Whiteboard Notes | FTC Commissioner Calls for Changes to Data Privacy Laws; Millions of Students Lack Access to Fundamental Classes

Trump Administration Considering Changes To Legal Definition of Gender: On Sunday, it was revealed that the Trump Administration has drafted language for various federal agencies including the Department of Education that would alter the current legal definition of gender by more narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth. This differs from the previous Obama Administration policy, which recognized gender identity as a protected class and considered complaints brought by transgender students to the Office of Civil Rights. This proposed definition change comes at a time when a number of legal disputes have come up in both K-12 and higher education across the country regarding admissions policies, access to bathrooms, access to residence halls, and athletic participation. [Inside Higher Education]
 
FTC Commissioner Calls for Changes to Data Privacy Laws: On Wednesday, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Rebecca Slaughter, called for the federal government to do a better job of protecting student data privacy at a Georgetown University Law Center event highlighting the enactment of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) almost 20 years ago. The Act, which restricts access to information collected about children online from third parties, currently requires website operators and online service providers to obtain parental consent for children up to age 13. However, under the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), they have extended this protection for children up to age 16 - something that Slaughter said the United States should consider. [Georgetown University Law Center]

Millions of Students Do Not Have Access to Fundamental Classes: The nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education published a new report, which found that millions of high school students across the US do not have access to the fundamental, critical classes needed to enter college or the workforce, particularly among low-income and minority students. For example, approximately 1.4 million students attend high schools that do not offer Algebra 1 or higher.. [Florida Phoenix]
 
Research Unlocks Strategies for Continuous Improvement: AdvancedEd and Measured Progressobserved over 40,000 classrooms around the world and found that schools that measured quality and had more engaged students, also produced higher performance. According to their research, the recently merged nonprofit found that successful schools adhere to three common strategies for continuous improvement: using research-based tools and resources, focusing on academic growth as well as school climate and culture, and implementing a balanced assessment system. [EdSurge]

University of Colorado Grants Guaranteed Admissions for Future Teachers: This upcoming Fall 2019, The University of Colorado will provide Colorado high school students with guaranteed admissions into their School of Education. University officials are hoping this program will help address teacher shortages and create a pathway for students to attend the University. In order for students to qualify for guaranteed admissions, they must be in good standing with their programs and meet the requirements for the Colorado Commission on Higher Education along with the university requirements. [Daily Camera]
 
Americans 65+ are Less Aware of Today’s Students: New report by Higher Learning Advocateshighlights Americans’   perception of the demographics of today’s college students attending two and four-year colleges or universities. , The bipartisan advocacy group compared the perceptions of the general public with education insiders Not surprisingly, perhaps,  education insiders were more knowledgeable about the changing demographics of today’s students then the general public. [Education Dive] 
 
University of Southern Maine Bans Former Tenured Faculty Member: Susan Feiner, a recently retiredtenured economics professor, was barred from teaching at The University of Southern Maine (USM). Feiner, offered a one credit course to current students at USM who were willing to ride a bus to Washington D.C. to witness or participate in protests against the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  Students, parents, faculty members, and alumni were outraged by USM’s ostensible support of a partisan cause. The proposed class would have been funded by a grant provided by the National Education Association to the USM faculty union to create the Frances Perkins Initiative’s for Social Justice Education, which creates high-impact “pop-up” classes. [The Washington Post]