U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. wants colleges to stop asking applicants about their criminal histories early in the admissions process, he will announce at UCLA on Monday. Asking applicants for information about their criminal history can prevent them from finishing their applications, King says. Because a disproportionate number of people who have been charged with crimes are people of color, the U.S. Department of Education says, these questions increase the barriers disadvantaged students face when seeking an education. "We believe in second chances and we believe in fairness," King said in a statement. "We must ensure that more people ... have the chance at higher education opportunities."
College-bound high school students who have had trouble with the law may still have to check a certain box the Obama administration wants off of admissions forms. Not all colleges and universities are buying into the Department of Education's "Beyond the Box" campaign to stop admissions officers from forcing applicants to disclose criminal and disciplinary histories. The administration believes such probing is a barrier to minorities, but critics say schools have a right to know if incoming students have rap sheets. "It's a nationwide social experiment putting college students at risk," said Dan Gainor, of the Media Research Institute. "If you commit crimes – sexual assault, domestic violence and others – we have a right to know and decide whether we want to associate with you."
This week, educators and students expressed their opposition to the College Board's decision to cut out parts of the Advanced Placement World History curriculum. The College Board announced in May that it was removing early world history from the nationally taught high school course. Starting in 2019, the AP World History exam will only assess content from 1450 to the present. Schools will have the option to offer a Pre-AP World History course that covers 600 BCE to 1450 instead, but it will not count for college credit like other AP courses. The flood of support for teaching early world history started after outraged teachers vocalized their concerns at an during an open forum with College Board members in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Students and parents have long suspected that money and connections help win access to top-tier colleges. But the federal indictments unsealed Tuesday alleging a massive nationwide scam by wealthy parents -- including corporate titans and Hollywood actresses -- to get their children into prestigious universities floored even the most jaded observers of higher education. And it reinforced what many say is a drastic imbalance between the uber-rich and everyone else in the hyper-competitive college admissions game. "This is disgusting," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges and a University of California regent who has long fought for wider access to higher education. "It reinforces the notion that … if you come from wealth you have a much greater chance of acceptance than if you're just a normal working-class American."
The Trump administration is set to roll back the Obama-era policies promoting diversity in universities, known as affirmative action, US media report. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked 24 guidance documents on Tuesday, many involving race in schools and affirmative action recommendations. It comes as Harvard University faces a discrimination lawsuit alleging it limits admissions for Asian-Americans. In 2016, the US Supreme Court had ruled in favour of affirmative action. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the 2016 opinion, announced his retirement from the top US court last month.