Are We Losing Innovative Workforce?

The immigrants’ issue has been much debated about. Many people view immigrants as a direct threat to the national economy and well-being of Americans.  However, the statistics say that three out of four inventions has been made by foreign-born people.

The research conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy (PNAE) says these patents were related to science, engineering or mathematics – the three most quickly developing fields.  The work shows that foreign-born innovators come to study in top U.S. universities but later forced to leave the country and return home where they continue to work creating innovative technologies that will later be implemented worldwide. Or even worse, they are lured by the countries with less restrictive and more open-minded immigration policies. (more…)

What Makes a STEM Teacher Highly-Qualified?

What makes a good mathematics teacher? This question is old-aged but today it sounds differently in the context of keen interest in STEM education.

Parents have always been anxious about where to send their children to give them the best educational opportunities, however the question of “where” is not nearly as important as the question of “who”: who will be teaching their children mathematics and computer science? Who will be explaining chemistry and geometry formulas to them? Who will be the one to inspire and encourage them in this?

A talented teacher can turn tiresome and repetitious classwork into a challenging and exciting process. A passionate teacher can generate ideas to keep his class intellectually awake. The high-school curriculum should focus on something that is bigger than fact memorizing and test preparation to make students really involved. The priority should be given to developing deep understanding of concepts and improving creative-thinking and problem-solving skills. It is a great challenge for schools and communities to keep children at school, make them engaged and motivated. This is the job of today’s highly-qualified STEM teachers. (more…)

Where does Mitt Romney Stand on Education Policy Issues?

In the height of 2012 election race people are now more than ever interested in what each candidate has to offer. With such important things as world economic recession and high unemployment on their minds, educational issues seem to have fallen by the wayside. However, this aspect is of great importance to those parents whose children are preparing to go to college.

While Barrack Obama’s position on this question is pretty much clear and is getting a lot of media coverage now, it is interesting to find out where other presidential candidates stand on education policy issues.

Alex Burgos, the spokesman for the Mitt Romney’s election campaign, outlined in his recent interview the principal provisions of Governor Romney’s education policy. According to Mr. Burgos, Romney puts high hopes on standardized testing to measure students’ academic progress. Thus, ensuring schools accountability will help to see a truthful picture of what is really happening in schools. (more…)

Are iPads to replace Laptops in Class?

A child with a laptop in class doing his assignment or taking a test has long since become a familiar sight. However, if you ever care to stop by one of Nebraska district’s public schools you would probably be surprised to see kids using iPads.

The district’s technology director Jeff Droge believes this little innovation will help schools to stay up-to-date and students to become more interested in their studies.

The district’s authorities used a $446,000 grant to buy 185 gadgets for 8th grade students and their teachers. The decision was approved by the school board of the district. Mr. Droge says they are planning on purchasing 450 more devices over 2013-14. Some of this money will be spent on training the teaching staff and students how to use iPads and integrate them into classwork to make it more productive. A few more districts in Nebraska intend to test launching the program which requires using iPads in schools instead of PCs. (more…)

Should Teachers Take a Master’s Degree?

A Master’s degree can help to improve teacher’s effectiveness in class, an independent study by Arroyo Research Services, says.

Apparently teachers’ having or not having a master’s effects how students perform in class. A number of elementary schools participated in the survey the results of which prove that students whose teacher has a master’s degree outperform those with a bachelor’s degree teacher.

Close attention has been paid to the question of whether or not an educator should strive for a master’s degree. The world is changing rapidly meaning that those who are involved in education process should change with it.  If a teacher wants to make a difference and have a positive impact on his students he should be able to give them something more than the old boring and ineffective instructions. Some teachers choose to go back to their studies and take a master’s to improve their abilities and develop new skills. (more…)

Homogeneity Prevents Boys from Succeeding In Class

Researchers express their increasing concerns that schools have become devoted to serving the needs of those children they feel comfortable with, that is calm, easily manageable, ready to collaborate and ambitious students. Teachers are more willing to encourage and reward them, promote their interest in mathematics, science and other disciplines.

Researchers speculate on whether or not this is the reason why high-school education has become so female-focused in recent years. Naturally, girls’ interest in STEM-related disciplines should be promoted and inspired, however the question is: “Is it only because they want girls to succeed in male-dominated fields or are girls just easier to manage?”

Boys, by all odds, tend to be more disruptive in class especially in elementary schools. They pay little attention to school rules; do not spend enough time doing their homework assignments and end up feeling very much disengaged and demotivated. (more…)

Dual Enrollment Programs Give Hope to Disadvantaged Students

The Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University has recently published a study which reveals that dual enrollment programs benefit greatly not only A-level students but also those with disadvantages.

Dual enrollment programs are aimed at giving high-schoolers a chance to take university and college courses for credits. It is generally seen as a means to make public universities and some private colleges collaborate actively with local schools.

It has become an especially effective way to increase high-school students’ preparation for college. However, until a few years ago only high-achievers were entitled to enjoy the benefit of this. The situation has changed and now more and more disadvantaged students choose to participate in dual enrollment programs which serve as a great transitional stage to ensure their readiness for college. (more…)

Things Look Nasty with More than Half of Teachers Quitting After Their First Year of Schooling

The information coming from NY high-schools is getting more and more disturbing.  Indeed, schools nowadays have a lot to be concerned about: there are underfunding and underachievement issues, problems with gender-based stereotypes in STEM disciplines and numerous reports of classroom violence. Top it all, the statistics say we tend to lose almost half of teachers after their first year of schooling.

Obviously, teaching is not for everybody. Thus, minor staff turnover is acceptable. However a healthy and effective learning environment cannot be created with more than 50% of teachers gone yearly.

First-year school teachers’ salaries amount to $31,000 per year and for New York these numbers are just slightly better – $45,000. Teachers’ job is definitely rewarding but in terms of monetary remuneration it looks more like a hobby. It is not surprising that many teachers often feel the need to combine their teaching careers with something that could give them money to live on. Some earn some extra money by doing online tutoring or blogging, others choose to seek part-time job opportunities in the fields that are not related to education. The government cannot provide enough incentives to keep teachers encouraged. (more…)

High Job Placement Rates at the Time of Heavy Unemployment: A Story We Don’t Believe

In the midst of economic stagnation and with unemployment rising, it is surprising to see colleges like Ferris State University in Michigan which displays unbelievably high job placement rates of 97-98%.

Ms. Salomonson, who is the dean of enrollment department in Ferris State, admits that making conclusions, based on extremely low levels of response from their graduates, is wrong. However, such statistics help to attract more students to college.

This situation is quite common for educational institutions of all kinds: in order to attract students, universities sometimes provide information which is far from being accurate. The reliability of such data has been more than once questioned by many but the problem still exists. Researchers say that graduation surveys simply cannot be relied upon for there are no official standards or regulations to control the process. (more…)