Thursday, September 15, 2016

....Well, if it saves money then we sure should teach prisoners.

Article from the Village Voice about efforts to increase and improve the education of prison inmates.  These seem largely due to efforts of enlightened and caring individuals.  (Voice)
The program is one of several created in the 22 years since Congress banned inmates from receiving federal Pell Grants, causing a precipitous drop in the number of prison college programs, from about 350 before the 1994 ban to just 12 by 2005. (The controversy was nodded at on the most recent season of Orange Is the New Black, where the warden's idea to rehabilitate the women under his watch by establishing an education program at his privately run prison is shot down by his corporate bosses.) But while prison education advocates have long mourned the loss of college programs behind bars, legislators have been slower to come around. Last year, the federal Department of Education stepped in to begin expanding prison college programs, after federal policy had for two decades dismissed college courses for inmates as a waste of public funds.

Last year, following President Obama's announcement of sentencing reforms and of his intention to grant early release to 6,000 nonviolent drug offenders (as of June, he has released 348), the federal Department of Education announced the launch of a pilot program that will once again allow some inmates to receive Pell Grants, despite the 1994 law. In June, the DOE announced that 67 partnering universities would enroll about 12,000 incarcerated students in over 100 correctional facilities across the country beginning this fall. Seven of the schools, including John Jay, Hostos, and LaGuardia Community College, are in New York.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

College Textbook Prices Continue to Rise

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released updated data on the price of education in the US and if you think it costs more and more for an education then you are not alone.  The data covers all levels of education and the cost of ancillary materials such as textbooks.  In fact, according to the data, textbooks have led the growth in costs since 2006 which is the first year of this analysis. 
"From January 2006 to July 2016, the Consumer Price Index for college tuition and fees increased 63 percent, compared with an increase of 21 percent for all items. Over that period, consumer prices for college textbooks increased 88 percent and housing at school (excluding board) increased 51 percent."
Looking back even further to 1977, data from BLS suggests that textbook prices have risen over 1000%.

For interest, The College Board published a report on Trends in College Pricing that looks at "prices prices charged by colleges and universities in 2015-16, how prices have changed over time, and how they vary within and across type of institutions, states, and regions".  That report can be found via this link.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Don't give up on Print.

A recent telephone survey undertaken by Pew Research confirmed book reading is still a strong pastime despite the wide variety of distractions and other content options. The study confirmed that 73% of Americans read at least one book during the year with the mean number of books read at a healthy four titles per year. With respect to eBook consumption, the research confirmed other reports (including Pew research) that indicates more readers are replacing dedicated eReader devices for multi-purpose devices such as iPads and smart phones.

Here is a link to the report summary on the Pew Research site.