Tag Archive | education

Nevada Gives Public School Funds Back to Parents and ACLU Throws a Fit*

Nevada Gives Public School Funds Back to Parents and ACLU Throws a Fit*

By Heather Callaghan

When children step foot on public school property they instantly transform into two things: wards of the State and literal, human resources. Student handbooks often disclose this fact – maybe as a way to dissuade parents from getting too close during school hours.

But it’s true – each student has a monetary value as soon as they are registered in a district. It depends on the state but is frequently well over $5,100 per year per student, as it is in Nevada. Can you imagine someone benefitting monetarily off the mere existence of your child – and part of that profit comes from you? Like a profitable prison that is incentivised by the amount of bodies in cells, so is the public school that wants that federal funding when your child fills a chair – even though it’s not supposed to be a profit.

The reason I make such a bleak comparison is because I’ve personally witnessed what this incentive does to a school district who views that funding as profit toward school resources even though it is intended as the amount needed to take care of the child. Maybe that partially explains overcrowded classrooms. A student once had a severe virus requiring long-term recovery and there were dozens of doctors’ notes to prove it and legitimize excused absences. I saw a principal pick up the phone and sic the truancy officer on the family as a veiled threat to force the student back in. It worked – to the detriment of the student’s health and more required time off. Attendance issues can be vicious when funding is on the line.

Nevada has just installed a novel approach in what’s called a near-universal education savings account (ESA) option- allow the funds in the child’s name to be in the control of the parent to put toward other school options like private school, extra tuition needs or future tuition costs. They were preceded in this approach by Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida.

The Daily Signal explains that:

“More than 2,200 parents have already applied to participate in the ESA option, which provides students with a portion (roughly $5,100 annually) of the funds that would have been spent on them in their public school in an ESA account that they can then use to pay for a variety of education-related services, products, and providers.

They can use their ESA to pay for private school tuition, online learning, special education services and therapies, textbooks, curricula, and a host of other education-related expenditures. As the name implies, parents can also save unused funds, rolling dollars over from year-to-year to pay for future education costs.”

Guess who had a major problem with school choice? The ACLU of all things. They have done some great work shining light on abuse of civil liberties but when it comes to anything bordering on approval of religion it gets absurd.

The ACLU has now filed a lawsuit to block the law signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev. this past spring. The organization alleges that the program “violates the Nevada Constitution’s prohibition against the use of public money for sectarian (religious) purposes.”

That issue gets murky when you consider where the money originally came from and where it’s going – to parents. Some education groups feel that the ESA further promotes individual freedom to choose and does not lead to endorsement by the government of any religion.

Tim Keller, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, chimed in with staunch support for the ESA,

“Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Program was enacted to help parents and children whose needs are not being met in their current public schools, and we will work with them to intervene in this lawsuit and defeat it.

The United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous state supreme courts, have already held that educational choice programs, like Nevada’s ESA Program, are constitutional. We expect the same from Nevada courts.”

Do you think the ACLU will succeed in this pursuit? In an ironic twist, if they were to succeed in a suit like this in Arizona, they could be depriving a blind student 90% of his allocated $21,000 which could allow him to have the best education and braille available, according to parent testimony given to The Daily Signal.

Source *

Related Topics:

Getting the Perfect Education for Your Child*

National Educational Association Blasts Homeschooling*

ACLU At Odds With Activists*

UN Urges States to Monitor and Regulate Private Education Providers*

Gates and World Bank Peddling Private, For-Profit Schools in Africa, Disguised As Aid*

LeBron James Pledges $41mn to Send 1,100 Ohio Teens to College*

LeBron James Pledges $41mn to Send 1,100 Ohio Teens to College*

By Jake Anderson

Keeping true to his promise to give back to the community where he grew up, Lebron James announced Monday that his foundation will subsidize the college educations of 1,100 Ohio high school graduates. In order to cover these tuition costs at the University of Akron, the Lebron James Foundation committed $41 million, enough to fund four year scholarships at $9,500 per student.

James remarked on his new charitable endeavour:

“It’s the reason I do what I do. These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there. They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”

Lebron James, one of the most famous—and wealthy—professional athletes in the world, made headlines in recent years when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team to play for the Miami Heat. His much-publicized and demonized “decision” broke the hearts of many local Akron and Cleveland residents, who had revered “King James” and everything he meant for a city—an entire state, in fact—with economic problems and no professional sports championships to speak of since 1964.

James preceded his exaltant return to Cleveland in 2014 with a stunning open letter, in which he stated,

“I feel my calling [in Ohio] goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get. In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

It appears James is already making good on his promise to give back to his community in a major way. In recent months, James and members of his foundation met multiple times with University of Akron President Dr. Scott Scarborough to discuss long-term plans that would be beneficial for the community. The education department, which will soon be renamed the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education, will begin accepting applications for the scholarships in 2021.

It couldn’t come at a better time for a university that recently announced $40 million in widespread cuts, including the entire baseball program and 215 lost jobs.


Related Topics:

Baltimore Prosecutor: I Owe My Success to “Warrior Women”*

School Kitchen Manager Fired for Feeding Hungry Students Free*

Robin Williams Raised 50,000K for a Food Bank and Nobody Knew*

One Boy Harvested the Wind to Help his Village*

Rapper Opens Academy to Provide Solar Power to 600mn Africans*

Chelsea Muslim Footballer builds Mosque

German Muslims Open Mosques to Non-Muslims*

Spanish Judge Makes Bank President and Former IMF Chief Pay for Financial Crimes*

Muslimah Graduates from Harvard Aged 20*

Muslimah Graduates from Harvard Aged 20*

By Nadine Osman

A Nigerian American woman has made headlines around the world after graduating from Harvard with a neurobiology degree aged just 20. Saheela Ibraheem from New Jersey was accepted to Harvard and thirteen other universities at the tender age of 15.

After skipping the sixth and ninth grades, Ibraheem received a near-perfect score on the SAT and was also accepted to MIT, Princeton and Columbia before settling on Harvard after falling in love with the campus.

Ibraheem has long been in the spotlight for her academic achievements. At 16, she was named to a list of “The World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers,” which led her to be invited to the White House in early March, where she was introduced to the President and first lady at a reception to kick off Black History Month.

“She’s like the State Department and the National Institutes of Health all rolled into one,” Obama said during a short speech.

“Young people like this inspire our future.”

Ibraheem became interested in neurobiology in high school when she picked up a copy of “Gray’s Anatomy” at the school library.

Ibraheem’s parents are both numerically inclined. Her father is a quantitative analyst for a New York bank, and her mother is an accountant. She has three younger brothers, two of whom are in their first years at Yale University and Dartmouth College.

Being younger than her Harvard classmates didn’t prove too difficult. Ibraheem recalled that one first meeting with a classmate devolved into an argument about how old she really was. Other than that, she said that being too young to buy some cold medicines or to see R-rated movies were the most significant obstacles.

Ibraheem has been a member of the Harvard Islamic Society, the Science Club for Girls, which provides after-school mentoring, and, Dreamporte, which uses 3-D technology to teach geography and world culture to foster children.

When asked what advice she had for incoming students, Ibraheem said that they shouldn’t shy away from challenging classes, but that they also shouldn’t sacrifice sleep and free time just to study endlessly.

“There are so many new people. Meet as many as you can. Maybe try out extra curricula’s you didn’t [try] before,” Ibraheem said.

Ibraheem said her Harvard experience transformed her from a shy person to someone comfortable meeting people, talking with them, and listening to them.

“[It was] definitely enlightening, transformative, unique,” she said.


Related Topics:

A Muslim Girl amongst the World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers” List*

Against the Odds: Girl from Gaza Takes 1st International Math Prize*

First Woman to Win the World’s Top Mathematics Prize ‘Fields Medal’ is Iranian*

One Mother Shows How 2012 Top Maths Students Fail in Common Core Maths*

Bored with School, Homeschooling Gave Tanishq what he Needed to Excel*

Bored with School, Homeschooling Gave Tanishq what he Needed to Excel*

When Tanishq was 7

As a 7-year old amateur astronomer Tanishq attended some classes at Stanford. NASA published two of his astronomy articles on their blog. Here is one about joining the Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS):

Peninsula Astronomical Society
By Tanishq Mathew Abraham

I recently joined PAS. My parents gave the junior membership as a gift to me for doing well in a college astronomy class. It was so cool to see the colliding galaxies, Sombrero galaxy (spiral), M31 (spiral) galaxy, a few NGC galaxies, elliptical galaxies, and Saturn with its rings.

A few weeks back, I had gone to the community observatory with my family as part of the astronomy college class that I was enrolled in this Spring Semester. The name of the course was “Introduction to Astronomy”. It was fun learning more about the universe and I liked being in the class. My professor was cool and my adult classmates were also good. I enjoyed the topics of Special Relativity, General Relativity, Fundamental Particles, Time Travel, Black holes, GRBs, and Astrobiology!! I enjoyed doing oral presentations in journal club about Kepler-10b which is an exoplanet and for my monograph about Astrobiology.

I learned about possible life on Mars, Europa (Jupiter’s moon) and Enceladus & Titan (Saturn’s moons) and about extremophiles. They are cool living things! I am studying more about different extremophiles and would like to do some experiments and research with them. I am also waiting to own my telescope to view more objects in the universe like exoplanets and discover new ones. It will be awesome to work with scientists at NASA so I can learn more about astronomy. When I grow up I am going to be a multi-field scientist because I like many science subjects like chemistry, biology, physics, geology, paleontology and of course astronomy!

When Tanishq was 9

By Jenny Inglee

Tanishq and his sister Tiara became the youngest siblings ever inducted into Mensa. They both were given the honour at four years old. (Photo c/o Bijou and Taji Abraham)

Tanishq and his sister Tiara became the youngest siblings ever inducted into Mensa. They both were given the honour at four years old. (Photo c/o Bijou and Taji Abraham)

At four years old, the Sacramento, Calif. siblings made history when they were inducted into Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world.

Tanishq, now nine years old, started taking college courses at seven, has already discovered a supernova, helped to discover an exoplanet, and recently became the youngest member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He will likely have his undergraduate degree by the age of 11.

The young genius is interested in science, but isn’t ready to limit himself to one field. He’s got a couple of goals in mind.

One goal, he said in a recent interview, is to get a Ph.D. as soon as possible so he can start his research.

“I want to make discoveries, like some major discoveries, and research is one way I can make those discoveries,” he said.

He’s also thinking of double majoring in general science and history or political science. He wants to have these degrees in his back pocket so maybe one day he can become the president of the United States.

“I want to help the United States,” he said. “They have some problems, and I want to help fix those problems.”

Some of the issues he wants to address include climate change, gun control, and education. However, Tanishq said,

“there are so many problems that need to be fixed that I can’t list them all.”

His sister, who is now seven, also has a couple of goals. When she’s older, she hopes to be “a veterinarian, a famous artist, a famous singer, and a famous sprinter.”

Despite being geniuses, the siblings are still little kids. And bridging the gap between their age and intellect hasn’t always been easy.

When Tanishq and Tiara went to kindergarten, both were way ahead of their peers. They skipped a grade, but were still bored in second grade. Eventually, their parents decided it was best to homeschool them and supplement Tanishq’s schooling with higher education courses. Tiara will likely follow in her brother’s footsteps.

The siblings are social, their mother said, and to make sure they have time with kids their age, they take part in plenty of extracurricular activities. They both take tennis and swimming lessons and Tanishq is in a boy’s choir.

“He’ll go to his choir class and goof around with all those boys,” his mother, Dr. Taji Abraham, said,

“and when he goes to college he’s more serious. He jokes around with them too, but it’s a different environment.”

Despite the family’s focus on trying to give their kids the best of both worlds, they still get a lot of criticism. Their mother said they often hear, “Why do you have a seven year old in college? You’re taking away his childhood.”

The kids, Dr. Abraham said, are actually very well adjusted. She and her husband, Bijou Abraham, make sure of that. With all their talent, their mother said, there is no way “we could sit idly by.”

9-Yr-Old College Prodigy: Tanishq Abraham

Tanishq at 11

Tanisq with his father who is from from Kerala, India

Tanishq Abraham graduated from American River College in Sacramento on Wednesday night with degrees in math and physical sciences, general science and foreign language studies.

Tanishq Abraham, an 11-year-old boy from California, put on a black gown and tasseled cap. No, Tanishq was not playing dress up. This pre-teen was graduating – not from high school but from college.

Writes NBC News:

“Tanishq Abraham is the youngest person to graduate from American River College in Sacramento, California, this year, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. And he may be the youngest person to graduate from the school in its 60-year history… He graduated high school last June at age 10, after completing California’s early-exit high school exam. He even received a congratulatory message from President Barack Obama and several California officials.”

American River College spokesman Scott Crow said: “The assumption is that he’s the all-time youngest. But we don’t have all the archives to completely confirm. He was definitely the youngest this year.”

Either way, Tanishq, who has been part of MENSA – the high IQ society – since he was just four years old, holds associate degrees in math, science and foreign language studies. The preteen has been home schooled since the age of seven, and just graduated high school in June 2014. He completed three college degree programs in less than one year.

All those accomplishments – to Tanishq it wasn’t “much of a big thing for me.”

Tanishq’s mother, Taji Abraham, said she knew he was gifted from an early age.

“Even in kindergarten he was pretty ahead, a few years ahead — and then it just went from there,” she said.

He even has his own Wikipedia page.

What’s next for this child prodigy? A clue was revealed in his favourite quote, worn on his graduating cap: “2 Infinity and Beyond” from Toy Story.

Abraham said:

“I want to become a doctor, but I also want to become a medical researcher – and also the president of the United States.”


Comment: Hopefully by then the U.S. will have no shadow government, the Illuminati, the cultural Marxists, and the scientologists – then there might be some freedom to run the country by the people, and for the people

Related Topics:

Common Core Free 10-year-old Math Genius is in College*

Indigo Children!? Will Smith’s Kids Showing the Other side of being Young Today*

What Some Great Minds Thought of Schooling

Election Leaflet Illustrates the State of British Education*

Election Leaflet Illustrates the State of British Education*

Suzy Howlett, 54, inset, who specialises in teaching foreign-born children English, took councillors Derek Tanswell and Sharon Snook to task over their spelling, punctuation and grammar. The UKIP candidates, from Frome, Somerset, defected to Nigel Farage’s party two weeks ago and hope to be re-elected in May, having left the Lib Dems to improve their chances. Mrs Howlett, a specialist teacher with 32 years experience, told MailOnline she enjoyed a ‘happy two minutes’ correcting their work. She said: ‘I won’t discuss (Ukip) policies, I will just say that the children I work with are a delight, and some of them could teach Mr Tanswell a thing or two about apostrophes’.

Mr Tanswell today said his former party have ‘hacked’ his emails for information to create a slapdash leaflet to scupper their election hopes, and has called in police.

However, a party source has suggested the leaflet is genuine.

He said: ‘They had to rewrite everything and it looks like they didn’t have time to spell check it.’


Related Topics:

Education: China’s Poorest Beat U.Ks Best*

British Education System Designed to Polarise People*

U.K. Students March for Free Education*

Growing List of British Academics Condemn Education Policies*

Where Kids Learn More Outside Their Classrooms Than in Them*

Where Kids Learn More Outside Their Classrooms Than in Them*

By Emily Richmond

Left to right: Pittsfield Middle High School students Dana Hudgens, Ryan Marquis and Eli Johnson work on a construction project. Marquis, a senior, designed the lesson for his classmates as part of his engineering career internship. (Jim Vaiknoras/The Hechinger Report)

Left to right: Pittsfield Middle High School students Dana Hudgens, Ryan Marquis and Eli Johnson work on a construction project. Marquis, a senior, designed the lesson for his classmates as part of his engineering career internship. (Jim Vaiknoras/The Hechinger Report)

It’s time for the morning meeting at Pittsfield Elementary School, and several kindergartners jostle for a spot on the carpet next to 16-year-old Anitrea Provencher, who is helping out in their classroom this semester.

As the students settle into a circle, their teacher, Lenore Coombs, starts off the day’s discussion with a question:

What’s something you’ve never done before that you would like to try?

That’s something Provencher—a sophomore at the neighbouring Pittsfield Middle High School—is actively trying to answer for herself as part of a program that awards students academic course credit for engaging in learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom setting.

“I’m figuring out where I do fit and where I don’t fit,” said Provencher, who hopes to follow up the kindergarten internship with one in marine biology.

“I haven’t really liked school for a long time. This is better for me than regular high school.”

Amid the growing push to reinvent the nation’s public high schools, initiatives that connect students more directly to their individual interests—and tap into their innate motivations—are gaining popularity. New Hampshire is one of a handful of states at the forefront of efforts to promote flexibility in how students learn and how that knowledge is measured. While initiatives like these are relatively small in scale, educators and policymakers say they provide important testing grounds for innovations in school improvement.

In New Hampshire, what are known as “extended learning opportunities” can take the form of workplace internships, volunteer work, individualized study, or one-on-one instruction. Students earn credit in English-language arts provided their plan meets academic standards as outlined by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The learning opportunities must also be aligned to the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, including New Hampshire.

Pittsfield is located about 40 minutes north of Manchester. Its demographics—mostly white and with modest household incomes—are not unlike those in many of the state’s other small towns. But Pittsfield is benefitting from a massive investment in its education system, spurred by a combination of private grants (primarily from the Massachusetts-based Nellie Mae Education Foundation) and a federal “Investing In Innovation” grant awarded to a network of 13 New England schools.

Giving students more of a say over their learning is integral to the larger effort to turn around Pittsfield, which had long been considered one of the state’s weaker public high schools. Its standardized test scores and graduation rates have lagged behind state-wide averages. Pittsfield students have been more likely than many of their peers elsewhere in the state to say they don’t plan to attend college, according to a survey.

To combat those lack-luster results, Pittsfield—which enrolls about 260 students total in grades seven through 12—in 2012 adopted a new model focusing on student-centered learning: Now, teachers function more as coaches than lecturers and the students are active collaborators. Initially limited to the high school, the framework is now being phased in at the middle school, too. And while the extended-learning program, now five years old, predates the student-centred initiative, officials say it has been key to the turnaround. Teachers and students say the new flexibility has contributed to rising graduation and college-enrollment rates.

How students do after graduation is a better measure of the success of a high school than just standardized assessments—tests don’t measure life skills,” said Sheila Ward, who coordinates Pittsfield’s extended learning program.

“Our kids are developing relationships out in the community, they’re seeing connections between what they’re learning and where they want to go. Instead of just adding to their academic transcripts, they’re building resumes.”

Before digging into what extended learning is, it’s important to understand what it is not. Pittsfield’s educators emphasize their program isn’t a shortcut toward earning course credit or a means of removing students from classrooms or a substitute for school teachers. And the learning doesn’t always take place during the regular academic day. Students are expected to fulfill rigorous guidelines to demonstrate what they’ve learned: They must maintain a journal detailing their activities, complete assignments, undergo multiple assessments, and create a final project and presentation.

While the program is voluntary, it’s become an increasingly popular option. To date, 264 students have participated in their own projects over the past five years. Ward estimated that 75% of them are currently working in or pursuing post-secondary studies in related fields. She’s been able to find matches for just about every career field students have requested, from dental hygiene to graphic design, though some students have had to travel to bigger cities or do some of their activities via videoconferencing.

Recently at the Pittsfield campus, few students were waiting more eagerly for the last traces of the winter to melt than four seniors who are collaborating on an extended-learning project in which they will build a greenhouse. The idea is to build something that the school will use long after they graduate, and before they drafted the blueprints, the students read up on agriculture instruction at other schools to determine what type of design would be most useful to future classes. They made an oral presentation—one for which they reportedly rehearsed multiple times—to the school board at a public hearing for permission to carry out the construction and completed all the paperwork for the building permits. All the skills they applied to these tasks fulfill the New Hampshire DOE’s language arts expectations, according to Jenny Wellington, a longtime English teacher who serves as the group’s supervisor. The board approved the project, too.

As for the students’ post-graduation plans, two of them plan to enlist in the military, one will join his father’s construction business, and the fourth is headed to the University of New Hampshire to study dairy farming. Still, Wellington said she can see how this project could benefit them as they pursue their careers:

“This is what it’s really like to work,” she said.

“It’s about contributing to the community, working together, problem solving—all of the real-world scenarios students are going to face when they get out there on their own.”

Jessica Massey, a Pittsfield senior who manages the school store as part of her project, said the experience has helped her to improve her organizational skills and to think creatively. The store’s inventory includes a modest collection of girls’ formalwear for rent in case someone can’t afford to buy a new prom dress. Massey realized potential customers might be put off if they saw someone they knew modelling the dress on the school store’s website, so she had her cousin, who attends another school, pose in the gowns.

Prior to the school’s adoption of student-centred learning, “it felt like we had a test every other week,” Massey said, adding that the more individualized approach better suits her learning style.

“I don’t do well on tests. I prefer a project where I can take my time.”

And students and officials say the benefits of the non-traditional-learning option extend beyond the academics. Emily Dunnigan, a freshman at Pittsfield who was homeschooled through eighth grade and once hesitated to speak up in class and make friends, said interning with the local community theatre group has helped boost her confidence. She helped to paint the sets for a local production and served as an assistant to the director during rehearsals, and even plans to try out for one of the roles in the next round of auditions.

In a 2012 report, researchers at George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy compared outcomes for a wide array of school programs intended to boost student motivation and learning. The researchers concluded that when students see a direct connection between what they are learning and their own interests and goals, they are likely to be more motivated—which in turn often means they’re more likely to comprehend the material, have higher self-esteem, and graduate. School organization and teachers’ instructional style also play a role. Though the study cautioned that duplicating a program can be difficult because students’ needs vary so greatly, research suggests that successful ones often incorporate community service, offer project-based learning, and encourage students to be independent thinkers.

Over the past decade there’s been a growing acknowledgement that the traditional U.S. high-school design isn’t working, said Jennifer Davis, the president the National Centre on Time and Learning, a non-profit focused on changing how schools are run. But whether the Pittsfield model can be replicated elsewhere is unclear, she said:

The small-group design is much more difficult to implement in large city high schools that often serve upward of 2,000 students, in part because of the cost. Yet students at large urban campuses would also benefit from learning opportunities that cultivate their interests, as well as access to teachers trained to coach them in skills “that will help them through life,” Davis said.

These opportunities “are critically important to the progress of our education system in the direction we want to go … Without those examples we would be much further behind in bringing those kinds of opportunities to large urban districts that serve the most high-need kids.”

Tapping into student motivation requires demonstrating relevancy, according to Daphna Oyserman, a psychology professor at USC who emphasized the need for teachers to show students that their futures are actually closer than they might think.

“You want kids to see there’s a path from now to the future, that the path involves school, and that current choices to invest effort and keep trying in school matter for future options.”

Conversely, structuring a learning experience too narrowly or rigidly, she added, risks undermining their motivation:

“If I’m a kid who’s worried because I’m not sure what career path is right for me, that could spill over into being unsure about what I want to do in school.”

Ryan Marquis, a Pittsfield senior, has already changed his direction once. He had planned on becoming an engineer and created a project based on that goal, but putting together the curriculum to teach his classmates the basics turned out to be his favourite part.


“I would have wasted my first year of college before I figured out ‘Hey, I don’t really like this,’” said Marquis, who’s now leaning toward majoring in physics and chemistry and is thinking of eventually teaching high school.

“Instead, I’ll be starting out ahead of the curve.”


Related Topics:

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

A School for the Whole Child*

Diet and the Sacrifice of Child Potential!

Western Childhood a Curious Turn of Events

Test the Poor until they are Brain Dead, and Educate the Rich!

Globalized Education and One World Government

“Common Core” Education Making our Children Stupid!

A Silent Education Revolution in Brazil*

Egypt’s Creative Talent: Vanishing Within Education? 

British Education System Designed to Polarise People*

Education Beyond Brainwashing*

South Carolina Backs Education Plan to Encourage Scepticism about Evolution*

A Teacher’s Protest

Children Need the Outdoors Like Earth Needs Rain!

Free Housing for Student Volunteers in Senior Home*

Free Housing for Student Volunteers in Senior Home*

The rise of so-called neo-liberal education (corporatization of ‘education’) is breeding self-depreciation as seeking a ‘sugar daddy’ (prostitution) becomes the latest solution of some struggling students in the U.S. and U.K.

In the Netherlands a win-win situation helps students with free accommodation.

A special program at a Netherlands retirement home is offering young people free apartments on site, in exchange for spending 30 hours a month helping its residents with computers, email, shopping, and other chores.

The initiative was designed two years ago after the facility’s director, Gea Sijpkes, after a college student complained to him about his school’s poor housing conditions.

In exchange for a nicer place to rest his head, rent-free, that student now participates in numerous activities with the grateful residents, including celebrating birthdays, and offers the seniors companionship when they are sick. He is currently joined by five other program participants, who are also students.

“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth in the contact,” Sijpkes told PBS NewsHour.

With similar inter-generational initiatives springing up in Cleveland, Ohio and Lyons, France, we’re hoping this brilliant new trend soon becomes an international classic.


Related Topics:

Students Loan Strike against for Profit Colleges*

For Profit University of Phoenix Loses Half its Students*

Canada: 75,000 Students Strike Back*

Common Core Free 10-year-old Math Genius is in College*

Common Core Free 10-year-old Math Genius is in College*

Unfortunately she wants to be a banker….

At first glance Esther Okade seems like a normal 10-year-old. She loves dressing up as Elsa from “Frozen,” playing with Barbie dolls and going to the park or shopping.

But what makes the British-Nigerian youngster stand out is the fact that she’s also a university undergraduate. Esther, from Walsall, an industrial town in the UK’s West Midlands region, is one of the country’s youngest college freshmen.

The talented 10-year-old enrolled at the Open University, a UK-based distance learning college, in January and is already top of the class, having recently scored 100% in a recent exam.

“It’s so interesting. It has the type of math I love. It’s real math — theories, complex numbers, all that type of stuff,” she giggles.

“It was super easy. My mum taught me in a nice way.”

She adds:

“I want to (finish the course) in two years. Then I’m going to do my PhD in financial math when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.”

And in case people think her parents have pushed her into starting university early, Esther emphatically disagrees.

“I actually wanted to start when I was seven. But my mum was like,

“you’re too young, calm down.” After three years of begging, mother Efe finally agreed to explore the idea.

A marvelous mathematical mind

Esther has always jumped ahead of her peers. She sat her first Math GSCE exam, a British high school qualification, at Ounsdale School in Wolverhampton at just six, where she received a C-grade. A year later, she outdid herself and got the A-grade she wanted. Then last year she scored a B-grade when she sat the Math A-level exam.

Esther’s mother noticed her daughter’s flair for figures shortly after she began homeschooling her at the age of three. Initially, Esther’s parents had enrolled her in a private school but after a few short weeks, the pair began noticing changes in the usually-vibrant youngster.

Efe says: “One day we were coming back home and she burst out in tears and she said

‘I don’t ever want to go back to that school — they don’t even let me talk!’

“In the UK, you don’t have to start school until you are five. Education is not compulsory until that age so I thought OK, we’ll be doing little things at home until then. Maybe by the time she’s five she will change her mind.”

Efe started by teaching basic number skills but Esther was miles ahead. By four, her natural aptitude for math had seen the eager student move on to algebra and quadratic equations.

And Esther isn’t the only math prodigy in the family. Her younger brother Isaiah, 6, will soon be sitting his first A-level exam in June.

A philanthropic family

Not content with breaking barriers to attend college at just 10 years old, Esther is also writing a series of math workbooks for children called “Yummy Yummy Algebra.”

“It starts at a beginner level — that’s volume one. But then there will be volume two, and volume three, and then volume four. But I’ve only written the first one.

“As long as you can add or subtract, you’ll be able to do it. I want to show other children they are special,” she says.

Meanwhile, Esther’s parents are also trying to trail blaze their own educational journey back in Nigeria.

The couple have set up a foundation and are in the process of building a nursery and primary school in Nigeria’s Delta region (where the family are from). Named “Shakespeare’s Academy,” they hope to open the school’s doors in September.

The proposed curriculum will have all the usual subjects such as English, languages, math and science, as well as more unconventional additions including morality and ethics, public speaking, entrepreneurship and etiquette. The couple say they want to emulate the teaching methods that worked for their children rather than focus on one way of learning.

“Some children learn very well with kinetics where they learn with their hands — when they draw they remember things. Some children have extremely creative imaginations. Instead of trying to make children learn one way, you teach them based on their learning style,” explains Efe.

The educational facility will have a capacity of 2,000 to 2,500 students with up to 30% of students being local children offered scholarships to attend.

Efe says: “On one hand, billions of dollars worth of crude oil is pumped out from that region on a monthly basis and yet the poverty rate of the indigenous community is astronomical.”

While Paul adds: “(The region has) poor quality of nursery and primary education. So by the time the children get secondary education they haven’t got a clue. They haven’t developed their core skills.

“The school is designed to give children an aim so they can study for something, not just for the sake of acquiring certifications. There is an end goal.”


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