Saturday, April 30, 2011

Conserving Energy for Success

By Sean Scarpiello

As education funding continues to be cut across the United States, school districts continue to look for easier ways to save money. Administrators need to find new methods so that they can get more bang for their buck. One easy way to reduce costs which often gets overlooked, is to control energy costs.

In my high school, I noticed that computers and televisions were usually left on overnight. Overall, there was a general lack of initiative of staff and faculty which cared about the energy costs of the school. For example, some teachers would open the window on nice days and keep on the air conditioning unit. It is wasteful to pay for the air conditioning when it is not being used. Also, buses would constantly idle in the parking lots waiting for students. I felt that this is twice as bad because not only is the school losing money on expensive gasoline, but the environment is also being affected. I can also see some examples of this wastefulness at college. After all the academic buildings close down for the night at about 12 o’clock, every room and atrium remains lit up. When the building is locked and not being used, it should not need to be lit up and have computers running.

This problem exists in schools because many people are simply careless. Many teachers, staff, and faculty do not turn off lights and are generally wasteful because they think, “I’m not paying the energy bill.” Everyone has that kind of attitude at work. Since they are not paying for it they can be lazy. What people need to realize is that they are paying for it indirectly. If workers blow off money on energy costs, they are very unlikely to see that money later. This example holds true for teachers as well. If teachers, and all of a school’s employees, do not try to lower energy costs, they will not see that money later in the form of a bonus or new classroom technology.

The idea of lowering energy costs in schools may sound a bit useless because many may argue that it is more trouble than its worth. In reality, it isn’t. It would be relatively easy to start a campaign that advocates the conservation of energy in schools. School districts would be surprised to see just how much money is being wasted on unused energy. Initially, it would save a few thousand dollars here and there. This money could definitely be utilized somewhere in the school district. Eventually, school districts could focus on other areas of the education field to save money in by conserving energy. These areas include things like transportation, recycling, grounds keeping, janitorial services, and more. There are a lot of possibilities which often get overlooked.

One school that has saved a lot of money conserving energy is Redmond High School in Seattle, Washington. Students initially trying to protect the environment ended up saving their school a lot of money. By simply reducing electricity use, they saved about $7,500. After a complete overhaul of the school district’s energy use, $550,000 was saved in only 2 ½ years. This amount of money would go very far in any school district and would give administration a break from the recent cuts in education funding.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Importance of Writing

By Sean Scarpiello

Writing is very important for students but often seems to be overlooked by many professionals in the education field. These days, there seems to be a large variation in the importance of writing among colleges. In general, many colleges do not stress the usefulness of writing.

One of the reasons that students do not have sufficient writing skills is because many of the large universities do not focus on writing as much as they should. Since there are so many students being pumped out of these large universities and state schools, quality is overlooked in educating quantity. All schools have special requirements that students need to meet. For example, some schools require two years of English and/or Writing courses. When these schools are one of the goliaths like Ohio State or University of Florida, many of the students were in classes with hundreds of other students. When professors are teaching classes with such a high number of students, they will not assign the same amount of essays to write. Neither professors nor teacher aids will want to grade such a large number of papers. Plus, there is a lack of feedback for students when they are in very large class sizes.

Smaller colleges generally address the importance of writing more than larger colleges. That is not to say that if you graduated from a large institution you are a bad writer. Smaller class sizes allow professors to assign a sufficient amount of papers and to grade them individually. Also, professors can then meet one on one and address any strengths, weaknesses and comments for the paper. Feedback is crucial to learning and becoming a better writer. The feedback allows students to directly improve their writing for future assignments and the workplace. This same lack of feedback that can be found on college campuses may also be prominent for many online college students. The sorts of writing assignments that are done by online students may not be up to par with other students. There are ways where students can receive feedback from their online course assignments, but it cannot be as useful or meaningful as a one on one conference over an assignment.

One other factor about writing that is constantly overlooked is the form of writing which students study. A science major’s form of writing will be very different from the form of writing a political science or an English major has. Scientists are very direct in their writing and avoid using flowery wording in their literature. A scientist will have an extremely different style than that of a journalist or professional writer. It is important that people studying to work in these different types of occupations are taught the correct ways to write literature in their field.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Cultural Factors Hindering Science Education

By Sean Scarpiello In his article “How Our Culture Keeps Students Out of Science,” Peter Wood touches on many of the important aspects of how there are decreasing numbers of students interested in science. Many of these factors are caused by American culture and education system. It is important to fix these problems because there are other countries competing with the US as the world’s superpower. If we can fix this problem, the U.S. would have more scientists to advance technology in all fields of science.

One of the first problems which needs to be fixed is the type of visa going to foreign students in the United States. The current types of visas are set up so that the smartest scientists in the world graduate from Ivy League schools and go back to their home country instead of working in the United States. This is definitely a problem because it raises the demand for qualified scientists to study in the United States. It also makes it difficult for employers in the United States to hire scientists which would not only bring success, money, and power to the employers, but also the United States. This causes countries like China and India to have some of America’s best workers because they are being sent off by the US government.

Wood also touches on the problems of America’s education system. One of the problems he highlights is how the system actually hinders the learning process for the sciences. First off, it is obvious that learning science is difficult for many reasons, including the type of work load and labs in college, as well as the type of knowledge that must be previously learned to perfect a scientist’s skills. For example, scientists use math every day at their job. This sort of math is very tough to learn for many students and only a few students develop a high affinity for math. The educational programs at many of the schools in the United States are very poor and do not exactly motivate learning science and math. This only hinders us down the road when there is a shortage of scientists.

The general mindset that many schools take also acts as a problem in many elementary schools. Many schools try to instill self-esteem into students, rather than allowing them to feel achievement after a job well done. Wood describes how many students feel a false sense of accomplishment after working on trivial tasks. In other parts of the world, many countries do not praise their students for doing poorly, even if they had tried their best. This also causes a problem because it draws students away from entering the fields of science. I feel that this is partially true because in my experience there have been many students which had dropped from science classes because the information, concepts and ideas were simply too difficult to grasp. Furthermore, I can relate to Wood in the ways that this eventually leads to a problem. Since many students give up in the area of science, there is an overall decline in the amount of students entering the field of science.

One last subject Wood talks about is how women would be very useful when it comes to helping out society. It would be very nice to see more women in the workforce - especially women who are hoping to enter the science field. If more women were working in engineering, mathematics and other fields of science, there would definitely be an increase in the number of well-educated scientists.

In all, it is quite important to recognize these problems and fix them so that we can create a better future for the future generations of human beings. Also, it would be beneficial to the United States as we compete with China, India, and other countries for the position of a world superpower.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Online Education

Take a look and let me know what you think

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Search results - Blogger Help

The USA should have a Goal to be the


To be the Best Nation

we Need the Smartest People.

To have the Smartest People

they must be the BEST EDUCATED.

To get the Best Education

we Need the Best Teachers.

We get the BEST Teachers

by paying them better than any other state.

At present, The USA has NO goal.