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Florida Legislature Passes Multiple Education Reforms

This week, the Florida Legislature wrapped up voting on a number of new educational reforms within the state. These new laws included expansion of the state’s school choice laws, new regulations for teacher’s unions and several other measures.

The most widely reported law had to do with expanding the state’s school voucher program to those who are being bullied in their present school. Any student that has been bullied can either receive a voucher to go to a different public school, or they can receive a Hope Scholarship to attend a private school in the state. This new program will cost $41 million dollars. Florida already has one of the most extensive school choice programs in the United States which costs the state roughly $1 billion per year.

The Legislature also passed a measure directed at the teacher’s union. According to this new law, a new election would have to held to re-certify a teacher’s union in a school anytime that less than 50 percent of teachers in that school stopped paying their union dues.

In another measure, lawmakers made it a requirement that all schools in the state had to display the words “In God We Trust” somewhere prominently within the school. The lawmakers also added requirements that schools provide tutoring assistance free of charge to certain students. Any student that performed below standard on reading tests administered to all students in the third grade would be eligible for assistance.

Finally, the lawmakers expanded scholarships for college students. Students can now receive up to 100 percent funding if they meet the requirement of the Bright Futures scholarship program.

Massachusetts Schools Earn Top Ranking

U.S. News & World Report has released their annual education rankings and Massachusetts has snagged the first-place spot in primary and secondary school education. With a high school graduation rate of more than 88% and high reading and math scores across the board, Massachusetts was judged the best state for students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

The top ranking is largely due to Massachusetts improving their graduation rates from 2016, when around 87% of high school students earned a high school diploma. Boston schools also saw a slight uptick in graduation rates. In 2016, 72.4% graduated from high school, but in 2017 this number rose to 72.7%.

In 2017, Massachuetts students also achieved the top scores in the nation on the standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math tests. Students in the state also scored well on the reading assessment portion of the tests; only New Hampshire test takers scored higher.

However, Massachusetts did not achieve a high ranking for higher education. Due to low college graduation rates and sky-high tuition and fees, U.S. News & World Report ranked the state 29th in the country in terms of the quality of its higher education institutions. In contrast, Florida snagged the top spot on the list for its low-cost colleges and universities and high graduation rates at both two-year and four-year institutions.

While the state performed well in the U.S. News & World Report’s education category, overall it dropped from first place to eighth place.

Congress Grinds Away At Formulating New Higher Education Act Policy

Anyone paying attention to the top media headlines these days might be surprised to learn that Congress is getting closer to passing significant new reforms to the U.S. higher education system.

The Higher Education Act is in serious need of a rewrite. The current policy has not been updated in 10 years. Several committees in both the House and Senate have been drilling away at the problem, mostly away from the media spotlight – and that’s because bigger stories, such as the Russia probe, North Korea and tax reform have sopped up most of the oxygen in mainstream news rooms.

Changes being suggested by lawmakers to the Education Act will have major consequences for millions of families. That’s because it spells out the rules for student loans, how much schools charge for tuition, private vs. public school policies and much more.

While progress is being made, the effort to revamp USA education has produced the usual partisan wrangling. Many thorny issues still divide Democrats and Republicans. For example, Republicans want to eliminate the so-called “90/10 rule.” It states that for-profit private schools cannot get more than 90% of their revenue from federal sources. Democrats have called dumping the 90/10 rule “a non-starter.”

Surprisingly, however, there has been a lot of bipartisan deal-making despite the potholes remaining. Widespread agreement has emerged over simplifying the federal student loan application process, as well as making the time-frame for application shorter.

There also has been agreement on allowing students to “test out” of certain required fields of study. That means they can skip hours of costly class time and effort if they can pass a competency test on a particular subject beforehand.

Successfully cobbling together a new Higher Education Act would be significant accomplishment for Congress with wide-ranging implications for American college students.

Law Schools See Rise in Applications

The Law School Admission Council recently released statistics showing that the number of applicants for law schools rose significantly. The number of applications for the upcoming year was almost 11% higher, as of January of 2018, than it was at the same time in 2017.

Also supporting that data is the fact that 27.9% more LSAT tests were taken in December of 2017 than in December of 2016.

Some professionals in the industry see this positive trend as reflective of the current climate. The U.S. job market is relatively healthy, and young people now feel fairly confident about what their career prospects could be with a law degree in hand. These upticks in applications have also happened in the past, generally a few years after an economic slowdown. Once things begin to bounce back after a recession, people start considering graduate school as a practical step in advancing their careers.

The headlines involving the important role that lawyers and judges have been playing in politics and business affairs may also affect the number of law school applications. Both Democrats and Republicans may be able to see themselves going to work for the government, nonprofit organizations, corporate firms, and as general counsel where they can fight for the type of people they identify with. Young people who are passionate about making a difference and creating real change can do so in the legal field.

To help potential students afford advanced education, many law schools are using scholarships and tuition discounts to attract their top applicants. Public and private schools are trying to boost their numbers and the quality of their student body through these incentives, and many future lawyers are gladly accepting the extra assistance.

Things That Colleges Consider During the Application Process

Are you trying to get into the college that you have been dreaming of? According to the New York Times, here are some things that you should know about getting into your dream college.

First of all, whether you get accepted or not has to do with more than just your grades and who you are. Colleges sometimes consider things like diversity levels and revenue. However, grades and the scores that you got on your tests still have a lot more to do with getting accepted then your personality and your other good traits. However, when colleges have created a list of students with excellent scores, they then go deeper to decide who to accept. At this point, they will consider things such as your personality, your positive traits, how good of a student you are, and more. Colleges want to get to know the real you. They want to know what your passions, dreams, and goals are. So instead of writing a boastful essay, you may want to consider talking about yourself and expressing your deepest dreams, goals, and views on life.

Colleges also consider your life experience. They want to give access to students who have not had the same opportunities as privileged students but still worked hard to get good results. They will consider the kind of high school you went to, the neighborhood you grew up in, the level of income that your family had, whether you are a minority or not, and other things. Diversity is still a major issue for colleges, as they want to be as diverse as possible and give everyone a chance. Of course, colleges still need you to be able to pay your tuition. If you do not have enough to pay your tuition, a college may not accept you.

Research Shows That US Students Need More Motivation for Math Tests

The United States economy is the strongest in the world. Since that is so, you would expect that United States students are the best in math, since education is correlated to the economy. However, many people are baffled as to why students in the United States seem to do worse at math than students in other countries around the world.

The United States is the 39th in the world at math when it comes to the PISA test. However, researchers think that it is not because students in the United States are not competent, just that they are not motivated enough to do well. They did research by giving out fake PISA tests. By these fake tests, they gave half of the students in different schools money. They said that they would take away $1 for every incorrect answer. In the end, the students that were bribed did well. In fact, researchers say that if there was enough motivation, the United States would move up 20 places on the list of countries in regards to math.

Now, you might think that you can do this trick in other countries as well and the students there will also do better in math. However, researchers did the same study in China. There, students who were bribed did not do better than the students were not bribed.

The truth is that the PISA tests do not have any real consequences for students. It does not help them get into college. Students cannot even see their scores. That is why students are so unmotivated to do well on this test.

Although previous studies have shown that bribing kids with money does not help them improve their performance, there are ways that it does help. For example, in this study, students were giving money right away and then threatened with losing it if they did poorly.

Betsy Devos Urges Major Reform In Higher Education

United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is calling for a major reform in higher education. She says that we have to put a focus on apprenticeship and other workforce integration programs. She said that traditional students, meaning those who study for 4 years in college and graduate within 4 years, are very few. A small percentage of high school students actually graduate within 4 years. However, society has decided that the only way to get a successful career is by getting a degree through studying for four years in college. However, many students would benefit greatly from apprenticeship programs. Betsy DeVos said that we need to prioritize those kinds of apprenticeship programs, which used to be very popular but which were stigmatized in the past few decades.

At a conference with business leaders, Betsy DeVos urged them to create partnerships with colleges and other educational institutions near them. She urged the education community to stop pushing students to get a 4 year degree in college and instead give them many options from which to choose from. These options can include various technical and apprenticeship workforce options that help them get a career and develop a career path that they are interested in. Many students do not know what they want while they are still in high school or middle school. The fact is that a four-year degree is not necessary in order to be successful. There are 30 million well paying jobs in the United States that do not require a college degree. Her remarks are also part of the current administration’s efforts to help fill six million empty jobs. We should honor students that choose a career that does not include a 4 year college degree, and we should not give them a subtle message that it is the wrong way of doing things.

Common Misconceptions About Choosing a College Major

When going to college, many students have trouble choosing their college major. Sometimes, they get advice from friends that is not accurate. Other times, they will switch their major a few times. The truth is that there are many myths about college majors, according to the New York Times.

The first myth is that you have to go into certain majors in order to get a good salary. The truth is that different majors can pay almost as much as a business major or even majors in the STEM field. Another myth is that women are doing better than men in colleges. Although women are the majority of college students these days, many of them are choosing to go into majors that offer lower paying careers. It is not clear as to why they are doing this and what we as a society can do to change this.

Another myth is that it is more important to choose the right major than it is to choose the right college. However, studies have shown that people who graduated from more elite colleges earn more than those who graduated from less elite colleges. This is true even if those who graduated from more elite colleges had a lower paying major than those who graduated from less elite colleges. This is because those who graduate from elite colleges have a better network of acquaintances and connections and can land better jobs even if they have a major that is not as advanced.

Another myth is that liberal arts majors do not bode well for finding jobs. However, the truth is that many liberal arts majors give you great skills that employers in various industries are looking for.

Strategies for Improving Education in Public Schools

Everyone believes education is vital and crucial to personal success and social mobility. However, America, one of the countries with excellent higher education, has been criticized for performing poorly in primary and secondary school education as compared to schools from other industrialized countries. Funding for students has been reported to be rising rapidly over the past decade. Recent news reveals that the key to a successful education is mainly to attract good teachers.

It further shows that one of the best methods to attract teachers is to raise the teachers’ salaries. However, this strategy seems to fail because higher incomes go to both good and bad teachers. As a result, bad teachers are given the incentive as the good ones. Another option that is believed to be a success is rigorous screening. Since every state requires teachers to be certified, statistics reveal that higher certification standards set should be replaced with better ones to improve the education standards. Despite the much research in determining the required qualities in teachers, there’s no proper formula for determining the exact qualities that make a good teacher.

Research also reveals that candidates who are aspiring to make good teachers should be tested for their uniqueness and not their ability to help students learn. Additionally, they should be able to inspire students, illuminate issues in productive ways, and build relationships with them. These reasons were reported to be the reason schools are struggling to get good teachers or provide better grades. Further, it was also mentioned that allowing genuine alternatives to certification does not hurt the quality of learning but makes the process of finding better teachers easier. Licensing of teachers in public schools does not only keep unsuited candidates from becoming teachers but also deters candidates that were well-suited.

Student Loans Delaying Life Changes

Going to college is a great way to improve your chances of success in the future. However, over the past few years, the cost of college has increased greatly. There are many people who are struggling to pay for college.

Student loans have become the default way to pay for school. Although taking on some student debt is not a huge issue, it will become a problem if you do not have a plan to pay it back. There are a lot of people who struggle to pay for their loans after school.

According to a recent news report, more people than ever are delaying various milestones in life due to their student loans.

Student Loan Problems

One of the biggest issues with student loans is that it is hard for new graduates to find jobs. Although the economy has improved some recently, it is still difficult for new graduates to find quality positions in their field. There are many examples of people taking on menial jobs just to pay the bills. This is not the way to succeed in the future. These people do not make enough money to pay for their student loans. As a result, the loans just keep adding stress to their life.

In the coming years, many people hope that the public education system changes. Not only does the cost of college need to be addressed, but the government may need to help students who are already in debt. There are various political candidates who are now speaking out against the high cost of college.

With so many people delaying major decisions in life, student loans are starting to impact the housing market. In some areas, young people are not buying homes due to their debt.