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Daniel Ruth: Advice for sniping school board members — Grow up or go away

There are certain jobs in elective office that carry with them a slightly higher expectation when it comes to how one behaves in public.

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For example, it probably wouldn’t be a good thing if we were to learn Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren was a serial traffic scofflaw with a slew of overdue library books, to boot.

The same holds true for members of the Hillsborough County School Board. We ought to have a reasonable belief those charged with overseeing the welfare of the community’s children are serious, sober-minded, thoughtful stewards of the classroom.

Too naive? Apparently so.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Hillsborough school board rift is on display at training event

A few days ago Pinellas and Hillsborough County school board members gathered together in what was supposed to be a training session sponsored by the Florida School Board Association to learn how to be more respectful of one another.

And yes, you’re right. Obviously no good was going to come of this.

Instead, what was supposed to be a meeting of presumed adults charged with the responsibility of setting a positive image for children soon descended into a profane exercise in sniping between Hillsborough School Board members April Griffin and Tamara Shamburger.

The Bickersons of the school board went after each other with Shamburger accusing Griffin of disrespecting newer members. Griffin then responded by claiming she has “completely withdrawn” from engaging in conflict with her colleagues, to which Shamburger buried her face in her hands before walking out of the session, which was supposed to be about cultivating respect.

It seems Shamburger, when she wasn’t storming in and out of the room, was ticked off at Griffin for supporting Joe Robinson in the 2016 school board election. And since she had joined the board, Shamburger said, Griffin has treated her like a steaming pile of — well, you get the idea.

For her part, Griffin accused Shamburger of somehow blaming her for the lack of academic success among black students.

But this wasn’t all simply a tiff between Griffin and Shamburger. Later in the day, another board member, Cindy Stuart, essentially said colleague Susan Valdes scares the living bejabbers out of her because Valdes seems to have more anger management issues than Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

“We need to feel safe to approach you,” Stuart said of Valdes.

Valdes suggested Stuart was merely confusing her passion for education with being perpetually honked off.

It is probably not a good thing in any work environment when an employee feels they need a bodyguard during meetings because they are apprehensive their unhinged office-mate may bite the head off a bat at any minute.

And these folks have the future of the community’s children in their clenched-fist hands?

First of all, Shamburger needs to get over Griffin’s support of her election opponent. It is part of political life that there are winners and losers. But once the votes are counted the victor especially needs to learn to work with those who may have backed the other horse.

And is certainly true Griffin can be a bit of an acquired taste on this school board. Shamburger won. Get over it.

As well, can we all agree no one board member is responsible for the overall academic performance of any cohort of students? If black students are struggling, blame the entire board.

More vexing though is the idea that any school board member actually fears the potential of Susan Valdes casting stink eyes in their general direction. Good grief, this is the Hillsborough County School Board. It’s not the Reservoir Dogs of public education.

While no one would ever confuse the Hillsborough County Commission or the Tampa City Council with bastions of apolitical comity, these folks are pillars of decorum and intellectual discourse compared to their petty, feuding brethren on the Hillsborough County School Board.

Two simple words for those who are supposed to be guiding our students through the challenges of public education — grow up.

Or find a less taxing job that doesn’t involve being role models for children.

Article source:

Building Community Through a Syllabus

I am currently one of the few openly trans* tenure-track professors in my field of higher education and student affairs, and I recently published a book, Trans* in College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion. My visibility and expertise on trans* issues in higher education has brought about frequent questions from other people that often feel like a never-ending loop:

“How can I show love to the trans* community?”

“What should I read to learn about trans* people?”

“Can you give me resources about trans* people so I can learn more?”

At best, these questions are extremely naïve. Clearly, trans* people have been present throughout postsecondary education for decades. For example, trans* archivist and activist Reina Gossett found photos of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson — two trans* women of color — involved in a 1970 protest on behalf of gay students’ rights at New York University. And if trans* people have been in and around postsecondary education, one can bet we have been telling our stories for just as long, too.

At worst, however, the above questions serve as manifestations of the ongoing trans* oppression present throughout American society. What I mean is that the continued ignorance of trans* people, communities and knowledges underscores the ways in which cisgender (i.e., nontrans*) people do not (have to) think about gender due to their gender-based privilege.

Exposing Epistemological Trans* Oppression in Higher Education

Several educational scholars have discussed how epistemology, or the theory of knowledge, is itself steeped in systemic racism. Specifically, work by Lori D. Patton and James Joseph Scheurich and Michelle D. Young points out how this occurs, referring to the phenomenon as “epistemological racism.”

Building on their work, I have termed the continuing erasure of trans* knowledges in higher education epistemological trans* oppression. The very asking of what one should read to learn about trans* people underscores the ongoing presence of a world in which the questioner does not feel the need to previously have known about trans* people. Such awareness is a nice add-on, but otherwise not considered central or primary in academe.

In addition, when cisgender people ask these questions, it puts trans* people in a difficult position. We must be willing to have our labor and time continually exploited by (presumably well-meaning) cisgender people or risk being positioned as the “angry trans* person” when we say we will not do work that cisgender people should rightly do.

For many of us, this choice is far from an easy one, as we are in precarious positions of education and/or employment. Indeed, the pull to be seen as “nice” and “helpful,” particularly through the rhetoric of being “collegial” or “professional,” is felt by many of us, including: trans* students who need recommendations for jobs and/or advanced studies, early-career trans* academics seeking tenure-stream positions, and trans* staff who have to worry about performance evaluations as a part of the increasing audit culture in higher education.

It is against this backdrop that I recently decided to curate the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus. I felt inspired by the recent practice of marginalized people creating publicly accessible social justice-oriented syllabi, such as the #CharlestonSyllabus, #FergusonSyllabus and #PulseOrlandoSyllabus, among others. So I decided to construct a similar syllabus geared toward promoting the continuing work that is being done regarding trans* populations in higher education.

One goal of the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus was to show how trans* people have always been a part of higher education and how, as a result, we have always been pushing for more gender-expansive environments and futures. Another goal was to provide an educational tool for cisgender people about trans* people. Thus, the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus acts as a public response to the questions that I mentioned at the outset of this essay. In so doing, I was hoping my/our collective labor — detailed through the syllabus — would save me/us from having to confront these questions time and again. The syllabus continues to grow (email me at to add new materials), and is an important resource for faculty members, students and staff members to use in their work.

However, to say the syllabus was purely a response to the oppressive illogics that frame the daily world in which trans* and gender-nonconforming people like myself exist is to miss the fuller picture. Yes, I made the decision to invest time, energy and labor into a project that would require continual upkeep as a way to spare my trans* kin and myself significant time and labor in the future. However, I also made the decision to curate the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus as a way to be with and among my trans* kin and our accomplices. (You can follow the Twitter thread here.) For me, it was a return to my roots as a trans* person — and a way that I have continually reminded myself of the sheer brilliance that has provided me the space, time and thinking to be who I am today as a trans* femme in the academy.

Finding Community Through Trans* Scholars(hip)

As I have written about in both a book chapter about my doctoral studies and my book, Trans* in College, I first came to enter my trans* community through reading trans* scholars(hip). I was living in Arizona at a time when being a member of any marginalized community felt increasingly dangerous, and I was working in a job — advising fraternity and sorority students — in which I felt trapped. Each day that I got dressed for work, I felt extreme dysphoria and would count down the hours and minutes until I could get back to my studio apartment and explore my gender further. Much of this exploration occurred through devouring trans* literature, especially Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, various essays by Dean Spade, Dylan Scholinski’s The Last Time I Wore a Dress and Susan Stryker’s Transgender History.

Drafting the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus was, for me, a return to my own beginnings of entering a trans* community. The more time I spent piecing together the recent explosion of trans* scholarship in higher education and student affairs, the more I felt alive and whole. The more I stitched together a set of readings, artists, activists, organizations, films and video clips that are largely — though not exclusively — created by queer and trans* people, the more I was reminded of the absolutely stunning community to which I have the privilege to belong. My mind traveled back to my small patio outside of my studio apartment in Tucson, where I would spend my evenings smoking, reading and coming into my own trans* awakening as the desert sun set behind the mountains.

I have been completely astounded at how far the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus has already traveled. I am indebted to the trans* women of color who fought — and continue to fight — for my existence as a trans* femme to be possible. I am also deeply grateful for a small group of queer, trans* and accomplice kin who conspired with me in the making of the syllabus, notably Jana Clark, T. J. Jourian, D-L Stewart and Katherine Wheatle.

And really, more than counteracting ongoing daily trans* oppression, my curating the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus has — and will continue to be — about inviting trans,* queer and accomplice scholars into a vibrant, vital and deeply moving community, one that, many years ago, helped me get on the path to finding myself. Perhaps the syllabus can even do the same for other people, be they in or beyond the academy.

Article source:

Jesse Sutherland: Adult charges in teen death | WFTV | WFTV

by: WFTV Web Staff
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 – 9:19 AM

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WINTER PARK, Fla. – A 16-year-old boy faces adult charges in the death of a Winter Park teenager, investigators said.

Roger Trindade, 15, was beaten to death at a park last October, police said.

Jesse Sutherland faces charges of manslaughter and battery, and will be tried as an adult, investigators said. A spokesperson for the Orange/Osceola County State Attorney’s Office said it’s at the discretion of the prosecutor as to when to charge a minor as an adult.

Read: Judge denies bond for teenage boy accused of 2 Winter Park beatings

Benjamin Sutherland, the teen’s father, told a judge Wednesday that his son should be allowed to come back home. The father told the judge he’s on disability for the next few months and would keep an eye on his son.

Jesse Sutherland was on house arrest when he was arrested Tuesday night.

Sutherland posted a $7,600 bail and was released from jail.

Two other teens also face charges in Trindade’s death. Witnesses said it was Sutherland who threw the first punch at Trindade.

Simeon Hall was re-arrested last week after police said he punched another teen at a park Oct. 8.

Hall faces adult charges of felony battery and tampering with an electronic monitoring device.

Read: Police: Winter Park fatal beating suspect accused of attacking another teenager

Jagger Gouda, 14, was charged with witness tampering and battery — charges to which he pleaded no contest. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Read: Deputies: Human remains found in east Orange County those of missing woman

Watch below as Jesse Sutherland faces a judge Wednesday:

© 2017 Cox Media Group.

© 2017 Cox Media Group.

Article source:

Why Asthma Can Hit You Harder as an Adult

Stepping outside for a deep breath of fresh air is one of life’s simple pleasures.

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But for some people, that same deep breath can prompt breathing difficulties or chest-tightening. If this sounds familiar, you may have adult-onset asthma.

“People think about asthma starting in childhood,”  says pulmonologist Rachel Taliercio, DO. “Developing asthma later on is more common than you think. However, we are not as good at recognizing it in older adults.” The resulting delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious problems.

Here, she answers common questions about adult-onset asthma and explains why it is often more serious later in life:

Q: What causes adult-onset asthma and what are its symptoms?

A: The reason adults develop asthma isn’t always clear. Respiratory infections, allergies and airway irritants, such as smoke and mold, can be triggers.

Asthma inflames the airways, triggering excess mucus production and smooth muscle spasms. This narrows the airways, causing symptoms such as:

  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing as you exhale (a whistling sound)
  • Shortness of breath after exertion
  • A dry cough
  • Colds that quickly move to the chest and symptoms that can linger

While the symptoms for adult-onset and childhood asthma are the same, they are typically intermittent in childhood and persistent in adulthood.

Inhaled and oral asthma medications, which open the airways and soothe inflammation, are used to treat acute symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Q: Is asthma more dangerous for adults?

A: Yes. The death rate for adult-onset asthma is substantially higher than the death rate for childhood asthma.

One reason may be that adults either ignore asthma symptoms or attribute them to being overweight, being out of shape or getting older.

Asthma symptoms can also mimic those of other illnesses, including:

Unfortunately, any delays in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma can permanently impair lung function.

Q: What increases your risk for adult-onset asthma?

A: Most childhood asthma disappears in adulthood. But having childhood asthma increases your risk of a relapse in your 30s or 40s. Other factors that increase the risk of adult-onset asthma include:

  • Being overweight or obese: A low level of physical activity, changes in lung physiology and higher levels of inflammation are among several factors at play.
  • Being female: Hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy and menopause can trigger asthma.
  • Allergens: Cats, cigarette smoke, chemicals, mold or dust can trigger asthma.

Q: How well does treatment work for adults with asthma?

Asthma can be more difficult  to control in adults for several reasons:

  • Asthma medications can be less effective later in life, particularly for those who are obese.
  • Oral steroids can worsen glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis.
  • Being on beta-blockers for heart problems can increase the severity of asthma.
  • The lungs and chest walls are stiffer and the muscles supporting deep breathing are weaker in adults.

For these reasons, adults with asthma are at increased risk for flare-ups and even hospitalization.

Q: How can you improve your asthma control in adulthood?

A: To keep asthma under control, follow your doctor’s instructions as closely as possible. Here are some additional tips:

  • Take prescription drugs as directed. Consult your doctor before making any changes. Let your doctor know if you are taking any over-the-counter medications.
  • Monitor your lung capacity. Visit your doctor frequently to have your lung function checked. You can also monitor your lung function at home with a peak flow meter. This will detect lung changes even before you notice them.
  • Develop an action plan and follow it. Create a step-by-step treatment plan with your doctor that walks you through what to do if asthma symptoms worsen.
  • Use your rescue inhaler correctly. This can be the toughest part of managing asthma (especially if you struggle with strength or dexterity due to arthritis or other health problems). If using your inhaler is too frustrating, ask your doctor about nebulized medication that you can breathe in over 10 to 15 minutes.

If you suspect you might have asthma, see your doctor as soon as possible.

“Undiagnosed asthma can contribute to further loss of lung function that may be permanent,” Dr. Taliercio says. “Don’t ignore your symptoms.”

You’ll breathe a whole lot easier once you address the problem.

Article source:

Prosecutors seeking to certify teen suspect as adult in killing of Bedford girl

Prosecutors will seek to certify as an adult a 16-year-old Fort Worth youth accused of using a hammer to kill a 14-year-old Bedford girl this summer.

A certification hearing has not been scheduled for the teen, who has been charged with delinquent conduct/murder.

“It could be several months before that hearing is held,” Tarrant County district attorney spokeswoman Sam Jordan said in a Thursday telephone interview.

The teen, who remains in the custody of Tarant County juvenile authorities, has been charged with delinquent conduct/murder in the slaying of Kaytlynn Cargill on June 19. He would face stiffer penalties and serve time in an adult prison if he were certified and convicted.

The teen has made several appearances in a Tarrant County juvenile court since he was detained on Sept. 1, and a judge has ordered him to remain in custody.

In his first court appearance on Sept. 4, several times the youth shook his head no as the probation officer went over the 11-page warrant, particularly during a portion regarding an alleged attempt to create an alibi on the day Kaytylnn died.

The teenager is not being identified by the Star-Telegram because he is a juvenile. He has been at the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Facility in Fort Worth since Friday.

The arrest warrant affidavit states that he is accused of killing Katylynn during an alleged $300 marijuana deal at the Oak Creek West Apartments, near Pennington Field in Bedford, where she lived with her parents.

DNA evidence and cellphone records linked the 16-year-old to Kaytlynn’s death, according to the arrest warrant.

Bedford police have declined to comment on the case.

Kaytlynn’s body was found June 21 in a north Arlington landfill, two days after she went missing from the her family’s Bedford apartment. The Tarrant County medical examiner later ruled that she died of “homicidal violence,” but declined to provide details.

The teen told Bedford police he and Kaytlynn planned to meet at the apartment complex dog park on June 19, but that she never showed up, according to the warrant. He told investigators he did see Kaytlynn’s dog.

A witness told police that Kaytlynn went to the dog park that day to take part in a marijuana exchange with the suspect and his brother, according to the affidavit. She was going to make marijuana “dabs” — or cannabis concentrates — and sell them back to the suspect, the affidavit says.

The witness said he followed Kaytlynn because he was concerned for her safety. The witness later told Bedford police that the suspect had been aggressive and disrespectful to females, the affidavit states.

The witness saw Kaytlynn meet with the suspect, but she ran away because she saw the witness watching them, according to the warrant. The witness and Kaytlynn returned to her home, but Kaytlynn returned to the dog park about an hour later “to get the money,” according to the warrant.

The witness, who had tied up Kaytlynn’s dog at the dog park, went to play basketball and never saw her again, according to the warrant.

Officers began searching for the girl after she was reported missing about 8:15 p.m. on the same day. Bedford Police Chief Jeff Gibson had said that there was no evidence to suggest that Kaytlynn had been abducted or was in danger after she went missing, so an Amber Alert was not issued.

At the time, Gibson also said, “Our information … does not indicate a further risk to our community.”

Bedford police have repeatedly said that the community was not at risk.

The suspect had been staying with his girlfriend at the apartment complex for two weeks before Cargill was killed, according to the affidavit. Police investigators on June 25 found blood on several walls and other parts of the girlfriend’s apartment, as well as on the head of a hammer believed to be the murder weapon, the arrest warrant states.

DNA evidence confirmed that the blood matched Kaytlynn’s, the warrant says.

The suspect told Bedford police that on the evening of June 19, his uncle picked him up at his girlfriend’s Bedford apartment and he went to live with the uncle in Fort Worth, according to the affidavit.

Police obtained a search warrant on Aug. 2 for the Fort Worth man’s apartment and found 17 pieces of evidence, according to the arrest affidavit.

One was a handwritten note between the 16-year-old and his girlfriend, who was in Alabama on June 19. His girlfriend told Bedford police he was attempting to create an alibi with her and told her to write down times and things they would have been doing on that date, the warrant states.

The girlfriend also told Bedford police that the conversations about his alibi were over FaceTime because the suspect was worried that his telephone conversations were being intercepted, according to the affidavit.

Cellphone records showed deleted calls and texts between June 17 and 21 and cited abnormal cellphone behavior on the day Kaytlynn was killed, according to the arrest warrant.

Kaytlynn’s body was found in the Arlington landfill on June 21.

Officials with Republic Service Sanitation confirmed to detectives that the dumpsters at the Bedford apartment complex were picked up on June 21 and taken to the landfill, the affidavit states.

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Tarrant County’s 10 Most Wanted Criminals, October 18

Fort Worth Police and the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office are looking for these 10 fugitives. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Call 817-469-8477.

Steve Wilson

This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

Article source:

England’s OfS plans compulsory TEF and to charge up to £120K fees

England’s new Office for Students wants to make entry into the teaching excellence framework compulsory, will require universities to pay up to £120,000 a year to register with it, and might award its own degrees to students.

The consultation on the OfS’ powers, published on 19 October, spells out once again that the new market regulator will be hugely powerful, with a multifaceted role ranging far beyond that of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the current regulator.

The OfS will regulate institutions and the sector, grant degree-awarding powers and university title, award teaching grant to institutions and, potentially, award its own degrees if it sees gaps in provision.

The OfS officially comes into existence on 1 January 2018, under the Higher Education and Research Act passed earlier this year.

The consultation document, “Securing student success: risk-based regulation for teaching excellence, social mobility and informed choice in higher education”, was published by the Department for Education on behalf of the OfS.

The consultation emphasises that the OfS “will be a market regulator”, at sector level focused on “creating the conditions for competition, continuous improvement and informed choice within the sector, supplemented by tools to encourage and support activity that addresses market failure”.

The OfS regime “will be a marked shift from the current approach to regulation”, the consultation adds.

A separate consultation outlines proposed fees to be imposed on institutions, which will be required to register with the OfS if they wish to access public funding, including student loan funding (conditions attached to allowing institutions to be on the register of providers are the source of the OfS’ powers). For institutions with more than 10,000 students, the proposed fee is £92,000 a year; for those with more than 20,000 students, it is £119,700 a year.

  • On the TEF, the main consultation says: “From the launch of the OfS regulatory framework in August 2019, participation in TEF will be an ongoing registration condition for all approved and approved (fee cap) [those charging the basic fee and the maximum fee] providers with more than 500 undergraduate higher education students.” This follows the suggestion that the government’s decision to freeze fees at £9,250 would remove the incentive for universities to enter the TEF. The OfS has now resolved that uncertainty.
  • On access (the director for fair access will be merged into the OfS), the consultation document says that if institutions are not making progress on access, “the OfS will not hesitate to use sanctions where appropriate”.
  • On freedom of speech, the OfS says: “If a provider fails to comply with the freedom of speech principle then, as with all public interest principles, this would breach the registration condition. The OfS has a range of interventions at its disposal, such as imposing specific conditions or formal sanctions against the provider including monetary penalties, suspension from the register or deregistration. The OfS can also publicly call out providers who fail to comply with this principle and protect freedom of speech.”
  • The OfS will require institutions to publish “value for money” statements. “Providers should design this statement to allow students to see how their money is spent, following examples from other sectors, such as local authorities publishing breakdowns of how council tax is spent…Where there are substantial concerns the OfS may carry out an efficiency study to scrutinise whether a provider is providing value for money to both its students and the taxpayer,” the consultation says.
  • The consultation confirms that new providers will be allowed to award their own degrees from the start of their operations on a probationary basis, replacing a current system in which they must first establish a four-year record of teaching under a validation agreement with a university. The OfS will “put in place arrangements for a new provider to seek powers to award its own degrees as soon as it is registered”, says the consultation. “Granting such awarding powers on a probationary basis means that OfS can ensure that risk to students is properly mitigated whilst providing opportunities for fair competition to new high quality providers.” 
  • The OfS will award teaching grant “strategically, taking into account government priorities”.
  • On institutions closing down, the consultation says that the OfS “will not prop up failing providers: there is nothing wrong, in and of itself, with a provider closing down. Indeed, it is a sign of a healthy, functioning market.”
  • The OfS “may, in some circumstances, use its powers of entry and search as set out in [HERA] to investigate suspected serious breaches of a provider’s OfS ongoing registration conditions, its OfS funding or student support funding conditions, such as financial irregularity”. It is “envisaged” that the OfS “would exercise these powers rarely and only in exceptional circumstances”.
  • The OfS will have the power to remove an institution from the register of higher education providers that it maintains, thus removing its access to public funding, including student loans. “An example of when deregistration might be appropriate would be where a whistle-blower lets the OfS know a provider has been supplying inaccurate information to the OfS deliberately to conceal poor student outcomes,” says the consultation.
  • The consultation also notes that the act gives the OfS powers “to vary or revoke degree-awarding powers, and revoke university title. This is regardless of how these powers were obtained [including by Royal Charter], and applies whether or not providers are registered.”
  • The act also gives the OfS powers to validate degrees if approved by the secretary of state. The consultation cites the example of covering “more niche, specialist subject areas and/or innovative delivery models” as cases where the OfS could do so. Students will be taught by their providers, but “as the OfS will act as the degree-awarding body it will be responsible for the academic standards of any awards granted in its name, and for the quality of the learning programme”.

Article source:

US Rep. Cole predicts increased funding for federal higher education programs

While state funding for colleges remains up in the air as budget negotiations continue, federal dollars likely will increase, Congressman Tom Cole said Wednesday during a meeting of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Education bills in the U.S. House include big increases for TRIO and GEAR UP, “areas that are pretty important, particularly to Oklahoma higher education,” said Cole, R-Moore.

Federal TRIO programs are designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. GEAR UP helps students and their families better prepare for college. Oklahoma GEAR UP partners with 24 school districts across the state, serving more than 21,000 students each year.

“At the federal level … those things will all fare very, very well,” Cole said.

When it comes to federal funding, Republicans and Democrats come together on three areas — the National Institutes of Health, early childhood program and programs that support first-generation college students, “the kinds of programs where a lot of our students fall into,” he said.

“There’s nothing more important than giving kids an opportunity to succeed,” said Cole, a former college professor.

It’s something state lawmakers also should be able to get behind on a bipartisan basis to benefit the state, he said.

“Almost every family wants their kid to go to college,” Cole said. “Politically — long term — being against higher education is a loser.”

Putting a disproportionate share of the cost on families by increasing tuition prevents some students from attending college and keeps others from attending the college of their choice, he said.

Public funds for higher education should ensure students can go to the institution that suits them the best, takes them the furthest and gives them the best chance to succeed, he said.

It’s an investment that pays off, Cole said.

He noted Boeing employs 2,700 people in Oklahoma — 1,700 of them engineers — with an average salary of $91,000.

“If your not in the position to produce the engineers they need, they’ll get them sooner or later, but they’ll get them from somewhere else. Those ought to be jobs that we can and should compete for,” he said. “The investment has to be preserved and maximized.”

Meanwhile, state agencies remain unsure if they will sustain additional cuts as they wait for a budget agreement, said Todd Pauley, legislative liaison for the regents.

“I felt like last week they really were on to something and had something in their grasp, a deal that could be worked out, and that fizzled quickly,” Pauley said.

“Politics is a math problem and the math just doesn’t add up currently,” he said. “People are anxious for a solution and want to see something get done, but what that something is, it seems like folks are all over the board on.”

Chancellor Glen Johnson said he and Pauley are meeting with House and Senate members and leaders one-on-one, and have encouraged college presidents to talk with their area lawmakers and business leaders. Johnson said they have been asked to make the point that funding for higher education has been cut 25 percent over the past three years, the most of any state entity, and “additional cuts would be very difficult.”

No comment

Regent Mike Turpen, of Oklahoma City, asked the congressman if it was true he was recruited to serve on the search committee for the next president of the University of Oklahoma.

“I was approached, but that’s not something I’m going to be involved in,” Cole said.

Regent Jeff Hickman, of Fairview, replied, “You can’t be a candidate and on the committee at the same time, so I’m excited to hear that.”

“You guys are fishing, but I’m not biting,” Cole said.

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Article source:

Australian university funding cuts and fee rises blocked

The Australian government has been forced to shelve plans to cut university funding by A$2.8 billion (£1.7 billion) and to increase tuition fees by 7.5 per cent after its higher education bill failed to win support in the Senate.

The legislation was doomed to failure after the Nick Xenophon Team, which has three cross-bench senators, said that it could not support the funding cut or the fee increases. With Labor and the Greens opposed, the government needed the support of at least 10 of the 12 cross-benchers to pass the bill.

However, Simon Birmingham, the education minister, has not ruled out looking at other ways of delivering savings.

The government’s plans would also have seen 7.5 per cent of sector funding allocated on a performance-contingent basis, most likely judged on the sorts of student outcomes used in the UK’s teaching excellence framework.

The developments come as neighbouring New Zealand looked poised to abolish tuition fees, after Labour’s Jacinda Ardern was confirmed as the country’s next prime minister with the support of the New Zealand First party.

One of her key policies was to abolish fees and to increase living cost support for students.

In Australia, Belinda Robinson, chief executive of Universities Australia, described the government’s defeat as “a victory for common sense and Australia’s best interests”.

“The clear message to all decision-makers should be that inflicting major cuts on Australia’s higher education system is the wrong call,” she said. “This is an opportunity for government to hit the reset button and stop, once and for all, treating our university sector as a target for budget savings – when in fact it is an investment in Australia’s future.”

Mr Birmingham said that he was “appalled” by the Nick Xenophon Team’s position.

“Xenophon’s unacceptable approach would further grow the taxpayer-funded student debt burden and deliver even faster revenue increases for universities,” he said. “We are appalled that the troika of Labor, Greens and Xenophon parties are unwilling to make even modest reductions in the rate of spending growth, which under our reforms would still have increased university funding by 23 per cent over the next four years.”

Mr Birmingham added that he would “consider the options of this decision for higher education policy and, as always, will also ensure any budget implications are addressed”.

It is the second time in three years that the Australian government has been forced to scrap major higher education funding reforms. In 2015, Mr Birmingham shelved plans to remove caps on tuition fees and to reduce direct public funding by 20 per cent.

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Official Department of Education and Skills Schools and Severe Weather guidance for school management as follows:

Be prepared Be informed Be vigilant


Schools should conduct a pre-event evaluation of what should be, or could be, in place to ensure the opening of the school in the event of severe weather. Areas for consideration are maintenance of school premises and utilities, salting and gritting and transport to and from school.

Access in the school to a battery operated radio and flashlights should be put in place. Schools should ensure that every member of staff is clear as to their role and responsibilities during severe weather including in the event of a school closure. A member of staff should be assigned to monitor weather conditions and to contact the principal response agencies and
school transport services where required.

Included in the school’s plan for severe weather should be the proposed responses and roles
which will apply in the event of a Red level weather warning from Met Éireann.

Schools should ensure to have the relevant contact details of the principal response agencies for their area, including An Garda Síochána, fire brigade and local authorities and other appropriate services. Schools should also have contact details for the transport services serving their school.

These details should be checked regularly and kept up-to-date.

Schools should establish communications with neighbouring schools to ensure, as far as practicable, a unified local response to severe weather events may be implemented. It is noted however that while schools in an area may try to co-ordinate their decisions, the circumstances can vary between individual schools in close proximity and may on occasions lead to different
decisions being taken by schools.

Most schools use a text messaging service to communicate with parents and staff. Local radio, the school’s website or social media may also be useful to alert parents and students to school conditions and closure should this arise.

State Examinations
In the event of severe weather during scheduled state examinations the State Examinations Commission will communicate with schools to put in place alternative arrangements.

Status Red Weather Warning
All weather warnings of Status Red will require some action on behalf of schools. Schools need to assess the potential impact of such weather events taking account of past experiences and in light of advice on the current event from the principal response agencies in their area. 

A Status Red weather warning for heavy rain may be particularly relevant if the local area is prone to flooding. A Status Red warning related to ice or snow which may compact may cause local issues due to the location of the school and/or the routes taken to reach the school.

Status Red Weather Warning for Wind
Schools should note in particular Status Red weather warnings where strong winds or storm conditions are forecasted. Due to the high degree of unpredictability as to the impact of the weather associated with such a Status Red warning on local conditions schools should use the following guidance to assist them in making their assessment.

Status Red weather warning for wind related conditions may be given in advance of a school opening or it may arise during the day while a school is underway.

Advance Warning of Status Red
Following consultation at a national level with the Office of Emergency Planning and the management bodies for schools, the Department of Education and Skills’ advice to schools is that they should consider not opening where a Status Red weather warning related to wind is forecast to coincide with the period/s during which students and staff would be expected to be
travelling to and from school.

Whether the school should open later in the day where an improvement to the weather is forecast is a decision which should be taken in consultation with An Garda Síochána, the local  authorities, school transport services and other appropriate agencies based in the school’s area. 

Warning of Status Red that arises during the school day

Where the Status Red weather warning related to wind is issued when the school is already underway with students and staff present, the school management should immediately contact An Garda Síochána, the school transport services and other appropriate agencies for advice on whether it may be safe to undertake journeys from the school or when such journeys should  commence. Consideration should also be taken as to the safety of parents undertaking journeys
to the school to collect children.

Where a decision may have to be taken on health and safety grounds based on the advice available to the school for students and staff to remain on the school premises during a Status Red warning related to wind, then schools should plan for such an eventuality by considering how students and staff can be accommodated within the school while awaiting an improvement
in the weather. Such decisions should be taken based on the health and safety of all concerned taking account of the prevailing and forecast weather conditions in the vicinity of the school.

Guidance for the maintenance of school buildings and utilities is available from the Department of Education and Skills at

Guidance for primary schools on health and safety is available at

Guidance for post-primary schools on health and safety is available at

Information on weather and weather warnings is available

Useful guidelines on weather and being winter ready available at

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Will new education standards quantify experience?

Education (5)300

There are lingering questions about how the new education and professional standards for financial advisers will quantify the experience accumulated by a financial adviser who has been practicing for decades, according to the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA).

National president, Marc Bineham told a media briefing the industry required clarity on what would happen to those advisers who began their career decades ago when diplomas and degrees in financial advice and planning did not exist.

Speaking at the 2017 AFA National Adviser Conference at the Gold Coast last week about the AFA’s whitepaper on the financial advice competency framework, Bineham said he did not question the need for advisers to raise their minimum education requirements.

“For someone who is a 40-year adviser and who’s got all that experience and part of our whitepaper is how do we quantify that experience?” he asked.

“Yes you should have so much technical but then someone who’s just walked out of university to someone who’s been seeing people and built relationships for 40 years, you’ve got to be able to quantify that because it is appreciated by consumers.”

Bineham added that while the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms addressed investment advice and the incoming Life Insurance Framework (LIF) addressed life insurance advice, raising educational requirements for advisers was the final element of the package to raise consumer trust in advice.

“There is still a negative perception about what we do and we need to raise everyday Australians’ trust of our industry and as a profession and this is part of that,” he said.

“I think that package to help raise, we can go out and sort of say that we are raising that trust, and now education is the last piece of the puzzle that we need to help increase the trust factor with everyday Australians.”

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