Class Notes: Law School, Student Loans and More Education News

Each week, we fill you in on the goings on in the education world, everything from pre-K to higher ed.

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Report Warns Failing Schools Threatens National Security
The Council on Foreign Relations released a report on Tuesday, noting that in failing to properly educate students, the nation risks being unable to compete in the global economy and maintain its leadership role worldwide. “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” warns the 30-member task force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state, who has called failing schools her “greatest national security concern.” Download the full report here.

Graduation Rate Up Slightly
The nation’s high-school graduation rate rose to 75.5% from 72.6% from 2002 and 2009, according to a report from the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. While only one state, Wisconsin, reached the goal of a 90% graduation rate, Vermont wasn’t far behind, and Tennessee and New York made significant gains. Another bit of good news, according to the Washington Post, is that the number of “dropout factories” — those schools where at least 60% of students fail graduate on time — fell from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,550 in 2010. The study also notes that, on average, high school graduates earn $130,000 more over their lifetimes than those who drop out. Read more here.

The percentage of students at public universities who feel students who cheat should be punished. But two out of every three students admit to having cheated themselves. Read more from Inside Higher Ed here.

Students, Your Loan Interest Rate Is About to Double
On July 1, as many as 8 million college students will see their interest rates on federally subsidized student loans double, from 3.4% to 6.8%. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, that increase amounts to the average Stafford loan borrower’s paying $2,800 more over a standard 10-year repayment term for loans made after June 30. With the deadline looming, college students last week delivered some 130,000 letters to Congress, urging legislators to keep the interest rate at 3.4%, but despite the outcry, the increase isn’t quite as devastating as it has been portrayed. Read more here.

The number of educators who see state required standardized tests as an essential or very important gauge of student achievement, according to a new survey from Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; additionally, only 26% of teachers say the tests accurately reflect student knowledge. Read more from Education Week here.

LSAT Decline Shows Waning Interest in Attending Law School
In the last two years, the number of LSAT test takers has fallen by nearly 25%, according to the Law School Admission Council. In the past year alone the number of test takers has declined by 16% — the largest decline in more than a decade. According to the New York Times, the decline reflects the condition of the legal market, which is predicted to have a tough time absorbing the 45,000 student who are expected to graduate from law school in each of the next three years. Read more here.

$1.3 billion
The amount state and local appropriations for higher education have decreased by from 2007-08 to 2011; in the same time period, college enrollment has increased nationally by 12.5% to 11.5 million students. Read more from the Chronicle of Higher Education 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.