Showing 12 posts tagged texas

Unprecedented e-mail privacy bill sent to Texas governor’s desk

Assuming that Texas Governor Rick Perry does not veto it, the Lone Star State appears set to enact the nation’s strongest e-mail privacy bill, requiring state law enforcement agencies to get a warrant for all e-mails, regardless of the age of the e-mail.

On Tuesday, the Texas bill (HB 2268) was sent to Gov. Perry’s desk, where he has until June 16, 2013 to sign it or veto it—if he does neither, it will pass automatically, taking effect on September 1, 2013. The bill would give Texans more privacy over their inbox to shield against state-level snooping, but the bill would not protect against federal investigations. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature earlier this year without a single “nay” vote.

This new bill, if signed, will make Texas law more privacy-conscious than the much-maligned (but frustratingly still in effect) 1986-era Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), where federal law enforcement agencies are only required to get a warrant to access recent e-mails before they are opened by the recipient.

» via ars technica

Texas proposes one of nation’s “most sweeping” mobile privacy laws

Privacy experts say that a pair of new mobile privacy bills recently introduced in Texas are among the “most sweeping” ever seen. And they say the proposed legislation offers better protection than a related privacy bill introduced this week in Congress.

If passed, the new bills would establish a well-defined, probable cause-driven warrant requirement for all location information. That’s not just data from GPS, but potentially pen register, tap and trace, and tower location data as well. Such data would be disclosed to law enforcement “if there is probable cause to believe the records disclosing location information will provide evidence in a criminal investigation.”

Further, the bills would require an annual transparency report from mobile carriers to the public and to the state government.

» via ars technica

One of the challenges Scott and Florida’s education officials will surely have to grapple with is a criticism that Perry’s initial challenge—and the resulting efforts in Texas—surfaced: At what point do these kinds of bare bones—because that’s surely what it will be—college degrees turn the higher education experience into nothing more than a glorified diploma mill? Besides, the real issue is that state higher education systems aren’t fully funded. If they were, there’d be no need to pass operating costs on to students in the form of staggering tuition increases. Wouldn’t you like to see Rick Perry and Rick Scott tackle that?

The $10,000 College Degree? It Might Be Coming to Florida | Education on GOOD

UT Permian Basin to Offer $10,000 Undergraduate Degree Program

Answering Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s challenge for higher education institutions to develop a $10,000 undergraduate degree, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin President David Watts today (May 2) announced the Texas Science Scholar undergraduate degree program at a meeting of the UT System Board of Regents.

“UT Permian Basin is pleased to offer what we believe is an innovative undergraduate degree at an affordable cost to students,” President David Watts said. “The Texas Science Scholar Program improves access to critical degrees in science and technology and also addresses the institution’s goal to increase enrollment while improving the four-year graduation rate.”

Beginning in Fall 2012, the bachelor of science degree will offer majors in chemistry, computer science, geology, information systems and mathematics. Courses will be offered on the UTPB campus, allowing students to interact with UTPB’s outstanding faculty within state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities. The program has rigorous admission standards. Additional details of the degree program are available online.

» via University of Texas

In Texas, a $10,000 College Degree Is Almost a Reality

Marrier Ferrier, president of Texas A&M at San Antonio, says the school has developed a bachelor’s of information technology that will cost students $9,700 for four years—including books. And Texas A&M at Commerce president Dan Jones and South Texas College chief academic officer Juan Mejia say both of their campuses will offer bachelor’s of applied science in organizational leadership for under $10,000 beginning next year.

Jones told the audience that the degree programs will rely on online courses and open education textbooks as well as competency-based learning, which allows students to prove mastery of a concept without taking a required number of classes. The challenge, he acknowledged, will be making sure businesses trust the degree enough to hire graduates. One of the major criticisms of the no-frills $10,000 degree is a concern the programs will eliminate critical thinking or problem solving from higher education, turning the college experience into a diploma mill.

» via GOOD

Texas Educators Encourage More Two-Year College Degrees and Vocational Training

Assaying the output of higher education in Texas, Michael Bettersworth evoked the image of a crippled Apollo 13 craft hurtling into space, its future uncertain.

“Houston, we have a problem, and it’s not that too few people are going to college,” said Mr. Bettersworth, an associate vice chancellor at the Texas State Technical College System. “It’s that too many people are getting degrees with limited value in the job market.”

Students throughout Texas are amassing college credits without knowing whether they will lead to employment, and many face serious debt when they graduate.

Meanwhile, the state’s population of skilled laborers is aging and approaching retirement, and there is a dearth of recent graduates with two-year vocational degrees who can take on those jobs.

» via The New York Times (Subscription may be required for some content)

UT System Releases Data on Faculty "Productivity"

This afternoon, the University of Texas System released much-anticipated data on faculty “productivity” — noting, however, that the 821-page spreadsheet is in a raw draft form that has not been fully verified and “cannot yield accurate analysis, interpretations or conclusions.”

The information in the spreadsheet, which includes professors’ total compensation, tenure status and total course enrollment, was compiled at the request of the UT System Board of Regents’ recently formed task force on productivity and excellence. That task force is chaired by Regent Brenda Pejovich, who is on the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based conservative think tank.

» The Texas Tribune

Texas Could Offer a Stripped-Down Degree for Just $10,000, Commissioner Says

Gov. Rick Perry’s call for Texas universities to develop a four-year baccalaureate degree that costs no more than $10,000 isn’t as far-fetched as it seems, the state’s commissioner of higher education said on Wednesday after a staff member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board presented preliminary strategies for developing a stripped-down degree.

» via The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription may be required for some content)

The $10,000 Question

Texas prides itself on being a place where everything is bigger. But when it comes to higher education, Governor Rick Perry does not just want the price tag of a four-year bachelor’s degree to be smaller. He wants it to be the smallest.

“Today, I’m challenging our institutions of higher education to develop bachelor’s degrees that cost no more than $10,000, including textbooks,” said Perry on Tuesday in his “State of the State” address.

“Let’s leverage Web-based instruction, innovative teaching techniques and aggressive efficiency measures to reach that goal,” he said.

Perry is not the first Republican governor to turn heads by suggesting that colleges could use technology to vastly reduce the cost of degree programs without sacrificing quality. Last summer, Tim Pawlenty, then the governor of Minnesota, suggested that students should be able to pay $199 per course for “iCollege.” (While Pawlenty was inspired by Steve Jobs, Perry’s muse was rival tech cynosure Bill Gates. At a conference in San Francisco last August, Gates said that a four-year bachelor’s program should cost $2,000 per year, not $20,000. Accounting for textbooks, Perry’s math roughly matches Gates’s.)

But while Pawlenty appeared to be speaking rhetorically and perhaps a bit in jest — he proposed the idea on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” not from the bully pulpit — Perry is deadly serious. “He wouldn’t be challenging universities to implement it if he didn’t think it could happen,” said the spokeswoman.

So, can it be done?

» via Inside Higher Ed

Texas Attorney General Investigating Google & Antitrust Issues

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is conducting an investigation into Google’s business practices as they relate to search listings, in particular whether Google is manipulating its paid and editorial results in a way that violates antitrust laws.

We received a tip about the investigation this week, and Google confirmed today that an investigation started in July. The company plans to post to its blog later today about the matter.

» via SearchEngineLand