Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Obama’s Education Opinion the Right Stuff

Obama says testing alone is not the solution for improving student performance. The countries financial investments should support better K12 teaching not testing. In his opinion we are attacking the education system which we should be trying to bolster. Obama says too much time is spent preparing students for No Child Left Behind testing. The results of these failed policies are putting a strangle hold on education. Student's minds are no longer nourished by the knowledge that teachers impart. How can a teacher focus on course content when their schools very existence hinges on testing scores? Obama says we need to make a greater investment in changing education.
He also states that teachers should be paid higher salaries. The teaching profession has lost its glimmer because our country is not investing in K12 education. Obama's opinion in this area shows that he is looking at the future. Within the next ten years a massive number of teachers will retire. It will be difficult to replace them if teachers cannot make a living wage. These potential teachers will go into other professions. Teachers want to work in a country where they do not have to struggle due to financial obligations after college.
Our country needs new leadership to effectively craft teacher and student friendly education policy. Obama is striking the right cord with many educators who are in higher education. He has taken his campaign to college campuses around the country. He is demonstrating how much he values the opportunity to be educated. Obama's family could not afford to send him to the most expensive K12 schools but he still learned the value of education. He wants to open the doors for many students who feel that the doors of higher education will never open for them.
Obama is demonstrating the true qualities of a leader. His history of serving as a volunteer in his community has put him in touch with the education gap that is like the Grand Canyon in many of our nation's inner cities. His thirst for change in the way that we educate our nation's youth is a breath of fresh air. Obama has an opinion that United States citizens should unit around the value of improving access to good education.
The country needs to remain competitive in the global markets of the world. Obama says that if our current lack of investment in education continues we will not compete with the rest of the world. Based on a recent assessment the United States ranks twenty-ninth in math and science knowledge. The country is losing its place as a world leader. All of the other countries around the world are increasing their investment in education. The United States continues to flounder at implementing strategic education policy. The country needs a plan that positions our workers to be the most educated workforce in the world.
Based on the response of voters around the country they are looking for a leader who will stand up and speak out on education. Obama has the right stuff because he knows the boundaries that a limited education can cast on a child's entire life. When a young person desires to learn is extinguished in the forth grade they will never recover. Obama has the attitude and motivation of a Presidential candidate that wants education to take its rightful place in our society. He proves that he is the right person to change the direction of education in this country.

High School Students Need a Bridge to College

Annually, over 10 million high school students begin the process of applying to college. Their expectation is that college will be the same as high school. They remember getting 15 minutes of homework and studying on the bus on their way to the first class of the day. Everything seemed so easy and studying sufficiently was not a big deal. Unfortunately many students arrive to college unaware that they may not have adequate preparation for the rigors of college. Something needs to be done to bridge the gap in college preparation.

It seems that school superintendents and college presidents rarely talk about college preparation best practices. Therefore the high school curriculum seems far apart from the college curriculum. The local high school is mostly concerned about meeting state standards that are established concerning each course. They are also entrapped by No Child Left Behind policies that threaten schools with Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. Teachers are spending more time preparing students for state tests rather than preparing them for college. High school administrators understand that a significant amount of funding could be affected by an inability to meet state and federal testing standards.

In spite of these challenges college presidents need to do a better job of meeting with high school principals to discuss the type of courses that prepare students for college. They can do this by also identifying high schools that frequently send them students who have graduated from their college. They can identify a high school college admission grade point average that stands out. It may also be a good idea for high school administrators to talk to their former students about their college experiences. They can provide their perspective on which classes actually prepared them for college life.

There is a benefit when entire colleges and school districts work together. The teachers who are completing degrees become more sensitive to the challenge of preparing high school students for college. The teachers who express an interest in teaching high school students can incorporate new knowledge into their courses. These teachers can also talk to high school students about their college experiences. They can give them some ideas regarding books that they can study while they are completing their high school requirements.

High school students don’t have to feel that preparing for college is only a dream. They don’t have to go to college and stumble through classes that are too difficult. They can receive insights in their classes about college life that make the college transition much easier. Some students might decide to take a college course while they are in high school so that they can get a first hand experience regarding the amount of studying that’s required.

Moving past the road blocks that prevent college presidents and superintendents from coming together will require a commitment. Both groups must spend time coming together and having discussions in the region where they can easily collaborate. Now is the time for college administrators and school superintendents to collaborate and to prepare students for postsecondary education of the future.

Back to School Cell Phone Craze is Booming

When students and parents start their shopping list for the new school year one item on the top of their list is a cell phone. How times have changed. The idea of searching for paper and pencils is taking a back seat to modern technology. The cell phone companies have caught on and they are releasing so many new cell phones each month that it is hard for anyone to catch up. Cell phones have reached epidemic proportions throughout American society. You cannot go to a city or countryside road without finding someone who is using a cell phone.
A growing phenomenon among parents and students is text messaging. The ringing of the phone has been silenced by the tapping of alphabetic keys. Messages between cell phones can be transferred instantaneously. Students are using text messaging to respond to each other and to communicate with their parents. Abbreviations are often used when text messages are sent. It represents a form of communication that has broad implications for society. Text messaging can take up time that a student would normally spend studying. At the same time students can send a reminder that a homework assignment is due. It has become a two edged sword that allows parents to pick up a child from football practice or to plan a trip to a movie.
Communicating fast has become an even faster way of keeping parents in touch with their student. Parents realize that when their son/daughter goes back to school putting down the cell phone to focus will require real discipline. Students are too easily disrupted by the buzz of their cell phones. The speed at which a student communicates can cause a chain reaction of positive or negative results for a student who has a test on the next day. Peer pressure can even occur when one student yields to the temptation to respond to a cell phone call rather than study.
Communication by way of the cell phone is here to stay. School districts are forced to come up with strong statements about when the cell phone may be used during the school day. Students try to find creative ways to ignore the rules. Parents are frustrated when they must go to school to retrieve their son/daughters cell phone. Learning by way of the cell phone has been a challenge for most schools. Cell phone use is not easily incorporated into class instruction like an actual computer. Some professionals have found ways to download papers to the cell phone and read them while they are traveling but this is not a priority for students.
Some students are using their cell phones to discuss assignments and presentations they are giving. Students can save some of the major points of their presentation on their cell phone. Students can send a reminder that a quiz is occurring tomorrow to a friend. Messages like it’s time to get prepared. Some students put reminders in their cell phone and the phone makes a funny noise to remind them to start preparation for a major test. The calendar can also be used as a way to manage time.
During the twenty first century technology will continue to influence the back to school journey. Schools that use laptop computers to educate students are already springing up all over the country. Cell phones do offer news, television and the internet but most students do not have access to these services. Moving forward bringing the cost down and increasing the services will make the versatility of the cell phone a total learning experience. It is apparent that going back to school will never be the same. Dr. Stephen Jones is author of a new book the Ultimate scholarship, Seven Secrets of How to Study and the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide” and the “Ultimate Scholarship Guide.” Dr. Jones can be contacted at 610-842-3843.

Athletes Drop Out Rate a Crisis in the Making

According to Dr. Stephen Jones each year more than 50 percent of African American students drop out of high school and college. This has a significant impact on athletes who play sports. The drop out rate is greatly affected by poor college preparation and study skills. The lack of academic preparation is evident in middle school and high school. Too often athletes are accepted to college without the preparation they need to graduate. The student athletes’ athletic prowess is valued more than their intellectual abilities. Some athletes are also blindsided when they uncover the huge academic deficits when they start college classes. This crisis will continue because of the abundance of athletes who can replace the athlete who is in academic difficulty.

This problem must be attacked head on. Athletes deserve to be prepared to succeed at all levels. The NCAA requires colleges to have an academic support center. Unfortunately often the academic gap is too large even for the tutors that are assigned to students. Although these students have graduated from high school these students arrive to college academically three and four years behind their peers. Middle schools and high school students must get academically caught up prior to enrolling in the college. Many of these students are coming from schools that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress according to the standards set by No Child Left Behind. There are some very basic elements of the education process that are critical for students to succeed in college and they include the ability to read and compute.

This crisis is not one that we can ignore. Too many extremely bright African Americans are ending up in prison. This includes former college athletes who do not have a degree. Every so many weeks it seems that there is an article about some athlete who is escorted into a court room and sent to jail. This is especially detrimental when they leave a stable wife and children to make it by themselves. This foretells a disastrous educational outcome for their children who cannot afford to attend the better schools.

Some organizations and colleges are tracking the exceptional student athlete as early as ten and twelve year old. Yet attention and devotion to ensuring that they maintain high levels of academic performance is given little attention. It seems that there is a viscous cycle of poor study skills and academic preparation that’s repeated in inner city communities throughout the country. A fundamental academic requirement must be established for athletes early in their K 12 experience. Colleges and school districts must make a greater commitment to these students. There must be a break in the pattern of the deepening despair that has become a viscous cycle for so many athletes who do not graduate. Too many families can point to athletes in their family who have never competed a high school diploma or college degree.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study and the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide.” You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at or visit