“Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say” By Rebecca Rosenberg and Elizabeth Mognaz

This article talks about the differences in education between the rich and the poor. The children with families who make less money than families that makes more money have trouble with their education. This does not only happen when the students are at a young age, it also occurs at college.

 

There are many researchers that say that there is a gap for achievement between the rich and the poor. One reason is the help that families with money make pay for. By help, we mean tutors for subjects that students are struggling in. For example, lets say a student is having trouble in math, their parents are able to pay someone to help their child out for that subject, however, a student that comes from a family that doesn’t make a lot of money will not be able to help their child. The child of the parents that don’t make enough money will continue to struggle with math because the family cannot afford a tutor. This shows how the gap is also making it hard for students to have an equal education. The struggle for students to have equal opportunities and a chance to get into their dream job is becoming harder for students. The families that can afford the help for their children that could make a difference in the education that those students are getting as opposed to the students who can’t have their parents pay for help, it makes it harder for them to achieve their goals.

           

  The gap is also seen in college. At the University of Michigan, two researchers named Susan M. Dynarski and Martha J. Bailey, looked at two generations of students at the school from the years of 1979 to 1982. The results showed that students in “1989, about one-third of the high-income students in the first generation had finished college; by 2007, more than half of the second generation had done so. By contrast, only 9 percent of the low-income students in the second generation had completed college by 2007, up only slightly from a 5 percent college completion rate by the first generation in 1989.”  This shows how there is such a difference in the education people get now. The families that live in poverty have a harder time getting an education, which is not fair because everyone should have an education opportunity in education.

 

A man named Charles Murray, who is a researcher as well, says that “The growing gap between the better educated and the less educated has formed a kind of cultural divide that has its roots in natural social forces, like the tendency of educated people to marry other educated people, as well as in the social policies of the 1960s, like welfare and other government programs, which he contended provided incentives for staying single.” What Charles is saying is that education creates a divide between people. More people want to be with people who are on the same level in certain areas as others are. Families living in poverty have a different way of living compared to families that have money struggle more than in having the same interests in what the richer families have. Most families that live in poverty wonder what will happen tomorrow, will they have to move out of their house, will they have money for food; while families with money don’t have to worry.

Teachers can help the students that cant afford certain luxuries by starting a fund for them. The teacher shouldn’t give the name of the student, if the student wants it to be private, and the fund good give things like food to that student. Teachers can also help the student out with extra help or recommending someone, who is willing to help, and that person can help the student in a certain area of a subject that the student is struggling in.

Teachers can make such a difference in students lives, and if that teacher can help a student who cannot get a tutor or has trouble learning in class, the help that teacher gives will change that child’s life and will hopefully give that student a chance at the same education other students have.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Budget Cuts in Music Programs

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According to Angela Deines, journalist, in her article for The Capital-Journal she writes that in Kansas due to the budget cuts the school districts have all been impacted differently.  After talking to members of the KMEA (Kansas Music Educators Association) she was informed that the music positions in the schools are being cut since 2007 where 185 positions were cut. The largest of the reductions occurred the academic year of 2009-2010 where 124 positions where cut in one year. Mike Quilling ,the vice president, of the KMEA did a survey to see how the remaining teachers were doing after the program cuts. Fifty percent of the survey respondents reported having a reduced travel budget, twenty percent said that more responsibility was asked of them without compensation, eighteen percent had to increase to cover costs that the district was no longer covering and nineteen percent said they were asked to teach outside their areas of expertise (Deines). These statistics helped to support the vice presidents argument when approaching the school board to consider having less program/job cuts in the music department. Quilling argues, “We are speaking for a large majority of music teachers across the state, we at the local level are trying to remind administrators and board members that music is a core subject.”

As future music educators of America, we find these statics very disturbing. How is it possible that  board members and administrators are so quick to cut fine arts programs, when they are such a big part of society? Music is a part of everyday life, its is an enjoyable subject to learn because it incorporates something students do everyday, listen to music. Teaching jobs are being cut all across the country. Even though these numbers come from Kansas and not statistics of the entire country, as music students we have experienced the effects of the budget cuts. These cuts have taken away the resources needed for the students involved in the music departments throughout the country.  For instance, with budget cuts throughout the district there is a shortage of instruments, method books, funding for educational trips and master classes. When the educators do not have the funds or resources to help the students build skills in their craft, there is a loss of interest because one does not have the eagerness to make progress if they are barely learning.  Schools feel that the fine art programs are not as necessary as lets say extra curricular activities such as athletic teams. However, these skills learned from the music programs statistically prove that they help students excel in other core subjects. Such as in mathematic course because math is a big part of music, with having the skills to understand music theory, how to identify time signatures, and identifying note values.  Music as well as other art programs allow the students to express their creative sides. It allows them to have that balance between the subjects that are more wearing on their minds, and the arts allow the students to relax while still exercising their minds.

http://cjonline.com/news/2011-11-13/budget-cuts-affect-music-programs-differently

Strapped District Plans to Add Online Classes By Melissa Torres & Brittany Nembhard

“Budget cuts have eliminated about 95 full-time teachers from the school district here over the past year, swelling class sizes and prompting parents to cry foul.” Based on the lack of teacher availability districts now want to give students the option to take courses online (while in school) without having a teacher present. This is raising many issues because parents doubt the efficiency of the online course. Last month Superintendent Thomas J. Brennan Jr. introduced to the district’s school board’s new plan. It included that it would “expand the district’s current use of New Hampshire’s online charter school, the Virtual Learning Academy, by putting a virtual learning lab in each of the district’s three high schools, allowing students to take courses there during the school day under the supervision of a “facilitator” who would be present in the lab. It would also add a remote classroom to each high school, where students in unsubscribed courses could participate in classes taught at one of the other schools via an interactive monitor, and expand the school’s collaboration with the University of New Hampshire at Manchester”. According to Dr. Brennan “class-size issues were not the main motivation for the project, which he hopes will expand student opportunity and increase technology literacy among pupils and staff alike. But it could, he said, provide a new alternative for students in oversubscribed classes without the schools’ having to hire part-time teachers to pick up extra course sections”.  In other words Dr. Brennan would like to eventually aid students to a better education with the means of technology. As parents of these students they feel like allowing students to partake in online classes would close the gap that they see in schools. In a 2008 done by Sloan Consortium (which is an organization that advocates for online learning) it has been stated that estimated that 1.3 million high school students took an online course during that academic year, and the number is likely to have grown since. Most schools would use this opportunity to ease overcrowding but other schools used the program for  accelerated or remedial courses or increased flexibility. Two major factors that Dr. Brennan mentioned with in this article were, that they were not trying to divert resources and replace the teachers in the classroom but to maximize the learning and minimize the financial burden.

Although this sounds like a very interesting new way of learning, we must think to ourselves – are we truly benefiting from an online course rather than having a teacher in the classroom teaching, giving you real feedback and live help. This is going to affect many teacher worldwide.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/education/in-manchester-nh-struggling-districts-plans-to-expand-online-classes-draws-fire.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=education&adxnnlx=1355414221-iElG5c6c+MsBhHshfAojeQ

“Rethinking Testing in the Age of the Ipad”- By: Hilary Ratner and Jessica Hart

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We all know that iPads are a major tool used in college classrooms today. We now live in a time where iPads have replaced regular desktop computers or even notebooks to write in. At our school alone, LIU Post, the college gives out free ones to encourage the students to use them in their classes.

According to this article, teachers of the lower level of education are now thinking about taking away the pen and pencil, and rather substituting it with the iPad. In the East Haven elementary schools in Connecticut, the teachers are testing out this method to see if it will be beneficial to their students’ learning. The kindergarten teachers in this school district use the iPads primarily for testing purposes. Every forty-five days the students were given a test in their core subjects to help the teacher to realize what the students needed extra help with. The tests that they distribute are pretests to the actual material that the teachers will be teaching for approximately the next forty-five days.

There are many benefits to having this style of teaching in schools. This can open up the doors for different types of teaching and learning.  One benefit is that instead of just sitting in a classroom, this gives students the opportunity to go beyond the room itself and go outside to explore nature. While doing this, they can use their iPads to find out more facts about the various plants, animals, trees, and etc. that they are witnessing first hand. This is more convenient than a desktop computer since iPads are mobile technology devices. This makes it easier to teach in different environments whether it be an auditorium, outside, in the classroom, or on a school trip. Another benefit, is that by the use of the iPads kids have the opportunity to gain confidence by having the information right in front of them, just like a textbook.  These devices also make it easier to transfer worksheets and notes between students and their teachers.

On the contrary there are also disadvantages to including the use of iPads in a classroom to such a young audience. First of all the most obvious one is that the very young students might not even know how to properly use the devices. Also, with the addition of such an interesting tool, students can become more invested in the iPad itself rather than the actual work. This can cause the teachers to lose the students’ focus as well as control over their classes. When it comes to higher levels of education, the student only sees the iPad as a fun distraction from their schoolwork. Another disadvantage is for these young kids, they become dependent on the technology because it makes school easier for them. However, when they grow up and get older, if the school that they attend doesn’t approve for the technology to be used in classrooms, it can be difficult for these students to adjust to different learning environments. For the teachers, it could also be a disadvantage because if they heavily depends on the iPad as well. He or she can make a lesson plan, have the kids work on it, and then when it comes down to it, the teacher is not really teaching the students anything at all. This makes the classrooms just look like a ton of people in a room playing on an iPad. Another point to bring up is the iPad’s short battery life. An iPad’s battery life is not the best since they only last for a couple of hours. By having the responsibility to charge all these devices, it brings up the discussion of do these schools really want to spend more money on electricity just to get some hours of learning across via technology.

In conclusion, this seems to be a controversial issue for the future of education.

What would you do as a future teacher?

-Would you incorporate the new technology to your classroom or stay traditional and teach the way that has been working for years.

-If so, what age would you start teaching with technology?

http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2012/02/08/02mobile.h05.html

 

My View: Should Everyone Go to School- Jordyn Leder

In the article “My View; Should Everyone Go to College” written by Mike Rose, he talks about the importance of going to college and why he thinks that everyone should attend after high school. He talks about his experiences throughout schooling. He mentions how in high school, he wasn’t intending in doing anything after schools he didn’t really try or do well. Later, one of his teachers pushed him to the point where he truly did want to go to college and he is happy with his decision.
Rose talks about how studies show that when someone has a higher education, they tend to earn more money with a job from going to college, but if someone wants to go into the field for technical reasons to be chefs or technicians that will still get these people where they need to be with bills and economic situations. Today, it is harder for a family to send their child to college due to money issues. So should students still go to college even though they know that it will be hard for them to get a job once they get out of school?
Even though getting a job out of college is difficult for some people’s career choices, going to college and getting a degree is a good fall back when the job market bounces back up. Many people have different ways of learning or have different interests in actual schooling. People could either go to a two- year college or a four- year college. Some are drawn to going to school longer because they have more interest in going to school and learning more compared to some of these students who just want to go for two more years. Some people don’t know what they want to do in the future so they go to a two- year school until they find their callings.
In this article, Rose asks the big question “What is the purpose of education”? He says that in the time we are in, it is based on employment and economics. It is based on how far we will get in life if we have a good education, and how we’ll earn more depending on how prestigious the career is that we choose.
Rose concludes by saying that a college education may not be right for everyone, but still mentions how it was the right decision for him. Not only does he have a career out of it, he had a great experience that he would never take back. I agree with him because I don’t think that college is for everyone. Everyone has different plans for their lives and shouldn’t have such high expectations to do something just because everyone else is doing it. If someone wants to work at an hourly rate for the rest of their lives, let them. No one should tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do.

http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/09/my-view-should-everyone-go-to-college/

Taking control back to the people and away from standardized testing: By Greg and Steve

This article discusses the “softening” or lessening the importance of standardized testing in regards to grading. This article is specifically centered around the state of Texas and the fight against the infamous “15 percent rule” along with the STAAR exam. The “15 percent rule” is a rule in which the end-of-course exams must count as 15 percent of a student’s final grade in some core subjects. The STAAR exam is a test that they use to account for this 15 percent. People are fearful that doing poorly on the STAAR exam could hurt grades and make Texas students less attractive to university admissions boards. There have been attempts to get of this rule, but not until recently, there have been some positive reassurances such as the ninth graders being exempt from the rule. Texas governor Rick Perry is being supported by both Republicans and Democrats alike, and parents in trying to abolish this rule. Local businesses are not pleased with this decision, for they feel now their potential workers will not be as “educated”. Perry’s reasoning behind this bill of abolishment is as he states, “While we must continue to adhere to our state’s accountability system, we must also recognize the importance of local control”.

 

We feel that standardized testing is becoming a little too out of control. Yes final exams should be given to students, but should be included in the grading as equal as any other exam in the course. Having a final exam weigh so much of an individual’s grade, it can make or break one’s grade, despite wether they worked extremely hard or not.

 

Testing is definitely a necessity in order to evaluate the progress of the student over the course, but grades should not be limited to solely test scores.

 

http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/nov/29/perry-seeks-softening-of-standardized-test/

Cheating the ‘Uncheatable’ Standardized Tests- By Krysta Donnelly

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         As we all know, the force of standardized tests have taken over our public education system. Throughout the school year teachers drill repetitive material for the sole fact that the students need to pass a test at the end of the year. For anyone who has taken these tests before, you know that they are very difficult and at the start of the test you are given a strict set of rules to prevent cheating (such as no cell phones, no talking, no papers on your desk ect…). Many students at Stuyvesant High School in New York were caught cheating on their standardized tests in the spring of 2012. How did they get away with this? Many students were able to read and send text messages to each other during the test, while others photographed pages and sent them to students taking the test on another assigned day.

Why is there such a need for cheating on these exams?

In this article they explain how standardized tests are created for all of the wrong reasons. They are created to “determine a students mastery of a subject” instead of aiming to improve their knowledge.  Eric Anderman “found that even the most impulsive cheaters cheated less often when they believed the point of the test was to help them master the material, not just get a score.” Day in and day out students worry about getting a good score on these tests because they determine their future. The teachers also drill the required material so they can keep their jobs with having students with high scores. The system is flawed and progress is never made.

 

Read more:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glen-lineberry/standardized-testing-cheating-scandal-_b_1898388.html