The details of how Colorado colleges and universities would be financially rewarded for increasing graduation rates and achieving other key goals are being finalized by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.
The plan, under development for several months by Department of Higher Education staff and outside consultants, is set for a commission vote during a meeting Thursday in Colorado Springs.
The discussion takes place at the same time as the financial health of state colleges and universities may be coming under closer scrutiny at the Capitol.
In a presentation to the legislative Joint Budget Committee Tuesday, a staff analyst warned about increasing debt loads at state colleges, particularly at Adams State University in Alamosa and Western State Colorado University in Gunnison. The issue is expected to be a key topic when the committee holds a daylong hearing with CCHE and institution leaders on Dec. 12. (See details at the bottom of this article.)
A 2011 law created – but didn’t implement — a performance funding system for state colleges and universities. Like so many aspirational legislative proposals, lack of funds required the authors to delay implementation until direct state support for higher education returns to $706 million a year and no earlier than 2016-17. College funding was slashed during the recession and currently is below $660 million. Under the terms of the law 25 percent of funds above $650 million are to be allocated based on institutional performance, with the bulk still distributed by traditional enrollment-based formulas.
In the meantime, the law assigned the CCHE to come up with a new higher education master plan and to develop a proposal for how to divvy up any future performance funding.
The master plan, completed a year ago, has four main goals – increased production of degrees and credentials, improved student success, reduction of completion gaps between demographic groups and restoring the system’s financial health.
After that document was finished, DHE and individual colleges and systems negotiated performance contracts outlining how individual campuses would work toward those goals. Those contracts currently carry no financial rewards or punishments because the performance funding part of the law hasn’t kicked in.
But the allocation plan presented to the commission would build on those contracts and broadly work like this:
Institutions could receive reduced credit for goals that were partially achieved. An institution meeting a higher percentage of its goals would receive a higher percentage of the total performance funding pool compared to the other colleges and universities that met a lower percentage of their metrics.
The DHE staff proposal identified several challenges to the new system, including:
Under the plan, the first reporting of institutional performance will come in December 2014, and the system and the contracts will be reviewed in the fall of 2015.Other key business for CCHE Do your homework
Thursday’s agenda for the CCHE meeting at Colorado College includes two other key decision items, changes to the state’s college admissions policy and a new policy for remedial education.
The admissions policy would give institutions more flexibility in admissions standards, although those would have to be approved by the commission. Factors in those policies would have to include test scores such as SAT and ACT, student grade point averages and the rigor of high school classes taken by students.
The new policy eliminates the old admissions index, a numerical combination of test scores, GPA and class ranking that has been used to indicate to applicants which colleges might admit them. The policy is intended to better align college admissions policies with the state’s new high school graduation guidelines (get background in this EdNews story.)
The new policy would go into effect for students entering college in the fall of 2016, although institutions could use their old systems for two additional years if they choose to do so.
State colleges currently determine whether a student needs remedial work in English or math based on cut scores on college entrance exams. Such students have to take remedial classes before they can enroll in credit courses. The new policy would maintain existing cut scores but broaden the number of exams used and give colleges flexibility in allowing students to take credit courses while receiving supplemental tutoring or other instruction in areas where they need help.
The commission also is to get a briefing from DHE lobbyist Chad Marturano on what’s expected to be the hottest higher education issue of the 2014 legislative session – allowing community colleges to offer a limited number of four-year degrees in applied sciences fields. Read Marturano’s memo here, and get more background in this EdNews story.Sober warning for JBC
Members of the JBC got an eye opening warning this week when they received their annual pre-session briefing on proposed higher education spending in 2014-15.
Staff analyst Amanda Bickel’s briefing paper noted that as of budget year 2011-12, “six out of 10 of Colorado’s governing boards were in relatively weak financial health, based on Composite Financial Index scores commonly used to assess financial health in this sector. Two small institutions—Adams State University and Western State Colorado University—had scores below 0, indicating a need to ‘assess institutional viability to survive.’ Both institutions are highly leveraged.”Get the details
The document continued that analysis of Adams and Western from 2008-09 to 2012-13 “indicates that both institutions are highly leveraged and financially at risk.”
Bickel recommended that the legislature and the executive branch keep a close eye on the financial health of those colleges, the state system’s smallest, and that the committee should more carefully monitor colleges’ requests to issue bonds under a state guarantee called the Higher Education Revenue Bond Intercept program.
She also made the provocative suggestion that “the General Assembly should explore whether any of the state’s larger higher education systems are interested in merging with the smaller institutions highlighted in this issue, given the larger systems’ economies of scale and resources for implementing changes in a challenging financial environment.”
In the recent years of shrinking state financial support many state colleges have built or renovated new facilities with bonds that are to be repaid by revenues from such sources as student fees. There’s been something of an “arms race” among colleges to improve facilities in order to attract students.
Bickel’s analysis, which she repeated in comments during the meeting, naturally got the committee’s attention.
“I think this struck terror in a lot of hearts, but it’s a good thing,” said panel member Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen. “I’m not going to sit here and pick on Adams State and Western State. … The state hasn’t carried its load in supporting higher education.”
Bickel also had some other interesting suggestions for the committee, including that it ask for written commitments from colleges to limit 2014-15 tuition increases to no more than 6 percent, something they have promised Gov. John Hickenlooper. She also recommended that the legislature consider revisiting a law that allows colleges to raise tuition by 9 percent a year – or higher with CCHE approval.
And she suggested that the JBC consider putting into need-based scholarships the $5 million that Hickenlooper wants to earmark for merit awards, and that the legislature put pressure on colleges to devote more of their own money to need-based scholarships.
Some JBC analysts are know for the thought-provoking proposals they include in the December briefing papers, ideas that spark a lot of committee discussion but don’t necessarily make it into the state budget approved every April.
The committee has its normal pre-session hearing with college leaders next week and also may schedule additional meetings on the debt issue raised by Bickel.
The city’s After School Matters program will get a big shot in the arm with a $25 million donation from ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas, allowing the program to restore the stipends paid to students and helping to make up for a shortfall in fundraising in recent years.
“It’s wrong that teens who love this program are unable to come because of basic economics,” said Mellody Hobson, board chair for the George Lucas Family Foundation and wife of Lucas. Hobson and Lucas both attended the Wednesday press conference at Gallery 37 with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, where the gift was announced.
The $25 million, to be paid over the next five years, will help shore up a program that has suffered a significant decline in fundraising in recent years.
Founded by the late Maggie Daley 20 years ago, After School Matters offers apprenticeships to youth in a variety of fields, from sports to the arts to technology. Teens are given stipends to help cover costs or have extra pocket money, giving them extra incentive to participate as well as teaching them practical skills such as how to budget money.
The donation will be augmented by $12 million from the City of Chicago. After School Matters will not only restore stipends but also serve 4,400 more students.
In recent years, the number of teens who were able to participate in the program dropped when funding fell, forcing cuts in stipends of up to 75 percent. A student could have gone from making $400 a month to just $100, making it difficult to afford transportation and other costs associated with participating such as transportation.
“George and I are really excited to make this gift to the teens of Chicago,” said Hobson. “You all know that I’m in the investment business, and investing in young people is the best investment of all. There is no better use of money.”
A portion of the donation is also set to go towards a Challenge Grant to help create an endowment to replenish the stipend program in the future, so the gift won’t end up being just a “hit and run” investment, said Hobson.
This fall, After School Matters offered more than 6,000 program opportunities at approximately 150 locations, operating in Chicago Park District buildings, schools, and libraries across the city.
Mecca Johnson, a former After School Matters student and current senior at Loyola University, said the skills she gained in the program have been “put to work every day in college,” and that her adult mentor was particularly helpful with things such as cover letters and resume writing.
“For our children to live up to their full potential, we adults have to live up to our full responsibility,” Emanuel said. “During those crucial hours of 3 to 6 [in the afternoon], they have to have a safe space and adults that are there for them. Then, they have the ability, and I say this as a former dancer, to discover something about themselves.”
Out of School Time
The city launched a major effort to improve after school programming back in 2006, called the Out of School Time Project and funded by a three-year, $8 million grant from The Wallace Foundation.
The project narrowed its focus to solve a major problem: the lack of comprehensive data collection on after school programs. By 2009, the project had built Cityspan, an online database for submitting information, such as applications and enrollment, from after-school program providers.
“It’s a struggle to quantify what’s out there, what’s available to kids, what they still need and why,” says Kelley Talbot, director of youth development for ACT Now, (After School for Children and Teens Now), a coalition of advocates working to increase access for kids all over the state to high-quality afterschool programs. “Cityspan was an effort to answer those questions.”
But with a focus on data collection, the project left other areas unfinished. The After School Chicago website , meant to help parents and students find programs in their neighborhood that are suited to their interests, does little more than list nearby sites for programs, with a pop-up window that states “Call for additional information.” A citywide youth employment initiative, a multi-agency database that was supposed to link youth with employment opportunities, never got off the ground.
Still, top officials say the effort was worthwhile. The data collection allowed them to “escalate” their work in two key areas, said Mary Ellen Caron, CEO of After School Matters, in an emailed statement: Quality assessment and data-driven decision-making.
Students were surveyed on a variety of areas, including their experience in the program, support from and interaction with instructors, and skills they learned. Instructors were also surveyed on issues such as professional development and resource use.
The information was collected in Cityspan for assessment and used to “drive evaluation efforts,” according to Caron.
But data collection, while it can make for better decisions, can’t make up for a lack of consistent funding.
“Every year it gets harder and harder to secure the funds, and it’s been decreasing over the years,” says Lissette Moreno-Kuri, director of community learning centers at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
Patrick Brosnan, executive director of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, said that while private philanthropy has recognized and supported after school programming, public investment has lagged behind.
However, Chicago was recently chosen as one of 13 finalists in the US 2020 City Competition, a program that supports city efforts to build STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics--mentoring capacity at the local level. Up to 5 cities will share over $1 million to increase mentoring for girls, low-income children and students of color.
Overall, Talbot says one of the biggest misconceptions is that there are a lot of options out there for kids, when in reality the “demand outweighs the supply.”
“There is this increased recognition of the results that after school programs provide,” she says. “But that demand is not being fully met and we need to push for these resources. We need to make sure to answer these demands and get kids access to [programs].”
In an effort to burnish his education legacy before leaving office, Mayor Bloomberg took the unusual step Wednesday of announcing the city’s 2013 high-school graduation rate – which he said rose to a record high of 66 percent – a full six months before the state officially releases those figures.
The rate touted by the mayor reflects students who graduated this August after four years. As usual, the rate among students who graduated by June was lower, at 61.3 percent – though that rate still represents a 32 percent increase since 2005.
The latest August graduation rate is 1.3 percentage points higher than in 2012, when the rate declined for the first time under Bloomberg. The mayor said 2013’s preliminary graduation rate – which state officials said they verified – is the city’s highest since it adopted its current calculation method in 2005.
According to the city’s figures, black and Hispanic students’ graduation rates both climbed since last year, though each group still lags roughly 20 percentage points behind the rates of white and Asian students. Students with disabilities saw their graduation rate rise 7 points over last year’s, while the rate for English language learners slipped by nearly 2 points.
While acknowledging the lingering gaps between student groups, Bloomberg said that since he took office in 2001 fewer students across the board are dropping out of high school and more are graduating prepared for college, even as diploma standards have become more demanding.
He attributed these gains to his get-tough education policies, including closing low-performing schools and opening new small ones, which he said has made New York’s school system a national model.
“What is clear is that for the 12 years we’ve been doing this, the results are – by any national standards – outstanding,” Bloomberg said. “We really have become the poster child.”
With less than a month left before Bloomberg hands over his post to Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who has promised to reverse many of this administration’s signature school policies, Bloomberg has been vigorously defending those policies.
On Tuesday, he announced that many more students took Advanced Placement exams and the SAT than when he took office.
On Wednesday, when asked why he decided to reveal the city’s preliminary graduation rates half a year before the state releases the official figures next June, Bloomberg replied, “We’re not going to be here” at that time, adding that the public has a right to know now “what has been accomplished and what has not been accomplished.”
At a separate press conference Wednesday, de Blasio said he thought it was appropriate for the current mayor to announce the graduation results before leaving office.
“Clearly, the work done by the Bloomberg administration – the good, the bad, the in-between – that’s all on their account and that’s fair and that’s right,” he said.
In the last few years, both the city and state have made it more challenging to earn a diploma.
Students must now score a 65 out of 100 on all five Regents exams, since the so-called local diploma that allowed a score of 55 on some tests has been eliminated for most students. And students cannot hastily earn required course credits, since a process that allowed them to do so online has been restricted.
With those tougher standards in place last year, the city’s June graduation rate fell half a point, to 60.4. But this year, the rate is up nearly a point from last year, which city officials said Wednesday confirmed their prediction that students would adapt and rise to meet the higher standards.
Still, the graduation rate could soon take another hit when the Regents exams are overhauled in the coming years to assess the more demanding Common Core standards. When the grade 3-8 state tests were tied to those standards this year, scores plunged, with less than a third of students passing the English and math exams.
But Bloomberg said he did not expect the graduation rate to fall for that reason, citing states that had adopted tougher standards and eventually saw learning gains.
“When you raise the standards,” he said, “you have to teach harder, you have to work harder.”
Geoff Decker contributed reporting.
The Independent Budget Office released an unusually early set of cost-cutting ideas today, including a plan for co-located schools to share staff members and changes to where new teachers would be allowed to live.
The report, which the agency typically releases in the spring to influence budget debates, is a list of ways for the city to potentially cut costs or raise cash. Most of the report’s education ideas have been proposed before, including eliminating principal performance bonuses (to save $6 million) and eliminating parent coordinators altogether (to save $91 million).
New this year is the proposal for schools in the same building to share a single parent coordinator and a secretary, which the IBO estimates would save the Department of Education $50 million next year.
Another new proposal could inspire even more controversy: stricter residency requirements for new DOE employees. Currently, most city employees must live in the city for two years and then can move to six surrounding New York counties and are taxed an additional amount equivalent to city taxes. DOE employees have been exempt from both requirements, but changing that for new hires would bring in $3 million next year and increase over time as older teachers retire, according to the IBO.
IBO spokesman Doug Turetsky called the existing exemption a “glitch” in the system, and said the idea to change it came from within the agency. “It was just discrepancy that we were aware of, so we’re putting it out there,” he said.
But that could also hurt recruitment, as the report notes, and could “create an undeserved financial burden for affected personnel, many of whom are paid less than similarly skilled counterparts in the private sector or the more affluent suburbs.” It would also require changes in state law.
Today’s report also attaches updated price tags to a few of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s stated education priorities. A one-year moratorium on opening new schools—a possible result of de Blasio’s plan to pause school co-locations and closures—would save the city $13.5 million, according to the IBO.
De Blasio has also said he plans to charge charter schools rent to operate in public space, and the IBO estimates doing so would bring the city $92 million next year. That’s up from its $85 million estimate in May, due to the growing number of students in charter schools across the city.
De Blasio has said he would charge charter operators on a sliding scale, which would lead to different figures than the IBO’s estimates, which are based on charging charter schools rent based on a per-pupil fee of $2,320.
The budget watchdog’s estimates around charter rent has been disputed by analysts who say they fail to account for future costs tied to pension and healthcare benefits for city teachers.
“If you do the math that includes what goes on with the city’s credit card, then [charter schools] are clearly cheaper because they’re not accumulating pension and healthcare,” said Jonathan Trichter, who co-authored a paper that determined co-located charters cost $3,000 less per student.
Though the city has been releasing data this week to help bookend Mayor Bloomberg’s 12-year tenure, Turetsky said the early report was unrelated to the mayoral transition, and that the reports will come out in the fall for the foreseeable future.
“Rationally speaking, for most New Yorkers who think about the budget, this is really getting starting now,” Turetsky said, noting that the mayor is the one official the IBO does not serve.
The full report is embedded below. Here is a list of all of the schools-related suggestions, with new items starred:
Lawmakers working on teacher licensing legislation finally got some formal – but mixed — advice from a panel that’s been studying the issue since early August.
Members of the group, formally known as the LEAD Compact, wrapped up their work this week during two days of meetings in Keystone, with many of the concerns and differences that surfaced at the start last summer still on the table as the snow fell outside the conference room.
The key question that’s divided compact members has been whether teacher ratings given under the new educator evaluation system should be used as factors in license renewal.
The group voted Tuesday on a summary of its discussions (it can’t really be called a “proposal”). The document includes limited us of teacher evaluations, specifically if a teacher chose to move from a professional to a master license. Seeking a master license would be optional, so a teacher could remain at professional status for an entire career.
Members (about two dozen of the 35 members attended the final meeting) signaled their views about sections of the document by raising colored paddles – green for agreement, yellow for basic agreement with questions or suggestions and red for unable to support.
On some of the more sensitive sections a third or more of paddles showed yellow or red.
The green-yellow-red exercise marked the end of a debate that’s been prolonged and that has stalled at times as members of the group struggled to reconcile opposing views about a variety of issues related to teacher preparation, support, professional development and licensing.
It wasn’t intended that the group come up with a concrete proposal for possible legislation. Rather, the panel was designed to be a forum for discussion on licensing after Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, pulled the plug on a licensing bill he’d thought about introducing during the 2013 legislative session.
That draft, which included a link between license renewal and evaluation results, had sparked considerable anxiety in segments of the education community.Do your homework
In political terms, it was hoped the compact would reach shared views on at least some teacher preparation and licensing issues, potentially reducing the level of conflict and lobbying over a licensing bill during the 2014 legislative session. Whether that happens remains to be seen.
The group’s members included a wide variety of people representing mainline education interest groups, reform-oriented organizations, teacher prep programs and higher education, plus teachers, principals, other administrators and legislators. The panel was created by Johnston and Gov. John Hickenlooper, funded by the Donnell-Kay and Rose Community foundations and staffed by facilitators from the Keystone Center.
While some members made it clear they still have concerns, Johnston was upbeat about the process, calling it “a really great testimony to what happens when you bring good people together.” He added that he has “a real sense of accomplishment” about the compact’s work. “We’re in a much different place than we could have imagined” and have much more agreement than might have been expected at the start, he said.
In areas where the group didn’t substantially agree, “That leaves us to solve the problems,” Johnston said, referring to himself and Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, his likely cosponsor on licensing legislative next year.
“We were trying to listen to what we heard from you all over the last several months,” Hamner said.
Use of evaluation in licensing – even in a limited form – is likely to remain a sticking point.
“The message is pretty clear from the field – no connection with Senate Bill 191 whatsoever,” observed compact member Michael Clough, superintendent of the Sheridan schools. (SB 10-191 is the law that created the new annual evaluation standards being rolled out statewide this year.)
Groups like the Colorado Education Association, Colorado Association of School Boards and Colorado Association of School Executives are among those concerned about such a linkage because their members feel the new evaluation system is untested and wasn’t designed to be used for licensing decisions.
“There are plenty of parts of this [document] that I don’t like either,” Johnston said. “We’re at the stage now where it gets passed to Millie and me.”Details on three proposed licenses
The suggested new system outlined in the compact’s document would include three types of licenses – initial, professional and master. Here are the details:
Initial – A prospective teacher could earn this license by completing a university teacher preparation program, a teacher residency program or an approved alternative prep program. The proposal also would create a fourth pathway, called “alternative 2,” under which a candidate for a “hard to staff” or rural teaching job could get a license with a bachelor’s degree, a background check and passage of a test or other demonstration of content knowledge. Such a license would be good for three years. Some compact members are uncomfortable with the alternative 2 idea.
Professional – A teacher with an initial license could advance to professional by successfully completing three years of professional development as directed by the teacher’s evaluations or by a passing score on the new edTPA test. (See this EdWeek article for more details on that test.)
Master – This new license would be optional. A teacher could earn it by having three years of “highly effective” ratings under the SB 10-191 system or by having three years of “effective ratings” and passing the edTPA test or becoming a nationally board certified teacher. Becoming a master teacher would make a person eligible for various career opportunities such as becoming a mentor teacher.
In no case would evaluations be used for license revocation.
The current state system includes emergency, initial and professional licenses, with different qualifications.
The group also was polled on several less-detailed proposals related to teacher preparation programs, professional development, data gathering and other issues.
Tuesday’s final compact session produced a brief surprise, supplied by former Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak of Westminster, a compact member who recently resigned her seat to avoid a recall.
Hudak wondered why the group wasn’t discussing the issue of charter school teachers, who don’t necessarily have to be licensed.
“Either you believe licensure is important for quality or you don’t,” she said.
“This is obviously a new issue,” said facilitator Janesse Brewer, looking a bit taken aback.
“I always appreciate the senator raising questions like that,” Hamner said calmly. “I’m not sure if I want to reopen charter school law.”
That ended that discussion.
South High School student Chaunsae Dyson writes about how developing grit helped him transition to a new school with more challenging academic standards.
Have you ever gotten into a tough situation and you weren’t sure how to get out? Have you ever been excited to start something new but once you started it you found it difficult to finish? Has it ever been mandatory for you to sit through something but you didn’t have the patience to sit through it?
To get through situations like these you need to have a lot of what is called “grit.”
The term “grit” is formally defined as “a passion to achieve a long term goal along with a powerful motivation to achieve the goal.” Grit takes working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest in the face of failure, adversity, and setbacks. Research has demonstrated that grit may be a better predictor of future success than IQ or raw talent.
This has been proven true again and again in my life! For my junior year, I started going to Denver South High School, a school known for its challenging academics and wide-ranging diversity. This school, in all reality, was a completely different world than my previous school. The standards, grading scale, and not to mention the all-around school attendance, were higher.
At the beginning, I found that a lot of my grades were failing and not where I wanted them to be. My classes were rigorous and challenging and it was very hard to keep up; but I used my grit and persisted. Another challenge I faced with my classes was maintaining my attention. I took more tutoring sessions than I’ve ever had to go through in my life. I even had to ask other students for help as well. Getting up every morning and leaving on a bus at 5:22 a.m. was another incentive for me to do well. If I was going to travel so far to go to school, I was going to make it worthwhile.
During my first semester at South I was going through a great deal of family drama, but with college in mind, I continued to focus on my future. To add to that, I also had to focus on school while moving several times. Grit was essential to me as a student and to make it through my junior year. Slowly by slowly I am getting used to the rigor of all my classes.
Getting a lot of work done is teaching me the skill of time management. My attendance in school has remarkably improved and my grades are a lot better than when I first started the semester. I want to go to college! Not only that, but I also want the skills it takes to stay in college. Showing grit through my school work and keeping my head on my future is what is going to help me accomplish my dreams.About the author
My name is Chaunsae and I am a student at Denver South High School, but before I went to South I went to another school where I got involved with a program called Project VOYCE. This program empowers students to speak up and use the power of their voice to change education. It is through this program that I first began to learn the value of the word grit and what it means to have it.
The Aurora Public Schools’ Board of Education is considering several options — including a new school — to curb overcrowding in its schools.
Administrators called the recommendations it presented Tuesday night an “urgent need.”
Two-thirds of Aurora’s elementary and middle schools are at least at 90 percent capacity, including mobile classrooms. The district is projecting its enrollment will climb by 2 percent annually for the next four years.
“Even if we hired more teachers, we wouldn’t have anywhere to put them,” said Vista Peak Exploratory School Principal Melanie Moreno at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Vista Peak Exploratory, which serves pre-school through eight grade, has converted common areas and staff workrooms into classrooms, Moreno said. The campus also utilizes a set of mobile classrooms.
The board, including three new members who were sworn in earlier in the evening, heard a report from a slate of district officials detailing the work done throughout the year, including two public forums and various districtwide surveys, that led them to their recommendations.
The district is recommending that it build a new school, which could seat nearly 1,000 students between pre-school and eighth grade, near Sixth Avenue and Airport Boulevard; realign school boundaries; purchase additional mobile classrooms and reallocate existing facilities; use about $2.2 million of existing bond money to use throughout 2016 as need occurs; and design a larger Mrachek Middle School with money that had been previously earmarked for renovations.
The suggested school would need to be, at least initially, financed through the public sector. The district is recommending using Certificate of Participation, or COP, dollars.
A COP is a lease-finance mechanism that some school districts and other government agencies have used in the past for new construction. Individuals, but most likely banks and hedge funds, purchase the certificates and collect interest on the note until the district has paid down the loan.
Aurora used COP dollars to finance the renovation of Aurora Central High School in 1988. The district does not have the option to ask voters for a bond increase until at least 2016 because its already at its legal bond limit, officials said.
However, the district already has its eyes on another bond question as soon as possible and hopes to ask voters to approve enough money to close out the COP deal. The district believes initial interest-only payments would be a little more than $1 million. Annual payments could triple, however, if the district were unable to secure a bond and was forced to pay down the principal out of its general fund.
District stakeholders who testified Tuesday night were generally in favor of the district’s recommendation.
John Dale, a retired APS employee and chair of the district’s 2008 bond committee, said the recommendations were “very creative, very good. We strongly support it.”
But there were some broader concerns raised during public comment.
Tollgate Elementary School Principal Laurie Godwin asked the board to develop a longterm districtwide solution to overcrowding. Her school is currently at 106 percent capacity and is expected to see similar enrollment numbers for the next five years, she said.
In Godwin’s opinion, the recommendations made Tuesday night only helps the eastern part of the district along E-470. The district, using housing permits, is forecasting exponential growth along the corridor.
“There’s no relief for us,” she said.
Superintendent Rico Munn told the board he hopes the realignment of boundaries after the new school is built will address Tollgate’s concerns.
Karen Porter, chair-elect of the District Accountablity Community, echoed Godwin.
“What you’re experiencing today, you’re going to experience in three years,” she said.
Poter also warned the board to not bet on another bond to pay off the school construction.
The board is expected to make a formal recommendation at its Dec. 17 meeting. If the board moves forward with the option to build a new school, it should be opened by the 2015 school year.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the correct location for the new school proposed at Tuesday’s Aurora Public Schools’ board meeting. It has also been updated with the correct spelling on Mrachek Middle School’s name.
Good afternoon, future Chalkbeat New York readers! (It’s got a nice ring to it, right?)
As promised, we want to continue to update you about our journey to becoming Chalkbeat. (In case you missed it, we told you why we’re changing our name to Chalkbeat, re-introduced you to our bureau chief Philissa Cramer, and also took you behind the scenes with our old and new reporters.)
Today, I want to tell you about my job. As some of you may have noticed, I was hired as a reporter at GothamSchools in April and then became Chalkbeat’s first director of engagement a couple months ago. “Engagement” is a big buzz word in journalism and other worlds these days. Our own working definition is that engagement is “the body of work that maximizes our readers’ opportunities to access, learn from, interact with, and act on our journalism.” In simpler terms, it means I want to get more people to read, share, and talk about our stories.
Reporters can write dozens of stories a day that expose problems or spur debate, but if no one sees those stories, does the reporting even matter? Bet you can guess my answer. I’ll be making sure our reporting makes it to the people who need it most. (You can read more about my engagement strategy and my background in this Q&A published by ReportHers.)
While I’ll be overseeing our engagement efforts at all four of our bureaus, I’ll be based in New York and will work closely with New York community editor Emma Sokoloff-Rubin and Colorado community editor Tiffany Montano. You’ll hear from both of them next week.
Here’s what my job means for Chalkbeat New York readers:
1. A stronger sense of community: We want Chalkbeat New York to be a place where educators, policymakers and families can come to voice their concerns, talk to one another and ultimately, act in a way that leads to better schools for everyone. One way I want to achieve that is by improving the quality of our comments section, which, according to our readers, could use some extra attention. To that end, I’m working with our bureau chiefs to try to create a more welcoming venue for productive conversation.
2. Having an advocate in the newsroom: My goal is to bring a user and reader perspective to our newsroom as often as possible. I want to make sure our stories are easy to understand and that readers feel like their voices are being heard. I also want to help our reporters understand our community of readers so that we can do a better job delivering the information you need. Ultimately, we are here to serve you.
3. More opportunities to contribute to our reporting and interact with reporters. Some of our best stories come from our tips e-mail address, and we often read valuable insights in our comments section and on Twitter. After all, journalism is a two-way street. To tell the story of New York City schools, we need the people who make up those schools to help us tell it. To that end, I’ll be advising each bureau on how best to build relationships with readers, and I’ll also be devising ways for readers to contribute to our stories. We took a first step in that direction with our School Snapshot project, in which we asked you all to submit photos of something that makes your school special or unique and tell us about it.
We’re extending the deadline until the end of this month and if you haven’t submitted one yet, you can check out the photos from each of our bureaus below for some inspiration! And if you have any questions about my job or suggestions about what my job should be, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me at @anikaanand00.EDIBLE TESTS IN COLORADO BIKE RICKSHAWS IN INDIANA STUFFED ANIMAL VOLLEYBALL IN NEW YORK STUDENT TELEVISION IN TENNESSEE
Good morning, future Chalkbeat Colorado readers! (It’s got a nice ring to it, right?)
As promised, we want to continue to update you about our journey to becoming Chalkbeat. (In case you missed it, we told you why we’re changing our name to Chalkbeat, re-introduced you to our bureau chief Maura Walz and also took you behind the scenes with our old and new reporters.)
Today, I want to tell you briefly about my job as “director of engagement.” I was hired as a reporter at GothamSchools in New York in April and then became Chalkbeat’s first “director of engagement” a couple months ago. We define engagement as “the body of work that maximizes our readers’ opportunities to access, learn from, interact with, and act on our journalism.” In simpler terms, it means I want to get more people to read, share and talk about our stories.
Reporters can write dozens of stories a day that expose problems or spur debate, but if no one sees those stories, does the reporting even matter? Bet you can guess my answer. I’ll be making sure our reporting makes it to the people who need it most. (You can read more about my engagement strategy and my background in this Q&A published by ReportHers).
While I’ll be overseeing our engagement efforts at all four of our bureaus, I’ll be based in New York and will work closely with Colorado community editor Tiffany Montano and New York community editor Emma Sokoloff-Rubin – you’ll hear from both of them next week.
Here’s what my job means for Chalkbeat Colorado readers:
1. A stronger sense of community. We want Chalkbeat Colorado to be a place where educators, policymakers and families can come to voice their concerns, talk to one another and ultimately, act in a way that leads to better schools for everyone. One way I want to achieve that is by improving our comments section. So I’ve worked with our bureau chiefs to write a new comments policy that will be shared with you and enforced regularly once our new site launches. We hope that our renewed focus on our comments section will create a more welcoming venue for reader comments that lead to productive conversation.
2. Having an advocate in the newsroom. My goal is to bring a user and reader perspective to our newsroom as often as possible. I want to make sure our stories are easy to understand and that readers feel like their voices are being heard. My job is to remind our reporters and editors every day that ultimately, we are here to serve you.
3. More opportunities to contribute to our reporting and interact with reporters. Some of our best stories come from our tips e-mail address and we often read valuable insights in our comments section and on Twitter. I’ll be advising each bureau on how best to build relationships with readers and I’ll also be devising ways for readers to contribute to the content on our website.
One example is our School Snapshot project, in which we asked you all to submit photos of something that makes your school special or unique and tell us about it. We’re extending the deadline until the end of this month and if you haven’t submitted one yet, you can check out the photos from each of our bureaus below for some inspiration! And if you have any questions about my job or suggestions about what my job should be, e-mail me at email@example.com or Tweet me at @anikaanand00.
Each weekday morning, we search websites of various media, comb through RSS feeds and peruse Google alerts to bring you a roundup of the day’s top education headlines, in Colorado and across the country, by 8 a.m. If you’d like to suggest a story we’ve missed or a source we should add to the list, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northwestern Academy, in partnership with the city of Chicago, is the latest program designed to encourage qualified Chicago high school graduates to attend selective colleges and universities, particularly students who may not realize they have the academic qualifications for a top school. The University of Chicago, in Hyde Park, also has increased its CPS-specific programs in recent years. (Tribune)
The Northwestern Academy will target up to 200 CPS freshmen from low-income households who don't attend one of the city's selective enrollment high schools. The goal is to better prepare them for Northwestern or another top college or university by providing year-round tutoring, college counseling, test preparation, family workshops and other services during high school. The vast majority of the Northwestern students from CPS graduated from one of the city's selective schools, university officials said.
SHOOTING ALONG SAFE PASSAGE: A teenage boy was hurt in a shooting along a Chicago Public Schools Safe Passage Route in the Woodlawn neighborhood Monday afternoon. The boy, 16, was shot in the arm about 2:30 p.m. in the 6200 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue, police said. That block is a Safe Passage Route leading to nearby John Fiske Elementary School, according to the CPS website. Fiske is a receiving school for students from Sexton Elementary School, which was closed earlier this year. (NBC Chicago)
DAY OF ACTION: On December 9, parents, students and educators in cities and towns across the country will mobilize in public action as part of the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education: Our Schools, Our Solutions. In Chicago, parents, teachers and youth will hold a press conference at City Hall and a march to the headquarters of corporate agents such as Loop Capital to demand equitable funding and public voice in education. At the press conference, the groups will deliver holiday cards to City Hall and sing custom Christmas carols that will target the racist destabilization of schools in communities of color, and address school closures, corporate profiteers, charter expansion and other key issues in the district. You can see here which groups are planning in other cities across the country.
IN THE NATION
EDUCATION IN INDIAN COUNTRY: To explore why Native American children trail every other racial and ethnic group of students, Education Week sent a reporter, photographer, and videographer to American Indian reservations in South Dakota and California. The resulting package of stories and multimedia details the challenges and opportunities facing this population of students.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s ever-expanding transition team just got a little bigger.
De Blasio today introduced the six-person group in charge of figuring out how to make a reality out of his campaign’s boldest pledge, to provide full-day pre-kindergarten to nearly 70,000 four-year-olds. De Blasio first announced he would convene the group last week in a speech to build support for his plan.
Much attention up to now has been focused on how de Blasio wants to fund the expansion, an income tax hike that first needs approval from the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And while that part of the plan remains in doubt, a series of logistical hurdles also await de Blasio even after he secures funding from Albany.
De Blasio’s “all-star” working group will be tasked with advising him on those challenges. They include finding and renovating space to make room for 50,000 students who aren’t currently in full-day programs, hiring new teachers to teach those students, and setting standards to ensure New York City’s pre-K programs deliver a high-quality education.
“To achieve that pre-K initiative, we need some of the best minds in the city to start work right now on developing the practical approaches of making sure that we’re ready to go as soon as legislation is approved in Albany,” de Blasio said at a press conference inside of a crowded Head Start classroom in East Harlem.
It was one of the few public appearances that de Blasio has made since being elected a month ago and lacked details about more significant decisions, such as who he’ll pick for chancellor and when that choice will be made. De Blasio has created several groups to help him make those decisions and prepare for his new job, including a core transition team, a 60-person transition committee, and another big group that is planning his inauguration.
Responding to critics who say he is backing away from comments he made during the campaign about publicly screening his chancellor candidates, de Blasio said that it was an “open process” that was already underway.
“That was clearly a reference to an unfortunate chapter in our city’s history related to Cathie Black and I am totally sure that we will never have a situation like that again on my watch,” de Blasio said. “We are talking to a number of individuals with extraordinary careers in education and we are accepting nominations through our…large transition committee and through our web site.”
The early education group is made up of five women and one man who have decades of combined experience working in early education and social welfare services: De Blasio’s transition co-chair, Jennifer Jones-Austin, a former official for the Administration for Children’s Services; Josh Wollack, a former City Council staffer for de Blasio and director of Children’s Aid Society’s early education programs; Sherry Cleary, who runs an early education professional development program at CUNY, Elba Montalvo, founder and CEO of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families and a foster care advocate; and Gail Nayowith, executive director for SCO Family of Services.
De Blasio said that the group would be responsible for coming up with answers to many lingering questions about how his administration will implement the full-day pre-k expansion, though he offered some of his own hints.
He said he’d be able to find teachers who have been unable to get jobs in Department of Education schools because of hiring freezes. He also suggested that one option to find space could be in city-owned school buildings, which the Bloomberg administration has used primarily to open new K-12 schools.
Chicago teachers weren’t included in the state's new pension reform bill, but there is still a chance state legislators will impose similar benefits cuts on them in the coming weeks or months, says Chicago Teachers Pension Fund executive director Kevin Huber.
That’s because historically, the law governing the state Teachers Retirement System and the law governing the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund have been very similar. For example, a 2010 pension overhaul affected both pension systems in the same way.
However, such changes would require lawmakers to tackle the pension crisis anew right after a difficult and controversial vote, which public employee unions fought tooth and nail.
“The mayor is looking at keeping some kind of equitable relationship between the benefits for the teachers in the suburbs and the benefits for the teachers in the city,” Huber says. “If he has his choice, we would have been included in the bill.”
For now, the changes slated to affect teachers outside Chicago include:
* Cost-of-living adjustments would be based on a portion of teachers’ pensions equal to $1,000 per year of service, rather than the whole pension. For example, a currently retired teacher who worked for 28 years and is earning a $43,000 pension would see the annual cost of living adjustment reduced to 3 percent of $28,000, rather than 3 percent of $43,000.
* For teachers who have not yet retired, the retirement age would go up and between one and five cost-of-living adjustments would go away. Teachers who are under age 43 will see the greatest cuts to their adjustments, and those under age 46 would see their retirement age increase between four months and five years.
* The salary used to calculate pensions would be capped at $110,000, which would primarily affect principals, assistant principals, and teachers with advanced degrees.
* New hires would not be able to count vacation pay or sick pay toward their pension.
In exchange for the benefits cuts, lawmakers plan to reduce employees’ required contributions from 9 percent to 8 percent of their income, and strengthen requirements for future funding so that pensions don’t run out of money again.
Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, says the pension deal “takes an important step in the right direction to begin stabilizing the state’s pension crisis” but is “only one step in a 30-year journey the state has to take.”
Msall points out that the law is expected to face a court challenge, and will have to be found constitutional in order to take effect. Also, the state faces billions of dollars in unpaid bills, as well as the coming expiration of an income tax increase.
Without either more revenue or a separate bill to tackle Chicago pensions, Chicago Public Schools will face a billion-dollar deficit next year. However, it’s not clear how much money a Chicago pension reform bill similar to what the state passed today would save the district.
“Chicago Public Schools are in severe financial condition. They have been downgraded and continue to be downgraded by the ratings agencies because they have no comprehensive plan for dealing with their pension problem,” Msall says.
He says the Civic Federation has called on CPS to create a plan for stabilizing the district’s finances.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s press office did not respond to an inquiry about his lobbying efforts related to the pension bill.
A state education policy maker whose name has arisen as a possible contender for chancellor said today that while she thinks Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio should move quickly to change some Bloomberg-era school policies, others are worth keeping.
Kathleen Cashin, a former Department of Education official who now sits on the state Board of Regents, said the new mayor should preserve city schools’ “network” structure of school support while moving quickly to help schools that have many high-need students. She also said the state should be open to changing its approach to teacher evaluation and the Common Core — two initiatives where she has been a dissenting voice in Albany.
In an interview today, Cashin said changing course shouldn’t be seen as a repeal of the reforms and the purpose behind them.
“It’s not a sign of weakness,” she said. “I think it’s a sign of intelligence to revisit some initiatives.”
The comments, made at a small breakfast gathering for principals at the City College of New York’s School of Education this morning, come as New York City prepares for the education policies of the last 12 years to be revised after de Blasio takes over City Hall next month. De Blasio was critical of many of the Bloomberg administration’s school policies on the campaign trail.
Cashin, who supervised schools in de Blasio’s area of Brooklyn, is seen as a possible candidate to head the school system under him. Last month, the Daily News even published an op-ed from one of Cashin’s supporters arguing about why she’d be a good fit for the job.
Cashin declined to comment on the rumors today. But she said that an immediate priority should be establishing a special district for schools with the neediest students, similar to the Chancellor’s District in operation under former schools chief Rudy Crew before Bloomberg took over the schools.
“You can’t wait a year to get something rocking and rolling for the kids that are far behind,” Cashin said.
Cashin had additional advice for the mayor-elect, saying that if de Blasio is successful in securing funding to expand pre-kindergarten access, the department would need to shift quickly toward training people to work in those programs.
“If we do get the pre-K money, I think having a lot of [professional development] so our pre-K’s are second to none,” Cashin said.
But Cashin was not entirely critical of the Bloomberg administration’s school policies. She endorsed the city’s current network structure of school support, saying that it unites principals in a way that had never before been possible under old models, including where she was a regional superintendent. She said a letter in support of the networks, signed by over 100 principals last month, showed that the structure works, “as long as we have a clear chain of command.”
“You know why networks are so important right now? Because they have community and people have been living alone or on their own,” Cashin said.
“It means so much to them to be together,” she added. “I think that’s why they’re objecting to going back to the districts.”
Asking about their experience with their own networks, principals in the audience agreed with Cashin, though they said improvements could be made.
“They step into that gap between policy making and policy fulfillment,” Tammy Pate, principal of Renaissance School of the Arts, who is a part of a network run by the private nonprofit CEI-PEA. Pate said she wants to be able to stay in her network but wants the city to create a better accountability system.
“We’re not sure who’s responsible for what or who has the power to make what decisions,” Pate said.
One area where she said she would appreciate the help of an empowered superintendent, rather than a network leader, is with enrollment. Over 40 percent of her students have disabilities, a rate so high that a former high school superintendent at the event, Joyce Coppin, said she would have never tolerated it had she been in charge.
“A superintendent who had the authority and power to say I have to inspect equity in the district is something that would be the most amazing occurrence,” Pate said.
In her talk to the principals, Cashin emphasized the need for equity and social and emotional support for high need students. Too much of a teacher’s evaluation, 40 percent, is based on student learning when she said so much of that outcome is based on a student’s personal life. She said she thought closer to ten percent should be attributed to a teacher.
She also said the state should change how it’s implementing the Common Core, learning standards that the state adopted last year. She has been asking the state to create an independent committee of teachers to review and amend the state’s Common Core-aligned curriculum materials.
More than twice as many students took Advanced Placement exams, and more than 15,000 more high school seniors took the SAT this year than took the exams in 2002, Mayor Bloomberg announced today.
New College Board data show that the average SAT score of New York City students increased eight points over last year. But Bloomberg took the long view as he presented the data for the final time, emphasizing the growth over his time in office over the year-to-year numbers that typically get the spotlight.
The city did post small, across-the-board gains over last year in every SAT subject, with the biggest gains among Hispanic students, who saw a six-point average gain in writing and a five-point average gain in reading.
The city’s scores are still far below the national average, and big gaps remain among students. While the average total score for white students was a 1541 out of 2400, the average score for Hispanic students was 1235, and the average score for black students was 1225.
But the data also show the number of high school seniors taking the SAT has increased 53 percent from 12 years ago, and the number of students taking AP exams increased to more than 35,000, from about 17,000 12 years ago.
The city’s average SAT score remains behind the state average of 1463. The city’s average SAT reading and math scores are also lower than they were in 2002, which officials have attributed to the increases in participation, which typically come from more students taking the exam who would not have previously thought of themselves as college-bound.
The city released the data as the mayor pushes to define his legacy during his final weeks in office. Bloomberg attributed the gains to the city’s support of new, small high schools, and announced the numbers at Bedford Academy High School, which has 360 students and opened in 2003.
Principal Adofo Muhammad said 180 of his students were taking AP courses. ”We kind of push the envelope, extremely,” he said.
Bedford clearly takes testing seriously. During Bloomberg’s press conference, Bedford students chuckled at their principal’s mention of “9 to 9s,” all-day test prep sessions that the school holds on Saturdays, seven times a year.
At those sessions, students prepare for Regents exams, AP exams, and the SAT, or spend the whole 12 hours working on a subject they’re having trouble with, according to junior Julius Blake.
“It’s long but it’s very good. It helps a lot,” he said.
In explaining the 12-year increases, Chancellor Dennis Walcott also pointed to the city’s focus on “college and career readiness,” including the new metrics on school progress reports that track how many students take college-prep classes and whether they persist in college after graduation.
The city is continuing to put AP classes into more schools though its Advanced Placement Expansion Initiative, announced this fall in cooperation with the College Board, which runs the AP programs. The initiative will add science, math, and technology AP classes to 55 high schools.
That’s part of a nationwide effort to enroll more black, Hispanic, and low-income students in AP classes. Some research has shown the classes improves student outcomes even if students don’t pass the end-of-year exams, though other experts have disputed those findings.
Funding for Colorado’s public schools should be safe — for now.
But the state — which is counterintuitively benefiting from the “Great Recession” — still has the Herculean longterm task of closing an estimated $3 billion gap between a 2030 projected budget and the revenue it is expected to collect, according to a fiscal study released today by the Colorado Futures Center.
The study, released this morning, is a follow-up to a 2010 legislative commissioned report that originally found recovery from the recession wouldn’t help Colorado’s budget woes.
While that general longterm prediction remains the same, the update shows a sluggish economy has actually postponed what the report calls an inevitable billion dollar gap between revenue and spending.
Low inflation coupled with fewer than expected students enrolling in Colorado schools — both byproducts of the recession — has allowed the state to exercise more control over how much it spends on public education, the single largest item in its budget.
Colorado is also benefitting from recession measures exercised by the Federal Reserve including unprecedented levels of monetary stimulus and a commitment to keeping interest rates low, the study found.
The state, and by extension education funding, should continue to benefit from the ripples of recession until about 2017, said the center’s lead economist, Phyllis Resnick.
But that’s when everything is expected to change.
By 2017, Resnick said, enough Coloradans will have aged into Medicare and be on fixed incomes, and the state will have collected enough revenue from a hospital tax to trigger refunds to residents because of the constitutional Tax Payer Bill of Rights. The center predicts that will set off a fiscal flood that will rise exponentially to create a sinkhole of $1.52 billion by 2024 and nearly $3 billion by 2030.
Moreover, the forecast calls for the state, after 2017, to begin spending five percent of the general fund on three items: transportation, capital construction and the state’s reserves, because of a law passed in 2009.
Resnick and the center’s director, Charlie Brown, believe the refunds will be the single greatest cause of the gap.
If the state could find a way to de-TABOR the hospital tax, which has been covering the cost of an expanded Medicaid program since 2009, and extend sales taxes to services like haircuts and dog grooming, they believe the fiscal forecast will vastly improve.
Other longterm solutions recommended at the press conference included increasing the amount of local tax dollars that finance K-12 programs, restructure Colorado’s property tax laws and finding more federal dollars to match state spending.
Cutting funds to programs is also an option, and will most likely be necessary anyway, the authors conceded.
But, “at some point in time, you cut so deeply, so far across the board, you make programs ineffective,” Brown said in an earlier interview with EdNews.
Brown went so far as to say if the state legislature were to cut its way through the decades to balance the budget — which is constitutionally mandated — it might as well shut programs down outright.
If the legislature chooses to go that route, he hopes the phasing out of programs will be done strategically.
Education funding is constitutionally protected in Colorado. However, the legislature has created itself some maneuvering room by creating what is known as the “negative factor.”
Since 2009, the state had re-interpreted what factors, such as the size of a school district and number of “at-risk” students enrolled there, to determine how much schools and districts receive. According to one estimate, per pupil funding is nearly $1,000 below where it should be based on 2000′s Amendment 23.
Resnick and Brown believe the state can cut up to 20 percent of the state’s share of school funding without violating the Constitution. But that amount will be a drop in the bucket by 2030.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, threw the first pitch on negotiations for the 2013-2014 budget with the state’s General Assembly Nov. 1. His budget calls for a $258.4 million increase for K-12 education. If the legislature agrees, the state wide average for per pupil funding would rise to $6,875. The average funding per pupil at the time of the 2008 recession was $6,874.
The forecast produced by the center does not account for any possible future recessions and assumes the economy essentially maintains the status quo.
Here’s a roundup of principal contracts announced in November: Nathan Manaen, Ravenswood, formerly an instructional support leader in the Pilsen-Little Village Network; James McNealey, Nicholson, former principal at Delano; Kelly Mest, Northside College Prep, previously an assistant principal at Lindblom High, Nicole Monroe, Tanner, previously principal at Sexton; and Rituparna Raichoudhuri, Wells High School, formerly an interim principal at Wells High.
Edgar Ramirez has been named executive director of Chicago Commons, a neighborhood-focused non-profit dedicated to improving the well-being of children, adults, seniors and families. Ramirez was an associate executive director at Chicago Commons. Before that, he was a community organizer in the Little Village neighborhood and an advocacy and leadership director at Erie Neighborhood House.
Jeanne Walker, a visual arts teacher at Orr Academy, is this year’s winner of the OPPY Award for Education, given out by the Oppenheimer Family Foundation. Walker encouraged her classes to build relationships with community partners such as Mikva Challenge, American Friends Service Committee and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. She also studied micro-credit and social business in Bangladesh and introduced new curricula to encourage students to use creative problem-solving to collaborate and support each other.