How To Overcome Special Education Personnel’s Money Complaints

Are you the parent of a child with autism that has been denied needed educational services, for your child? Have you been told by school district personnel, that your child cannot receive a certain service, because the price is too high? This article will discuss ways that you can overcome these tactics used by some school personnel, for the benefit of your child.

The purpose of special education taken out of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.”

IDEA does not allow, school districts to use the “money” card, to get out of providing needed educational services to children with disabilities. The reality is, that many school districts try this tactic many times a day. And the sad thing is, that many parents believe them. Do not fall for this tactic! Stand up for your child, as you are the only advocate that they will ever have.

For Example:

**School administrator: “Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it.”

**Bad reply from the parent: “Oh I totally understand, I didn’t mean to ask for so much.”

**School administrator: “Oh I am sure that you didn’t. But you have to understand that we have a lot of children in our district, and we want to help them all. How about 30 minutes a week?”

**Parent: “30 minutes will be fine.”

The problem with this conversation is, that the parent should have discussed evidence she had of her child’s need. The parent also did not clarify, that the amount of time offered was for direct service. Many times special education personnel will write down consultative services, rather than direct services; without the parent being aware of it.

Same Example:

**School Administrator: “Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it.”

**Good Example from the parent: “Mr. Parker, my daughter Mary needs 90 minutes of direct speech language therapy per week, to make progress in her education. As you will see from the Independent Educational Evaluation that I have here, the registered Speech/Language Pathologist recommends 90 minutes of direct service per week. I am not concerned with the school districts budget, but what I am concerned about is Mary’s right to receive a free appropriate public education.”

**School Administrator: “Why would you go and get an independent evaluation, don’t you trust our speech /language pathologist to recommend the best for Mary.”

**Parent: “The Speech/Language Pathologist that works for this district, is only recommending 30 minutes direct service per week, despite Mary’s low test scores in areas of receptive and expressive language. Mary needs 90 minutes of Speech Language therapy per week, if you refuse to give it to her, I will consider filing for a due process hearing.

**School Administrator: “Oh, you don’t have to get nasty.”

**Parent: “I was not getting nasty. Due process is my right, if I disagree with your decision, which I do.”

School administrator: “We will consult with out speech language pathologist, and consider giving Mary the 90 per week of direct speech therapy.”

**Parent: “Thank You.”

By standing up to tactics used by some special education personnel, you can ensure that your child receives a free appropriate public education.

Bring Home Education Back to the Biblical Principle Approach

I have been asked many, many a time — What do you mean by Back to the Basics? Classical Approach? What does it all mean. I through you just opened a book and taught. Oh, Dear Friend, it is my hope to answer these questions and more, very simply in this article.

Back to the basics – the biblical classical approach to learning and teaching is a simple form of daily home teaching that brings us back to the Basics of the Bible and Life. While we full embrace our Old Testament Heritage, we are fully acknowledging our New Testament belief in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.

We believe that daily home education should instruct and nurture our children in the following ways:

  1. We believe teaching of a Biblical World view in Every Subject. We do this by incorporating The Holy Scripture (The Bible) and biblical thinking throughout our full school day, school year; and the curriculum that we choose to teach from and/or author.
  2. We believe teaching to and instilling into our children the core character value system that is modeled after the Life of Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer.
  3. We further believe that the most vital part of home education is to teach the CRIMSON THREAD (Jesus Christ) has a part in our every day life. That our Biblical Heritage should be taught side-by-side along with our American Heritage through every aspect of our curriculum and lives.
  4. We also desire to teach our children The Biblical Principle Approach to Christian Family Heritage, Christian American Heritage, Education and Government.”

By: Karina C. Struven

Considering Homeschooling – Reasons to Avoid Government Homeschooling Like the Plague

Are you tempted to join government homeschooling (a charter school or public school independent study program) or do you know someone who is?

These days, Christian parents who are thinking about homeschooling are often unaware that you can homeschool in most states without public school control. And those who do know are often tempted to join government homeschooling for the supposed goodies. The bait of free materials or the perception of getting help from “real teachers” seems inviting, but having public school employees overseeing your homeschool dramatically alters the spiritual dynamic of the home.

You need to know that there is another form of homeschooling; one that is scriptural. Private biblical homeschooling strengthens God’s design for the family and helps ensure the future right of our children and grandchildren to freely homeschool in a Christ-centered manner.

Homeschooling has always existed in this country — from the native Americans to the first Europeans to form colonies in the New World. Yet it was mostly forgotten as state funded schooling, the purpose of which is to create obedient productive citizens, pervaded the land in the 19th century. But in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, a resurgence in homeschooling began among parents who were mostly Christians. These “pioneer” families often resisted the idea that the state was supposed to control the education of their children. They blazed a path few dared to follow – with parents at the head of their children’s learning.

More than that, they discovered that biblical homeschooling changed everyone in the family, bringing them through God’s refining fire and helping strengthen their relationship with Jesus, and with each other.

Those who hated God were incensed at the idea that bible-believing parents were taking back the headship of their homes. Not only that, but the behemoth of public education was taking a financial hit whenever a child was withdrawn from public school or never entered in the first place. Strategies to stop homeschooling failed, and homeschooling was proven to be legal in all fifty states. As the fruit of raising children in the love of the Lord became evident, more and more families started doing it.

But Satan is clever and whenever Christians have fruit, he delivers a strong counter-punch. He was not going to sit back and watch generations of children being brought up in the Lord Jesus. We believe his counter-punch to homeschooling was to lure Christian parents back into the public school fold via government homeschooling. When a family goes that route, not only is the public school still financially supported, but that family is put under the control of an institution that denies the lordship of Jesus Christ. Spiritual revival of the Christian family is not likely to come out of this humanist matrix.

While we do not question the walk of those believers who enroll in government homeschooling — any more than we question the walk of the Christians who have their children enrolled in regular public school — we urge them to consider the spiritual fruit of their decision. We urge bible-believing Christians to refrain from becoming yoked with government homeschool programs for many reasons, and to instead discover the blessings of a non-government biblical home education:

Usurping Headship

In government homeschooling, you place those who hate God over your homeschool. God is the head of the husband who is the head of the wife. The divine lines of authority established by God are disrupted when you insert the public school system into this holy order. The public school and public school mentor you are assigned in government homeschooling install themselves in the headship position — that is where the buck stops. They become the provider, director and accountability of that homeschool instead of the husband and God.

There is no free lunch — when you take public school money for homeschooling, you are agreeing to allow the state be the head of your children’s education. Education is not a neutral endeavor, but a highly spiritual matter, and one that is not separable from discipleship. God sets up “governments” in the Bible — individual, family, church and civil government — and gives responsibilities to each. Imagine the government being in charge of serving you communion or giving baptisms. Ridiculous, you would say! Those are spiritual matters God clearly gave to the church. Well, no where in scripture does God give the civil government authority over the raising of children. When God speaks of training up children — for example Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” He is speaking to parents, not bureaucrats.

In private homeschooling done biblically, the buck stops with the dad (or mom if there is no dad in that family). If the dad decides he doesn’t want his kids taking a certain standardized test, does he have the ultimate authority? If he picks out the textbooks and decides they are to all be Biblical, is he able to do this? If he decides he wants a child of his to skip a certain subject this year to concentrate on another, does he have the power to make that call? Only in private biblical homeschooling does the father have this authority.

Government homeschooling puts the mother under the counsel of humanists. Even if she happens to be assigned a public school mentor who is a Christian, the curriculum, methods, and goals of public education are designed to produce a carnal man of the world. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.”

A family on the educational dole undergoes a spiritual change in authority as government homeschooling has no use for the husband. Homeschooling becomes “her thing” — something Mom and the public school mentor implement. He is under them. Just like in the welfare system, a dad who realizes that he is not the provider and protector soon zones out. It may seem like a subtlety to women, but this undermining of a man’s role is a powerful “dis”. When Dad checks out, Mom is left with all the work in the homeschool. If you want your husband to be actively involved in the homeschooling, don’t emasculate him by choosing government homeschooling.

In contrast, biblical homeschooling is about fathers being restored to their rightful role as heads of the homes.

Supporting a Corrupt System

We implore believers in Jesus to totally leave the public school system, which is responsible for devastating the minds and hearts of millions, which has brought untold numbers of minors to abortion clinics during school hours, which is currently the main tool of homosexual indoctrination in this country. Statistics from several ministries show that the majority of Christian kids who are sent to brick-and-mortar public schools will renounce their faith in Christ and quit going to church after high school graduation. The public school has long proven itself a producer of the most rotten fruit we see in society today — so why would a Believer want to prop up a system that is so obviously of the kingdom of darkness?

When you enroll in government homeschooling, your child is legally considered a public school student. Even though you are doing all the work, thousands of tax dollars are diverted into the public school system on behalf of your child. A bit is kicked back to parents for secular materials. Christians are inadvertently ensuring the survival of a blatantly anti-God system.

In contrast, a family that chooses private Christian homeschooling can tell their neighbors they are a blessing to taxpayers — and they do not have to feel guilty about contributing to the delinquency of America.

We need to stop viewing public school as neutral, and assuming we will have no consequences from aligning ourselves with a demonic system. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:18: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

Promoting Humanist Curriculum

When you take public money for homeschooling, you are not supposed to use Christian curriculum or teach from a Christian worldview during school hours. This is true even if you bought the religious materials yourself! Federal and state laws prohibit the use of sectarian curriculum during school hours. You are agreeing to run a non-religious public school in your home during set hours when you take their freebies.

There are many who tell us “we’ll just do what we want in our home” but once you put yourself under the government, you are a sitting duck for increasing control. For example, in 2004 a charter school in North Monterey County, California lost its license to operate. One of the reasons cited was that parents were using religious texts during school hours. Parents were told that, “any religious instruction during class time for which the school received state money is against the law regardless of the source of funds used to purchase materials.” (The Monterey County Herald, March 27, 2004)

In Canada, the same thing happened — parents thought that since they were at home, they could do what they wanted and teach during the day from the religious books they purchased themselves. That was true until someone decided to enforce the law. Read the story here.

Many Christian parents just settle for using the secular texts. But nothing is neutral — secular texts actually present a worldview that says truth has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, or the books are blatantly pro-evolution or full of other prevarications.

Christians joining government homeschooling are promoting another unintended result. Since government homeschooling vouchers are only supposed to go for non-sectarian materials, the homeschool marketplace is experiencing pressure for more secular texts, even from Christian households that otherwise would purchase decidedly Christian materials. Many of the openly Christian materials produced during the recent upsurge in Christian homeschooling are being bypassed by parents in favor of non-Christian materials — which can be approved for inclusion in the portfolios that government homeschoolers must turn in to get the continued approval of the state.

Everything you present to your children influences them. When you continually introduce conflicting worldviews in the main subject matter, this gets into the heart of mind of your child. This ad says it all when it comes to why Christians should not let their children be discipled by non-Christian curriculum. This Bob Jones University advertisement very clearly illustrates this point.

At the founding of this country, books were scarce. Often families only had the Bible to teach their children to read from. And a look at the writings of children in those days shows they were more educated than modern children who have bountiful fancy equipment and curriculum.

Yoking with the Unsaved

With government homeschooling, you become unequally yoked with the unsaved. Not just in the task of educating your children by being guided by a humanist system, but in the other associations you and your children make. There are meetings and activities sponsored by the government homeschooling programs. These expose your family to ungodly peers — both for Mom, and for the children.

2 Corinthians 6: 14-17 says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” Therefore, “come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.”

Some Christians are under the mistaken belief that since they are homeschooling and since unbelievers are homeschooling, that they are doing the same thing. But shouldn’t what we are doing be radically different from what the unsaved homeschooler next door is doing? Is this about homeschooling or is homeschooling a means to an end (in our case, raising up a child in the Lord Jesus?) Educating children cannot be severed from discipleship. Everything we teach should be in light of the lordship of Jesus Christ. Studying mathematics, for example, should be done for the purpose of being a blessing to others through our ability to say, build good bridges. And in the wonder of mathematical rules, children should see the glory of God. But unbelievers are homeschooling for very different reasons — to create what the public school is creating — a worldly child.

When you look into the eyes of your children, what do you see? An eternal being who is fearfully and wonderfully made. What does the unsaved mom sitting next to you in the government homeschooling group see in a child’s eyes? A product of evolution who lives only for this world?

When you are meeting with a public school teacher or have unsaved homeschooling friends, it makes you less likely to follow your Christian convictions. For example, you might eschew biblical discipline, knowing those in your government homeschooling program disapprove.

Some Christian families think they need government oversight for “accountability”. Since most of us are grown up public school children, we cannot fathom a situation where the government does not have its hands all over our lives. But we need to think about this biblically — no where in the Word does it say the civil government is to be responsible for keeping believers “accountable” in raising their children. Rather, the wife is to be accountable to the husband, who is to be accountable to God.

As government homeschooling becomes prominent in an area, the Christian groups often disappear. The biggest threat to the survival of the private biblical homeschooling movement, by far, is government homeschooling. Why? Christians in government homeschooling have other activities they must attend, and when they do attend private biblical homeschooling groups, there often is tension. In a homeschool support group, Mom tends to talk about her head, her goals, the activities they do and the curriculum they use. The spiritual disparity between the freedom of private biblical homeschoolers versus the bondage of the government homeschoolers becomes evident and can easily explode a good support group.

Also, Christians who join government homeschooling usually stop supporting the Christian homeschooling movement and Christian homeschooling conventions. If a public school employee picks out and pays for your curriculum, and they have their own social activities — why associate with other Christians at conventions and support groups?

Focusing on Worldly Standards

If you enroll in government homeschooling, you are agreeing to follow the agenda of a system that does not recognize Jesus as Lord. In private biblical homeschooling, you follow God’s standards. The first set of standards strives to raise up a child loyal to the state, who views all of life from an evolutionary worldview. The other seeks to raise up a child loyal to Jesus, who views all of life from a biblical worldview.

Some Christian parents claim they will act like the are following the government standards, but try to outwit them by secretly teaching God’s standards and getting the government goodies at the same time. But standards are conveyed in many ways — by the curriculum, by the teaching methods, by the teacher, and by the head of the homeschool.

Jesus made it clear that we cannot follow two masters. What kind of confusion does it foist upon a child to see the conflict of pretending to follow one system, but really attempting to follow another? Why not be openly Christian in all you do in your homeschooling? Why not just reject the world system?

Why does a Christian need government homeschooling, anyway? The pioneering generations of homeschoolers who came before you did it on a shoestring and without government oversight. Many were poor, had lots of children to homeschool, and had to make their own curriculum as most textbook companies would not sell to them back then. Private biblical homeschooling has a record of outstanding academic and spiritual results — we urge families not to “go back to Egypt.”

Burning Out and Giving Up

When you first hear about government homeschooling, it might seem like it would make homeschooling easier — someone guides you and pays for stuff. But the pressure of humanists regulating your homeschool changes what you do during the day. And possibly running afoul of the government in your homeschooling can create great anxiety. Shadowed by required paperwork, diverted into doing lessons that she would never do if not for a secular institution looking over her shoulder… Mom starts to feel like an employee of the public school.

In government homeschooling, when Mom is feeling stressed about accomplishing her goals, it is Big Brother, not Dad or God, whom she is afraid of disappointing. When she has those inevitable days of feeling overwhelmed, whom does she go to for support? When she says she cannot do it, when she goes to her head for help, does she get prayed for and directed to Jesus? Or, does the public school mentor suggest the next logical step for a government homeschooler — the brick and mortar public school? Government homeschoolers are a very short step away from the physical public school, and many wind up there within a short time.

There exits a vast network of Christian homeschooling support groups in many areas of this country. If you cannot find a Christian homeschool support group near you — start one, or find one on-line. Or find a church that has private Christian homeschoolers. Pray that God will provide at least one other family to come alongside you.

Handing over Parental Rights

Currently, there is no greater threat to the biblical homeschooling movement than Christians enrolling in government homeschooling programs. The hard-fought parental rights won by the “pioneers” of the homeschool movement are at risk from Christians who are being lured into public school homeschooling programs. Satan hates independent Christian homeschoolers precisely because they are raising up a godly generation of young people who are serving Jesus with their whole hearts and minds. Since he who controls the curriculum controls the hearts and minds of the children, there is a deliberate push to get all homeschoolers under the control of the public school system.

Government homeschooling weakens our parental rights by drastically reducing the number of homeschoolers willing to put up a fight politically. When parents are on the educational dole, they become concerned with getting more plunder, not defending freedoms. Those who voluntarily put themselves under bondage do not understand the threat of greater government intrusion. Government homeschoolers often say things like, “Why shouldn’t all homeschoolers be required to take all the standardized tests? I’m required to. Why shouldn’t all homeschoolers be evaluated by a public school teacher? I am.”

Once there is a “critical mass” of government homeschoolers, there will be no one left to hold back the onerous regulations that all homeschoolers will be subject to.

The politicians know that government homeschoolers pose no threat to their humanist agenda. Once you accept government money, you give up your rights — dependents have no motivation to fight the system that feeds them. You have agreed to homeschooling on their terms. Anti-homeschooling liberals have made it plain they will want all homeschoolers under their authority. God never gave that authority to the civil government, only to parents. We do not have a right to delegate away the responsibility God has bestowed on parents alone.

Getting a Vision to Restore the Christian Family

We see biblical homeschooling as a Christian family restoration movement. The Christian family, and thus the nation, is in disarray, largely due to parents allowing the government to raise their children. A spiritual revival of the Christian family can only come through God and His divine order for the family, not through an anti-God system.

Earlier generations made such great sacrifices — they were hauled into court, almost had their children taken away — they fought for your right to be free of the public school bureaucrats. You need to look beyond the bait of government money and your fear of being an independent homeschooler. Look at the spiritual state of your family and consider the long-term consequences for future generations of Christian homeschoolers.

Commit yourself and the success of your homeschool to the Lord Jesus Christ. Allow your husband his rightful role as head of the home and homeschool. Instead of becoming a dependent on government educational handouts, become an advocate of protecting our God-given rights to give our children a biblical education, free from government control.

Families who have never experienced homeschooling in the Lord without answering to the government need to know that God will provide — whether it is materials, hope, courage, or wisdom. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

The good news is that we have found that most Christian parents who homeschool will NOT go into public school homeschooling IF they are educated on the biblical reasons not to before they get into it. Once parents are under the control of the public school system — whether it be in a brick and mortar school or a government homeschooling program — they are often fearful to leave even when they see the problems with it.

Finding the Best Speech Therapy Programs

With the gradual economic improvements being seen today, and a shift in population demographics, the healthcare industry has continued to grow in leaps and bounds.

Because of this, many rehabilitative and therapeutic professions are experiencing greater demand for qualified individuals.

Speech therapy – also known as speech-language pathology – is an interesting and important career option for anyone who likes the idea of working in a healthcare field, but in a more educational or teaching form of therapy.

There are hundreds of programs where gaining these qualifications are possible, and the estimated salary is quite competitive in comparison to other occupations, making speech therapy an excellent consideration.

Becoming a Speech Therapist

Students interested in a career in speech-language pathology will need to attend one of the many available speech therapy programs to become qualified.

Although there are numerous degree levels available, it is most recommended that prospective applicants into this career path plan on earning their pathology, which will offer them the most employment opportunities, as well as a chance at career advancement without having to return to school.

Most states and provinces in the US and Canada require speech pathologists to be certified, as well as licensed; only student who have completed graduate programs are eligible for certification.

In the UK and some other areas, must be registered with their nation’s health council; requirements include the successful completion of at least a Bachelor’s degree program, or completion of an accelerated two-year program which may have specific entry requirements.

Finding the Best Programs

To receive the best education, and be prepared for not only the certification examination as well as entry into this detailed career, students are recommended to attend the best program possible.

They should look for one that has been recommended doing so, students can be assured they are investing in an education that has been carefully structured to provide them the best learning opportunities, and involves curriculums that include the latest and most accepted training techniques today.

ASHA also oversees certification of qualified individuals, and provides testing opportunities throughout the year for those seeking certification.

In Canada, accreditation and overview of educational programs is done by the Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA) and (CACUP-ASLP). The CASLPA also handles all certification and testing for qualified individuals.

UK accreditation of all university programs offered is handled (RCSLT) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), which also keeps a register of all qualified professionals who are legally able to practice.

Employment as a Speech Therapist

There are many different places where graduates of speech therapy programs can find employment. While regular hospitals do hire these professionals, there are many jobs available in educational therapeutic positions at elementary and primary schools, special education schools and with other programs for children exhibiting speech or hearing delays and other issues.

Speech therapists can also play important roles for older students at middle and high school level who require assistance in understanding and communication, and they are also employed by colleges to ensure that students in need of their services can still get the best education possible with speech and language therapy.

Additionally, skilled nursing facilities that provide care for older patients and those of all ages who are recovering from strokes, brain injuries and other conditions that have affected their ability to speak and communicate well provide many jobs for speech therapists.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Others are employed by private practices, which may see patients of all types, or specialize in only one type of patient or communication issue. In any case, due to increased demand for speech-language pathologists overall, most graduates are able to easily find employment today.

Since it is a very detail oriented career, and education and training can be intense, students are recommended to only enroll at a school that has been recommended by their country’s main professional group to ensure they meet all necessary qualifications for certification or registration, and can be employed.

Each of these organizations provides a list of all accredited speech therapy programs for prospective students at their websites.

Sufficient English Language Knowledge, A Must-have In Today’s Society

Have ever had difficulties in communicating with your associates, partners or just friends from abroad because you couldn’t always understand what they were saying or because you couldn’t make yourself understood? Have you been feeling left out of a debate because your knowledge of English was not as advanced as it should be? Did it ever occur to you that your business success was held back by this particular problem and that you could do so much better if you could remedy it? If the above describe a situation you’ve experienced, then it is time to find out how you can tip the scales in your favour.

First of all, acknowledging that it is high time you took some measures is the foremost step in putting the conversational handicap behind you permanently. English has slowly become a universal language, spoken in all fields of activity, from education to business, and it is conventionally established that every person involved must know the minimum required for his message to be understood entirely. Therefore, deciding to study English and get help in trying to overcome your problem is a necessary step and it will pay off almost instantly. All it takes is patience, devotion and hard work, as well as a well qualified teacher or an Intensive English course.

Although the market is bursting with different self-learning courses, cassettes, how-to-learn-at-home videos and other similar items, it is advisable that you acquire the services of a professional English teacher instead. Choosing the latter option will allow you to absorb more information, learn English terminology, and study English phonetics, all in a more natural way and in record time. Certain grammatical and vocabulary issues would be impossible to learn using a cassette, for example, while a qualified professor can lead you through an ongoing study of the matters. Also an important benefit of this kind of learning is its inter-human aspect, allowing you to feel more comfortable throughout the learning process. A residential English summer course could be the ideal answer. A family stay can be ideal but also can prove complicated. Staying in a residence offers independence but if the course organizers can assure a mixture of nationalities then hopefully you will be speaking English all day. A few courses offer the presence of teachers all day, this is obviously very recommendable.

However, you should pay great attention when choosing the person (or institution) that will instruct you as not all so-called “professional teachers” are indeed professional nor have the same qualifications. Neglecting this aspect can result in a series of drawbacks in the knowledge you gain, and consequently the results would not be the ones you had hoped for. Consider devoting a fairly long amount of time to this decision by studying different offers via the Internet or agencies, gathering opinions from people who have acquired the services of a certain teacher and make your choice based on the conclusions you draw from all these sources.

In conclusion, choosing to learn English or to improve your English language skills is a compulsory step, especially in the business world nowadays, as it allows you to make your ideas heard and also comprehend other people’s opinions. Leave your pride aside and get help from a professional and you won’t regret it even for a second.

Free Homeschooling Curriculum – Are Virtual Schools the Answer?

Families who are looking for a free homeschooling curriculum may turn to publicly funded virtual schools or cyber schools.

Virtual schools are charter school at home programs that are funded by tax dollars. Because these programs are publicly funded, they can provide students with free computers, software, internet access, textbooks and other resources.

Students who use cyber schools are considered public school students. Their coursework is directed by certified public school teachers who supervise their students’ progress through the use of testing, teleconferencing, e-mail and coursework reviews.

Two well known providers of public school at home programs are K-12 and Connections Academy.

Advantages of Virtual Schools

Virtual school programs allow families to take advantage of the benefits of home education without adding a financial burden. They also provide the structure and support many parents desire, and eliminate the responsibility for choosing curriculum, designing lesson plans and supervising coursework.

Cyber schools also provide children with an accredited diploma that is the same as those received by students in traditional public schools. In addition, some programs schedule field trips and other social activities for their students.

Disadvantages of Home Based Charter Schools

Because cyber school is essentially public school in the home, parents may not have the flexibility to tailor the curriculum and teaching methods to meet their child’s needs. Decisions are made by teachers and carried out by parents, leaving parents with little say as to how their children are instructed and what they are taught. Some programs even place restrictions on use of religious materials.

Virtual school students are also subject to government regulations above and beyond that required of independent homeschoolers. Depending on the state’s requirements, students may be required to submit to standardized testing and interviews by school officials.

Some homeschooling advocates fear widespread participation in home based charter schools will blur the distinction between public and private education. They believe use of government programs may lead to increased regulation and oversight of independent home schools.

Although virtual schools give many parents the confidence they need to homeschool their children, these programs are not without their costs.

Parents who desire structure may want to consider using a complete home curriculum such as A Beka, Bob Jones, ACE or Alpha Omega. Parents who are concerned about the cost of home education can take advantage of the many free homeschooling curricula that can be found in their local library or online.

What is UK’s Standing in International Education Scenario?

UK houses some of the oldest and famous education institutions of the world. One can date them back to as old as 7th century! This must speak a lot about the credibility of UK and its hold in the current education market. As a matter of fact, this country has been a strong player ever since one can remember. The international education world has been witness to the ever rising popularity of UK and its courses.

Just have a look at certain figures which recently surfaced after a survey conducted on Indian students visiting UK. According to the survey, the number of Indian students coming to UK for study purposes has increased by threefold in 2009 since 2008. This 70% increase in the Indian student population from 24,000 to 44,000 in just a span of one year can be owed to the fact:

• Australia is going down in popularity as the preferred study destination due to recent racism attacks on Indian students
• The popularity of US increasing by just 9.2% increase in Indian students choosing it as their study destination
• The start of PSW or post study work visa programme in UK since 30th April 2008 which allows a student work permit of 2 years after the completion of his course
• Out of 500 world famous renowned organizations of the world, more than 108 are present in London alone which is also known as the financial capital of the world.

One can clearly see that UK has clearly surpassed its contemporaries in the race of emerging leader of international education market. With more reforms coming up the way of UK in the form of a legal battle won against changed visa rules for English language schools in UK and many more expected, study in UK is surely going to be the latest sensation!

Grading President Obama’s Job Speech – What He Said Vs. What He Should Have Said

Last week the nation tuned into President’s Obama’s much hyped job creation speech to see if there would be any worthy ideas to try and break the constant high unemployment rate int he country. Would he be bold and innovative or would it be the same basic, tired political tactics that have been tried and have usually failed to live up to expectations?

The following discussion will compare what the President should have said and what he actually said. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that from a boldness, innovation, and courage perspective, the President came up well short of the goal line.

1) Infrastructure

As expected, the President did state that he wanted money and funding for infrastructure jobs to fix roads, bridges, dams, schools, etc. that were in need of repair, something many Americans expected and were supportive of. However, the President’s proposal came up short in two areas.

First, infrastructure spending and work done via the economic stimulus bill was woefully inefficient. According to various Associated Press investigations, thousands and thousands of government contracts were granted without competitive bidding. Half of the bridges that were repaired under the stimulus program were not in need of repairs. Powerful individual politicians in Congress snatched their share of the stimulus money and directed it to their voters regardless of whether of not the spending was actually fixing a real problem.

Millions of dollars from the stimulus plan were granted to companies that owed hundreds of millions of dollars in back taxes. No where in the President’s jobs speech do we get firm assurances that these atrocities have been recognized and will not happen again. He states that the money will be properly spent but we were promised that in the economic stimulus bill. The only way to insure that this potential pot of money is well spent is to give the decision on what projects are done to the states via a block grant of money, taking Congress out of the decision process altogether.

Second, the President does not show any detail on how to pay for this increment Federal spending. He says he will unveil a plan within a week or so. Thus, his performance on this topic is an incomplete. He gave no indication of specifics like reducing the Federal payroll back to 2008 levels, terminating unwanted and unneeded military projects such as the Osprey, terminating corporate welfare programs, ending agriculture subsidies, and directing high speed rail line funding to shorter term infrastructure needs.

Grade: Incomplete given the unnamed ways to fund this infrastructure spending that will be forth coming. However, worries about whether this will be another waste of money spent on things that do not need to be fixed, given the economic stimulus program, and the fact that the President has not taken Congress out of the decision making loop, continue to exist.

2) Obama Care

According to many credible opinion polls, the majority of Americans realize that Obama Care is an unfolding disaster. It will screw up existing health care insurance for tens of millions of Americans that already have coverage, it will significantly add to the deficit, it has created a large amount of tax and business uncertainty into the employment crisis in this country, and will not address the root causes of our escalating health care costs. Nowhere in his speech did he address this problem.

The President did make reference to the fact that we need to somehow reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs going forward in order to protect the long term solvency of both programs. He wisely wants to phase in any changes over time to ease the transition. However, he gave no indication of how he thinks we should do this, he gave no indication he has a plan to do this, and gave indication when this would be done.

Overall grade – D-. Obama Care is one of the biggest drags on the economy and unemployment today and he ignored it. The only reason he did not get an F here is that he may finally be realizing the need to reform Medicare and Medicaid, even if he does not have a plan on how to do that.

3) Tax Holiday For Overseas Profits

Some economists suggested that the President should announce that there should be a one time tax holiday for American companies that have stashed billions of dollars of their profits overseas because it is cheaper to leave those earning overseas than to bring them back to the country and get hit with a 35% tax hit. This tax holiday should be a one time deal that would be followed up immediately with a dedicated overhaul of the tax system.

The reasoning is that it would be better to have that corporate cash sloshing around in the United States than sitting off in some foreign banks even if it was not taxed. The short term problem is jobs, not taxing overseas profits. However, in order to not train companies to wait for the next tax holiday, this would be a one time deal followed immediately by comprehensive tax reform. The President did not address this opportunity to get dollars flowing back into the country and economy.

Overall grade – F

4) Regulation – many businesses have suggested that the President terminate all Federal regulations that do not impact the health and safety of our citizens or the environment and he agreed with this in his speech. He addressed this issue, claiming that his administration had identified over 500 regulatory reforms that will free up billions of dollars over the next few years.

However, he provided no specifics or big deals such as termination of the unneeded and cumbersome Sarbannes-Oxley legislation. The President’s case would have been stronger if he had provided some concrete examples of what his administration has already done to ease the regulation overload.

He also did not address the overtly oppressive Federal government interference into individual business operations, specifically the overbearing and likely politically motivated harassment of Boeing and Gibson Guitars. This unnecessary type of government interference diverts companies’ resources from business and job expansion.

Overall grade – B-. This could change if he does not follow through with the promises he made.

5) Energy

He made no reference at all to using the energy industry, and using oil and gas company resources, to expand our internal energy capacity and development. Since the country does not have an overall, longer term strategic energy plan and policy, fossil fuels will still be the major component of our energy mix for a long time.

Given that fact, it makes sense to not keep sending our wealth overseas to other energy providers when we could develop our own energy resources, again, using oil company money, not taxpayer money. Ending any Gulf drilling moratoriums, building the Canadian crude oil pipeline, opening up drilling in the Arctic, etc. would create good, long term, needed jobs in our domestic energy industry.

Coupling that with a major initiative to develop alternative energy sources and an overarching energy strategy would cover both our long term and short term energy needs while creating a ton of jobs. The President missed this opportunity completely.

Overall grade – F

6) Education

As a country, we need a number of short term and long term changes in the nation’s approach to education and its impact on jobs. First, given that the Federal government has dozens of independent organizations that provide severely fragmented job training services, these dozens of job training entities should be consolidated into a single, more efficient and more effective Federal job training organization, placed in the Health and Human Services Department.

This single organization would be a one stop shopping for citizens looking for training support and be a conduit between job seekers and those hiring. It would be more efficient than having the dozens of organizations that we currently have.

Long term, need an initiative that would identify the root causes of our failing public schools and put together a comprehensive plan for fixing our education processes so that we stop under educating our kids relative to the rest of the world. A similar plan was laid out under the Reagan administration in 1983 but the American political class ignored those findings. As a result, our kids are not being educated as well as kids in dozens of other countries around the world.

Unfortunately, the President completely missed the needs in this category also. He made two references to education in his speech. First, he wants money to fix up 35,000 schools across the country. Second, he wants money to hire more teachers. However, if the country does not fix our failed public education processes, if we do not adopt curriculums to the current, fast paced world, if we do not improve teacher training and evaluation, etc., all the President’s plans will do is have us continue to under educate our kids. Only now we will under educate them with more of the same kind of teachers in nicer buildings.

This is a typical solution from the political class. It is based on their inability to understand root causes of problems Having a nicer school building will not make for a better educated work force. Hiring the same types of teachers will not improve the learning process. We need fundamental changes to education to compete in the world economy.

None of the President’s plans address this more serious problem. He just wants to hire some painters and electricians to make things look nice. The basic product, bad education results, will not change and will not positively affect job creation.

Overall grade – F

7) Taxes

Many assumed the President would ask for an extension of the tax changes made last fall, i.e. the extension of the Bush tax cuts be extended for two years in order to introduce some more certainty into the tax planning of individuals and companies. From his speech it looks like he wants to extend it for another year. Not bad, but two years would have been better and provided the economy with more certainty.

In addition, the President asked for more tax changes, especially for small business. These include providing tax credits for newly hired employees and forgoing the payroll tax for a year to give businesses more cash. However, while these are positive steps, they are open for abuse (e.g. what would stop a business from firing all of its employees on Friday, hiring them back on Monday and claiming the tax credits ) and will further deplete the dwindling Social Security funding.

Their effectiveness is also worthy of doubting. Many economists have looked at similar tax programs in the past and found that unless there is a clear path to an improving economy and improving sales, a business will not likely take on new employees and assume that risk if there are still all types of uncertainty in the mix (e.g. next year’s elections, Obama Care, over regulation, etc.)

The other tax area the President touched on his is unhealthy fixation with taxing the rich. The numbers prove that while taxing the rich more might be a healthy political move for some voters, the financial impact on the economy, government tax levels, and the national debt is extremely small. The President made some embarrassingly incorrect statements regarding taxing the rich in his speech that are worth reviewing:

“Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.” Likely a true statement since Buffet probably draws a smaller salary than his secretary. However, the President never brings up that fact that Buffet does not pay himself millions of dollars every year in salary, getting his money via legally approved other ways that minimize his tax burden. To not mention this fact is deceptive at best, a lie at worst.

“I (Obama) believe that the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that (pay more in taxes) if it helps grow the economy.” A number of problems with this tired, cliched statement. First, the President never cites a source or research that supports this statement. He states it as fact but no data supporting its truth is ever presented.

Second, if these people are so anxious to pay more in taxes, why don’t they? The U.S. Treasury Department has had a program for many years that easily allows Americans to pay more than they owe in taxes to pay down the national debt. If these people were willing to pay more, there is nothing stopping them from doing so. The fact that this program gets very little money donated to it every year reinforces the doubt that the President’s statement is right.

Third, if they do want to pay more in taxes, why didn’t the President challenge them to contribute to the infrastructure program he is proposing? We could name bridges and streets and dams after them as as a side benefit.

Finally, the President implies that if only these people paid more in taxes, the economy would grow significantly. Certainly not a true statement if you examine the numbers. Another Obama statement bordering on deception.

The bottom line is we need a much simplified and much fairer tax code. A tax code where the rich pay their fair share and those Americans that use the income tax process as a money maker, i.e. 45% of Americans pay no Federal income taxes, also pay their fair share. However, beyond general statements about reforming the tax code, the President’s provided no details, plans, or timetable on how to do that.

Which is a shame since such a plan would remove a large amount of uncertainty and wasted economic time complying with our complex tax code. This would have freed up money, time, resources, and energies to expand our economy and hire new workers.

Overall grade – D-

8) National Debt – many organizations, including the President’s own debt reduction commission, have identified many ways to take trillions and trillions of wasted dollars out of our national debt. The President at least gave lip service to this need and claims to have an aggressive plan ready within the week. We shall see.

Grade – Incomplete

9) Unemployment Benefits

Many economists suggested that the President start finding a way to get out of the unemployment benefit business since every major study conducted in this area, including one done by the new head of his economic advisor team, says that providing long term unemployment benefits contributes to chronic long term unemployment The President stated in his speech that he wants to extend long term unemployment benefits, the exact opposite of what all economic studies say is wise.

Overall grade – F, based on the results of the studies cited above, the fact that as we keep extending benefits, unemployment gets stronger, and the fact that there are jobs out there. Just go to Craigslist, Snag A Job’s website or other employment websites and search for all jobs in a zip code and see the hundreds or thousands of vacant jobs that come back.

Jobs are out there, they may not be great jobs, they may not be in someone’s field but here has to be a creative way of melding unemployment benefits with the existing vacant job piles around the country so that everyone wins. In the President’s speech, status quo wins and that is a failure.

10) Trade treaties.

The President was expected to press for the passage of trade treaties that have already been negotiated and he did.

Overall grade – A

Overall, across all components, this speech gets no better than a D minus in boldness, originality, in-depth understanding of our root causes to our problems, and needed specifics on how to move forward. His tax ideas are standard and very tactical, with histories of varying degrees of success. His call for tax reform was hollow. His ignoring of the devastating effects of Obama Care on hiring and uncertainty is unforgivable.

His strategy for paying for this increased spending is vague and yet to be unveiled or to be determined. His removal of unnecessary regulations was tepid at best. He missed big strategic opportunities to free up uncertainty in the private sector by ignoring the wastefulness of Sarbannes-Oxley, failing to address the opportunities in the domestic energy field, and fixing our short term and long term education process. He missed a big time opportunity to declare a one time tax holiday to get off shore corporate earnings back into our economy and linking that to overall tax reform.

If these are such great ideas, which they are not, why haven’t we moved on them previously? Could it be that we have and the results has been a steady dose of 9% unemployment? There was not a creative, ingenious, or bold idea in the lot.

His speech reinforces the belief that the President is like most other politicians, they do not know how to think strategically. All of their thought processes and plans are usually very short term and tactical, rarely addressing the underlying problems. Cash For Clunkers. Cash For Caulkers. One time rebate for first time home buyers. A scattering of small business tax credits but no overall tax reform that encourages business growth. Fix up the schools and make them look pretty without long term education reform. All failed concepts, all short term, doomed tactics.

Besides not being strategic. the plans set out by the President do not remove the major road blocks of uncertainty in the economy and marketplace:

– Short term, gimmicky tax adjustments with unknown future implications and changes.

– A complex and unwieldy tax code.

– High national debt.

– High taxes at every level of government.

– Over regulation.

– Obama Care.

Until the political class fixes these problems, unemployment will still stay high and businesses will continue with their conservative “deer in the headlights” planning.

How Parents Can Recognize a Good High School

When children reach the high school age one of the most challenging tasks for parents is finding a good school for their children’s to attend. Parents need to be able to recognize what successful high schools looks like, and utilizes that information to identify the best choice for their children. Making an informed decision can help determine what school has the best career preparation for their child. Ultimately, their future is in the hands of the school they decide to attend.

High schools are very important when it comes to helping children to mature into productive people in our society. Who we allow to education our children is very important, and should be taken very seriously. The successful schools have a staff which demonstrates they have a vested interest in helping children to succeed, and they will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Successful high schools generally have some of the same characteristics. Parents should become aware of these characteristics in order to make an informed decision when enrolling children in school. In order to make an educated decision, parents should do their homework and research any school they have an interest in. This article can help parents by discussing five characteristics successful high schools have in common. Parents should take the time to investigate these characteristics before making a choice on which school to enroll their children.

The first positive quality involves the staff:

Is the staff motivated to help the students?

Is the staff qualified to meet the demands of high school students?

Does the school have good experienced teachers?

Are the teachers certified in their subject area?

Does the staff work after school if needed to help improve student achievement?

Do the students and parents have a good repore with the staff?

Is the staff involved with extra-curricular activities with the students?

Does the staff keep the parents informed of the progress of their child?

The second positive quality involves the school curriculum:

Does the curriculum meet the needs of the population it serves?

Does the curriculum involve higher order thinking skills, and investigative skills for the students?

Does the curriculum align with the state standards?

Does the curriculum allow for student participation?

Does the curriculum have strong assessment tools for the students?

Does the curriculum allow for help when students are behind?

Does the curriculum have a track record of success?

The Third Positive quality involves a successful track record:

What percentage of students graduated each year?

What percentage of students attended college?

What percentage of students attended a vocational?

What percentage of student’s sign-up for the Military each year?

What percentage of students gets jobs immediately after graduating?

How much scholarship money does the school earn each year?

What is the attendance record for the school?

What kind atmosphere is in the school?

Are parents involved in the school?

The fourth positive quality involves extra-curricular programs:

What kind of extra- curricular activities does the school offer?

Does the school offer a variety of extra-curricular activities?

Some of the activities might include the following: sports, clubs, organizations, coop program, tutoring program, field trips, college fair, college tours, dual enrollment programs, school officers, etc.

Are students encouraged to participate in extra-curricular programs?

Does the staff organize most of the extra-curricular programs?

Are there leadership opportunities for the students?

Are there a number of clubs and organizations for the students?

Can students start clubs or organizations?

The fifth quality involves the school leadership:

The principal of the school will be the person who will set the tone of the building. It is very important that the parent is familiar with the kind of person he/she is, and what kind of leadership style they utilize.

Is the principal positive when you talk to him/her?

Does the principal make every decision in the building?

Does the principal use a shared leadership style?

Does the principal have a good repore with the students, staff, and parents?

Does the principal have an open door policy?

Is the principal visible throughout the building and at school activities?

Is the principal open for creative ideas?

Does the principal put the students first?

Are academics important to the principal?

In addition to the qualities listed above, the parent can get additional information about the school and the principal by observing what is going on day to day in the building. The day to day activities should include an orderly run school with a respectful staff and helpful main office. Additional positive qualities include: having a mission statement visible as you enter the building and keeping the building, clean and safe.

Overall, parents need to do their homework before sending their children to attend a high school for the next four years. This opportunity only comes once in a life time, so parents and students need to be prepared to make this experience as successful as possible.

CLIP – Colegio Luso Internacional Do Porto – An Educational Project

In an interview with Time magazine, Peter Drucker, one of America’s foremost management theorists, when asked “What kind of a century are we in, then?” responded: “In this 21st century world of dynamic political change, the significant thing is that we are in a post-business society. Business is still very important, and greed is as universal as ever; but the values of people are no longer business values, they are professional values. Most people are no longer part of the business society; they are part of the knowledge society.

The greatest changes in our society are going to be in education.” When the journalist later suggested whether the world of the 21st century would be characterized by the competition among the three great trading blocks –Europe, North America, and Asia –Drucker answered: “Yes, and the activities of three big trading blocks will have political consequences. I think we are already in the midst of this, and the pattern is not going to be fair trade or protectionism but reciprocity.” When asked: “Do you think we and our institutions are ready to cope with what you call “new realities”? Drucker affirmed: “Many are still stuck in the world of 1960. What we face now is totally new and dynamic -and we are quite unprepared for it.”

These statements from a man calloused in the world of business reveal a reality of the present characterized by dynamic change on all fronts, by the power conferred by the possession of information and knowledge, by the primacy of education in that context of profound alterations, by relationships among persons, institutions, and peoples based on the concept of reciprocity. with determination Europe searches for the attenuation of centuries old divisions; the nations of the Pacific, led by Japan, try to find a common understanding which may grant them a more condign place in the international forum; the Sultanates of Islam search desperately for a more cohesive and forceful expression of their influence in today’s world.

The progress attained in the technology of communications has made the international system of borders almost irrelevant. The quest for new markets has given birth to supra-national economic colossuses, capable of exerting a deep influence in the lives of peoples and nations. The rending of the iron curtain seems to have stolen the last visible and palpable barrier from a world forced to accept more and more, with less and less understanding. This vertigo of political and technological change has fostered a constant movement not only of people, but mostly of ideas and of information.

Knowledge of things and events has been made instantaneous, the volume of information has been suffocating, our capacity for absorption tested to its limits. Peoples and cultures, which some years ago could have been known only through the power of the imagination, visit us daily in our living rooms, so that, what was foreign, exotic, adventurous, has become common place. The need for a new private international school in the Oporto area is self evident. At the end of the twentieth century we are witnesses to an accelerating trend towards cultural globalization and a growing need for unhindered mobility for professionals and their families. In particular, the internationalization of northern Portugal due to the country’s present EU membership status has created new educational needs for both local foreign children.
This need could be adequately answered by a high quality school, from the primary through university entry level, with English as the base language and the British educational system as the model. The educational program of this school would permit full equivalency throughout all forms with the Portuguese educational system and other international schools and universities. CLIP – Cologio Luso-Internacional do Porto is designed to achieve the following goals:

1 – To offer a student – centered, thoroughly modern, academically challenging, and internationally focused program of studies;

2 – To offer Portuguese students the opportunity to acquire an international education that will prepare them for attendance of both local and foreign universities;

3 – To provide foreign students with the opportunity to continue their education in a sequential, comfortable fashion;

4 – To offer students of Portuguese parents, who have attended schools in other countries, a proper process of school reintegration;

These objectives could be implemented by the following instruments: – A curriculum based on current British secondary programs, allowing pupils to s it for G.C.E. (General Certificate of Education), G.C.S.E. (General Certificate of Secondary Education), I. G .C.S. E. (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) at O – Level, but complemented with studies of Portuguese language, history and social studies, granting equivalence to the Portuguese secondary education forms 9 and 10; – A higher education access curriculum based on and in accordance with the LB. (International Baccalaureate, Geneve, Switzerland) curriculum, which is currently accepted by most universities across the world, and is also equivalent to form 12 of the Portuguese secondary educational system.

CLIP will furthermore develop its activities around seven basic educational principles:

* Academic Excellence: The attainment or the highest academic standards through a stringent and fully integrated curriculum that stresses individual excellence and group achievement;

* Learning how to learn; the content or the various disciplines is developing at such a rate that makes an encyclopedic approach to education quite unviable. By focalizing on how to learn, our aim is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and personal development;

* Cooperative Learning: The instructional program of CLIP is based on the premise that students can and should learn from each other, and that they must shoulder the greatest responsibility for their education;

* Diversity and Cross-Cultural Education: The underlying concept of International Education is a learning process that positions the study of the diverse expressions of human life at the core of its program of studies;

* Individual Needs and Concerns: The program focuses on the needs and differences of each individual student. The central programmatic focus in this regard is a Teacher Advisor Program coordinated by a Guidance Counselor;

* Participatory Decision-making: The governance of CLIP is based on a democratic model for decision making as articulated in its Charter. CLIP recognizes the preeminent role of parents teacher and students in the educational process;

* The Arts: The arts are essential to a complete understanding of our nature as human beings and as members of cultural groups. In this regard the arts must be taught as independent cl discipline and integrated on the entire program of studies.