Spring 2016


From University to Regionality? Knowledge Economy and Regional Development – The Case of Sweden

By: Jörgen From and Anders Olofsson

New public management and knowledge economy have become watchwords in the governance of higher education. The university’s role has rapidly changed toward regional development. The aim of this article is critically to highlight the basic rationale of this reorganization and to examine what this can mean in a Swedish context. This rationale is described as the system of various forms of collaboration between industry, commerce, the universities and research institutes, and the political system. In Sweden, higher education is assumed to generate economic growth in different regional communities. How successful the university’s contribution can be is, however, an empirical question rather than an ideological one. A paradox lies in this reorganization—the more the university adapts to regional needs, the more difficult it is to generate knowledge in a global context. If the criteria for knowledge is regional development, then the nature of truth is replaced by something completely different.

The Relationship Between Per PupilExpenditure in Maricopa County K-12 Public School Districts and StudentPreparedness at the Post-Secondary Level

By: Edmond Allen Lamperez, Jr and Mary Dereshiwsky

Student under preparedness is one of the major challenges facing community colleges in the United States. A contributing factor of student under preparedness at the postsecondary level is an inequitable and inadequate distribution of resources at the K-12 level. Students residing in socio-economically disadvantaged school districts that often expend less money per pupil are disproportionally under prepared for college-level course work. This study examined the relationship between per pupil expenditure in Maricopa County (AZ) K-12 public school districts and student preparedness at the post-secondary level; specifically the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Results show that the students where the most money is being spent, are the least likely to be prepared—that appears to be because these students were socio-economically disadvantaged. There are two primary implications of this study. First, the issue of “ecological equity” must be addressed in Maricopa County. Second, the issue of equity and adequacy in per pupil expenditure must be addressed in Maricopa County (and perhaps the State of Arizona). Specific policies recommended include quality preschool education, extending school hours, providing health and social services in schools, and expending more money per pupil in school districts with concentrated poverty. 

The Promise of Economic-Integration:Examining the Relationships Among School Poverty, Individual Poverty, and Reasoning Skills

By: Michelle Rogers

This study examines the relationships between school poverty status, family income status, and reasoning ability for the purpose of understanding the role of school poverty on reasoning skills. Cognitive ability scores of students attending mixed-poverty schools were compared to their counterparts attending institutions with low, high, and extreme poverty. Results showed that students attending economically-integrated schools had similar reasoning skills to those attending schools with low and high poverty. The largest differences were between students attending economically-integrated schools and those enrolled in schools with extreme poverty. Irrespective of school poverty status, individual income status had a strong, significant effect on reasoning skills. In general, those who participated in the federal free-reduced lunch program possessed less advanced reasoning skills than their economically advantaged peers. Research findings have important implications for economic-integration school policies.

Teachers, Social Media, and Free Speech

By: Mandy Vasek and Randy Hendrick

Teachers across the United States routinely use social media to improve communication with students and parents, enrich the classroom curriculum, and engage in professional conversations with peers.  However, teacher use of social media also has a dark side.  Media reports are replete with stories of teachers engaging in inappropriate social networking with students.  In addition, teachers have also been disciplined for controversial social media content even when students or other members of the school community are not the intended audience.  The trending issue of teachers’ inappropriate or controversial use of social media amplifies the need for school leaders to be cognizant of teachers’ First Amendment free speech rights and the circumstances permitting school control.  A framework is proposed for developing social media policies that balance the First Amendment expression rights of teachers and pedagogical benefits of social media with the need for appropriate limitations.