Thursday, February 26, 2009

Education and Obama? And my daughter’s equine math problem, yes it ties in!

I have been following Obama in his education statements since he started his campaign. Though most will not affect positively or negatively the private schools at all, so far. I am interested in how he is going to improve education in the United States. One recent article:

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama pledged U.S. government support to make sure the U.S. has the world’s highest graduation rate by 2020, instead of one of the top high-school dropout rates in the industrialized world.
“In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity -- it is a prerequisite,” Obama told a joint gathering of the House and Senate in a speech last night.
Half of U.S. students who begin college never finish, and slightly more than half of Americans have a high school diploma, Obama said. Obama called the combination a “prescription for economic decline.”
Dropping out of high school is “not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country -- and this country needs the talents of every American,” Obama said. “That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that the U.S. was ranked seventh among nations in the proportion of adults 18 to 34 enrolled in college. The rate was 34 percent, compared with 53 percent for top-ranked Korea, according to the data, cited by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, a nonpartisan group in San Jose, California.
Just 39 percent of U.S. adults had an associate’s degree or higher, compared with 55 percent for Canada and 54 percent for Japan.
The $787 billion economic stimulus bill that Obama signed Feb. 17 consolidates tax incentives for higher education into a $2,500 credit that could be claimed by most working families. And it makes college-related book and computer purchases eligible for the write-off for the first time.
Author: Robert Greene in Washington.;_ylt=AvLCG4ZS8jn2xZmMS6zaKlJQXs8F

I am glad he is looking at the national drop out rate, however I hope he also looks at the reason why the students drop out? Two good article reading on this issue has these statistics:
When 500 dropouts, ages 16-25, were interviewed, they gave many reasons for leaving school:
• 47% said classes were not interesting
• 43% missed too many days to catch up
• 45% entered high school poorly prepared by their earlier schooling
• 69% said they were not motivated to work hard
• 35% said they were failing
• 32% said they left to get a job
• 25% left to become parents
• 22% left to take care of a relative
• Two-thirds said they would have tried harder if more was expected from them.

What Is Working?
The schools that seem to be more successful are trying the following:
• evening classes
• more GED opportunities
• tutoring
• allowing students to return when older
The traditional high school format does not meet the needs of many students living in today's society. They need to see relevance between what they are learning and the need in the world for the information.

I think many schools teach too much toward the test rather than give the students the information they need, reasons why this information is necessary later in life. My daughter yesterday said that very thing why will I need to know this math later what will I ever use it for? She is only in 6th grade!! So my example to her how did I figure out what and how much to feed our three horses. In general if you don’t know anything about horses this is the basic equation:
Age + Level of activity/function +
Metabolism level + Hay/pasture quantity & quality
Protein amount + Amount of extra calories needed
14% to 16% are required until the horse is about 2 years old. After that, protein requirements drop down to fairly low levels of about 10%. Protein levels stay low until horses hit old age. When horses get old and require more protein in the diet is up to the individual horse but most go up to the 14% to 16% level again around the age of 20. The metabolism level of horses is certainly an individual characteristic and can be somewhat breed specific. Thoroughbreds and Arabians are somewhat notorious to be “hard keepers” requiring more feed to maintain body condition. Morgans, Quarter horses, Warmbloods, and ponies are often “easy keepers” requiring very little feed. Horse feed diets are typically designed to be fed at rates of anywhere from 5 lbs. to as much as 8 lbs. of feed per day to a 1000 Lb. horse
I gave her the feed labels for sweet feed, grain mix, hay nutrition facts, and beet pulp. I also gave her this print out
Here is the info I gave her on the horses:
32 year old Shetland pony 525 lbs, low activity level, and low metabolism
7 year old warmblood spotted draft, 1500 lbs, low activity, and medium metabolism.
10 year old mini, 300 lbs. and overweight, low activity, and low metabolism.
She looked it over and said how you figure this out. So I showed her. Now she knows why % and math is important for me and that was only the winter month feeding they have a different equation for each season!
When done I gave her the feed calculator online to see if she got close.

Can you figure it out??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cell Phones

My husband has an advanced degree in instructional technology and is currently teaching a graduate level course in cyber ethics. So lately I am always hearing about new trends from cyber space ethics. The recent discussion he had with his class was the ethical debate over Obama’s Blackberry. He also occasionally volunteers at local high schools as well. So I hear lots of terms about cyber bullying, teen hacking and other teen computer issues. So I feel fairly well informed.

In my middle school art class we have recently finished an advertising poster contest about school bullying. Many of the students now add computer and cell phone use into the theme of “school bullying”. Now I don’t know if they will win the contest because I think a lot of people don’t think of that as “school bullying” it happens outside of school and at home. Bullying has now moved from just in school to in the student’s home life, they cannot escape.

Now 6 years ago when I started having the students create these posters students really didn’t think about cell phones and computers as part of school. It was present I heard of issues of IM bullying from other middle school teachers, However it wasn’t considered “In School”. Now students have been informed and seem to be getting the message and I hope parents, teachers, administrators, and the general public have. I am interested in seeing what posters win and if any have computers or cell phone images.

Here comes to a new thing I have been hearing about since last year but has now made national news, cell phone sexting. Now my teen daughter has a cell phone and lap top. She also knows unlike a lot of parents that my husband is very savvy about computers and if needed could hack in and find out anything he wants to know about her activity on the computer. However… the cell phone I am not so sure on what parent control features are available for parents. Can I check on it, can I check through the provider and know what is being e-mailed? Will most parents even think about it? I am! Right now, I am 99% sure she probably wouldn’t do anything right now, but what about someone sending something to her? Could happen if not now, possibly later. Some schools are now sending out safe sexting messages.

Here is my question should they or should it be a parent area? If so will most parents be able to approach this subject? Or as some I have talked to will say well at least they aren’t doing the REAL thing how can it hurt them? Ever hear of My Space and Facebook, well I have and it is in the college age and some high school age groups as a form of harassment using video or pictures of people. This will only move down the ages probably has already started and soon you will hear about 3rd graders in the news.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why blog about education?

Why blog about education?
1. I am a Catholic School Art Teacher.
2. I have a passion about curriculum.

Not just art but across the board curriculum. I started out in art with Associates in Visual/Fine Arts. I realized I needed more than an AA in art. The birth of my first child introduced me to Early Childhood Education. So I took a few early childhood classes and enjoyed the education field. Went back to school for Bachelors in Art Education and minor in Early Childhood Education and kept going Masters of Early Childhood Education with emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction. I have presented workshops locally and nationally on a variety of curriculum topics.

I choose the private education sector because of the curriculum flexibility. I noticed many public schools are just teaching a very archaic curriculum view. Now not all! Same for the private schools all are not equal. I have just noticed awesome schools from both, the so-so schools and then lastly the ones that just have failed students for a variety of reasons. Just for my area I liked the local private school. We have the middle states accreditation and the only blue ribbon school for our diocese (public schools would call it a district in our area). Enough about me how are local schools in your area?

Here is an interesting read about education in America in gerenral

One specific article I think all educators and parents need to look at