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In the News

Federal Grants for Charter Schools
Richard D. Kahlenberg October 12, 2015

TCF senior fellow Richard Kahlenberg talked about $150 million in Department of Education grants awarded to states to expand charter schools. He also discussed how these schools operate and their effectiveness.

Purdue deletes video of author’s academic talk on NSA after federal order
Barton Gellman October 9, 2015

Purdue University allegedly destroyed video of a presentation by TCF fellow Barton Gellman after one of the attendees discovered that some of the slides Gellman showed had yet to be declassified by the government. RT published a piece expressing shock at the university's actions:

Keeping to the theme of the event at which he spoke, Gellman wondered if this kind of government-university collusion foreboded the dawn of an era of doomed higher education.

Read Russia Today's article on Gellman's experience.

Reporter: Syrians Put Faith In Russians To Help End Conflict
Thanassis Cambanis October 9, 2015

TCF fellow Thanassis Cambanis recently traveled to Syria. Upon his return home, he spoke with NPR's Kelly McEvers about his experience and why Syrians are hopeful of the Russian airstrikes.

The idea was, that I heard voiced by almost everyone I spoke to, was that maybe this could be the beginning of the end. And after years and years of a stalemate in which the regime has steadily lost territory, pushed back to a third of the country, that maybe the Russians would sort of, like mythic super soldiers, come in and catalyze a real renaissance in the fortunes of the government and, you know, by bombing from the air and adding some kind of extra ingredient, enable the Syrian soldiers who've had so much trouble on the ground to finally turn things in the direction and recapture and consolidate control.

Listen to Cambanis's full interview on NPR's All Things Considered.

Help Wanted: Gluttons for Punishment in House GOP
Michael Cohen October 8, 2015

Following Kevin McCarthy's announcement that he no longer wishes to be considered for the speaker of the House, TCF fellow Michael Cohen drafted a "Help Wanted" ad for the House GOP conference.

The ideal candidate for this position will combine a passion for gridlock, guns, Israel, and draconian social policy with a limited knowledge of the world (except Benghazi), and a strong, assertive vision for how a large, prominent political and policy-making institution can enhance its political marginalization.

See the rest of Cohen's satirical job listing at the Boston Globe.

Purdue University Completely Freaks Out Because Bart Gellman’s Speech Shows Classified Snowden Docs
Barton Gellman October 8, 2015

TechDirt covered the bizarre behavior of Purdue University encountered by Bart Gellman at his national security, NSA, and Edward Snowden talk at a conference there. The article calls it "ridiculous" that it got this far in the first place.

We've talked about this a few times before, and the head in sand approach the government takes to pretending that publicly available leaked classified information is still secret. Government employees are regularly told they cannot look at such documents even if those documents are splashed across the pages of the Washington Post, the NY Times or other news sources. The rationale for this is that it takes away at least some incentive for people to force declassification by leaking documents. But it doesn't really.

Read TechDirt's full article on Gellman and the conference.

Are These Slides Classified?
Barton Gellman October 8, 2015

TCF fellow Barton Gellman recently spoke at Purdue University conference on the NSA, Edward Snowden, and surveillance. LIttle did he know, the video of his presentation would be destroyed following the event. Why? Because the university considered the content of Gellman's talk unsafe to retain. Inside Higher Ed wrote about Gellman's experience: 

Sure enough, someone filed a “breach report” with the university’s research information assurance officer, who brought the issue to the attention of the Defense Security Service, a Pentagon agency that oversees nongovernment organizations working with classified material.

Read Inside Higher Ed's article.

Why Putin Is So Committed to Keeping Assad in Power
Michael Wahid Hanna October 7, 2015

With Russia's intervention in Syria, Putin is demonstrating how far he'll go to keep "Moscow’s key surviving Arab ally," President Bashar al-Assad, in power. TCF senior fellow Michael Wahid Hanna recently commented on Russia's relationship with other regimes in the region: 

The “depth” of Egypt’s and other Arab governments’ relations with Russia may be “very shallow,” said Michael Hanna, an expert on Egypt at the Century Foundation. In times of crisis in relations with the United States, Arab governments “will try to curry favor with Moscow. And in some ways, it’s easy. Moscow asks no questions about human rights and democracy and elections — they just don’t care.”

But Hanna added: “I think there is a bizarre kind of grudging respect in parts of the Arab world for what they see as Russian steadfastness and decisiveness in contrast to what they perceive as the dithering of the United States.”

Learn more about the political effects of Russia's intervention at Foreign Policy.

Marco Rubio Talks Economic Innovation But Forgets Workers
Michael Cohen October 7, 2015

Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio spoke in New York on Tuesday about his economic plans for America. TCF fellow Michael Cohen was at the event and noticed that one thing was missing from Rubio's remarks, which focused primarily on the on-demand economy: workers.

Indeed, it’s impossible to talk about the benefits of an on-demand economy without talking about the potential downsides for workers who have almost no job security and no certainty over how much money they will make from year-to-year. Economic innovation is great but without a strengthened safety net, workers are going to see transitory benefits.

Read more of Cohen's takeaways from Rubio's talk.

Shysters in Nonprofit Clothing: New Report on College Conversions
Robert Shireman October 7, 2015

Nonprofit Quarterly--an apt source to weigh in on the matter--published an article in response to Bob Shireman's report on for-profit colleges.

Shireman writes that if Wikipedia were a for-profit, “the temptation to grab nearly $3 billion would be impossible to resist, even though it would destroy Wikipedia as we know it. Instead, Wikipedia has kept consumers’ interests at the forefront because it is a nonprofit organization. It is a different beast as a result of being structured without owner-investors.”

Read NPQ's take on Shireman's report.

New Type of College to Beware Of: ‘Covert For-Profit’
Robert Shireman October 7, 2015

Reporter Katy Osborn of covers TCF senior fellow Bob Shireman's report on "covert for-profit" colleges, saying that a change in status is not necessarily a change in behavior. The article calls out specifically the implication of daily assumptions Americans make about nonprofit schools—and the resulting trust we place in them.

In a landscape of higher education that has come to include “public benefit” corporations (a classification somewhere between profit and non-profit, and allegedly geared toward “social good”), nonprofit institutions that pay officials exorbitant salaries, and others whose strategic plans seek to “maximize net tuition revenue,” the task of defining a “covert for-profit” college is hardly cut-and-dried.

Read the article on Shireman's report.

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