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How Later School Start Times Could Translate to Billions for the Economy

Education World – Joel Stice

If students were allowed to sleep in a little longer during the week, it could pay off in billions for the country’s economy. It’s no secret that a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on one’s ability to focus. It’s a common struggle for many teenagers with an estimated 62 percent of high school students getting less than the recommended eight hours of shut-eye a night. Because of this, many school districts have felt a push to put later start times in place in order to help students get a little more rest. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends middle and high schools start at no earlier than 8:30 a.m., though 93 percent of U.S. high schools start earlier.”(more)

College may no longer be necessary, high quality K-12 education is

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Even though psychologists have been talking about a lack of correlation between college degrees, course grades, and job performance for decades, most companies continue to rely on these credentials and marks to make hiring decisions.

In the past couple of years, however, a few companies have broken rank. Google, a Fortune 500 technology firm, and Ernst and Young U.K., part of one of the world’s largest accounting firms, have publicly announced they no longer require college degrees for employment.

Google’s chairman said the company is more interested in an applicant’s skills, ability to think in a logical way, work ethic, breadth of experience, public speaking abilities, and creativity. Ernst and Young said they are interested in talented individuals regardless of background.

This transformation is due, in large part, to free access of information through the Internet. Over five years ago Bill Gates, a founder of Microsoft, suggested that traditional university education, especially at fixed-place institutions will no longer be necessary, since most of the content will be available online for free.

The college experience is under additional pressure, because college costs are rising at a rate higher than inflation and a college degree no longer guarantees a solid middle-class income. In fact, the College Risk Report (collegeriskreport.com) suggests that the rate of return on most four-year college degrees is worse than 2-year degrees and in some instances worse than no degree at all.

There is a small group of students who receive full ride scholarships to attend college. For these students, the costs are so low that the four-year degree makes financial sense.

Some people assert that college is an excellent place to make contacts. This may be a valid claim for students who are outgoing and takes advantage of all the clubs, speakers, professors, and research opportunities available at a school, but is probably not the case for most students who meet few people outside their dorms and classes.

Without a traditional college education, strong K-12 schooling is imperative since this will be where kids learn basic skills, hone public speaking abilities, refine creative thinking, and develop logical problem solving capabilities. Work ethic can be developed at school, home or in extra-curricular activities like sports. Breadth of experience can occur at school or through outside clubs and activities.

This new employment paradigm suggests we need to worry more about high quality K-12 education and less about college.

The US is failing to invest enough in one of the most critical periods in children’s education

Quartz – Jenny Anderson

“Considerable research shows that well-designed early childhood programs can help children, particularly those who are disadvantaged, build social, emotional and academic skills that can help them as students and in life. The US seems to have missed that memo. In 2014, it had one of the lowest enrollment rates for children in early childhood and pre-primary programs among the world’s richest 35 countries. Only three do worse than the US at offering programs for kids aged three and four: Turkey, Switzerland and Greece. In the US only 42% of three-year olds and 68% of four-year olds were enrolled; among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation the average is is 71% and 86%, respectively.”(more)

Preparing kids to go back to school

The San Francisco Examiner – Richard Carranza

“Hard to believe it, but school starts today for our students. We are so excited to welcome every single student back to a great year of learning. I know that getting back into a school routine can be a challenge, so I’d like to share tips on how to make a successful transition. Reasonable bedtimes: We see our share of sleepy kids during the first few weeks of school. If you haven’t already, start settling your child into bed a little earlier. If getting up on time for school is hard for your child, you’ll be glad you started now.”(more)

Get rid of the education bureaucracy and kids’ hearts will sing

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. – Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Steve Jobs made highly technical machines user-friendly and beautiful by blending mathematics, science, and art. More importantly, he started a wave of innovation that made products that were once only accessible to scientists and engineers readily available to the general public.

During this period of innovation, the education sector was stuck in a time warp. Most primary and secondary students today are educated in about the same way that they were in the 1980s.

Counselors continue to place students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), humanities, and trade tracks rather than encourage a broad education. Teaching credentials are still more important than an amazing understanding of the subject and schools are still accredited by personnel from other schools rather than by the market. Also, the majority of U.S. students attend schools run by the government.

Regulations and peer review accreditations may have been necessary in the middle of the 20th Century. However, the same regulations and accrediting bodies that protected our kids then are forcing schools to operate in ways that are inconsistent with 21st Century realities. In short, this means kids are wasting years of their lives on things that no longer matter.

For education to keep pace with the times, there must be a complete paradigm shift. Instead of regulating and delaying change, we need to encourage the education sector to innovate.

To make sure new ideas make it into the education system we need to encourage more private schooling options. Then we need to urge these schools to try radical concepts and provide concrete information on what students are learning. Finally, we need to make sure all students have access to these innovative schools.

The easiest way to make all this happen is to issue education vouchers that can be used at any school and require schools to publish third party test results each year.

With this type of competition, all schools should become better. When the schools become better, our kids will be better prepared. When our kids are better prepared, the country will be more vibrant. When the country is more vibrant, the economy will be better. When the economy is stronger, everyone will be better off.

It is time to get rid of the bureaucracy and allow our schools to innovate so our kids’ hearts can sing.

 

Read Aloud Survey: Many Parents Don’t Heed Critical Advice

Read Aloud 15 minutes – News Release

“Despite widespread agreement among parents that reading aloud has an “extremely positive” impact on brain development, a new survey conducted by YouGov for the non-profit Read Aloud 15 MINUTES also found that fewer than half of parents (46%) read aloud with their children every day, and only 34% do so for at least 15 minutes. Even among those who do read aloud daily, few begin from birth — as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while six in 10 (62%) parents have received the advice to read aloud to their children 15 minutes every day starting from birth, only 8% actually do. “Read Aloud 15 MINUTES believes that when these numbers change — when daily reading aloud, from birth, becomes the national caregiving standard — we will see a drastic change in school readiness,” says the non-profit’s President and Co-Founder, Dr. Candace Kendle.”(more)