Judaism December 31, 2017: Adventures and disasters in online Jewish dating for marriage

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Adventures and disasters in online Jewish dating for marriage

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The Jewish community is always lamenting the high intermarriage rates especially in the United States and Canada destroying the continuity of the Jewish religion, but there are deeper reasons why the rate continues to get higher. Enter the world of Jewish online dating for marriage, the last hope to find your Jewish soul mate, beshert or simply marry within the religion. The various websites include those that allow the single to meet individually other eligible singles. Others have personal matchmakers working to find you a potential match based on a set of criteria you provide. Both kinds of sites boast their success rates and the number of matches. What they never boast or advertise is the numerous horror stories that make any Jewish single understand why nearly half of North Americans choose intermarriage.

Intermarriage has increasingly become a problem in North America. The most recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project published in the fall of 2013 determined that 44 percent of American Jewish choose to marry someone outside the faith. The poll claimed the rates were higher for Jews who identified with the Reform or Reconstructionist movements, much less among Conservative Jews and almost non-existent in the Orthodox community. In Canada, the community likes to believe the rate is lower than their American counterparts, but not really. According to the Jewish Federations of Canada — UIA’s 2011 National Household Survey, “The intermarriage rate for couples under 30 years of age is 43 percent. More than 72,000 Jews live in intermarried households in Canada, including 15,490 children, more than half of whom are being raised without any religious affiliation.”

I am a Jewish woman in her mid-thirties, who for various reasons chose not to get married as the stereotypical 26-year-old as the majority of my peers did so conveniently many within weeks of each other. I wanted more in my 20s; I wanted graduate degrees, I wanted a career, professional notoriety, and for a while achieved the influence, I wanted. I also experienced personal disappointments, mental abuse, sexual harassment, and the dark sides of interpersonal and professional relationships, unfortunately in the hands of Jewish men. The bad experiences only pushed me further away from pursuing marriage.

There is something about the mid-thirties that makes every woman desperate to find a man to marry, to have children, even if that was never their priority. Opportunities were more tempting to date outside the religion, but as someone who came from a traditional Jewish home, went through the Jewish school system and even pursued graduate work in Judaic Studies, it never seemed an option I wanted to explore. For the past few months, I sunk so desperate as to attempt online Jewish dating for marriage and Jewish matchmaking services, with deep reluctance and not much hope and for good reason. In my journey, I met Jewish men from around the world, but particularly the US, New York, and Canada. I will be blunt you hear horror stories about online dating, and I believe I experienced some of the worst because the experience nearly killed me.

At the matchmaking site, I first encountered a matchmaker who found everything about my profile wrong, from my photo to my about me section and even my instructions to the matchmakers as to my criteria for a potential match. The matchmakers volunteer and come from a variety of professions one of mine was a lawyer, who approached matchmaking as only a lawyer could. From the start, she sent me potential matches without any thought to my criteria, a first look that makes you question the whole dating pool.

When I talked with my matchmaker in the mandatory phone interview I had bad flashbacks as a novice undergraduate having my papers reviewed by my professors explaining why I received that bad grade, but this was my dating profile and my personal views about my life. First, she told me I had to get my hair and makeup professionally done and have a professional photographer take the photos. She told me I was not getting a good response from my photo, ironically she did not realize the photos were from my 20s, I really do not look that different except for my hairstyle, and it was probably me at my peak and at the time I paid the most attention to applying a lot of makeup. She called my profile too arrogant for its bluntness, which was meant to weed out the weak and abusive men, and for my academic and career-mindedness. In other words, she wanted me to entirely dumb myself down for these men and bimbo myself to please them.

Our society frowns at body shaming of this sort, most advice tells women to be themselves, and definitely not change physically, intellectually or belief wise for any man. Jewish matchmakers, however, believe in the backdated notion that women need to sacrifice their integrity to get a man. To please her, as a writer I channeled my inner sarcasm and came up with a profile that included flippant lines like “Gone With The Wind inspired me to study real Jewish southern belles during the Civil War, the Jewish Scarletts, and Melanies. As for me as I am as fiery and determined as Scarlett, but as sweet, caring, and compassionate as Melanie.” With a sappy conclusion, I wrote “I am looking for my own bashert to make this journey through life even more meaningful,” although feminism teaches young women that life can be complete without a man.

All this to the please the males on the site, and what a dating pool it was, in a complete double standard the men were not forced to adhere to the physical ridicule the women were. I was looking for men older than me primarily. I was sent men upward to 50 who had never been married, who looked much older and generally creeped me out. The ones who were divorced and with children were even worse, one claimed to be very religious but had left his wife with five children under age 13 and was now looking to marry another woman and have more children with and then repeat the cycle.

The younger ones in the later thirties and early forties had secrets in their backgrounds; if you did a background search, they either were listed as married or had criminal records or families with ones. Many routinely lied about their professional degrees and jobs. One guy, who was one of six siblings from a religious family, had three of the siblings with criminal records. None of the men were lookers, and most of were not even interested in accepting a potential match, even when on paper it seemed perfect they refused, making a woman question them, their motives for being on the site and even their sexuality.

My worst encounter was with a local man who I previously encountered on another matchmaking site. Months earlier I initially refused him after his acceptance because he lied about his looks, weight, jobs and that he was a fulltime undergraduate student again as he was approaching his mid-forties. Here again, matchmakers other than my own were suggesting this same guy. I thought I had been too shallow the first time, and I thought I should have given him the benefit of the doubt I was wrong.

He was still lying about being over 300 lbs, and that he now needs two years to graduate. With talking to him I found out he been fired from a job that he had no qualifications for and should have been grateful to have instead he challenged every one of the institutions time-honored traditions. He failed to see he was wrong at all ever, just talked about himself and pretty much to himself. Two phone calls and emails were enough, but his matchmakers misinterpreted talking twice on the phone as a reason to be roped into marriage and started to stalk me and call me at all hours to force me to go with him. When I complained about it to the site’s support, I was the one kicked off the site, because one can never complain about the amazing Jewish men and their matchmakers.

The second dating website eliminated the headache of matchmakers but left one more vulnerable to the crazies. From the start, I met one man who lied about being disabled and claimed he wanted to marry me but conveniently wanted me to pay for everything. Another man was a grieving overweight widower with children in his mid-forties, who thought I was older than I claimed by a year made an issue about it even though he was still 10 years older than I no matter what, and he was hiding a criminal past. I met another local guy, who knew all my peers from school, which goes against one of my rules of dating, he kept pursuing me by email even though I was not interested, and when I said we knew too many common people he flipped out and had a meltdown practically confessing his past sins on my email account. Never mind, discussing the countless other men whose stories and encounters I experienced that are not worth repeating.

Beware, however, the guy who pretends to be sweet complimentary and flattering. He contacted me the moment I started on the site literally. He was a little younger than me, which goes against another dating rule of mine, but seemed too nice not to talk to, we shared similar academic interests, he was religious, had attended a Yeshiva, made aliyah in his 20s, served in the IDF, but from the start there were red signs. He Facebook friended me after the first call, was telling me he loved me in the first week and saying he wanted to marry me within days. He was showing me all his graduate school essays for my critic, and I also suspected my rewrites. Soon, however, his multiple daily emails were becoming too demanding and time-consuming. For the first month, I kept him at bay, while I searched for someone more worthy and more compatible with me.

Getting kicked off of the matchmaking site, somewhat made me more desperate suddenly I was taking seriously the love declarations of the younger graduate student lothario who claimed to want marriage but seemed to be only desperate for sex. I committed to him, and he even bought me an engagement ring, we started planning a spring wedding, but the early issues only increased. He would email non-stop during the day, while he was at work, even while was in class and expected me to babysit him as he went home each night and then talk to him on the phone each evening. He had hissy fits if I did not answer within minutes. I was soon accounting for every break. My life was not my own, my work was going to the wayside, everything I built up my entire adult professional life. I had no time watch TV, to eat, or even shower.

Years before I knew a man who thought, I was unreasonable when I wanted a response to a single email within the professional 24-hour period or at least 48 hours and got annoyed if I emailed after 48 or 72 hours again. He was oversensitive as to what boundaries were; he should have known and experienced the chocking control I was without barely a minute to myself than he would have known the definition of harassment. I looked forward to Shabbat, not for the religious joys of the day, but because it gave me 25 hours of peace and not hearing from the guy I now felt trapped with.

It was not only his time control, the guy had sexual fetishes, he would not stop bothering me with, and drove me crazy explaining and talking about them. As I got deeper, his control extended to his sexual overtures. In the era of the #MeToo movement, he forced me to send explicit photos over the internet he used for a sexual act, or else he threatened to break up with me and end our engagement. It was my main boundary he crossed it, I never forgave him for it, and began distancing myself from him. I felt sexually assaulted and abused, and still, he was trying to force me to send more photos. The whole short and the now abusive relationship was taking a serious toll on my health. Finally, after one recent Shabbat he told me erev Shabbat he returned my ring for financial reasons, a ring that cost less than $2000, to begin with. Enough was enough, returning my engagement ring behind my back was the last straw. Over two months and 5000 emails later I ended it, but I remain with a deteriorated health, physically bruised and hurt by his deceit and abuse.

In a mere few months of online Jewish dating, I feel more beaten up then the years of normal dating. I always questioned privately intermarriage even as some of my peers from Jewish school chose that route. I was equally appalled at the intermarriage rate from the 2013 Pew poll as I reported about it in an article. I firmly believed in Jewish continuity through marriage, after my experiences I have greater sympathy and understanding for intermarriage, as see my peers who intermarried are happier than I am or even my peers who married within the religion and maintain a hypocritical showbiz relationship with Judaism.

My foray shows there are problems with the Jewish dating pool, abuse, insanity, and criminality, much can be attributed to the men as much as their parents especially the mothers who raised them to treat a woman as objects without any respect. Equally at fault are the matchmakers, whose mindsets are back 100 years before the emergence of the feminist movement and Betty Friedan’s “The Problem That Has No Name.”

I begin to question the commitment of Orthodox rabbis to Jewish continuity, when the rabbi I contacted after being kicked off the matchmaker site, never responded to me although I pleaded and pledged my dedication to marrying Jewish, but was now without options to find a Jewish mate and needed his help. The community, the rabbis, the matchmakers, the parents not only educators are responsible for the rising intermarriage rate. When they make it unappealing and impossible for a Jewish single to find a Jewish mate, the single Jew stops caring and dealing with the problems and decides on the easier route intermarriage rather than remain single trying to find another Jew.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Politics December 27, 2017: Obama beats Trump as Gallup’s most admired man in 2017, Hillary Clinton still top woman

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Obama beats Trump as Gallup’s most admired man in 2017, Hillary Clinton still top woman

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Although the sitting president is usually the Gallup poll’s most admired for the year, this year is it is not the case. Former President Barack Obama beat out President Donald Trump as the most admired man in the 2017 edition, while 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton remains the country’s most admired woman. Gallup Poll released on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, their annual list of most admired men and women for the year with almost predictable results. For the tenth straight year, former President Obama has topped the list of most admired men, with Hillary Clinton topping the list of most admired women for a record-breaking time. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump came in a close second but missed the honor most sitting presidents experience.

President Obama won the distinction of most admired with 17 percent of the vote, down from 22 percent last year, and his “narrowest” margin to date. He has appeared on the top 10, 13 times since 2006 and has been in the top spot for the last ten years. President Obama has the second overall most admired titles besting former Presidents Bill Clinton (1993–2001) and Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) but behind Dwight Eisenhower (1953–1961). Obama becomes the only the second former president besides Eisenhower in 1967 and 1968 to win the year’s most admired. President Trump came in a rather close second with 14 percent; the third time Trump has ranked second in the poll. This year is the president’s seventh appearance in the top 10, in 1988 to 1990 and then again in 2011. Vice President Mike Pence sees his second appearance on the list coming in again at the bottom of the list.

Even as a sitting president Trump cannot eclipse Obama as the most admired man in the country an honor most sitting presidents have enjoyed. It is a tradition for the sitting president always to be named the most admired and has been the case for 70 years since the poll originated in 1946. Now only 13 times did a sitting president lose out on the most-admired honor and usually only happens if the president has a low approval rating. President Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president in his first year of office with only a 37 percent approval rating on his 338th day in office. The last time a sitting president missed the honor was in 2008 when then President-elect Obama edged out President George W. Bush who was seeing extremely low approval ratings at the end of his tenure.

In Gallup’s 71 years issuing the most admired list, sitting presidents have topped it 58 times. Gallup indicates, “Previous incumbent presidents who did not finish first include Harry Truman in 1946–1947 and 1950–1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1967–1968, Richard Nixon in 1973, Gerald Ford in 1974–1975, Jimmy Carter in 1980, and George W. Bush in 2008. All but Truman in 1947 and Ford in 1974 had job approval ratings well below 50%, like Trump.”

Gallup Polls Most Admired Men 2017 Top 10:

1. Barack Obama 17
2. Donald Trump 14
3. Pope Francis 3
4. Rev. Billy Graham 2
5. John McCain 2
6. Elon Musk 2
7. Bernie Sanders 1
8. Bill Gates 1
9. Benjamin Netanyahu 1
10. The Dalai Lama 1
11. Mike Pence 1

Despite losing the election Trump last year, former first lady, New York Senator, 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tops the list of the most admired women for the 22nd time and 16th year in a row more than anyone ever on the list. Clinton has her lowest showing; however, winning only 9 percent of the vote, last year she had 12 percent for the top spot. Clinton only lost the number one spot in 1995 and 1996 to Mother Theresa and 2001 when First Lady Laura Bush took the position. Clinton has appeared on the list 26 times. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is in second place, but with 7 percent. Current First Lady Melania Trump sees her first showing on the list coming in at number 8 but with only one percent of the vote.

Gallup Polls Most Admired Women 2017 Top 10:

1. Hillary Clinton 9
2. Michelle Obama 7
3. Oprah Winfrey 4
4. Elizabeth Warren 3
5. Angela Merkel 2
6. Queen Elizabeth 2
7. Condoleezza Rice 1
8. Melania Trump 1
9. Nikki Haley 1
10. Duchess Kate Middleton 1
11. Beyonce Knowles 1

This year’s list is seeing some record number of appearances for both the most admired men and women. For the men, Rev. Billy Graham has his 60th top 10 finish having been in the top 10 every year since 1955, except for 1962 and 1976. This is the first year former Bill Clinton has dropped out of the top 10; he appeared on the top 10 for 25 years and remained on top of the list throughout his entire presidency from 1993 to 2001. On the women’s side, Hillary Clinton has the most top honors on the list with former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt second with 13 top honors. Queen Elizabeth has the most top 10 appearances of all women with 49, while Oprah Winfrey moved up to the second most of all time with her 30 showings. Gallup does not believe however, Obama and Clinton will hold on to the top spot in future years and believe Trump could attain the position next year.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 19, 2017: Ivy League, elite schools’ early admission acceptance rates for Class of 2022 MIT has lowest on record, Dartmouth the highest

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Ivy League, elite schools’ early admission acceptance rates for Class of 2022 MIT has lowest on record, Dartmouth the highest

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

As universities and colleges completed sending out their early admissions offers for the Class of 2022 to hopeful high school seniors let us look at the continuing trend of record low acceptance rates among the Ivy League and most elite universities. Only six of the eight Ivy League universities released data on their early decision and early action cycle. Of the Ivies, Cornell University and Columbia University chose to withhold their data; however, Columbia released the number of applications they received. For the second year in a row, Stanford University, the country’s most selective college refused to release any early admission data. Like last year, they will release their data only after the regular admission cycle when they have finalized all their offers for admission to the Class of 2022.

As has been the trend, Ivy League, and elite universities are becoming more selective, and their early admission rates are falling after receiving a record number of applications. This year is no different the Ivy League and elite universities are continuing the trend and are on track for their most selective year as they choose the Class of 2022. Harvard was the most selective Ivy this early admission cycle, with a 14.5 percent acceptance rate. However, another elite university beat Harvard’s selectivity this early admission cycle. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had the lowest rate, with a record low 6.9 percent of applicants accepted to the Class of 2022. Dartmouth College on the opposite end had the highest acceptance rate with 24.9 percent.

The Ivy League:

Brown University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year. Although Brown has, a higher acceptance rate than the Ivy League schools, it was a low for them, and Brown’s acceptance rate was only 21 percent for the Class of 2022.

In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent. Brown set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. Last year Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications.

Columbia University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, instead of releasing their early decision data, Columbia University only released the number of applications they received this cycle. That evening at 7 p.m. Columbia notified high school seniors whether they would be joining the Class of 2022. This year Columbia received 4,085 early decision applications to Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, just one less than for the Class of 2021.

For the Class of 2021, Columbia College had a lower acceptance rate, representing just 5.8 percent of their applicant pool. Columbia admitted just 2,185 from a record 37,389 applicants. For the Class of 2020, Columbia had a 6.04% acceptance rate, with 2,193 students accepted out of 36,292 applicants. Columbia is notorious for divulging the least information of all the Ivies about their incoming freshmen class only releasing more data for the upcoming application year.

Dartmouth College

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, the smallest number of students of all the Ivy League schools. The college received a record number of applications, 2,270 applications, the first time the school had over 2,000 applications for the early admissions cycle. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent; still, that percentage was the largest of all the Ivies. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision.

In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent. Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth called last year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.”

Harvard University

Harvard College notified students by email on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. if they were accepted to the Class of 2022, rejected or waitlisted. Harvard admitted just 964 students to early action out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college, and the elite Stanford University only beats it in the country.

In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021. Their admissions represented just 14.5 percent of the applicant pool down only 0.3 percent from 2015. In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. Harvard admitted nearly the same percentage of early applicants as last year a 14.53 acceptance rate this year versus a 14.49 percent rate last year an addition of less than a half percentage point.

Princeton University

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program. Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants. Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants.

University of Pennsylvania

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent.

The acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 is the lowest in the school’s history, still, the university did not actually admit that much fewer students than last year. Penn admitted 1,312 students this year and last year they accepted 1,354 students. Penn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program. As the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian noted, “Last year approximately 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.”

In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a nearly 24 percent acceptance rate. The university targeted goal of 2,445 students enrolling in the fall. Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.”

Yale University

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications. The acceptance rate this early admission cycle was the second lowest of all the Ivies at only 14.7 percent behind Harvard’s 14.5 percent and the same as Princeton’s 14.7 percent.

Yale admitted fewer students than last year’s early admission. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. In previous years, Yale used to receive only about 4,700 applications each early admission cycle. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that are opening this fall. Yale admitted 1550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate.

Elite Universities:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Of all the elite and Ivy League universities that released their early admission data, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had the lowest acceptance rate for the second year in a row. On Thursday, Dec. 14, MIT sent out 664 early action offers of admission to high school seniors for a place in the Class of 2022. This year MIT received a record 9,557 applications, and their acceptance rate was a record low as well at only 6.9 percent. Of those that applied 65 percent, 6,210 students were deferred for the regular cycle, 26.1 percent, 2498 students were rejected; the remaining applicants withdrew from consideration.

For the Class of 2021, In December 2016, MIT had an acceptance rate of 7.8 percent after receiving a then-record 8,394 applications, which had been up 13.9 percent from the previous year. At the regular admission cycle, MIT admitted at 1,438 students out of 20,247 applications received. MIT is one of the most selective colleges, with corresponding acceptance rates. This was the third year MIT opened their early action admissions to international applicants.

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 15, 2017: Brown sets early decision admission low for the Class of 2022

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Medium, 12-15-17

Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022 out of a record 3,502 applications making for a 21 percent acceptance rate, the highest among the Ivy League schools. (Source: Brown University Twitter) 

On the last day of early admission decisions from the Ivy League students found out if they were accepted from their coveted school. On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year. Although Brown has, a higher acceptance rate than the Ivy League schools, it was a low for them, and Brown’s acceptance rate was only 21 percent for the Class of 2022.

Previously, Brown set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. Last year Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. Brown also waited listed 1,000 high school seniors. In December as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

In addition to the 738 lucky students that were admitted, 2318 were deferred to the regular admission cycle for reconsideration, 429 were denied admission, there were 14 incomplete applications, and three students withdrew from consideration. The accepted students come from “33 nations and 43 states,” last year they came from “39 nations and 41 U.S. states.” This year a majority of the students come from New York (110), California, and Massachusetts. Most international students are coming from China, the United Kingdom, and India.

This year’s class is the most diverse accepted by Brown during the early decision cycle. As the Brown Daily Herald indicated, “Over 38 percent of the early decision admits — 283 students — identify as people of color, which marks the highest percentage in the University’s history.” Last year, Brown accepted 36 percent of the early decision class that considered themselves people of color, which is “African American, Latino/a Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Asian.” The trend continues that more women are accepted than men are to Brown’s early decision. This year “430 students were female and only 308 were male. Last year, “411 accepted students were female and 284 were male.”

Half the students accepted as part of early decision applied for financial aid. This year as part of $30 million Brown Promise Campaign, undergraduate students will not receive loans but grants. Dean of Admission Logan Powell commented, “We couldn’t be happier because it’s a great opportunity for those students offered admission, and obviously a wonderful opportunity for Brown to have those students.” There was, however, a decrease in the number of students accepted who would be the first generation attending college, with only 10 percent, down from 13 percent last year.

Powell said the same type of students accepted in the early decision cycle would be accepted during the regular cycle. Powell said, “Every early decision student who was admitted is exceptional, and would have been admitted in our regular decision round.” The same can be same for the rest of students admitted to the other Ivy League universities this past week. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Harvard University admitted just 964 students out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college.

Earlier on Wednesday, Princeton University sent out early action admissionoffers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022, out of a record 5,402 applications. Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted. Also on Wednesday, the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022, out of record number 7,074 applications, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent. Also on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale University notified the Class of 2022 their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, out of a record number 5,733 applications, with a 14.7 percent acceptance rate.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

 

Education December 14, 2017: Yale admits record low for early action admission to Class of 2022

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Yale University’s acceptance rate this early admission cycle was the second lowest of all the Ivies at only 14.7 percent behind Harvard’s 14.5 percent and the same as Princeton’s 14.7 percent. (Source: Yale University News)

On the last day of early admission decisions from the Ivy League students found out if they were accepted from their coveted school. On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022 their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications. The acceptance rate this early admission cycle was the second lowest of all the Ivies at only 14.7 percent behind Harvard’s 14.5 percent and the same as Princeton’s 14.7 percent.

Yale admitted fewer students than last year’s early admission. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that are opening this fall. Yale admitted 1550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. In December, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. In previous years, Yale used to receive only about 4,700 applications each early admission cycle.

Of the record 5,733 applications, aside from the 842 accepted high school seniors, 55 percent of the applicants were deferred to the regular admission cycle, 29 percent were downright refused and “2 percent either withdrew or submitted incomplete forms.” Yale has a single-choice early action admission, meaning students can only apply to Yale in the early admission cycle, however it is non-binding and students have until May 1 to notify Yale of their decision.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan made a statement to the college’s student paper the Yale Daily News. Quinlan commented on the incoming class, saying, “The Admissions Committee was very impressed with this year’s early applicant pool across every dimension. We are pleased to offer admission to this first group of students in the Class of 2022, and look forward to admitting a much larger group of students through our Regular Decision process this spring.”

Quinlan also commented that Yale is continuing their trend to increase the number of students admitted due to the new residential colleges. The Dean of Admissions said, “The addition of Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges enables us to bring to Yale more students from a more diverse collection of backgrounds. The combination of expanding enrollment and greater representation of students from under-resourced backgrounds means more opportunity for more students.”

Yale provided very little information about the pool of those accepted to early action. Director of Outreach and Communications Mark Dunn only commented in November about the applications to early action admission. Dunn said they included “virtually every subgroup of applicants that the admissions office tracks.” Yale has enhanced their financial packages for those coming from “lower-income backgrounds,” in an effort to increase diversity. Yale received applications from “49 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and 98 foreign countries.” Dean of Admissions Quinlan wants the final Class of 2022 to be 1,550 students enrolled.

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Harvard University admitted just 964 students out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college. Earlier on Wednesday, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022, out of a record 5,402 applications. Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted. Also on Wednesday, the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022, out of record number 7,074 applications, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 14, 2017: University of Pennsylvania has record low early admission acceptance rate to the Class of 2022

HEADLINE NEWS

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Medium, 12-14-17

The University of Pennsylvania received a record number of application to the Class of 2022 leading to their lowest early decision acceptance rate in history. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Mid-December is early admission decision time and almost every other day anxious high school seniors await an email from the school of their dreams that will determine their future. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Ivy League school the University of Pennsylvania sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent.

The acceptance rate for the Class of 2022 is the lowest in the school’s history, still, the university did not actually admit that much fewer students than last year. Penn admitted 1,312 students this year and last year they accepted 1,354 students. UPenn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program. As the student paper, the Daily Pennsylvanian noted: “Last year approximately 55 percent of the total 2,445 spots available were filled by Early Decision applicants.”

Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a nearly 24 percent acceptance rate. The university targeted goal of 2,445 students enrolling in the fall.

The sheer increase in the number of applications received is the only reason for Penn’s significantly smaller acceptance rate. More high school seniors are applying for early admission programs giving schools more quality applicants to choose from for their incoming class. This year Penn saw an increase of 9.5 percent from last year in the number of early decision applications they received, that number is 38 percent more from when the Class of 2018 applied in 2013. For the Class of 2021, Penn received what was then a record 6,147 applications.

Penn released, however, very little demographic data about the early decision Class of 2022. This year’s class comes 54 countries and 45 states and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, while last year, they came from 44 countries and 46 states. Additionally, despite only 16 percent of their applications coming from legacies, “the children or grandchildren of Penn alumni,” the school admitted a whopping 25 percent to their early decision program. Meanwhile, only “11 percent of student accepted are first-generation college students,” the same as last year. This year’s Penn applicants included as the Daily Pennsylvanian pointed out, “47 percent are women, 11 percent are first-generation college students, 40 percent self-identify as students of color, 16.5 percent were educated outside of the United States, and 16 percent are legacies.”

Dean of Admissions Eric Furda released an email statement commenting on the early decision Class of 2022. Furda noted, “It does not appear that travel bans and immigration legislation has impacted Penn’s applicant pool.” Furda believes the new SAT positively affected the students applying to the school. The Dean of Admissions said, “With changes to format and scoring instituted by The College Board in 2016, most students received higher scores on the rSAT than what they would have received in the older SAT format. The rSAT represents a significant change within the larger college application landscape that may have impacted college search, choice, and application behavior on the part of individual students.”

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

Despite having the lowest acceptance rate in their school’s history, so far, Penn has the highest acceptance rate among the Ivy League schools that released their data. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, Harvard University admitted just 964 students out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college. Earlier on Wednesday, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022, out of a record 5,402 applications. Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 13, 2017: Princeton hits new early action admission record low with Class of 2022

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Medium, 12-13-17

Princeton admitted a record low acceptance rate to their early action admissions for the Class of 2022, only 14.7 percent of applicants. Source: Princeton Admissions Twitter)

Another day in December another Ivy League university sends out their early admission decision to high school seniors. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program. Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants.

Those accepted to the Class of 2022 early action come from “48 countries and 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.” Last year to the Class of 2021, Princeton accepted students from 45 countries and 42 states plus DC and Puerto Rico. The university says that 44 percent of the accepted students this year are minorities, up from 43 percent last year. This year 11 percent are international students, the same as last year. Both this year’s class and last year’s is evenly balance by gender, 50 percent are women and 50 percent are men.

For the Class of 2022 fewer students come from public or charter schools, with 56 percent versus 57 percent for the Class of 2021. The same amount of students who are the first in their family to attend college were accepted as last year, with 14 percent. This year Princeton accepted more legacy students, the children of alumni, with 17 percent of the Class of 2022, whereas they represented 16 percent of the Class of 2021 early action admissions.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye commented on this year’s class. Rapelye said, “The admission committee was impressed with the strength and depth of the pool this year. Our admission officers worked long hours reading the applications of the candidates, and we had to make difficult choices. The admitted students have demonstrated extraordinary academic achievements as well as extracurricular talents throughout high school. We are thrilled with the quality of these students and their commitments to their communities. We look forward to all the ways they will contribute to Princeton.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 12, 2017: Harvard continues trend of accepting record low early admissions applicants to Class of 2022

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EDUCATION

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Medium, 12-12-17

Harvard is continuing the trend of accepting a record low percentage of applicants to early admissions. (Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

Harvard College shattered many high school seniors’ dreams admitting their one of their lowest rate of early admission applicants to the Class of 2022. Harvard is one of the first of the Ivy League universities to notify students if they were accepted for early admission. Harvard College notified students by email on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. if they were accepted to the Class of 2022, rejected or waitlisted. Harvard admitted just 964 studentsout of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college, and the elite Stanford University only beats it in the country.

As has been the trend, Ivy League, and elite universities are becoming more selective, and their early action admission rates are falling after receiving a record number of applications. This year is no different if Harvard’s numbers are an indication the Ivy League and elite universities are continuing the trend and are on track for their most selective year as they choose the Class of 2022.

Although 964 lucky seniors were accepted to the holy grail of Ivy League universities, others were not as lucky. Among the remaining applicants, 73 percent or 4,882 students have another opportunity and they were deferred to the regular admission cycle. However, for 9.2 percent or 611 students the dream is over, they were outright rejected. There were an additional 173 students who did not properly complete their applications and they also have the opportunity to complete them for regular cycle consideration.

Harvard admitted nearly the same percentage of early applicants as last year a 14.53 acceptance rate this year versus a 14.49 percent rate last year an addition of less than a half percentage point. In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021. Their admissions represented just 14.5 percent of the applicant pool down only 0.3 percent from 2015. In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate.

William R. Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid, commented to student paper The Harvard Crimson on the record number of early admissions’ applicants for the Class of 2022. Fitzsimmons expressed, “The one thing we can say with certainty is that the numbers rose this year. In general terms, it appears that more institutions had increases than the reverse… Early admission, in one form or another, is the new normal.”

Harvard’s Class of 2022 is even more diverse than last year, partially due to legal scrutiny. More minorities were admitted with 13.9 percent of early African-American applicants being accepted up from 12.6 percent of were admitted last year. This year saw a slight rise in Hispanic students accepted with 9.8 percent, up from 9.5 percent last year. Native American and Native Hawaiian applicants made in-roads with 1.8 percent accepted early up from last year’s paltry 1.1 percent. Of all groups, women saw their numbers decrease down one percent from 48 percent to 47 percent.

The minority group with the largest early acceptance rate was Asian-Americans with 24.2 percent accepted this year up from 21.1 percent in last year’s early admissions cycle. Harvard is facing an investigation into their admission rates of Asian Americans by the Department of Justice and a private lawsuit by former applicants. The DOJ began investigating Harvard’s affirmative action practices this past summer. The DOJ wanted the college to hand over is applications and student records and threatened to sue if they would not comply with Dec. 1. The DOJ is now contemplating Harvard’s counteroffer to allow the review of redacted student records

Harvard is also facing a separate private lawsuit by rejected Asian American applicants, who are accusing the college of discriminatory admission practices. The lawsuit is ongoing from 2014 where the college was accused of “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” and that “Harvard’s undergraduate admissions policies and procedures have injured and continue to injure Plaintiff’s members by intentionally and improperly discriminating against them on the basis of their race and ethnicity in violation of Title VI.” The college is providing hundreds of thousands of former applications to comply with that lawsuit.

Harvard is also making an effort to accept more economically disadvantaged students. Among those admitted to early admission, 58 percent are asking for financial aid, and 13 percent needed application fee waivers, while last year only 10.7 percent made that request. More First-generation college students were admitted with 10.6 percent to the Class of 2022 up from 8.7 percent for the Class of 2021. Despite concerns about attracting international students, the rate admitted remains steady with 10.2 percent, and 2.3 percent from northern neighbor Canada.

Fitzsimmons noted early admissions usually see less diversity, but this year was an exception. Fitzsimmons told the Crimson, “Traditionally, early programs have tended not to reflect the excellence and diversity that you see out in the world, so one of the real pushes over the past decade or so-and part of it was giving it up and then bringing it back-is to make certain that people from all of those backgrounds do consider early. We’re delighted to see that we had greater economic and ethnic diversity not just in the pool, but in the admitted group.”

For the Class of 2022, Harvard intends to admit fewer students than to the Class of 2021. Fitzsimmons cited overcrowding in the Class of 2021 freshman as the reason for accepting fewer students this upcoming year. For the Class of 2021 much, more students accepted admission offers, leading to “twenty-eight freshmen living in DeWolfe, overflow housing typically reserved for upperclassmen.” The Dean of Admissions wants to admit also students off the waitlist this year. Last year they were unable to able to accept any students off the list. Fitzsimmons said in September his goal to accept “40 to 50 to maybe 100 people” off the waitlist. Now the Dean of Admissions says the college “will certainly be mindful of coming in on target” when it deciding admissions in the regular cycle.

Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying for early admission is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission, however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics December 12, 2017: Trump has worst first-year presidential approval rating in history but great success with his agenda

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POLITICS

Trump has worst first-year presidential approval rating in history but great success with his agenda

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President Donald Trump is the most unpopular president in modern history with record-low approval ratings his first year in office. (Source: White House Facebook)

As President Donald Trump approaches the end of his first calendar year in office, his approval rating has remained at record lows for a first-year president. Trump’s approval rating has never risen above the 40s and has now settled in the low 30s. According to a new Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, has Trump’s number is a new low even for his presidency with a just a 32 percent approval rate, while his disapproval rating grows to 63 percent. Still, Trump’s numbers are not much different then Pews’ from October where the president had a 34 percent approval rating, and in February just a few weeks into his presidency when he had a 39 percent approval rating. Despite his unpopularity and low approval ratings, Trump is successfully accomplishing his agenda contradicting the usual correlation between popularity and presidential success in the polls.

The Pew poll was taken between November 29 and December 4 and the numbers come as the first arrests begin in special counsel Robert Mueller Russia election interference probe and Trump’s first national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty for lying to the FBI. Still, the low numbers appear as the president moves forward with his agenda. Trump experienced first major legislative victory with the first passage of a tax reform bill. Additionally, The Supreme Court decided in his favor of his third travel ban. Trump tenure is seeing the greatest stock market highs in history, as Jeff Greenfield pointed out, “the economy is roaring, too.”

Greenfield in his article “Has Trump Made Approval Polls Meaningless?” published in Politico on Nov. 29, a week before the Pew poll argues, “He is the most disliked president ever at this point in his term. And he’s more consequential than presidents who were twice as popular.”
Greenfield lists many of Trump’s accomplishments up to publication including having nine nominees places on the on federal appeals courts. Trump also had another legal victory when a federal district court sided with Trump’s choice “to place his budget director as temporary head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

In addition, Greenfield pointed in a referendum on his presidency’s Trump candidate for the special Alabama Senate election Roy Moore, who has been accused of improper relationships with teenage girls is leading the polls. Greenfield credits Trump’s success on “support for Trump’s agenda, combined with his still-strong position within the Republican base, has effectively neutered any meaningful GOP resistance to the president’s wretched excesses.”

The Pew poll was also released a day after Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as the State of Israel’s capital and decided to move the embassy from Tel Aviv a policy decision that will have a major impact on the Middle East. Trump’s policy victories are not without their controversies and divisiveness between the American public, especially along partisan lines. The president also remains controversial with his impulsive Twitter habits that cause him more harm than his political positions. The Pew poll indicates that the negativity towards Trump comes with the Russia probe and personal style rather policy.

Still, no matter the strange theories, unverified videos or insults the president hurls on Twitter, he can accomplish his agenda because of the strong support from his party, both the voters and on Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. As Greenfield notes, Trump accomplishes his agenda “the same way he won the White House in the first place: by capitalizing on a unique political mix of geography, a last-minute intervention, and the right opponent.”

Among those who disapprove of Trump’s performance in the Pew poll, 14 percent actually find something they are pleased with that the president has accomplished. Of those approving of Trump’s performance, 37 percent are disappointed with something of Trump’s actions. The most popular response has been his personal style and particularly his Twitter habit, with 26 percent claiming his personal style and 14 percent saying his Twitter usage.

There is deep partisan division regarding the Russia probe with only 26 of Republicans and Republican leaners believing there was “definitely or probably” “improper contacts” by senior Trump officials. The number increases threefold when it comes to Democrats and Democratic leaners, with 82 percent saying “improper contacts” probably took place and 49 percent saying they definitely occurred. Both parties scribe to different views as to the importance of the probe with only 19 percent of Republicans finding it important versus 71 percent of Democrats.

After initial tax bills passed in both the House and Senate by partisan lines, the two houses are now nearing a final agreement on their tax reform bill. The House passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Nov. 16, with a party vote of 227–205, and Senate passed their version with a 51–49 vote, and only one GOP dissension, vocal Trump opponent, Bob Corker (R-TN) opposed the bill and voted with the Democrats.

Pew found that an overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats with 71 and 70 percent respectively find “proposed changes to the federal tax system” are “a very important issue for the country.” The bill unpopular with the middle class from both parties will be Trump’s first major legislative victory after the collapse of the Obamacare repeal efforts. The tax bill, however, still accomplishes one of the GOP’s health care goals repealing the individual mandate requiring all American have health insurance if not they are penalized with a monetary fine.

The worst news Trump is also losing ground with the very base that elected him and makes accomplishing his agenda possible. Trump now only has 76 percent support from Republican voters down from 84 percent in February. Demographically, Trump is seeing his popularity diminish among key groups. Trump is losing ground with Republican voters 50 and older down to 38 percent from 50 percent, and whites 41 percent down from 49 percent. Trump lost the most support from evangelical Protestants 61 percent down from 78 percent.

Still, as Pew indicates “Trump’s job approval rating among members of his own party, while lower today than at the beginning of the year, is in line with those of most of his predecessors.” The main reason behind Trump’s lower numbers is that he has lower approval numbers from the opposing party than his predecessors with an only 7 percent approval from Democrats. No other president in his first year in office had an approval rating in the low 30s.

Trump’s rating is 16 percent lower than the all-time historical low. The previous record holder was Bill Clinton who at the end of 1993 had a 48 percent approval rating. Like his boasts, President Trump has made his mark on the presidency in his first year accomplishing more than his higher-rated predecessors did. Trump does this, because as Greenfield indicates despite being a historically unpopular president” he is “in a position to preside over more consequential changes, at least at this stage in their terms, than presidents like Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama who were elected with clear electoral mandates.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education December 6, 2017: US high school graduation rates at all-time high

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EDUCATION

US high school graduation rates at all-time high

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

American high school students are focusing on their studies more than ever before and their graduation rates are the highest in history. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released graduation data for the class of 2015–16, which found that 84.1 percent of students graduated in four years the highest rate in American history. The 84 percent was just shy of a percentage point more than the previous year’s rate of 83.2 percent. The numbers continue a five-year trend that saw increases in graduation rates for every demographic group in the country.

According to the data, every group reached their highest graduation rates. Black students’ rates rose 1.8 percent to 76.4, those with English as a second language rose the same amount to 66.9. Hispanic students’ graduation rose also an impressive 1.5 percent to 79.3 percent. Additionally, students from economically challenged background rose the same rate up to a 77.6 percent graduation rate. Native student’s graduation rates also improved to 71.9 percent.

Students with disabilities still, had the lowest graduation rates with only 65.5 percent graduating, proving that more has to be done to help the group graduate. White students, however, were not the demographic group with the highest rates. Despite their 88.3 graduation rate, White students came in second to Asian students who have the nation best rates with 90.8 percent of students graduating high school.

Phillip Lovell, the vice president for policy and advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education
Was pleased with the results. Lovell told Edweek, “This shows we are still heading in the right direction. You can argue that the pace of improvement is slower than we’d like it to be, but there are more graduates this year than last. That’s a good thing.” Lovell was especially impressed that the number rose across the board for all demographic groups, saying it was “super important.” Lovell added, “We don’t want to increase the national grad rate and leave behind kids who are struggling to be served.”

Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute credits President George W. Bush bipartisan education achievement the No Child Left Behind Act for the rise in rates with are now seeing. The test and assessment focused law education law was passed in 2001, Bush’s first year in office. Petrilli commented to Edweek, “There is a plausible case to be made that the education system is doing a better job for more of these kids, especially for disadvantaged subgroups.”

Despite the graduation increase of five percent overall in the last five years, and for all groups, there are still problems and graduation gaps. Black students lag behind most ethnic groups, with the exception of Native students, seeing a 14 percent difference with Asian students, who are at the top of all groups. The economically disadvantaged are also remain more educationally disadvantaged than their wealthier peers with a six-point difference between the two group’s graduation rates.

The graduation rates might be improving, but college readiness still has a lot to be desired. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEP) remains unchanged or has declining rates when it comes to reading and math. Additionally, students are not meeting benchmarks for the SAT and ACT college entrance exams.

The Washington Post reports the problems are exacerbated by some school districts who are using questionable means to “inflate” their graduation rates. The Post explains, “Some districts have used questionable methods to get students to the finish line, including softening grading scales and using credit recovery programs, which allow students to take abbreviated versions of courses to make up for failing grades.” Robert Balfanz, a Johns Hopkins University researcher says that rate inflation is still a problem that needs to be combated. Balfanz told Edweek, “We can devalue anything if we give it away. We need to be sure these kids are earning honest diplomas.”

The data includes a break down for each state and also by demographic data. Iowa topped the country with the highest graduation rate at 91.3 percent; in second place is New Jersey with 90.1 percent. Iowa and New Jersey are the only two states with over 90 percent of the students graduating in four years. In third place is West Virginia with 89.8 percent. At the bottom, Washington, the District of Columbia has the worst rates with an average of only 69.2 percent. DC is followed by New Mexico with a 71 percent graduation rate, while the third worst state is Oregon with a 74.8 graduation rate.

Despite the highest graduation rates in history, the US is hardly a world leader and still lags behinds many of the world’s democratic countries. According to older Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, the US ranks out of the top 20 at only the 21st position in the world. Portugal and Slovenia each tie for the highest graduation rate with 96 percent of the students graduating. Finland, Japan, and the United Kingdom round out the top five each has a rate of above 90 percent. The UK has a 92 percent graduation rate, while fellow North American country Canada also ranked higher than the US coming in the 20th position worldwide.

President Barack Obama emphasized increasing the high school graduation rates during his tenure. Starting in 2011, the Education Department under the Obama administration required all high schools to report their data in a “standardized way.” With the numbers, rising and steadily soaring to new heights in the latter part of Obama’s term, his administration saw the graduation rate increase according to the Washington Post “among its most important achievements in education.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.