, where her invitation to senior business leaders said Carlson was poised to make China "an integral component of our school's success for the next 100 years." She stopped in Shanghai, where Carlson recently opened a new joint medical industry MBA with Tongji University.

Finally, she flew to Hangzhou to have dinner with an alum, Eric Jing, a top executive at online payment behemoth Ant Financial Services. In 2016, he gave $5 million to Carlson, one of the largest donations in the school's history. Jing graduated from Carlson's China Executive MBA program with Sun Yat-sen University, one of the first of its kind in China when it launched in 2000.

Zaheer said Carlson's focus on China yields benefits beyond the financial kind. These programs enhance faculty's grasp of world economies and open up learning opportunities for all students.

"For any businessperson in Minnesota, it's absolutely crucial to understand China," she said.

Systemwide, U leaders say, the university's China engagement is giving Minnesota students an international perspective while sending China's future leaders home with an affinity for American culture and society.

Said McQuaid, the U's dean of international programs: "It has never been about the money."

Still, the revenue boost from the U's China engagement has been crucial.

Last year, students from China paid more than $65 million in tuition, not including fees or room and board, which the U said it could not provide; that includes $39.4 million in undergraduate tuition — up from $9 million a decade ago.

Ninety percent of Chinese undergraduates, almost all law and medical students, and 60% of graduate students pay full price. This year, that's more than $35,900 for tuition and fees, compared with about $15,230 for Minnesotans and $33,530 for out-of-state students.

Nontraditional programs have contributed as well. Students from China have flocked to the U's intensive English language courses and a "reverse study abroad" program — for international students looking to get a taste of the U.S. campus experience. Chinese professionals have gotten training at the U's Mingda Institute.

Former U President Eric Kaler said there is no doubt: Chinese students' tuition dollars have helped ward off steeper tuition increases for Minnesotans during the lean recession years and likely boosted undergraduate financial aid. And with in-state student numbers remaining relatively steady, he said, "It has not been at the expense of qualified Minnesota students."

In recent years, the U has also invested in nurturing its relationship with Chinese alumni. The U's China Center spearheaded seven active alumni chapters across that country. Alumni have nudged admitted students to choose the U. They have also helped recent graduates with job leads and fostered a "home away from the U," said law school alumna Rose Li.

When Arnold Guo returned to Shanghai after graduating from the Carlson School in 2007, he said he saw little in the way of U outreach. But more recently, he has noted the frequent visits by officials: Zaheer; Scott Persons, on the school's Institutional Advancement team; Tim Wolf with the University of Minnesota Foundation; and Kaler, who returned from annual trips "with bags of money," as former regent Dean Johnson put it.

The university and its foundation declined to offer any estimate for the financial impact of fundraising in China, noting that the U does not track gifts by donor nationality. Kaler said only that fundraising has met with "substantial success."

Uncertain times

Few academic departments better exemplify the benefits from the U's inroads in China — and the potential risks — than the School of Statistics.

Almost half the undergraduates, three-quarters of the graduate students and half the professors in the department are from China. Conversations in Mandarin erupt at the end of class. Hundreds of statistics students, prospective students and recent grads are connected on the Chinese messaging service WeChat, trading tips on anything from Minnesota weather to job leads.

Chinese student enrollment fluctuates at Big Ten schools

At some schools, the percentage of international students from China has recently decreased, while at Ohio State, the share of students from China is approaching 70%.

When Galin Jones, the Statistics Department chair, traveled to Beijing last academic year to discuss launching a joint doctoral degree with the elite Peking University, he carved out time to hold seminars about his research and take students out to lunch. He and other statistics faculty, who travel to China to lecture and do joint research regularly, always make a point of drumming up interest in the U.

"Without those students, we'd be hard-pressed to maintain the high quality we have," Jones said.

But these days, Jones frets about a nightmare scenario: the vanishing of his department's Chinese students and faculty. Enrollment has remained steady, but applications are down markedly, forcing the school to be less selective. The department is working harder to recruit domestically and develop new student pipelines overseas — but so far with limited success.

Professors have tried to reassure Jones: "My kids were born here. They are not Chinese. I am not going anywhere."

But the tension between China and the U.S. is already affecting campuses across the country. In a much-publicized move, the Chinese Ministry of Education warned last summer of heightened risks to studying in the United States, raising fears about a further drop in student arrivals. At the University of Iowa, the number of students from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan is roughly half what it was in 2015. At Michigan State, the number fell by more than 40%.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign last year announced it would pay $424,000 annually to insure itself against a major loss of Chinese students. Last week's news of a student's arrest in China over tweets he made while studying at the U plunged the university into a national debate about how campuses should address growing restrictions on speech and academic freedom in that country.

"We're in for a rough patch," said Philip Altbach, who leads the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. "These are not happy times, and ignoring that is not useful to anyone."

Chelsea Keeney, one of the U's two international recruiters, heard worries about gun violence, visas and anti-immigrant sentiment on visits to Chinese high schools in November, though she says interest in American education remains strong. Amid intensifying global competition for Chinese students, from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and increasingly Japan and South Korea, some premier international high schools are no longer able to host all interested recruiters.

One Chinese high-school counselor pointedly asked Keeney how the U would handle a campus protest in support of Hong Kong demonstrators.

U leaders downplay concerns. McQuaid said compared to Big Ten counterparts such as Ohio State University, where about 70% of foreign students are Chinese, the U has a more balanced international student profile and is recruiting more in other countries.

Still, leaders acknowledge, the university needs a more solid backup plan. President Joan Gabel said her systemwide strategic plan will likely include a fresh look at the U's global strategy with an emphasis on diversity — including country of origin.

"Things ebb and flow, relationships change over time, and it's important to strike the right balance," she said.

For now, the focus is on prepping for an eventual diplomatic warmup. The school is moving away from a rush to sign prolific agreements and toward deepening more meaningful ties to half a dozen Chinese universities. McQuaid's office and the Carlson School have discussed opening a second China office in Shanghai.

"The idea is let's be smart about it," McQuaid said. "Let's focus our efforts so when the pendulum swings, we can be ready."

 

 

This story was produced with support from the Education Writers Association Reporting Fellowship program.

Data editor MaryJo Webster contributed to this report.

Opening charter schools in Wyoming is a "difficult process" - Wyoming Tribune

Posted: 25 Jan 2020 04:00 AM PST

CHEYENNE – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Mitchell Zais paid a visit to one of Wyoming's four charter schools Friday.

"While every child is special, every child is different," said Zais, whose tour of Poder Academy Secondary School came in the middle of National School Choice Week. Since 2011, school choice week has celebrated varied K-12 education options including online education, magnet schools, private schools and charter schools like Poder, which are publicly funded, privately operated schools.

Although Wyoming was one of the first states to pass a charter school law in 1995, they are a rare sight in the state.

"The notion of charter schools is still new here. The public is still uncertain as to what charter schools are, and it's not as easy as it could be to get an application approved by the school board," said Nick Avila, chief operating officer of Poder. "We operate like a small corporation. We have board members, officers and then the principals run the schools."

Avila also agreed with Zais, who championed charter school expansion in his previous role as South Carolina's education chief, that "The biggest challenge to more charter schools in Wyoming is the absence of a state authorizer."

While many of the 45 states with charter school laws have a state-level body to review and approve applications, Wyoming leaves that decision up to the public school districts.

"When it comes down to charter schools I think it's really similar to regular schools. You have some good ones and some not so good ones," Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said. "I think our state has done a good job of trying to make sure we have quality charter schools that come in."

During the 2018-19 school year, Poder students received some of the highest scores in the district on the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress, also known as WY-TOPP.

Marcos Martinez, the chief executive officer and founder of Poder, said it took about three years for the district to approve the schools' application. "At the time the school district was not allowing charter schools to come in. What I was told was that a lot of applications were coming in, looking to serve middle- and upper-class students," Martinez said.

Instead, Poder focused on serving students who were falling through the cracks. The school's mission focuses on college preparation, and offers dual enrollment and advanced placement courses. "If we thought we could open one more school we would," Martinez said about his visions for the future. "But it's a very difficult process."

The majority of charter schools operate in urban areas, so Wyoming's relatively low population presents another challenge.

"It's harder to create a school that's sustainable financially because you're going to be serving relatively fewer students than you would if you were in a more populous area," said Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "Related to that is finding and retaining high quality staff in rural areas."

After his visit to Poder, Zais stopped by St. Mary's Catholic School, a private school in Cheyenne which charges tuition. While Wyoming has no school voucher program – which 14 other states have passed to allow parents to use public funds for private education – Zais said he'd come to advocate for a policy that could open the door to changing that. "The Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, would make available $25 million (in scholarships) to the state of Wyoming," he said.

If the federal act, which Wyoming's Congresswoman Liz Cheney has co-sponsored, passes, "it would be a local decision on how the dollars could be used," Zais said. Apprenticeships, homeschooling and online education are all options, but perhaps the most contentious is the possibility that it could potentially fund private, religious education. Several states, including Wyoming have laws against public financing of parochial instruction, like the kind St. Mary's offers.

But rumblings on the national level are signaling efforts to overturn some of those rules.

Earlier this week the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case which centers around the constitutionality of allowing parents to use public money to pay for private religious school tuition, not unlike St. Mary's. "If you get a scholarship or grant for a college you can take that to a faith-based institution or a secular institution," said Zais, who believes it should operate the same for K-12 students.

Zais said he met with Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon earlier in the day to discuss the legislation, but did not specifically address the possibility of bringing a school voucher program to the state. Cassie Craven, a lobbyist for the libertarian Wyoming Liberty Group, said that the organization "wants to see some kind of voucher program happen," and foresees drafting some type of legislation after this year's budget-oriented legislative session.

As of now though, the governor, who would have to sign off on any such legislation, hasn't developed a clear, statewide policy position on school vouchers.

"Gov. Gordon is supportive of local choice," said Lachelle Brant, education policy adviser for the governor's office. "He's also in favor of a parent's choice to pick the best education option for their kids."

Ex-lawmaker faces PB lawyer in Democratic Senate primary - Arkansas Online

Posted: 26 Jan 2020 01:59 AM PST

Former state Rep. Garry Smith of Camden and Pine Bluff attorney Keidra Burrell are vying in the March 3 primary for the Democratic nomination for state Senate District 27, with the winner taking on the Republican incumbent in the fall election.

Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, has held the seat since 2017, after he ousted Sen. Bobby Pierce, D-Sheridan, in the 2016 general election. Garner is a former aide to Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle.

Senate District 27 includes all of Calhoun and Union counties and parts of Cleveland, Grant, Jefferson and Ouachita counties.

Smith served in the state House of Representatives from 2009-13. He lost to Pierce in the 2012 Democratic primary and then lost in the Democratic primary for the House District 7 seat in 2016.

Smith, 68, owner of Garry's Plumbing & Electric Inc., said voters should cast their ballots for him because he knows what it takes to get bills passed — based on his four years in the House and 14 years on the Ouachita County Quorum Court — and because, as a small-business owner, he has experienced the ups and downs of the economy.

"I am not a practicing attorney. I am a businessman," he said. "I can relate to what businesses are dealing with."

Smith also served eight years on the Harmony Grove School Board and taught at Southern Arkansas University Tech and Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. His wife, Rebecca, also works at the business. They have three children.

Burrell, 40, said people should vote for her because "I think it is time for a fresh perspective in our Capitol for our district."

She said she would bring a diverse perspective as a mother, attorney and small-business owner.

Burrell said she owns child development facilities, the Audubon School in Pine Bluff and Krescent City Kids in New Orleans, and real estate investment companies Jackson and Emerson LLC in Pine Bluff and SRAMG LLC in New Orleans. She said she also helps small businesses open, so she understands issues that they face.

She said she would work in a bipartisan fashion in the Legislature with the best interest of her district in mind.

Burrell, a native of New Orleans, previously served a year as assistant district counsel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Little Rock District; as chief of staff and assistant to Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington from 2016-18; and chief legal counsel for the Northwest Region of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality from 2009-14. Her husband is Roy Burrell, an orthopaedic surgeon at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. They have three children.

[RELATED » Full coverage of elections in Arkansas » arkansasonline.com/elections/]

TOP PRIORITIES

Smith, a self-described conservative, said his top priorities in the Senate include legislation to provide a short-term safety net for people who are injured on the job and not approved for Social Security disability payments, and encouraging volunteer fire departments to become part of the Arkansas Local Police and Fire Retirement System to provide a benefit to volunteer firefighters.

He said he also wants to create a property-tax credit of about $500 for each for active-duty and retired veterans, and to properly fund the public schools and public higher-education institutions.

Burrell said her top priorities in the Senate would include providing incentives for small businesses to employ more workers; determining ways to educate children in their own communities; adequately compensating teachers for their work; funding regional health clinics; and expanding workforce training to attract businesses.

MEDICAID EXPANSION

Smith said he supports the state's Medicaid expansion program that provides health care coverage to about 246,000 low-income Arkansans because every person needs medical attention and it is cheaper to treat them before they are hit with a catastrophic disease.

Burrell said she supports the Medicaid expansion program.

This calendar year, the state's share of the cost of the program is 10% under the federal law that allows Medicaid expansion. The cost was 7% last calendar year and 6% the year before. The program is called Arkansas Works under Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The initial program was called the private option and authorized by the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, in 2013.

In fiscal 2020, the state's share of the cost of the program is projected at about $165.7 million, while the federal government's share is at $1.78 billion, said Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance and Administration.

Arkansas' work requirement for some of its Medicaid expansion participants was struck down by U.S. District Judge James Boas-berg of Washington, D.C., in a March ruling that Arkansas and the federal government have appealed.

"On its face, the work requirement seems rational, but as it is now I can't support it," Burrell said. "There needs to be some leeway."

HIGHWAY TAX

Smith said he is going to vote for the proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot that would permanently extend the 0.5% sales tax for highways and roads.

Voters originally approved the tax in 2012 for a 10-year period. State officials project the proposal would raise about $205 million a year for state highways and about $44 million each for city and county roads.

"Our infrastructure is suffering and south Arkansas depends on timber and gravel and the oil industry," he said. The 0.5% sales tax will allow the highways and roads to be adequately maintained for industry and their workers, he said.

Burrell said she supports the proposed constitutional amendment in part because the tax already exists.

"As a voter I support it, but as a senator I am going to want to have some accountability because we want to make sure that we are accountable to our citizens," she said. She said she wants to be able to provide information about what was accomplished with tax proceeds and how the money would be spent in the future because "that way our citizens are not being taxed blindly."

GUNS ON CAMPUS

Garner was the Senate sponsor of a 2017 law that allows people to carry guns on state college campuses and into some other public places if they have concealed-carry permits and take extra training.

Smith said he favors allowing the boards of trustees of the state's two- and four-year colleges to decide whether people with these enhanced concealed-carry permits can carry their guns on campus.

Burrell said "we are a gun family" and her husband has guns that are stored safely, but she doesn't see a need for guns to be on college campuses because "these are students.

"We have to create safe environments for our students," she said. "When you add a gun to a situation like that it creates volatility that is not necessary."

ABORTION STANCE

As for her position on abortion, Burrell said "in my personal life I am pro-life" and she wouldn't have an abortion.

She said she opposes enacting further restrictions on abortion because "I don't believe I can tell Sarah Smith or somebody else what they can do with their bodies."

Asked about his position on abortion, Smith said, "I think it is wrong. The Bible says it is."

He said he would probably vote for legislation to ban abortions except to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape or incest.

"In my opinion, I was raised 'thou shall not kill.' I can't go against my raising," Smith said.

Through Dec. 31, Burrell reported raising $22,525 in contributions, lending her campaign $3,000 and spending $15,370.56. Through Dec. 31, Smith reported raising about $5,610 in contributions and spending about $5,540.

MORE CONTENT

Full coverage of elections in Arkansas: arkansasonline.com/elections/

Photo by Arkansas Secretary of State
Keidra Burrell
Photo by Arkansas Secretary of State
Garry L. Smith

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