In Public Schools

from the "outside" looking "in"

Empowers Students

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

HIGH SCHOOLEDUCATION EMPOWERS STUDENTS

Education empowers students because the value of a good education is in the options it offers those who seek it. If the student has an advanced degree, he or she might go into my area of specialty or even choose a position that simply wants someone with a college education. He could decide to go into business for himself or simply chose a low paid position that requires no special training. The choice is his. The education empowers him because he has the opportunity to make that selection. A person with no advanced degree can either choose the lower paying position or go into business for himself or herself. Of course, you’ll always find the exception to the rule, the person that manages to fight their way to the top without any formal training.

The schools face a financial crisis and part of the problem in the preparation of students for work comes from that shortage. Many schools that once offered curriculum that included vocational arts, computer science and other specialties, including college preparation now face cutbacks and a watered down curriculum. Those that still offer true vocational arts programs, however, deal with issues of helping the student make their skills marketable by increasing the communication ability of the students.

Even with the programs in place, students still leave the high school with few marketable skills for the jobs. For those in a general education course, often the basic math capabilities, reading and communication skills are limited at best and totally absent at worst. This leaves the student ill prepared for any position, such as store clerk, that requires not only the ability to communicate effectively but also some basic math.

In order to attack the problem of sending illiterate and ill-prepared students into the job market, most schools adopted a core curriculum. The core curriculum is one year of college preparatory courses and includes a foreign language, more focus on English, science and mathematics. This movement is now nationwide.

The focus on core skills occurs because many students are not yet ready to make a decision on their future occupation. It also addresses the fact that Johnny simply can’t read or write intelligently after he successfully received his diploma and threw his mortarboard into the air. The tug between a focus on vocational and practical arts programs and core curriculum still leaves many students with watered down versions of both.

In an attempt to face the issue, many schools have adopted alternative programs that involve internships and work experience in areas such as health care, auto mechanics, electrical occupations, computer science and construction. These programs allow the child to utilize more time in school for core instruction while attaining experience and education in job they wish to explore.

The dilemma of the ill-prepared students does not begin at the high school level but earlier in the learning career of the child. The failure of the school system at the upper grades is simply a reflection of the failure of the system and curriculum at the primary education level.

Schools no longer teach but simply control the masses of children. They face an overwhelming task of accommodating every potential special needs child with kid glove empathy and making certain that no one feels failure. In an attempt to do this, they fail the students by allowing children to pass the grade without the basic skills, simply because they have a special situation.

This biased and unfair practice tells those children they don’t have the capabilities to learn. Instead of insisting on basic skill levels in the classroom, teachers adjust grades for the short falls of the student. This is the most insidious form of insult, not only to the educational system but also to the student himself. The teacher no longer believes that there is hope to teach this child, and because of it, all learning ceases.

Compensation for attention deficit, English as a second language, at risk children or other blocks to learning should not become the rallying point for lower expectations. Instead of lowering the bar for these students and admitting defeat, the school corporation needs to focus on setting standards of excellence and doggedly sticking to them. The schools can only accomplish this task by a more stringent belief that students can meet expectations and accept no excuse for failure. Only then will the schools provide students prepared to enter the work force.


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Empowers Teachers

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

EDUCATION EMPOWERS TEACHERSthCAO39RTY

Supporting the educational system empowers the school and the teachers. Without parental and community support, the school has a rough road to travel. Teachers need everyone’s help to be their most effective. The help doesn’t have to come from an extra hand in the classroom. It can be as simple as supporting school decisions and the teacher or making certain the lines of communication are open between you and the school.

Some believe an effective teacher is born rather than created. It is true that teaching is an art, but one where mastery is possible with appropriate direction. There are specific requirements that each candidate must possess, however, in order for the instruction to be successful.

The teacher must have a love for knowledge and the desire to impart it. They also must have a strong intuitive sense and caring nature. Most of all, teachers must expect that their students will learn and believe in not only the students, but also their own ability.

Classroom management skills are important as are subject matter mastery. Here is where education and mentoring help the novice teacher. Often they face situations that they never considered while attending university classes. The seasoned teacher not only can help them through these times but also provide a working model for the novice to mirror to avoid crisis in the classroom.

The core requirement to good teaching is belief and a firm grasp on classroom management. The teacher sets the pace for each child in the classroom. The more the teacher believes in the child’s capability to conquer subject matter, the more successful the student is. This is the Pygmalion effect, also known as Rosenthal’s self-fulfilling prophecy. The higher the expectation of the teacher, the more the child tends to accomplish.

While this optimistic attitude may not be natural for many of the new teachers, the teacher can learn to do this with practice. It involves first, identifying the need to see each student as capable. The teacher learns the importance of this concept in college or with a mentor. Once the novice teacher understands this, they then need to make a concerted effort to see each student as capable. They need to understand that the ability to learn is within each child, the key is finding the method to unlock that ability.

Teachers need to be able to sell the concept of the child’s capabilities to the child and their family. In order to do this, they must be able to spot even the most minimal of growth and take the time to call parents and tell them of the child’s achievement for the day. Often, parents seldom hear from the teacher unless their child is unruly. This positive technique builds not only the esteem of the child, but also a cooperative attitude in the parents.

Classroom management is a task that requires a well thought out plan ahead of time. Classroom rules with rewards and consequences need assessment so the teacher can put them into written form before the first bell rings on the opening day of school. Children need to be aware of the rules immediately. The use of a mentor helps to identify the necessary rules to maintain classroom order.

Establishing the classroom routine the first day of school is also another way to help the class run smoothly. Again, the help of a mentor to create a manageable program is beneficial. Children that know what is required of them and what to anticipate next often find learning easier than those who have to anticipate what happens next.

Effective teaching requires organization, identification of goals and rules but it also requires the strong belief of the teacher that it is all possible. The most effective teachers are those that don’t give up in the face of adversity but look for ways to use the new information they gleaned from it to make their classroom more effective for learning. Marjan Glavac has some suggestions.

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Empowers Community

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

in the neighborhood EDUCATION EMPOWERS COMMUNITY

Communities receive empowerment when they have high numbers of educated individuals and good school corporations. People want to live where students receive quality education. As people move into those communities, it increases the tax base and empowers the community. Communities also benefit from educating their citizens. Statistics show that people with a better education earn more money. More money in the hands of the citizens means more revenue into the community.

America is a land of opportunity. One of the opportunities that are afforded to every citizen is education for our children. Through a network of public school systems, free education is available to every child in America. There are those however, that believe that our public schools are in crisis. With populations rising, and budgets for education shrinking, our educators are being asked to do more and more for our children with less and less. As our economy suffers, more and more children are living at or below the poverty level. Families are turning to their school districts for subsidized lunches and other assistance in record levels.

One of the biggest impacts of our current school crisis has been in the decrease in funding for arts education. With budget cuts all around, district leadership is being forced to decide between providing adequate text books and learning materials and providing music and art classes to students. Some schools have had to cut back their programs to only half a year, while others have had to eliminate the programs altogether. This lack of fine arts training is robbing our students of valuable learning opportunities, as there is a strong body of research that indicates that students that have music classes do better in math.

No Child Left Behind, or NCLB as it is commonly called, has been one of the biggest factors in throwing our public schools into crisis. With ever state being required to develop standards to which all districts much adhere, teachers are being called upon to push students through a curriculum that may not be appropriate for ever student. NCLB did away with the ability to have “leveled classrooms”, where students were grouped into classes based upon their academic achievements. Students that were academically advanced were in a class with other students that are also advanced, rather than having a mixture of ability levels in the class. Under NCLB, no such leveling is allowed.

There is no doubt that some of our public schools are in crisis. Standards vary widely from state to state, meaning that the impacts vary as well. Schools that are in more affluent areas tend to have better test scores, as the schools are able to allocate more financial resources to curriculum than they are to support services. The one thing that is sure is that something needs to be done, and soon, or else the education that all children are guaranteed may become more and more a thing of the past.

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Empowers Government

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

WE THE PEOPLE.XJPG EDUCATION EMPOWERS GOVERNMENT

Just like communities, every governmental entity is empowered by the level of education of its constituents. The name of the game for cities, counties, states and nations is productivity and problem solving. Countries that show higher educational results also show higher growth. Education empowers everyone from the student to the government. Quality education should be important to every person that lives in our country. Even if your children are grown or you have no children, each citizen that passes from student to worker plays a direct role on your life, your community and your country.

While many people might cite the failure of parents as a main reason for the ‘throwaway’ children of our society, there is at least one man who believes that someone else needs to be held responsible. President Obama gave a speech on September 8, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia that was broadcast across the nation. It was about public education. It was about children succeeding in school to create a hope for a better future. But it wasn’t about the lack of responsibility by parents or teachers. It wasn’t about children learning their values and discipline from their role models. It was simply about children taking responsibility for their own education.

When the President addressed the nation on that September morning, not everyone was listening. Many schools didn’t broadcast the speech for various reasons, but the message still rang true and clear: children need education, and children need to be accountable for the responsibility they have to take the education that they are given and make the most of it. To a certain extent, this is probably true. Children cannot be governed completely by parents or teachers, as they are humans with free will.

President Obama spoke about the skills that are obtained through a public (or private) education, and how critical those skills are in life. He said things that many children have heard countless times from other adults in their lives. Did it make a bigger impact because he is our country’s president? No one really knows. Every child will have a different reaction and acceptance of the speech they heard. Some will blow it off. Others will take it to heart. Still more might remain understanding, yet apathetic about actually following through on the words he spoke.

Parents are often seen as the missing link in educational failures when it comes to children. One way to combat that issue, especially when it becomes impossible to get parents involved, is to teach children how to excel despite the circumstances that they are in. This seems to be the point that Obama was trying to get across. He is quoted as telling children that “Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up.” This is a good thing to teach children, because there are times when the missing links just cannot be connected, and these students will have to create their own connections to succeed in life.

To read the full transcript of the speech given by President Obama on education, visit the White House website transcript: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-in-a-National-Address-to-Americas-Schoolchildren/

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Empowers Change

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013ADD COMMENTS

thCAAAI3UV EDUCATION EMPOWERS CHANGE

IT IS TIME

The role of this site is to look for ways to improve the schools, its benefits for everyone and help lower the cost of education while improving the quality.

Schools today have become big business with little room for the input from the average parent, teacher or student, let alone the taxpayer footing the bill. One man can make a difference. That’s the concept of the website. Through dialogue backed by action, you can return the schools to the center of learning and social function for the community but it isn’t easy.

Each person needs to speak their mind on issues that affect everyone. No matter what your age, the role of the school and quality of education has an impact on your life. Older people with no children in the house feel the sting of increasing property taxes. Parents watch as their child loses hours of education because of bad behavior of others in the classroom. Teachers face the problem with their hands tied and yet administration expects them to perform miracles in the classroom while offering no support.

Students that want to learn receive punishment for their desire for a better education as bullies take over the class and take retribution on those more dedicated. Click on the images below to get more insight.

The next generation of students will become the leaders and workers of the world. If the workers cannot adequately read, do the simplest of math, understand basic concepts or follow directions, what will happen to the state of our country? Already America is falling behind other nations in the quality of learning.

We set our standards lower and lower every year and the students fulfill our constantly decreasingly expectations. It’s time to rise up and regain the respect for education, improve the classroom and do what past teachers, parents, communities and students failed to do. We need change back to original virtues, beliefs and standards that somehow went to the wayside. The past has shown that education without discipline, demands without consequences and belief without action doesn’t work.

The dedication of this site is to the people of the American communities that still believe that answers for education begin with talking points. The points made in the different sections on the slider may not always be the right answer but they are a place to begin discourse.

Educating our students is a task for every member of the community whether they have children in school, are students themselves, are teachers or simply an active member of society. By joining forces, viewing education through each other’s eyes, we can find an answer together.  It is time to get involved.

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Michelle Rhee – Student First

Posted by Admin On March - 28 - 20111 COMMENT

Michelle_RheeSTUDENT FIRST- PROS AND CONS -THIS IS A NEW INITIATIVE HEADED BY MICHELLE RHEE

For over 18 years, Michelle Rhee has dedicated her time to compiling the skills that students will need when they enter the work force. She actively instituted many of these when she took her personal time as a third grade teacher to visit the homes of her third grade students for additional instruction after school hours. Besides many of the other innovative ideas Rhee brought to the table, she also started the DC Public School System Youth Cabinet, a concept that brings in the ideas of students for reform of the educational system.

Rhee started a grassroots initiative to improve the schools. Some of her key points are improving the quality of teachers, parental involvement in the schools and putting tax dollars where they’re most useful. StudentsFirst’s basis is that no child should suffer from an inadequate school simply because they live in the wrong area.

The basis for the StudentsFirst program is sound. The teachers in the classroom should be well trained and focus their time on the student. Today, many inadequate teachers remain in the classroom simply because of tenure. While tenure is good in some ways, such as preventing school boards from removing the higher paid teachers to save money, it also has its downside.

Too many teachers presently remain in the classrooms that spend their energies counting off the days to retirement. The lack of enthusiasm and caring can greatly affect the outcome of the educational experience for the student.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Unions

Posted by Admin On March - 28 - 20118 COMMENTS

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   HOW DOES THE UNION UNREST AFFECT STUDENTS?

While its difficult to measure the effects of bitter battles on the education of students, you can measure the differences in the educational growth in areas where there are union contract negotiations compared to districts where there are no contract negotiations or union. Logically, unrest and dissention would promote a lack of focus on the true problem, the education of the students. It splits people up into camps and the corporation can’t achieve educational progress because neither camp will give into the other. Often, the student finds himself much like a child in a bitter divorce.

Wisconsin, a state that has active union members up in arms due to the cancellation of collective bargaining rights, has effectively taken the voice away from the union. While some say that the step was necessary, taking a closer look is also mandatory before making a judgment.  A study in 2009 conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) compared scores for students in various states. The study includes only non-chartered schools and examines the scores for math and reading for grades 4 and 8. In states with binding teacher contracts, the math and reading scores were higher for the states that had binding teacher contracts. While they were higher for by only a few points in each area, they were higher in all areas for both grade levels.

 If you simply looked at the state rankings for states that offer no union contract, you’d find that of the ten, only one ranks above the median and seven of the states, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Arizona, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are in the bottom 15. Massachusetts, the state that ranked highest, has one of the strongest unions. While the study doesn’t include racial background of the classes, economic levels of the population or any other factors, it does reflect that overall, a school system that allows unions doesn’t affect the performance levels of students.  Read the rest of this entry »

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One Size Does Not Fit All

Posted by Admin On March - 28 - 20113 COMMENTS

                                                                             DAZED     WHY SHOULD ONE SIZE FIT ALL OR NOT?

 Each child is an individual and learns differently from the next child. Teaching to those individual differences is often easier said than done. However, there should be common goals and requirements for all students. These shouldn’t change because a child is slower, but our system should step up to the plate and change the method of presentation for these pupils. 

We have lost our path in the American school system attempting to justify individuality. In the beginning, adjusting the learning environment so all children could succeed was an excellent idea. However, someplace along the line, we lost our way and suddenly, we found ourselves adjusting the required outcome rather than the teaching technique.

Lowering expectations of students because of ethnicity and background is not only lowering the standards of the schools, its extremely unfair to the children it attempts to help. At one time, the suggestion of teaching Ebonics in the classroom and factoring in ethnicity on achievement tests to make them fair, was a prominently voice concept. Unfortunately, these types of innovative practices only lowered the overall learning results but also left children ill equipped to face the demands of life after school. Employers don’t care about your background or justify your performance at work based on ethnicity. They demand results.

Besides the academic standards changing in attempt to fit each child’s needs, the level of personal responsibility changed too. Johnny comes from a broken home and you should allow him to disrupt the class. After all, it isn’t his fault. Mary’s disrespectful mouth comes from living in an underprivileged neighborhood, so let her slander the class and the teacher. All these types of actions eroded the teacher’s ability to discipline.

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Finland

Posted by Admin On March - 28 - 20111 COMMENT

NEW FINLAND

EDUCATION THAT SUCEEDS

Finland scores on international achievement tests were the highest out of the 57 nations tested in the developed world. They scored the highest in reading and science and came in second in mathematics. One would first believe that the children spend 10 hours in school and begin education early in their life with an emphasis on reading at crib side. However, that simply isn’t true. In fact, just the opposite is true.

 The child in Finland doesn’t begin formal reading and writing until the age of seven. The preschool education may be one of the reasons for the higher achievement of the student in Finland. Rather than focusing on the three R’s in preschool and letter identification, in the 1970’s Finland made a dramatic change in their school system. The preschool education focuses of personal responsibility and social behavior rather than attempting to throw the students directly into the fray of subject knowledge.

 The basis for the preschool learning reflects the concept for the first Kindergarten offered by Frederick Froebel. He believed that this time should be a time of play, not just for entertainment, but as an important part of the child’s development. Froebel felt that play opportunities provided the child with learning experiences necessary for the next level of development.

 For two years, the high quality governmentally sponsored early-childhood program spends time on self-reflection and interaction. These components often aren’t part of the litigious nature of Americans, although they were qualities that made our country great. Today, our schools pay little attention to the personal development of the child and focus on the academics. If a child misbehaves in school, it’s simply not their fault but the fault of the teacher or school corporation. There’s none of that in Finland, the child understands his present behavior reflects the outcome of his future.

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As For Me and My House: Education Is Important

Posted by Admin On March - 28 - 20112 COMMENTS

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  A GPS FOR PARENTS OF SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN

 Written for parents who are concerned about their children’s journey through today’s public education system, As For Me and My House: A GPS for Parents of School-Age Children is a powerful resource that can change lives.

 Inspired by the Book of Joshua, As For Me and My House asks parents to take charge and become empowered to improve their children’s education. No longer willing to accept second-rate outcomes, today’s parents are learning that by being proactive they can get better results from teachers, administrators, and their own kids.

Parental responsibility is a key issue in the delivery of education. The Biblical verse “As for me and my house we will” frames the need for parents to fulfill their roles as heads of the household. This timeless advice works for parents of any race, creed, or religious belief. A GPS concept is used to direct families into responsible behavior with suggestions of techniques for solution building in relationships with educators and administrators.

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Teacher Tenure

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 201045 COMMENTS

TTapril01Teacher tenure is one of the most debated issues of schools boards across the nation. While there are good reasons to continue tenure, there are equally good reasons to discontinue it. Unions often go head to head with the school boards because of this issue.

Before delving into the pros and cons of teacher tenure, it is imperative that the definition of tenure be discussed. Tenure varies from state to state and Wisconsin has no tenure for teachers.  Teacher tenure occurs after a number of years of closely examined performance. Attaining tenure simply makes it more difficult, but not impossible for schools to dismiss teachers.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Effective Teacher – Part II

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

EFTapril02Some believe an effective teacher is born rather than created. It is true that teaching is an art, but one where mastery is possible with appropriate direction. There are specific requirements that each candidate must possess, however, in order for the instruction to be successful.

The teacher must have a love for knowledge and the desire to impart it. They also must have a strong intuitive sense and caring nature. Most of all, teachers must expect that their students will learn and believe in not only the students, but also their own ability. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Segregation Still Alive?

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 20103 COMMENTS

SEGapril03Classrooms across America reflect the melting pot that is our country. The mandates of Brown versus The Board of Education ruling unfortunately created some of these melting pots artificially. The awareness of segregation in the schools became apparent when Linda Brown’s parents sued the Topeka, Kansas school district. While the action was justified, the effects on school corporations and students that follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit, create a new problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Drop Out

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 20105 COMMENTS

GBapril04The new challenge from the Obama administration is to keep students in school.  The incentive to make this happen is an investment of $3.5 billion dollars with an additional $900 million for turnaround grants in 2011. The grants are geared to identify and help turnaround schools with a lower than 60 percent graduation rate.  Identification, however, can only be the first step. The schools need to find why their students leave before they make any plan of action to encourage graduating from high school. Read the rest of this entry »

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