Archive | April, 2012

Sexual assault on college campuses

21 Apr

For many college students, college brings more freedom and fewer restrictions than they may have been accustomed to during their high school years. Many college students are naive about the consequences that can arise from certain social situations.

The Crisis Connection reports the following statistics about rape on campus

60% of male college students “indicated some likelihood of raping or using force in certain circumstances.”

  • Men in fraternities appear to engage in more non-physical coercion and use of drugs and alcohol as a sexual strategy than do independents.
  • Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus.
  • 90% of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol.
  • Men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner. 40% of men who think this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman.
  • Alcohol use at the time of the attack was found to be one of the four strongest predictors of a college woman being raped.
  • 43% of college men admit using coercive behavior to have sex, including ignoring a woman’s protest; using physical aggression; and forcing intercourse; 15% acknowledged they had committed acquaintance rape; 11% acknowledged using physical restraint to force a woman to have sex.
  • College rape victims receive external physical injuries in over 47% of all rapes.
  • Of the college woman who are raped, only 25% describe it as rape.
  • Of the college women who are raped, only 10% report the rape.
  • College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of the freshman and sophomore years.
  • One in twelve college-age men admit having fulfilled the prevailing definition of rape or attempted rape, yet virtually none of these men identify themselves as rapists.
  • 34% of completed rapes and 45% of attempted rapes take place on campus. Almost 60% of the completed campus rapes that take place on campus occur in the victim’s residence, 31% occur in another residence, and 10% occur in a fraternity.
  • 3/4 of off-campus rapes and 7/8 of on-campus rapes involved perpetrators who were known to the victims.
  • 78% of the men identified (as rapists) were an acquaintance, friend or boyfriend of the victims.
  • Most rapes occur on the weekend.

A key factor in many college rapes and sexual assaults is the involvement of alcohol and the fact that the victim may be intoxicated or possibly drugged.

Justin Pope of AP has a provocative article, For colleges, rape cases a legal minefield:

A closed- door encounter between two college acquaintances. Both have been drinking. One says she was raped; the other insists it was consensual. There are no other witnesses.

It’s a common scenario in college sexual assault cases, and a potential nightmare to resolve. But under the 40-year-old federal gender equity law Title IX — and guidance handed down last year by the Obama administration on how to apply it — colleges can’t just turn such cases over to criminal prosecutors, who often won’t touch them anyway. Instead, they must investigate, and in campus proceedings do their best to balance the accused’s due process rights with the civil right of the victim to a safe education.

Lately, though, the legal ramifications of such cases are spilling off campus, with schools caught in the middle.

Colleges that do too little about sexual assault could lose federal funds. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is currently investigating a dozen colleges and universities over their response to sexual violence (documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show schools that have recently agreed to take steps to resolve OCR complaints over Title IX policies include universities such as Notre Dame, Northwestern and George Washington).

Meanwhile, judgments in Title IX lawsuits against colleges, usually brought by accusers, are soaring. Compounding the fear: In some such cases, college administrators may be found personally liable.

But when colleges do take action against accused students, those students are increasingly lawyering up themselves, suing for breach of contract and negligence. And in at least two recent cases, in Tennessee and Massachusetts, male students have tread novel legal ground by alleging violations of their own Title IX protections against gender discrimination, arguing a college’s sexual assault policies or procedures were unfairly stacked against men.;_ylc=X3oDMTNuY2dpcDJmBF9TAzIxNDYzNzIyODQEYWN0A21haWxfY2IEY3QDYQRpbnRsA3VzBGxhbmcDZW4tVVMEcGtnAzdlYmE1MjVmLTFjNGEtM2RmNi04MDg1LWU3MjNmMjA0OWNmNQRzZWMDbWl0X3NoYXJlBHNsawNtYWlsBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Quite often sexual assaults occur in connection with alcohol use and binge drinking. Womens Health has some good information about date rape drugs

What are date rape drugs?

These are drugs that are sometimes used to assist a sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that a person does not agree to. It can include touching that is not okay; putting something into the vagina; sexual intercourse; rape; and attempted rape. These drugs are powerful and dangerous. They can be slipped into your drink when you are not looking. The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste, so you can’t tell if you are being drugged. The drugs can make you become weak and confused — or even pass out — so that you are unable to refuse sex or defend yourself. If you are drugged, you might not remember what happened while you were drugged. Date rape drugs are used on both females and males.

What are date rape drugs?

If you are drinking, always keep your drink within view and if there is any question, don’t drink it. The “buddy system” or having friends go out with you is especially good for college freshman. Remember, better safe than sorry.

Cynthia Mc Fadden has an excellent Nightline report about college sexual assaults.

In Many Campus Victims Stay Quiet or Fail to Get Help  Mc Fadden reports:

 The Center for Public Integrity conducted a 12-month probe into sexual assault on college campuses that was completed earlier this year. The investigation found that students will often keep quiet when they  are sexually assaulted because they blame themselves for what happened,  don’t realize that what happened  to them was a crime or fear that their  assailants or others will strike again if they report them….

If you are a college student and you believe you have been a victim of rape on
campus, tell someone immediately.

Contact your local rape crisis center, victim advocacy legal  organization or rape hotline to find out about your school’s procedures.  Often these organizations can be found through your campus police  department or health services. You should also go to the hospital or  local health clinic and have a rape kit, through which physical evidence  is gathered,  performed.

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act grants the right to equal access to  education. If you believe your school has violated Title IX, or has  failed to offer “an equitable policy on sexual assault prevention and  response,” you can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of  the Department of Education. The episode, Rape on Campus A Shocking Reality may be viewed at the Nightline site.

A Canadian web site has some really good advice in the article, Date Rape – NO Means NO!


Rape is committed by crazed strangers.
A woman that gets raped deserves it, especially if she agreed to go to the man’s house or a ride in his car.
Women who don’t fight back haven’t been raped.
If there is no gun or knife, you haven’t been raped.
It’s not really rape if the victim isn’t a virgin.
If a woman lets a man buy her dinner or pay for a movie or drinks, she owes him sex.
Agreeing to kiss or neck with a man means that a women has agreed to have sex with him.
When men are sexually aroused, they need to have sex or they will get “blue balls”.


Most women are raped by “normal” acquaintances.
No one, male or female, deserves to be raped. Being in a man’s house or car does not mean a woman has agreed to have sex with him.
You have been raped when you are forced to have sex against your will, whether you fight back or not.
It’s rape whether there are weapons or not, you own diminished physical or mental state, the weight of his body to overcome you.
Rape is rape, even if the woman isn’t a virgin, even if she is willingly had sex with the same man before.
No one owes sex as a payment to anyone else, no matter how expensive the date.
Everyone has the right to say “no” to sexual activity, regardless of what has proceeded it and to have the “no” respected.
Men don’t physically need to have sex after becoming aroused anymore than women do. Men are still able to control themselves even after becoming sexually excited

What to look for and How to protect your self!!

  • Keep your drink with you or with a good friend that you can trust.
  • Watch how the people are acting around you – does any thing look specious.
  • Don’t accept open drinks.
  • Don’t party alone, have someone with you to make sure nothing happens.
  • Have you heard street names of the drugs mentioned in other people’s conversations?
  • There is a test strip like litmus paper, to test you drinks for date rape drugs.

You wake up not remembering the night before.

  Here are some signs to look for:

  • Bruises or soreness in the genital area, anal area, bruises on the inner and/or outer thighs,
  • Defensive bruising on your wrists and forearms
  • Used condoms, traces of semen or vaginal fluids on clothes, body or nearby furniture.
  • Ask people about the night before, if you know you had little to drink were they saying that  you were pretty hammered.  This is a good indication that you were drugged.
  • Do you feel that you had very real dreams?

What do you do now?

  • Get help!
  • Try not to urinate or wash or change your cloths before getting help, you might destroy evidence of your rape
  • Being raped may mean that you could have gotten pregnant, a std or even aids,
  • Go to your Dr. or clinic and get tested
  •  Get professional guidance to help you though any emotional or mental trauma that you may have.

Every one has different experiences after being raped:

  • Emotional trauma is a very common result of being raped – please get help
  • Fear -of being alone, of men
  • Problems having a normal sexual relationship
  • Depression
  • Not being able to trust
  • Diseases – stds, aids
  • Physical symptoms of stress
  • Embarrassed
  • Guilt
  • Denial

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

College Board’s ‘Big Future’: Helping low-income kids apply to college

19 Apr

In 3rd world America: The economy affects the society of the future, moi said:

One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education in this country, we are the next third world country. All over the country plans are being floated to cut back the school year or eliminate programs which help the most disadvantaged. Alexander Eichler reports in the Huffington Post article, Middle-Class Jobs Disappearing As Workforce Shifts To High-Skill, Low-Skill: Study:

America is increasingly becoming a place of high- and low-skill jobs, with less room available for a middle class.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that over the past 30 years, the U.S. workforce has shifted toward high-paying jobs that require a great deal of education — jobs in the legal, engineering or technology industries, for example — and toward low-paying jobs that require little schooling, like food preparation, maintenance and personal care.

What haven’t fared so well are the industries in the middle, like sales, teaching, construction, repair, entertainment, transportation and business — the ones where a majority of Americans end up working.

In 1980, these middle-level jobs accounted for 75 percent of the workforce. By 2009, that number had fallen to 68 percent. In the same span of time, low- and high-skill jobs had each grown as a percentage of the workforce.

So what future have the Goldman Sucks, cash sluts, and credit crunch weasels along with we don’t care, we don’t have to Washington Georgetown and Chevy Chase set – you know, the the “masters of the universe” left those on a race to get through college? Lila Shapiro has the excellent post, Trading Down: Laid-Off Americans Taking Pay Cuts and Increasingly Kissing Their Old Lives Goodbye at Huffington Post:

This government, both parties, has failed to promote the kind of economic development AND policy which creates liveable wage jobs. That is why Mc Donalds is popular for more than its dollar menu. They are hiring people.

The College Board announce the “Big Future” program:

College Board Introduces, a Free Comprehensive College Planning Resource

The Education Conservancy, Educators and Students Collaborated in Effort to Help Overcome Obstacles to College

NEW YORK, April 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — On April 10, the College Board introduced BigFuture, its new free comprehensive college planning Web resource, at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. The site was created with the Education Conservancy and in consultation with students and educators to help make the college planning process simpler and more accessible. At the “Big Future™: Narrowing the Gap Between College Aspiration and Enrollment” panel,education, government and not-for-profit thought leaders discussed ways to help students, especially those from low-income backgrounds or who are the first in their families to aspire to college,overcome obstacles to higher education.

BigFuture is a major investment by the College Board to help improve the college planning process for students and families, and to provide more equal access to expert guidance,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “Through our advocacy work to increase college completion rates in the United States, we have identified providing better college information and planning services to all students, with a special focus on low-income students, as one of 10 key recommendations for success. We’re excited about this collaboration with the Education Conservancy because it combines trusted guidance and reliable data with innovative and engaging technology.”

Lloyd Thacker, director of the Education Conservancy, moderated the panel, which included Zakiya Smith, senior advisor for education at the White House Domestic Policy Council; Daniel Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators; Brian Sponsler, associate director of research and evaluation for the Institute for Higher Education Policy; Laura Schifter, senior education and disability advisor on the Committee on Education and the Workforce; Rep. George Miller (D-CA); and Pat Martin, assistant vice president of the College Board’s National Office of School Counselor Advocacy. The event was hosted by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

The success of the BigFuture project reflects the special value collaboration can deliver to improving education,” said Thacker. “At its best, college admission is an interactive, educational process. Students learn about college; colleges learn about students; successful matches are made; college education in America becomes a reality for all who aspire to it. This site represents a significant step forward in establishing an admission system that exemplifies the best that education has to offer.” is a new Web experience that leverages new technologies to engage students online in the way they want to be engaged. This new resource combines guidance, tools and information to make college planning easier to navigate and help students overcome barriers that make college seem out of reach. BigFuture features interactive tools and content, including real student video stories and personalized action plans.

BigFuture replaces the College Board’s previous college planning website, which was a trusted resource and one of the most highly trafficked college planning websites available, used by more than six million students and parents each month. “This launch represents a new phase in the College Board’s service to students, building on more than 100 years of work aimed at expanding access to higher education,” Caperton said.

About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit

About the Education Conservancy
The Education Conservancy (EC) is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving college admission in the public interest. Established in 2003, the EC directs national attention to the harmful effects of college rankings and other commercial influences in college admission, highlights the educational importance of college admission, orchestrates collaboration among colleges to serve the needs of students, and develops college planning resources for students, families and counselors. The EC’s work has been made possible through the generous support of philanthropic organizations and hundreds of schools, colleges and individuals. For more information, visit


College Board Communications Department

See, Admissions 101: Will new tool help low-income students tackle admissions?

Education Week had this take on “Big Future” in the article, College Board Launches New Web Resource for Students by Caralee Adams:

The material was developed in collaboration with an advisory group of educators and Education Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., focused on improving the admissions process.

This idea was to create an interactive, user-friendly resource in response to concerns that the college-admissions process is becoming increasingly complex and access to expert counseling is unequal. “All students deserve access to good guidance information and top-notch online information,” says Ben-Yoseph. “The goal to make the college process more accessible, simple, and easier to navigate.”

Students can get to much of the information on BigFuture without signing up, but to create a plan or save your work, users do need to create an account. Those with College Board accounts can use their existing user names and passwords. (College Board’s privacy policy states that it does not sell student names or their related information, except through the optional Student Search Service program.)

Rather than being static and listing 10 things to do each year in high school, BigFuture starts the process by asking the user some questions and tailoring the action to the individual’s interests.

When searching for colleges that match a student’s interest on BigFuture, the user can sort by filters such as location, majors, sports, diversity, and cost and give each a weight of importance on a sliding scale. College-profile information of nearly 4,000 institutions is collected by the College Board in its Annual Survey of Colleges. Note: The price includes tuition and fees, but not room and board.

Information throughout the site is provided in nugget-sized tips and one-minute videos with student stories such as how they decided about going to school in a city, what role extracurricular activities played in deciding a major, and putting together a financial-aid plan for college. There are also videos from experts addressing topics of college planning.

College Board envisions the audience for BigFuture to be as young as 8th graders. The content can be applicable for students of any age interested in higher education, said Ben-Yoseph. The hope is that the tool will be engaging enough that it is used across a student’s entire high school career and by school guidance counselors.

The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty For a good article about education and poverty which has a good bibliography, go to Poverty and Education, Overview  There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education, we are the next third world country.


Choosing the right college for you

Producing employable liberal arts grads

Remedial education in college

Why go to college?

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Location, location, location: Brookings study of education disparity based upon neighborhood

18 Apr

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi said:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.

We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.

In another study, by researchers from the University of Michigan, the imbalance between rich and poor children in college completion — the single most important predictor of success in the work force — has grown by about 50 percent since the late 1980s.

The changes are tectonic, a result of social and economic processes unfolding over many decades. The data from most of these studies end in 2007 and 2008, before the recession’s full impact was felt. Researchers said that based on experiences during past recessions, the recent downturn was likely to have aggravated the trend.

With income declines more severe in the lower brackets, there’s a good chance the recession may have widened the gap,” Professor Reardon said. In the study he led, researchers analyzed 12 sets of standardized test scores starting in 1960 and ending in 2007. He compared children from families in the 90th percentile of income — the equivalent of around $160,000 in 2008, when the study was conducted — and children from the 10th percentile, $17,500 in 2008. By the end of that period, the achievement gap by income had grown by 40 percent, he said, while the gap between white and black students, regardless of income, had shrunk substantially.

Both studies were first published last fall in a book of research, “Whither Opportunity?” compiled by the Russell Sage Foundation, a research center for social sciences, and the Spencer Foundation, which focuses on education. Their conclusions, while familiar to a small core of social sciences scholars, are now catching the attention of a broader audience, in part because income inequality has been a central theme this election season.

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Brookings Institute announces a new study:

Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools Jonathan Rothwell, Associate Fellow and Senior Research Analyst, Metropolitan Policy Program The Brookings Institution

April 19, 2012 —

As the nation grapples with the growing gap between rich and poor and an economy increasingly reliant on formal education, public policies should address housing market regulations that prohibit all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools in order to promote individual social mobility and broader economic security.

View our interactive feature to find data on test scores, housing, and income » 

Go to the profiles page for detailed statistics on your metropolitan area »

An analysis of national and metropolitan data on public school populations and state standardized test scores for 84,077 schools in 2010 and 2011 reveals that:

Nationwide, the average low-income student attends a school that scores at the 42nd percentile on state exams, while the average middle/high-income student attends a school that scores at the 61st percentile on state exams. This school test-score gap is even wider between black and Latino students and white students. There is increasingly strong evidence—from this report and other studies—that low-income students benefit from attending higher-scoring schools.

Northeastern metro areas with relatively high levels of economic segregation exhibit the highest school test-score gaps between low-income students and other students. Controlling for regional factors such as size, income inequality, and racial/ethnic diversity associated with school test-score gaps, Southern metro areas such as Washington and Raleigh, and Western metros like Portland and Seattle, stand out for having smaller-than-expected test score gaps between schools attended by low-income and middle/high-income students.

Across the 100 largest metropolitan areas, housing costs an average of 2.4 times as much, or nearly $11,000 more per year, near a high-scoring public school than near a low-scoring public school. This housing cost gap reflects that home values are $205,000 higher on average in the neighborhoods of high-scoring versus low-scoring schools. Near high-scoring schools, typical homes have 1.5 additional rooms and the share of housing units that are rented is roughly 30 percentage points lower than in neighborhoods near low-scoring schools.

Large metro areas with the least restrictive zoning have housing cost gaps that are 40 to 63 percentage points lower than metro areas with the most exclusionary zoning. Eliminating exclusionary zoning in a metro area would, by reducing its housing cost gap, lower its school test-score gap by an estimated 4 to 7 percentiles—a significant share of the observed gap between schools serving the average low-income versus middle/higher-income student. As the nation grapples with the growing gap between rich and poor and an economy increasingly reliant on formal education, public policies should address housing market regulations that prohibit all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools in order to promote individual social mobility and broader economic security.


See, Study Links Zoning to Education Disparities

In The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding, moi said:

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Pless v. Ferguson, most folks focus their analysis of Brown v. Board of Education almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.


The great class divide: Arts education disappearing in poorer schools                                       

The growing class divide: Parents taking out loans for kindergarten and elementary school education

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The love affair with the Finnish education system

17 Apr

In U.S. education failure: Running out of excuses, moi said:

Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids.

Many educators around the world have a love affair with the Finnish education system. The question is what if anything which is successful about the Finnish system can be transported to other cultures?

The Pearson Foundation lists some key facts about Finland in their video series, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education

Key facts

Finland’s society is relatively homogeneous. Out of a population of 5.3 million, only 3.8% are foreign-born, against an OECD average of 12.9%. Finland spends 5.9% of its gross domestic product on education, slightly above the OECD average of 5.2%.

  • Finland recruits its teachers from the top 10% of graduates. From primary through upper secondary level, all teachers are required to have a Master’s degree.
  • Finnish teachers spend 592 hours per year teaching in class, less than the OECD average of 703 hours. This allows more time for supporting students with learning difficulties.
  • At least two out of five Finnish school students benefit from some type of special intervention during their secondary schooling.


Finland was the top performer in the PISA 2000 tests and it has consistently featured among the top performers since then. In 2009, the number of Finnish students reaching the top level of performance in science was three times the OECD average.

  • Upper secondary students are expected to design their own individual learning programs within a modular structure.
  • In 2008, Finland’s upper secondary graduation rate was 93%, against an OECD average of 80%.
  • In 2008, more than 40% of Finns between 20 and 29 were enrolled at university, well above the OECD average of 25%.

Pasi Sahlberg urges a measured analysis in his Washington Post article.

Pasi Sahlberg, author of “ Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn About Educational Change in Finland? ” writes in the Washington Post article, What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform:

What I have to say, however, is not always what they want to hear. While it is true that we can certainly learn from foreign systems and use them as backdrops for better understanding of our own, we cannot simply replicate them. What, then, can’t the United States learn from Finland?

First of all, although Finland can show the United States what equal opportunity looks like, Americans cannot achieve equity without first implementing fundamental changes in their school system. The following three issues require particular attention.

Funding of schools: Finnish schools are funded based on a formula guaranteeing equal allocation of resources to each school regardless of location or wealth of its community.

Well-being of children: All children in Finland have, by law, access to childcare, comprehensive health care, and pre-school in their own communities. Every school must have a welfare team to advance child happiness in school.

Education as a human right: All education from preschool to university is free of charge for anybody living in Finland. This makes higher education affordable and accessible for all.

As long as these conditions don’t exist, the Finnish equality-based model bears little relevance in the United States.

Second, school autonomy and teacher professionalism are often mentioned as the dominant factors explaining strong educational performance in Finland. The school is the main author of curricula. And the teacher is the sole authority monitoring the progress of students.

In Finland, there is a strong sense of trust in schools and teachers to carry out these responsibilities. There is no external inspection of schools or standardized testing of all pupils in Finland. For our national analysis of educational performance, we rely on testing only a small sample of students. The United States really cannot leave curriculum design and student assessment in the hands of schools and teachers unless there is similar public confidence in schools and teachers. To get there, a more coherent national system of teacher education is one major step.

Finland is home to such a coherent national system of teacher education. And unlike in the United States, teaching is one of the top career choices among young Finns. Teachers in Finland are highly regarded professionals — akin to medical doctors and lawyers. There are eight universities educating teachers in Finland, and all their programs have the same high academic standards. Furthermore, a research-based master’s degree is the minimum requirement to teach in Finland.

Teaching in Finland is, in fact, such a desired profession that the University of Helsinki, where I teach part-time, received 2,300 applicants this spring for 120 spots in its primary school teacher education program. In this teacher education program and the seven others, teachers are prepared to design their own curricula, assess their own pupils’ progress, and continuously improve their own teaching and their school. Until the United States has improved its teacher education, its teachers cannot enjoy similar prestige, public confidence and autonomy.

Third, many education visitors to Finland expect to find schools filled with Finnish pedagogical innovation and state-of-the-art technology. Instead, they see teachers teaching and pupils learning as they would in any typical good school in the United States. Some observers call this “pedagogical conservatism” or “informal and relaxed” because there does not appear to be much going on in classrooms.

See, Are Finnish schools the best in the world?

There are probably some lessons which can be learned from the Finnish experience, but we shouldn’t be looking through rose colored glasses.


Is it true that the dumbest become teachers?

The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education

There is no “magic bullet” or “Holy Grail” in education, there is only what works for a given population of children to produce education achievement.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Startup America: Urging recent grads to become entrepreneurs

16 Apr

In times of entrenched long-term unemployment, job creation becomes crucial. Bonnie Kavoussi reports in the Huffington Post article, Unemployed College Graduates As Vulnerable As High School Dropouts To Long-Term Unemployment: Report:

College graduates and advanced degree holders, once they are unemployed, are as vulnerable as high school dropouts to long-term joblessness, a new study has found.

Thirty five percent of unemployed college graduates and those with advanced degrees have been without a job for more than a year, the same rate as unemployed high school dropouts, according to a Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative study published Wednesday. In fact, the long-term unemployment rate, for those 25 and older without a job, is nearly the same across all levels of educational attainment, the report says.

“A slowly rising number of job vacancies…hurts people regardless of their educational attainment,” said Gary Burtless, labor economist at the liberal think tank Brookings Institution. Nonetheless, he added: “Relatively speaking, there’s still a payoff to going to college. The college degree still has some vaccination effects against becoming a long-term unemployed person.”

Indeed, getting a college degree is a good bet for avoiding unemployment in the first place. The unemployment rate of college graduates who are at least 25 years old is just 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, 13.8 percent of high school dropouts, 8.7 percent of high school graduates, and 7.7 percent of college dropouts are unemployed.

The percentage of the labor force that faces long-term unemployment is at a record high of 2.8 percent, according to the Pew report. Thirteen million Americans are unemployed, 4 million (or 31 percent) of whom have been unemployed for more than a year.

As more and more college grads find themselves unemployed, they are looking for ways to earn a living.

Mary Beth Marklein has written the USA Today article, Programs encourage new grads to try entrepreneurship:

About 45 newly minted college graduates begin training in June to work for two years with small start-ups in struggling communities through a just-launched non-profit called Venture for America. Companies in Colorado and Massachusetts are offering paid summer internships to college students and new graduates through Startup America, a national initiative. A competition at Harvard, which opened an innovation lab in November, is providing funds and workspace to teams of students who have proposed ideas such as a car-sharing business in India and a restaurant offering interactive menus.

The flurry of opportunities reflects the mixed job picture for young adults. Corporations plan to hire 10% more new graduates this year compared with 2011, says a survey last month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which tracks job hiring trends for recent graduates.

Even so, employers scaled back on hiring in March, according to the latest Labor Department data, and younger workers were hardest hit. By the end of 2011, just 54% of 18- to-24-year-olds were employed, the lowest rate since the Labor Department began collecting the data in 1948, says a Pew Research Center report released in February.

“The majority of students are … taking what they can get,” says Clint Borchard, 30, a junior at the University of Nevada-Reno, who, with classmates, plans to launch a company this summer that manufactures affordable homes powered mostly by renewable energy. The business plan, which anticipates creating 40 jobs within five years, is a finalist in an inaugural campus competition aimed at spurring regional growth. The winning team will get $50,000.

On average, entrepreneurs are about 43 when they launch their companies, says the Kauffman Foundation, a research group that studies entrepreneurship. It says lack of access to capital and concerns about paying off student loans are among barriers for younger entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial survey

A November 2011 survey of 500 entrepreneurs ages 21-24 found:

• 30% started a business in college. Up from 19% in 2010.

• 29% are self-employed. Up from 20% in 2010.

• 72% said they do not feel they have enough support from banks. Up from 65% in 2010.

• 92% said they felt entrepreneurship education was vital given the realities of the new economy and job market. Up from 90% in 2010.
Source: Young Entrepreneur Council and Buzz Marketing Group

Startup America is helping some of these young entrepreneurs get started.

Here is information about Startup America from the FAQ section of their site:

Q: What is the Startup America Partnership?

A. The Startup America Partnership is a private organization working to help young companies succeed in order to accelerate job growth in America. We’re bringing the private sector together to maximize the success of America’s entrepreneurs, and augment America’s competitiveness in an increasingly global world. We are an independent nonprofit entity (NGO) that was launched at the White House in early 2011.

Q: How are you helping startups?

A: We’re bringing together some of the country’s most successful organizations to provide valuable resources to young companies with high growth potential. We are focused on providing resources in five key areas: Talent, Services, Expertise, Customers and Capital. We are also working on a regional basis to identify and help accelerate entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. 

Which startups are you helping?

A: We’ve classified the startup ecosystem into the following groups:

– Idea: Someone has an idea for a business but has not yet established it.

– Startup: At least two people have created a business entity with the ambition to build a scalable company.

– Rampup: A team of five or more people that has secured at least two customers and has a clear focus on customer growth.

– Speedup: A company that employs at least 25 people and has established a revenue run-rate of $10MM or more.

While we celebrate and have resources for those in the idea phase, we are focused on helping young companies that are currently startups, rampups or speedups.

Q: Why just “young companies”?

A: Companies less than five years old account for all of the net job growth in our country between 1980 and 2005. These firms have the potential to one day employ hundreds, if not thousands of workers. Of course, we love entrepreneurs of all stripes, but in order to drive significant job creation over the next 3 years, we are focused on existing startups that have the potential for high growth. These high-growth firms can be in any industry (tech, education, finance, etc.) and from any region of the country.

Q: How is the Startup America Partnership funded?

A: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation provided the initial funding for the Startup America Partnership. American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., and Microsoft are corporate sponsors. We have not received a dollar from any government organization.

Q: What is your relationship with the White House Administration?

A: We were launched at the White House in January 2011, and the Administration is a very important partner of ours with whom we work closely. However, we are not overseen or funded by the federal government. The Administration has its own Startup America initiative.

Q: Do you provide any capital or grants?

A: We are not a grant-making entity. We are partnering with a number of organizations who do invest in startups, in order to help get those funders in front of the young companies who may need their services.

Q: Who is leading the Startup America Partnership?

A: Our CEO is Scott Case, a proven entrepreneur who was the founding CTO of Our Chairman is Steve Case, AOL co-founder and current CEO and chairman of Revolution, LLC, and the chairman of the Case Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation also provides leadership to the Partnership.Our all-entrepreneur board can be seen here.

Q: How can potential partners get involved?

A: If you have products or services that benefit young companies, fill out our partner form and we’ll be in touch.

Q: How can startups get involved?

A: If you’re an entrepreneur running a young company, register here to access to our partner resources. 

The Startup America home can be accessed here

Serious Entrepreneur posts at their site, The Pros And Cons Of Entrepreneurship:

Some of the pros serious entrepreneurs enjoy include:

  • Independence – to be your own boss and make your own business decisions is a big plus of entrepreneurship.
  • Excitement – if you enjoy taking risks and adventure there’s a lot to be said for setting up your own business.
  • Rules – if you are someone who is constantly kicking against the rules of a regular organization then you should head out on your own.
  • Flexibility – there’s a great amount of flexibility in working for your self. You set your own timings and you get to balance your personal and professional life quite well this way – provided you don’t turn into a workaholic!

Some of the cons include:

  • Salary – you will not have the benefit or security of a steady income to provide the financial backing you are used to.
  • Risk – there is a huge element of risk, which if not managed properly can be a disadvantage.
  • Benefits – initially there will be few, if any benefits, when you are getting started.

Starting a new business is tough work with an element of risk. But, the next Google may be out there in the head and effort of some new grad.


Pros and Cons of New Grads Starting a Business

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Verifying identity for online courses

15 Apr

Cheating is increasingly a concern in education. Some colleges in an attempt to curb academic dishonesty on campus are beginning to employ methods one has usually associated with Las Vegas casinos. Minnesota State University Mankato has an excellent newsletter article about academic dishonesty. Richard C. Schimming writes in Academic Dishonesty

A recent survey found that 1/3 of all students admitted to cheating on an examination, 1/2 admitted to cheating on a class assignment, 2/3 admitted to cheating at least once during their college career, and 2/3 have seen classmates cheat on exams or assignments. Paradoxically, 3/4 of those in that survey believe that cheating is not justified under any circumstances. Finally, 1/2 of the students surveyed believe that the faculty of their university do not try to catch cheaters….

The various reasons that students give for cheating can also be instructive in obtaining a picture of academic dishonesty. Gleaned from a variety of sources, the list of student reasons for cheating given below is meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive:

  1. Today’s generation of student has less of an attachment to the institution so that cheating is more impersonal and seen as less painful because of this detachment.
  2. The difficult job market places a premium on a high grade point average so that any means necessary will be employed to achieve and maintain good grades.
  3. Some students believe that professors are cheating them in the classroom by shirking their teaching responsibilities. Therefore, students come to believe that turnabout is fair play.
  4. New entering students find themselves in courses beyond their capability so they resort to cheating to succeed in the course.

The metaphors and social constructs provided by students in surveys can also provide insight into the rationale for academic dishonesty. In one recent study, students used the following metaphors for cheating:

  1. Cheating is just a game, so that it is not important how you win but what is important is that you win.
  2. Cheating is an addiction. Once a student has successfully cheated in some academic context, the urge to continue can become addicting.
  3. Cheating is an easy out. Rather than working hard to master the material, a student can be tempted to use the shortcut of academic dishonesty.
  4. Cheating is a personal dilemma. Students do not begin to cheat because they are ignorant of the potential consequences. Rather the decision to cheat is a difficult decision for most students.
  5. Cheating is theft. The act of cheating robs the institution, the professor, the cheating student, and the other students.
  6. Cheating is a team effort. Cheating does not occur in a vacuum. Where there is a culture that condones cheating and where a student sees other students cheating, academic dishonesty is more likely to flourish.

Trip Gabriel has an interesting article in the New York Times about the University of Central Florida’s attempts to defeat cheaters. In To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery

Gabriel describes attempts to stop cheating which resemble Las Vegas security.

George Watson and James Sottile of Marshall University have written the paper, Cheating in the Digital Age: Do Students Cheat More in Online Courses?

The focus of this study was on whether students cheat more in on-line or live courses, and, somewhat surprisingly, the results showed higher rates of academic dishonesty in live courses.  One possible explanation is that classroom social interaction in live classes plays some part in whether students decide to cheat, which would agree with the findings of Stuber-McEwen et al (2009).  Familiarity with fellow students may lessen moral objections to cheating as they work through assignments and assessments together over the course of a school term.  The findings that students believe more classmates will cheat in on-line courses than traditional classes are similar to the findings of King et al (2009).

While the study showed that cheating in on-line courses is no more rampant than cheating in live classes, one type of academically dishonest behavior does merit discussion for on-line course developers.  The data showed that students were significantly more likely to obtain answers from others during an on-line test or quiz.  This ability to receive answers without the monitoring of a professor, presents problems for the standard lecture-based, test-driven course.  Course developers should take extra precautions with regards to on-line tests or quizzes, either through having a test proctor, changing the type of assessment, or lowering the assessment’s value in relation to other course assignments.  In the example of test proctors, there are some instances in which faculty require students to be on campus to take exams, in person at a set date and time, to insure the person taking the test is the student enrolled in the class.  This approach can be cumbersome and may nullify the strength of online courses, which is the freedom to work on one’s own schedule at home….

The results on gender and academic class were mixed and, therefore, more difficult to garner conclusions.  Females were significantly more likely in online courses to admit to cheating and to have someone give them answers during a test or quiz, but in all other self-reported behaviors, no significant difference existed for gender.  It is difficult to determine from the data whether these differences accurately represented cheating behavior or if females were more honest in their survey responses or more ethical in their estimates of what constitutes academically dishonest behavior.  Academic class analysis showed significant differences for cheating and receiving assistance during tests and quizzes, but interestingly, the mean distributions were highest for freshmen and graduate students.  One could make the case that freshmen who cheat may not survive the rigors of collegiate academia, leaving fewer dishonest students in the upper classes, but that does not explain the scores for graduate students.

These results have implications for both the college professor and university administrators.  Students are already orientated to specific ethical behavior prior to entering college.  Since the college environment, either on-line or in the traditional classroom, is not an idealized environment, it is important for educators to address the need of moral or ethical development within each major.  The curriculum requirements for each academic major should involve a course in ethical behavior and moral development.  This course should be three credit hours and examine the process related to ethical resolution.  Every incoming first year student and transfer student should be required to complete a generalized ethics and moral development course.   It is unfortunate that both males and females self-report that they would cheat.  Given this behavior, professors and university administrators need to ensure that students who are caught cheating have to pay a consequence for such inappropriate behavior.  The college experience should instill a prominent level of ethical behavior in all students.  Such change should be proactive and the process of moral education should be driven by the need to help others.  According to Kohlberg’s (1984) research, education is one of the significant factors in increasing moral development.

There are strategies online education institutions can use to reduce cheating.

Distance Education.Org has a great article by Jennifer Williamson, Does Your Instructor Know It’s You? Issues in Verifying Online Student Identities:

While a recent study by Friends University shows that online students don’t cheat more than traditional students on the whole—and actually might cheat less—that doesn’t mean that online education isn’t vulnerable to cheating. And one major issue in preventing academic fraud in an online environment is demonstrated in the Florida case: the problem of student identity verification. How does your professor know it’s you taking that exam?

Here are a few ways online schools and instructors have been working to make sure they know the identity of students taking exams.


One of the most straightforward ways is insisting all important exams be proctored. This means you have to physically go to the school and take your exam in a room monitored by a proctor. Some schools may be able to arrange for you to take an exam in a remote location near your home, but even if this is possible for your school, this method does defeat the purpose of distance education to an extent—you have to leave the house or your workplace and travel to a test location, which could be problematic. It’s not ideal, but it is an easy way for professors to be sure it’s you taking the test.

Blackboard Acxiom

Many online degree programs use Blackboard to administer classes. Blackboard recently adopted an identity verification process powered by Acxiom, a risk mitigation company. With this software, you’ll have to enter the answers to verification questions, presumably set by you when you sign up for class, that only you can answer. The school using the software controls when students have to authenticate their identity. Of course, this isn’t a perfect solution as students could always simply tell their stand-ins the answers to their proprietary questions.

Certified IP locations

Under this system, also administered by Blackboard, teachers can specify the IP address where the student will take the test. This may allow you to take your test at your home computer, but teachers may also choose a computer for you to test on and then require you to come to campus to take the test in a proctored environment.

Remote proctor systems

There are a few remote proctoring systems, some of which are still being tested. One is the Securexam Remote Proctor System. It’s a small unit that plugs into the student’s USB port, with a fingerprint pad for identification—professors can choose how often during the test students are required to use it to identify themselves. It also includes a 365-degree camera that will alert the professor to anything strange happening in the room—like someone else walking in or speaking during the test. Professors don’t have to watch live; they can watch a recorded version of the test after it’s been taken. The device is purchased by students, and costs somewhere between $100 and $200 in most cases.

Remote proctoring systems may be the best way to assure student identity while keeping the benefits of online education intact; but still, the system isn’t perfect and some students find the costs hard to bear. Online student identification will need to evolve as online education has, to become easy, cost-effective for students and schools, and flexible. With time, hopefully online schools will have a more effective and cost-efficient way to verify online student identity and prevent academic fraud.–Issues-in-Verifying-Online-Student-Identities–

ABC News has a good report, A Cheating Crisis In America’s Schools

So far, there are no reports of colleges frisking students before they take their exams.


Accountability in virtual schools         

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Choosing the right college for you

15 Apr

Now that many students are receiving letters of acceptance from colleges, they are deciding which college is the best fit for them. Given the tight economy, cost is a major consideration. Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn have written With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs. The College Affordability and Transparency Center is useful for students who are applying to college. It allows parents and students to calculate the costs of various college options. Once the costs of various college options are considered, then other considerations come into the decision.

Danielle Moss Lee, president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund offers some great advice in the Washington Post article, Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline):

Here are the top five factors students across the country should be considering when making this critical decision:

1. Size. When it comes to choosing a college, it isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are significant differences between large and small colleges, and students need to decide what matters to them. Factors to consider include class size, teacher-to-student ratio, name recognition and what options are available on campus – research centers, sporting events, internship opportunities, clubs and organizations, course choices, faculty members and more.

2. Location. Part of the value of college is learning to live on your own, away from your family, and in a city you choose. Students should push themselves to learn how to be successful in a new environment but also still need a support system. Students should consider how far away they can be and still feel comfortable – for some it’s a short car or bus ride, for others it can be a cross-country flight.

3. Finances. Students and their families need to think carefully about the financial impact of their choices. With student loan debt above $1 trillion (surpassing credit card and auto-loan debt) students — especially those from low-income families like many students at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund — need to figure out what the numbers really mean. How much is need-based grant aid and how much is loan-based aid? What will it cost to travel to campus? What incidentals will be required? Will my mother or father need a second job? How many hours will I be allowed to work on campus?

4. Academic focus. Not every student knows what they “want to be when they grow up” and you don’t need to pick a major to pick a college. However, students should consider the variety of courses, curriculum and majors available.

5. ‘Expert’ opinion. Get some insight. Use your family and friends as a resource. Talk to the people you admire personally and professionally, as well as recent graduates who you might know, to find out what they consider the most important aspect of the college experience.

Once the decision is made to attend a particular college, the thought turns to how to cut the costs of college.

One way to cut the cost of college is to save on textbooks. Fin Aid’s article, Cutting the Cost of College Textbooks makes some useful suggestions.

There are several methods of saving money on textbook costs. These methods can typically save as much as half the cost of buying new textbooks from the college bookstore.

  • Buy used textbooks. The used textbooks may have notes in the margins, but sometimes this can be beneficial. Used textbooks often cost half the price of a new textbook.
  • Buy new textbooks and sell the textbooks back to the college bookstore at the end of the semester. The savings range from a quarter to half the cost of a new textbook. You will get more for your used textbook if you keep it in good condition. Your ability to sell the textbooks back to the bookstore depends on whether the same textbook will be used the next time the class is offered. The main drawback from reselling the textbook is that you won’t be able to keep the textbook.
  • Rent the textbook. Like selling the book back to the bookstore, this doesn’t let you keep the textbook. Usually this costs more than the net cost of buying a new textbook and selling it at the end of the semester.
  • Shop around for the best price on the textbook. Often you can buy the book online for a significant discount. The ISBN number listed in the course syllabi and class schedules help you find the same edition online. (If the syllabus doesn’t list the ISBNs for the books, you can find them on the publisher’s web site. Also look on the publisher’s web site for alternate formats that are less expensive, such as softcover editions and ebooks.) Many online bookstores that sell textbooks will deliver the textbooks in one or two days for free. Online bookstores and comparison tools are listed below.
  • Compare the latest edition of a textbook with the older edition. Sometimes the changes aren’t significant enough that you need to get the new edition, and older editions are often much less expensive on the used market. The main drawback is sometimes the page numbering is different in the latest edition, making it more difficult to identify the reading assignments.
  • Buy the ebook version of the textbook. Ebooks will save you some money over the cost of a print textbook, although not as much as you might expect. Ebooks also aren’t a perfect solution. Page numbers are different and more fluid than in the print versions of a textbook. Ebook readers like the Kindle DX are just as readable as print textbooks, especially outdoors, but currently can’t display color diagrams. The Apple iPad can display color diagrams, but the backlighting can cause eyestrain and is more difficult to read outdoors. Taking notes on an ebook is more difficult than writing a note in the margin on a print textbook or highlighting a passage. On the other hand, you can carry all of your ebooks on a single lightweight device.
  • Buy a re-imported international edition of the textbook. Publishers sell their textbooks at a much lower cost in other countries. However, the bindings are usually much flimsier and the page numbering may differ from the US editions.

Jenny L. Phipps of Bankrate.Com offers additional suggestions in Cutting the Cost of College Incidentals:

18 ways to cut the cost of college incidentals


Read the bill carefully.


Don’t get caught in a feeing frenzy.


Beware too much health care.


Go on a dorm-dining diet.


Pay on time.


Know the financial aid bottom line.


Vet the class schedule.


Look for ways to get ahead.


Consider cheaper alternatives.
10. Transfer advance-placement credits.
11. Buy smart.
12. Decorate creatively.
13. Forget the phone.
14. Eat at home.
15. Buy used books.
16. Look for cheap travel.
17. Devise a money delivery system.
18. Be sure the price is worth it.

Congratulations on your acceptance into college. Now the real work begins.


Five Ways to Cut the Cost of College                                

Secrets to paying for college                            

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©