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Alumna Blasts Diversity in Student Newspaper Letter; Community Colleges Attract New Crowd


Alumna Longs For Days of ‘Cashmere Coats and Pearls.’An alumna of the private, all-female Smith University in Massachusetts has created a controversy at the school with a letter she wrote to the school’s newspaper. In the piece, alumna Anne Spurzem claims that the school has strayed from its roots due to its inclusion of lesbians, international students, and minorities. “I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over,” Spurzem said in her letter to the editor. “This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships.” Professors and other alums are speaking out against Spurzem’s letter. Officials have also scheduled a campus town hall to promote discussion on the nature of the letter and the university’s practices. [Huffington Post]

More Adults Gaining Bachelor’s Degrees.The percentage of Americans with bachelor degrees has reached an all-time high. According to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week, 30 percent of adults over 24 in the United States now have bachelor’s degrees. This represents a 5 percent increase since the last figures in 1998. The ratio of bachelor’s degrees varied by race: 34 percent of white Americans, 20 percent of African-Americans, and 14 percent of Hispanics hold such degrees. Women showed the greatest increase in bachelor degree attainment, reporting a 37 percent increase since 1998. That’s compared to a 23 percent increase among men. A full report from the U.S. Census Bureau can be found here[Inside Higher Ed]

Community Colleges Attracting Younger, Richer Students.An influx of young, wealthy students on community college campuses has brought challenges as officials adjust to a population that looks more like the four-year college crowd. As tuition costs at four-year institutions have increased, many students are now attending community colleges, a number of officials report. Many of these students are successfully using community colleges as relatively inexpensive stepping stones to transfer to more selective four-year universities. While this increase in full-time students benefits community colleges, it has also presented a new challenge as schools must adapt their campuses to fit the desires of a younger population, including new campus workout facilities, counseling, and athletic teams. [Inside Higher Ed]

Education Department to Hold Teachers’ Teachers Accountable.In an attempt to create more accountability among teacher education programs, the Department of Education is proposing tighter restrictions on the standards used to examine programs for various factors, including accreditation and federal grants. These restrictions would be part of a larger attempt to ensure that states are holding teacher programs to a high standard and producing teachers prepared to teach effectively in the 21st century classroom. The proposed changes, to be reviewed by a panel this week, require states to follow set guidelines when examining teacher programs, forcing them to take into consideration things such as the job placement and job retention rates and the test scores of students taught by those who graduated from the programs. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

Kellan Schmidt is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.

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