Los Angeles Schools Run Nation's Second Largest District

In terms of numbers, Los Angeles Schools make up the second largest public school district in the country. Only New York City Schools top them. The issues of running any urban system are complex, but in massive districts the numbers make efforts even more difficult.

Los Angeles Schools Struggle with Graduation Rates

Simply getting students to graduate is a challenge for the Los Angeles Schools. A 2006 USA Today study reported that Los Angeles Schools were among several large urban districts with less than 50% of its students gradating from high school on time. That report put the number of graduates in Los Angeles Schools at 44.2%. This is well under the California state graduation rate of 71%.

Another report released from Princeton University in 2005 estimated the lost income of these dropouts at over $36 billion. These numbers are not surprising to educators in the Los Angeles Schools. Numerous studies over the years have confirmed what Los Angeles Schools teachers know. High School drop-outs are far more likely to become teen parents, commit crimes, and use government funded social and medical services. Graduates have higher incomes, raise better-educated children, and experience other social benefits.

Los Angeles Schools Receive Funds

As the result of a 2005 lawsuit filed by State Schools Chief Jack O’Connell and the California Teachers Association, some of the poorest rated Los Angeles Schools were awarded extra funding in May of 2007. The lawsuit was filed in 2006 against California Governor Schwarzenegger and the California Department of Finance. It alleged that they had failed to appropriately fund Proposition 98 during the 2004 to 2006 school years.

O’Connell is using the lawsuit’s awards to provide $2.7 billion to some of California and Los Angeles Schools’ highest risk schools. The funds are part of a program called the Quality Education Investment Act. The funds will provide chosen Los Angeles Schools with additional per pupil funds of $500 for k-3rd grade, $900 for 4th through 8th, and $1,000 for 9th through 12th . Los Angeles Schools intend to use the money for hiring more teachers, addressing class size concerns, professional development, and hiring in-school counselors.

Los Angeles Schools are in need in many areas. The national achievement gap is huge here because of a large population of English Language Learners, and a low socio-economic population. One concern of the Princeton study mentioned above is that it pointed out huge discrepancies in graduation rates between white and non-white students. African-American students and Hispanic students have the lowest graduation rates; and Los Angeles Schools are largely made up of these student minorities. Over 100 Los Angeles Schools will receive the additional funds over the next seven years.

For more information please visit Los Angeles School Ratings and Public School Ratings

How to Successfully Complete your Online Degree Program

Online education has become so popular especially among working adults to earn as many degrees as they like to help bringing their career to next higher level without the need to quit their current job or interrupting their current lifestyle. The advantages of online education have made it the best option for you to pursue your career related degree online, but the question is: are you the right candidate to be an online student? Before you even consider pursuing your degree online, this is the first question you need to consider and here are some guides to help you find your answer.

Try to evaluate yourself whether you have mindsets or behaviors below:

1. You think pursuing a degree online is easy

Online education has advantages of flexibility to plan your learning schedule and convenient because you can attend the online classes from your comfort home. But, it does not as easy as you think because your need to manage your time between your work, family and study. In many time, you may lose focus on your study if you are too busy with your works or you are unable to mange your time probably to allocate enough time for your study. If you are in this situation, your priority on work and family may cause you to drop or delay your degree program.

If you decide to pursue your degree online, you must be prepared to face the challenge during the online learning process and be consistent to stay in focus on your online learning.

2. You have less self-motivation

Online education allows you to study at your own pace, which means that you must be self-motivated to plan your learning schedule and push yourself until your complete the whole program. If you are a kind of person that prefers motivation from other persons to push you to complete a certain task, then, you might be at risk of potentially unable to complete your online degree program.

If online degree program is your ultimate option, then your need to change your behavior meet online student characteristics, or you can get help from your family members especially your spouse as your mentor to motivate you along your online learning process.

3. You Prefer To Listen to the Lecture

In the traditional campus-based classes, when a lecturer is teaching, you are listening to it. If you are comfort to this learning environment, then you might have problem to adapt to new online learning media. Although, there are material in audio or video format, but most of online learning materials are still in text formats which require you to read it instead of listen to it. You must adapt to this learning environment if you want to success in your online learning.

4. You Prefer Face-To-Face Communication

Online chats and discussion forums are the key communication media for online learning. If you are not comfortable to discuss or ask questions through these media, then, you might have difficulties to convey your questions …

Pros and cons on homeschooling

 As Homeschooling has become increasingly accepted and popular, the pros and cons of taking up the responsibility of schooling from the home have become a much discussed topic. Many of the perceived problems of homeschooling are false or blown way out of proportion. As the ranks of the home learning community have grown, an increased awareness and problem solving attitude have addressed and solved most of the main issues. That being said, homeschooling is a huge undertaking and should be seriously studied and considered. What are some of the benefits of keeping children at home to be educated? The following are some of the best reasons:

  • The family unit is strengthened as you not only get educated together, but have fun and develop as a family.
  • No one knows a child like a parent, which means a parent will be the best suited to focus in on the strong suits of the child, helping provide a better learning experience.
  • There is more flexibility in curriculum choices, providing the ability to cover a variety of interesting subjects.
  • More personal interest and familiarity with your children will help with the quick appraisal of strong and weak points.
  • Home learning produces more imaginative and hands-on projects which will help with enjoyment and knowledge retention.
  • Homeschoolers have fewer sick days, so they will be fitter and more clear-headed. Result? More time for learning.
  • Homeschooled children are more likely to build a lifelong passion for education.
  • Children schooled at home actually form stronger social skills, having more maturity and ease of interaction with people of all ages.
  • With the increased attention given to the high level of education achieved by most homeschoolers, colleges are enthusiastically seeking them out for enrollment.
  • Homeschooled kids are more positive, motivated, and better critical thinkers.

Don’t be afraid to take your children’s education and future into your own hands. The “cons” are actually few. The big two are time and fear of the ability to teach. It will be a huge time commitment, period.  As for teaching, relax, parents are natural teachers and children are avid learners. Plus, there is a vast array of resources available for all aspects of homeschooling. From peer support to help with curriculums, it’s all available.

Visit Homestudyresources.org for the best self-education and homeschool materials. I use and still use their products. Taught by the best professors in their fields, with plenty of input from customers, the learning resources available are the very best. Also helpful articles and links.…

California Schools' Audit Shows Excessive Spending and Overpayments to Chain of Charter Schools

Superintendent of Instruction for the California schools, Jack O’Connell, initiated an audit more than a year ago into the fiscal concerns of the Options for Youth and Opportunities for Learning (OYO) schools. The OYO is a chain of independent study charter schools within the California schools system, which are privately run but funded by the state.

The OYO California schools serve students who have dropped out of the traditional high schools. They currently have about 15,000 students in 40 storefront locations across the state. These California schools students do most of their work at home, meeting with teachers twice a week. According to state records, student achievement test and high school exit exam scores are above average, as compared to other alternative high schools within the California schools system. According to a Los Angeles Times article of August 10th, only 11 percent of OYO students graduated during the 2003-2004 school year. The remainder of students that left school that year either dropped out, were expelled, or transferred to other schools.

The California schools’ audit was conducted by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, who concluded their analysis and presented their findings in a report that was released in August 2006. The audit cites accounting defects, overpayments by the state, conflicts of interest, nepotism, excessive compensation, and mixing private business concerns with public schools.

The OYO was founded and still operated by John and Joan Hall, former teachers from Hollywood High School. They have fully cooperated with the California schools’ audit, but dispute most of the findings.

Some examples from the audit report are:

• Accounting Defects and Overpayments. The Halls count each of their teachers as 1.92 full-time positions. Their spokesperson, Stevan Allen, stated that this is a common practice for charter schools in the California schools system and is a legitimate method for compensating school staff for longer days and year-round schedules. California schools superintendent O’Connell believes teachers should be counted only as one full-time position each. The auditors disagreed, citing that traditional California schools teachers spend much less time working each year than those at OYO. However, the auditors believed the 1.92 amount is inflated. This example, alone, accounts for more than half of the $57 million overpayment.

Additionally, the report noted several questionable expenses. One example of unrestrained spending, given by the Times was an $18,000 staff party held at Disneyland. Allen defended that event as an attempt at relationship building between staff members, who are scattered across the state. He noted that the costs was less than $50 per staff member.

• Conflicts of Interest and Mixing Private Business with Public Schools. Besides the charter schools, the Halls own and operate several private businesses that sell materials and services to schools. The Times noted that the Options in OYO was the nonprofit part of the setup, with the Opportunities part being for-profit. The audit calls this practice and setup into question.

• Excessive Compensation. The audit also questions the combined salaries for the Halls, which …

Pros and Cons of Elearning

As obvious, the term “online education” or “distance learning” simply means what it implies. Through eLearning or distance education programs, students have the capability to enroll in classes that are carried out completely over the internet. Classes are conducted from online colleges and universities across the world, and all that is needed is a bit of motivation from the student’s side to acquire his/her degree online.

In the past couple of years, online education has gained much popularity, as traditional along with online-only colleges began offering distance learning courses after realizing that there are individuals out there who have trouble attending regular classes due to hectic lifestyles. There are numerous reasons why one should opt for eLearning, while on the other hand there are reasons why institutions providing online education are not all that well-reputed.

Pros of Online Education
There are numerous benefits of acquiring online degree, and those already enrolled in distance education programs know the true worth of the education they receive. The most prominent benefit of studying online is that neither the student nor the teacher has to travel long distances to attend classes at a particular location as eLearning can be conducted from just about anywhere in the world. The courses and online degree programs are carried out over the internet, through online learning management systems, internet char, real-time lectures, webinars etc.

The second benefit is that online students have the capability to study at their own pace. In a traditional setting, students need to finish their given assignments within a particular period of time, while through online education they can study whenever they are free. The online faculty assigns projects with a deadline and students can finish their projects at whatever time they find feasible within that particular deadline.

This leads us to the third benefit of online education, which is that those enrolled in an online college or university can easily balance work, family and their studies, thereby fulfilling all commitments. Instead of being away at a traditional college for about 8 hours a day, they can easily spend time with their family or even carry out work-related tasks while studying online.

Cons of eLearning
Just like anything else in life, eLearning has its disadvantages as well. First of all, there is the downside of there being no face-to-face interaction between the student and the professors. Even though they CAN meet outside the World Wide Web once in a blue moon, but it just does substitute for the entire social interaction that takes place in normal settings. Professors and students just do not get to know each other the way they do in a traditional classroom. Another con to the entire eLearning experience is that the college or university individual’s enroll in might not be properly accredited.

There are numerous benefits of proper accreditation, but it is of utmost importance for those who are willing to seek employment upon graduation. Not all online colleges and universities are accredited and you need to make sure …