Explore Ecuador

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Exactly Is ‘High-Quality’ Preschool?

NPR – Claudio Sanchez

“But just what is quality preschool? It’s difficult to debate the merits of early childhood education, and to argue that every child — indeed, the nation as a whole — will benefit from better access to preschool, without first defining what exactly constitutes a “high quality” model.”(more)

Early childhood education matters

The Reformer – Chloe Learey

“Why is early childhood such an important time of life? Studies show that a child’s earliest experiences determine how well that child will succeed in school and how healthy and productive they will be as adults. That’s because 90 percent of the brain’s foundation for all future learning and social-emotional development is built in the first five years of life.”(more)

Federal education official says technology, early learning can unlock a child’s potential

The Deseret News – Benjamin Wood

“A child’s preschool years are critical for learning, a federal education official said Tuesday, and, while missed opportunities can be made up later, it takes twice the effort and the cost.”(more)

The Lure of Forbidden Food

The New York Times – Tara Parker-Pope

“Children who are highly motivated by food — researchers have called them “reactive eaters” — are of particular interest to childhood health experts. Were they born this way? Or do parents create reactive eaters by imposing too many food rules and imposing restrictive eating practices at home?”(more)

Mother’s Vitamin D Levels During Pregnancy Linked To Toddler’s Risk Of Cavities (STUDY)

The Huffington Post – Will Boggs, MD

“Women’s low vitamin D levels during pregnancy are linked to a higher risk of cavities in the teeth of their toddlers, according to a new study done in Canada.”(more)

Guest: What do you mean by ‘STEM’?

The Seattle Times – Glenn Hampson

“It’s been about 20 years since the term STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) was first introduced by the National Science Foundation. The original goal was to consolidate and promote the concerns of various interest groups all seeking better technical education and literacy.”(more)

Tapping Into the Potential of Games and Uninhibited Play for Learning

Mind Shift – Jordan Shapiro

“Think about popular games, old and new: Pac-Man, Mario Brothers, Space Invaders, Minecraft. Even very small kids can learn to play really complex games. Kids play for hours until they master the game, until they discover the patterns. They talk about it with their friends. They share tips. They share tricks. They learn together.”(more)

FCAT computer glitches halt testing for thousands of students

The Miami Herald – David Smiley, Kathleen McGrory and Michael Vasquez

“Florida’s all-important FCAT exams were thrown in disarray on Tuesday, as widespread computer glitches prevented thousands of students from logging into their computers and taking the test.”(more)

Are teachers leaving classroom in droves?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“A common assertion everywhere in the country is that teachers are quitting in droves. That’s not always borne out when you look at the data, which shows teacher turnover, while often high, is still within the normal range for the profession.”(more)

Monday, April 21, 2014

University Education, a Wise Investment?

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


For the past forty years, college has been a right of passage – a place to have fun, make friends, and grow up. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s a college degree of any type opened the door to high quality employment and above average compensation.


Then technology began to change and K-12 education faltered. High school graduates no longer had the skills employers needed for many jobs. In an effort to fill job openings with skilled personnel, employers began to require college degrees for a wider range of assignments.


These new employment requirements caught many families off guard. They had not planned for post secondary education, but wanted to provide their children with reasonable job prospects. To fill the gap many families obtained loans to cover the cost of college education.


At first the loans made financial sense, because the cost of college was low compared to income potential. This meant graduates could pay back loans quickly after graduation.


However the increase in demand for college education led to tuition increases as colleges and universities rushed to add programs and facilities. As the cost of university education increased, the payback period for loans increased as well – moving from a few years to decades.


At about the same time technology was radically changing the workplace. Low cost computer and communication technologies reduced the number of people required for most jobs and made it possible for companies to fill openings with lower cost workers from overseas. Most high quality job openings now require strong math and science skills, weak areas for most U.S. citizens.


U.S. colleges and universities have been slow to adjust to the new workplace demands. Many schools are still offering degrees that are useless in the 21st Century. This means students are graduating with poor job prospects and high debt.


According to Clayton Christianson, Harvard University Professor and expert on disruptive change, this is an equation for disaster. He predicts that over half of the colleges and universities in the U.S. will fail within the next 15 years because they are not offering a useful product.


Parents and students need to take proactive steps to avoid problems. Young people should be completely proficient in international level math and science by the end of grade 12. Parents need to confirm a college is financially stable before their child enrolls. Then young people need to select degrees that include advanced math and science and build strong communication skills.