Monthly Archives: September 2020

Continuing Education – The Benefits of Taking Night Classes

Are you considering night classes at a local college, because this is the only free time you have? Another option to consider is online night classes, which can be done from the comfort of your own home. Regardless, here are some of the top benefits of taking night classes for higher education:

  • Night classes may have a smaller pool of students, according to Career Lifestyle Journal, which means a better ratio of student to teachers.
  • According to the same report, a large percent of nighttime students are working adults, which give them the opportunity to socialize and network in their own age group.
  • Students can still make a living while completing higher education and securing a competitive advantage.

Some of the disadvantages of taking night classes include sleep debt, which could directly affects one’s health. This is especially true if the student works a full time job during the daytime. Nevertheless, it’s imperative that students reserve 6-8 hours of sleep daily and go for annual checkups with their physician. This is feasible through discipline and a set routine. As an example, college students can follow these strategies:

Remove Distractions – such as social media and the constant beeps of technology. You may still want to stay in touch with family and friends, and this can be narrowed down to a few minutes that are set each day. This can improve your job performance as well. Remember, the better you perform, the more likely you will be to be recognized by employers.

Set a Schedule – and stick to this. Do you get off at 5 pm and reach home by 6? This is a random example, however dinner, shower and then bed can be scheduled until 6 hours later. Getting up in the middle of the night to take night classes may seem infeasible at first, but students with a goal to make a better life will find this to be more of a routine in the long run.

Remember Goals – if you’re feeling weary about nighttime classes, remember the long-term benefits of these short term sacrifices.

Forbes magazine and Career Builder both have studies agreeing that college graduates earn an estimated $1 million dollars more than high school graduates over their lifetime. In addition, college graduates are most likely to be chosen over those with a high school diploma alone. This is because online business degree holders are regarded as owning more skillsets and critical thinking skills, which are essential in the workplace.

Comments: The Education System in America

America’s Declining Education And Its Impact On Society

What does education mean to you? Let’s turn our attention to solving one of the nation’s most important problems, education. Education is one of the most important, if the not the most important foundation that needs to be instilled in today’s children. The fact is that it’s every parents dream to see their children choose and eventually accomplish a higher level of education. Are we being surpassed by other countries, are they quickly becoming the world’s leading authority and provider of higher education?

Its clear that we have a need of higher education. We are in an economy that is based on education, we have doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists and the list goes on. If we can’t hire the workers with the training and skills we require, major companies will find it necessary to move to those countries where the talent resides. To simply state the position simply as possible, we must hire the best work force in the world to stay competitive. We are outsourcing our needs because we don’t have the level of expertise that is required to maintain our own economy.

The need to outsource is only considered as a last resort because we can’t keep up with the rest of the world. Many times we don’t have much of a choice; we need raw materials and advanced technology to compete and that only comes with an advanced education.

So, how do we maintain our education and not sacrifice our economy? First we must develop self discipline and give out teachers the tools needed so they can make a positive impact. We must do more to ensure teachers have the training to teach the subjects they’re presenting with a deeper understanding of the curriculum. The fact remains “the U.S. has the lowest high school graduation rate in the world”. If we are going to compete in a knowledge based economy we must devote more resources to our teachers. Teachers must reflect an increased focus on science and math to better prepare students and allow them to compete on a global based level.

While other countries are graduating scientists and engineers at an impressive rate our students are straying away from these fields. We have many students that are looking for a quick fix. They are not willing to put in the time and effort to really understand the curriculum. I witnessed this first hand when I was in high school and college. Many students that did their homework the night before, no research or real effort was put into their work. I remember many students that had a great memory and were able to retain just enough to get by.

Understanding is the key to success in anything you do, if we complete our work without a thorough understanding; we will not be prepared for higher “University” based education.

Our education level will play a major role, on whether or not our future will succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. If performance and test scores are declining, who needs to step in and take charge? Should it be our parents, our schools, our government, or a combination? The debate and dilemma will continue, until this growing problem is addressed.

Why Should We Seek a College Education in Today’s Economy?

Can you break the poverty cycle by getting a college degree?

Whatever education you get beyond high school will help you break the poverty cycle. There is no reason for anyone to live in poverty in this country. It is only a matter of one making good choices every day of one’s life. Not everyone will attain a 4-year degree, but everyone with an average ability can attain some form of education beyond high school, be it on the job training, a certificate program or an associate degree. It all depends on your interest, commitment and discipline. The more education you have, the larger your social and economic circle will be. In most cases, the higher is your level of education, the more successful you will be.

Once you have broken this poverty cycle, not only does it benefit you, but also it benefits your children, your grandchildren and for generations to come. The tendency will be that each generation will do better than what you did. You can only claim with pride that you have achieved success in life when all of your children are doing well. This is a philosophy that we all should live by. There will always be an exception because we are human beings and we are not perfect.

The value of the connections that one makes as a result of having a college degree: Conquering college education

A college degree allows you to get a job that can afford you a comfortable living with a potential for a comfortable retirement. Even though most young adults don’t think about the importance of investing in a comfortable retirement, your most important goal is to make sure that you do everything that you can to retire early and comfortable. This all has to be done while you take care of your family. As parents, you will have a good idea of what type of schools/colleges that your children should attend to make good friendships and connections that can be very helpful in their professional aspirations. Most young people are not aware of the value that these friendships will have in their lives. Our society is a political arena in reality and each one of us needs to be conscientious of our friendships and connections, which will impact our professional goals. If you look at most of the successful and well-to-do young professionals, you will notice that they are all doing well because of the connections they made while they were in college or as a result of family connections. In most cases, it is not what you know but whom you know.

The college degree is fundamental in your success in life but the political contacts and connections are key to you landing that job with great potential to earn a great income. Don’t get me wrong, money is not the most important thing in this life, but it can make your life less stressful and your retirement more pleasurable.

College degree allows you the opportunity to expand your social circle, which can lead to great opportunities in life: Conquering a college degree

There are some people who will disagree with what I am about to say but it is a reality that without a college degree, one’s social circle is limited, which leads to limited opportunities. The more education you have, the greater are your opportunities to expand your social circle. Your social circle can be very helpful to your professional career. Education is not the only factor in play here, but your personality along with your ability to genuinely connect with people will determine how far you will advance in your career. If you allow your heart to guide every step of your life, you will always attain success and be happy. It will be very difficult to attain success and be happy if you are self-centered and egotistical. We make connections and friendships that will last when we operate from the heart. Your social circle will for the most part depend on the level of education that you have and the type of income that you earn.

How does all of this relate to your retirement (the golden years)? Conquering your retirement

Everything that you do in your lifetime has a lot to do with your retirement. The amount of money that you make and the amount of money that you invest in your retirement will determine whether you will have comfortable golden years. Most young people will procrastinate to invest in their retirement because retirement for young people is an after thought. It is a matter of inexperience and the knowledge of how important a good income is to a retired person. Whatever life style you are accustom to in the latter part of your life, you will need to have a retirement income that will allow you to maintain that current life style. To think that you are going be comfortable with an income that is less than 80% of your salary prior to retirement, you are in for a big surprise. You will need more money than you think because when you retire, you will have more time to do the things that you want to do and this will cost you more money. I would recommend that you invest as much as you can into your retirement because you will need the money and because after retirement your earning potential decreases dramatically.

This is why I strongly recommend that you get as much education as possible to guarantee you a comfortable life and happy golden years.

A Lesson in Education Technology From a Very, Very Old Tradition

In Okinawa, Japan, women have been diving for pearls for more than 2,000 years. Traditionally dressed in only a loincloth, they would dive to depths as deep as 120 feet to find the oysters and mussels that produce pearls. This work was largely done by women because they were better able to endure the cold of the depths they were diving (Women’s bodies distribute fat more evenly then men.) The work was very dangerous, as you might expect, exposing them to predators, harsh environments and shallow water blackouts.

In the 1960s, they were approached by a firm selling scuba gear. The company demonstrated that one person with the right gear could gather as many oysters as an entire village of women in a day. The results were enticing, but they also raised a number of very significant questions including which women would use the gear, and how would the profits be divided. A town counsel was called and everyone discussed the pros and cons of buying scuba gear. In the end, the decision was made reject the use of scuba and continue with their tradition.

Today these Ama Divers, as they are called, still dive for pearls, though largely for the benefit of tourists rather than for the pearls they gather. Even scuba divers couldn’t compete with the advancements in pearl culture, where thousands of oysters could be grown in shallow depths and tricked into growing pearls in a confined area where they could be easily harvested.

So what does this have to do with education? Look just about anywhere in the education industry and you will find wholesale attempts to introduce as much technology into the classroom as quickly as possible. There are even watchdog groups that report on the school boards that are acting the quickest to engage in these technologies. Blog after blog extols the virtues of employing the latest technological masterpiece, while those who are slower are looked down on as archaic and anachronistic. Some of these programs have good empirical data to back them up, many do not. Some programs are developed by wonderful people with altruistic motives, but many are being promoted by new non-profits that are little more than shells for large corporations who stand to make fortunes if their particular technology becomes the new standard.

With all the hype and hyperbole that is flying around right now, it is virtually impossible to find a voice that will ask the tough questions about whether or not these technologies make good sense. Unlike the Japanese Ama Divers, there are few town council meetings to carefully consider what makes sense and what does not. One of the reasons the Common Core standards, good as they may be, are getting such resistance at the grass roots level is because the proponents have A) used a top-down approach, and B) have not been completely forthcoming about who the stakeholders are and who will profit when these technologies are adopted.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with coming up with something new and making a profit on it; it’s the American way. However, using healthy political contributions to get the support of legislators in bellwether states in exchange for support for new programs is certainly less desirable.

This doesn’t mean we need to be reactionary; it just means that we need to examine the new technologies that are introduced, checking the validity of their claims carefully before we purchase them. It also doesn’t mean we need to reject a promising new technology, as the divers did, if that technology can produce better results at a lower cost. What it does mean is that teachers and parents alike should ask the requisite questions to make sure we are getting the best bag for the buck.

Progress and technology are wonderful tools when balanced with careful consideration and forethought. Let’s do the due diligence before we head down a rabbit hole that could take years to escape. It’s our future we are betting on here, and that is certainly worth our full attention.

6 Things You Need to Know About State Special Education Laws That Will Empower Your Advocacy!

Are you the parents of a child with Autism or other type of disability who receives special education services? Are you currently having a dispute with your school district related to your child’s education? Would you like to learn about State special education laws and regulations to use in your advocacy? This article is for you and will be discussing these laws,and information that you need to know to empower your advocacy!

1. Every state is required by IDEA 2004 (federal special education law) to have laws and regulations that will show how they will be complying with the law.

2. State regulations cannot “establish provisions that reduce parent’s rights or are otherwise in conflict with the requirements of IDEA and Federal Regulations.” Federal law “trumps” or is stronger than State law. State law can give a parent more rights but cannot take away rights.

3. Many States laws are not consistent with federal laws.

4. Some states have been told that they must change their state regulations to be consistent with federal law. For example: New Jersey stated in their regulations that school districts had the right to test a child in an area that they did not previously test—if a parent asked for an independent educational evaluation at public expense (IEE at public expense). Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) found this inconsistent with IDEA 2004 (300.502). They have required NJ to revise their regulations and until they do so make sure school districts are not evaluating children in an area not previously evaluated before paying for an IEE.

5. Other States regulations are also inconsistent with federal law but have not been told by the U.S. DOE that they must change their regulations. One example is New York who has a regulation that ESY eligibility is only for children with multiple disabilities and/or who show regression and slow recoupment. This is not consistent with federal special education law and may hurt children by denying them needed services. Another example is in my State of Illinois the parent guide states that parents must “request” an IEE before the testing is done. IDEA 2004 states that parents have the right to “obtain” an IEE if they disagree with the schools evaluation. A letter to the Illinois State Board of Education pointing out this inconsistency was answered with this statement “The office plans to review the identified guidance document and initiate any necessary revisions during the summer of 2012. Your information will be considered during the course of that process.” It is now 2014, and I will not be holding my breath for the State of Illinois to revise their parent guide.

6. OSEP policy letters often address inconsistent State laws and regulations! They are great advocacy tools and can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/index.html#topiclisting. I use them all the time to show special educators how the Office of Special Education Programs (at the U.S. DOE) interpret IDEA 2004 and inconsistent State regulations.

By understanding these 6 things about State Special Education Law, your advocacy will be empowered! Good Luck!

Special Education Programs Meeting Student Needs in Nassau County

Children’s Readiness Center

Student Disability: Significant developmental delays including autism, and mental retardation

Student Age: 5 to 8 (Early Elementary)

Students who attend this state-of-the-art early education center in Long Island need a highly individualized behavioral approach and small class size (6:1:2). As part of its educational/behavioral approach, the program’s specially trained staff track results of each student’s activities in continuous documentation. Long Island school program goals include not only developing the youngsters’ communication skills and increasing their social interactions but also accomplishing individualized educational goals in preacademic and academic programs. Parents and family at this Long Island school learn behavioral and educational strategies that can be used with the children at home.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the teaching methodology used throughout the program. Skills are broken down into small steps and various teaching techniques are used to ensure skill mastery under a variety of conditions. This Long Island School uses a progressive total communication system that may include spoken words, photographs, pictures, symbols and/ or sign language, to increase communication skills. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) method involves the child initiating a social exchange to make requests or communicate.

Carman Road Preschool

Student Disability: Preschooler with a disability (multiple disabilities, physical disabilities)

Student Age: 3 to 5

The Preschool Program at Carman Road School is one of many Long Island schools that provide total educational intervention for children with multiple, physical and cognitive disabilities in a specially designed environment. All children at this Long Island school are encouraged to reach their greatest potential through many activities that stimulate growth and development while building self-confidence. Youngsters are referred to the program by their local district Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE). Once accepted, they attend full-day classes, five days a week, entering an educational environment that promotes the greatest possible achievement.

The total child perspective at this Long Island school is used to address the needs of each youngster on an individual basis. The curriculum stresses the development of physical skills and the growth of cognitive, social, emotional and language skills. Each child’s unique abilities and needs are considered in all the program’s activities.

An Engineered Aided Language Environment, using visual strategies and assistive technology, are used to encourage physical development and the growth of communication skills for children attending this Long Island school. For each child, a multidisciplinary team develops strategies and methods to meet the goals and objectives of his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Children receive physical, occupational, and speech therapies as prescribed in their IEPs. Time is spent each day encouraging the growth of skills needed in activities of daily living, such as feeding and dressing. Social skills are developed in structured activities and free play. This Long Island school uses individual and group projects such as painting, cooking, coloring, planting flowers, water play and using the sand table develop motor and learning skills. The children work with specially trained teachers in the Learning Center where they begin to use assistive technology, adapted computers, specialized software, touch screens and switches. Access to the Adapted Physical Education provides opportunities for additional growth in motor skills for children attending this Long Island school.

Parents can visit their child’s classroom and observe the program. They can also talk with the classroom teacher and with members of the multidisciplinary team on these visits and throughout the year as necessary. Parents also participate in the development of the child’s IEP. Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings at this Long Island school cover topics that are important to education and management of children with special needs and are held monthly.

Science Education and Art Education: The Perfect Pair

After years of touting the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ) educational programs, many teachers are discovering that by adding an “A” –for ART– student learning will pick up STEAM! This latest understanding of how students learn is changing science education by adding Art education back into the mix. This integrated education approach is developing a proven track record and being incorporated into public, private and homeschool education.

At its inception, the STEM bill authorized over 150 million to help students earn a bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials. It also provided millions in additional money to help align kindergarten through grade 12 math and science curricula to better prepare students for college.

Now years later, people are asking questions like: Why are math and science viewed as standalone modalities? Why have so many schools dropped Arts education from their curriculum?

For too long, we have wrongly believed that Science and Art education were separate disciplines that demanded different teaching methods. However, now we know that Science and Art, as well as Math and Music are intrinsically related!

Educational researchers are recognizing that it is important to integrate all modalities into STEM lessons. By broadly using an integrated education curriculum, students are able to see how science education is important to aspects of everyday life. Integrated education also affords the opportunity for real-world application of the math and science education knowledge.

The use of Art as the glue that bonds these modalities shows students how form and function are guiding principles. Art is not merely illustrative or decorative, but represents an essential part of the process of inquiry, such as problem finding, problem solving, and communication.

The fervor that propels people to excel at mathematics and science education or engineering and art education are driven by the same desire: the desire to discover the intricacies and beauty in one’s world and chosen work. Furthermore, Art is also integrated into technologies such as engineering in the “form and function” debate. Does form follow function or does function follow form? Either way the two are fundamentally linked. Cars are a perfect example: From the Model-T Ford to the latest concept car, we have seen that the evolution of technology is as much about aesthetics (form) of the product as it is about functionality.

Many of the fundamental concepts of form and function are the same. Line, shape, color, structure/function relationships as well as perspective, patterning, and sequencing are the language of art and science education. Students create “an artistic representation of their ideas and solutions is a valuable way to make learning personal. This allows for a clear understanding of the underpinnings of science principles and how these principles can be extrapolated to solve existing problems. It has been proven that students who previously had difficulty in STEM classes are picking up STEAM quickly!