With last night’s State of the Union address, all eyes were on education, especially on President Obama’s proposal for free community college tuition, among other top issues discussed. Obama’s America’s College Promise, would cover two years of tuition for qualifying community college programs and qualifying students. His program is not without strings: “You’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time.” The requirements stipulate that students who attend community college at least part-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA would be able to have their tuition waived – with the federal government covering three-quarters of the cost and participating states covering the remaining amount.
I strongly support the president’s initiative. As he pointed out, Tennessee and Chicago already offer tuition-free community college and forty percent of US college students choose community college. The program is good not just for students, but also for community colleges, which play a vital and growing role in higher education. Much-needed innovation is taking place on our college campuses, especially at our community colleges. Advanced teaching concepts making use of Analytics and Competency-Based Education (CBE) are being nurtured in this environment. The president’s program together with educational initiatives including expanded apprenticeships on the part of businesses like CVS and UPS will keep higher education attuned to the needs of students, businesses and our society as a whole.
Another important topic of last night’s SOTU address was protecting student information. The President discussed increasing online privacy measures for children at school. With a growing number of schools turning to online learning tools in the classroom and beyond, more and more databases are keeping track of everything from attendance to free lunch eligibility. To date, school districts have been solely responsible for ensuring that students’ data is kept private. The Student Digital Privacy Act would require any information that a company collects about students be used only for educational purposes, taking the responsibility off of the schools and putting it on the technology companies.
In addition to providing fast, reliable Wi-Fi and wireless network infrastructure to colleges, universities, and K-12 school districts, Extreme Networks helps schools protect student privacy with Purview Network-Powered Analytics. The realtime Purview dashboards and reports monitor who and which applications are accessing data with a view into what software is running across the network. As a company, Extreme Networks is committed to advancing education by providing the network infrastructure that supports high speed digital content, flipped classroom, online education, reliable online student assessment, and other emerging educational technology.