Thursday, September 29, 2011

Online Higher Ed Boost - New GI Bill to pay housing!

Many military students avoided online schools while using the GI Bill because they were going to lose the housing allowance.  But in GI Bill 2.0 which starts in October, online students will receive a housing allowance of $673.50 per month.  The VA says they expect 40,000 students to take advantage of this - they are wrong.  They are only counting current students.

This is going to go a lot higher.  Online schools offer the convenience and flexibility that military students want.  It is also a lot easier to carry a full time online load, get the housing allowance and still keep a job - compared to a traditional campus.

The great thing here is that injured Veterans can now study at home.  But watch - this is a HUGE benefit to online schools who know how to work with the military - they are going to attract a lot more students.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Resources for Education Reform

The first is our own LTF Training information quick guide for any school looking to build their pipeline of students ready for college success:

The second is the Bush Institute's Global Report Card:
Provides a great look at how your district is doing compared to the rest of the world.

Two great resources for education reformers looking for real change in America's schools.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Amazing Online Education in South Dakota

Many of you may not realize the cutting edge online education going on in South Dakota that is changing lives for so many rural high school students.  With a third of their high schools housing less than 100 students, it is difficult to provide a solid college prep curriculum.  But with the non-profit Technology and Innovation in Education - South Dakota is getting it done in a big way.

I spent the day with them today and left wondering why no one has heard of them! 
  • They are now serving 57 of the 75 school districts providing AP courses online so that more students have access. 
  • They are the first of the National Math and Science Initiative states to go online
  • They have tripled the number of students taking and passing AP tests!! These are students that had no access before
Online learning is so critical in providing the variety of courses necessary for more rural students to succeed in college.  It is great to see TIE getting it done!

Monday, September 19, 2011

College Prep Bait and Switch

There is a lot more chatter about the current bait and switch in higher education.  The first time I heard it was really about telling kids from inner city schools that if you work hard you can go to college - so they do but find out they can only afford community college or piling on college loans they can't afford. 

Now the bait and switch is go to college and you will have incredible earning potential - but college grads find out they are ill prepared for the "real world" after college.  From the USA Today College article "Good student, bad employee: The bait and switch of college preparation"

"College preparation isn't always aligned with workplace realities. College students are working to better themselves employees are working to better an organization."

Other issues
  1. Focus on trail and revision at college - no one wants that in the real world as we need results now
  2. Independent out of the box thinking is good in college - but most entry level jobs use little creativity and pretty much need rote thinking
These are the same kids that got trophies for showing up, didn't keep score until the later grades, and received constant affirmation of their worth.  So the trauma of moving from college to the real world is even greater.  It's time for higher ed to start truly preparing kids for real life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

STEM Workshop in Houston!

Great workshop for teachers on STEM from Laying the Foundation in Houston!  eSchool News has the update here - STEM Education Workshop.  Astronaut Alvin Drew will speak at the event which is designed to inspire teachers and provide the tools they need to ensure that every child recieves a great STEM Education!

Don't miss it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

NASA and LTF host STEM Conference!

Kaci Schack

Laying the Foundation Announces Keynote Speaker for Educator Conference in Houston
DALLAS, TEXAS – Laying the Foundation (LTF), a nonprofit organization that provides content-focused teacher training and classroom resources, announced the keynote speaker today for its upcoming One-Day Educator Conference at J. Frank Dobie High School in Houston, Texas. The October 1st Conference is designed for 6th-12th grade English, mathematics, science, social studies, art history/studio, and music theory teachers with the goal of providing strategies for building a college-ready environment in their schools. Registration may be accessed through .

The conference will feature NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew, who will speak about his experiences as an
engineer, the importance of STEM education, and his missions in space. He has degrees in physics,
astronautical engineering, aerospace science, and strategic studies in political science. For NASA, he has logged more than 612 hours in space while flying over 10 million miles. He has also served as the
Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

The conference will feature over 50 workshops that will provide teachers with content knowledge,
strategies, and classroom-ready lessons on topics of interest they select. Teachers will leave the
conference with materials and strategies that they can use immediately in their classes to implement
rigorous state and national standards.

LTF has worked with NASA’s Human Research Program Education Outreach (HRPEO) project to provide teachers state-of-the-art math and science lessons that incorporate data from NASA space missions and LTF instructional strategies, and utilize the TI-Nspire for data analysis. These lessons provide another tool that teachers can use to get their students excited about science and to understand the critical need for math expertise.

“You cannot fix the college readiness gap or improve STEM education without great teachers with the
right resources,” said Dave Saba, CEO of Laying the Foundation. “Col. Drew will lead the way toward inspiring our teachers to challenge their students to become tomorrow’s scientists and engineers.”

About Laying the Foundation
Laying the Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the best content-based, pedagogy-driven, teacher-to-teacher training, supported by rigorous classroom-ready lessons and web-based resources to improve the quality of English, mathematics, and science instruction. LTF has trained over 34,000 teachers to date and has demonstrated dramatic increases in Advanced Placement exam participation and success in STEM subjects. LTF believes that training, mentoring, and empowering the teacher corps will lead to high standards of academic excellence for all students.

Changes to GI Bill start now!

Huge changes to the GI Bill in GI Bill 2.0 - check out the complete list and dates at edumilitary blog.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best STEM High Schools

Many of you know that my current focus is improving college readiness in STEM subjects as CEO of Laying the Foundation (LTF Training).  It is amazing to see so many schools really working hard to ensure that more students are college ready with a STEM focus. 

If you are curious at the some of the best, online colleges put together a list of the top 12 high schools for STEM

Let me know your thoughts on the list