Category Archives: Education News

U.S. Department of Education Awards Benetech a Five-year Education Award for Students who Read Differently

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The leading software company works as a social good nonprofit providing education and learning solutions for students across the USA. Using its Bookshare platform, it offers the largest online library of accessible books free of charge to all U.S. school districts.

Expected Impact

Using this award, Benetech aims to reach more than 200,000 additional students who will get personalized access to more than 800,000 books available on Bookshare. During the five-year period, the company will provide more than 4 million downloads of ebooks to qualified students. Additionally, it will work in collaboration with publishers through Benetech’s Global Certified Accessible and Born Accessible platforms to ensure accessibility features are available in more than 50% of educational books by 2022, at the production stage. One of the goals of this project is to ensure all students have equal opportunity and a level playing field for access to the education curriculum. So far, the company has reached more than half a million students in both rural and urban districts across all the 50 states.

Staying True to Benetech’s Vision

The award by the U.S. Department of Education will enable Benetech to have a lasting impact on the education sector using proven software for social good. This way the company will be able to meet unmet social needs, offer prototypes to solve these problems, and scale the solutions for systemic change in the education sector.

December 11, 2017

Students Desire to Leave US Virgin Islands for Safer School

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US Virgin Islands students had barely begun school when hurricanes came through. Since they are worried about education, they would like to come to the states.

At Saint Thomas, at 3 pm, high schoolers at Charlotte Amelie High School make band practice, play soccer, or go home to do homework. However, two historic hurricanes roared through the region and left the islands almost in tatters. About 13,000 public school scholars have not had a chance to begin their school year. What’s more, students will be returning to empty classrooms and structures that are still in recovery.

US citizens have evacuated the island territory in the last month. While many residents will return, kids and parents are contemplating whether to stay or go to the United States to a more stable school.

While being interviewed by BuzzFeed News, Ananta Pancham, a communication director at a private school called the Antilles said that the school year began with 500 students but the numbers had now reduced to 300. Ananta said that they lost 30% of the students after Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 although many came back.

Army Corps Engineers are currently repairing 11 schools of the 13 in St. Thomas before the scheduled start date. Parents, students, and officials find this move ambitious, bearing in mind that most structures don’t have running water or power. Ceilings and walls have been flecked with mold and others are missing roofs, including classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias, and gymnasiums.

Since students are facing the same plight, they told BuzzFeed News that they would leave the islands to study in the states.

December 10, 2017

Higher Education to Be Hurt by GOP Tax Plan

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The Republican party has proposed a controversial tax plan that is expected to negatively impact higher education. Current and former college students already struggle with the high cost of secondary education, but the new tax legislation could make it even more expensive.

Critics have pointed out that the tax reforms will discourage people from seeking certain forms of higher education. Advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, will become more unattainable as costs for these fields become unaffordable for many. In addition to raising taxes on college graduates, the House wants to remove the student loan interest deduction, adding to student debt.

Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander is just one of many educational leaders who has spoken out against the tax plan, saying, “They’re willing to throw higher education and our students under the bus to get a win on tax reform.”

“It’s a very discriminatory, ill-thought-out proposal,” remarks Rise president Leebron. “The proposal literally makes no sense, as a coherent addition to the tax code.”

Political commentators have observed that the tax legislation is apart of a bigger cultural war against higher education institutions. According to Politico, Americans are increasingly apathetic to the problems of graduate students. Colleges and universities are seen as catering to elite and wealthy U.S. citizens while overlooking lower or middle-income people. While it may be difficult to get citizens to care about the tax plan’s impact on higher education, the plan has been criticized in a number of other ways.

December 9, 2017

Political Discourse Trickles Down in American Schools

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Whether or not we like it, adults are role models for all children, not just our own. So, since the beginning of the Trump administration, many wonder how much the new political climate has influenced what our children perceive as acceptable in academic and professional settings. A study released by the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access has some troubling results for everyone.

Over the past year, it feels natural that classrooms should have grown more belligerent, mirroring how the national discourse of politics has grown more heated and less civil. While there are many educators confirming that their classrooms have become more difficult to control as students begin to grow more confrontational, with more than half who work with large minority classrooms reporting that their students are having increasing difficulty at staying focused on their studies, other results seem more concrete.

For example, in districts and schools without leadership action, the disruption to the classrooms has been more pronounced. And more than forty percent of educators reported that their students had relied on unsubstantiated information in growing numbers over the year previously.

Predominantly White schools also show trends of becoming more hostile to minority students, including racial minorities, LGBTQ students, and religious minorities. The study even goes so far as to flag these trends as challenges to the democratic function of education as a force for leveling the playing field.

December 8, 2017

The Secret to Taking Special Education Students to the Next Level

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Education is critical in life. Anyone who achieves can attest that education, along with experience and other soft skills, is the fuel that often propels individuals to the top of their game. However, dropping out of school early can destroy one’s career potential. Dropping out often sets a person up for what else will follow in life.

Take for instance Ryan Parry of Covina, California, who believes he has solved the dropout rate for special education students. Nineteen years ago, his career began as a special education teacher at Covina High School. While the school stocked geometry and algebra books, the books Parry used to teach his class looked like something one would find in an elementary setting.

The key for increasing the graduation rate of special education students is to give them more challenging assignments, and reducing stigmas surrounding special education. For anyone interested in becoming a special education teacher, Forbes lists the profession among the most gratifying and one of the happiest jobs. It is important for special education instructors to interact with those who teach general education. It is amazing what can happen when special education students have access to some of the same material as those of regular students.

Like anything, or anyone in life, special education students improve performances when they feel connected to things. Good things happen when caring people push for change. Such is the case when district administrators listened and made sure their students with disabilities connected with the main stream curriculum.

December 7, 2017

Bill Will Require Drug Education In Schools

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A bill will require that students in Kentucky receive education about the opioid crisis while they are in elementary and secondary schools. The bill was introduced by James Tipton. If the bill is signed into law, then students will receive drug abuse prevention education. The focus will be on the prescription drug abuse epidemic. Additionally, students will be educated about the link between prescription drug abuse and other types of addiction such as heroin and synthetic drugs.

The curriculum will be written by the State Department of Education. It will be based on the Office of Drug Policy. Not everyone agrees with this bill. George Powell is the director of student services for OPS. He believes that the bill is pointless because students already receive drug prevention education through the D.A.R.E. program.

George also stated that students are educated about the dangers of drugs in health class. Daron Fleming is the director of student services for Davies County Public Schools. He also believes that the bill is pointless. Students in the DCPS system do not receive D.A.R.E. training. However, they do receive drug abuse prevention education when they are freshmen in high school.

Daron stated that the bill would not change what the school is already doing. All DCPS schools will receive substance abuse prevention material starting next year. There will also be speakers coming into the schools to talk about the dangers of drug abuse.

December 7, 2017

In Mexico, Integrating English Speaking Students is a Challenge

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The media and American audiences are familiar with stereotypes about migrant children from Mexico entering the United States, and struggling without bilingual integration programs in their academics. But many don’t know of a similar story that is occurring on the other side of that border, involving children born in the United States migrating to Mexico and struggling to adapt.

A number of these children are deported from the United States with their parents, but many know no other language but English. This is compounded by many migrants headed to the United States come from the more rural, less affluent areas of Mexico. When they end up deported from the United States, they wind up back with distant relatives in these communities where their unique multicultural upbringing is not appreciated or even capable of integrating their native-English speakers into the classroom.

Looming over this problem is the fact that many of the young immigrants in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, now have their own children which they might be forced to take with them if the gavel comes down on deporting them in the future.

Many of these students yo-yo over the border with their parents, following work and getting by as they can, without a solid home to call their own. While Mexican educational authorities do have programs established to help these returning students, a significant problem is finding enough teachers who are themselves bilingual, leaving the program greatly undermanned.

December 6, 2017

Questioning Evolution: The Push To Change Science Class

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One of the sassy songs that date back during the era of the Walkman is “Evolution Mama.” This song was played with Kazoo on the background and banjo. The song’s lyrics say that you should never make a monkey of me. This is one of the largest certainties that captures the religious group’s sentiments as well as the like-minded politicians who never find it necessary to believe Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. According to Charles Darwin, humans descended from the lowest level of animals and apes. He believes that humans were once in the same family as the apes.

In many parts of the United States, Darwinism has long been under its siege. Even if major historians and critics practice their independent human evolution theories, it will be very hard to adapt their arguments to contemplate the Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. This is the reason why we see another force that believes in what the bible says. These group of people believes that humans were created and descended from a supernatural being who created everything on earth. For some, the rejection of the scientific consensus extends to issues such as the stem-cell research and climatic changes.

In essence, science companies like the Washington-based Discovery Institute will feel part of the administration where President Donald Trump shares such doubt on the existence of a supernatural being. President Donald Trump chose a Texas official who describes global warming as an exaggerated nonsense. The Retro Report, a collection of film documentaries working towards showcasing past news stories and their relevance in the modern society, takes a careful look at our forefathers in a piece called the Scopes of the Monkey Trial. John Scopes, a teacher, was charged with teaching students the theory of human evolution in the state-funded schools. He was charged $100 after pleading guilty.

December 5, 2017

How College Grads are Dealing with Student Loan Debt

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Jed Shafer is committed to making a positive impact on his community. This is the primary reason why he works extremely hard at helping adolescents get their high school equivalency diplomas. Shafer enjoys helping others get a fair shot at becoming successful in America.

Shafer doesn’t hesitate to run out of his building to greet his students from the past. He gets excited when they share their success stories with him. Unfortunately, some of his students fail to do something productive with their lives, but he doesn’t get discouraged.

Jared Shafer has something in common with millions of other college graduates across the country. He has student loan debt hanging over his head. This is supposed to be the month where teachers, soldiers, and social workers are forgiven for their debts. Unfortunately, his student loans have not been forgiven.

Seth Frotman, the student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, stated that there are going to be many disappointed borrowers this month. He also stated that borrowers should start getting ready for the bad news.

Mr. Shafer is only interested in moving forward with his life. His student loans are hindering him from securing a life of comfort. He’s not interested in becoming wealthy. He is only interested in having a comfortable middle-class lifestyle.

Mr. Shafer said he made contact with someone at ACS Education Services. He was told that everything would be fine if he made his payments on time for 120 months. He was under the impression that his collegiate loan would be wiped clean from the book. Things did not go according to plan. It seems like there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication. His monthly payments did not get forwarded to the student loan forgiveness program. He is back at square one.

Thousands of college graduates are dealing with the same issue. Hopefully, they will be able to overcome this big financial hurdle and move forward with their lives.

December 4, 2017

Student Loan Lies from the Government

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How would you feel if you were essentially tricked by the government? Unfortunately, there are several people who know what this feels like. These people were made to believe their student loans would be forgiven by the government. It turns out the loans were not.

The problem stems from a loan forgiveness program offered by the United States Department of Education. According to the program launched in 2007, people could decide to work in industries where there were shortages of qualified workers. This included education and legal work for the disadvantaged. If you took one of these jobs and stuck around for at least 10 years, your student loans would be forgiven.

It was understood people might take pay cuts to work in some of these industries. However, the possibility of having student loans forgiven made the offer enticing. Many people entered the program. Unfortunately, it looks like the Department of Education and student loan providers are giving people the runaround.

Student loan providers neglected to have people enrolled in the right program. This was even after people directly requested to be enrolled in the program several times. Even worse, jobs that were supposed to be included as part of the program were suddenly changed. This was true even after people worked in their jobs for almost a decade!

Needless to say, it seems the government is trying to cheat Americans. Intentional technicalities by student loan providers and duplicitous statements from the government should not keep these Americans from getting what they are owed.

December 3, 2017