"Education is the most
powerful weapon which
you can use to change
the world".

-- Nelson Mandela



"Genius without education
is like silver in the mine."
-- Benjamin Franklin

Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Concord Law School Grad Allowed to Sit for Massachusetts Bar Exam

Monday, December 1st, 2008

An online law school graduate recently made the news when he sued the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and won the right to take the state bar exam.

Like a sonic boom, it has rocked the legal education community.

Ross Mitchell, an online school graduate of Concord Law School, passed the California bar exam in 2004. But since Concord is not approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), Mitchell was not eligible to practice law outside of California and could not sit for the bar exam in other states.

However, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in Mitchell’s favor and made an exception after reviewing his excellent academic record.

The decision comes at a time that the American Bar Association is preparing to perform a comprehensive review, which will include an thorough assessment of online law schools. Mitchell’s success in this case may open up the opportunity for other exemplary e-learning law school grads to challenge the ABA requirements for taking state bar exams.

Concord Law School, Mitchell’s alma mater, is a fully online law school. It is recognized by the California Bar Association; so graduates may sit for the California bar exam and, if they pass, practice law in California. However, the ABA does not recognize any law degree that is completely earned by distance learning.

And although Concord Law School is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, it is not approved by the ABA because it is an online law degree.

Some states outside of California allow Concord Law School graduates to sit for the bar exam if the candidate has passed the California bar exam and has worked as a lawyer for five years. But other states, like Minnesota, do not allow graduates to sit for the bar exam.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court made a step in the right direction to insure fairness for graduates of reputable online schools like Concord Law School.

Maybe the ABA will follow suit.

online school, online schools, online law school, distance learning, Concord Law School, bar exam, ABA, Massachusetts, American Bar Association, e-learning, lawyer, Minnesota, sonic boom

Popularity: 13% [?]

Posted by vida

Obama’s Views on Education Favored by Voters

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

According to a recent Gallup Poll, voters favor Barack Obama’s stance on education over John McCain’s.

Forty-six percent of voters believe that Obama is supportive of public education, in contrast to only twenty-nine percent who feel the same way about McCain. This poll is significent because in the past two presidential elections, no candidate stood out over another with respect to education issues.

Although both presidential candidates have voiced support of public schools, Obama has spoken emphatically throughout his political career about improving public education and increasing opportunities for low-income students.

In her speech during the Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama succinctly stated her husband’s position on education by stating that he supports “a world class education (for every child) from preschool through college“.

Obama has also worked toward this end during his Senate years. He was instrumental in passing the recent Higher Education Act that raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100; and he introduced a bill to provide federal funding for summer learning opportunities for children.

Barack Obama supports:

  • a quality education for every student, regardless of background, race or class,
  • free or affordable college for every high school graduate,
  • increased federal financial aid for lower-income college students,
  • preparation for a college-track education for every child available through Head Start programs,
  • tax credits for families who are paying college tuition.
  • equipping and supporting poor and/or rural public school districts
  • additional training and higher wages for public school teachers.

Obama says that his interest is in advancing public education programs that will help U.S. students compete in the world, which will also increase individual economic success. Although he has not specifically addressed online degree programs or online schools , Obama’s stand on education issues indicates that he will support the high-tech distance learning strategies that have revolutionized and advanced learning opportunities for all students.

McCain has been slower in voicing his education platform; though he will certainly make his position clear during the Republican National Convention next week and as the presidential race draws closer to Election Day.

The Gallup Organization’s poll on the Public’s Attitides Toward the Public Schools was co-conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International, an international association of professional educators.  

Barack Obama, John McCain, public education, online degree program, online schools, distance learning, Gallup Poll, presidential candidates, Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama, high school graduate, financial aid, Republican National Convention, educators, Pell Grant, teachers

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Online Learning Shows Promise In Education Reform

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Online education, or distance learning, is an effective means of public education reform, according to an article in the eSchool News.  In their words:

“The growing popularity and success of online learning is an important but ‘largely unnoticed’ trend that reform-minded educators and policy makers could use to much greater advantage as they seek to improve public education in general, says a new report from Education Sector, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C.

Titled ‘Laboratories of Reform: Virtual High Schools and Innovation in Public Education,’ the report urges reformers to recognize that long-sought improvements in teaching and learning already are being applied successfully in online education.

‘Virtual schooling is driving the same sorts of transforming changes in public education as Apple’s iTunes has been producing in the way people collect and listen to music,’ the report asserts. ‘While the importance of effective teaching and learning has not changed, the internet has enabled educators to significantly alter the experience of schooling.’

For example, the report says, virtual schools are ‘personalizing student learning and extending it beyond the traditional school day,’ as well as creating ‘new models for the practice of teaching—with opportunities to easily observe, evaluate, and assist instructors. And they are pioneering performance-based education funding models’.” Read full text.

I believe that as children in K-12 utilize the previously unsung benefits of ‘virtual schooling’, they will become the next generation of online college students. When these students graduate from high school, no one should be surprised if they opt for the flexibility of an online bachelor’s degree instead the traditional university experience.

After all, they will have grown up with computers, the Internet, iPods, cell phones, WiFi and PDA’s. MySpace and FaceBook, along with other Educational Tools sites, prepare them for the message boards and video-conferencing that are common in online education. The natural next step will be to earn a college degree via the technology that is like a second skin to these home-grown techies.

At least, that is what I think.

online education, distance learning, public education, educators, education reform, virtual schooling, online college, online bachelors degree, university, high school students, college students, public schools, college degree

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Outlawed iPods Return to School as Educational Tools

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Frustrated middle school and high school officials across the country have outlawed iPods in the classroom. Students have used them to cheat on exams and are not attentive when listening to their downloaded music during class.

However, creative schools are using the popular technology to connect with students and spur interest in educational topics.

Jose Marti Middle School in Union City, New Jersey, uses iPods to help bilingual students learn English grammar and vocabulary. The students listen to songs in English as a supplement to their language studies. School officials believe strongly enough in the use of iPods for educational purposes that they plan to distribute 300 of the devices to children in poor New Jersey schools. This $130,000 experiment has already gained the interest of school districts all the way to California who are taking a second look at the usefulness of iPods.

New Jersey schools have already used iPods to teach English, French, Spanish and science. The iPods used in classes cost about $250 each and are equipped with a video screen. Headsets are also provided to students.

Colleges have already begun to make use of the popularity of iPods. In 2004, Duke University provided iPods to the freshman class that contained preloaded orientation information. A number of Duke classes now require an iPod; but the university no longer provides them free of charge.

The use of iPods is just another way that today’s technology is showing up in the classroom. Laptop computers have already become a fixture among students in college. Mini-devices like the iPod, which are light and portable, may lay the groundwork for a future cross between a laptop computer and an MP3.

The use of the latest technology in early education is a smart move. New Jersey is leading the way in combining proven educational strategies with the technology culture of today’s generation. And thankfully, students — like those at Jose Marti Middle School — will discover that learning really can be fun.

middle schools, high schools, education, colleges, iPods, New Jersey, Duke University, teaching, learning, technology, MP3

Popularity: 8% [?]

Posted by vida

Civil War History Lesson Depicted in S.F. Opera’s ‘Appomattox’

Friday, October 5th, 2007

For Civil War buffs, tonight’s world premiere of ‘Appomattox’ by the San Francisco Opera is the place to be.

This history lesson, set to the music of Philip Glass, is a dramatic presentation of events leading to the end of the Civil War. The character roles of President Lincoln, General Robert E. Lee, General Ulysses S. Grant, and their wives are brought to life by acclaimed singers of the opera world.

Stanford University’s freshman class received a treat when they attended the final dress rehearsal of Appomattox this past Tuesday evening, along with students from S.F. Bay Area junior high and high schools. Students’ eyes were riveted to the Opera House stage as the drama and libretto related the difficulties experienced by both sides in the remaining days of the war, especially the painful decisions facing Lincoln and the leading generals, Grant and Lee.

The heated debates over slavery, the depiction of mothers who lost sons in the war, and the views of African-American slaves who had the chance to fight as soldiers are all part of this thought-provoking production. Many more students should have the chance to enrich their education with high-quality events such as this; and hopefully, parents and teachers will remain alert for such opportunities.

No doubt, students who witnessed this living American history will never again be able to view the Civil War as dry, dull words on a page.  Bravo to the San Francisco Opera.

Civil War, education, teachers, students, slavery, President Lincoln, San Francisco Opera, War Memorial Opera House, Stanford University, American history, opera, opera singers

Popularity: 7% [?]

Posted by vida

Blue Ribbon Schools Named by Department of Education

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Public school officials all over the nation held their breath, awaiting the list of schools awarded the ’Blue Ribbon School’ designation by the U.S. Department of Education.

This high honor is reserved for those institutions earning stellar scores on the student testing required by NCLB (No Child Left Behind).

Administrators and teachers covet this award because it signifies the chosen few, the cream of the crop in education. Parents consider these schools when seeking a strong foundation for college-bound children. Even property values are positively affected when neighborhood schools are considered among the best in the nation.

According to the Orange County Register, “Real estate agents say the award boosts demand for homes near award-winning schools.”

Some disagree with pedagogy that focuses on teaching children predominantly what they need to know to perform well on  tests, while downplaying those subjects that are not tested.  And yes, the public education system is imperfect; but student test scores have improved overall under No Child Left Behind.

So applaud the winners of this prestigious award. And for those not chosen — there is always next year!

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today named 287 schools in the United States as 2007 No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools. The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award, one of the most prestigious education awards in the country, distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“These schools are proving that when we raise the bar our children will rise to the challenge,” Spellings said. “It takes a lot of hard work by teachers and students to become a Blue Ribbon school, and it’s a privilege to celebrate their great efforts.”

The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. The schools are selected based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and 2) Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading and language arts and mathematics. Each state—not the federal government—sets its own academic standards and benchmark goals.

A total of 413 schools nationwide can be nominated. This number is determined based on how many schools and students reside in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Chief State School Officer (CSSO) nominates public schools, and the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) submits private schools nominations. The schools are invited by Secretary Spellings to submit an application for possible recognition as a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School.

Those selected will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on November 12-13. (From the DOE website.)

For further information and a list of 2007 Blue Ribbon school winners, click here.

public schools, education, Blue Ribbon schools, Department of Education, Margaret Spellings, teachers, college, students, children, NCLB, No Child Left Behind, property values, real estate

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Landmark Legislation to Help Millions of Students Pay for College

Monday, October 1st, 2007

The federal government plans to spend more than $20 billion to help millions of students and their families pay for college.

And the best part is that no new taxes will be levied to fund the provisions of the new legislation.

Student financial aid received a major overhaul through H.R. 2669, a bipartisan bill that was recently signed into law by President Bush. This is the largest investment in financial aid since the 1944 G.I. Bill.

The long-awaited legislation means more money for eligible college students. These are highlights of the new law:

  • Pell Grants to lower and middle income students will increase from $4,310 to $5,400 over the next 5 years.
  • Interest rates on student loans will be cut by half over the next 4 years.
  • Monthly payments on federal student loans will be limited to an affordable amount.
  • College graduates who work in public service professions like teaching for at least 10 years will be eligible for student loan forgiveness.
  • Major subsidy cuts were made to banking and other institutions that fund federal student loans.
  • $750 million is allocated to reduce the federal budget deficit.

The new legislation affects students at both accredited online schools and traditional colleges.

Read more about the new education bill.

online schools, college students, financial aid, education bill, President Bush, education, G.I. Bill, Pell Grant, student loans

Popularity: 4% [?]

Posted by vida

Math and Reading Scores of U.S. Students are Up

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Math and reading scores among 4th and 8th grade students across the U.S. have increased, according to a report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Although most gains were small, the National Assessment of Educational Progress report confirmed that the additional directives aimed at schools via No Child Left Behind are producing positive results. The largest gains among test scores appear to be among the lower-performing students.

Still, controversy has already begun to surround the discussion of the NCES results, which were released to the public today. Some feel that the gains were too small to justify the huge federal expenditures that have been earmarked to improve the test scores of America’s students. Others are concerned that a significant number of teachers in the classroom focus only material that may matter on the tests. And still others ruminate on the cheating that has taken place by an increasing number of schools and teachers who are motivated by either incentives offered or by the consequences of not meeting the standards and test scores that are required according to No Child Left Behind.

Of course, there is still a long way to go; and a great divide continues to exist between schools in non-Asian minority and economically disadvantaged communities as compared to the abundance of resources and funding that exists in wealthier neighborhood schools. Schools that are predominantly non-Asian minority are more likely to receive less qualified teachers and fewer educational resources, according to the National Commission on Teaching and Americas Future. Until all of the issues surrounding these and other inequities are addressed, there is little hope that every young student in America will receive a quality education.

Homeschooling and online schools have improved education choices for some parents and students; but others are unable or unwilling to travel this educational route. They are dependent upon the education system to make things right.

Remember, the issue of education affects all communities. Those who are uneducated or poorly educated are more likely to require public assistance, commit crimes and abuse drugs. Families and children who are affected by any of these situations continue to perpetuate similar behavior and are less likely to attend college.

It is great that test scores have improved; but let’s not rest on our laurels. Legislators need to dig deeper and work toward equality in education for all students.

online schools, education, students, math and reading, test scores, schools, No Child Left Behind, college

Popularity: 6% [?]

Posted by vida

Presidential Candidate John Edwards Outlines New Education Reform Plan

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Presidential candidate John Edwards has outlined a sweeping education plan he calls, “Restoring the Promise of America’s Schools”.

The highlights of the plan include:

  • a radical overhaul of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation,
  • an expansion of early education programs to prepare children for success in school,
  • an investment of substantial funds into teachers’ training and salaries,
  • the establishment of a ‘School Success Fund’ to help struggling schools.

Edwards emphasized that poor and rural schools would be of the highest priority in these broad education reforms, with the goal being that children from 4 years of age and older would receive a quality education in excellent schools from the best teachers. He has also proposed initiatives to provide adequate health care to children and to make college affordable for the majority of students.

Read more about John Edwards’ education plan.

John Edwards, Restoring the Promise, education, No Child Left Behind, children, schools, teachers, teacher training, college, education reform

Popularity: 5% [?]

Posted by vida

Star Wars Creator Highlights Ten Hot Education Topics

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

George Lucas, creator of the multimillion dollar Star Wars industry, has a philanthropic interest in improving public education and preparing children and teens to successfully navigate the technology-driven world of the future.

He particularly values and highlights teachers who creatively engage students, often with multimedia, in order to enhance learning. Lucas believes that children learn better when they are stimulated and interested in the subject matter.

So he put into print his ideas for the best ways to educate children. Edutopia, the magazine underwritten by the non-profit George Lucas Education Foundation, is a treasure trove of innovations in teaching and a rich resource for discovering new trends in education. Online education, interactive media and additional virtual tools are discussed in detail as ways of generating student interaction and focus.

The September 2007 issue talks about 10 hot topics in public education:

  1. No Child Left Behind and the need to transform it
  2. How to retain and attract highly-qualified teachers
  3. Alternative school schedules that improve student scores
  4. Distance-learning and its impact on students and teachers
  5. Why politics will definitely be a part of high school classrooms in this academic year
  6. The explosion of interest in teaching and learning the Chinese language
  7. Why oceanographer Robert Ballard believes that science really is fun and relevant for children
  8. Using the technology of MySpace/YouTube to create student online learning communities
  9. High school career academies that smooth the transition for graduates from school to the job force
  10. How the arts and music education vacuum in public schools is being filled by locals

George Lucas expects to see improvements in the way we educate children as the exciting growth in technology is intermingled with the creative skills of dedicated teachers.

Free subscriptions of Edutopia are available in print to teachers and other qualified persons; and the website includes relevant education articles, videos and teaching modules.

George Lucas, Star Wars, education, children, school, teens, high school, parents, technology, teachers, public school, multimedia, Edutopia, George Lucas Education Foundation, online education, community, information access, trends, Robert Ballard, distance learning, No Child Left Behind, My Space, music education, Ten Hot Education Topics

Popularity: 13% [?]

Posted by vida