Texas A&M deploys self-swabbing COVID-19 testing kiosks

Texas A&M University has set up walk-up coronavirus testing kiosks to increase the accessibility of COVID-19 testing and to improve data collection, which will be used to inform the university’s outbreak prevention strategy, the university announced this week. The three outdoor walk-up testing locations, created by the coronavirus testing company Curative, are to help the university’s COVID-19 testing program better identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The kiosks will be available to Texas A&M’s more than 64,000 students and approximately 10,000 faculty and staff currently on campus, as well as non-university affiliated individuals, said Angela Clendenin, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

The wealth gap: How the education world fails to fully measure students’ economic disadvantage

America’s racial wealth gap is massive. The median Black household with children has a net worth of $300, compared to $47,250 for the median white family. Those Black families have 1%, and Hispanic families have 8%, of the average white family’s wealth. The education world often ignores wealth, though, focusing instead on family income, where racial disparities are smaller. It’s ingrained in how we study efforts to help students at an economic disadvantage and talk about them, too: How are low-income students faring compared to their more affluent peers?

NSA aims to boost Black students’ access to security education, paid internships

The National Security Agency and the Department of Defense announced an initiative on Thursday meant to increase access to cybersecurity education, mentoring and paid internships for students at historically Black colleges and universities. The workforce development program will connect students at eligible educational institutions with internships and mentorship through the Pentagon’s Office of Small Business Programs, officials said Thursday during a call with reporters. Students may also participate in exercises at the Maryland Innovation & Security Institute’s virtual cyber range, to gain hands-on technical training that will help them to later provide technical assistance to small businesses.

Diversity Work, Interrupted

Two campuses are halting diversity efforts in relation to the White House’s recent executive order against “divisive concepts” in federally funded programs. In a campus memo, the University of Iowa’s interim associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, Liz Tovar, said, “Let us state unequivocally that diversity, equity and inclusion remain as core values within our institution.” However, she continued, “after consulting with multiple entities, and given the seriousness of the penalties for non-compliance with the order, which include the loss of federal funding, we are recommending that all units temporarily pause for a two-week period.”

Making Online Education and Workforce Training More Effective

Millions of displaced U.S. workers and the likely restructuring of industries — including retail, travel, hospitality and more — have increased urgency to improve workforce training in this country, according to new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Task Force on the Future of Work. Three new research briefs from the MIT task force explore the fragmented U.S. workforce training system for low- to moderate-skilled workers, as well as comparable programs in Europe, where the private sector is significantly involved in both pedagogy and the workplace.

Proposal for New Federal Education Credit and Accountability System

A new policy paper published by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project proposes two new federal government programs designed to bridge the divide between higher education and the workforce system. The goal of these linked new programs and funding streams, the paper’s co-authors argue, is to expand and equalize access to postsecondary education, reduce the sector’s reliance on in-person instruction and to develop a “cumulative science” of adult learning. The paper proposes new Learning Opportunity Credits for U.S. adults who have experienced job loss and have received unemployment benefits during the last two years.

The Dollars and Sense of Free College

Policymakers have debated the specifics of free-college programs—including whether free-college eligibility should extend to students at four-year public colleges as well as community colleges, and whether it should be universal or targeted to low-income and middle-income students. Free-college proposals generally reflect support for some form of publicly funded program that makes college attendance affordable for a majority of students. As it turns out, the idea of free college is not dead; in fact, it is alive and well.