The Association of Former Students
Howdy, Aggies!
If you are one of our newest advocates, we would like to thank you for joining your fellow former students in this worthy endeavour, and welcome to the team! Our sixth news update includes a recap of both the Texas Republican and Democratic Conventions...both of which took place within the last two weeks. Other articles include an analysis of a proposed merger of the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, takeaways from the federal report on The Condition of Education, and an opinion piece about the "risks" of delaying the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).  We close this update with a Forbes article which highlights the cognitive benefits of pursuing and achieving a college degree.
While some articles may reflect opinion pieces, we hope that you will find all of the material informative, reasoned, and useful. We provide these articles to provide a broad context on the issues and not as an endorsement for any particular view. 

Thanks and gig ’em,
Dave Fujimoto ’17
Director of Strategic Engagement

Texas Politics

Texas Republican Convention 

"Texas Republicans on [June 16] mapped out which issues the state GOP should support ahead of the 2019 legislative session — a list that again included a version of the “bathroom bill” and “constitutional carry."
"Nearly 10,000 delegates and alternates at the state GOP convention [in San Antonio] capped off their three-day gathering by taking votes on more than 300 proposed platform planks and a handful of legislative priorities after a few hours of relatively mild debate."
Read more about the Texas Republican Convention here

Texas Democratic Convention

"With little to no debate, state party Democrats on [June 23] signed off on their 2018 platform, a list that reflects the ideals leaders and members support ahead of the November election and 2019 legislative session."

"The platform includes support for legalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana, providing tuition-free community college to Texas residents and maintaining the Top 10 Percent Rule, which requires all public universities to admit all Texans who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school's class."

"The nearly 7,500 delegates in attendance rounded out their three-day gathering in Fort Worth by passing the party’s entire platform in a single voice vote."
Read more about the Texas Democratic Convention here.

Higher Education - Federal

The Risk of Kicking Higher Ed Reauthorization Down the Road

"The House Committee on Education and the Workforce moved its higher education reauthorization bill, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act (PROSPER Act), out of committee [seven] months ago. Soon after, HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), indicated markup of the bill could begin [in April]."
Continue reading in The Hill.

An 'Education' and the 'Workforce' agency?

"A White House proposal to merge the Departments of Education and Labor has reignited a long-running debate about whether the worker training and education functions of the federal bureaucracy should be distinct or part of the same operation - and whether there might be better ways to create a more coherent system for educating and training Americans. The proposal is part of a broader plan to overhaul much of the federal government released by the Trump administration [last week]."
Continue reading about the potential merger of the two federal agencies here.

Opinions on Higher Education 

3 Takeaways From a Book-Length Federal Report on "The Condition of Education"

"None of the myriad of data points in The Condition of Education 2018, a congressionally mandated annual report from the U.S. Department of Education released in May, should come as a great surprise to close observers of the sector. Still, the report, which covers the education life cycle from child-care expenses to employment outcomes, provides a useful reminder of the many ways in which the higher-education landscape differs from popular perceptions of it."
Continue reading for further analysis of the report from Inside Higher Ed here.  

Congress Needs to 'Follow the Research' and Prioritize Higher Education

Worldwide, we have seen a trend towards increasing investment in traditional higher education, including and especially liberal arts programs like philosophy, economics, mathematics, biology and chemistry. But in the U.S., we’re questioning not just the dollars-and-cents value of a four-year degree but the developmental, intellectual and societal value.” 
Continue reading this Forbes article here.

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