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Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards

This three-minute video explains how the Common Core State Standards will help students achieve at high levels and help them learn what they need to know to get…
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Equalizing Standards 

 

Different districts held different standards for students which made them be compared unfairly and for nobody to end up with a clear sense of a child's success. The Common Core State Standards created a set of standards to be applied to each grade level for English and Math, so that all kids could be at the same level before graduating to the next grade. This is also allowing the US to compare students' success to international standards. The standards serve as guidelines for each district but still leave room for schools to design their own creative curriculum. The intent is for all kids to be graded fairly and measured against one set of rules rather than having different expectations for kids depending on their race, socioeconomic class or school district. 

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The Tale of Two Schools

The Tale of Two Schools | Education | Scoop.it
Fieldston and University Heights are in the same borough but are worlds apart. How much understanding between their students can a well-told story bring?
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Merging the Two Worlds 

 

This is an article about two schools in New York. One is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods and the other is one of the wealthiest private schools with one of the biggest price tags. 

 

The school's started exchanging letters which eventually led to meeting in person. The students from University Heights, the poorer school, were overwhelmed when they first visited Fieldston. The disparity between the two worlds was immense.

 

I think it really shows how separated different groups of people are by socioeconomic class. It also shows how different the life stories kids can share are.

 

I think the idea behind this program is great but it also has a lot of flaws. To me, it is almost flaunting privilege in the face of the poorer students without offering anything in return. It allows the wealthy students to use the University Heights students as a hands on learning experience.

 

The story about the boy hearing about a University Height student dealing with the death of a father and sickness of a mother and returning with a story about an outward bound trip really displays this. The experiences they have are so vastly different that it is hard to have it be a two way street.  

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America’s Richest School Districts

America’s Richest School Districts | Education | Scoop.it
The average income of Americans differs by state, county, city and ZIP code, obviously. At each level, the amount residents earn every year impacts available government services, health and overall quality of life. This is especially true when education is examined by school district. Read: America’s Richest School Districts Read: America’s Poorest School Districts  24/7 […]
Abby Schantz's insight:

- Wealthy Neighborhood, Great School - 

 

After reading my last article, I decided to find out how schools in wealthy v. low income neighborhoods compare. This article confirmed my suspicion that the 'quality' of education varied directly proportionally to the wealth of the people sending their children to said school. 

 

The people living in the communities with the wealthiest public schools had a median income ranging from $175,766-$238,000 as compared to the poorest school district median incomes of $16,607-$18,980 (falling below the national poverty line of $22,314). These numbers correspond to how much money is spent per student per year and in tern, how the school ranks nationally. Consistently, the wealthiest schools are placed on the charts for best US schools while the poorest never seem to make even the runner ups on those lists. School systems rely on local funding. This means that in the wealthiest districts, close to 90% of the budget comes from residents' taxes. In the poorest, only 6% does. 

 

All of this shows just how messed up the public education system is. Schools will not improve if the funding varies so drastically based on the residents around the schools. In cities where the median income tends to vary more than in suburban areas, the wealthy simply opt out of sending their children to the public schools which are so often under budgeted. 

 

The United States needs a major education reform and it needs to stem off the rebudgeting of all schools. Money is currently not being used efficiently and the state should come to a point where parents do not feel the need to send their children to private schools rather than the local public option. 

 

Private schools exist and prosper only because of the failure of the public school system. In areas with great public schools, even the wealthiest families do not choose to pull their kids out of the public school system. Instead, the donations that would otherwise go to the private schools are given to help further improve the local public school. This should be how all American families feel. As a developed and one of the most economically prosperous nations in the world, there is no excuse for the failure of our education system. 

 

 

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Education gets relief but no long-term solutions

Education gets relief but no long-term solutions | Education | Scoop.it
While the state budget's focus on education is laudable, tremendous challenges remain.
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Why Can't We Reach a Solution? 

 

This article summarizes the 'relief' the New York public education system is getting but recognizes that despite the improvements, it does little for the longterm future of the system. This seems to be the common trend amongst passing education bills. Each works to reshape the spending, to put more effort towards one specific group of students/teachers, or fix one big problem that earned itself a lot of airtime in the recent past. But none seem to pass which have a focus on longterm changes - on setting up the system for the next generation of American children rather than just helping the current students make it through the system. Take the first point of the article - the doubling of local aid to local school districts. This is great and can potentially help those districts provide more resources to the students filling the seats, but what happens in ten years when nothing has actually changed in those classrooms? Or focusing more effort on certain districts but forgetting about others only perpetuates the problem of disparities amongst schools that kids have access to. Although it is tough to focus on the future of the schools when there are kids hardly making it through the system today, many more students will benefit from a major reform than from quick fixes which help only a hand full of students today. 

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Editorial: N.J. study on special education quality, costs offers sound ideas for change

Editorial: N.J. study on special education quality, costs offers sound ideas for change | Education | Scoop.it
A New Jersey School Boards Association task force has identified 20 ways to improve the quality of public education for about 200,000 students with learning disabilities while reducing the costs
Abby Schantz's insight:

Budgeting Special Needs 

 

The main idea of this article is about how New Jersey can better budget/organize the special needs program in the state's school system. There are a lot of hopeful components to this article. For one, it shows the state actively working to improve the system and for another, it shows the state attempting to reduce costs in ways other than simply cutting programs. Additionally, it brings up the idea of finding learning differences earlier on before they become problems so the child can have a better hope of overcoming them. 

 

Unfortunately, it also shows the system still is not perfected. Many students are not recognized to have challenges but rather seen to simply be failing school. It also shows that a huge percent of the cost of special needs education (43%) is taken on by taxpayers. 

 

I would like to continue to research the different states special needs programs and how each deals with it. I am also interested in what exactly classifies as a 'special need' rather than simply a learning difference for bad behavior. 

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▶ Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada - YouTube

When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal. About TE...
Abby Schantz's insight:

Driving Your Own Education

 

At 13, Logan is already designing his own school system. He recognizes something that he believes traditional schooling fails to: the goal in life should be to be a happy and healthy person. Logan realized that he could learn what kids learn in a traditional school in his own way and still have time to do more of the things he loves. Though he takes classes like math and history in groups with other kids his age, he does so with more individual attention and is able to focus problems on topics he is interested in. He holds internships at locals companies and is able to see the real world applications of all the things he is learning in the classroom. On top of all this, he finds that is beneficial for his happiness and development to have time to be outdoors during the day rather than cooped up in a classroom. 

 

This TED talk got a lot of publicity very quickly. I first watched it a couple months ago and got in my carpool to get a ride to school. The dad driving has an eight grade son in a homeschooling education system and when I mentioned the video said it was all the talk around the homeschooling world. Logan considers it hacking school, to these families homeschooling their kids, they simply see it has the way school should be designed for all kids and just some of the reasons they pulled their kids out of the standard education system. 

The YouTube commenters were equally as impressed as many of the articles published about the video throughout the internet. One comments, "somethings I wonder how these kids get so smart" and another, " If the 'hacking the world' mindset could be rehabilitated and embraced by the main-stream the possibilities could be endless.  We've been too long on the fringes and 'rebellious' for being individualistic and creative.  For non-conformity, for thinking for ourselves." This comment shows the interest people have in adapting this education model to the mainstream school system. Some criticism of the talk is about money and opportunity. Logan is fortunate enough to have a family who can support him in his personal education endeavors, the average kid is not so lucky. This only reinforces the necessity in implementing aspects of it into the public school system. 

 

For me, I see Logan as inspiring. I think pulling yourself out of school and designing your own education is a big deal. Conforming to the standard methods of education is easy and you know will give you the possibility of college ect. later in life. Trying something new is a risk and one which Logan does a great job taking. I don't necessarily think he has found the perfect system but I do think aspects of his system should be implemented into the standard school system. Showing kids where what they are learning applies is critical in helping them be motivated to apply themselves in school. Giving kids opportunities to study what interests them and even get them outside also ensure their happiness and motivation. Right now I think we have many different methods of schooling youth but not one that combines the best of each and this is what should be worked on today. 

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A Whole Child Education for Every Child: The Grand Unifying Theory of Education - Whole Child Education

A Whole Child Education for Every Child: The Grand Unifying Theory of Education - Whole Child Education | Education | Scoop.it
We call on educators, policymakers, business leaders, families, and community members to work together on a whole child approach to education.
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Educating an individual and his/her entire being: 

 

The main ideas in this article revolve around educating an entire child as opposed to focusing only on the subject matter necessary such as in the case in many school systems today. In order to create a whole person, every aspect of an individual's life must be considered. The "ideology" or a school should be that "we believe in children. All children". This follows a similar idea as no child left behind. Gow calls upon schools to see the abilities in each individual and work with them to help the child succeed. 

 

I found the main fault of the article to be a lack of any specifics. It did a nice job of summarizing an ideal school ideology but very little to suggest any implementation of practicality of the idea. Gow also bashed on people who create lists of steps for teacher improvement. I think so is too great a generalization as some lists can be very useful in aiding people towards quick fixes of improvement or at least to get them thinking for themselves. 

 

To be this all suggests that the ideology is sound but I need to look into the ways to implement it further. How can a single, often under budgeted, teacher focus on the whole of every child in the classroom? What resources would help this be possible? Should classes take a more interdisciplinary approach? Should lessons be individualized to a student's interest? 

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Study: Emerging Technology Has Positive Impact in Classroom - US News

Study: Emerging Technology Has Positive Impact in Classroom - US News | Education | Scoop.it
A recent study highlights educators' feelings of goodwill toward technological innovation.
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Technology in the Classroom

 

Many schools are starting to implement technology into the daily life of classrooms. Some have found great success with it. 

This article tells a story about an AP calculus teacher at Bullis School (private) named Stacey Roshan. Her student's had been complaining about needing more time to practice the advanced material they were learning with the aid of their teacher. In an attempt to meet her students' needs, she recorded her lectures and posted them to iTunes. She followed the flipped classroom model, having her students watch lectures at home and come to class ready to apply what they learn for homework. She describes it more like an english class where students read for homework so they can discuss in the classroom. The results were outstanding. Her students scored an average of 4.11 on the AP calculus test (the previous year her students scored an average of 3.59) and there was a 10% increase in the number of students who scored a 5. 

Numerous schools across the country are following similar programs and testing out various uses for technology but unfortunately, due to budget constraints, it remains very difficult for public schools to embody the new technology. The worst part about that is it is public schools who could benefit most from its uses. 

If public schools came on board, a network of lessons could be created that could be utilized by the entire district or further of public schools. The top rated teachers could become accessible to every student in America.

It would provide overworked teachers more ample time to work with students who need extra help and to explain gaps in knowledge as well as give students an opportunity to work at a more flexible pace.

So the problem becomes investing in technology within a limited budget.  

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New data shows just how much school districts lost due to private school vouchers

New data shows just how much school districts lost due to private school vouchers | Education | Scoop.it

ho  New data obtained from the Indiana Department of Education reveals exactly how much funding local public school districts have lost to private

Abby Schantz's insight:

Should Everyone Pay the Public School Taxes? 

 

Many school systems offer a private school voucher with the purpose of giving families more options for their child's education. Though the intent is good, it takes huge amounts of funding away from the public schools. The vouchers work by allowing families who choose to enroll their child in the private school sector rather than public, to subsidize tuition with the money they would be putting towards the child's public school education. The problem with this is that even with a subsidized tuition, many US families still do not have the means to pay the price tag of a private school education so, it is not a fair choice for all families on the school for their child to attend. Plus, shouldn't public school be like any other tax people pay. Not everyone uses the highway but everyone does pay a tax on it. Same with public transportation, city road maintenance and pretty much everywhere else tax payer dollars go. Public school should be the same, right?  It also, in many respects, can be thought of as a perverse subsidy. The government is essentially encouraging families to put their kids in public school with from the public schools' perspective would be 'bad behavior'. 

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Sunday Dialogue: Our Choices for Schools

Sunday Dialogue: Our Choices for Schools | Education | Scoop.it
Readers react to a letter calling for greater support of public schools rather than “school choice.”
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- Inequality of Education - 

 

This is an opinion piece of the New York Times which I think very accurately depicts my own opinion of public education.Though, like myself, the article offers few solutions to the problem, it does bring to light many of the points I have been trying to articulate and address in my research thus far. 

 

The article begins with the point the education is supposedly the "opportunity equalizer" - it's job is to prepare kids to be equally ready to tackle the job market and be "productive citizens". 

 

This ideal becomes a problem when the education system is in no way equal. Schools, despite the diversity of many American cities, are in large part not diverse at all and diversity that does exist, is often forced and the minority students are then no successfully embraced into the school environment. 

 

Furthermore, private schools and even charter schools, make the disparity between schools even greater. If all of the privileged students can simply opt out of the struggling public education system, who's extra donations and time are going to work to improve it? 

 

The common argument that, "small class sizes and specialized treatment" help certain students as a means to justify removing a student from the traditional school environment is often true but it is true for the vast majority of students, not just the ones who happen to have the choice to leave the public school classroom. 

 

These problems create a vicious cycle. The worse the public schools are, the more families with the privilege of choice will oft to not have their children in the system. And, the more families who choose not to keep their children in public school, the less funding and drive there is to improve those schools. 

 

I want to further look into how schools in wealthy communities as opposed to schools in poorer communities compare. 

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To Fix U.S. Public Education, Take a Lesson From Countries That Top Student Rankings

To Fix U.S. Public Education, Take a Lesson From Countries That Top Student Rankings | Education | Scoop.it
The U.S. can learn from countries whose students top tests in math and science in the Program for International Student Assessment
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Education Ranked? 

 

This article discusses the most recent international test given to students with the purpose of comparing the education systems of the world's countries. The three category test (math, science, and reading) show US students around average in all of the seconds. The Asian countries reigned towards the top. Though, as the article recognizes, tests tell far from a complete story about education, they do highlight key points of success and of failures. One interesting measure on the test is a student's ability to apply a mathematical understanding for practical problems. To me, this seems like a great type of question. How are schools preparing students not just to pass a test but to use the knowledge they are learning? Unfortunately, the US did not do so well. Even more interestingly, the US spends more money per capita than the majority of the highest scoring countries. The article claims that this shows money does not improve schools. I disagree. Money most certainly does improve schools as it enables a well rounded system. If spent well, teachers can be trained, students can be fed, buildings maintained and there can be opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. So what this really says to me is that after all this time we still have no figured out how to manage our education budget. The article brings up the point that the United States, particularly as compared to Asian countries, values creativity in addition to the standard economic subjects which a test cannot test.  Though in many respects this is true - if the schools were actually fostering creativity, shouldn't students be able to use this to solve practical problems that were on the test even if not specifically taught how to do so in the classroom? Though I agree that tests are not always the best measure of a schools success, they do compare students against those in other school systems and the basics of school - math, science, and reading - are not adequately being taught in the United States schools. What is even worse is that the US students did not simply all fall at average, meaning the schools are simply doing a mediocre job of teaching kids but rather, a small subgroup scored at the top while the rest fell to the bottom. This affirms the notion that our schools value and support one specific group of students and let all the rest fall of the path. 

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Bringing Low-Income Students Into STEM Education

Bringing Low-Income Students Into STEM Education | Education | Scoop.it
The Posse Foundation STEM scholarship is an important turning point in American higher education.
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STEM to College 

 

The main point of this article is to share a new program started by the Posse Foundation in partnership with 10 colleges to giving 500 low income students a STEM education. The idea behind STEM is that many of the employment and leadership  opportunities in the US are in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The program seeks to find smart young people without the opportunity to succeed who, with help, could make a big impact on society. Additionally, it aims to bring lower income strong students into the top universities which they might otherwise not consider. 

 

Unfortunately, today even with financial aid ect. maybe kids with a lot of potential are not afforded the opportunities for them to succeed. This program will only help 500 kids and though it is expanding, it will be a slow process. It also only pull kids from select cities. 

 

I think I can further explore organizations that work to bring lower income students up outside of their public school system. I want to research opportunities specific to kids growing up in San Francisco as well as how white kids who are not eligible for many programs available to minorities can get some help. 

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That's Metal - YouTube

Share your videos with friends, family, and the world
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Using Music to Teach and Learn

 

This is a YouTube video created by a group of  7th and 8th grade Nueva students. It uses "Gas Pedal" but student's own lyrics to teach peers and themselves about metals. 

 

Commenters seem to love the video. One says, "I have to say, it's as good as "School House Rock" was, in its day. Very catchy and probably as effective for anyone interested in learning." Another comments, "This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. I'd go back to school for education like this. Well done!"  A third states, "Hey - adding to my thesis for my Masters, would love to use this song as well. Let me know if I have permission. Thanks!" Many other comments are shorter and more along the lines of "awesome" or I think I broke the reply button". Overall, the commenters enjoyed the video in terms of entertainment but also found an educational value to it as well. 


I think this method of teacher is fantastic. For the students producing the video, they have to do in depth research in order to write the lyrics and memorize the lyrics for production. Additionally, it becomes a resource for all other students to use. The tune is one that is catchy and familiar to most students so it is not hard for the lyrics to become stuck in one's head. This means that without any effort and perhaps unintentionally, students will find themselves with a new understanding of what metals are. I think these more progressive methods of teaching help grab the students' interest and make the classroom experience more enjoyable. I predict that performance will increase when students are happy in the classroom.  

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