#tellEWA Member Stories (June 23-29)

Here’s what we’re reading by EWA members this week.

A Florida college trustee hopes to “reconquer public institutions all over the United States.” Reveal partnered with Sam Greenspan to examine changes taking place at his alma mater – New College of Florida, a public liberal arts and academically rigorous institution that Gov. Ron DeSantis targeted. Greenspan spent time with student journalists as they covered DeSantis’ actions to remake their school, including ousting the college president and appointing new, conservative trustees.

It remains unclear how often Alabama public schools place children in seclusion or under physical restraint. That’s because state officials spent years refusing public records requests from Trisha Powell Crain and the Alabama Education Lab at AL.com. Seclusion, especially, has been illegal in the state since 2011, but schools performed the practice as recently as 2018, according to the last available public data. “The mass majority of schools stopped reporting or accurately reporting years ago.”

As today’s youth battle anxiety and depression, there aren’t enough school psychologists and social workers to help them. Funding proved to be a challenge in the past, but now federal pandemic-relief funding is helping schools and colleges recruit and retain mental health providers. Writing for The Hechinger Report, Kelly Field explains what these institutions are doing.

Adults – age 50 or older – left California’s community colleges at the highest rates compared to other age groups after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Rather than taking online classes they weren’t comfortable with, these adults – often low-income – worked essential jobs like farming or supported their families. Now state community colleges want these students back, and they could lose multi-millions if their outreach efforts don’t work, Adam Echelman reports for CalMatters.

Several Pennsylvania college campuses are seeing enrollment declines, including a University of Pittsburgh branch campus, reports Bill Schackner for Trib Live. He cites several factors, including a shrinking college-age population, and focuses on how these declines will affect branch campuses that rely on in-state students. The situation is further complicated by the state’s sprawling system of state-owned, public and private colleges.

“What would you want me to do, sit around and play cards?” This 87-year-old woman instead chooses to spend her time inside the Iowa Department of Corrections taking college classes and interacting with professors at the top of their fields. As told to Open Campus Charlotte West through a lightly edited essay, Mary Kathleen Tyler details her prison education journey and the increased incarceration of women due to mandatory sentences for serious crimes.