Thursday, July 10, 2014

Educational Challenges When Moving with Children

School Choice International was invited to blog about educational issues and relocation for assignees. Take a look at the challenges families may experience in a domestic or international move.

Friday, June 13, 2014

For lessons about social class- Rob Holloman


      In the May 30th New York Times article “For Lessons About Social Class, a Field Trip Takes Students Home”, the paper discusses the Manhattan Country School’s unique Field Trip program. In their pre-kindergarten classes, the children of Manhattan Country School go to other students’ homes and experience their culture for a day. The field trips  both build community and introduce students from an early age to the concept of social, ethnic, and cultural diversity. As a student and an employee of School Choice International, I feel that I can relate to the article in multiple ways.

      In one way, it adds a new level of meaning to the idea of a field trip. Field trips traditionally bring in a real world context to help students understand the curriculum. For example, my history class took a trip to the Holocaust museum when we were studying World War II, in order to get a better understanding of the atrocities and horrors of Nazi Germany. The Manhattan Country School takes this a step further, however, by making it not real world examples of the curriculum, but real world examples of life itself. They illustrate to children early examples of tough issues such as social and class inequality. By introducing children to these concepts and issues early, however, the hope is that the children will realize that there are far more similarities between each other than differences. This is a radical new method for field trips; not curriculum focused field trips, but life skills focused field trips.

            The second way I can relate to the article is the amount of both student and parent involvement it encourages. For parents, the dilemma always seems to be that they want to be more involved with the school, but that they do not always have the time or ability to. With the new field trips idea, it allows the parents to be involved hosts who can show the children their own culture. For the students, it allows every one of them to have their day in the sun. They can show their friends in their class their homes, and they can also get to see their friend’s homes. And of course, there’s always the fact that the students get a day off from school. No matter what the age, kids will always love to get an additional ‘day off’, even if they’re actually perhaps learning even more than they would in a normal school day.

            There are also many ways to take the ideas from the article and use them in a school setting or as a parent or student. For schools, the first suggestion would to be implement the field trips in the style of the Manhattan Country School. However, this is not the only way schools can use this information: if a school does not want to go as far as the Manhattan School, just perhaps consider using field trips that would teach life skills rather than curriculum. For students, one could be more interested and proactive about learning another classmate’s lineage and culture. And for parents, there’s at least two ways they could use this information. One is to make sure that the children know their own cultural background, and that they are proud of it. The second is to become more involved and active in the school, to show your children that you care about and value their education.

By Rob Holloman
School Choice International Student Intern

Friday, June 6, 2014

Is College Worth It?

Is College Worth It?
As student debt in the United States tops $1 trillion, many are left asking the question, “Is college even worth it?” As a soon-to-be high school graduate heading off to university in the fall, this idea is terrifying. Of course, I’m hoping that all of the time and costs do pay off in the long run. I’ll be off to the Big Easy in late August to attend Tulane University, a private college in uptown New Orleans with lots of fun, lots of tuition costs, and lots of shopping opportunities down on Magazine Street. To ease my mother’s mind, who is shelling out thousands of dollars to send me away to paradise for four years, I did some research to answer this terrifying question. Lucky for me, and hundreds of thousands of American students heading off to college soon, I found that research lately is indicates that in almost every case, a college degree is well worth its cost.

It has been determined that the average college graduate can “recover the cost of attending [a college] in less than 20 years,” if they do it the right way. Once those years pass, the graduate is then earning every dollar of income as pure profit. Because high school graduates are twice as likely to face unemployment, especially in times of recession, this means that a college graduate, after 15 or so years, much more likely to have a job and is almost guaranteed to make more in his or her lifetime. Research also shows that the value of a college degree is in fact increasing as the gap between college graduate earnings and high school graduate earning continues to grow.
Pew Research Center has done many studies on the topic of higher education in the United States. Not only have they found that a college degree is worth more today than it was decades ago, but they have realized that college graduates are often much more satisfied with their work. In fact, they are more likely to “see themselves on a career path.” You also cannot ignore that nine out of ten college grads would agree that their college education has been “worth the investment.”
                Analysis of the Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington found that “Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree.” Keep in mind; this is still increasing from past years. No, a bachelor’s degree does not ensure success, but it does send someone on the right track. After all, with an ever changing world, economy, and culture, nothing can be guaranteed. Though the frightening tales and horror stories do exist out there for some indebted and jobless college graduates, these are often the outliers. The unemployment rate for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree is only at 3%, and the average loan amount per student is around $25,000 (which can easily be paid back with the value of the degree).
               Keep in mind – a college education is a huge investment and there are, in fact, times when it may not be worth it. Here are some circumstances of when the cost may not pay itself back:
·        If you don’t graduate on time, or at all
(more time in school means more tuition costs, and more debt, which needs to be paid off even if you don’t complete college through graduation)
·        If you choose the wrong school, in fit or cost
(if you end up with too much debt to ever recover from, or your school doesn't do what it needs to for you, it might be a waste of your time and money)
·        If you study the wrong thing, and end up with a useless degree
(many degrees can lead to dead-end career paths – beware!)
·        If college simply isn't right for you
(honestly, college isn't for everyone – for example, if you would rather work with your hands, try trade school or an apprenticeship)

Something to remember: A college education is exactly what you make of it. If you take your degree and really run with it, becoming a dedicated and motivated member of the workforce, four years or more at a university can truly pay off! Something to consider: Study internationally! Many other nations offer higher education for a much lower tuition cost, so maybe your four or so college years can be spent immersed in a new culture at a lesser price.

Sarah O'Brien
Intern at School Choice International


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