Last modified: Monday, February 17, 2003
Learning Matters/February 2003
News tips about education from Indiana University
The Pell Grant program lacks adequate funding, according to Edward St. John, an expert on higher education policy in the IU School of Education. He said the proposal from President Bush for the next fiscal year shows an increase in total spending for the federal student aid program, but no change in the maximum of $4,000 per student. "The Pell Grant total is still too low to ensure that poor college-qualified students can afford to attend four-year colleges in most states," said St. John, who issued a report from the IU Education Policy Center last May that was critical of the Pell program. The IU professor said the U.S. Department of Education has overlooked the key role of finances, in particular the role of need-based student aid, when analyzing the causes of disparity in college access. This action, he said in the May report, has left more than 1 million college-qualified, low-income and minority students behind. He noted that Indiana is one of the few states to have success in maintaining financial access for low-income, college-qualified students. For more information, contact St. John at 812-855-1240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing area eighth-graders an up-close look at college life is the goal of the Partners In Education program created by the School of Education staff council. Education staff members have partnered with Batchelor Elementary School in Bloomington to provide 10 children each year a hands-on view of college life. "The children chosen for the PIE program have the potential to go on to higher education but hadn't previously considered college as an option," said Michelle Machek, PIE program chair. Campus tours for the children have included the IU Auditorium, Lilly Library, the Indiana Memorial Union, Assembly Hall and the Student Recreational Sports Center. "We try to tie the tours to various professions and show students that universities offer a variety of career choices," Machek explained. Students also are provided information on the 21st Century Scholars Program and financial aid opportunities. "We want to make sure they have all the information necessary to make higher education a real possibility for them," Machek said. "We also try to impress upon them that their actions in school today affect their chances for higher education tomorrow." The program has been well received by the students, Batchelor administrators and counselors, and the School of Education staff. "We are so thankful to have these students here," Machek said. "If we can get one or two of them to continue on to higher education, it's an accomplishment. If they all go, that's great." For more information, contact Machek at 812-856-8323 or email@example.com.
Preparing Indiana's K-12 teachers to meet the needs of Limited English Proficient Students has taken on a sense of urgency in the last few years. According to the Indiana Department of Education, the number of LEP students in Indiana's schools increased 357 percent from the 1993-94 school year to 2000-01. With the aid of a five-year $1 million grant from the Office of English Language Acquisition, the School of Education is offering the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Program that annually links 36 ESL teachers with content-area teachers in schools that have strong ESL needs. According to program director Faridah Pawan, visiting assistant professor in language education, the program, now in its second year, is extremely popular and well-attended. "Participation in the program is at its maximum, and we have a waiting list of schools wanting to participate," she said. To help meet the mounting need of teachers requiring ESL teaching skills, ICP is now offering Web-based training incorporating the School of Education's Inquiry Learning Forum and providing courses via the Internet and video-conferencing. "We also offer a fully stocked lending library to help support in-service learning as well as trained personnel to provide onsite in-service workshops," Pawan said. "We want to be a resource center for all teachers who work with students who come from diverse backgrounds." For more information on ICP, contact Pawan at 812-856-8274 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parental involvement in migrant education brings challenges to educators, according to Gerardo Lopez, an assistant professor in the School of Education with extensive research interest in this field. He said the traditional parental involvement of visiting with the teacher and attending school functions isn't applicable for many migrant families, the majority of whom are Latinos. "Many migrant parents whose students are successful don't even visit the schools; their involvement is in the home," he said. Lopez said the Latino population in Indiana is expanding rapidly, and this is getting the attention of state leaders in education and social services because the vast majority of these people are migrant students and parents. The IU educator said considerable progress has been made throughout the country in terms of migrant education in recent years, but in several areas the family living conditions remain substandard and appalling. For more information, contact Lopez at 812-856-8392 or email@example.com.