These Christian Colleges Are Taking On Today’s Hot-Button Social Issues - Forbes

An organization of Christian colleges has shown a willingness to tackle social issues, often taking ... [+] stances that differ from those of some notorious evangelical leaders. getty A group of Christian colleges is pursuing an agenda of pressing social issues, including immigration, criminal justice, and racial/ethnic diversity. It’s an ambitious set of policies, and it’s noteworthy because the stance of these colleges is in marked contrast to the ultra-conservative narrative associated with the evangelical church’s recent embrace of the right-wing, nationalist politics of Donald Trump. The colleges are members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an organization comprised of about 180 institutions worldwide, with approximately 140 in the U.S. Representing 37 different Protestant denominations, CCCU schools enroll over 500,000 students. You can view the full member list here. All CCCU schools have missions defined as Christ-centered, rooted in the hi

Western State College of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure | The Recorder -

Western State College of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure | The Recorder -

Western State College of Law Locks Down New Owner, Averting Closure | The Recorder -

Posted: 15 Dec 2020 10:50 AM PST

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UK Board Approves 1st Woman Dean of Rosenberg College of Law - UKNow

Posted: 15 Dec 2020 12:47 PM PST

LEXINGTON, KY. (Dec. 15, 2020)— The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved the naming of Mary J. Davis as full-time dean of the J. David Rosenberg College of Law effective Jan. 1, 2021. Davis, the Ashland, Inc-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law at UK, has been serving as interim dean. She will become the first woman to serve in the role of permanent dean at the college.

"In addition to her university service, Mary has made contributions to the profession at the state, regional, national, and international levels through scholarly activities, including service as a visiting professor at four law schools and authoring a leading casebook on product liability. She is passionate about continuing to enhance the college's strong reputation," said Provost David W. Blackwell in announcing that Davis was the choice for the deanship earlier this month.

"It is an exciting yet challenging time at UK, and announcements like these remind us that our brightest days are ahead," Blackwell said in an announcement to the college. "As we continue to work toward our ambitious goals, I'd like to thank you for the work you do every day. Please join me in congratulating Dean Davis and supporting her as she leads your college to the next level of excellence."

Davis has served on the faculty since 1991. She began a tenure as interim dean on July 1, 2019, as the college transitioned from its two-year temporary location into a $56 million rebuild on its original site. Prior to becoming interim dean, Davis served as chair of the college's building committee. In this role, she was instrumental, from design through construction, in the College of Law having a facility to provide a 21st century legal education through teaching, learning, research, practical skills training and co-curricular programming.

During her tenure as interim dean, the UK College of Law also became the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law in December 2019 following a generous gift from alumnus J. David Rosenberg and his wife, Dianne. The couple pledged $20 million to fund an endowment and non-endowed gift to support student scholarships, faculty recruitment and retention, and programs for the college.

Davis will succeed David A. Brennen, who was the first African American dean of the college, serving from 2009-2020.

In spring 2020, Davis led the college through unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning when the university quickly transitioned all classes online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she has been instrumental as the law school continues to adapt and thrive through the health crisis.

"When I received an offer to teach law at the University of Kentucky in 1991, I thought that I had won the lottery," Davis said. "I have been honored to serve this institution as a member of a faculty of first-rate scholars and educators and to teach the exceptional students who attend the UK Rosenberg College of Law. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve this institution as its dean. I was excited in 1991 for the future, and I remain excited for what the future holds for the UK Rosenberg College of Law."

Davis joined the law faculty at UK after spending six years in products liability litigation defense practice for the law firms of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe in Richmond, Virginia. Her practice experience involved management of nationwide litigation and she is a leading scholar in the nation in the field of products liability.

Davis is a 1985 magna cum laude graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law, where she served as managing editor of the law review, and a 1979 cum laude graduate of the University of Virginia.

Schools Work to Speed Up Internet in Rural Homes for Remote Learning - The Wall Street Journal

Posted: 15 Dec 2020 05:00 AM PST

Laura Gomez's two children were using her smartphone's hotspot to log in to remote school early this fall, but the video calls often dropped. The connection was so weak the children couldn't always see or hear their teachers.

Ms. Gomez, who lives in a small agricultural community in California's Central Valley, often had to drive 20 minutes east to her sister-in-law's home in Modesto so her children could connect to their first- and fifth-grade classes using their aunt's home broadband.

Then, in late September Ms. Gomez received a Motorola router and modem from the Patterson Joint Unified School District, and now her family has high-speed internet at home. "I'm so happy we have this for the children. The children are happy, too, because they can see everything more clearly now," she said.

School districts and cities across the country are racing to bridge a digital divide that has existed for decades. According to data collected before the pandemic, approximately 30% of U.S. K-12 public-school students lived in households without either an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning, according to Common Sense Media. That is 16 million children.

Laura Gomez, Yaneth's mother, has decided to stay home from work to help her children with remote school, while their father works in fields nearby.

At least 39 states have said they would use funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act to help school districts close the tech gap, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The fixes can be fairly simple. School-district and municipal IT departments are using technology that has been around for years, such as solar-powered antennas to transmit Wi-Fi, or wireless broadband, closer to more peoples' homes. With fresh funding comes more elaborate fixes, such as extending a school's network infrastructure right to students' doors.

The hardest part is determining exactly who needs access. School districts survey parents about their internet needs but don't always get a high response rate. Administrators can narrow down which students are likely to be in need based on the families that qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.

Some districts are pairing that data with geographic information system software—a technology used for decades to draw school boundaries and create bus routes—to map out neighborhoods with the highest concentration of families with bandwidth needs. That enables districts to place radio or broadband antennas strategically to have the broadest reach.

Yaneth and her brother, 11-year-old Gabriel Ignacio Gomez, at right, played soccer in the yard after finishing their online classes.

Districts also can look at internet service providers' coverage maps to determine who might have connectivity, but they aren't always accurate. "We'd enter a family's physical address on a website, and it would say service is available, but when we went out there, that wasn't the case," said Jeff Menge, assistant superintendent of business services at the Patterson school district.

Mr. Menge realized the extent of his district's tech divide over a year ago, when he began getting alerts from the district's security company. He checked school security cameras and saw that children were entering school grounds at night and on weekends with their laptops to access the Wi-Fi.

"It hit me how much families are struggling when I realized that children have to jump the fence at school to do their homework," he said.

The district already had enough laptops to loan to every student in the district, but officials knew many of them probably didn't have internet access. Mr. Menge said he doesn't know the exact percentage, but more than 70% of the district's families are low income and up to 40% live in rural areas where high-speed internet isn't available.

Sharing hotspots between families wasn't ideal because of spotty reception, data caps and frequent connection drops, especially when more than one student was connected at a time. "It wasn't acceptable," Mr. Menge said.

Gabriel helping his sister with homework exercises; the region around Patterson is largely agricultural, and many families struggle with connectivity at home.

The district decided on a more-permanent fix—a private network developed by Motorola Solutions. Families can connect directly to schools' internet as if they were in the building. The district has control over who accesses the network, and which websites users can access. The district provides families with a router and a modem that communicates with private wireless broadband run on the Citizens Broadband Radio Service. The Patterson school district has installed antennas—each with a radius of up to a mile—at six of its eight schools and plans to install two more. That should provide enough range to bring high-speed internet to all 6,000 of its students.

Funding from the Cares Act covered about 70% of the roughly $2 million project. The district started with families in the town of Grayson, where Ms. Gomez lives, because it is the most rural; the district plans to distribute another 2,000 modems and routers in January.

Philadelphia, with funding from Comcast Corp. , private donors and the Cares Act, in August began offering free hotspots or wired internet service to families in the city's public, private and charter schools. The effort is aimed not only at students in remote school, but also adults. As of July, roughly 18,000 households didn't have stable internet service, the city estimates.

Even though the program is free, it has been hard to persuade some families to sign up, said Mark Wheeler, Philadelphia's chief information officer. "There is a distrust of government and of free programs, because there always seems to be a gotcha. And there is a distrust of telecom companies," he said.

So far, nearly 9,500 families have enrolled in the program—the majority choosing the wired option, Mr. Wheeler said. The school district supplied 2,000 wireless hotspots to households last spring.

To identify families that still don't have access, the city plans to reach out to telecom carriers and internet service providers to cross reference lists of families who might not have internet access with customer lists of service providers.

As many as 40% of families in the Patterson, Calif., public school district live in areas where high-speed internet isn't available.

In Florida, Donna Goldstein, GIS/IT solutions manager at the Palm Beach County school district, used its GIS software to map out neighborhoods with the highest concentration of families likely to lack stable internet. She said the district has run into roadblocks from homeowner associations that don't want solar-powered Wi-Fi antennas installed in their subdivisions. The district had to get creative about finding places to install the antennas, placing them on school buildings, churches and an animal-control center. The local power company donated 1,000 wooden utility poles for the project.

The next step is to get Wi-Fi access points to families in the most rural parts of the county so they can connect to the internet. After that, the district plans to provide coverage to other parts of the county. Dr. Goldstein expects to have more than half of the 80,000 students who don't have internet connected by the end of March.


How have schools in your area worked to bridge the digital divide? Join the conversation below.

"One of the only good things that's come out of the pandemic has been the opportunity to close the digital divide because what we're doing today will be permanent," Dr. Goldstein said.

There is a long way to go before the digital divide is fully closed. Common Sense Media estimates that closing the gap would require a collaboration of government and private entities and that it would cost up to $5.5 billion in one-time installation and device costs, plus up to $5.6 billion in annual charges. But it has to start somewhere.

As many schools around the country start the year virtually, residents in rural communities like those in West Virginia are asking why they don't have reliable Internet service. The recent bankruptcy of Frontier Communications provides insight into how U.S. broadband policies have fallen short for many Americans. Photo Illustration: Carlos Waters/ Video: Jake Nicol/​WSJ

Write to Julie Jargon at

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Appeared in the December 16, 2020, print edition as 'Schools Speed Up Internet for Rural Students.'

With COVID-19 vaccine, Pollio says JCPS hopes to resume some in-person classes in February - Courier Journal

Posted: 15 Dec 2020 04:37 PM PST


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