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Importance of Nursery Rhymes

One of your earliest memories might be of singing Ring Around the Rosy or chanting along to Humpty Dumpty. However, many parents do not know that the origination’s of these classic nursery rhymes actually go back hundreds of years and may have negative beginnings. For example, the source of the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty is said to relate to a failed security blockage during the English Civil War about 450 years ago. Along that same idea, the Ring Around the Rosy chant is actually believed to have been derived during the time of the plague when children and adults were continually dying from the rampant disease. However, despite the somewhat dark beginnings to these popular nursery rhymes, there is no denying the importance of nursery rhymes and teaching them to your children.

Benefits and importance of nursery rhymes:

There are several different reasons why parents should not forget the importance of teaching their children nursery rhymes. Not only are they a fun and interactive way for parents and children alike, they are a great way to teach your child both mentally and physically. The repetition of hearing the same lines within the stories over and over is a great way to build your child’s memory capabilities as well as expose them to new words and sentence formulations. Many parents will begin teaching their children nursery rhymes during infancy to help expose them to this new experience with literacy (see literacy statistics). Physically speaking, even a baby can benefit from the importance of nursery rhymes. Because smaller infants and toddlers are still developing their gross and fine motor skills, learning how to interact with a book by opening it, turning the pages and closing it, they can work on developing those skills even more. By experiencing nursery rhymes through sound or visually on a DVD or TV program, children also get the opportunity to expand those same learning experiences both visually and orally. Many children may enjoy chanting and singing the nursery rhymes together along with other children. These nursery rhymes are a great way for children to do something together and learn with one another. Nursery rhymes may also be a way for even shyer children to get used to singing, dancing and performing.

Other benefits of teaching your children nursery rhymes can include the fact that it does help our society hold on to these parts of our culture – no matter how strange the origin. This is something that grandparents, parents and children can share with one another. Because nursery rhymes are so popular, many children who don’t even know each other will still have these in common. They may meet another child at daycare or at in preschool and kindergarten and they immediately have something in common with them because they share the knowledge of these nursery rhymes. If parents want to know more about how they can share these nursery rhymes with their children, be sure to check out our full post on www.educationbug.org.

Department of Education

The Department of Education, also known as ED, was created in 1980 when offices from several federal agencies were combined together. The mission of the Department of Education is “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access”. The Department of Education is responsible for a number of things including: establishing and monitoring policies on federal funds used for education, collecting and sharing data on America’s schools, determining key education issues and focusing national attention on them, and ensuring equal access to education.

 According to the Department of Education history, as reported on their website ed.gov, a budget of $15,000 and four employees in the 1860s has increased to a budget of $67.3 billion and 4,200 employees as of 2009, with an additional $100 billion to be used over a two year period as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A number of historical events led to the establishment of the federal agency known as the Department of Education. As the country watched the Soviet Union launch Sputnik and as large cities started to experience large areas of illiterate and poverty stricken neighborhoods, government officials saw an increasing need for government to step in and help with and monitor educational opportunity for all Americans.

There are a number of things that the Department of Education does NOT do. They do not establish schools, develop curriculum, determine criteria for graduation or enrollment, set state standards for education, or create and implement testing procedures for individual states to determine whether state education standards are being met. Each state has its own methods and procedures (involving both public and private organizations) that are involved in developing, assessing, and maintaining educational standards. Starting in 1969 the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics started conducting a National Assessment of Educational Progress, states can compare their testing results to these results to get an idea of where they may need additional or improved testing measures.

The Department of Education is headquartered in Washington, D.C. where 3,100 of the 4,200 employees are located. The other 1,100 employees work in regional offices located in ten areas throughout the country. For individuals that would like more detailed information, or contact information for the Department of Education, the ED.gov website provides phone numbers and mailing addresses for the Department’s headquarters and regional offices. The website also contains information about budgets and performance statistics, teaching resources, publications, federal financial aid, college accreditation, No Child Left Behind, and much more. The Department of Education even has a blog that covers current news and events relating to national education issues.

The Department of Education works directly with the President of the United States to make consistent, joint effort to improve the quality of and opportunity for education to each and EVERY individual. In the blog post Final Community College Regional Summit Focuses on Veterans, Military Members and Families on ed.gov/blog, the writer identifies one educational goal of President Obama “…having the best-educated workforce and the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020″. This is a lofty goal that can only be achieved through hard work and cooperation at a national, state, local, and individual level. Visit ed.gov to learn more about how the Department of Education can help parents, adult students, and students of all ages achieve the best education possible.

Sources: ed.gov, ed.gov/blog

Importance of Education

Understanding the importance of education is vital for both parents and students to encourage students to continue to stay in school and decrease the number of high school drop outs each year. There are also many statistics that show the average high school graduate and the college graduate are likely to make incrementally more money per year based on their level of education. While monetary facts do bode well for the importance of education, there are other valuable aspects of a student successfully making their way through school. Students that drop out of school prior to graduation are also more likely to be responsible for financial and social costs to the community and state in which they live. This is because some of those individuals that drop out of school are more likely to get pregnant out of wedlock or get into trouble with the law, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. About seven thousand high school students drop out each school day. The importance of education needs to take on a new direction to help decrease this number.

Because of the dire financial situation throughout the United States, the country can no longer absorb the costs and losses associated with the number of high school drops outs each year. This is why more and more efforts are being taken by the state and federal school systems to help encourage the number of students to stay in school through various efforts to get students educated by placing this heavy importance of education into the hand of each student and teacher. The true importance of education comes into play when high school students that do graduate face what they are going to do with their future. Which decision will they make? Fortunately more and more young adults are choosing to go to some form of college after high school whether it be a trade school or university. There are many educational opportunities for adults of all ages. By cashing in on the importance of education, young adults have a better chance at a brighter future because they will be able to make more money in the long run. While this is not the case for everyone, it does increase the likelihood of success for each student or individual.

Because of decreased spending in public schools and universities, the federal government is having to work on both a federal level as well as with the states individually to make for a change in the school system. Weighing heavily on the importance of education, lawmakers and school administrators are working together to come up with new ways to handle making education better for students while working with less money. The No Child Left Behind Act is currently undergoing major renovations to better help the students in the public school system. The idea is to revamp those requirements and instead help students truly get a a good education to take to college or post-high school educational opportunity. To learn more about the importance of education, be sure to check out the educationbug.org website to learn more about school, educational opportunities and much more.

Sources: whitehouse.gov, all4ed.org

Google Apps for Education

Google Apps for Education offers resources for teachers, students, and parents. This article includes a summary of what Google Apps Education Edition has to offer, what each Google Education App is, and what they can do to assist you in your education journey.

Google Apps, such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, may be familiar from your business dealings or from “everyday life” getting in touch with friends and family. But did you know that there is a Google Apps Education Edition, which includes all these apps, plus Google Sites, which allows for the creation of a classroom website?
Here’s a summary of the educational version of Google Apps:

  • Gmail offers faculty, staff, and students each an email account with 2 GB of storage. It’s designed so the chat function can be disabled if student IMing is not desired in these accounts.
  • Google Talk allows both voice calls and instant messages for collaboration across distances.
  • Google Calendar helps with making sure students have access to the schedule of school events and a good way to schedule after-school meetings that won’t conflict with sports practice, music lessons, study groups, or other activities.
  • Google Docs allows students and teachers to create collaborative documents in real time within a browser window and to store documents in a place that is accessible to everyone in a group.
  • Google Sites—which can include other docs, photos, a Google Calendar, and attachments—can help students keep up with homework, celebrate the class’s accomplishments, and keep everyone on the same page with upcoming events. It can also be used to build project websites. It includes 100 GB of storage
  • Google Video for Education is an image hosting and sharing service for digital video and provides 10 GB of storage.

Google (fortunately) sets different privacy standards for Apps for Education (and it’s actually too bad that they don’t apply the same standards for all users of Google products). Nevertheless, you should read them yourself. You can find them here: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu/privacy.html
Google also does not charge for these services and does not post ads of any kind on them. Schools currently using Google Apps for Education include Brown University, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, the Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, etc.
Other important information that could help you decide about using Google Apps for Education:

  • Google promises a minimum of 99.9% uptime.
  • K-12 schools and institutions of higher education must be accredited to qualify for a free Google Apps for Education account.
  • Non-profits (501(c)(3) organizations with fewer than 3000 users are eligible for Google Apps for Education. Larger non-profits get a discounted price.
  • Google Message Security is available for free to K-12 schools and districts, but only for a limited time. More information is available here: https://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=151966
  • It takes about 6 weeks to implement a deployment of Google Apps.
  • It is possible to migrate email from existing accounts to Google Apps.
  • It is possible to use an existing school authentication system with Google Apps.
  • In addition to online answers, phone support and priority email support are both offered for Google Apps for Education users, but phone support is limited to certain issues.

Sources
https://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139019
http://www.google.com/educators/p_apps.html

College Degrees That Pay the Most

When it comes to choosing a college major there are many things to consider. Not least among these considerations is finding the college degrees that pay the most that are in a field you are interested in. Everyone wants to do something they like doing but reality is individuals need a job that will pay the bills and help them meet their financial obligations. So we ask the question which college degrees pay the most? Are all college degrees about equal? Well we know right off the answer to that is no. A doctor or lawyer doesn’t make the same amount of money as a elementary education teacher. But aside from these most well known professions let’s take a look at some of the less known professions and college degrees that pay the most.

A recent article in The Kansas City Star, “Documenting major gaps in salaries” found at kansascity.com researchers take a look at the income gap between different higher education degrees as well as income gap between male and female and the income gap between ethnic groups. Their findings are interesting and we will summarize their findings here. Across the board any higher education degree averages a higher net income over a lifespan but income statistics show that there is a huge income gap in the amount of individual income increase varies greatly depending on the field of study.

Here is a list of the higher education degrees that can lead to the highest paying jobs:

  • Petroleum Engineer – $120,000
  • Pharmacy – $105,000
  • Math and Computer Sciences – $98,000
  • Aerospace Engineer – $87,000
  • Chemical Engineer – $86,000
  • Electrical Engineer $85,000
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineer – $82,000
  • Mechanical, Metallurgical (study of metals), mining and mineral engineering – $80,000

For comparison sake lets look at the higher education degrees with the lowest median earnings:

  • Counseling/Psychology – $29,000
  • Early Childhood Education – $36,000
  • Theology and Religion – $38,000
  • Human Services and Community Organization – $38,000
  • Social Work – $39,000
  • Performing Arts, Health and Medical Prep Programs – $40,000

Another consideration, especially in trying times like today is which career fields have the lowest unemployment rates. The top higher education fields with the lowest unemployment rates include: Geological and geophysical engineering, military technologies, pharmacology, and school student counseling. The jobs that have the highest unemployment rate include: social psychology, nuclear engineering, and educational administration.

One last topic that was discussed in the article was the income gap between gender and individuals from different ethnicity. Women make less than men in virtually every major but the example stated in the article is for a chemical engineering degree where women make $20,000 less than their male counterpart. When it comes to ethnic differences there was also a huge income gap. These figures are comparing finance majors and they show that Caucasians earned a yearly average of $70,000 compared to $56,000 for Asians and Hispanics compared to $47,000 for African Americans.

There are many things to consider but pay is always a top consideration however, an individual should also take into consideration their interests as well as natural talents and abilities. Just having a degree in a specific field doesn’t automatically mean you will excel at it or enjoy it. Before choosing a major talk to people in the industry your are considering, get a feel for what the jobs are like, how much time is required and what the work load and how much time and energy is required for success. Make sure that it is a job you will be able and willing to do.

Source: kansascity.com/2011/05/26/2907002/documenting-major-gaps-in-salaries.html

Commonly Misused Words Like Yea vs Yeah

At EducationBug.org we have recently added several new articles including a few on commonly misused words like yea vs yeah, and insure vs ensure. We also offer a number of articles on commonly misspelled words like separate vs seperate. It is important for everyone to develop good communication skills in order to have the best job opportunities and educational advancement opportunities. Many of the most commonly misused words come about because of slurred or unclear speaking, a pattern of misuse within a family, community, or area, or learned misuse through incorrect teaching.

A prime example of commonly misused words include yea vs yeah. These words are so commonly misused that many people don’t even know the meaning of both words and use them interchangeably. Included in the mix is “yay” and “ya”. Common misuse or misunderstanding about the usage of these words often happens when agreeing with someone and when declaring excitement about something. “Yeah” is the correct word to use when agreeing with someone or answering yes to a question. You get a text saying “Are you coming?”, you should reply with ”Yeah, will be there shortly”. Many people will reply with simply ”ya” which is slang for “you” but should not be used to mean “I agree” or “yes”. Or they will reply with “yea” thinking they are saying “yeah”.

“Yea” means to give an affirmative answer or vote in favor of something. Many votes will be counted by the number of yea verses nay responses or yes vs no. “Yay” is commonly used when someone is showing excitement and is often accepted to mean the same thing as “yea”. Yay, however, is not technically even a word. This mistake is probably most often made because when some people say ”yea” they make a ”y” sound at the end of the word so when they try to spell it, “yay” seems correct. This could probably be considered the best or most accepted type of misuse, in regards to these specific words, simply because it is commonly accepted and is not in fact another word with a completely different meaning like “ya” and “yeah”.

While it may not seem like a big deal whether or not you are using the correct word or correct spelling of a word, old habits die hard. If you use a word incorrectly for any length of time and then have to try and use it correctly, you may use it incorrectly without even realizing it. The more people that make the distinction and start using yea, yeah, and  ya correctly, the easier it will be for new learners to make the distinction. Too often, we as parents teach our children the wrong thing simply because we don’t know or recognize that we are doing it wrong ourselves.

Check out our commonly confused words page to learn more about some of the other words that are commonly misused and misspelled. The earlier children learn them correctly the more natural it will be for them throughout their education, career, and life to use them correctly. If a child is already struggling with reading, spelling, or other related subjects you may not want to make a big deal or put a big focus on these issues yet, but keep in mind that making sure you always use these words correctly will make it a more natural part of their learning process without having to put a big push or focus on it.

Benefits of Online Education

There are many benefits of online education for students of any age. While many may think that the benefits of online education are just for college students, that is no longer with the case with increases in educational technology. Now, students just entering kindergarten to high school students can also take advantage of the benefits of online education. Keep reading to find out more about how to find online education programs that are perfect for you or your child to be able to enroll in the benefits of online education.

Many can get an education online now with various courses that are available via the Internet. Homeschool students especially can take advantage of the benefits of online education with many of their classes. These online educational opportunities can be used as the entire homeschooling curriculum or can be used to supplement courses taught by parents or tutors. To further look into these options, it is important to check out options that are offered by an accredited institution in order to make sure the online school and course list are legitimate. It is important to check with your state department of education to make sure the online courses match whatever state requirements there are in order to receive credit for the course.

When it comes to online education for high school students, there are many benefits of online education. High school students are required to have so many credits in order to graduate. There are times when a student might fail the class the first time, or a required class might be difficult to work with the student’s schedule. This is the perfect opportunity for students to take the class online in order to make up the credit or take the course on their own time so that it works with their class schedules. Students might also want to take an online course that is not offered at their high school like a foreign language or skills course. Getting to take these added courses are just part of the benefits of online education. Through online courses, high school students also have the option to take more advanced preparatory classes or college courses during high school to earn college credit early. Just be sure to check out the credentials of the online school to ensure the courses are legitimate and will qualify for college credits upon transfer to a community college or university.

For online education and college students, most colleges or universities offer a plethora of courses that can be taken at any time by the student. This is great for distance learning when the college student cannot afford to live on campus or to drive to school every day. Many college students also have to work full-time in order to afford their college education. Courses can be difficult to schedule around a work schedule, which is why the benefits of online education greatly extend to college students in this type of a situation. Online education during the summer semester to make up missing credits is also one of the great benefits of online education.

In addition to college students, high school and home school students, those who are wishing to simply learn new information or expand their knowledge base can greatly benefit from an online education. There are many reasons why a person should take advantage of the benefits of online education including:

  • Convenience and flexibility. Students with jobs or families find school difficult because it is hard to work around preexisting schedules. With the benefits of online education, this is no longer an issue.
  • Pacing. Online education allows a student to work more at their own pace compared to that of traditional classes.
  • Lack of commute. This is great for students who don’t live close to a college or university, or for those home-schooled students.
  • More choices. There are more choices when it comes to variety of courses and subjects than traditional schooling.

Overall, there are many benefits of online education that anyone can take advantage of while pursuing their education. It is important to remember to check out each online school to ensure they are legitimate and that the courses offered will count toward the high school curriculum or college credits.

What is a Charter School?

For those looking into alternative options of education for their children, you might be wondering what is a charter school? Charter schools are fairly recent type of schooling and education used as an alternative to public schools. In this article we are going to try to answer the what is a charter school question and highlight some of the pros and cons of charter schools.

What is a charter school?
A charter school in the United States can be either a primary or secondary school that receives its funding from both public and private resources. Because there are many private donations required to keep a charter school funded, they are not subject to the same conditions and regulations put forth on public schools. The fact that they are also publicly funded using state education dollars to help operate, charter schools cannot charge a tuition. However, charter schools are often more flexible and provide alternative methods for some aspects of education including transportation as well as education and teaching methods.

When trying to find out what is a charter school, you might also learn that a charter school can be founded by parents, community members or by the school district if they see a need for such an institution within the area. One requirement made, because of the public funding, is that the charter school administration must set forth a curriculum including goals and achievement levels to be monitored over by the school board. However, these do not have to be the same goals and requirements mandated by the school district for public schools. The charter is then reviewed every couple of years and the school board determines whether or not it is effective in teaching its students.

For parents wondering what is a charter school, you might also be wondering what are the advantages of sending your children to a charter school. Many parents decide to enroll their children in a charter school based on the many unique opportunities and advantages offered at charter schools that may not be available at public schools.

Some charter school benefits may include:

  • Smaller class sizes and more individualized attention
  • Giving parents a greater say in their child’s education
  • Schools are required to be accountable for their performance
  • Teachers are allowed to try innovative teaching methods
  • More opportunities are given to teachers
  • Teachers choose to work there, which may mean they are more likely to be committed to the school’s educational mission.

Charter schools vary drastically from state-to-state when it comes to admission, teaching methods and overall operation. Some charter schools place strict restrictions on the children that are admitted to the school. Generally, waiting lists or lottery-style methods will be used to help determine how many and which children are admitted to the charter school. There is also a cap placed on charter schools meaning that there can only be so many per state. Many charter schools also place limits on the number of students they will admit. However, public funding often relies on the number of students each charter school has attending.

If a charter school does not have enough students to fill all the classrooms, the school will experience a reduction in funding. This means they do not have as much money to operate and may lose their charter as a result. There are several different reasons a charter school could lose its ability to operate. One of these is financial reasons. If there is not enough public or private funding coming in, the school will be forced to close. Another reason the school charter might be revoked is because the standards set forth by the school board are not being met and the students are not receiving a quality education.

For parents who were wondering what is a charter school, it is still a good idea to visit and tour each charter school you may be considering for your child. Interview the administration as well as teachers to get a good feel of how the school operates. Sometimes charter schools are not for all students an it is a good idea to know how the school’s teaching method and administration work to determine if  a particular charter school would be a good option for your child.

Visit EeducationBug.org to get more information on public schools vs charter schools and more!

Sources: http://www.jdnews.com, http://www.uscharterschools.org

Featured Site: FamilyFirstAid.org

In this featured site: FamilyFirstAid.org review, we wanted to take a look at this website that provides a number of great articles and features geared toward helping parents that have troubled teens dealing with all kinds of teen issues. Any parent of a teen can attest to the fact that there are many different kinds of teen issues to deal with and having the right parenting skills to help struggling teens get through these times can be tough. In our featured site: FamilyFirstAid.org review we will take a look at the kinds of parenting tips and information available at FamilyFirstAid.org. Learn about teen issues that many teens face and the type of help parents can receive to be more prepared to help these struggling teens. Articles are updated on the website regularly and feature current statistics and information for teens and parents about troubled teen issues like underage drinking, drug abuse, sibling rivalry, teen sex and advice for single parenting.

It is vital for parents to have access to articles featuring in-depth information about teen issues all in one place like on our featured site: FamilyFirstAid.org. Having this information is important for parents to have access to the right resources that will help them find solutions in aiding their teen son or daughter with some of the most difficult struggles they will ever face. In our FamilyFirstAid.org review, we learned about all of the articles the website has to offer. This site also offers helpful information on teen depression, anxiety and other emotional issues teens often face. Some of the other topics FamilyFirstAid.org covers include:

  • Teen depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • School bullying
  • Self Esteem
  • Weight issues
  • Teen anger
  • Sexual activity
  • Teen violence
  • Underage drinking
  • Drug abuse

Many parents of teens have experienced what it is like to lose control of their teen and face issues with rebellious teens. Some teens end up acting out in extreme behaviors like by doing or selling drugs, problems with promiscuity and frequent underage drinking. When it gets to this level, parents may need help from an outside source. Our featured site: FamilyFirstAid.org also offers articles about various solutions to this level of problem including information about treatment centers, behavior modification programs and more. These articles provide parents with the information they need to properly research these types of assistance programs and find the best program for their teen.

If the problems your troubled teen is encountering has to do with drugs or alcohol abuse, you may learn that some programs require a detoxification process first. Learning about these treatment programs can help you find out exactly what is required and where you can find help for your teen. The FamilyFirstAid.org website is a great tool and resource for parents to get some of the best parenting tips as well as information about programs for teens. These regularly updated articles provide great assistance to any parent in need of help with their teen.

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests in American schools has been a controversial issue among federal regulators, school administration, teachers, parents and students for years. The debate continues to escalate as standardized testing becomes more and more rigorous with the passing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

What are standardized tests?
Standardized tests are implemented in the public school system as a way to present unbiased results of student progress based on what is being taught in the school curriculum. Many standardized tests are used to determine the overall school or class progress like with Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports. Tests like these help determine the standards set by the NCLB act. There are also forms of standardized tests that are simply to track individual student improvement and are used in-school purposes to maybe determine a student’s grade or to see how well the teacher implements the standards required by the state-set curriculum.

Many standardized tests are used to test the student achievement gap to see how students of particular races, classes or educational backgrounds compare against one another. Standardized tests like these help teachers and educational experts determine where the focus of attention needs to shift in order for all students to learn the required material. The majority of required standardized testing is used to judge the progress of students, classes and schools overall, but to also determine student’s individual scores to see how that student is preparing for advancement in education. These tests help demonstrate the students who may need additional help or tutoring in order to catch up on the required material.

The standardized tests debate
Many agree with standardized testing in schools for several reasons:

  • Standardized tests demonstrate an overall method of achievement for classes and schools.
  • Standardized tests show the achievement gap for groups of students to help teachers and administration determine the students who need additional one-on-one attention in schooling to keep up with the learning curve of their peers.
  • Standardized tests help students relearn and recap the information they have previously been taught during the school year.

However, there are many disagreeing points when it comes to standardized tests:

  • These tests are designed to be unbiased, yet studies have shown they reveal a bias toward the middle-class white background.
  • Standardized tests do not represent a true sampling of how children learn. Many students who achieve good grades on regular assignments and tests do not perform well on standardized tests.
  • In order to keep up with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, some school administrators have been found to lower the goal set for the AYP testing to ensure the goals are met each year. However, this practice merely indicates low goal setting and not true academic achievement.

Sources: washingtonpost.com, fairtest.org, centerforpubliceducation.org