An Ed Central's weekly newsletter.

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Education News from New America Ed Central. Distributed every Wednesday, ‘Education News’ highlights important education policy news and analysis from the last week, both from features on Ed Central and other news and research sources.

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Top Stories from Ed Central

REPAYMENT RATE IN LATEST GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT PROPOSAL CAN STILL BE GAMED, according to New America’s Ben Miller. See his suggestions for minor tweaks that will make program accountability more accurate on EdCentral. Also, catch up on this week’s negotiated rulemaking sessions via Ben’s liveblogs: Day 1 is here and Day 2 is here.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: NEW PRE-K BILLS PUT FOCUS ON ACCESS WITHOUT SACRIFICING QUALITY, say New America’s Clare McCann and Laura Bornfreund. Want to know more about the proposals from last Wednesday and their chance of making it past congressional gridlock? Check out Clare and Laura’s story on EdCentral.

UVA CALLED OUT FOR ENDING ITS ACCESSUVa PROGRAM. The move signals the university’s lack of commitment to helping low-income students gain access, reports New America’s Stephen Burd. UVA is taken to task over on EdCentral.

More from Ed Central

MORE ON THE PRE-K BILLS AND THEIR REVOLUTIONARY DATA REQUIREMENTS hailed by New America’s Alex Holt. Funding, dosage, and location data reporting provisions will give us a clearer picture than ever before of how children and programs are doing. Read how on EdCentral.

“THE U.S. IS FALLING DANGEROUSLY BEHIND IN THE GLOBAL SKILLS RACE,” says New America’s Mary Alice McCarthy. More on why we’re lagging behind the international competition and what we can do to catch up over at EdCentral.

NEW SURVEY SHOWS STATES MAKING PROGRESS ON COLLECTING DATA, BUT STILL FAR FROM BEING ABLE TO USE IT, according to New America’s Clare McCann. The Data Quality Campaign’s annual survey let’s us check in on states’ progress in optimizing their use of education data. Check out the highlights over on EdCentral.

PROPOSED TEACHER PREP ACCOUNTABILITY INSUFFICIENT, says New America’s Melissa Tooley. What signals is the profession sending by recommending a maximum–but no minimum–for cut scores on teacher performance assessments? Find out on EdCentral.

PreK-12 News

NEW $100 MILLION GRANT COMPETITION SIMILAR TO RACE TO THE TOP ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY. The program, called “Youth CareerConnect,” is aimed at building links between high schools and higher education or employers to prepare students with the skills necessary for a high-tech economy. Bloomberg and EdWeek have more.

AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCED 31 FINALISTS FOR ITS RACE TO THE TOP-DISTRICT COMPETITION. See who’s in the running for a share of $120 million, and who didn’t make the cut, here.

PLENTY OF BLOWBACK TO LAST WEDNESDAY’S PRE-K BILL ANNOUNCEMENTLyndsey Layton questions the bill’s bipartisan bona fides in the Washington Post Allie Bidwell casts doubts on preschools as the panacea for what ails Americans’ illiteracy in U.S. News & World Report.

MEANWHILE, RED STATE OKLAHOMA CONTINUES TO LEAD THE PACK ON EARLY EDUCATION, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel’s piece in the Washington Post’s opinion section.

ONE ED TECH COMPANY ENVISIONS TABLETS REPLACING TEXTBOOKS. Take a look inside its offices to see potential advantages of using technology in the classroom on Business Insider.

Higher Ed and the Workforce News

SOME SEE TECHNOLOGY CLOSING THE MINORITY ACHIEVEMENT GAP IN HIGHER EDUCATION. The Economist reports on programs that are helping students work more effectively and efficiently towards completion, while the Atlantic spotlights online advising’s potential to help community college students graduate.

SEQUESTRATION CONTINUES TO PUT THE SQUEEZE ON UNIVERSITIES as Moody’s announces it may downgrade the credit of research universities in light of the funding difficulties the cuts are causing, reads a piece in Inside Higher Ed.

UW-MADISON NOW OFFERING FLEX DEGREE to let students with families, jobs, and some college finish their degrees when they want — and based on competency, not time in the classroom. Read more at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

MOOCs REAR THEIR HEADS AGAIN, AS STANFORD TRIES TO CATCH UP TO THE ONLINE COMPETITION, claims a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF A COLLEGE RAN YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL? This is the question facing some Rochester residents as they consider a new proposal to the school board Monday. Read more in USA Today.