The National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens Today in Washington, D.C!


Dear Commons Community,

The long-waited opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture will take place today in Washington, D. C.  Henry Louis Gates Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center at Harvard, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, reflecting on its importance. 

“With the ringing of a bell and a speech from President Obama, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is to officially open its extraordinary collection to the public on Saturday. But the museum can claim another, equally important achievement: helping resolve the protracted debate about the contributions of black people to American history and, indeed, about whether they had a history worth preserving at all. Those questions were at the heart of the nation’s original debate about whether, and how, black lives matter.

For years, the issue was whether black people were fit to be more than slaves. “Never yet could I find that a black had uttered a thought above the level of plain narration; never see even an elementary trait of painting or sculpture,” Thomas Jefferson wrote. “I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.”

The connection between humanity and history was central to this debate, and in the estimation of some Enlightenment thinkers, blacks were without history and thus lacked humanity. The German philosopher Hegel argued that human beings are “human” in part because they have memory. History is written or collective memory. Written history is reliable, repeatable memory, and confers value. Without such texts, civilization cannot exist. “At this point we leave Africa,” he pontificated, “not to mention it again. For it is no historical part of the world; it has no movement or development to exhibit.”

Black people, of course, would fight back against these aspersions by writing histories about the African-American experience. In the 1880s, George Washington Williams, whom the historian John Hope Franklin called “the first serious historian of his race,” published the “History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880”; he confessed that part of his motivation was “to call the attention to the absurd charge that the Negro does not belong to the human family.”

About a decade later, W.E.B. Du Bois became the first black person to earn a Ph.D. (in history) at Harvard, followed by Carter G. Woodson, a founder of Negro History Week, who wanted to make history by writing it. “If a race has no history,” he wrote, “it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Arthur A. Schomburg, the famous bibliophile, posited a solution: “The American Negro must remake his past in order to make his future.” History “must restore what slavery took away.”

This mandate to rewrite the status of the race by writing the history of its achievements was too broad to be contained only in books. Public history mattered, too. In 1915, Woodson and several of his friends established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, in part to popularize the study of black history. That same year, black leaders called for a memorial to honor black veterans. And a year later — exactly a century ago — Representative Leonidas C. Dyer, a Missouri Republican, introduced legislation to create a monument in their honor. After decades of resistance, that effort took a giant leap forward in 2003, when Congress passed bipartisan legislation to build the museum that was signed by President George W. Bush.

Some $540 million later, the first black president will open the museum’s doors, admirably directed by another historian, Lonnie G. Bunch III. When he does, the long battle to prove Jefferson, Hegel and so many others wrong will have been won. We can only imagine the triumph that the pioneers of black history would feel had they lived to see this occasion.

More than a museum, the building on the National Mall is a refutation of two and a half centuries of the misuse of history to reinforce a social order in which black people were enslaved, then systematically repressed and denied their rights when freed. It also repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums.”

Gates closes quoting James Baldwin:

“History,” James Baldwin wrote, “is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”



Colin Powell’s Hacked Emails Tie Him to the For-Profit Higher Education Industry!

Dear Commons Community,

The Republic Report has an article written by David Halperin that provides insights into how the for-profit higher education industry relies on key government figures to promote its interests.  Using the recently released hacked emails of Colin Powell, the article describes the relationship between Powell and Jeffrey Leeds, a private equity investor.  Here is an excerpt:

“The hacked emails from former Secretary of State Colin Powell have been widely noted because of Powell’s candid remarks about topics including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and nuclear weapons. But Republic Report is intrigued by a series of exchanges about the for-profit college industry between Powell and Jeffrey Leeds, a key private equity investor in, and advocate for, schools that have been sued by law enforcement agencies for defrauding students and taxpayers.

The email messages capture Powell and Leeds not only musing about politics but also addressing unfavorable media coverage of their joint involvement with the for-profit colleges, discussing possible acquisition of campuses of disgraced Corinthian Colleges, flagging business opportunities with Bill Gates and investors in Kazakhstan, and contemplating how they could persuade perceived kindred spirits in the Obama Administration to end the government’s supposed “war” on their schools.

Last time I had checked, in June, Powell was listed as the chair of the advisory board of Leeds’ firm, Leeds Equity Partners, which invests in for­-profit education and until 2014 owned a major stake in the second­ largest for­-profit college company, Education Management Corporation (EDMC). It’s not clear if and when Powell ended his involvement with Leeds, but today he no longer appears on the Leeds website.

Pittsburgh-based EDMC, operator of the Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, and South University, once had a reputation for providing quality higher education, but that reputation went downhill during the George W. Bush years, as a lax regulatory environment gave for-profit colleges incentives to aggressively recruit students, raise prices, and cut funding for actual instruction. EDMC’s descent became even more rapid, as faculty, staff, and students have told me, after Leeds Equity Partners, Goldman Sachs, and another private equity firm took over 85% of the company’s stock in a 2006 leveraged buyout.

Many students, including low-income single mothers, and U.S. military veterans like Chris Pantzke and Mike DiGiacomo, fell prey to EDMC’s deceptive and coercive recruiting and financial aid practices, and they ended up dropping out, without degrees or enhanced job prospects but deep in debt. Pantzke, who suffered from brain trauma during combat and severe post-traumatic stress disorder, was recruited for a two-year art degree at an EDMC school with the promise of special disability services. He was then denied assistance after enrolling, had difficulty attending the online classes because of his disability, and found that the school had used all of his $65,000 in GI Bill benefits, while he incurred another $26,000 in student debt.

With his firm invested in EDMC, Jeffrey Leeds joined EDMC’s board of directors. He also served on the boards of other for-profit education companies, including Datamark, then led by CEO Arthur Benjamin. And Leeds’ company also invested in EduK Group, “the largest private sector provider of postsecondary education in Puerto Rico.”

EDMC, which has been getting as much as $1.8 billion annually in taxpayer-funded federal student grants and loans, was sued in 2011 for $11 billion by the U.S. Justice Department, which claimed the company defrauded taxpayers of that amount between 2003 and 2011. Five state attorneys general joined that lawsuit, and many more have been investigating EDMC.

Last year, EDMC agreed to pay fines or forgive loans worth some $200 million to settle claims with the Justice Department and 39 state attorneys general.

At the time of the settlements, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “Operating essentially as a recruitment mill, EDMC’s actions were not only a violation of federal law but also a violation of the trust placed in them by their students – including veterans and working parents – all at taxpayer expense.”

By then, EDMC’s enrollments and stock price had plummeted, and Leeds and Goldman Sachs lost control of the collapsing company, which was taken over by its creditors, led by the firm KKR, in 2014.

With his company heavily invested in higher education companies, Jeffrey Leeds had become an aggressive advocate against accountability for for-profit schools. Leeds has long served, and still serves, on the board of directors of the troubled for-profit college lobby organization APSCU/CECU, and he has sharply criticized regulations issued by the Obama Administration to prevent career colleges from leaving students with crushing debt.

For his part, Colin Powell, the advisory chairman of Leeds’ private equity firm, gave the keynote speech at the annual convention of Leeds’ for-profit college lobbying group, APSCU, in 2011, in Grapevine, Texas. Speaking at a time when congressional investigations and media reporting had exposed abuses at EDMC schools and other for-profit colleges, and the Obama Administration was seeking greater accountability for the industry, Powell reportedly gushed, “Our society has such a need for education and no field has more to help than career and private sector education.” He exhorted the for-profit college owners and executives at the event to “Make the case. The purpose of private sector education is to help … people strive for a brighter future.”

The article goes on to provide details on email exchanges between Jeffrey Leeds and Colin Powell regarding EDMC.  The education-industrial complex at its worst.


Elizabeth Warren Calls on Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf to Resign!

Dear Commons Community,

Elizabeth Warren was merciless in her takedown of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at a Senate hearing on Tuesday, calling him “gutless” and that he should resign.  As reported by CNN:

“You should resign…You should be criminally investigated,” Warren told Stumpf during a fiery one-sided exchange at the Senate Banking Committee’s Wells Fargo hearing.

Warren, a vocal critic of big banks like Wells Fargo, demanded both the Department of Justice and SEC criminally investigate Stumpf for his “gutless leadership.” Last week, a U.S. official told CNN that the DOJ has issued subpoenas to Wells Fargo.

Warren’s diatribe was the most forceful condemnation yet of Wells Fargo (WFC) over the millions of fake accounts that the bank created over several years and 5,300 employees that were fired over several years.

The Wells Fargo CEO seemed caught off guard by the intensity of Warren’s comments and was barely able to get a word in.

Stumpf has apologized for the scandal and on Tuesday admitted the bank didn’t do enough to stop improper sales. He also detailed new steps to try to assess and limit the damage, including expanding an internal search for fake accounts by two years.

Warren slammed Stumpf for failing to fire any senior executives linked to the scandal, while Wells Fargo’s aggressive sales tactics helped pump up the bank’s stock price.

She said Stumpf’s personal holdings of Wells Fargo stock increased by more than $200 million while the fake accounts “scam” was going on, thanks in part to the bank’s success in selling tons of products to customers that they didn’t need.

“You squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket,” Warren said.

What Wells Fargo did was despicable and Warren is right in holding Stumpf responsible.



Reformers Take Aim at Remediation at Community Colleges!

Dear Commons Community,

Community colleges increasingly are coming under pressure from education policymakers to examine their remediation programs as more and more students enroll in developmental reading, writing, and mathematics courses.  The Chronicle of Higher Education has a featured article today examining this issue.  Here is an excerpt.

“As more students enroll [in developmental courses], the debates over remedial or developmental education have intensified.

To some, the field remains a necessary bridge to a college degree and a way to ensure that college classes retain their rigor. To others, it is a trap that prevents too many students from graduating.

But as educators and policy makers tweak and trim to get students into college classes more quickly, compromises are emerging that reflect a more nuanced understanding of the challenges underprepared students face. Bite-sized modules and concurrent remedial and college-level classes are helping better-prepared students move ahead while the least-prepared students continue to struggle.

The stakes are huge for colleges that promise to meet students where they are and provide them a college education. Where they are may be miles from the finish line.

Nearly two-thirds of students entering community colleges are required to take remedial or developmental math or English courses before they can take college-level classes, according to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Many of them, discouraged and in debt, drop out before they get to their first college-level class, the center’s research has shown.

Remedial educators say it’s unfair to blame the programs for the students’ struggles; after all, many of them enroll with glaring academic deficiencies. The classes are disproportionately filled with low-income, minority, and first-generation students who attended underperforming schools. They often have needs like child care and transportation that extend well beyond the classroom. And most of the courses are taught by adjuncts who lack the training and support that full-time faculty members receive.

“There is no question that we could and should do a better job of remediation,” says Hunter R. Boylan, director of the National Center for Developmental Education, based at Appalachian State University. But claiming that remediation causes dropouts is like “claiming that statues cause pigeons.”

Relations between remedial educators and reform-minded groups like Complete College America have been testy at times, as the push to limit stand-alone remedial classes gains traction in statehouses around the country.

“Journalists, bloggers, and advocacy groups with little understanding of the realities on the ground have made up the mantra that ‘remediation doesn’t work — let’s get rid of it,’” Mr. Boylan wrote in an email. “Then they have all quoted each other. This echo chamber has created a mythology that drives policy makers, frequently, toward rash actions.”

The article goes on to describe innovative practices such as accelerated and modular courses that potentially may be helpful in improving the success rates in remedial programs.  Worth a read.



Congratulations to the NYPD, the F.B.I. and the Linden, New Jersey Police Department for the Swift Apprehension of the Chelsea Bomber!


Dear Commons Community,

Congratulations are surely in order for the quick work of identifying and apprehending Ahmad Rahami, the suspect responsible for the bombings on Saturday night in Chelsea (Manhattan) and in New Jersey.  As reported by NBC News:

“The desperate search for a 28-year-old man wanted in connection with a series of blasts that terrorized New York and New Jersey over the last three days ended Monday in a gun battle with police officers.

And Ahmad Rahami on Monday evening was charged with charged with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer according to the Union County, New Jersey, prosecutor.

The prosecutor’s office also charged him with two second-degree counts of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. His bail was set at $5.2 million dollars by a state judge.

He was taken into custody earlier after he was shot in the leg during the 10:30 a.m. confrontation in Linden, New Jersey, law enforcement sources said.

Rahami managed to shoot one police officer in the hand and another in the bullet proof vest before he was apprehended, they said.

The injuries sustained by Rahami, who was being treated at University Hospital in Newark, and the officers did not appear to be life-threatening, officials said.

Key developments

  • Authorities say flip phones used on explosive devices in Seaside, New Jersey, and the Chelsea section of Manhattan were both bought at same store last year.
  • Unexploded devices were also discovered blocks from the Chelsea blast and near an Elizabeth, New Jersey, train station.
  • FBI agents in Brooklyn stopped “a vehicle of interest” in the investigation of the Manhattan explosion. Five occupants were detained for questioning.
  • Suspect traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan within last 10 years.
  • Rahami’s father, Mohammad Rahami, told NBC News he had “no idea” of what his son was planning.
  • The suspect was discovered sleeping in the doorway of a local bar.

“When I was at the scene, initially, he was conscious and awake,” Capt. James Sarnicki of the Linden Police Department said of the suspect.

Rahami was captured after police got a call about a man sleeping in the doorway of a local bar, Sarnicki said.

When police arrived, one of the officers “tried to rouse him,” Sarnicki said. “The gentleman on the ground picked up his head, and the officer saw that he had a beard and resembled the wanted person from the poster … from the bombings.”

After the officer ordered Rahami to show his hands, the suspect “pulled out a handgun and fired one shot at the officer, striking him in the abdomen,” Sarnicki said. “Fortunately, the officer had a bullet-proof vest on.”

The Linden cops returned fire, hitting Rahami several times, Sarnicki said.

A local business owner told NBC News he heard what he thought at first were fireworks.

“But then we took a peek and there were cops firing and the guy went down in front of the building,” said the owner, who declined to give his name.

Meanwhile, President Obama reassured a nervous nation that law enforcement was on the case.

“Moments like this, I think it’s important to remember what terrorists and violent extremists are trying to do,” said Obama. “They are trying to hurt innocent people and create fear in all of us, to disrupt the way we live.”

Obama also praised New Yorkers and New Jersey residents after their states were once again targeted by terror.

“Folks around here, they don’t get scared,” he said. “They’re tough. they’re resilient. They go about their business every single day.”

Later, Obama told reporters he had spoken with — and thanked — the wounded Linden officers.

“They are going to be fine, sustained modest injuries, in good spirits,” he said. “Just one more reminder of the skill and sacrifice of law enforcement officers.”

Rahami was born in Afghanistan and his family was granted asylum in the U.S. in 2011, a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News. His father, Mohammad, said he had “no idea” his son was allegedly plotting a bombing campaign.”




Randi Weingarten on Donald Trump’s Education Policies!

Dear Commons Community,

Randi Wengarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers, posted a rebuke on her blog to Donald Trump’s proposed education policies especially his stance on privatizing public education.  Below is her entire posting.



Donald Trump Fails a Crucial Test!

“Donald Trump doesn’t have any use for public schools — he never attended them, sent his kids to them or supported civic efforts to strengthen them.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that Trump would propose a plan that would decimate public education. But 90 percent of America’s children attend public schools. Trump’s plan to expand failed voucher programs and destabilize public schools is a grave threat to them and to this essential public good.

Trump’s $20 billion proposal to “voucherize” public education would harm 10 children for every 1 child he purports to help. It appears that Trump would cut all Title I funding for low-income students and an additional $5 billion in federal education funding.

The Title I cuts alone could strip funding from up to 56,000 public schools serving more than 21 million children. His plan would rob 5 million public school students with disabilities of essential services.

An additional 5 million English language learners would be denied educational supports. Eight million students would lose the Pell grants that make it possible to attend college. Students across the country would lose tens of thousands of highly qualified teachers and classroom aides, resulting in unacceptably large class sizes and depriving students of one-on-one attention.

And for what? To expand access to charter schools, which generally perform no better than public schools, and voucher schools, which perform far worse. Not surprisingly, a version of Trump’s idea was flatly rejected by bipartisan majorities in Congress just last fall when they passed the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act.

When Trump unveiled his proposal last week in Cleveland, the venue he chose made the case against his own plan. The for-profit charter school where Trump made his announcement received a D and an F on the annual Ohio Department of Education report card, and Ohio’s voucher and charter school sectors have been marred by fraud, mismanagement and achievement that lags far behind traditional public schools.

While charters have their place in public education, they were never intended to displace public schools, defraud taxpayers or be devoid of oversight, as many are in Ohio and elsewhere. In addition to lackluster achievement, the charter sector is rife with corruption, often discriminates against high-needs students, and has undermined public districts in cities like Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.

Decades of research show that voucher programs simply don’t work. A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office found that voucher schools do not improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

The GAO report also found that private school voucher programs in the states it studied (Arizona, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin) take as much as a third of their funding directly from public school budgets. It’s a lose-lose situation: Voucher students are poorly served and public school students suffer.

But facts matter, especially when it comes to our children and, particularly, children with the greatest needs.

Trump is not one to let facts get in his way. But facts matter, especially when it comes to our children and, particularly, children with the greatest needs.

Trump could have visited Cincinnati, if he wanted to see an effective public school model that supports the achievement and well-being of disadvantaged students. Cincinnati is well on its way to transforming every public school in the district into a community school. These schools offer a rigorous academic program with the supports students need to succeed. In addition to mentors, tutoring and other academic interventions, children and their families have in-school access to services that help overcome the effects of poverty. The schools have health and dental clinics, social workers and counselors, and numerous social services. Cincinnati is now the top urban district in Ohio.

Or Trump could have gone to another battleground state and stopped at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh. Not long ago, Westinghouse was slated for closure. The city, its police and fire departments, families, school staff, and our union came together to launch a public safety career and technical education program this year. The program, with seed money from the AFT Innovation Fund, will prepare students for careers in firefighting, emergency medical services and law enforcement. It will help diversify these workforces to better reflect the communities they serve—a vital step in creating trust and understanding.

Parents and the public want leaders to strengthen public schools, not destabilize them. We need a president who will focus on investing in universal pre-K, strong public schools with high academic standards, and community schools, and on respecting and supporting educators. Hillary Clinton has specific proposals to do just that.

Donald Trump doesn’t understand or value the role of public education in a democracy. Our public schools are open to all, they advance our individual and collective aspirations, and they unite people from an array of backgrounds in a common experience. Schemes that elevate markets, profits and privatization over our children’s needs and the public good not only have failed but are an affront to our democratic principles.


Elizabeth Warren:  Donald Trump is a Man with a “Dark and Ugly Soul”!

Dear Commons Community,

Senator Elizabeth Warren is the one Democrat who is most cutting in her characterizations of Donald Trump.  Over the weekend in Ohio while campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she called him a “nasty little bully” and a man with a “dark and ugly soul.”  As reported by NBC News:

“In Cleveland on Sunday, Warren targeted Trump for “inviting his followers to commit a terrible act of violence on his opponent,” charging only “a little bully who can’t win in a fair fight” would do such a thing.

Warren added that “Trump has led the charge on the “birther” movement and only when his handlers tied him down and made him did he finally admit that it wasn’t true.”

“What kind of a man does that? A man with a dark and ugly soul. A man that will never be president,” she said.

Ohio remains a key swing state, particularly for Trump, whose path to the White House narrows considerably without the state. But recent polls have shown the Republican opening a slight lead on Clinton, and Democrats are concerned he could win the state if their voters stay home.

To avoid that possibility, the Clinton campaign dispatched two of the liberal movement’s most beloved figures this weekend to rev up millennial voters:  Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom delivered red meat to the liberal base at college campuses across Ohio.”

Red meat indeed!


Homemade Bomb Explodes in Manhattan and Injures 29 People!

Dear Commons Community,

An explosion caused by what the authorities believe was a homemade bomb injured at least 29 people on a busy sidewalk in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan last night. A second explosive device was found four blocks away. As reported by the New York Times:

“Mayor Bill de Blasio called the explosion “an intentional act” but initially said there was no connection to terrorism. He cautioned that the authorities had just begun their investigation into the blast, which reverberated across a city scarred by terrorism and vigilant about threats just days after the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“Whatever the cause,” Mr. de Blasio said, “New Yorkers will not be intimidated.”

The explosion, which occurred around 8:30 p.m., prompted the shutdown of a wide swath of Manhattan south of Midtown. The Police Department said at 1:15 a.m. Sunday that 14th Street to 32nd Street was closed to traffic between Fifth and Eighth Avenues until further notice.

A grim Mr. de Blasio, speaking at a news conference at the scene, said “injuries are significant.” But for the moment, he said, none of them were life-threatening.

Many of the injuries were caused by shrapnel from the explosion, which witnesses said seemed to have come from a sidewalk Dumpster on West 23rd Street near the Avenue of Americas. Images of a twisted Dumpster in the middle of 23rd Street quickly proliferated on Twitter.

The explosion shattered windows, damaged cars and sent crowds running from the scene.

“I heard a big boom,” said Luke McConnell, who was visiting from Colorado and had been headed toward a restaurant on West 27th Street. “I felt it, like a concussive wave, heading towards me.”

“Then there was a cloud of white smoke that came from the left side of 23rd Street near Sixth,” he said. “There was no fire, just smoke.”

Witnesses said they could feel the explosion from several blocks away. Daniel Yount, 34, said he was standing on the roof of a building at 25th Street and Avenue of the Americas with friends.”

“We felt the shock waves go through our bodies,” he said.

A law enforcement official said investigators were trying to figure out who was behind the explosion and what the motivations might have been.

“It likely came from an improvised device,” said one city official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation. “We don’t understand the target or the significance of it. It’s by a pile of Dumpsters on a random sidewalk.”

The other device, on West 27th Street, was described as resembling a pressure cooker like the one used in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, the official said.”

Mayor de Blasio is absolutely correct in stating that New Yorkers will not be intimidated by this.


4.3 Percent Decrease in Applications for Doctoral Programs!

Dear Commons Community,

A combination of factors may be fueling the decline in the number of applicants for doctoral degrees.  Concerns about working conditions, low stipends, securing academic jobs, and  graduate-education debt levels may all be contributing to a 4.3 percent decrease in the number of applicants in 2015 to doctoral programs compared to 2014.  According to the latest national data released yesterday by the Council of Graduate Schools and as reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Among colleges that participated in the Council’s survey, the 656,928 applications to their doctoral programs in 2015 amounted to a 4.3-percent decrease when compared with colleges that responded a year earlier.

The drop appears to be sizable, but it’s too soon to tell whether it’s a blip or a trend. Council officials warned against making too much of one year’s data. Doctoral applications, for example, increased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent when the lens is broadened to the five-year period from 2010 to 2015 — not impressive but not indicating an impending crisis, either.

The decline in doctoral applications doesn’t surprise John A. Stevenson, who recently stepped down as dean of the graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Doctoral education right now as an institution is under so much scrutiny that people are questioning the wisdom of pursuing a Ph.D.,” says Mr. Stevenson. “I would have been surprised if there wasn’t a decrease.”

The picture is rosier for master’s, graduate-level certificate, and education-specialist programs. Applications for those programs increased by 3.8 percent from 2014 to 2015, and at an average annual rate of 4.8 percent from 2010 to 2015. That isn’t too surprising, either: Master’s programs are proliferating and often viewed as cash cows for colleges.

Over all, first-time enrollment in graduate programs increased by 3.9 percent from 2014 to 2015. The 506,927 incoming graduate students in the fall of 2015 set a new record for first-time enrollment. Most are master’s students; 16.4 percent, or 83,099, are doctoral students.

The trends vary across disciplines. Applications to doctoral programs in the arts and humanities, which have faced some of the toughest questions about value, decreased by 2.7 percent in 2015, and by an average annual rate of 3 percent from 2010 to 2015. Applications to all graduate programs — including doctoral, master’s, and graduate-certificate and education-specialist programs — in arts and humanities declined at an average annual rate of 2.8 percent from 2010 to 2015.

One-year drops in doctoral applications were even steeper in some fields, such as health sciences, which fell by 12.3 percent, and business, which saw a 6.1-percent decline. Unlike in the arts and humanities, however, those disciplines saw average annual increases in applications for master’s programs over five years.

The field that saw the largest increase in graduate applications was mathematics and computer sciences, at 9.4 percent from 2014 to 2015, and an average annual increase of 18.1 percent from 2010 to 2015. At the doctoral level, mathematics and computer sciences saw a 3.8-percent increase in applications from 2014 to 2015, and an annual average rate of increase of 2 percent from 2010 to 2015.”

I found the report interesting. It also contains a plethora (more  than 30 tables) of data describing graduate school admissions, enrollment, and graduation rates.



LIU Lockout Over!

Dear Commons Community,

The Long Island University lockout of faculty ended yesterday.  Below is a letter from the Long Island University Faculty Federation leadership to its members.



Dear LIUFF Colleagues,

We have won a victory. The administration will end their unprecedented lockout effective 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, September 14. We will be reunited with our students and can resume our professional lives. Our collective bargaining agreement is extended until May 31, 2017, and the administration agreed to our condition that we engage a professional mediator to facilitate a fair contract. This timeframe gives us the opportunity to negotiate in good faith while preserving LIU Brooklyn.

The LIU administration will make the faculty whole for health care costs incurred during the lockout period. The union’s unfair labor practice complaints relating to the lockout and our arbitration on pay parity remain active and will be vigorously pursued.

You should plan to meet with your classes starting tomorrow. There may be some remaining issues relating to classes that were cancelled or combined during the lockout; we expect them to be resolved by department chairs and deans and in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. It is important that you alert your chair and the LIUFF to any such issues so that they can be resolved right away.

We are holding a general membership meeting tomorrow at noon; room is to be announced. The negotiating team will be joined by our counsel, Louie Nikolaidis, AFT counsel, Mark Richard, and our NYSUT representative, Kevin Pollitt to answer questions about implications of the lockout and next steps to continue our struggle. Please make every effort to attend.

In Solidarity,

Jessica Rosenberg, President
Mohammed Ghriga, Treasurer
Ed Keane, Executive Committee Member

Michael Pelias, Executive Committee Member
Melissa Antinori, Grievance Chair