This Week: Dept. of Education to hold forum to gather feedback on Obama’s college rating system

The U.S. Department of Education will hold a public forum at UC Davis from 10 to 11:30 a.m. today in the Mondavi Center as part of a national effort to gather feedback to President Barack Obama’s proposed college rating system.

Obama’s plan would rate colleges on a variety of factors, including tuition, graduation rates, student debt loads and how much money graduates earn. Performance on those indicators could eventually determine how federal financial-aid dollars are divvied up, though Obama would first have to secure congressional approval.

The plan has drawn praise from some experts who cite the need for more accountability in higher education. But many college leaders have objected, saying such a ratings system could not adequately account for the myriad types of schools and the diverse student populations they serve. At stake is about $150 billion in financial aid distributed by the federal government annually.

Today’s roundtable forum is one of a number of events being held around the country. Based on the feedback, the education department will make recommendations this spring on the structure of the ratings system.

– Mary Lynne Vellinga


Girl Scouts bring Mrs. Claus to town

Santa’s better half, Mrs. Claus, will pay a visit to the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California’s Girl Scout Shop on Saturday. The event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 6601 Elvas Ave. in Sacramento includes games, crafts and an opportunity to pose for photos with Mrs. Claus. People who bring a donation of school supplies for the Girl Scout’s World Thinking Day education event will receive a coupon for 25 percent off items at the Girl Scout Shop, which sells scout merchandise and products for troops, leaders and alumni.

Behind the news: Girl Scouts Heart of Central California, which has its headquarters in Sacramento, serves nearly 29,000 girls in 18 counties in Central California, including Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado and Yolo counties. The Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 to build confidence, character and leadership among girls.

Info: www.girlscoutshcc.org

It’s all ducky at this Sacramento co-op class

Hank Shaw, the Sacramento-area food writer known for his award-winning blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, will demonstrate how to roast a goose, break down a duck and sear a duck breast and make confit at the Sacramento Natural Food Coop Learning Center, 1914 Alhambra Blvd. in Sacramento. The two-hour class at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday is $45 for co-op members; $55 for nonmembers.

Behind the news: Shaw is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s 2013 individual food blog award. His latest book, “Duck, Duck, Goose: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfowl, Both Farmed and Wild” was released earlier this year. On his blog, Shaw describes himself as a “former line cook” who worked as a newspaper reporter for 19 years. As a food writer, his work has appeared in publications such as Food & Wine, The Art of Eating, Field and Stream, and Edible Sacramento.

Info: www.sacfoodcoop.com

Around Town

Maidu Museum offers free tours, exhibits this week

The Maidu Museum and Historic Site, 1970 Johnson Ranch Drive in Roseville, is open for free tours and children’s activities Tuesday through Thursday. Contemporary art galleries and interactive exhibits can be seen inside the museum. Outside, petroglyphs, bedrock mortar holes and native plants can be seen on a walking trail through a Maidu village site. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Info: www.roseville.ca.us/parks

Free strategy session on college admission tests

Sacramento Central Library is offering a free strategy session for taking the SAT, PSAT or ACT college admission tests at 6 p.m. Tuesday. In the session, titled “SAT Test Secrets 101,” participants will have the opportunity to take mock tests and consult with testing experts. The library is at 828 I St.

Info: www.saclibrary.org

Pan holds town-hall meeting on Obamacare

Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento, a medical doctor, is hosting a free informational session on the Affordable Care Act at Sacramento City Hall, 915 I St., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The public is invited to the town-hall-style event in the council chamber.

Sac Metro Chamber to host orientation breakfast

Each month, the Sacramento Metro Chamber hosts an orientation breakfast its members how to access the programs and services the organization offers. It’s also an opportunity to meet the chamber staff, network with other members and learn about upcoming programs. This month’s orientation breakfast, sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, Elliot Mason & Associates, takes place form 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Thursday at 1 Capitol Mall, Suite 300, in Sacramento.

Info: (916) 262-0999 or metrochamber.org

Lung cancer support group meets Thursday

The Lung Cancer Chat Room meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the third Thursday of every month, giving people affected by cancer a chance to share experiences and connect face-to-face. The support group meets at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Room 1103, at 4501 X St. in Sacramento. Guest speakers are invited to give presentations on topics of interest to patients.

Info: Call (916) 734-5198 or visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cancer