public education

public education

Despite Negative Media Coverage, California’s Academic Achievement Is Rising

Former California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas at Biola UniversityFormer California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas gave the keynote address last week at an education symposium hosted by the Biola University School of Education. Thomas identified budget cuts, legislative hurdles, lack of parent involvement and negative media coverage as the top four challenges faced by the educational system today.

Thomas, a Biola alum, said that some of the negative comparisons of the U.S. school system to other first-world countries may not be altogether accurate. He explained how some statistics showing the U.S. lagging behind other countries in reading and writing skills did not make for an accurate comparison, because many of the tests conducted in other countries use data from just one region, rather than reflecting the entire population.

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Former California Secretary of Education to Be Keynote Speaker at Biola Education Symposium

Biola University LogoFormer California Secretary of Education Glen Thomas will return to his alma mater to give the keynote address at a symposium hosted by the Biola University’s School of Education. Biola University is a private Christian college, whose mission is “to equip a generation of influential educators, focused on God’s calling, devoting their strengths, gifts and scholarship, to meet the needs of diverse students and to advance the Kingdom of God.”

The topic of the symposium is the future of education in California, particularly in light of the budget deficit and recent cuts made to education funding. The panel will also discuss the role for Christian education in promoting ethics, and upcoming legislation.

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UC Berkeley One of the Most Expensive Schools in the Nation

UC BerkeleyEveryone knows that the cost of attending college keeps rising and rising, but students at the University of Berkeley – a public school – are really starting to feel this trend.

The College Board recently announced that one year at Berkeley now costs more than $50,000 for students who do not qualify for in-state tuition rates. Berkeley is the first public school where students have to pay more than $50,000 a year to attend.

Berkeley isn’t the only school to recently increase the cost of attendance to more than $50,000. In 2008, there were only three schools in the country that charged this much, and soon there will be 100 schools in the country to hit the $50,000 mark in 2010-2011.

Tuition at Berkeley isn’t the only factor in this expensive equation: the College Board also included room and board, supplies, books, and “personal expenses” in this number. Tuition itself is somewhere about $35,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Oprah Winfrey Donates $6 Million to Schools

oprahAnyone that has ever heard of Oprah Winfrey typically knows two things about her: she’s insanely rich and she gives stuff away.

She’s been coined by some as the queen of daytime television. People have gone to great measures to get tickets to her daytime talk show in Chicago. Once per year she has a show where she lists her favorite things and everyone in the audience gets one of everything on that list, and of course, tickets to that particular show are the most coveted of all.

Winfrey’s generosity has once again kicked in and she has donated $6 million dollars to six schools. The money was donated to organizations that are focused on helping troubled schools throughout the country. The funds will be distributed to six different charter schools in Philadelphia, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas. These monies were donated through Winfrey’s charitable organization Angel Network. The organization stated that the schools receiving the donation are groundbreaking leaders in the provision of quality public education. Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Meyer Proposes a New Way to Teach Math to Students

“Can I ask you to recall a time when you really loved something?” Dan Meyer asked an audience at a recent convention. “A movie, an album, a song, or a book. And you recommended it wholeheartedly to someone you also really liked. You anticipated that reaction, you waited for it, and it came back and the person hated it. That is the exact same state that I spent every working day for the past six years.”math

What exactly is Dan Meyer’s job? It sounds completely awful to me.

Surprisingly – or maybe not so surprisingly – Dan Meyer is a high school math teacher. Meyer says he is providing a product (math education) that nobody wants to buy, but are required by law to do so. However, Meyer says that the future of math education is actually quite bright. Read the rest of this entry »

A Private-Like Education at a Public Education Tuition Rate

St. Mary's College of Maryland

St. Mary's College of Maryland

With most private colleges costing around $40,000 a year, students are opting for a cheaper education at schools that offer an amazing education, but at public school prices. And St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one hot-spot school that is attracting students who are hungry for a solid college education, but don’t have the appetite for private school tuition rates.

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New Stimulus Package Includes Money for Education

arne duncan

Arne Duncan, Obama's Education Secretary

In the recently-passed stimulus package, nearly $5 billion in discretionary funds was allocated toward education, helping Obama fulfill campaign promises to improve public schools and maybe even fulfill promises made by Bush’s No Child Left Behind initiative, now seven years old. However, in the current economic crisis, Arne Duncan, Obama’s Education Secretary who will oversee how the money is spent, has admitted that some of the money will be used to prevent teacher layoffs rather than improving the education system. Much of the money could be used to cover operational expenses like payroll if the stimulus package does not improve the nation’s overall economic condition, which could dampen the potential benefits of receiving such a windfall. Still, Duncan told reporters that he sees this as “an absolute historic opportunity.” The intention is to use the money for “rewarding innovation,” as Obama puts it. Schools and universities who feel that they have an idea for an innovative way to improve education can apply for part of the federal funding in order to put their idea into practice.

These discretionary funds are part of a larger $100 billion allowance intended for education in the stimulus package. The other funds are to be used for updating aging schools, keeping class sizes to a reasonable number, funding early education programs and the like.

Mothers on Hunger Strike to Fight Educational Cutbacks

Families in Miami protesting educational budget cuts. Source: Miami Herald

Families in Miami protesting educational budget cuts. Source: Miami Herald

Here’s quite a remarkable story. Mothers of students at a Doral, Florida high school are on a hunger strike.  Why?  They’re protesting against high school funding cuts, which may include cutting the gifted program and reducing the length of the school day.  They’re also angry that the school’s principal, who was recently voted Florida’s principal of the year, was removed by the district from the school and relocated to help out a struggling school.

The State of Florida just cut the overall education budget by a half billion dollars.

I hope this news story receives national exposure.  It really says quite a bit about the state of education in our country.  As Arne Duncan gets sworn in as educational secretary, I hope he’s keeping tabs on this story.

An Educational Wish List for President-Elect Obama

barack obamaDear Mr. Obama (soon to be Mr. President),

I am a former college professor and a writer who specializes in educational topics.  As such, and as the mother of a young child, I have some serious concerns about education in the United States.  I know you do too, so I thought I would write you a wish list of the changes I hope you will help bring about.  Yes, I know the economy is in the toilet and that you might not be able to grant me all of these wishes right now, but since you are putting together a substantial package to stimulate the economy, I hope you will be keeping education in mind.  After all, if we don’t educate our children well, how will we compete in the global economy?

First, I hope you will take some serious action to make college more affordable to Americans.  In the past 25 years, college expenses have increased at three times the rate of family income, and at the rate we’re going, it’s quite plausible that in the next few decades, a college education will become unaffordable for most Americans.  I know you agree with me that this is unacceptable in America.  Students need more access to financial aid, and not just student loans, since it’s not fair for students to start their careers buried in debt, and state schools need better funding so they don’t need to rely so much on tuition. Read the rest of this entry »

American Students are Mastering Math

According to an article recently posted on InformationWeek, American fourth and eighth graders have moved up in the polls, ranking ninth and sixth internationally in math test scores. To a nation that seems to be dumped on quite a bit for their public education system and how smart their students are, it seems that the U.S. is starting to move up in the ranks.

A survey conducted by the International Study Center at Boston College shows that the comprehension of math students in fourth and eighth grade has increased since 2003, which leads to the boost in the rankings amongst other nations. The American students also scored above average when compared to students in other countries. Read the rest of this entry »


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