(Reuters) – The top U.S. environmental regulator on Thursday said her agency would soon comment on the proposed $7 billion Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, adding she was concerned about emissions and potential leaks that could result from the project.
“We have comments we are just about completing on the current environmental impact statement,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said at a Howard University event with youth environment leaders.
Jackson listed concerns about the pipeline including additional greenhouse gas emissions from producing the oil sands; the possibility of leaks on the line; and harmful emissions from refineries in communities along the Gulf Coast that could result from the project.
“This isn’t a little tiny pipeline, this is a pipeline that cuts our country literally in half,” she added. The $7 billion project would take 700,000 barrels per day or more from Canada through six states to refineries in Texas. Read more…
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet The Environmental Protection Agency has begun to feel our breath on their necks and they are lashing out.
An article by Lisa P. Jackson entitled “Too Dirty too Fail — House Republicans’ assault on our environmental laws must be stopped.” appeared in the L. A. Times October 21st, 2011. In the article, the author says the following: “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws. They have picked up the pace recently — just last week they voted to stop the EPA’s efforts to limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants from cement plants, boilers and incinerators — and it appears their campaign will continue for the foreseeable future.” (Ms. Jackson is the administrator of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.)
To this I say: “Hallelujah!” If America is fortunate enough to actually have a Congress and White House controlled by Republicans, after next year’s election, one of its priorities should be the abolishment of the EPA.
The EPA is the “Vatican” of the pagan religion “Environmentalism.” In this century, and the last, so many have turned from the worship of a supreme being, we call God, to what we used to call “paganism”… the worship of nature, or the environment, or… more specifically… Environmentalism.
Yes, Environmentalism HAS become a religion. Well, actually, it always was, it has just come back into favor in the past 100 years, or so. Read more…
WASHINGTON — Congress is feuding over how quickly the federal government should move in trying to reduce deadly air pollution that comes from industrial boilers and incinerators.
The issue has aroused much controversy in Washington state and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest, where the forest products industry is big business, fueled by the use of its byproducts to power biomass boilers, which run on plant material and animal waste.
Fears persist among many — Republicans and Democrats alike — that the federal government will go too far in hurting the region’s economy by imposing new regulations that could result in mass layoffs.
The GOP-led House of Representatives voted nearly two weeks ago to force the Environmental Protection Agency to wait another 15 months before imposing new regulations on all types of boilers. The House plan would give companies five years to install equipment to capture more pollution, including mercury and lead. Read more…
By Kevin Holtsberry of Red State
One of the failings of our public school systems is the lack of basic economic literacy of so many of our students. I am afraid this has infected our political discourse and policy making to a degree that is frightening and deeply disheartening. One prime example of this, are attempts to ignore basic things like supply and demand when making public policy. In my humble opinion, Democrats are guilty of this more than Republicans but a depressing amount of Republicans follow this path as well.
A good example is a hot topic these days: student debt. This is a subject I have some inside knowledge about having acquired far too much student debt in order to achieve an advanced degree from a fancy Ivy League school (fine, a MA from a MAC school, but that is beside the point).
This is also a classic example of politicians blindly declaring something a universal good and then making policy that not only ignores economic reality but undermines the economy and harms people (see, housing policy). We blithely declare that everyone should go to college and set up a system that allows anyone breathing to borrow large sums of money with no consequences or connection to reality and wonder why the system doesn’t function. Soon we have millions of people with massive debt and very little to show for it.
The sad thing is that these people are now protesting in the streets and asking for what? More hair of the dog that bit them – more government intrusion and less economic reality. And it appears President Obama is happy to oblige them. Read more…
By Jamie Klatell
“We will have an energy independence strategy because America has the resources to become energy independent. We have enough oil, coal, natural gas, shale oil,” Cain said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom dinner in Des Moines. “We have the resources to become energy independent, and my team is already working on putting that strategy together.”
He said that the U.S. needs to produce its own energy and stop relying on sources “in countries that don’t like us very much.” Read more…
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – As his re-election campaign heats up, President Obama finds himself in an awkward position trying to defend his environmental policies against Republicans and disillusioned environmentalists who backed his campaign in 2008.
He’s under withering attack from GOP presidential contenders and lawmakers who say the Obama administration is handcuffing job growth with stifling regulations. Meanwhile, some environmental activists have expressed frustration that the White House has blocked or delayed several clean air and water regulations in recent weeks.
Some environmentalists — who were inspired by his calls in 2008 to reduce oil dependence and increase green energy investment — are disappointed that the State Department ruled in August that a plan to build a controversial Keystone XL pipeline — which would transport tar-sands oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois, Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico— would not cause significant environmental damage.
Obama will be greeted by hundreds of protesters calling on him to scrap the Keystone XL project when he travels to San Francisco on Tuesday, said Elijah Zarlin, a campaign organizer for the liberal group CREDO Action. On Sunday, more than 400 young activists organized by the Energy Action Coalition protested in front of the Obama campaign office in Cleveland. And a coalition of activists are planning a major demonstration in front of the White House on Nov. 6 to protest the pipeline. Hundreds were arrested at an August sit-in at the White House against the project.
“What’s disappointing is that this is a guy who seemed like he had the ability to explain complicated issues to people,” said Zarlin, who worked on the new-media staff of Obama’s 2008 campaign and was arrested at the recent White House sit-in. “The key is that people who supported Obama in 2008 still want to believe that he can lead and he will lead and will do the right thing.”
The criticism from the right is perhaps rougher. At last week’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry argued vociferously about their bona fides on health care and immigration policy, but they were in lock step as they criticized the Obama administration for handcuffing the oil industry with regulations. Read more…
The Tuition Policy Advisory Committee begins its first of many regular meetings today, as it will deliberate from now through November on a tuition rate to recommend to President William Powers Jr. Powers will make his recommendation to the Board of Regents, who will then set the final tuition rate for the next two years.
According to its Oct. 12 forum, TPAC is operating under two cost-conscious directives from the UT System, which include tying any requests for an increase in tuition to four-year graduation rates and capping all tuition increases to the change in the consumer price index.
The CPI is a statistic calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is a relatively basic calculation of changes in the cost of living in an area. It measures the changes in the prices of commonly purchased items and services, including coffee, cereal, gas, toys and haircuts, to determine how much more or less people have to pay to live somewhere.
Based on Texas’ CPI, the UT System determined all tuition increases will be capped at 2.6 percent.
Yet, the CPI for the United States is about 1 percent higher, a fact mentioned only as a side note at TPAC’s forum but one that has much larger consequences for the oft-side-noted one-fifth of our student population: out-of-state and international students.
The average undergraduate tuition cost for Texas residents at UT is $9,416 per year, which is the fifth lowest among the University’s peer institutions. But the average undergraduate tuition cost for non-residents, who, according to the Office of Information and Analysis, make up about 9 percent of the undergraduate population, is $31,266 per year, which is the fourth highest out-of-state rate among the same peer institutions. Read more…
By Liz Farmer
The UT System announced a partnership Tuesday with the interactive website MyEdu to increase online advising efforts across UT institutions.
The partnership is part of UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa’s Framework for Excellence Action Plan, which focuses on trimming costs by increasing university efficiency. The goal for implementing MyEdu is to increase graduation rates by helping students better understand how to navigate through their degree plans with online advising. UT-Austin, UT-Arlington and UT-Permian Basin will be the first to receive the MyEdu platform, although officials did not announce an exact date when the decision was made. The MyEdu platform will expand to all other UT System institutions in 2012.
The MyEdu platform will include a “graduation road map enabling students to visualize their time line to graduation” in an effort to minimize “planning mistakes that leave students extending time in college to complete required courses,” according to a press release. Read more…
WASHINGTON — For several years now, science advocates and economists have been locked in a debate over whether the United States is producing too few scientists and engineers to sustain the country’s historical technological edge and satisfy the demands of employers. With a new report today, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce hopes to bridge the divide — by arguing, essentially, that the country needs more people with scientific competencies than it does actual scientists per se.
The debate over the viability of the scientific work force has broken down into two camps.
In one corner have been the authors of a series of highly publicized studies (most notably 2005′s “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”) argued (often in dramatic terms) that the country needed to significantly expand the number of native-born students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, arguing that American businesses and universities lacked sufficiently qualified workers to meet their needs. Those reports were at least partially responsible for federal legislation that has sought to double federal spending on the physical sciences and significantly improve science education.
“It is long overdue for the Supreme Court to end these outrageous abuses by an out-of-control EPA and its unconstitutional violation of property rights through its so-called pre-enforcement actions…” That statement comes from a recent press release from the Mountain States Legal Foundation. This assertion is made along with the accusation that “what the EPA does is constitutionally intolerable.”
These comments are the result of EPA using its Clean Water Act power and abusing it to take a small home site from a couple in Idaho.
The story you are about to read not only defies common sense, but it makes one wonder what has happened to the EPA that has done good work for the country in the past.
This story is one of arrogance and legal abuse!
The U.S. Supreme Court has said it will hear arguments involving the Sackett family, Priest Lake, ID. The Sacketts owned a small building lot (less than 1 acre) where they intended to build a family home. The lot was within an existing subdivision and was zoned for residential use. The lot was separated from a nearby lake by a road; other lots in the subdivision had homes constructed on them.
The Sacketts, before buying the property, did what they considered due diligence, which included inspecting the property, researching permitting history of the subdivision and also researched regulatory requirements, according to the brief they have filed in the Supreme Court. The couple obtained all of the required local permits and initiated normal construction activities for their new dream home.
Shortly after initiating construction, the Sacketts received a compliance order from the EPA which threatened the family with a penalty of $37,500 per day if they continued work on their home site, because EPA had determined the building lot was a wetland.
There is no indication in the record that EPA had made a formal wetlands determination, and even if EPA had made such a claim, the Sacketts would not have a right to a judicial review of that determination. Even if the Sacketts had conducted a wetlands evaluation, EPA would not be obligated to accept it because EPA may impose sanctions by an EPA compliance order if it has “any information” that a property contains a wetland.
It is almost impossible for an average citizen to know about EPA’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers‘ 1987 Guidance Manual which purports to tell experts how to determine what is a wetland on your property.
The Sacketts, as any family would be, were devastated by reading EPA’s compliance order because the Order indicated that fill material had been placed into wetlands, which is a violation of putting pollutants into waters of the United States. EPA’s order stopped the Sacketts from building their home. The Sacketts were ordered to “immediately undertake activities to restore the site.” This meant the Sacketts had to remove the fill material placed on their home site, and return all of the wetland soil which had allegedly been removed. Next, they were ordered to move the fill material to a location approved by EPA. The agency also ordered them to grant full access to their site and to any off-site areas, and EPA told the Sacketts that EPA officials must be allowed to move freely on the Sacketts site any time EPA deemed necessary.
The EPA compliance order also forced the Sacketts to plant on the site the types of wetlands plant previously on the site, and to plant trees approximately 10 feet apart, fence the site for three growing seasons, monitor the site and if the plants do not grow, restore the plants. EPA further ordered the Sacketts to show the compliance order to anyone who might be interested in the property 30 days before sale.
EPA takes the position the Sacketts cannot have a court review the compliance order. Two courts agreed with EPA that the compliance order did not violate the Sacketts’ due process rights, nor did the order deprive the Sacketts of reasonable use and enjoyment of their property; nor did the EPA order violate the Sacketts’ constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.
By this time, you must wonder what country we are living in.
The Supreme Court apparently sees this case as one where the Sacketts may have been subject to a serious deprivation of their constitutional rights, because it has decided to hear that case. That’s the good news.
EPA has taken the position that the Clean Water Act provides no opportunity for review of EPA’s compliance orders by a court. EPA believes it has a right to impose severe sanctions on this family and take its home site without a hearing.
EPA seeks to gain more and more power over citizens’ and farmers’ lands and their use. This case stands for the stark reality that the Courts still stand between an overbearing government agency and property rights. Follow this case in the U.S. Supreme Court because the outcome will have a direct impact on you and your land.
My Colorado colleague, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, recently asked the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator, Mathy Stanislaus, whether the agency’s economic analysis had considered the effect of proposed regulations on jobs. “Not directly,” Stanislaus answered.
Unfortunately, this is not the only example — nor is the EPA the only government agency — to have failed to adequately consider the effect of their proposals on small businesses and jobs.
President Barack Obama has been doing a lot of talking about how vital small businesses are to job creation and the economy.
Yet more than 43 major regulations were proposed last year, and an additional 219 are in the pipeline — each estimated to cost more than $100 million.
In addition, the administration this year proposed seven new regulations that would likely each cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion annually, if implemented. Four were put forward by the EPA. Read more…
STEVE SZKOTAK Associated Press
McDonnell, speaking at the 2nd Annual Governor’s Conference on Energy, said the U.S. should follow Virginia‘s lead and embrace an “all-of-the-above” philosophy of energy development to achieve energy independence and reboot the economy.
“To make this nation energy secure and more independent, we have got to have a comprehensive red, white and blue American energy policy that relies on all of the God-given natural resources that we’ve got in this country for us to continue to be the great and the free nation that we are,” the Republican governor said.
McDonnell, who has made energy a key element of his administration, took aim at federal policies on the subject one day before he is scheduled to share a stage with President Barack Obama in Hampton. The visit is part of the president’s jobs barnstorming in North Carolina and Virginia. Read more…
By Marita Noon
“When paperwork gets in the way of benefits, that’s a problem.” So said John Bemis, Secretary-designate of New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, appointed by Governor Susana Martinez. What is significant about Bemis’ comment, made during a presentation in front of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s Annual meeting on October 3, is that it represents a total change in attitude from the previous administration and is indicative of the difference one person—at the top—can make.
Governor Richardson’s approach was very much like President Obama’s. He added regulations and appointed people to positions of leadership who made doing business in the state difficult—especially in regard to natural resource management. As a result, businesses moved to other states and revenues suffered. Read more…
One can understand the impulse of some bureaucrats and legislators to shield themselves from oversight. But it’s surprising to find a citizen — a businessman, no less! — cheerleading for such recklessness… Until you realize he presided over “one of the largest financial institution failures in U.S. history.”
Kenneth Jastrow, the disgraced former CEO of Temple-Inland and board member of Guaranty Bank, is accused with others in a billion-dollar lawsuit by the failed banks’ creditors and the FDIC of causing “the failure of [the bank] by fraudulently looting… the Bank of assets exceeding $1 billion.”
Yep, Mr. Jastrow clearly knows a thing or two about governance.
The apologists for higher education bloat were apparently interested in how they can loot their institutions and taxpayers. They found their man.
So, of course, the Texas Legislature’s special committee on higher ed listened raptly to Mr. Jastrow’s every word at a hearing on Monday. Mr. Jastrow was invited to testify on the virtues of mismanagement… though that’s not what he (or they) called it.
The accused bank looter, whose actions allegedly forced a massive taxpayer bail-out, essentially told lawmakers that bureaucrats in Texas’ universities need less oversight from the boards of regents.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Jastrow is one of the key leaders in a pro-bloat organization called the “Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education” which sprung up this year to oppose reform and transparency efforts. Read more…
Oct. 29 is the federal deadline for U.S. colleges to put “net price calculators” on their websites. These tools are supposed to estimate the actual cost of tuition and room and board for a specific student, based on family finances and the school’s aid budget. But the most widely adopted calculator is inaccurate — to the tune of thousands of dollars, experts say.
Previously, students had to apply to a college and then wait for an aid award letter in the spring to find out if they could afford to attend. Those from lower-income families were often too discouraged by some colleges’ “sticker prices” to apply at all. Thus the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 mandated the web-based estimators, which will appear on about 6,800 college sites. They’re designed to give a ballpark estimate of real college costs in 15 minutes or less.
By one estimate, about a third of colleges have invested in robust, customized tools. (Elite schools have offered them for years.) Many others have posted a free calculator developed by the Department of Education. Critics say that one uses distorted definitions, minimal questions and old data — resulting in estimates that are thousands of dollars too high or too low.
A study conducted by Student Aid Services, one of a dozen firms that builds custom calculators, ran 145,000 real student profiles through the federal tool. The results were wrong 54% of the time. For example, for one student from a family of five, with two other children in college and parent income of $80,500, the net price estimate came in $5,500 too high. Read more…
By CANDICE CHOI and EILEEN AJ CONNELLY
While a few hundred have been camping out in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, many more join in for a few hours or a day to add their voices. Here’s a look at some of the protesters who ventured by in the past week, and the financial issues they’re dealing with:
John Smith, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y., works part time at Trader Joe’s because he hasn’t been able to find work in his field for over a year, despite having a master’s degree. He has about $45,000 in student loan debt. His girlfriend, Meropi Peponides, 27, a graduate student at Columbia University, will have about $50,000 by the time she graduates.
“I don’t know in the end what exactly this will achieve, if anything. But if it makes people wake up just a little bit, it’s worth it,” Peponides said. “The potential is huge. That’s why I’m here. I felt the potential somehow.”
Smith said he has sent out about 200 resumes in his search. He’s looking mainly for work with non-profit organizations. “The jobs that I’ve been applying for are all entry level jobs in my career field. I don’t think I’m shooting for the stars trying to get those jobs.” Smith said, noting that five years ago, before grad school, he was able to get work at that level.
He was carrying a sign that said, “I am the 99 percent,” a slogan that resonated with him. “It’s true. I am one of the many people that are having a lot of trouble finding ways to make it through things right now.”
Tracy Blevins, 41-year-old Manhattan resident, has a doctorate in biomedical science but lost her job as an adjunct professor at Touro College this spring. She’s since been getting by on odd jobs; most recently, she acted as a cross-country driver for $2,000.
“I’m earning money off a license I got when I was 16, and still paying off the loans I had to take out to get my degree,” she said.
Even after nine years of paying down her loans, Blevins said she owes $10,000. She’s current on payments now, but said the loans have crippled her credit score and even prevented her from getting work in the past.
“I have paid and paid and paid and I still owe $10,000. It’s the interest that keeps me in debt,” she said. Read more…
On sale today, costs of tuition plans have risen dramatically
Kim Purdy is thankful she already bought Florida Prepaid College Plans for her three young children.
The Cape Coral mother isn’t sure she could afford it now.
The cost of prepaying for college will spike by as much as $4,000 when the Florida Prepaid College Plans go on sale today. The price tag for the four-year university plan is $49,293 for a newborn, or $298 a month. That’s an 8.6 percent jump from last year’s price of $45,367.
“That’s ridiculous; that’s crazy,” said Purdy, who is making monthly payments of $150 for a $31,410 four-year university plan she bought for her youngest son, 4-year-old Nicki, in 2007. “If you do the plan now and you have two kids, you’re looking at paying $600 a month for 18 years. That’s a lot.” Read more…
Interview with Rich Trzupek, author of “Regulators Gone Wild”
Rael Jean Isaac
This book could not have been published at a more propitious time. As the economy falters, it seems that every critic of this administration cites the role of regulation in strangling American business and industry–thereby preventing them from hiring new workers. Rich Trzupek, a chemist and environmental consultant for twenty five years, provides much needed chapter and verse, focusing on the devastation wrought by what has become the most abusive agency in the government alphabet soup–the EPA. Read more…
But UTSA ‘focused on serving the students that we have.’
University of Texas System campuses are poised to greatly expand online courses — and possibly enrollment — by contracting with private companies that specialize in ramping up distance degree programs, UT officials said Thursday.
“One size does not fit all. This board cannot be prescriptive; (universities) have to make a decision on their own,” Powell said. “Some schools will embrace it much faster than others.”
Officials named Academic Partnerships of Dallas, Instructional Connections of Lewisville and Pearson of Boston as the vendors, but said no contracts have been finalized.
UT-Arlington blazed the online trail a few years ago by signing on with Academic Partnerships to offer degrees in nursing and education. The partnership, along with other distance education ventures, helped the school increase enrollment from 25,000 to 33,000 in two years. Read more…
Perry’s announcement at a U.S. Steel plant in a suburb near Pittsburgh came as the Texas governor seeks to shore up his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination after a series of shaky debate performances and distractions knocked him out of the front-runner position.
Perry said if elected in November 2012 he would sign a series of executive orders in the first 100 days of his administration to roll back federal regulations and open up more areas for oil and gas exploration.
“We are standing atop the next American economic boom — energy,” Perry said. “The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.” Read more…
“This president would rather listen to an environmental activist than he would the pleas and the cries of the people without a job,” Perry said at the Indiana Republican Party’s Presidential Forum in Indianapolis.
“The question is whether the president’s going to listen to his advisers on jobs or competiveness or is he going to listen to the activists that are pushing an agenda that pits environment against the economy,” Perry added. “That’s what the question is. I’m going to be in Pittsburgh Friday and I’m going to announce my own energy jobs plan, and I can promise you this: I’m going to take the side of workers and employers in America. That’s who I’m going to be standing with.” Read more…
State Attorney General Luther Strange said today that Alabama has joined 24 other states and Guam in filing a brief in U.S. District Court in Washington to require the Environmental Protection Agency to delay air emissions regulations, claiming the new rule could damage Alabama jobs and electricity rates.
The EPA’s proposed Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule would create a new federal regulation to address emissions of hazardous air pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants.
The proposed rule may require installation of new expensive control technologies to meet the new limits mandated by the EPA.
Power plants that are unable to meet these new EPA limits may be forced to shut down, Strange contends.
The brief filed in the case American Nurses Association, et al. v. Lisa P, Jackson, and Administrator of The United States Environmental Protection Agency requests the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia postpone the implementation of the Utility MACT rule to Nov. 16, 2012.
The extension would allow the EPA more time to respond to states’ concerns, fix serious technical flaws and undergo a more careful review of the economic ramifications of the regulation.
The 25 states filing the amicus brief include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, in addition to the Territory of Guam.
We calculated the list of America’s Most Expensive Colleges with the help of the Center for College Affordability & Productivity, a Washington non-profit that researches the causes of rising educational costs. The center, relying on data from the government’s National Center for Education Statistics, includes not only tuition and room and board, but the cost of books and other costs such as transportation and mandatory computer. Read more…
By Samira Winter
I belong to a generation distracted by gadgets and with short attention spans. But when I stepped into Dewey Square this past weekend, I saw this same generation coming together to start a conversation.
Through Occupy Boston, students are voicing their personal struggles about debt, few job opportunities and the rising cost of higher education. I find it terrifying to be in college, spending my parents’ savings, and wondering if I’ll get a job after I graduate. Now I know I am not alone. Read more…
The lawsuit was filed against the EPA to free up coal mining permits delayed by the organization’s two-year-old “Enhanced Coordination Process.”The ruling will allowed Section 404 permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be normally processed again.Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin applauded the federal judge’s ruling in the lawsuit.”This is indeed a great day for West Virginia and West Virginia’smining industry,” Tomblin said. “As we stated over a year ago, the EPA and the Obama Administration have been exceeding the authority granted to them by Congress to regulate water quality in the Appalachian Basin.”Tomblin said they believe in the rule of law and the judge has confirmed their assertions against the EPA.
“The DEP is pleased the judge agreed with our determination that the EPA had overstepped its boundaries,” said DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman. “This puts the Corps of Engineers back into the area of regulatory stability. Now we can focus on the process outlined in the law and rules rather than on these unlawfully promulgated processes.” Read more…
Today, our public colleges and universities are facing some of the toughest challenges they have ever encountered. The choices they make about how they deliver quality education to the millions of students who depend on them will determine whether our country will continue to be a global economic leader, or whether other countries will surpass us in postsecondary achievement.
Rising costs and reduced government funding in the wake of an economic recession have resulted in financial burdens that our state universities have never known before, and it is clear that funding is unlikely to return to pre-recession levels. These financial realities are compounded by tech-savvy students demanding a high-quality education when, where and how they want it. Today’s students live lives that are divorced from the static, brick-and-mortar reality of institutions built for 19thcentury economic circumstances, leading Ralph Wolff, president of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, to conclude, “Our business model is broken.”
Addressing these issues in their entirety will take time, but today — right now — colleges and universities must embrace new digital and online delivery tools to make educational content available to degree-seeking students wherever they are, whenever they need it. Doing so will allow colleges and universities to raise revenue, increase access and contribute to America’s long-term competitiveness.
The 2010 U.S. Department of Education’s “Review of Online Learning Studies” found that students who took all or part of a course online perform better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction. Similarly, a study conducted in the same year by the internationally known scholars Mickey Shachar and Yoram Neumann that analyzed 20 years of research on the topic showed that in 70 percent of the cases, students who took distance-learning courses outperformed their counterparts who took courses in a traditional environment.
Evidence like this cannot be ignored. Read more…
An effort to identify students in Elgin Area School District U-46 who are eligible to take Advanced Placement courses has resulted in an increase in the number of students taking AP exams, district officials said.
Advanced Placement classes are designed to mimic the intensity, workload and lessons of college-level classes in a variety of subjects. In many cases, students who score high on AP exams can place out of required college classes.
“We are trying to increase access for students, and teachers are doing a better job of promoting Advanced Placement courses,” Walker said. “It is a comprehensive approach to increase access and diversity.” Read more…
The nation‘s educators must work to improve college completion rates for Latino students if the United States is to remain economically competitive in the world, according to a report released Friday by the College Board. While Latinos make up the fastest growing group of students in the nation, they are behind the national average for college completion by more than half. At present, 19.2 percent of Latinos who enter college complete college, while the national average hovers around 40 percent, according to the report. Read more…
By Brendan Sasso
Boosting college graduation rates for racial minority groups would help to reduce disparities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, according to a study released Monday by the Commerce Department.
This gap mirrors the disparity in education levels between the groups. The researchers concluded that encouraging more minority students to go to college would lead to more minorities in STEM fields. Read more…
Dr. Karen Stout, president of the Montgomery County Community College, offers financial advice for parents ready to save for college.
It’s never too early for value-minded and future thinking parents to:
With the rising cost of tuition and general rate of inflation, community colleges – like Montgomery County Community College – are an excellent choice for students to get a quality college education that leads to transfer and/or a career at an affordable cost.
Annual tuition and fees for a full-time student at Montgomery County Community College averages just over $3,000.
The College has more than two-dozen formal transfer agreements with area colleges and universities such as Temple, West Chester, Kutztown, Bucknell, Dickinson, and Bryn Mawr for students choosing the bachelor’s degree pathway. Many of these transfer agreements include financial support toward the baccalaureate degree. Read more…