Boy quits school to start home schooling system

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United States of Education

Robert Peters Manor TexasThough past years have proven difficult, the United States finally claimed victory over its latest obstacle. The 21 year battle came to a close in a Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the U.S. team being crowned the International Mathematical Olympiad. Overcoming what has long been an impossible hurdle, these intrepid students proved that math is not the achilles heel of America any longer.

Labeled the “hardest competition” by those brave enough to enter, this academic decathlon tests mastery of a myriad of complicated mathematical procedures. Led by Po-Shen Loh of Carnegie Mellon, the professor and his team were the first to take the championship since 1994, beating out longtime dominators China and Korea.

The victory came as a shock due to American school systems being universally panned as below average. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has rated the United States’ K-12 education system as below par, with a meager 16% of their members believing it to be above average. U.S. students score higher on national math tests than they have in the past several decades, but fall in the middle ground when compared to international scores. Theories run the range from a general lack of interest in math as a subject, to the outdated means of presenting it to students, whereas some simply feel it’s a lack of heroes to look up to. Grant Imahara of Mythbusters says “In the field we need rockstars. In the 60s astronauts were rockstars. Everyone wanted to be an astronaut.”

Whatever the reasons, this victory is one for the record books. Welcome proof that while scores may be down, the United States is never out of the fight. Though the education system can still use an overhaul in the way it’s presented to students, potential mathletes have an achievable goal to reach, and heroes worthy of their attention.

Manor ISD – Tech Highschool

Texas Education

Education, the foundation of our future, is an absolute necessity. However, in Texas a troubling statistic has surfaced regarding the dropout rates of Latino youths. With legislators chasing skewed statistics, and no clear answer in sight, those that suffer stand to lose everything.
Before opinions form, it’s important to examine all of the facts. While the Latino population continues to grow in Texas, it was initially viewed as a favorable statistic that more youths were enrolling in college. However, when comparisons were drawn between the rate of population growth and the increase of college enrollment, the numbers don’t equate to a positive trend. Coupled with an increase of high school dropouts, legislators are spinning their wheels trying to root out the cause of this problem.
Initially, the misleading statistic regarding the increase of Latino college enrolment was taken as a sign of improvement, but this statistic is far from accurate. A closer examination finds that while the overall enrollment may have increased, there has been a decrease in degrees earned by the students, leading to more dropouts.
Though this research comes from the Pew Research Center as a result of data gathered during the 2013-2014 school year, legislators are not acting on this information. This level of blatant inaction is attributed to the School Financing Lawsuit passed in 2011, and its remaining open to this day. Texas had suffered deep budget cuts to their education department, and still struggle to recover. Placed 49th on the list of states with the least amount of funding per student. How much longer will those seeking education suffer for this political quagmire?
Some attribute the poor state of Texas’ educational system to a lack of funding, but others claim the issue is more than pocket deep. Some feel that the divided community is to blame for the lack of action, others point to the directionless legislators. While no clear cause to emerge, one thing is certain. Without a unified front against this problem, we condemn future students before they’ve even begun.

5 Myths About Online Education

Robert Peters Manor Texas Educator
Online learning.
It’s a new concept that many of us have yet to explore first-handedly. However, it has proven to work for some, and not so much for others.

According to a recent study, about 5.3 million American students enrolled in at least one online course this past fall. While many online educational programs may differ from one another, there are a few key points of online education that can be taken into consideration wherever you decide to enroll.

Myth #1. The quality is not as good as in-person classes.
Online courses and their professors go through a rigorous certification process in order to get the green light to be an accredited course for students. Academic standard, especially in a respected institution’s eyes, is something to never drop the ball on. Online courses do not mean easier classes.

Myth #2. Online credits aren’t transferrable to other schools.
Students will have issues transferring courses from one institution to another, depending on the state or public/private situation of the school. This is regardless of online or in-person credits earned.

Myth #3. Cheating is more common.
Experts say cheating is not more likely to happen with online courses than it is with traditional ones.
There are measures that some institutions take in order to monitor their online students, such as web cams during exams, or other tools to spot plagiarism.

Myth #4. You’ll never see the instructor in person.
Depending on a student’s location, one can meet the instructor of an online course. Typically, professors are hybrid as they teach in-person and online.

Myth #5. Employers don’t value online degrees.
Marty Lawlor, director of the online executive MBA program a the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business says, “Some employers, like the general population, hold positions on online education that tend to be rooted more in 1990 notions of online learning than on current trends and realities.”

However, Lawlor says that in his experience, employers usually support employees who are enrolled in programs that have unimpeachable academic credentials, as some companies will even sponsor students to pursue education online.

The important takeaway: It is beneficial to know your personal learning skills, your time management skills, and your follow through tendencies. Basically, know yourself before getting into an online program that will ask of you a different set of skills that an in-person course may not.

Differentiation Does Not Work

Robert Peters Manor Texas Education

In the past decades, we have tried it all from back to basics, the open classroom, whole language, and E.D. Hirsch’s detailed accounts of what every 1st and 3rd grader should know. America’s teachers and students are the guinea pigs in the perennial quest towards universal excellence. Sadly, the elusive solution that will solve all of the education system’s problems is long from being discovered.

Differentiation didn’t get gong until regular educators adopted the technique in the late 1980s. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has released more than 600 publications about differentiation. Countless publishers have done the same, with manuals an software that turns every classroom into a more differentiated one.

The only problem is: Differentiation is not proven to work. It is an educational joke played on countless educators and students. In theory, differentiation sounds like a good idea.
The several important factors of student learning taken into account by differentiation:
It seeks to determine what students already have learned and what they still need to know.
It allows students to demonstrate what they know through various methods.
It encourages students and teachers to add depth and complexity to the educational process.

This all sounds great however, in theory, differentiation in application is much more difficult to actually implement in a classroom.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institude’s Michael Petrilli writes about a University of Virginia study for differentiated instruction, “Teachers were provided with extensive professional development and ongoing coaching. Three years later the researchers wanted to now if the program had an impact on student learning. But they were stumped. ‘We couldn’t answer the question … because no one was actually differentiating,’ “ the research indicated to Petrilli.

It seems that when it comes to differentiation, teachers are either opting out of doing ir at all or beating themselves up for not succeeding with the method. The verdict is clear that differentiation is an unfulfilled promise and a waste of massive proportions.

The big reason why it doesn’t work is because it has to do with the way students are deployed in most of our country’s classrooms. Combining several learning types of students in one classroom and one singular teacher to tend to their individual needs leads to a recipe for disaster. It seems that the only educations who assert that differentiation is a doable method are those who have not actually tried to implement it themselves. These people include university professors, curriculum planners, and principals. The actual teachers in the classroom know that differentiation sis a cheap way of for schools to pay lip service to those who demand that each child be educated to their fullest potential.

With this method has come the sad truth that we have sacrificed the learning of virtually every student.
Differentiation may have a chance if as a nation, we are all willing to return to the days when students of similar abilities were placed with other students whose learning needs and styles paralleled their own. Differentiation will continue to become a losing proposition for both students and teachers until then.