The Lookout
  • (Thinkstock)Is a bachelor's degree not good enough anymore?

    That's what education writer Laura Pappano suggests in a piece in the New York Times over the weekend. She explains the mounting appeal of the fastest-growing degree in the country: The master's.

    The number of master's degrees given out since the 1980s has more than doubled. Now, two in 25 adults aged 25 and over have a master's degree--about the same percent as had attained a college education or higher in 1960.

    The one-to-two year masters programs--which are often quite pricey--are becoming ever more specialized and vocation-oriented. Economist Eric A. Hanushek told Pappano that workers pick up the tab for the credential--and then employers reap the rewards of more highly trained employees, without having to invest in that training themselves. "The beneficiaries are the colleges and the employers," he said.

    Read More »from Is a master’s degree the new bachelor’s?
  • Welcome to First Look, our daily roundup of early-bird news:

    • The man accused of mass murder in Norway wrote a 1,500-page manifesto that quoted Robert Spencer and other American activists who warn of the danger of Islam. (New York Times)

    • He also constructed a "parallel life" while allegedly planning for the attacks--dining with his mother every Sunday and watching "True Blood." (New York Times)

    • U.S. taxpayer money has been funneled to the Taliban in Afghanistan under a program to fund local businesses. (Washington Post)

    Read More »from FIRST LOOK: Accused Norway shooter led ‘parallel life’ while preparing for attack
  • Holder (AP)The Justice Department and the Department of Education are starting a new program to prevent schools from calling the cops to deal with less-serious disciplinary issues. The new effort is called the Supportive School Discipline Initiative.

    "Maintaining safe and supportive school climates is absolutely critical, and we are concerned about the rising rates and disparities in discipline in our nation's schools," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement. The program is supposed to halt what advocates call the "school-to-prison pipeline." When principals call the cops on students instead of disciplining them within school, students are more likely to drop out and eventually join the country's enormous prison population, advocates say.

    The federal government doesn't actually have any power to change schools' discipline policies, however. (Just last October, Duncan told schools to "eliminate" bullying altogether. We're betting that hasn't quite happened yet.) Duncan says the initiative will work to "build consensus" and awareness about the issue, while partnering with non-profits.

    According to EdWeek, Attorney General Eric Holder referenced a recent study finding that 60 percent of Texas school children are suspended or expelled between 7th grade and when they graduate. "I think these numbers are kind of a wake-up call," he said yesterday. "It's obvious we can do better."

    Read More »from Holder says Texas suspensions a “wake-up call”

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