Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Parental Involvement in Education

By Sean Scarpiello

As teachers are continuously being criticized by the public for doing a poor job teaching today’s students, it is important to realize that teachers can only teach so much during a school day. A teacher’s job is not to raise children, but to teach children. Many teachers these days are expected to become a second mother or father. However, teachers can only do so much in the seven or so hours a day that they have with students. Some of the problems in the education field are caused by the students’ parents. Parents need to get involved in their children’s education. Studies have shown students with parents that are actively involved in their children’s education tend to do better in school.

To start, many parents are very busy and both parents may work full time jobs. This is no excuse for being disengaged from their children’s education. Being involved does not mean that parents have to designate several hours a week towards volunteering at their children’s school. Being involved in the very least is making sure that their children are prepared for school each day. This means that their children have all their school supplies and that their children wake up well rested for the school day each morning. For most parents, these sorts of responsibilities are taken care of easily. However, teachers still have a few students each year that continuously come to class unprepared and do not have a regularly scheduled bedtime.

It is also important for parents to remain involved with their children’s homework. Students will put more emphasis on their homework if they see their parents taking it seriously. Getting involved in homework is a quick and easy way to improve children’s education. Schedule a time to do homework every day and be consistent when enforcing it. Then parents should check it. If it is not neat, have them redo it. If children have some wrong answers to homework questions, review the questions and answers with them. In the child’s mind, they will see that homework is important and it is right to do a thorough job when completing all schoolwork. When students have tests, parents can quiz them verbally for bit. This will make students study more and it will also allow parents to give study tips.

Parents can also stress the importance of school by assigning math and grammar work to do over the summer. It does not have to be a ridiculous amount of work, but just a few pages each day. This will stop students from forgetting all the things they learned the previous year. It gives the students an edge when they return in the fall and gives them confidence.

One of the best ways to be involved in a child’s education is talk to them. Ask them about their day, friends, teachers, and problems. Children may not want to talk about school at first, but after parents constantly ask about their day they will discuss it. This also lets children know that mom and dad are interested in school and their friends. This will also allow children to be more open and honest in the future when there are bigger problems to worry about.

It is important for parents to realize that not all learning takes place in a classroom and that it is important to be involved in the process of education. Children will put as much importance on education as their parents do. This does not require an unreasonable amount of time or money, yet the final result is a much higher quality of student with a strong focus on education and destined for success.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grading Schools for Success

By Sean Scarpiello

Every day at school, students take tests to monitor their progress in class, and to help teachers gauge how well their students are doing so they can modify their lesson plans as necessary. Tests are crucial for learning to take place in school. It is easy to say that without tests, nothing would get done in school. A test is a motive to get students to learn effectively and succeed. If tests did not exist, then no one would put forth any effort studying nor showing up to class. This fact holds true in the rest of society as well. If there were not any tests, exams, inspections, or reviews in the workplace, all of civilization would crumble. Monetary return is the primary reason why every worker in the United States works hard. If workers do not make the cut, they are fired because they are ineffective. Tests set standards and help measure competency in basic knowledge as well as areas of expertise.

One of the areas which have come under much debate in recent years has been the effectiveness of school districts in the United States. The United States has slowly been dropping ranks in the field of education when compared to other countries around the world. One of the reasons for this is that the government has low standards for school districts. In other words, the tests that school districts need to pass are either non-existent or too easy to pass. The state governments need to come up with ways to raise their standards.

In Pennsylvania, students must take a standardized tests in reading, math, and science. Some high schools set a required score in order to graduate. At first, these standardized tests sound like a great idea and they have a lot of potential to ensure school districts are graduating well educated students. However, the tests are very easy. The test must be taken in the junior year of high school, but many freshmen could probably pass the test easily. This poses a problem for the quality of education in the United States.

School districts need to be tested as well. Often times, many school districts are poorly educating their students which is overlooked by ineffective inspections from the government. If the school administration, teachers, and board officials were more closely monitored, there would be a large increase in the quality of education. If students do not pass these tests coming from the government, people are at risk of losing their jobs to more effective administrators and teachers. When people’s jobs are on the line, the quality of their work will increase. Students and teachers will not succeed if they are not challenged. Therefore, if governments pushed the school districts to perform better on standardized tests, then there would be a huge improvement because there is a motive to work more effectively.

In all, giving America’s school districts their own exams to review their progress in educating students will bring a higher quality of education to students. This will allow the government to monitor school districts and make sure that every school is teaching a consistently high quality of education across the United States.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ebooks vs. Textbooks

By Sean Scarpiello

Around this time of the year, thousands of college students are beginning to order their books for the fall semester. Books are not cheap and most students will end up paying between $400 and $700 just for this next semester. Four years of this spending really adds up quickly. These days, advances in technology have introduced students to eBooks. These “electronic books” are simply the same version of physical textbooks but are accessed on a laptop, tablet, or a kindle. How do these new eBooks compare to the heavy, old fashioned textbooks?

Initially, students will compare the prices of each of the books. It turns out that there is never a definitive cheaper price for either of the two. However, some eBooks are cheaper than the real text books. Students can save around 10% to 15% on some eBooks. Some may compare the discount of buying an eBook with that of buying a used textbook. Other eBooks cost about the same as a regular textbook. For the most part, eBooks cost just as much, if not less than regular textbooks. In order to take advantage of the savings, students must do their own research to find the best deals.

This being said, that does not make eBooks the best choice when it comes to buying books for college. There are a few drawbacks to eBooks. First off, you need a device to hold and display the eBook; this means the student must own a laptop, tablet, or kindle. This is probably not a problem for most students because they have a laptop for college anyway and they can keep their eBooks there. However, if a student’s laptop is broken, stolen, or lost, then the student cannot access any of the books needed for classes. Another con of eBooks is that they may not be the best choice if a student needs to use the book in a class or lab. Many professors would not be comfortable with a computer or tablet out during a lab where the computer or lab apparatus may be harmed. Also, some students can study best if they can take notes right in their books.

Amid all of these cons of eBooks, there still are some pros, other than being a cheaper option. Students will not have to wait for books to be delivered nor will they need to pick them up because the eBook will instantly be downloaded and ready for use. Also, students can avoid having to carry around a backpack full of heavy textbooks for class. As long as students have their laptop or other electronic devices on hand, they have all the books they need for class.

The physical textbooks do still have some benefits. For one, they can be sold back at the end of the semester for cash from the bookstore at most colleges. Students do not get all of their money back, but they do get some spending money which can come in handy around campus. There is also less of a dependence on technology with textbooks. A lot of college students find out the hard way that technology can fail when it’s needed most. One last factor that can make or break textbooks for students is that they are easy to read. Some people feel like their eyes are fried from looking at a computer screen for hours upon hours. Using a laptop or tablet may or may not leave students with the same feeling.

In all, eBooks are occasionally cheaper than physical textbooks and students need to do their own research to see which books they can get the best deals on. Other than that, both eBooks and textbooks have pros and cons and it really comes down to student preference.

Schools can teach sex education, 
but only parents can teach MORALS.