Whiteboard Notes | DeVos School Tour; $70 Million for School Safety; International Graduate Student Enrollment Falls

Secretary DeVos Embarks on Four-State School Tour: On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced she will travel to four states as part of her second annual “Rethink School” tour. Her trip, which focused on Midwestern states last year, will include visits to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to see how schools are innovating to support students in the classroom and in their careers. [U.S. Department of Education]
 
Education Department Awards $4.9 Million Grant For Open Textbooks: On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would award a $4.9 million grant as part of its Open Textbooks Pilot Program to the University of California, Davis. Under the pilot program - funded by Congress in the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill - UC Davis will head a consortium of 12 campuses that will create open textbooks focused on high-enrollment courses like chemistry, as well as career-technical education (CTE) fields. [Inside Higher Education]
 
Borrower Defense and Gainful Employment Rules Delayed: On Tuesday, Bloomberg Government reported that the U.S. Department of Education will miss the November 1, 2018 deadline to finalize a new package of regulations related to “gainful employment” and “borrowers defense to repayment.” The rules this Administration seeks to rewrite are Obama-era policies that respectively affect federal aid eligibility for certain programs at institutions of higher education and the standards for loan forgiveness when students claim they have been defrauded. By missing the November 1 deadline, the earliest the Trump Administration’s new rules could go into effect would be July 2020. [Bloomberg Government]

High poverty schools demonstrate high achievement growth: A new report from NWEA demonstrates that high poverty schools are producing higher rates of student growth than accounted for due to the heavy emphasis on achievement levels in accountability systems. The report encourages states to incorporate student growth as part of their accountability system with their increased flexibility through ESSA. [Education Dive]
 
Interactive Maps Reveal How Neighborhoods Shape Children’s Future: The National Census Bureau and researchers at Harvard and Brown released detailed, interactive maps of neighborhoods nationwide to reveal where children of all backgrounds are able to thrive as adults. While a child’s zip code has always had a known impact on their education and future career path, this data will help city officials and philanthropists determine exactly where they need to addressf neighborhood disadvantages. Seattle and King County are using the maps to move families in voucher programs to communities where opportunity exists and other cities and towns hope to use the data to identify new locations for Head Start programs. [The New York Times]

International Graduate Student Enrollment Falls: According to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools, the number of international applicants to U.S. graduate programs fell 3.7 percent between the fall of 2016 and 2017, marking the second annual decrease since 2003. Although the Council is uncertain as to what caused the drop, it plans to look into how the climate and reputation of U.S graduate education potentially impacts these rates. [Inside Higher Ed]
 
Clarifying Definition of First-gen Necessary to Help Students: According to a new report by NASPA’s Center for First-generation Student Success, the lack of a clear definition of a first-generation student negatively impacts how universities and colleges aid and assist these students. The report suggests that campuses establish a consistent definition to help first-gen students correctly identify themselves and to highlight the contributions these students bring to their campus. [Diverse Education]