Class Notes: College Majors, Youth Jobs 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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Obama Announces Youth Jobs Plan
The Obama Administration just announced a new plan to help low-income and disconnected youth ages 16 to 24 find summer jobs and year-round employment. Part of the American Jobs Act, the program, called Summer Jobs+, is designed to lower the record-high youth unemployment. The administration estimates it will cost $1.5 billion and provide nearly 180,000 jobs. Several large corporations have already committed to hiring youth as part of the program. Read more about the plan here.

Texas Police Kill Eighth Grader Carrying a Pellet Gun
Police in Brownsville, Texas killed a 15-year-old middle school student yesterday when he brandished a weapon in a hallway at Cummings Middle School. According to the Associated Press, Jaime Gonzalez was repeatedly shot after police say he refused to drop his weapon, which turned out to be a pellet gun that closely resembled the real thing. The student’s parents are demanding to know why officers took lethal action against their son. Read more here.

Architecture Majors Most-Likely to Be Unemployed
A study released Wednesday by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, shows that job prospects for recent college grads vary by major. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the study, called “Hard Times, College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal,” architecture majors face the highest unemployment (13.9%) of all 22- to 26-year-olds with all bachelor’s degrees. Other majors with high unemployment include the arts (11.1%) and humanities and liberal arts (9.4%), while health-care, science and business majors have relatively low unemployment rates. Overall, though, college graduates continue to have a much lower unemployment rate (8.9%) than those without a college degree (22.9%). Read more from the Chronicle here.

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The Pros and Cons of Attending a For-Profit College
Researchers from Harvard University found when it comes to for-profits, the results are mixed. While the schools educate a larger portion of minority and disadvantaged students and have greater success at retaining students in their first year, the study also notes students who attend for-profit schools are more likely to be unemployed and make less than comparable students who attended other types of schools. Students at for-profits, unsurprisingly, also have a far greater debt burden and are more likely to default on their student loans. Download the study here.

Physical Activity Improves Academic Performance, Study Says
A study out this week shows that the more physical activity a child gets, the higher their scores in school, particularly in the subjects math, English and reading. Research out of the VU University in the Netherlands and published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine shows physical activity is associated with higher GPAs and better scores on standardized tests. The study may fuel the ongoing debate over whether physical education classes should be cut from school programs due to budget constraints. According to the Centers for Disease Control, students should have about one hour of physical activity every day to remain healthy; only 18% of high school students met this requirement in the week prior to a 2009 survey and 23% had not exercised at all during that period. Read more about the study on Healthland.

Nine States Awarded Race to the Top Early Learning Awards
In case you missed it while Class Notes was on hiatus over the holiday, on December 20, the Obama Administration announced nine states—California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington—will receive grants from the $500 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. This round of Race to the Top aimed to award states with high-quality programs for low-income children from birth to age 5. Read more 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.