School vouchers and the NCLB conspiracy

I hope a lot of people are concerned by a $100 million voucher proposal recently announced by House Republicans. The bill would provide voucher money to poor communities where public schools aren’t meeting the testing standards imposed by the No Child Left Behind Act.

(And to think some folks wondered what the real strategy behind NCLB was. The law’s goal isn’t to fix public schools—it’s to show how bad some of them are doing in order to justify vouchers.)

Although the bill’s sponsors acknowledged that Congress isn’t likely to vote on it this year, the very attempt proves that the religious right and the Republicans who do their bidding are indeed one rascally group.

Getting poor people to buy in on the voucher idea is a smart strategy, because it hits the public schools where they’re most vulnerable—in the country’s most economically devestated areas, where any kind of school would have a tough time educating children. Pandering to the poor also creates the illusion of the G.O.P. as champions of the disadvantaged. (You may have just choked on your coffee as you read that last sentence, but, hey, money talks in politics.)

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Parents Perspective on Teen Text Messaging

It was a foggy, late September morning here in northern Wisconsin. The sun had just come up, the grass was wet with dew, and the kids were scrambling to gather their backpacks and head out the door to catch the bus. As my two teenage boys strolled across the dewey grass, I peered out the front door to catch a glimpse of both of them side by side, heads down, texting. It was one of those classic moments where you wish you had a camera right there in your hand – they were walking off into the fog toward the bus stop checking their phones and texting at 7:00 am. It made me think – how much teen texting is too much? At what point does it become a problem, or perhaps, even and addiction?

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

As most of you with teenage children can attest, teenagers love to text. While text messaging with your teens can be a great way to stay in touch with them, it’s also important to set limits and stick to them when their text messaging starts to interfere with other parts of your lives. Continue Reading

How to Choose a Resume? Chronological vs Functional Resume.

Many people especially young job seekers mistake a resume’s purpose, they think a resumes should to get them a desired job. In reality, the solely purpose of the resume is to open doors. Your resume purpose is to create interest so the employer will invite you in for an interview.

But how do you create that interest when you don’t exactly fit the job description? Here are some tips from Chris from MyCareerTools.com where they help student get a HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma)and teach them how to find a desirable job. If you are looking for practice tests and want to refresh your knowledge, check their website.

Use the resume to your advantage he says. Recently we  weighed in about the usefulness of functional style resumes vs. chronological resumes.
Historically functional style resumes have been recommended for first time university/college/HSED graduates and for career changers.

The functional resume had it’s heyday in the 70’s as a clever way to display one’s skillset. Now they are seen as a ‘bluffing tactic’ a way to distract an employer from undesirable information such as gaps in work history. And it’s not unusual for that type of resume to end up in the shredder! Continue Reading

A Passion For Art

Klokke works out of a bright, spacious art studio at I.S. 392 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Student artwork, neatly matted and hung, covers every wall. “If you frame and mount it, the kids feel good about it,” he says. “It means the art is worth something.”

Each year, Klokke selects several students to participate in a special enrichment activity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students “adopt” a piece of artwork and do a semester’s worth of research about the piece. Then the students return to the museum to present their research and field questions from other students and museum staff. Continue Reading

Small bakery provides great work experience for students

Rosenberg witnesses first-hand the transformations some students make while working at the bakery. “When they start, the students are afraid to touch anything!” she says. “But then they try, and if they make a mistake, they see it isn’t the worst thing in the world.” She adds that students working at the bakery might discover talents they never knew they had. Students also gain important math skills as they calculate measurements for her delicious baked goods.

“Working here is hands-on, and the skills stick in your head,” she says.

Not only does Madge provide great work experience for students, she also supports public school libraries through The Fund’s Shop for Class program. Continue Reading

Inspiring school librarian

Each morning at 6:30, Peter flips the sign on his library door to “Open.” Within minutes, the first students appear and by 8:00 a.m. there are as many as forty students packing the room – reading, studying, or using the computers. “If you can get the kids to come in early, it’s a great way to get their day off and running,” says Kornicker. His book-jammed library is open all day, and he usually spends his lunch period at his desk to serve more students. Continue Reading

The Value of Mentoring a Student

Their first event together was a cook-off at Ernst and Young for all the mentor-mentee pairs which Miller, 23, likened to a junior high school dance. “Everyone was nervous, and nobody wanted to mingle. But we hit it off right away.”

Through their shared experiences, Martha introduced Zuleika to a world she hadn’t experienced and has helped to overcome her shyness. Most memorable was a trip that several of the mentors and mentees took to a dance studio in Manhattan, where the pairs learned to salsa. “I’m used to salsa dancing. In my culture we do it all the time,” Zuleika says. “So I felt like I was helping to teach Martha.” Continue Reading

Mastering English Pays Off

After six or seven months, Adel began to master English and make friends with American students. Her turbulent background has made her particularly grateful for the help she received at the High School Law, Advocacy and Community Justice. “The teachers really have this desire to help students… When I arrived I couldn’t say anything, but the teachers were always there helping me, which I really appreciated. In my country, if you don’t speak French they wouldn’t help you.”

Adel, whose favorite subject is math, now lives in Brooklyn with her siblings and mother, who works at Whole Foods. Life is still hard, she says, but “I love it here as I have a lot of opportunities to do well in the future.” The strife in the Congo region – which suffered a long civil war and continuing turmoil – forced Adel not to attend school for more than a year. “You could get shot at in the street,” she adds. Continue Reading

Transition from a troubled adolescent to star student

“I was scared of hiking and water rafting. I was so scared I was screaming ‘I want my mom!’ But it showed me how to be a leader. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not doing anything. This whole year I was uncomfortable, but if you are too comfortable it means you are only doing the same things over and over again.

Chris White calls Jessica, who was the highest performing girl in his class last year, “the best role model we have. She’s very conscientious and helps the other kids; you can see that the other girls look up to her.” Continue Reading

Why changing large urban high schools into smaller communities works

Martin, a burly, 61-year-old, Long Island native, was taught soccer by a Brazilian Holocaust survivor. He is particularly well positioned to help needy youngsters attain their goals, as his own life once looked despairingly bleak. Twenty years ago, while living in New Mexico, Martin faced significant personal trials and setbacks. He describes his life as “chaotic and unmanageable,” but after returning to New York he worked as a cab driver and got his life on track.

He got a job teaching emotionally disturbed adolescents in East Harlem and became completely focused on making a positive impact. “Knowing you have a path and a direction and a goal makes you succeed. If we can instill that into children we can go somewhere. I put my energies into making their lives better.” Continue Reading