Does the Younger Generation Know Best?

Every now and then, we heard that young people will change the world. You see, they have a calling, a need to create something, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. I recently attended a colloquium where an education leader said about her pupils, “They ask questions I never imagined asking.” A lot of young people are interested in sustainability. They are deeply worried about the future of the planet. And they are skeptical of adult authority and the “old school” behavior of deference to authority. Clashes with authorities are reported almost daily in the media. They want to enjoy absolute freedom. They say that their parents are unknowing consumers of planet’s wealth. Surely, the younger generation has dreams and ambitions.

The sad thing about this is that carried to an extreme stereotypes can be positively dangerous. Strongly entrenched myths persist. For instance, some people think that young people have a monopoly of the best human qualities. When they speak about those sensitive souls, it makes me wonder whether they are talking about angels or superheroes. One more thing. Education experts speak about how to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. I dare to say that the idea of innovation is becoming one of the great clich├ęs of our time. They don’t take leave to doubt that the younger generation are going to create the best of all possible worlds. They say the older generation have lost touch with all that is important in life. But is this necessarily so? Every new generation is different from the one that preceded it. Is the difference today so significant? Hardly. The younger generation are going to be in as much trouble as we are now.

Now, of course, we can say that is one thing to have ideals and quite another to have initiative, imagination, and the essential qualities of character such as persistence and a strong moral foundation to create something lasting and significant. Sure enough, society must use its wealth to secure the best possible opportunities for children. All kids deserve a good start in life. Even so, we know that not all students will have the superior performance we call talent. Beyond that, several studies show that underachievement, or dropping out, is not uncommon on the part of talented teenagers. The family milieu is a crucial determinant. If a child experiences too much deprivation or discouragement on the part of family, she can easily be sidetracked. Anyway, we must not forget that no one can do all by himself. We need many different groups working side by side. Conflicts can be avoided. And – get this – the old people have a wealth of knowledge and tricks of the trade that younger workers need.

Finally, although I disagree that a new generation draws the line, I do believe the views of young people must be heard. In fact, the world would gain from youthful leaders.

Making Online Education Attractive

All over the world, the numbers of people in school at the different levels takes pyramidal shape. There are huge numbers at the elementary, but as they progress, the numbers decrease, leaving just a few in higher education. In the United States, some 65 million students were expected to enroll from K to K12 in the fall of 2015. In the same period, it was expected that 20.2 million would be attending Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that 25% of fresh high school students in the U.S.A are not able to graduate. For fresh students who enter colleges or universities 1 out of 3 are likely not make it to second year. This dropout out rate hinders national development, because many people do not receive the full training they need to be functional in society. National development would be hugely fostered, if more adults receive education, in order that they become functional in society.

I am not saying that all adults who were not fully educated are not playing important roles in society. There are very prominent individuals in society who dropped out of school at some level. Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, for example, at some point dropped out of school. Though this list is not exhaustive, the number of people who dropped out of school or decided not to gain higher education and yet became successful are relatively few. For the majority who dropped out or discontinued education, and could not become successful in their careers, it was because they lacked the knowledge they needed to develop their potential. If you check the history of those who in spite of dropping out or discontinuing schooling have become successful, you would find that appeared to have found their life’s purpose and so pursued those goals and, more importantly, they received some kind of education later.

Education as we all know is a life-long activity. At any point in time, whether you dropped out of school or got honors at your graduation, you would need education. The school dropout who has found himself a vocation or gained employment needs education so he/she can be more productive, the dropout who has realized the need to school but has ‘grown past school going age’ and desires to school obviously needs education, managers as well as employees need further education in order to keep pace with today’s rapidly changing world and gain increased wages and status respectively. Somehow, the traditional education dependent society we have created for ourselves and considers the ‘best’, limits our quest for continuing education. For many people, formal education ended the day they dropped out or graduated from High School, College or University, even though, technology makes it possible for us to sit in our houses and still get quality education.

When technology – computers and internet connectivity – replaced physical classrooms and made it possible to study by distance in real time, it appeared the issue of continuous education for everyone, including the dropout and the working class have been solved. It appeared, and still does, that now the teacher need not leave his students, apply for study-leave or leave of absence to pursue further education. It appeared the fifty-year-old woman who dropped out of school several years ago could now school from home and it appeared the father could learn what his daughter is learning at College using the same device he uses to call her. That is what it appeared. Those who dropped out of school due to issues of finance and have not since had a breakthrough would not benefit, and those who have the money would not want to put their money into a certificate employers and academicians alike would frown upon. So little appear to have changed for these two groups of people, though online Colleges and Universities abound.

Two prime issues are to blame. First, online education is too expensive for the target group of learners and second, there is the perception that online Colleges and Universities do not provide holistic education like the traditional Colleges and Universities. As indicated by Ed Vosganian – founder and CEO of College Funding 123, the cost of on-campus University for undergraduate is estimated at 42,000 dollars while for the same group it cost around 21,000 dollars for online universities. By comparison we would say that it cost far less to study via online. But we need not lose sight of those who mostly enroll in online University. It is those in the middle and lower classes who opt for online universities. They include; the employee who has sacrificed pleasure for higher qualification in return for better wages, the unemployed who wants to gain employable skills, the dropout who wants to get back to school in the hope that there will be a brighter future, and the people living in the remote part of the world, especially in the developing world, who don’t even have the money to pay fees and so would have to learn and work simultaneously. To these 21,000 dollars is money so huge, it is very difficult to raise. There are people of the higher income class who enroll in online universities, but online learning is not popular among these due to low prestige and the myths associated with online education. The online institutions will tell you, they would not put anything on your certificate to show that you received a non-traditional education. This kind of advert speaks of how society values online education. Online education is considered a cheap way of getting ‘watered down’ education. Online Colleges and Universities were until recently considered diploma mills. This perception still exists, though empirical evidence tells us there is no disparity in quality of students from traditional Colleges and Universities on one hand and online Colleges and Universities on the other. The online Universities and Colleges are doing their best to make online learning prestigious and bring down study cost, but they cannot do it alone. With government intervention online learning can become prestigious and lower and middle class friendly.

Government should provide a national framework for online education, subsidize accreditation, and grant scholarships and student loans for students in online Colleges and Universities. A national framework to guide the operations of all online colleges and universities should be instituted by the state, through the Department of Education or the relevant government agency. This framework, which would be descriptive and not prescriptive in nature would describe, for example, the minimum courses to be taken at a given level, and the general mode of operation of online universities and colleges without prescribing specific courses or mode of operation. Accreditation is not just laborious for online Colleges and Universities; it is also expensive. This cost is passed to students, souring up program fees. If the government decides to absorb half the cost of accreditation, though there is no guarantee the program fees will be halved, the program fee would be reduced somehow. Lastly, most of the students who opt for online colleges and universities do not receive scholarships and student loans from the state. Those who receive something do not get huge scholarships and student loans like their counterparts in traditional Colleges and Universities. Government should make scholarships and students loans available to students of online Colleges and Universities just as it does for students in traditional Colleges and Universities.

The ramifications of these interventions would definitely be awesome. Providing a national framework for online education would take away the false negative perception people have about online learning. Many think online learning is easy and also the number of credits taken are far less than those taken in traditional learning settings. This thinking exists because there are some poorly designed online courses in which certificate are awarded after just a couple of assignments have been submitted. Such practices can be stopped, when a national framework is developed and operationalized. A national framework will give credibility to online learning, because a national standard for online would have to be adhered to and so no online college or university can just sell certificate. Subsidizing Accreditation will yield three results. The most obvious is that, it would reduce program fees because amount to pass to the students would be less. Subsidizing accreditation fees would encourage online Colleges and Universities to seek accreditation from accrediting bodies recognize by the Department of Education or the appropriate state agency. Even though accreditation is not compulsory in some parts of the world, like the united states, some occupation that require state licensing would not accept degree from non-accredited Colleges and University. Prospective online learners are, usually, worried about whether the can easily work with their certificates. Government intervention would remove this worry and remove the negative perception people have about online education as well. Government interventions in the form of scholarship and loans would ease the financial burden and make it possible for those who hitherto would not be able to school to do so. In sum, government intervention would go a long way to produce an enlightened society by permitting many people to receive higher education.

There are many people wanting to get higher education through online Colleges and Universities so they gain knowledge and skills, or enhance their knowledge and skills but cannot do because of either the cost or the uncertainty of the acceptability of the certificate. Government intervention in the form of national framework for online universities and colleges, subsidizing accreditation cost and providing scholarships and student loans would open the door for those who want to study from home. Government intervention can give the assurance that online learning is as good as traditional college or university learning, and that their certificate would be accepted jobs that require state licensing. It would ease the pressure on facilities in traditional Colleges and Universities, produce the well-educated citizenry needed for national development and convert the current pyramidal shape into a ‘near’ cylinder.

REFERENCE

Ed Vosganian (n.d.). The Real Price of Online College. Retrieved from http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/financial-aid/online-college-degree-cost/.

Surviving Protests, Poverty, Justice and Inequality in America 2020

Protesting

Many people confuse protesting with looting. Most protesters are not looters, merely peaceful Americans and others who would like to live in a better world where all people are equal. Looters and protesters have been confused one from the other because some looters took advantage of the circumstances when activists were protesting after George Floyd was murdered in Minnesota in May 2020. Undoubtedly, most protesters care about helping others comprehend their plight. They are correct when they request that police not abuse or kill innocent citizens. Besides, people who have been accused of a crime have a right to be heard and to have a fair trial.

In some cases, racists injected themselves into the protests because they hoped to make the peaceful demonstrators look like arsonists and vandals, one reason why many peaceable Americans were afraid to join the protests. They fear being set up and accused of having broken windows or having hurt others. At the same time, many journalists are afraid to cover the protests, knowing that numerous have been injured in the process, either by police, by violent intruders, or by accident. Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of the State of New York, was right to suggest that protesters should now note down on paper what it is that they would like to change and make efforts to change laws through the legal process.

The author of this article, a former student of art, believes that destroying sculptures and art to protest against the ‘Old South’ (that existed before the American Civil War) could be considered a crime. If protesters do not want such sculptures to be on display, they might ask authorities to remove them, placing them in history museums. Otherwise, opponents of the sculptures could ask to display educational signage nearby, signs which explain why they believe the sculptures are objectionable. Another option would be to display new sculptures of African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and other diverse people nearby with their histories. Such diverse sculptures would educate the public and tourists about the beauty of all races. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Langston Hughs, and W.E.B. Du Bois were famous Americans that could be depicted among the new sculptures. Although the ancient Romans were not always fair and just, their ancient sculptures have not been demolished. The same could be said of the ancient Egyptians who built pyramids, but despite the misery and distress of those slaves who built the pyramids, people still study them because it is crucial not to ignore history.

Private versus Public Education

American Citizens (2020) are expected to save around 150k for each child to pay for private university education in the United States. Even public education can cost as much as 90K for four years at university. That being said, society could benefit from affordable, if not free, education for all willing learners. Some Americans think public schools should be privatised, but that would make it more difficult for commendable and gifted students to have access to fundamental knowledge. Without a doubt, young people who have access to education will repay the community by making this world a safer place in which to live, possibly by solving many of the problems that now face humanity. How gloomy it would be to deny a curious mind an appropriate top-notch education! Perhaps providing everyone with an excellent education and knowledge about people who have been represented in sculptures, no matter how disputed, is more satisfying than destroying art that represents history.

It is exciting that Ed X, Future Learn, Udemy and others offer massive online open courses (MOOC) for anyone who would like to learn more about a variety of topics. Nevertheless, many people are gaining knowledge without access to proper university degrees. Being an autodidact is admirable, but people need access to valid university degrees that enable them to accomplish their goals, aiming to contribute to the greater good.

Food and the Safety Net

The majority of Americans do not have a safety net when they lose their jobs. Without a safety net, they can not purchase enough food or find a place to stay when they lose their employment, develop health problems or other psychological difficulties. Maybe it is easier to live in one’s automobile in the United States than it is to live in a car in Europe, where people are required to declare their whereabouts to the police who then inspect their homes. Undeniably, Americans are freer to get into their cars to travel far away, to another state where they can find new jobs. Still, not knowing where one will sleep at night remains daunting and happens to people of all ages and backgrounds. Many Americans go to churches to ask for food for their families. People feel bad and even humiliated when they have to ask strangers for sustenance, even worse when their families say ‘no’ to their supplications. Often, free food is not fresh and comes in cans or is frozen. Those who ask for this much-needed help feel pressured to change their religion or belief system in order to attain subsistence. Hence, it might be better for them to get help directly from the government. Unfortunately, getting the government’s help is easier said than done in a heartless world run by lobbies.

Healthcare

Barack Obama tried to reform healthcare. To some extent, he was successful, but he did not take it far enough. Although he prevented insurance companies from denying people healthcare due to pre-existing conditions, he did not create universal healthcare for all, including care for those who have lost their jobs. If healthcare were universal, this would mean that all poor people without jobs could receive assistance. No one should have to fret about not being cared for, but numerous Americans were afraid to go to the hospital for help as they understood a cure for COVID-19 could cost them more than thirty thousand dollars. Lives were lost for fear of having to pay overwhelming hospital bills. The COVID-19 emergency has taught us that it is mistaken not to care for everyone when diseases spread to others if they are not cured.

Shelter

Still today, unemployed people and people with psychological disabilities often remain without a roof at night through no fault of their own. Some of them do not even have cars to sleep in! Indeed, a wealthy country like the United States could find safe shelters for these people, whether or not they be alone or with their families. A teenager without a home does not know where he can go to school. (In one county in Georgia, back in 2004, high school teachers had to request to permit a homeless teenager to go to their school!)

Furthermore, runaway teenagers and abused women need safe shelters with counselling. If policing is to be improved, police could help homeless people find shelter as it would undoubtedly decrease crime. Homeless people might also be provided with addresses that they could use to receive their voter registration forms so that they no longer have difficulty voting for change. No doubt, America must increase its standards and live up to the dreams of the founders who sought decent lives for its citizens.

Work

For many reasons, people remain without jobs through no fault of their own. In many cases, robots and artificial intelligence have taken their jobs. Technology was supposed to make life easier so that people could work fewer hours per week and share jobs. One solution to this problem might be job-sharing or making twenty hours a full-time workweek, permitting those people without jobs to work. Most people feel much better about themselves when they contribute to society through meaningful and exciting work. Frequently, people have to work too much for pay that barely permits them to survive while others can not find any work, as much as they would like to have it-cooperatives (community-owned businesses will conceivably help solve this problem.

Policing

Countless Americans have lost faith in the police, although not all police are corrupt. Good and bad people are to be found in every profession, and one bad apple does not ruin the whole basket. Many experts believe that police records showing police infractions should become public knowledge. Perhaps sharing such information will be useful to determine who is fit to police the streets; society will be able to weed out the corrupt cops while holding the good ones to a high standard. Furthermore, the educational curriculum of the police can be modified to improve training, focusing on more humanistic service for the good of society. A police officer needs continuous training throughout his or her career so as to be benevolent. Since it is clear that America has systemic problems, it is time to work together to fulfil the dreams of the founding fathers who aimed high for peace and liberty for all, regardless of race or creed.

Resources for Regular Classroom Teachers Handling Special Needs Children: Had We Have an Idea

Initiatives for special education in the Philippines have begun as early as 1902. It has almost been a century and two decades past; yet until now, our country has no version of the famous IDEA or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. However, there is a Senate Bill pushing for this need, Senate Bill 1298 espoused by Senator Joel Villanueva. In the absence of IDEA our special education system has no specific parameters for its practice. Sadly, there are no legislations mandating the other elemental resources that will be of great help to the teachers.

Despite a fundamental block missing, our Department of Education has recently made clear its desires for inclusive education. Inclusive education refers to having a special needs child fully participate in a regular school. We also have a Senate Bill waiting to be a law on inclusive education, Senate Bill 996 espoused by Senator Win Gathchalian.

Most school teachers from both the private and publics schools have expressed apprehension on their readiness to deal with the inclusion program. They are expressing the lack of proficient training for the task. Regular classroom teachers are already anticipating the pressure and difficulty of handling their classrooms. They are overwhelmed as early as now.

Had we have an IDEA, our special education needs children will have a vast pool of professionals and proper assessment available to them. Diagnosis alone will not truly be enough. It is best to have an assessment for the appropriate developmental concern of each child. Likewise, for their educational need, assessment from a professional who is also familiar with instruction and curriculum will be a lot of help. With this detailed educational assessment, our regular classroom teachers handling special needs children will have better information and picture of the child’s present level of performance.

Had we have an IDEA, our regular classroom teachers handling special needs children will have resources to ease the birth-pains of the sought after inclusion program. It will ideally allow each school or district to will have its own special education department. This serves the first and best resource for the regular teachers. The special education department will be a well of expertise and experience. This department will also have teachers and para-professionals who are properly trained for the special education needs children. They will assist in the modification of the lesson material so that it suits the child’s needs. A regular classroom teacher may ask them for ideas for modifying activities and assessments.

Had we have an IDEA, regular classroom teachers will have a copy of special needs child’s IEP or the individualized lesson plan. It will have the list of very specific goals and objective for the special needs child. It also includes lists of possible activities and strategies in achieving the objectives outlined therein. This is a very important and indispensable tool designed to help the classroom teacher know how best to meet the needs of a particular child. The regular classroom teachers should have received a copy of each special needs child’s IEP in a confidential folder. But sadly, many classroom teachers never set eyes on that important document so full of information about the child. That is because no law mandates it and some sees it irrelevant and dismisses the preparation of it.

Had we have an IDEA, special education needs children will have access to free education in the public school system.

Every special needs child is capable of success. Each will succeed according to his or her individual ability. Focus on the child’s strengths and be supportive of their weaknesses. Let each child feel and know that you believe in him or her. The rewards will be beyond words for both you and the child.

How to Know When It’s Time for Speech Therapy

Speech therapy has helped many Americans articulate their thoughts in a more productive manner. An estimated six to eight million people currently living in the United States have some kind of language impairment, which often makes communication much more difficult. If you are wondering whether or not speech therapy can benefit your child, check out these considerations to see if it’s time to seek help.

Natural Mispronunciation

Keep in mind that some mispronunciations are completely normal. Many young children will pronounce the “th” sound as an “f” sound. Preschoolers might mix up the syllables in words that are too big, or they may smoosh a slew of words together. For example, elephant may become “ellalent.” These cute mix-ups are completely normal until about age six.

When To Consider Help

By the age of three, you should be able to understand most of the things your growing child is trying to tell you. If their words are not getting any easier to understand, you may want to look into speech therapy. If there is very little or even no talking at all, you should act quickly. This may be a sign of a much larger problem in normal development.

Mispronunciation is a warning that professional treatment is needed. For example, if he or she is not saying consonants or having trouble pronouncing vowels, this could be a sign. For example, instead of saying “bat,” the child only says “a.” On the other hand, the inability to say “cow,” and instead saying “coo” could be an indication that speech therapy will be necessary to normalize communication.

Other Signs

There are several other signs that professional treatment may be helpful. When reading a book to your youngster, it is normal for them to point at objects on the pages. If you are not seeing this, ask him or her to show you the turtle or the elephant. If he or she repeats the phrase and does not try to point to the object, there might be a problem with language comprehension.

If other comprehension problems exist such as misunderstanding questions or directions, help may be needed. One example is when you ask your child if he or she would like a cookie, and they repeat the end of the question rather than indicating yes or no. Pay attention to whether your child uses new words once, or if their vocabulary remains stagnant over time, as these are also signs that you may need to consult with a professional.

Advantages of Help

Parents want to give their children every advantage in the world, and speech therapy can be one way to do just that. The way that children comprehend and respond to the spoken word serves as an indication of brain development. If you suspect that your little one isn’t keeping up with peers, or language is holding them back from other accomplishments, professional help can put them back on track developmentally.