Category Archives: Education

A Review of K 12 Education

The compulsory attendance of children to go to school starting at the age of six to up nineteen in the thirteenth grade is called the K 12 educational system. Learning about a little bit of the background of this type of educational system makes it easier to understand its overall concept of teaching.

The first grade, kindergarten was created by a philosopher German teacher named Friedrich Froebel who wanted to create a place for young children to learn from their guided playing and enable them to bloom with their individual minds and initial learning. This grade was created long before K 12 education system was followed and which started in America in about 1856. At that time, education was not yet compulsory nor not all children have access to attend school. Kindergarten was usually taught to the children of the elite who do not have to work in their family’s farms.

In 1918, the Fisher Act helped the formulation of the K 12 education that is familiar today. The law started the recognition of the education for children with special needs and raised the age to fourteen when children can leave schooling. After the Act, separate states have separate regulations regarding their educational systems. Most of the educational schooling available after the following years are usually headed by religious communities. In 1925, the Supreme Court allowed either public or private schooling for children..

After so many years, the states have formed their own departments of education to handle the education of the children. Funding resources also became available from federal, state, and local sources.

K 12 educational system have been established when the 1950’s came. Social status discrimination was evident having only children of the elite can be schooled. Some social biases also occurred as segregation were prevalent in public schools but it was abolished in 1954.

Since then, the educational system worked for most of all of the states. And in 2002 the No Child Left Behind campaign approved by then President Bush that enables parents to choose the school where they will be sending their children.

Arguably many parents have find K 12 not effective in their children’s education and opt for other alternative learning systems like home schooling and community schools. Some even have online teaching to educate their kids. The only challenge in these alternative options are the educational credits for the children. But surprisingly, the government have become more accommodating of the other learning options as time has passed by.

Government has made it possible to provide free education in public schools to children up to the 12th grade. Private schools are usually expensive because parents have to pay for the tuition that they require. Many of the children going under K 12 educational system are enjoying its benefits at school by bringing out their best selves and skills. The system will change undoubtedly in due time because of the constant changes in the socio-political atmosphere. What we know as now may radically change given a few decades.

Online Distance Learning Education

Online distance learning is gaining in popularity as the education method of choice for many students. However, it is still not as common as education obtained through traditional methods. There are several myths that are associated with obtaining an distance learning education. One of these myths is that online education schools are not as good as traditional schools. Online distance learning education can be as equivalently good as education obtained from a traditional school. The important thing to do is select the right online learning program. There are lots of quality programs that allow students to interact with specialist teachers and professors and learn through high-quality software.

Another common myth is that employers reject degrees from online distance education institutions. This is true for fake schools; however, there are plenty of accredited schools that offer online distance learning education opportunities and education from these accredited schools are accepted by employers. Many traditional colleges that have a distance learning program, and any certification awarded upon completion of such a program will not indicate that the courses were completed online.

Another myth associated with online distance learning education is that academic credits from online learning programs do not transfer to other colleges. As long as the credits are earned from an accredited school that offers online programs, the course credits will be transferrable to a traditional school. This is another reason to make sure to enroll in a program that is offered by an accredited institution. Another myth is that all accredited schools offer an exceptional education. An online school must be regionally accredited to ensure that it offers a quality education, as there are other accrediting agencies that do not have stringent standards.

Finally, another myth is that all online distance education programs are a shortcut to getting a degree or certification. While there are some accelerated programs available, there are also programs that allow students to work at a slower pace. Just like with traditional schools, there is variety in the types of programs available online. A good online distance learning program may provide an acceleration option just as traditional schools may provide acceleration options, but no reputable school will provide shortcuts to gaining an academic qualification. Programs that allow one to purchase degrees and other certifications are not accredited by a reputable accrediting agency.

Ways to Tell If A Medical Assistant Online School

  • These days, quality education is attainable with the use of the internet. You can study anywhere and anytime you want, even at the convenience of your own home. Many people are opting to study online because of the convenience and accessibility it gives. With that said, online schooling is one of the booming businesses today.
  • Online schooling has become a great business opportunity for many legal educators. However, it also attracts fraudsters who masquerades their illegitimate online schooling programs as official schools. Graduating from any of these illegitimate online schooling programs will just be a waste of time and money since you will not be recognized, accepted or become certified because these are not accredited by the Department of Education.
  • Here are useful ways on how to tell if a Medical Assistant Online School is genuine:
  • 1. Check if the Medical Assistant Online School is included in the database of Accredited Post secondary Institutions and Programs of the Department of Education. For the list of accredited schools and programs, you can visit their website.
  • 2. Check the website of the American Association of Medical Assistants at their website and see if the online school and programs you have selected are eligible to teach medical assistance and proctor CMA Certification Exam, an examination which all graduates of MA must pass before getting certified. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are responsible for the accreditation of the MA programs that are eligible to proctor the CMA Certification Exam by the AAMA.
  • 3. Some obvious signs in detecting a fake MA Online School are:
  • a. Their only requirement for admission is a valid credit card and they do not care about your G.P.A. and other school records. It only shows that they are only interested in your money!
    b. They do not include entrance examinations and interviews as part of their admission procedure.
    c. They do not have offices or schools located in the same country or location where they offer the degrees.
    d. The list and/or qualifications of their faculty members are not shown.
    e. Their quality of syllabus is not up to date.
    f. You will receive the degree at a flat fee, unlike normal schools that has varying expenses depending on the educational program and charge per credit for tuition fees.
    g. Promises that are too good to be true, like you will be able to receive a diploma within one to three months of program enrollment. Sometimes, you only have to pay for the degree, without the need to have a sufficient number of hours for studying.
    h. They offer limited or no contact information such as mailing address or telephone numbers. They might even give a false or non-existent contact details.
  • Graduating from an illegitimate medical assistant online schooling program might be easy, but it is also worthless! Follow these procedures and you will surely find a genuine medical assistant online schooling program. Always remember that there are no short cuts on quality education. Having a good education is very critical, especially those who are practicing in the medical field because the lives of their patients are in their hands. Accreditation agencies such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) make sure that educational standards are followed.

Who Needs School Assistance

Education has always been a part of our lives. Most nations are making efforts to make its citizens knowledgeable and educated. School assistance is one such effort. While it can mean any kind of assistance to schools such as to set up their buildings and provide amenities to children, it is primarily for improving the education sector in the country. These are basically programs which help in incrementing the development standards of schools and students. It can also be an improvement in teacher’s standard of teaching by complementary vocational skills and inducing various methods to strengthen a student’s academic learning.

Many organizations work in this field, which caters to the needs of schools, be it in supplies or technology. These organizations also help a community by conducting seminars to educate parents in various ways they can help their children learn better. Parents are made to understand their role as primary educator. They can help in creating congenial environment at home; asking their children what they learned at school today, sharing with children their routine and knowledge, and asking them about their school environment and understanding if they are comfortable.

Proper primary education is the most important part in building the solid foundation for future opportunities. Our government is focusing on such measures to make its citizens more educated and to enhance their skills. Those who cannot afford the higher studies are given support to complete their education.

There are other kinds of assistance available for people to improve the education system on the whole. Most common among them is financial assistance, which is either by sponsoring students who can’t afford education or financing a school to set up a lab, club or library. Private school assistance is also quite common in the present day scenario where individuals are helped to go for a higher education.

In most cases, the State is responsible for the improvement of the education sector. They also take care of shifting the kids to new schools if the parents get transferred or assisting a child who has gone through a family tragedy. Most often this circumstances greatly affects the child and results have shown a dramatic drop in their performance or grades. State agencies help such children cope with the sudden changes in life and help them pick up their studies. Such practice also tackles early stages of depression and anxiety.

School Assistance also calls in volunteers, to help children solve their difficulties in studies or engage children for some other activities, catering to their interests, or helping them learn a new skill. It helps to develop a system of better understanding of knowledge. This is an important aspect of our society as schools are the foundation stones in creating the future of this country.

School Causes for Denial of Special Education

Do you have a child with Autism or other disabilities that is currently not receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE), despite your continued advocacy? Would you like to learn about a few school causes to help you in your advocacy? This article will be discussing 10 school reasons why few children in special education truly receive a free appropriate public education, that is required by federal special education law.

1. Many schools require parents to pay for independent educational evaluations (IEE) to prove that their child needs related and special education services. If parents are paying for experts to help them determine needed services for their child, the education is not free.

2. Most school district evaluations are not comprehensive enough to identify all of a child’s disabilities. Disabilities must be known before appropriate services can be determined.

3. The continual use of deny and/or delay tactics by many special education personnel prevent children from receiving an appropriate education.

4. Special education personnel sometimes refuse to take responsibility for a child’s lack of educational progress. Blaming the parent and child is a prevalent tactic that harms children.

5. The use of old antiquated non-scientifically based research in curriculums used to teach children. IDEA 2004 and No Child Left Behind do not allow this, but lack of enforcement is causing schools to continue this practice.

6. Minimal remediation given for children’s disabilities, in academic and functional areas. As children get older many schools want to use modifications for disabilities, rather than offer remediation.

7. Predetermination by many special education personnel of services that will be offered to children. This practice harms children by not taking their individual disabilities into account as is required by IDEA 2004.

8. Low expectations by most school personnel prevent children from learning academics that they need for their adult life.

9. Lack of teacher training in scientifically research based curriculums is harming children and preventing them from receiving FAPE.

10. Failure of many school districts to deal with negative behavior in the research based way, but continue the use of suspensions and expulsions. Functional Behavioral Assessments, development and use of positive behavior plans have been shown by research to work to increase a child’s positive school behavior, while decreasing their negative school behavior.

What could change this for children with disabilities? If school districts would work with parents to determine a child’s disabilities, educational needs, and offer remediation that is scientifically research based more children would receive an appropriate education. Also, educating school staff on research based ways of dealing with negative behavior, and teaching deescalating techniques to help children. Expectations must be high for all children with disabilities so that they will be prepared for post school learning, jobs and independent living.

Students, Teachers, and Methodology

With my interest and background in education, my teaching in China placed me in a unique position to do firsthand observation of Chinese education at all levels, which was one of the primary purposes of my original sabbatical request and my subsequent trips there. My wife and I visited a number of elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as several community colleges; in addition, I had the opportunity of teaching at all university grade levels. I came to find out that education has very different, much more deterministic consequences for Chinese students than it does for American students.

Look at it this way. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, China has one-fifth of the world’s population: one in every five people on Earth is Chinese. Further complicating the problems of that massive populace is the distribution of the people. China has roughly the same land mass as the United States. However, a good portion of that area is uninhabitable or sparsely populated: the Gobi Desert is non-arable and the Himalayas and the Himalayan plateau regions have proven to be largely useless; the eastern half of the nation is where the majority of the people are clustered, with a good deal of the population concentrated in and around the large cities located in that part of the country’s land mass. In addition, seventy-five to eighty percent of the people are still agrarian. Such disparate distribution and density of the population certainly makes feeding, housing, caring for, and educating the citizens an ongoing challenge, with education being a key focus.

Every school day in China, over 300 million students study in Chinese classrooms… more than the entire population of America. Indeed, one of my Chinese colleagues once related to me an enlightening analogy. Education in China, he illustrated, can be compared to a wide, packed highway leading to a narrow bridge. The farther along the road one goes, the narrower it gets. Many students get forced out into endless side streets all along the way. And at the end of that crowded road lies a very narrow bridge called “post secondary study.” If one does not cross that bridge, full participation and success in the Chinese economy is extremely limited. And because very few people can ever cross that bridge successfully, entry into post-secondary study is extremely competitive.

All Chinese citizens are guaranteed a basic ninth-grade education and increased literacy in the nation is one of the primary goals of the government. However, given the enormous number of students to be educated, those aims are difficult to achieve. Average class sizes range anywhere from forty to eighty, depending on the specialization of the school, and can number even more if the circumstances demand. The better schools have smaller classes (no more than forty students) so the teacher can do a better job. However, fifty to sixty students is the norm. From kindergarten on, regimentation is the rule of the day. Students are required to listen and take notes. The teacher traditionally has supreme authority and asking questions or commenting on course content in the classroom is considered to be an affront to the teacher and is thus forbidden. Teacher aides, tutors, or parental help in the classroom are unheard of. Rote memorization remains the dominant methodology and students learn early on that silence and copious note taking are the only keys to success. The students themselves spend most of their day in the classroom-usually from eight to ten hours-and the remainder of their time is devoted to homework and any additional tutoring or other supplemental courses that the parents can afford. At all levels of schooling, test results determine the caliber and quality of school the students will be able to attend, so continual study for capstone examinations (national exams at the completion of fourth, sixth, eight, tenth, and twelfth grades) do much in determining the direction and quality of the students’ lives. Some of the college students I talked to admitted that the rigorous demands placed on them by their teachers and parents left them with little or no childhood, a condition they vowed they would never impart on their own children.

The Chinese post-secondary education system is vastly different from the America system. The semesters are twenty-one weeks long. Chinese college students often attend classes Monday through Friday as well as extra classes, tutoring, and/or study sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Entrance into Chinese colleges and universities is quite difficult and is determined by the infamous national Gaokao placement exam. Only about 10 to 20 percent of high school graduates go on to technical colleges or universities and the exam results determine not only which universities they can attend, but also what majors they can study. Once accepted by a university, the students move through their course of studies in cadres of thirty-five to forty. Each cohort takes exactly the same classes and the members share the same, gender separate dormitories, with eight people to a small, confined room. Often their shower and toilet facilities are in a separate building. One of the students from each cohort is appointed to be the class monitor, and he or she becomes tasked with assuring that all classroom and dormitory activities take place with as few problems as possible. To be selected class monitor is indeed an honor. The students within each cohort and dorm room form close bonds and work together for the good of the whole. Interesting enough, most of the students I have talked with say there is little collaborative or interactive learning that goes on in the classroom. The totality of the Chinese education system serves to severely restrict creativity and individuality in students. Just as with the public education system, the college classroom experience involves listening, memorization, and continuous preparation for entrance exams and placements tests. However, the tests college students take are cumulative and will determine the employment they will acquire after graduation, and thus their future quality of life. The competitive nature of the Chinese education system has produced students who, for the most part, are very earnest, obedient, and extremely hardworking, yet who severely lack initiative.

I taught Chinese college students from all grade levels and their abilities and eagerness to learn continually impressed me. Unlike in America, problems with attendance and preparedness never interfered with classroom instruction, which made my teaching experience most enjoyable. And nearly to a person, the students continually exuded a childlike air about them… a certain navet… a sense of innocence to the ways of the world… indeed, they lacked the hardness present in so many of the students I deal with in my American classroom. The students who I worked with were highly motivated to do their best because they almost universally felt compelled to achieve success at any cost; doing so is their duty to not only society, but more importantly to their family. Parents often sacrifice a great deal in the education of their child, who comes to feel deeply obligated to repay them for the education he or she has received. Many of my students said the same thing: “I must get a good job and make much money so I can take care of my parents. They have worked so hard and spent so much money on my education.” The Chinese still place great emphasis on family… the ancient Confucian notion of Parental Piety… and on subservience to the society as a whole… the collectivism so sharply contrary to the individualist worldview of Westerners.

Every once and a while, one is given an epiphany, a moment of insight, if you will, that provides more information than volumes of books ever can. The first of my educational moments of enlightenment came when we visited several classrooms at a middle school. After the last class of the school day, I noticed many of the students were busy cleaning the windows in the classrooms, washing the blackboards, mopping the floors, and even cleaning the bathrooms. I asked the teacher giving us the tour of the school about this and her reply was, “These activities are part of the students’ education.” Schools have no janitorial force; all of the cleanup work is delegated to the students. “If the students are responsible for the condition of the classrooms and the school,” she continued, “they will put much more effort into and value upon their education. This is very much a part of our Socialist tradition… of Chairman Mao’s ideas of loving labor.”

The second insight came during the second month I was at Northeastern University. On a cold Sunday evening in February a sudden snow storm dropped several inches of snow on Shenyang. Very early the next morning, as I left our apartment building and began to make my way to my first class, I noticed students all over the campus-by the thousands-industriously shoveling snow off of the sidewalks and streets and chipping away at the patches of ice that had formed near door stoops and on steps. They had apparently been at their tasks since daybreak. I could only look on, perplexed, not sure of what I was experiencing. When I met my first class, which coincidentally was a cross-cultural communications course, I took several minutes to explain my curiosity about their activities. They were more than happy to explain the mechanics and the purpose of the activity.

“It is our duty!” explained Albert proudly (Chinese students learning English usually assume an English name).

“Shoveling snow is part of our education.”

“Yes, no one should slip on the ice and become injured,” chimed in Tiffany, whose muffler remained just below her lips in the cold classroom.

“How is the work determined?” I asked, still trying to keep the conversation going.

“Each class is given an assigned area. If the area is not done satisfactorily, the responsible class will be punished,” answered Gerald.

“What happens if someone is lazy and doesn’t want to go out into the cold and sleeps in?” I continued.

“That person will be scorned and even ridiculed by his fellow classmates… will be considered as a person who is unreliable… who can’t be trusted,” said Gail.

Intrigued by the ingenuousness of their answers, I tried to get as much information as I could. “And I saw the girls shoveling and chipping just as hard as the boys. Why is this?”

Connie, who was always timid in class, finally found her voice. “Chairman Mao did much for establishing the equality of women to men. He maintained that women need to stand with men in society, not behind them.”

Perhaps with a little chagrin, I concluded the conversation with a joke about what my students would probably tell me to do with the shovel if I commanded them to go out and remove snow from our college’s sidewalks… a joke no one really understood. But I had found a “teachable moment”… or rather a “learnable moment”… an instance in which the students and I were able to look beyond ourselves and jointly comment on the world around us. And not only had I found out more information about my environment, I was beginning to find those rare moments of teaching when I learned much more than I could ever impart.

I had two such other sudden leaps of understanding just this past year when I went to Shenyang. In my several trips there I had never had the occasion to go in the fall, so because we went during September and October on that visit I was able to observe two very remarkable occurrences. The first was on September 10th, which I did not realize was National Day of the Teacher, a nationwide holiday in which students around the country show their appreciation for their teachers by presenting them with gifts of cards and flowers. We knew the day was a holiday for teachers, but we were incredibly surprised when two of our students appeared at our door with two large arrangements of flowers… a token they said of the gratitude all of our students had for us being their teachers. Traditionally, the relationship of the teacher to the student has almost mirrored that of the one between parent and child, a concept that comes from the time of Confucius (Kongfuzi).

This insight was followed up shortly thereafter with yet another, when I was visiting the Foreign Studies College at Northeastern University, just after the beginning of the semester in September. From several blocks away I heard a chorus of hundreds of voices singing a martial anthem. As I walked onto the large concrete square in front of the twelve-story Administration Building, I saw arrayed there at least two thousand students dressed in the drab green of military uniforms. Some were marching, some were standing in large cadres on the building steps, and other were engaged in military hand-to-hand combat tactics, all under the direction of regular Chinese Army instructors. Later I came to find out that all college freshmen, at every college and university around the country, are required to receive a full three weeks of military training before they even begin their classes. Some of the teachers I talked to explained how that requirement was purposeful in helping the students prepare for the rigors of college life and studies; others said it had come out of the Tiananmen Square incident and had been implemented to prevent university students from engaging in anti-government organizing and activities. Again, the differences between the students of China and those of America are often stark.

But the restlessness and impatience of youth is universal. In China the imposition of Western influences, brought about by the rise of capitalism and the driving force of commercialism and advertising, movies and videos, the Internet and other glimpses of outside cultures, have generated a rising sense of not dissent, but perhaps discontent… maybe uneasiness with the status quo. The Chinese youth of today are not the same as that of twenty or even ten years ago, and this groundswell is probably most noticeable in education. Though still hard-working and conscientious, contemporary students are progressively coming to expect more than just a passive exchange of information and knowledge during the course of their learning; they are, I think, gradually asking for a more participatory role in their education, which might, in the end, spill over into the broader social and political realms.

This need for change in educational methodology is exerting growing pressure on the teaching profession in China to change. The Chinese teachers and professors I worked with were equally industrious and eager to help and learn. And though the teacher remains the center of authority in the classroom, they are continually asked for much and given little in return; they for the most part are underpaid, making a fraction of their American counterparts, while doing more with less. And they sense the limitations of their traditional methods of teaching… those that have been ingrained into the culture since the time of Kongfuzi. With the new generation of students coming into their classrooms, the old methods prove to not be working so well. The twenty-first century is requiring people who can do more tha just memorize; instead, abstract thinkers are going to be needed and the teachers and professors are looking to the West, strangely enough, to provide them with the teaching tools to accomplish this goal. And just as with their students, when exposed to new and different ways of teaching, such as collaborative learning and independent thought, Chinese teachers are slowly finding out that melding innovation with tradition brings success.

At the risk of over generalization, I can say that the students, and certainly the faculty members, are extremely different from those I have grown accustomed to in America. Because education is not a right, but rather a privilege in China, both groups for the most part take their studies, educational mission, and teaching responsibilities quite seriously. As a result, I submit that both the American and Chinese cultures and educational systems can learn a great deal from each other.

Schooling Versus Leadership

Perhaps the terms, such as school and leadership were derived from the word education. Classically speaking, many things are implied in education. It covers a wide range of notions and meanings. In this short article, however, it will mean one thing to explore the negative relationship between schooling and leadership.

Why we have education, school and leadership simultaneously? What is the need of the three terms at the same time in an academic or a business institution? There seems to be some confusion, duplication or ambiguity. I argue that education in its purest form would have been enough to address philosophical issues especially in the academic sphere.

Education as a Latin word means to bring out something new. It may sometimes mean creativity, invention or other possibilities to exercise and cultivate the human mind so as to realize the mystery of life in every human being. If education is then about opening human eyes, what should be the purpose of schools and the essence of leadership? A million dollar question, right?

Here is a story that may help to clarify the context. A provident Chinese woman set aside some money long ago for her child to attend a prestigious university somewhere in the west. She would always think that the best school is expensive as well as life changing. As you may know, Chinese people are good at collecting money despite hurdles. When the time happened, the mother successfully managed to pay everything for the child. Her child attended the best university in America for four years and came back home with the best qualification ever. After a while, the mother realized that her son somehow changed in a western style or way of life. He could not secure a good job in china. He could not pass a single interview. So his mother had to help him again and live with her for some more years. He wished that he had not been schooled in the west. He thought, “The money could have been enough to buy a house, a car and open a new business, had it not been paid for my tuition.”

The story is very interesting. We may use it to explain the situation of leadership. Howsoever one may be a provident leader, if schools are not set right with the purpose of education, there is always a corollary failure. Schools may shape a good character, but cannot produce a kinetic personality. When I graduated, for instance, I came upon a number of things which took me many years to adapt and figure out. Schools stuff us with bundle of information and facts, and thus the brain runs out of enough space to create and see future possibilities. As of this, it can be inferred that schools are failing leadership as well as the main purpose of education.

Normally education should be the basic tenet of schools and leadership. We give education because we believe that mankind has something in him that needs a cause to manifest. In contrast, we open schools to shape a desirable or docile behavior which is only relevant to a certain political ideology. If this is then the whole function of schools, what is the need of leadership? Another a million dollar question, right?

Minneapolis Schools

Minneapolis is located in the mid-Eastern portion of Minnesota. It is the sister-city to St. Paul, and sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. Minneapolis Schools serve approximately 36,000 students. 16% of those students are enrolled in special education programs, 24% are English Language Learners, and 67% are participants in the state’s Free/Reduced Lunch program. Minneapolis Schools employ 226 administrators, 115 principals and assistant principals, 3,276 teachers, and 2,682 other staff members which includes educational assistants, clerical and student support workers, food service workers, transportation engineers, janitorial engineers, and tradesmen.

The Minneapolis School consists of 99 different schools: 23 K-5 elementary schools, 22 K-8 elementary schools, 7 middle schools (grades 6-8), 7 senior high schools (grades 9-12), 8 special education schools, 8 alternative schools, 19 contract alternative schools, and 5 charter schools. The entire budget for the 2006-2007 school year was $587,371,902, with the majority – $376,924,691 – going to the general operating fund.

With the mission: “To ensure that all students learn. We support their growth into knowledgeable, skilled and confident citizens capable of succeeding in their work, personal and family lives into the 21st Century,” the Minneapolis Schools use the following strategic plan:

o Reconnect with families and the community to support student learning

o Refocus our attention on student learning and academic achievement

o Recreate a viable school system that is responsive to the needs of students, families, staff, and the community

Of particular interest are the more than 90 languages spoken in the homes of the students of Minneapolis Schools. They range from Afgan, Afrikaans, and Croatian, to Yiddish, Swahili, and Sign Language. Most of the Minneapolis Schools communications are printed in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali.

Educators, legislators, and parents alike are ever mindful of school funding. The $13.8 billion education bill recently passed by the state legislature boosts spending on special education by about $330 million, the largest-ever increase. A school district with large numbers of special education students, like the Minneapolis Schools, is one of the biggest winners under the bill.

The legislature has typically put most new education spending into the per-pupil formula. That’s the basic amount that Minneapolis Schools get for each student. But this year, the biggest chunk of new education spending goes to schools to educate students with physical and mental disabilities. The Minneapolis Schools, where one in six students qualify for special education services, would get more money than nearly every other district in the state.

Federal law requires the district to provide special education services, yet the state and federal governments don’t pay the full cost of those programs. So the Minneapolis Schools have previously used money from other parts of their budget to cover those costs.

The special education money in the education bill will give Minneapolis Schools an additional $382 next year for every student, not just those in special education programs. Additional spending means additional programs can be maintained or implemented; like when the Minneapolis Schools added Spanish immersion hoping to attract students and curb declining enrollment. According to figures kept by the state Department of Education, the Minneapolis Schools’ enrollment increased by 3 percent from 9,974 to 10,302 between 2005 and 2006 — right after the district began offering immersion.

Alternative Education

What educational format is best for the ADD/ADHD child? As a parent, there are many choices, and increasingly popular choices, to public education. While making a decision may seem more difficult in the case of ADD/ADHD, the process is the same for the parent of any child.

A recent article in USA Today reports that home schooling has been on a steady rise for the last five years. There are now 1.5 million children being home schooled, up 74% since 1999. A desire for religious or moral instruction, formerly the number one reason to choose homeschooling, is now the second most popular reason. The first reason is safety and avoidance of peer pressure and exposure to drugs. Third is the dissatisfaction with academic instruction and fourth is interest in nontraditional approaches.

Current statistics indicate that the number of alternative educational/school choices, not including religious based schools or military schools, is somewhere around twelve thousand. That is the largest number of choices ever to exist outside the traditional public school system and the number keeps growing.

Obviously, the selection of public versus private includes many factors, among them the practical aspects of cost, location, transportation and does the alternative represent a basic ideology that the parent feels would be detrimental to the child. What follows is a look at some of the factors in choosing an educational format.

Determining the educational goal, as a parent, is an easy way to eliminate whole groupings of alternative educational choices. However, a parent might be wise to avoid automatically eliminating, for example, religiously based schools because they are simply not of the family’s religion. A school might be quite passive about religious “recruitment” of the child, as are many Catholic private schools, or they may be very active, even aggressive, in the “recruitment” of a child, as are many more fundamentally based religious schools. In one case, a parent chose such a school because of its educational quality but did not fully understand the aggressiveness of the school in converting her child to its belief system. At least not until her child started coming home every day, in tears, begging her mother to convert because she would go to hell if she didn’t. Upon further questioning, it was clear that the school had made the child responsible for the task of converting the mother. The child was nine. The mother moved the child the following week.

Next, we want to look at the child. It is imperative to look at the child from multiple perspectives, not just does he/she have ADD/ADHD. Because ADD plays out differently based on learning style, processing style and communication style, the parent should find the school that either actively teaches in a variety of styles or specializes in the styles that best enable his/her child to learn. The parent should also consider aspects such as the child’s emotional age and if the child has already found his/her passion(s) in life. If the child is brilliant in computer programming and development and could possibly be the next Bill Gates, the parent would be wise to enroll that child in a school program that specializes in dealing with technically gifted children, as long as all the other bases are covered. Personality and gender also play a role in the whole child. Finally, it is important to gravitate to schools that interweave the development of critical thinking with the development of personal responsibility.

Other things to consider:

· Does the child need structure or is he/she self-structuring?

· How well does the child function independently?

· Does the child have difficulty dealing with change?

· Does the child relate better to a male or a female teacher — or does it matter?

· What is the child’s social skill level with peers and, if this is a challenge, how does the school deal with those kinds of issues?

· What kind of participation is required of the parent, and is this level of participation possible within the framework of the entire family?

If the parents are investigating home schooling, there are some pros and cons to consider.

On the positive side, there are many educational support programs for home schooling currently available and more coming on line all the time. They vary in participation level needed by the parent. Just like shopping for a school, the parent needs to look for an education support program that will best work with the specific child and with the family. Home schooling can allow a child to learn at his/her own pace and can be creatively modified as the child goes on.

On the negative side of home schooling is the stress on the parents. Does the home schooling parent have a flexible teaching style and can that parent switch between the teaching and the parenting roles easily? The teaching parent should currently communicate well with the child and have been successful in helping the child learn new things and to develop new skill sets. As a simple measure, how has the parent done on helping the child with his/her homework to date? There may be resentment between parents caused by the time, energy, and effort required for teaching, on one hand, and by the resulting relationship with the child on the other. More effort will be required of the parents to ensure that the child gets both sufficient social interaction and is exposed to the diversity that the world has to offer, including opinions other than the parent’s own. Finally, can the parents help the child to develop the skill sets to manage well in the world when the home schooling ends?

Home schooling is a viable option. If the parents live in a big enough area, they are even likely to find local home schooling groups that do things together. The home schooled child may also attend a class here or there in order to fill out the educational experience. The parents need to make an extra effort in the area of social skills, to be wary of creating an unhealthy attachment or dependency on themselves and to guard against becoming insular in a way that limits the child in dealing with the ever-growing diversity of the world.

The key to finding a successful educational format for the child is for the parents to do their own homework! They need to determine what their educational priorities are and to diligently investigate their options in light of the whole child regardless of ADD/ADHD.

Private School Education

There is a lot of discussion regarding the advantages of attending a prep institute of education in Toronto. The main advantages of Toronto private schools are the high academic standards. There are many different types of schools and the tuition will range depending on the particular school. There are some prep schools that go from primary education to secondary education.

Most Toronto independent schools offer superior facilities and extra-curricular activities. Private schools are able to afford the best sports and music education programs. The class sizes tend to be smaller than public schools. And the recruit the best teachers and are able to offer them competitive salaries.

Another advantage of independent schools is the fact that they are self-governing and have the freedom to expand their curriculum without the limitations of an overseeing school board. There are also more choices available for Toronto pre schools, Toronto independent high schools and various Toronto private institutions. Independent offer a variety of choices when it comes to education. Toronto independent may include religious, boarding, day schools, unisex or co-educational schools.

Further more, they generally have smaller classes that are more structured and disciplined. As a result, students enjoy a learning environment that is more conducive to addressing their individual needs. Toronto private education provide students with a strong academic foundation for higher education. Studies have shown that most students that attend independent schools continue on to successful achievements in their chosen career.

Independent education does not have to rely on public funds. Therefore they not as restricted when it comes to developing their curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Prep schools are not subject to government budget limitations and do not have to worry about cuts to various programs.

This financial freedom allows private schools to develop their own curricula. They are free from government interference and can provide a higher quality of education. This allows students to develop intellectually on a broad spectrum of academic disciplines.

The standards for teachers to be eligible to work in public institution, in most states and provinces, are required to have a bachelor’s degree and some form of federal, state or provincial certification. But in the more prestigious independent schools, their teachers are typically more highly qualified. Most teachers that work in private schools have graduate degrees and other higher level professional achievements.

Both private school and public educators work hard to create the best learning environment possible for their students. There are both good public schools and private schools. However, there tend to be more private schools that offer better academic programs than public schools. In Canada, private schools tend to rank higher than public schools. The standardized testing scores of students from private schools are generally higher than those of students that attend public schools. It is important for parents to know what they want in a school, when it comes to private education. It is essential to visit the school and get a chance to spend some time with the teachers. Choosing private education for your child will have its associated financial obligations but the quality of education will be worth the investment.