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Don’t Hashtag Your Professor Hate: 5 Tips for a Successful College Year

The end of summer is nearing for many. The only indicator is the start date of classes bearing down upon us; Lord knows it’s not the weather. If your first day of class is coming up, take a minute to think through what you’d like your semester, year, or entire college experience to look like and maybe heed the advice of those of us who made enough mistakes to offer you a few useful tips.

1. Don’t write off the first day of class as “pass out the syllabus day.” Many of us assumed it was a pointless day that guaranteed early release and that’s all we focused on. Instead, listen closely, ask questions, and if needed, go directly to the registrar’s after class and drop it while it’s still refundable.

If it’s early in your college career, you can replace that class with another credit – one that’s worth your time, one that you’ll care more about. Those classes are expensive and time consuming; if you don’t jive well with the professor or care enough about the content, find a class that better suits you. (more…)

To College or Not to College: What to do When $100,000 is on the Line

College is not always the best option for everyone. We often hear this, and for most people, it brings to mind someone who will do better learning a trade or skill. However, Taylor Wilson is an exception to this standard. At 18, he has already built a working reactor and plans to build nuclear fusion reactors. Here’s the kicker: he doesn’t plan on going to college and he’s received a $100,000 grant not to do so.

“I’ve got some technology that will really change the world, so college right now is not the best option for me,” Wilson said.

The grant Wilson received is called the Thiel Fellowship, created by Peter Thiel for individuals under 20 years old. Thiel is an investor in Silicon Valley who thinks that students shouldn’t be pursuing an expensive university education, but should instead be learning about and developing breakthrough technologies. Thiel seems to think that by encouraging students not to go to college he will inadvertently also be lowering the unemployment rate and amount of student debt that face many 20-somethings.

“You increasingly have people who are graduating from college, not being able to get good jobs, moving back home with their parents,” he said. “I think there’s a surprising openness to the idea that something’s gone badly wrong and needs to be fixed.” (more…)

Title IX Empowered U.S. Swimmer Dana Vollmer to Grab Olympic Gold

Before 1972, female athletes practically didn’t exist beyond high school. Not only were women unable to participate in college sports because of their gender, there simply weren’t teams and programs in place for them to sign up for. But that all changed with Title IX.

The Title IX legislation was a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, which stated in part that: “No Person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The initial Title IX draft prepared in 1970, mentioned little of women’s athletics and its focus was instead on the hiring and employment practices of federally financed institutions. After two years of legislation, Title IX became law on July 23, 1972. However, it wasn’t until later – even 1988 – that it was ever fully carried out as the law had to be restored after essentially being ignored by college institutions for years. (more…)

Comedians With Ivy League Degrees Prove Smart and Funny Go Hand-in-Hand

Hollywood is ripe with eclectic celebrities, a majority of whom reach stardom before they ever think about entering college. Perhaps to them, the fame and fortune is greater than a college degree. But there are some celebrities who go to college before diving head first into acting careers, including a surprising number of big name comedians.

Conan O’Brien received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1985, majoring in history and literature. He even graduated with honors and wrote for the Harvard Lampoon – a humor magazine at the university. Conan’s writing skills came in handy when he became a staff writer at Saturday Night Live, where he would occasionally appear on skits. Eventually, he started hosting his own television show, ‘Late Night With Conan O’Brien,’ which he’s most well known for now. Taking a look at Conan’s resume, it’s not hard to see that this funny man is a smart one, too.

John Krasinski, known for his witty character on NBC’s sitcom “The Office,” attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. During his time there, Krasinski studied theatre arts where he was also part of a sketch comedy group. Around that time he landed an internship with the above-mentioned funny man on ‘Late Night With Conan O’Brien.’ In addition to an Ivy League college education, Krasinski also taught English in Costa Rica before attending school, which proves he has much more to offer than just his funny quips and good looks. (more…)

Prestigious High School Sued Over Gifted Program’s Underrepresentation of Blacks and Latinos

One of the most prestigious high schools in the US is being sued by the Coalition of the Silence, a minority advocacy group, and the NAACP for discrimination against black and Latino children. On July 23, 2012 the two organizations filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

“Poor Latino kids are not being identified [for gifted programs], and I worry part of that is language,” said Martina Hone, a representative of the Collation of the Silence. “African-American kids are not being identified. I’m worried that’s race.”

In their lawsuit, the NAACP and the Coalition of the Silence claim that Fairfax County – where the school is located in Alexandria, VA – “essentially operates a network of separate and unequal schools [and] for decades, these students have been grossly and disproportionately underrepresented in admission to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.” (more…)

Charter School Mogul Dorothy Brown is Charged with Misusing Funds

Residents in Philadelphia must certainly be looking at charter schools a little differently today after Dorothy June Hairston Brown – a charter school mogul in the city – was charged with defrauding more than $6.5 million in taxes from three of her charter schools. Brown and four of her colleagues were charged on July 24, 2012 and have been indicted with more than 60 counts of wire fraud, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

In the past, Brown had earned a reputation for improving students’ test scores. However, she was also known for suing parents who questioned her practices and claiming large salaries.

“The indictment in this cases alleges that June Brown and her four co-conspirators used the charter school system to engage in rampant fraud and obstruction,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Merneger. “My office will continue to vigorously investigate and pursue those charter school operators who defraud the taxpayers and deprive our children of funds for their education.” (more…)

Florida Schools Should Quit Focusing on Grades to Evaluate Success

Continuing its streak for not being accountable, the Florida Department of Education recently announced that it incorrectly graded hundreds of schools across the state. In fact, 40 out of 60 school districts in the state were affected by this miscalculation of grades.

This error occurred when the FDOE omitted one part of the newly revised and very complex grading formula that is used to evaluate the schools. Since the error was discovered, the grades have been corrected, resulting in 116 schools seeing their grades increase from a B to an A, 55 seeing their grades increased from a C to a B, and 35 schools seeing their grades increase from a D to a C.

School grades are important to students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and the community,” said Gerard Robinson, Commissioner of Education. “And, while I am pleased that the continuous review process has resulted in better grades, we will continue to look for ways to improve the grade calculation process.”

The school grades are based mainly on a standardized test that focuses on reading, writing, math, and science called the FCAT. The results of these grades are used for a number of purposes, including determining which schools receive financial rewards. However, many people are saying this test is too rigorous for most students and that students might feel too discouraged after taking it.

Rick Roach, an educator who took the FCAT and did not pass, made his results public.

“It seems to me something is seriously wrong here,” he said about the test. “If I’d been required to take those two tests when I was a 10th grader, my life would almost certainly have been very different. I’d have been told I wasn’t ‘college material,’ would probably have believed it, and looked for work appropriate for the level of ability that the test said I had.”

Roach currently has two master’s degrees and is a member of the Orange County School Board.

So, it seems that perhaps the Florida Department of Education should take a look at what it has been doing lately, concerning standardized tests and grading of schools in the state. Perhaps grades are not all they are cracked up to be.

“Moving forward, we need to focus our attention on the quality of the work produced and student achievement, not just a letter grade,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Via The Huffington Post

Also Read:

Students in Florida Attend Virtual Schools with No Teachers

It’s the End of No Child Left Behind: Now What?

Later Start Times in High School Would Help Student Performance

African American Student Initiative Announced by President Obama

President Obama announced that he will be creating a new education initiative targeted to improving the achievement levels of African Americans in education. While in New Orleans giving a speech to the Urban League, the president stated that he would sign an order putting the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans into place.

This new educational initiative “works to make sure that all African American students can receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion and productive careers,” Obama said.

This initiative will be work with the Executive Office of the President and cabinet agencies to identify evidence-based practices to improve African American students’ achievement in school and coll,ege. The White House stated that this initiative will also work to “develop a national network of individuals, organizations and communities that will share and implement these practices.” The goal of this initiative will be to ensure that African American students have the same opportunities as other students. (more…)

Chicago Schools Implement Longer School Days without Angering Teachers’ Union

How do you make two parties who want opposing things happy? Well, if one party is a mayor who wants a longer school day and if the other is a teachers’ union that wants to keep their work day the same length of time, you can look to Chicago to find the answer.

Instead of forcing the current teachers to work a day that is 20 percent longer than the days they worked last year, the city has decided to hire more teachers to make up the extra time. The extra time in the school day will be filled with extracurricular classes, such as art, music, and PE.

Just where will these teachers come from? That’s another brilliant part of the solution: the teachers will be selected from a pool of teachers who were laid off since 2010.

However, the question still remains as to where the school district will find the $40-$50 million required to pay all of these new/returning teachers. (more…)

10 College Athletes to Watch at the Olympics

Classes begin in just a few weeks for college students. For those who are returning from a summer break, the tricky transition of balancing classes, homework, a job, and a social life begins once more.

Imagine if you had to add “catching up” to the list because you’ll be missing the first few days of class due to the Olympics. Not from watching the games or even attending, but because you’ll be competing in the international event. Many of Team USA’s athletes will be missing class this semester while they go for the gold in London. In fact, 5/8 of the US men’s Olympic gymnasts are University of Oklahoma students!

USA Today recently compiled a list of 10 college Olympians to keep your eye on during these summer games. (more…)


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