WENR, March 2018: Americas

U.S.: Amid Fear of Foreign Influence, Colleges’ Confucius Institutes Face Renewed Skepticism

Recent attention has been refocused on China’s Confucius Institutes in the U.S., in part due to Senator Marco Rubio. Earlier this month, Senator Rubio sent letters to Florida Universities asking them to end their relationships with China’s Hanban, who oversees the institutes, due to concerns over the influence they may have over the U.S. Institutions. Rubio also encouraged FBI director Christopher A. Wray to investigate the institutes. Rubio’s concerns echo those of many academics who are alarmed about some of the stipulations of the agreements, for example how the institutes approach the topic of Tibet.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [1]
February 28

In Canada’s Public Schools, Immigrant Students Are Thriving

30 percent of Canadian schoolchildren are either first or second-generation immigrants. Despite the many obstacles to successful integration in most of the world, testing shows that within three years children of migrants to Canada do as well as native-born children. In part, this appears to be due to the Canadian assessment of potential immigrants based on their ability to take part in the economy. School programs encouraging intentional integration and equitable access, along with a strong support system for teachers, also appear to have some effect.

Education Week [2]
February 28


U.S.: HBCUs and the Trump Administration

Historically black colleges and universities have been toeing a very fine line during the current GOP administration. On one hand they have been actively seeking partnership with the government and government institutions to defend against losses in funding and attention. On the other hand they have been facing  pressure from students, faculty, and other groups to distance themselves from the administration. Some legislative good has come from the relationship, with Republican lawmakers citing the continuation of year-round Pell Grants as a direct result of these meetings.

Inside Higher Ed [3]
February 28

U.S.: Trump is driving Indian tech students away from American universities

Indian graduate students enrolling for  computer science and engineering programs in the US declined by 21% in 2017 vs. the previous year. This drop is largely perceived as a result of the Trump administrations policies, particularly those that may restrict the ability of international graduates to continue working in the U.S.

Quartz  India [4]
February 26

Brazil: What can a school’s infrastructure tell us about the quality of its education?

Student performance on Brazil’s National High School Exam are unsurprisingly linked to the socio-economic conditions of the schools themselves. For example, simply having trash pickup service on campus increases test scores by 39 points (out of nearly 1000). Other factors, from Libraries and Sports programs, to Science labs and internet, have an impact on student performance and are inherently more available to private schools and a handful of public schools in wealthier city districts,

The Brazilian Report [5]
February 2

U.S.: Trump and DeVos call for massive cuts to college student aid programs

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have proposed a budget that will have dire ramifications for the cost of higher education in the U.S. Some portions of the White House plan have been sheltered by the recent budget deal – work study and Pell programs, for example. However, loan forgiveness for public servants, lack of interest accumulation while still in school, and other payment restructuring plans could increase the cost of higher education significantly.

Washington Post [6]
February 13

U.S.: Tulane Law School will start offering aid for students, faculty with immigration concerns

Tulane University has hired a lawyer to focus on a variety of immigration issues that are affecting students, staff, and faculty in the current political environment. The new counsel’s highest priority will be Dreamers –  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program members – who’s immigration status is jeopardy. The office will also assist with issues related to the travel ban and lapsed visas.

February 12