Study Shows Increased Political Polarization

A UCLA study found that 48 percent of college and university faculty nationwide identify themselves as either “liberal” or “far left,” while 18 percent identify themselves as “conservative” or “far right.” The study also reported a significant gender gap, with 54 percent of women faculty identifying as “liberal” or “far left” compare d to 44 percent of men.

According to the study, the percentage of faculty who believe their college or university actively promotes multiculturalism grew from 40 percent in 1989 to 54 percent in 2001.

The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA’s Graduate school of Education and Information Studies surveyed 55,521 people at 416 colleges and universities nationwide.

According to the study, 32 percent of faculty believe students are prepared for college, compared with 28 percent in 1998. It also found that 78 percent of faculty care about their students’ personal problems while 83 percent care about their students’ academic problems.

Virtual Classes Grow to Meet Needs

The University of California released a report earlier this month outlining the effectiveness of virtual education programs in other states in hopes of addressing the educational issues facing California. The study examined the patterns and costs involved in meeting educational needs that are not being met in the classroom.

The University of California’s College Preparatory Initiative (UCCP), a UC program that provides advanced placement and high school honors courses to underserved populations in California, funded the report to provide a roadmap for California online education programs based on the experiences of online programs elsewhere.

“There are certain benefits that can come from working on courseware development in conjunction with the higher education institutions that will be recipients of today’s high school students,” Julius Zelmanowitz, co-chair of the UCCP Systemwide Advisory Committee, said.

Other states such as Florida and Michigan have already offered consolidated online courses, teacher training and advanced placement courses to schools that don’t have them. The Michigan Virtual High School invested $18 million into its statewide school program. The report offers a blueprint for incorporating consistent, individualized online delivery in California.

Standardized Test Tips Put on Web

The University of California is making free online preparation for tests like the SAT and the ACT available through the Internet in an attempt to aid students who cannot pay for preparatory classes.

Any California student can access the material, which includes tutorials and practice sessions, from the California Virtual High School Web page.

“The University of California doesn’t want financial limitations to put students at a disadvantage, so we are making these courses available to all students,” Francisco Hernandez, Director of the UC’s College Preparatory Initiative said. “This is the latest effort to level the playing field for students.”

Materials on the website include vocabulary drills, multiple-choice questions and time management tips.