xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Local student meets with US Secretary of Education to discuss college ratings, issues

Westminster High School junior Jeremy Price, 16, was selected as one of 11 high school students to participate in a round-table discussion with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as part of the department's Student Voices Series. The discussion took place in late November at the education department's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Price discussed President Barack Obama's plan to create a new ratings system for colleges and other issues important to upcoming and current college students with Duncan and other officials.
Price was invited to the discussion by the National Association of Student Councils because of his role serving as state legislative affairs coordinator for the Maryland Association of Student Councils.
The Times caught up with Price and asked him a few questions about his experience.
Q: What did you discuss when you met with Duncan?
A: We discussed college affordability and the President Obama-sponsored college ratings system and other federal resources for students applying to or enrolled in institutions of higher education. The meeting was two hours long, including about half an hour with Secretary Duncan.
Q: What individual contribution did you make to the discussion?
A: When discussing what factors would need to be taken into account for rating colleges and universities, I pointed out that in addition to comparing programs for different majors at different schools, such as business or engineering, data should also be included for graduates' success in the workforce, even if in a field not directly related to their major, thus indicating the versatility of a degree from each school.
I also contributed further to an idea for a federally provided student resource - one website that would contain data for every accredited institution, thus allowing students to easily compare them. It would be similar to resources offered by College Board and Princeton Review, except more objective and complete.
Q: What did you discuss concerning President Obama's plan to create a ratings system to measure college performance?
A: We discussed what factors would be included in the ratings system and how the data should be presented and provided as resources for students. We also discussed how good college performance or improvement would award schools more money, including Pell grants, making high-performing colleges more affordable for students.
Q: Do you think the plan is a good one and that the measurements will be helpful to students and families?
A: I think the plan definitely carries benefits - incentivizing colleges to perform better will increase graduation rates and overall quality of education, and federal aid can help ease tuition for students, making college more affordable. However, we should be cautious about finding a stable source for the extra funds provided by the federal government in this program.
Q: Did you feel that Duncan took your thoughts seriously?
A: The U.S. Department of Education definitely wanted to show they are taking input from the public, especially students - representatives have been holding open forums around the country on the topics we discussed. I did feel that they were taking our ideas seriously - Secretary Duncan, Under Secretary [Martha] Kanter, and the other outreach officials holding the meeting took careful notes on our responses to their questions and asked us clarifying questions.
Q: What other challenges face high school students currently, in your view?
A: Amid the sometimes-challenging changes in curriculum, I view student apathy as one of the most pervasive issues among highschoolers. Motivating students to take a deep interest in their education is one of the most central topics in the school system.
Q: What are your plans for college?
A: I plan to go to college - possibly for computer science or computer engineering. I am enrolled in "Honors and AP Computer Science" at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center this spring and next fall to explore these options.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement