Class Notes: Rick Santorum, College ‘Snobs’ and More Education News

Each week, TIME's Kayla Webley fills you in on the goings on in the education world, everything from pre-K to higher ed.

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Twenty-Six States Apply for No Child Left Behind Waivers
The Department of Education said Wednesday that 26 states and Washington, D.C. submitted applications to receive a relief from the strictest requirements of No Child Left Behind in the latest round. That relief is provided in the form of a waiver that releases states from having to meet targets that education officials have long complained are too rigid and impossible to meet, including one key provision that required all students at public schools to be proficient in math and reading by 2014. Each of the 11 states who applied for relief in the first round were granted waivers. In order to receive a waiver the states must adopt the Obama Administration’s preferred set of education reforms. Read more about round one here.

Three Students Dead in Ohio School Shooting
Three students at Chardon High School in suburban Cleveland were killed this week by one of their fellow classmates. The three students were sitting in a small group waiting for a bus when a classmate pulled a gun and started firing from just a few feet away. According to witnesses, the alleged 17-year-old shooter, T.J. Lane, then fled the school, chased by a teacher, before police arrested him nearby. See a list of “who’s who” in the shooting tragedy here and read an opinion column on whether the parents are to blame here.

Lady Gaga Launches Born This Way Foundation
Lady Gaga unveiled her Born This Way Foundation at Harvard University on Thursday, accompanied by Oprah and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The foundation is aimed at empowering youth and nurturing a better environment for teens both in and out of school. Drawing on her own experiences with bullying, Gaga said she wants to inspire bravery in young people and their parents to work toward a kinder, more accepting society. TIME interviewed Lady Gaga about her foundation yesterday, and subscribers can read the interview online here.

Santorum and the ‘Snob’ Heard ‘Round the College World
In a campaign event last week, Rick Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for implying all Americans should go to college. “Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum said. “President Obama once said he wants everyone in America to go to college. What a snob.” The problem is, as identified by Dana Goldstein and others, is that Santorum is misrepresenting what Obama actually said about college. In a February 2009 address to college, he said, “So tonight I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship.” Encouraging Americans to get some form of higher education is not snobbery—it’s an acknowledgment of the shortfall of skilled workers that our nation is currently experiencing, which is only expected to worsen in the coming years. In fact, as Goldstein writes, between now and 2018, more than 14 million new American jobs will be created in “mid-skill” occupations that require an associate’s degree or an occupational certificate.

Number of the Week: 30%
The portion of Americans over the age of 25 who have at least a bachelor’s degree, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The new estimation is the highest ever recorded—in 2001, 26.4% of Americans over 25 held college degrees. Read more here.

Rick Santorum’s Misconceptions on Public Education
For much of the past two weeks, as Rick Santorum’s candidacy star power has increased, so too have his critiques of public education. At recent campaign events and in last Thursday’s debate, he called American public schools “big factories” left over from the Industrial Revolution and argued for decreasing federal and state roles in education. In a Swampland column, I write about what Santorum either doesn’t know (or chooses to disregard) about public education. Read my column here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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