Archive for the ‘Education’ Category:
Source: Los Angeles Times
School opening in Los Anglees sparks criticism: it’s like the Taj Mahal of education.
The opening of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools will be auspicious for a reason other than its both storied and infamous history as the former Ambassador Hotel, where the Democratic presidential contender was assassinated in 1968. With an eye-popping price tag of $578 million, it will mark the inauguration of the nation’s most expensive public school ever.
The K-12 complex to house 4,200 students has raised eyebrows across the country as the creme de la creme of “Taj Mahal” schools, $100 million-plus campuses boasting both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.
“There’s no more of the old, windowless cinderblock schools of the ’70s where kids felt, ‘Oh, back to jail,’” said Joe Agron, editor-in-chief of American School & University, a school construction journal. “Districts want a showpiece for the community, a really impressive environment for learning.”
Not everyone is similarly enthusiastic.
“New buildings are nice, but when they’re run by the same people who’ve given us a 50 percent dropout rate, they’re a big waste of taxpayer money,” said Ben Austin, executive director of Parent Revolution who sits on the California Board of Education. “Parents aren’t fooled.”
At RFK, the features include fine art murals and a marble memorial depicting the complex’s namesake, a manicured public park, a state-of-the-art swimming pool and preservation of pieces of the original hotel.
Whiteboards Canada offers for classrooms and kids desks are also expensive, but not completely off the table for this project.
Partly by circumstance and partly by design, the Los Angeles Unified School District has emerged as the mogul of Taj Mahals.
The RFK complex follows on the heels of two other LA schools among the nation’s costliest — the $377 million Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, which opened in 2008, and the $232 million Visual and Performing Arts High School that debuted in 2009.
The pricey schools have come during a sensitive period for the nation’s second-largest school system: Nearly 3,000 teachers have been laid off over the past two years, the academic year and programs have been slashed. The district also faces a $640 million shortfall and some schools persistently rank among the nation’s lowest performing.
Los Angeles is not alone, however, in building big. Some of the most expensive schools are found in low-performing districts — New York City has a $235 million campus; New Brunswick, N.J., opened a $185 million high school in January.
Nationwide, dozens of schools have surpassed $100 million with amenities including atriums, orchestra-pit auditoriums, food courts, even bamboo nooks. The extravagance has led some to wonder where the line should be drawn and whether more money should be spent on teachers.
“Architects and builders love this stuff, but there’s a little bit of a lack of discipline here,” said Mary Filardo, executive director of 21st Century School Fund in Washington, D.C., which promotes urban school construction.
Some experts say it’s not all flourish and that children learn better in more pleasant surroundings.
Many schools incorporate large windows to let in natural light and install energy-saving equipment, spending more upfront for reduced bills later. Cafeterias are getting fancier, seeking to retain students who venture off campus. Wireless Internet and other high-tech installations have become standard.
Some pricey projects have had political fallout.
After a firestorm over the $197.5 million Newton North High School in Massachusetts, Mayor David Cohen chose not to seek re-election and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill reined in school construction spending.
Now to get state funds for a new school, districts must choose among three designs costing $49 million to $64 million. “We had to bring some sense to this process,” Cahill said.
My Take: In an age when everything from online defensive driving courses to Oaklahoma dog training certificates can be obtained via the internet, you have to wonder why so much money needs to poured into brick and mortar buildings for our kids’ education anymore. I’m not saying algebra and English comp. are on the same level as safety courses for driving or how to work with personal protection dogs, but when kids are using iPhones and min-laptops to communicate about 90% of the time, you have to question the need for more buildings, let alone expensive ones. What about cheaper schools with online access options for advanced and well-performing students as a way to eliminate overcrowding, save money, and embrace online educational technology?
Romantic Dresses Popular
The most popular styles of dresses these days are quite soft and romantic and many famous stars and designers who are looking into creating beautiful homecoming dresses have started to consider the romantic look as a beautiful option. One of the things to remember about romantic style dresses is that they can often look like lingerie so it’s important that the dress is floor length unless the girl wearing the dress wants to appear as though she’s wearing her night clothes. Many romantic style dresses will flatter just about any body shape or height as well.
Dress Styles for Day or Night Problems
There are a number of decisions any girl needs to make when her prom is close and the style of her dress is a very important decision. Sometimes a prom is held during the day and an afternoon styled dress would be best for the occasion while sometimes a prom held at night would warrant a more evening styled gown. One way to mix it up is to join up with friends and wear prom dresses that might make a unique statement. For example, it can be fun to wear an afternoon dress at night or a summery themed dress during the winter.
Religion versus Secular
One consideration for a family who is choosing to place their child in a private school is that they will probably need to consider whether they would be interested in a school with religious themes or whether they would prefer a Panama private school that wasn’t otherwise affiliated with a specific religious denomination. There are benefits for each type of school and it’s generally up to how the parents feel about a particular religion as to whether that school might be appropriate for a child and the particular religious beliefs of the family and their friends.
Long Island Law
Long Island harassment lawyers know a little bit about what it’s like to work for an employer who abuses his or her workers. If you need to contact good NYC discrimination lawyers be sure to do so prepared with a fully documented case describing your situation with dates and locations and a synopsis of each event. The more detail you offer the lawyer the better your chances of winning your harassment case in court.
Denver Divorce Options
Divorce lawyers Denver CO are a different animal from other lawyers. If you’ve worked with personal injury attorneys Denver CO, you have had the experience of one side of the states laws and regulations. Denver divorce is a whole other legal animal. For a little background on Colorado’s divorce laws, click here.
Source: New York Times
Would you pay for “D”-quality services, like flying, in restaurants, healthcare? We didn’t think so.
The way the Mount Olive school district sees it, its students should not be getting by with D’s on their report cards, either. This fall, there will no longer be any D’s, only A’s, B’s, C’s and F’s.
“D’s are simply not useful in society,” said Larrie Reynolds, the Mount Olive superintendent, who led the campaign against D’s as a way to raise the bar and motivate students to work harder. “It’s a throwaway grade. No one wants to hire a D-anything, so why would we have D-students and give them credit for it?”
The no-D policy, which was adopted by the school board last week, has led to a flurry of Facebook messages from students calling it the worst idea ever, and has been debated on soccer fields and around swimming pools in this suburban township in northwestern New Jersey. Even some teachers have expressed concerns that it may result in more students failing.
“I really don’t like it,” said Chris Radler, 13, who is entering ninth grade; he said it was unfair and would increase the pressure on students. “If you’re a little bit less than a C, but not quite an F, you’re still going to fail. Some kids aren’t at that level yet. They aren’t able to get that upper grade.”
But parents like Christine Priest, a mother of six, applaud the new policy for reinforcing a message that they have long taught at home: D’s are not good enough. “With my kids, we always told them a D is an F,” she said. “D just wasn’t enough of an effort.”
Under the old system, students could pass with a 65 — 389 of the 1,500 students at Mount Olive High had a “D” on their final report cards in June — but now anything lower than a 70 will be considered failure.
While few high schools have banned D’s outright as Mount Olive has, some have sought to tamp down grade inflation by quietly tightening their standards over the years. Several New Jersey high schools, for instance, have raised the minimum for D’s to 70, which is traditionally the C-minus range, with anything below deemed an F.
Mount Olive, an above-average school in a middle-class community, is developing a support system to help students meet the tougher grading standard. When students receive a failing grade on a test, a paper or a homework assignment in the future, they will have three days to repeat the work for a C, and their parents will be notified by phone or e-mail.
Students who continue to fail will be placed on a “watch list” to receive extra-help classes, as well as tutoring from other students. If they need to make up a failed course, they will be given the option of attending an evening school, known as “Sunset Academy,” that will charge a fee of $150 per class.
The total cost of these support efforts to the district is expected to be less than $10,000, school officials said.
Max Werner, 17, an A-student whose father, Mark, is president of the school board, said he and his friends liked the no-D policy because no one should be satisfied with such a low mark. “People are going to have to try harder,” he said. “It’s not like a nice college is going to see all D’s on a report card and want to accept that student.”
Dr. Reynolds said he used a similar grading policy — “A, B, or do it over” — when teaching college classes in Wichita, Kan., in the late 1990s. About half of his students in those classes had to rewrite their initial papers, he recalled, but eventually nearly everyone was turning in work that merited an A or B. “I have never given less than a B,” he said.
In summer school last week, 79 Mount Olive High students were repeating classes they had failed during the year. Mark Fiedorczyk, the summer school principal, said he expected to see an increase next summer because of the no-D policy.
These aren’t kids paying penance for failing truck driving school or how to download PS3 racing games. These are kids trying to pass required standard courses like math and science.
Still, Mr. Fiedorczyk, who teaches seventh-grade science during the year, said the higher standard was just what some students needed. In June, he handed out D’s to a half-dozen students, all of whom, he said, were capable of C’s if they had tried harder. Instead, they had skipped homework and projects, and showed up unprepared for tests.
“I have kids who walk the borderline,” he said. “They know it. They admit it. They calculate what they need to get the D.”
At which, another teacher joked: “Then they’ll turn around and say they can’t do math.”
For Aphrodite Georgakopoulos, 16, the no-D policy means she will have to work a lot harder to avoid summer school again. She is repeating world history and Algebra 2 after getting lazy about assignments or just giving up in frustration, she said.
“It’s not like I can’t do it; it’s just that I won’t push myself,” she said. “I don’t know why. I need someone to be constantly on top of me, making sure I do everything.”
Down the hallway, Sean Robinson, 17, who is retaking Spanish, said he hoped that students would feel better about themselves in a D-free school, and that Mount Olive’s higher standard would raise its profile in the region.
“Normally, I just wouldn’t try, but I feel like if I did badly, I’d bring down my school’s G.P.A.,” he said. “My mom will be happy.”
My Take: These aren’t the old days when wooden propellers and walking in the snow were the order of the day, so it makes sense that we do away with the antiquated grading system. Frankly, I never got Ds in anything. I got an “F” in algebra and “Cs” or higher in everything else. I never did any time in an academy driving school in New York, and I have no idea how to manage PS3 downloads. But if they do away with the “D” system and offer A-C’s or fail, that would be OK with me.
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How to Click with Confidence
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SOURCE: LIVE SCIENCE
According to the findings of a new study, our personalities are pretty much set from early childhood, like it or not.
The results show personality traits observed in children as young as first graders are a strong predictor of adult behavior.
“We remain recognizably the same person,” said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. “This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts.”
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 – 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later.
They examined four personality attributes – talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one’s importance).
Among the findings:
Talkative youngsters tended to show interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control situations, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence as adults. Children who rated low in verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
If you’re wondering whether any light bulbs should going off in your head about this don’t. It’s news to many individuals that are personalities aren’t shaped purely by outside forces and experiences. Studies have previously suggested that we don’t have any way of knowing whether our children will turn out to be lockpicks in need of a good debt settlement program by the time they turn 18, or instead get straight As in school, be the life of the party and the outgoing student of the month and go on to become a Port St. Joe plastic surgeon.
Children rated as highly adaptable tended, as middle-age adults, to behave cheerfully, speak fluently and show interest in intellectual matters. Those who rated low in adaptability as children were observed as adults to say negative things about themselves, seek advice and exhibit an awkward interpersonal style.
Students rated as impulsive were inclined to speak loudly, display a wide range of interests and be talkative as adults. Less impulsive kids tended to be fearful or timid, kept others at a distance and expressed insecurity as adults.
Children characterized as self-minimizing were likely to express guilt, seek reassurance, say negative things about themselves and express insecurity as adults. Those who were ranked low on a self-minimizing scale tended to speak loudly, show interest in intellectual matters and exhibit condescending behavior as adults.
Previous research has suggested that while our personalities can change, it’s not an easy undertaking.
Personality is “a part of us, a part of our biology,” Nave said. “Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as well.”
Future research will “help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality,” Nave said.
MY TAKE: I’m not so sure I would want to know exactly whether my personality at birth was going to lead me into a life of crime or into credit card debt reduction programs or master of the lockpicking gun. I know no one really understands the workings of the mind 100% or whether the light bulbs that go off in our heads one day will lead us into a career as a Panama City FL plastic surgeon or send us down a path to a life of non profit work in Africa; make us shy or outgoing; angry or even tempered. I do think we learn from experiences more and more about who we are and that life is partially a process for uncovering ourselves to ourselves.
Fun Rentals for Your Party
When deciding on what rentals you might want for a birthday party or other celebration, you’ll likely find that, depending on the size and type of celebration, there are an infinite number of fun items you can rent if your party involves kids or a celebration where many children will be present. If you find it overwhelming to realize that you may need to find a bouncy castle, clowns, face painters, magicians, and popcorn machines all at one event, you might consider professional party planning as a method for taking the stress out of your party since after all, a party should be fun, not nerve-racking!
Theory Behind Personality Tests
There are many personality tests that exist in modern psychology that were created to help doctors and patients interpret things like dreams and life events, but it is often important to understand the theories upon which these modern tests are based to fully understand their results. Like the Myers-Briggs test and the sixteen different personality types attached to that test, understanding the reasoning behind the dichotomies of those personality traits and how those qualities influence behavior allow for in-depth study of the reasons people act as they do. While the tests are not a simply black and white method of identifying personality, they can still provide strong guidance.
Good Car Bad Car
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