There are 3.6 million teachers across America, and many of them claim they use personal cash during the school year to buy basic supplies for their students. Some of these include the most fundamental items like pencils and erasers. Other instructors who teach in some of America’s poorer neighborhoods have spent their own money for textbooks in the classroom.
Republicans on Capitol Hill might take this pittance or small deduction away from self-sacrificing teachers in the House Tax bill, according to a report in the HuffPost. The House bill budgets the savings of offering this tiny tax break at around $210 million a year.
To the average teacher out there, the small deduction doesn’t give one a king’s ransom. Instead, it is estimated that the current tax code gifts a teacher with an added $40 to $50 in their pocket. That’s it, but to most hardworking instructors around the nation, the wee tax write-off is something teachers look forward to.
On the other hand, the Senate GOP tax plan features an ironic twist by doubling the deduction for teachers to $500. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is considered a key swing vote on the tax bill, and she remains a big supporter of the teacher deduction.
Before the tax plan can be sent to the desk of President Trump, this issue and many others need to be hammered out into legislation that both chambers agree on.
A vote could take place on the Senate floor on Thursday.
It feels like the world’s worst math problem: what happens when you add an unqualified education secretary, a volatile political climate, and an already stressful profession?
The answer: You get educators all over the country reporting serious declines in their own mental health.
A survey of 5,000 teachers released by the American Federation of Teachers found that 86% of those surveyed do not feel that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appreciates them. DeVos’s main focus has been to expand private and charter school options at the expense of the public school system, and teachers are feeling the crunch.
“People get what she’s doing,” said AFT president Randi Weingarten. “She’s doing the same thing nationally as she tried to do in Michigan … which is to completely disrupt public schooling, find ways to undermine it, defund it, destabilize it, at the same time actively promoting private alternatives, even though the private alternatives don’t have a good track record.”
Essentially, DeVos’s strategy to improve American education is to use techniques proven to fail. Is it any wonder that 58% of teachers are reporting their work “often” or “always” stressful? Are we surprised that teachers describe their mental health as “not good” for more than 7 of the previous 30 days?
Sleep deprivation complicates the issue of poor mental health among teachers. Only one in five report getting a full eight hours of sleep a night.
The 58% reporting their mental health “not good” is a whopping 24% increase over a similar study conducted in 2015.
The Department of Education will withdraw around six hundred documents with guidance for educators on specific topics, according to US News and World Report. The reason for this is that these documents are out of date, either because new laws have been put in place that make them irrelative, or because the way people understand education has changed and the techniques are no longer supported by educators.
In addition, Betsy Devos, the Secretary of Education, has been looking into cases where the federal government has overstepped its bounds in regards to determining issues in state and local education systems. She has been directed to do so by Donald Trump, and has been given three hundred days to complete this task.
As part of her review, she discovered these old guidance documents. Some of the guidance directives issued in those documents just do not apply anymore, as they apply to old education laws that are not in place anymore. Some of the guidance rules even relate to time limited issues that are already part of history. For example, one law had to do with how the states dealt with funds after natural storms that occurred in the 1990s. There just is no longer a reason to have these guidance rules in place anymore.
There are many updates happening in the Florida education system as well. Members of school boards can currently serve forever, or until they no longer win their seats in local elections. A bill has been introduced that would introduce term limits for people who sit on school boards.
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.
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.
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.
In recent news, the California School Committee has approved a school start time bill. The bill seeks to restrict schools start time, in the state of California, to no earlier than 8: 30 am. Soon it will be illegal in the state of California for schools to require their students to be in class earlier than 8:30 am. According to a research done by the American Academy of pediatrics and the American academy of sleep medicine, it is unhealthy and counterproductive for students to be in school earlier than 8:30am. The bill, introduced by Senator Anthony J. Portantino, seeks to make California the first state in the U.S to allow for the healthy sleep of middle and high school students.
Changing of the school bell time was a challenge, it took the people of California long to adjust to the new rules. This is because the newly placed rule threatened to collide with the school’s normal rules and regulations. According to Anthony J. Portantino, introducing the bill also meant changing of bell time, and this had an impact in the teachers and parents daily schedules. However, the education committees together with parents strongly embraced the start time bill idea. The movement, as said by Portantino, is a way of improving student’s public health and achievement to attain positive results.
So far, the school start time bill has proven to be the most effective rule ever passed by the state. It has resulted in a smooth transition to healthier hours at school. Moreover, it has ensured healthy social strata among the students in the community. Due to the school start time bill, there has been a reduced level of impulsivity reports among teenagers which proves that the law has aided widely in reducing the level of depression among teenagers.
The following article recap can be found on www.nytimes.com/pages/health/nutrition/
According to an online article, www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/well/family/raising-a-truly-bilingual-child.html, bilingual children are rare, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. The monolinguist nature of these two English speaking nations have taken their toll on the children who are being raised bilingual only to end up in their adult life speaking strictly English.
Sociologists and psychologists are campaigning for the local population to raise bilingual children, as the ability to speak more than one language opens up so many opportunities in today’s world. They are advising parents who are non-English natives to teach their languages to their children by speaking today in their local tongues, reading them books which are translated in their language, or sing native songs from their home countries. According to the specialists, this way, the children will be more exposed to the language and they will learn it faster. Based on studies, it is not enough that the parents would only speak to their children using their native tongue. Exposing them to the language is the key, and by giving them the time to learn, the child could become bilingual.
As the child grows, it is also important for parents to track the child’s progress with speaking their language. Because English is widely used in the United States and the United Kingdom, it is recommended that the parents should always take a time to have their children embrace their second language. There are ways on how this can be achieved, like letting their children watch shows that teaches another language, or songs that are bilingual in nature. They also have to let their child visit another country to let them be exposed to more local speakers. This way, children would take up the language as they grow, and there is a small chance of them forgetting it.
There is always a lot of talk about getting higher scores on standardized tests. Teachers come into question. The course of study comes into question. So many fingers get pointed, but there is one area that always seems to get overlooked. This area that plays a very important part in education that will get overlooked more common than not is the nutrition of the children.
There are a lot of children that are struggling with the process of getting the higher scores for their exams because they are not getting the proper nutrition. Anyone that has failed to notice the need to a proper nutrition in the school is missing the mark. It should be obvious since better nutrition is the thing that adults are going to need to make better decisions during the course of the day.
Good sleeping habits are going to be a factor in how well children function in classes during the day. This is certainly something that is important. Unfortunately, the school system cannot do anything to regulate good sleeping habits. Board directors and officials for school systems can do something about the menus and the foods that are being served in the school. The breakfast and lunch menu is the cornerstone to better scores. A better school menu with more fruits and vegetables is going to be the thing that stimulates the learning process. Anyone that doesn’t realize this is just missing the one element that can turn everything around.
That is the reason that Michelle Obama has worked hard to push healthy eating. People that are not pushing for a healthier menu are depriving kids of what they really need to improve their learning process. The kids that are excelling in school are the ones that are giving their bodies the proper fuel.
If you had the opportunity to help your child perform better at school, what would you improve in their life. Maybe you thought about transferring them to a better school, hiring a home tutor, or even buying a MacBook for their assignments. What if you learn that all that your child needs is the best nutrition and good lighting?
For some of us, electricity is not a problem at home. However, for millions of poverty stricken families in the shanties of the Philippines, electricity is more of a pipe dream. It gets worse, millions of shanties are interconnected together that even access to daylight is a problem. So what is the plight of the child who lives in such conditions and has to study at home?
There is a group of well wishers who discovered a solution. They could make light bulbs out of plastic bottles filled with bleach water. The ratio of water to bleach is 1: 000.3, which is enough to trap daylight and distribute it evenly in a dark room. The result is an inexpensive homemade light bulb that allows kids to study at home. No need for electricity meaning no power bills to worry about.
For nutrition, a study shows that a bigger percentage of kids are not receiving enough nutrients in their day-to-day meals. This means that their bodies lack the right fuel it needs to help them learn better. A case study revealed that kids perform better (up to 4% increase on their average grades) if they eat right. So how about replacing that bag of potato chips with a salad bar for their school snack?
In a nutshell, you only need two things to get your child the right education: an ample environment for studying and meals that provide the required nutrition. With an inexpensive innovation like a bleach-water bulb, maybe this would free up some money to invest in good food for your child’s mind.