Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Charter Schools And Vouchers Getting Results

Success is generally a good thing. But you wouldn't always know it, when certain people scramble to redefine "success" as "change, probably for the worse."
A Rand Corp. study released recently reported that "more than 190,000 students nationwide had left a private school for a charter by the end of the 2008 school year," according to The Los Angeles Times. Since 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, charter schools have increased in number substantially; the Los Angeles Unified School District boasts the most in the country, at 193. (1)
One of the best pieces of evidence we could have that charter schools are working is that they are successfully competing for students, not only against under-performing, inner-city public schools, but also against private schools.
Despite naysayers' complaints, this is good news for taxpayers, who are at least buying satisfactory education with their tax dollars, as well as for families that no longer feel the need to pay private school tuition. But charter schools are no panacea for the broader problem: Too many places in America pay too much for education that produces too little in the way of results.
Charter schools are one element of an answer. Another that is slowly but steadily gaining ground is vouchers that parents can use to pay for education at any private, charter or traditional public school. Such voucher systems are not only fostering improvement in public schools, which now have to compete more directly with charter and private alternatives; vouchers are also reviving private schools, especially parochial institutions, that were hit hard by the recession and faced the possibility of closing.
Teachers' unions, public school boards and administrators generally hate voucher systems. The National Education Association even offers a list of talking points specifically aimed at arguing against vouchers. (The organization is more ambivalent on charter schools; given the nature of charter schools, this is as one would expect.) But the current system is geared toward preserving a status quo that doesn't work. The goal of publicly funded education is to educate kids, not to create publicly funded jobs for public school employees. This hasn't stopped principals in Indiana from going door-to-door, however, trying to convince parents not to withdraw their students - and the public funding that comes with them - from struggling public schools.
What makes an individual child succeed or fail is a complex mix of many factors. Still, it is similarly not hard not to see why the National School Boards Association would be quick to dismiss a recent study from the Brookings Institute at Harvard that shows voucher systems have had significant positive impact in college enrollment among African-American students. Anne L. Bryant, the association's executive director, called the study's conclusions "grandiose" and claimed that parental involvement allowed for the difference observed. (2)
Public school productivity, like that of most public agencies, has lagged behind gains that the private sector has made over the last several decades, despite heavy investment in manpower and technology. In fact, those investments in manpower have arguably made public schools less productive, as we have more employees serving fewer students without commensurate gains in student success.
Competition is usually the best long-term solution to productivity problems. The results in charter schools and voucher programs across the country are evidence that it works for education, too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Samuel De Champlain Biography

Samuel de Champlain is a famous explorer, cartographer, soldier, navigator, draughtsman, ethnologist, diplomat, geographer and chronicler. Champlain was born to Antoine Champlain and Marguerite Le Roy in the port city of La Rochelle, Aunis, France.
Born into a family of mariners, Champlain learned to navigate and draw nautical charts at a very young age. He served as an army of King Henry IV during the France's religious wars in Brittany. He started serving as a quartermaster who is responsible for feeding and caring of war horses. It is claimed that during this time, he went on a secret voyages for the king and saw combats at the end of 1594. He was then promoted as capitaine d'une compagnie where he served in a garrison near Quimper.
His early travels started when his uncle in law was chattered to transport Spanish troops to Cadiz. Champlain accompanied his uncle and spent some time in Cadiz before his uncle was again chartered to accompany a large Spanish fleet to West Indies. This journey lasted for two years and Champlain got the opportunity to write an illustrated report of this trip which later on he handed to King Henry.
He soon started exploring North America in 1603 under the guidance of François Gravé Du Pont. He mapped Acadia for three years. He also discovered the lake which was named after him, the Lake Champlain located on the border of Northern New York and Vermont. Champlain is an important figure in establishing French colonies in the New World.
Champlain sailed with Francois Grave Du Pont's expedition in 1603. They explored the St. Lawrence River and through the Saguenay river. They also sailed the Gaspe Peninsula. In 1603, he returned to France and decided to look for a new passage and to settle in Gaspe Peninsula.
In 1604, he returned to Canada on Pierre de Mont's expedition. For three years, they sailed around and charted the coast of Nova Scotia and the coast to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard which is now Massachusetts. After staying in France for a short time, he returned to Canada and in 1605, they found a colony in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
Champlain was the very first European explorer to explore and describe the Great Lakes. He also published maps of his journeys as well as the lessons he had learned from the natives.
Champlain led 32 colonists in 1608 to settle Quebec. But only nine colonists survived the first winter but more settlers have arrived the following summer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Prep Schools - What Are the Expenses Aside From Tuition?

If you are looking into prep schools for your kids, you may have already research the required tuition. You may be prepared to pay for that cost alone, but you should also be ready to pay for additional expenses. These expenses would likely come up in a public school, too, so they are considered typical. However, you should get an idea of what you will have to pay for outside of the tuition every year.
Many prep schools encourage students to have a laptop, especially at the high school level. They might even issue laptops that they deem best for students, so you can ask school administrators if they have any preferences or requirements for laptops. However, if you feel your child does not need one for the year, you probably will not be required to buy one. Keep in mind, though, that many of your child's friends and classmates may have a computer, so he or she might ask for one just for this reason. If you cannot afford a new one, find out if the school loans them for the year, or if you can get a used one.
Of course, prep schools are known for requiring uniforms. This is usually an additional expense that the tuition does not cover. You may have a few options when you buy uniforms, such as the brand, but you typically have to stick to preapproved colors and patterns. You may be able to save some money by looking for sales on uniforms, or by buying used clothes from former students. When budgeting, keep in mind how many uniforms xour child will need, which will reflect on the amount of laundry you want to do through the week.
There are several smaller items you may have to pay for through the year. For example, some prep schools charge students for books, much like colleges do. Find out how much you can expect to pay for the books your child will need through the year. You should also remember that you will likely have to pay assorted testing fees, depending on which grade your child is in. If your student is in high school, you will likely have to pay a lot in testing fees, especially junior and senior year. You can typically find out how much these fees are ahead of time.
Not all prep schools have the same expenses, so find out what you will have to pay for the year when you enroll your child. In most cases, you will know about the costs ahead of time so you can budget. This can help keep schooling affordable.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Using Supplementary Learning Materials to Enhance Knowledge

Competition is everywhere and dominates academics more than anywhere else. One can find themselves caught in the rat-race to excel in academics and also extracurricular. When it comes to academics, all parents are very particular that their ward must score well. Till a couple of years back, books and teachers were the only means by which a child could learn, but now that's not the case anymore. There are many educational service providers who have come up to help parents and students find supplementary learning materials to enhance knowledge.
Supplementary learning materials help the child understand the concepts and topics in a better way through animations, videos, activities etc. Not only will this enhance their knowledge, but also makes it a convenient way to learn. Let us first understand the various supplementary learning materials that are available in the market.
1. CDs and DVDs - one of the most commonly found products in the market are the CDs and DVDs. One can find them for every class, subject and Board of education. One has to be very careful while choosing the same because of the quality of content in the products. Choose the company that is well established in the educational services sector.
2. Worksheets and workbooks - these are mainly aimed to help children in the lower classes (KG1-Class4) to improve their spellings, reading, ease of a particular topic etc. These are printed in bright attractive colors to please the child. One can also find puzzles and color it pages to keep the children interested in them.
3. Online tutoring - yes, you can consider this also as one of the supplementary learning materials available for children. This is similar to tuitions conducted in a coaching center, except that the child does not have to move out of the comfort of their home to learn. Sitting at home a child can get help with any academic related query.
4. Online tests - this is yet another product that many service providers have developed. Children can check their understanding of a particular concept/topic by taking up tests in the same. There are many online tests available that cater to the students' individual needs.
It might look like very few products are available as supplementary learning materials, but due to their vast nature (class, subject, board of education) one can come across hundreds of them in the market. It can also be seen that a couple of the service providers who have established themselves, do not market their products in the free market. Instead they encourage purchasing their products online through their website, making it easy for customers to buy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Best Schools - Resources To Help You Find The Ideal School For Your Kids

If you are looking for the best schools for your children, you have several resources to check out. Whether you plan to send your kids to a public, private, or charter school, you should take a look at the ratings and reviews given to local options. Find out where to learn the information you need in order to make a good decision.
You should first talk to other parents in your area and find out where they send their children. Ask them if they are happy with their choice, and if so, why? Most parents have a few things they like about their child's school, and a few things they would change if possible. Get to know all of the details, and then ask if they would recommend their child's school overall. You can also ask your kids to find out from their friends what the best schools are, since they have likely heard both rumors and facts from others in your city. All the information you gather will help you make a decision, so do not count anything out.
You should also check official ratings to find out the best schools. There are many magazines and websites that focus on ranking several of the best educational institutions at all grade levels. Rankings can give you a good idea of where each school stands according to the experts, but you should also find out why exactly each educational institution received its rank. Make sure the top programs and most impressive details apply to your kids, since otherwise you may end up picking the wrong option for your children. Just because a school is the top ranked for most students does not mean it is the ideal pick for your family.
Finally, you should find out for yourself why the best schools are so highly ranked. Schedule a campus tour so you can get a close look at the property. This also allows you to direct your questions to the tour guide so you can get immediate answers. For most parents, campus tours are enlightening, especially when the kids are brought along to offer their first impression and ask their own questions.
You want your kids to not only get a good education, but also be happy. Finding out about the best schools can help you achieve this goal, and these tips can help you make a decision. So start talking to friends, reading the ratings from websites and magazines, and setting up campus tours as soon as possible.