Thursday, April 29, 2010

Higher Ed Melt Down

I read a series of education blogs each day and one marketing blog by Seth Godin. Today the two collided in a great piece by Godin on the coming meltdown in higher education. His basic premise is since costs have significantly outpaced the benefits, the consumer will soon look for something else.

"Most colleges are organizaed to give an average education to average students"
"College has gotten expensive far faster than wages of gone up"

True that. How long can students pile on a ton of debt if they are not going to make the wages to pay that debt off? It has always stunned me when parents send their loved one off to a private college at $45,000 per year when a state school runs $16,000 a year knowing that both will pretty much make the same salary on graduation.

Online education and increased access to resources is making most college courses a commodity. With that in mind, are you going to pay a premium for commodity classes?

When marketing gurus take notice of the ridiculousness of Higher ED, it says something about how obvious this has become. The model will change and his thoughts are definitely worth a quick read.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gainful employment in a recognized occupation

Apparently there is a unique requirement in Title IV for all for-profit post-secondary schools not designated as liberal arts. They must show that they prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation". If they don't, they can't get federal aid.

I can see the benefit of this rule as students are building up a mountain of debt while going through a program that doesn't create a steady income in the end.

But shouldn't the state university system be held to the same level of accountability? If it was, would it mean an end to useless majors that create a mountain of debt with no way to pay it off? Are their recognized occupations for gainful employment for the women's studies majors with well over $40,000 in student debt? I hired one to be my administrative assistant which I think fully negated the purpose of her major.

Somehow the academic world lost sight of the fact that they are supposed to prepare students to survive in the real world. If only they were held to the same high level of accountability that for-profits must achieve.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

AAE rolling the blog

Association of American Educators has cranked up the blog with one of my favorite topics - alternative teacher certification. Take a read as the first story centers around New York - the latest to get fed up with ed schools that are not moving the profession forward.

This is a pretty stunning development with the Board of Regents has deciding it will now issue master's degrees to program completers in TFA and TNTP. Wow - talk about stepping OUT! Can't wait for the ed comparisons to law, med and nursing - would the bar issue a law degree to someone from an alternative program......actually that is not a bad idea! Let's do it!

I digress - AAE is a great professional teacher organization with a solid start to their blog and a phenomenal new website so check it out. And if you are a member of AAE make sure you check out our new relationship for master's in teaching.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Education is not a belief system.

The ed world is abuzz with the news that the charter school started by Stanford University's ed school is being shut down. They set out to prove that their beliefs in the education school's esteemed knowledge of learning did actually equate to successful student achievement. Turns out their beliefs may be horribly wrong.

The reason the ed reform world is so happy is that for years we have heard about what is 'known' in education and that if we don't comply with what they "believe in", we are not doing things the right way. There was never any real hard data, it was just a given that they had to be doing the right things. In my own fights, I kept thinking that this isn't religion - we can't be having a debate about what you believe is right for kids.

And then their school which employed these beliefs got shut down for having miserably dismal performance. They are failing students in a huge way. Everyone felt good about the school using these beliefs but the kids can't read.

It is sad for the students but hopefully a wake up call for policymakers that education is not a belief system - decisions must be based on the reality of data.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crist vetoes Florida Senate Bill 6

Gov. Crist vetoed Florida Senate Bill 6 giving teachers a reprieve on losing pay for advanced degrees. But if you are a teacher, now is the time to get your master's degree without delay because this will come back.

Do the math:
  • The total cost of a master's degree from American College of Education is < $7,000
  • The average salary bump in Florida for a master's is $3,500
  • Therefore, your payback is two years
  • And, because the focus on of the programs is on raising student achievement you have the tools to maximize your performance based pay

So even if Senate Bill 6 had passed, the salary bump didn't go away until the 2014-15 school year making American College of Education a very sound investment for Florida Teachers.

Let's reach for the middle

Yet another article of another study of how poorly we help our students master math in school. This time they look at who is teaching math and found the following:
  • 80-100% of middle school teachers in high achieving countries took advanced math courses like algebra and calculus while only 50-60% of US middle school teachers did

American elementary teachers did about the same as most countries which is a nice move forward and actually a positive surprise for a change!

Of course the press has to found someone to question the study. In this case the person is a Dr. Kingsbury from NWEA who says "And to suggest that you can't be a good middle school math teacher unless you've taken calculus is a leap, because calculus isn't taught in middle school".

The math experts who developed the challenging ABCTE math exams felt very strongly that unless you really know the end point, you can't teach algebra. They refused to split 6-12 math into a middle and high school math certification for teachers. I have talked to many state certification leaders and get total agreement: knowing just algebra to teach algebra will not help students succeed in more advanced math.

It is time to demand more of our math teachers if we are ever going to take the lead in STEM.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poverty & Education

"We will never eradicate poverty until we fix education"
- amazing op-ed in the Washington Post by Joel I. Klein, chancellor of New York City schools, Michael L. Loma, president and chief executive of the United Negro College Fund and Janet MurguĂ­a, president and chief executive of the National Council of La Raza. They are co-chairs of the Board of the Education Equality Project.

Florida Senate Bill 6

Are Education Master's degrees dead in Florida if Governor Crist signs Senate Bill 6? Fair question so let's break it down. First, according a report by CRPE, only 37% of teachers had master's degrees in Florida because the salary bump averaged only $3,496. Second, an amendment allows performance evaluations to consider master's degrees - keeping them in the salary mix. Third, the bill doesn't take effect until the 2014 school year. And finally, it focuses on student achievement so if the master's degree program provides teachers the tools to improve student achievement, it can help teachers maximize their performance based pay.

So American College of Education is positioned correctly to continue to help Florida Teachers help students and maximize their earnings.
  1. The salary bump still pays for the master's degree in less than two years making it a great investment for Florida Teachers
  2. A master's will help in their annual evaluation - and help improve their teaching practice furthering their chances for solid raises
  3. Teachers have plenty of time to earn their master's and still earn the salary bump
  4. American College of Education master's are focused on providing the tools to improve student achievement

So the rumors of the demise of the master's degree are greatly exaggerated. Teachers can still realize solid benefits for earning their master's in education and ultimately, the students will see the win.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What is important to teachers

American College of Education has a new blog up and running. Really smart people here with great thoughts on where we need to go in education!! So take a look and keep on watching. We are going places.

The New Teachers Lounge newest post on What is important to teachers.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Transforming education through technology

We have a nice write up on the USDOE's National Educational Technology plan on our website with some great quotes from Dr. Jeri Nowakowski, President of the American College of Education.

Two Navy slogans come to mind that apply to implementing technology in schools:
  1. You can't push a rope
  2. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link

We will have to lead teachers into education technology with outstanding training and we will never get there until the worst technophobes are converted.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

i3 - counterintuitive

Rick Hess has a great summary of the US DOE's Innovation and Improvement grant requirements and why they are a little screwy. Keeping for-profits out of the mix keeps true innovation out of the mix. We are still going to push to partner with school districts since we have an innovative way to help teachers from alternative certification programs improve their teaching practice - but it adds a whole new level of unnecessay hoops.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moving Online

"Let's move learning online" is the subtitle of a great article in the Washington Post from Reason Foundation's Katherine Mangu-Ward. I am little late on highlighting this piece, mainly because my real job is pushing more teachers to study online a keeping me quite busy.

The interesting thing is how moving online is becoming more maintstream like all education reforms. People no longer raise concerns of quality - yet. But we have 3.5 million teachers who don't know how to teach online and aren't all that great at technology. One of my friends here told me her teacher doesn't know how to use email - when she emails the teacher, she gets a note back from her son. As online learning moves to scale, we are going to run out of the teachers who are great with technology.

Technology training for teachers is critical if we are to finally move portions of learning online to increase student achievement and finally speak to digital natives in their tongue.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ABCTE alternative certification discount for master's

One of the first things I did when I arrived at American College of Education was to set up a discount for ABCTE teachers to earn their M.Ed. degrees. So if you ABCTE teachers are ready to move into leadership our up the career ladder, head on over and get your $500 tuition reduction.

If you are not an ABCTE alum but still a teacher from alternative certification? You can still get the same program for a $500 tuition reduction if you have come through any alt cert route into teaching.

ABCTE teachers and teachers from alternative certification programs deserve a master’s program created by educators for educators that cuts the costs for advanced degrees focused on student achievement. The program must:
· Be relevant, engaging, with real world content delivered online on your time
· Be focused on improving student achievement
· Be efficient without overwhelming: one class every six weeks to complete in 15 months
· Be affordable and not require 10 more years of student loans
· Have received highest level of program accreditation

So head on over and enroll - this program ends June 1, 2010 - so please don't delay.

Pushing forward

If you have talked to me in the last two years, you know that this is exactly where I need to be - helping move the online education revolution forward!