What Do Budget Cuts in Education Mean to Your Family?

The news just recently reported that there are a lot of budget cuts coming for the new school year. There are plans to lay off thousands of teachers, cancel summer school programs and after school programs and increase classroom size. Every parent that sends their child to public school should be very concerned. The U.S. in its current state is not up to par with education and making such drastic cuts can only be detrimental to future generations.

Once these budget cuts become effective parents should expect the drop out rate to climb. Programs that offer extra help to students who struggle in reading or math may soon be a thing of the past. This will put a lot of extra pressure on parents to compensate for the lack of support from the school system.

The US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is urging schools and parents to do all they can to prevent these changes from occurring. The loss of many of these programs will have serious effects on the quality of the education our children will receive.

What can parents do? Now more than ever, parents must be involved in making sure their child can read before they begin school. Since reading is the backbone of all other learning, parents need to be encouraged to invest some time in teaching their child to read before they even get to school. By sending a child to school that cannot read parents are gambling with their child’s future.

Studies show that a child that is struggling to read in the third grade never catches up to their peers. With less funding and less remedial reading programs, parents are left with no choice. It boils down to this, if you want your child to do well in public school and get a good education, get prepared to be involved.

Teaching a child to read is not a hard or complicated task for parents. A child learns to read much easier in a one on one setting, such as would be provided in their home, with the guidance of a loving parent. Many programs are available to guide parents in teaching their child to read.

Parents should certainly invest in one of these programs and begin teaching their child to read beginning around age 4. With an investment of just 15 minutes a day a child can learn to read well before the age of 5. The United States is facing an economic crises, which will affect those dependent on the public school systems. Parents would be wise to prepare their child for success by assuring they can read well.

Online Teaching As a Career: Advice From a Modern Educator

There is a gold rush going on now in the field of online learning and it is the pursuit of teaching online. There are new master’s degree programs that are focused on teaching with technology, along with degree programs related to instructional design. There are authors that tout the seemingly endless opportunities available for teaching online courses, and one set of authors that want you to believe you can earn a six figure income as an adjunct online instructor.

There was a time not too long ago when online learning was gaining popularity, that there were plenty of opportunities available to teach online. But that time has changed, especially due to the increased number of schools that offer online classes. Potential students have a wealth of schools to choose from now when they want to earn a degree online. In addition, there has been a decline in enrollment for some of the for-profit schools because of intense scrutiny by regulators and the student loan crisis. What is needed now more than ever is a realistic overview of online teaching, from someone who is been highly involved in the field as a Modern Educator.

A Perspective about Students

I have been involved in the field of online learning now as a Modern Educator for over nine years. I have taught online courses for traditional colleges as well as for-profit universities. My perspective is not limited to just one school and I have also worked with online faculty development and online curriculum development. There are a few generalities I can make based upon this experience and the first is about the online student base. With the for-profits there generally is not an entrance exam or evaluation made of the skill sets that potential students may have (or not have) and that means the doors are wide open. With for-profits they have to compete for new enrollments and as a result they will accept those who are not well-suited for this environment and those who are grossly academically underprepared. To get students enrolled the value of a degree as to be sold and it is often over-sold with highly creative ads. And the real indicator of the underlying problem for online learning is the retention rate, which is 30% on an average for undergraduate students.

A Perspective about Faculty

Several years ago, when there were numerous adjunct opportunities, a master’s degree was accepted as a minimum qualification for teaching undergraduate students. Now there is a large pool of adjunct instructors, a significant number of people who want to teach online, and many who are seeking a degree so they could teach online – with fewer job opportunities available. Now it is not uncommon to see a job listing with a doctorate degree stated as the preferred minimum credential, even for undergraduate courses. In addition, when a job opening is listed there will likely be hundreds of resumes sent.

Once you are lucky enough to get on board as an adjunct there are never any guarantees made about your continued employment. You could be a long-term employee and without notice find yourself let go as departmental priorities change. There’ve been some full-time positions teaching online, but those jobs are even fewer and very difficult to obtain. Preference may be given to internal employees and current adjuncts may have to compete with external candidates. And then there is the issue of salary. Some full-time positions may require advanced degrees and pay a marginally acceptable rate. Some for-profits also prefer to hire instructors with minimal experience, simply to keep the cost of salaries down.

Managing Your Expectations

It may seem that I have painted a very bleak picture of the industry I am in – and that is not my point. What I want to do is to help manage the expectations about teaching online. If you are student now and have little to no teaching experience, and believe you will gain a full-time job earning a six figure income right out of school, you have very unrealistic expectations. If you want to teach online because it sounds easy or likely fun, you believe it will provide steady income, or you teach well now in a traditional classroom setting, you will still need to manage and possibly adjust your expectations.

Online teaching requires a significant investment of time if you want to be good at it, and it requires a specialized skill set to teach in a technologically enable environment. If you want to teach online because you are interested in helping others learn, and you are willing to learn and adapt, you will be more successful if you accept to working without future guarantees. The key to successfully teaching online is to make a commitment to your ongoing professional development and building a resume that demonstrates your interest in and capacity for online teaching.

Strategies to Build a Career

– Continue Your Professional Development: Earning a graduate degree is an important step taken for your career. However, as an educator you know the value of ongoing development and the need to keep your knowledge base current. Your commitment to the field of education means that you need to continually update your skills and strategies. While some schools have mandatory professional development requirements, you can make it a regular practice. For example, many online associations offer webinars at little or no cost. The point is to stay current in the field of online learning.

– Develop an Engaging Online Presence: If you are an online educator you can transform into a Modern Educator. This means you teach online and you can engage with a much broader academic community online. There are several options available for establishing an online presence. LinkedIn allows you to join professional groups. Twitter is a helpful networking resource that allows you to connect with the global academic group and share resources. Whatever options you choose, be certain to carefully manage your image and be aware of the digital footprint left behind with everything you post.

– Become Published with Articles, a Blog, or E-Books: The traditional route for a college professor is to conduct research and publish articles in scholarly journals. As a Modern Educator my primary focus is publishing work that can immediately reach other educators and students – and I have done this through a blog, online articles, and e-books. I recommend you take the same approach and find a platform to share your knowledge and expertise, whether you offer it for free or you monetize it.

– Develop a Professional CV with Impact: If you are going to apply for online teaching jobs then you should know there will be strong competition. This means your CV will not only represent you, it needs to provide a clear indication that you are highly qualified. Make certain that it is well-edited, well-formatted, well-written, and demonstrates your commitment to the field of online learning through associations, professional development, and sources of your work as a published author.

– Acquire Teaching or Training Experience: There was a time when a master’s degree and a little experience was all someone needed to secure an online teaching job. Now that the number of jobs available is in short supply, and the number of applicants as increased, every aspect of your background will count. You will need some experience either in teaching or training so look for opportunities to do this. For example, look for opportunities to teach a class at your local community college. Or perhaps there is a local association that would allow you to conduct training classes. The purpose is to demonstrate that you are capable of teaching adults how to learn.

Demand for Modern Educators

I have worked for a variety of institutions that offer online classes. Some treat their employees well and offer regular classes to teach and others treat their adjuncts as disposable instructors and keep them sidelined until they need them. It is understandable that enrollment numbers are going to fluctuate and so too will be your teaching assignments. However, the lack of consistency and appreciation for good instructors is an ongoing problem for some institutions. I have been fortunate to work for online schools that value their faculty, including their adjunct instructors. And I worked hard to establish myself as a highly engaged instructor. The point of this is that when you are able to gain an adjunct position you want to make certain that you have the time necessary to meet and exceed the facilitation requirements. If you are provided with an opportunity to take on leadership roles or faculty development, do so as it can help bolster your CV.

Is online teaching a lucrative career? As an adjunct it is possible that over time you will develop more options for your career, especially with ongoing professional development, but you won’t always have complete job security or regular benefits. If you are able to secure a full-time teaching position you will likely gain a better degree of job certainty. The best advice I can offer is to develop your interest in online teaching as a career strategy and carefully manage the development of your role as a Modern Educator. With time and professional development you will likely be able to get your break. Just be sure you manage expectations and establish a realistic purpose for this type of work as a career choice.

The Role of Globalized Education in Achieving the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have unquestionably been highly successful in bolstering governments’ commitment to poverty reduction, achieving basic education and health, promoting gender equality and environmental sustainability, and bridging the gaps in human development. In spite of these progresses, globalized education is still a requisite and the primary tool in achieving the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda – the continuation of effort to achieve prosperity, equity, freedom, dignity, peace and respect in a world of cultural and linguistic diversity after 2015.

The complexity of today’s globalized world has made development challenges interlinked. Peace cannot be achieved and prosperity cannot be sustained without finding unified, common and general solutions and without all nations contributing unanimously and with a sense of shared responsibility. The Millennium Development Goals which will be succeeded by the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the end of 2015 (United Nation’s 70th Anniversary) has framed sustainable development as a universal project. The post-2015 development agenda includes issues that are of common concern to all and pose challenges at national levels. Moreover, they define objectives to be achieved at the global level.

Before we delve deeper into the role of globalized education in achieving the post-2015 agenda, it will be apposite to have a proper understanding of the concepts that underpin the subject. Suffice it to say that education is both essential and indispensable for sustainable development. Globalized education fuels sustainable development as nations seek to transform their visions for the world into reality.

“Globalization,” as observed by Chang, “is the integration of national economies, culture, social life, technology, education and politics. It is the movement of people, ideas and technology from place to place.” Globalization affects all facets of life universally, scientifically, and technologically. Its effects are felt in world’s culture, economy, environmental, social and human disciplines. In its broadest sense, globalization refers to intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.

Education has been recognized as a fundamental human right for more than half a century now. It is the endless process of bringing up people to know themselves, their environment, and how they can use their abilities and talents to contribute in the development of their society. Education improves the mind of the student for ethical conduct, good governance, liberty, life and rebirth of the society the student finds himself. Education, as an agent of change, empowers its recipient to be creative. It is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training and research. Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational.

Converse to the traditional way of teaching and learning, globalized education means adopting a universal, scientific, technological and a more holistic approach to education with the aim of preparing and equipping our young ones appropriately for sustainable development, and creating a peaceful and better world for this generation and posterity. Globalized education allows every child to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to shape a sustainable future. It is, however, not culturally, religiously or geographically myopic. It is not racial or given to prejudice. In globalized education, schools do not function in isolation; they integrate with the world outside and expose students to different people and cultures, giving them the opportunity to appreciate cultural differences and what the planet offers, while respecting the need to preserve their culture and the natural and human resources that abound.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda refers to a process led by the United Nations (UN) that aims to help define the future development framework that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. The recent UN development agenda is centered on the Millennium Development Goals that were officially established following the Millennium summit of the UN in 2000.

At this point, we can now advance our knowledge on the role of a sound and universal education in achieving this post-2015 development agenda which is expected to tackle and find suitable solutions to many issues.

As the world stands at an historical juncture, it calls for a truly transformational and universal education system that integrates the three dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) in all activities, addresses inequalities in all areas, respect and advance human rights, fosters love and peace, and that is based on credible, equitable and sustainable system and safe environment for learning.
There are, of course, many different ways in which globalized education can be beneficial and advance the future sustainable development goals. Sound, universal and quality education is not only a top priority but also a cross-cutting matter which is indicated and reflected under three other pivotal goals related to health, economic growth and climate change.

A good global education is the step – the first step in ensuring that these development goals are achieved. Education marked by excellence and a conducive and habitable environment are two hallmarks of our world today. What we are taught, what we learn and how we treat our environment are connected to so many other possibilities in achieving a peaceful society where poverty has no place.

Global education has a felt influence on environmental sustainability. Successful implementation and actual use of new, affordable technologies for sanitation in Africa came with education. Another evident example of how globalized education is helping to achieve environmental sustainability is from a reported Eco-school in the United Arab Emirates which was awarded Green Flag, a symbol of excellence in environmental performance. The students put forward important environmental friendly approaches and messages within and beyond their school community. This innovative thinking to make good use of available natural resources, neither exploiting nor abusing them, came about as a result of a sound learning process that changed their behavior and gave room for them to adopt sustainable lifestyles.

The problem of unemployment does not wholly emanate from the government. Part of it rests on the individual. Why do we go to school? To learn, yes! But far from this narrow-minded purpose is the need to acquire knowledge, a skill, and a know-how that can be applied to earn a living and live a sustainable lifestyle which has positive impact on the society. Though all educated persons are not rich, but each possesses a knowledge that can get him a job, or which he can use to create one. Hence, sound and excellent education with globalization as the driving wheel is a fundamental solution to poverty.

Moreover, there have been significant contributions of globalized education on the health sector. However, time and space will not permit us to have a detailed look at the impacts. Permit me to cite a report which states that “education of large numbers of community-based health workers reduced deaths from malaria by 66 percent in Zambia in six years.” With the right education in health technologies, medicine and other medically inclined fields and sciences, life expectancy will improve evenly and no country will be left behind.

Realizing the Post-2015 Development Agenda requires all hands to be on deck. The government alone cannot carry it. A fresh global partnership is to be forged. A new spirit of mutual accountability and cooperation must underpin the Post-2015 agenda so as to ensure uniform distribution of high quality educational materials to the poorest and least developed countries of the world. As we all know, access to computers and the internet and good conducive environment have become basic needs for education in our modern societies. This new alliance to finance and provide education to reach every child, even the ones in the streets, should be strictly based on a common understanding of our shared humanity, based on mutual respect and benefit. It should put people at the center including those affected by poverty and exclusion, women, youth, the aged, disabled persons, and indigenous people. Civil society organizations, local and national governments, multilateral institutions, the scientific and academic community, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and private philanthropy should come together and ensure that no one is left behind in getting globalized education for sustainable development. We must endeavor to see to it that every child, every individual, color or race notwithstanding gets the opportunity to receive a cost effective, high quality education, starting from prekindergarten to elementary and secondary, to special education, to technical and higher education and beyond. A popular Nigerian proverb says, “The upbringing of a child is not the sole responsibility of an individual but a communal responsibility.” Therefore, let us all answer the call and take up the rewarding task of ensuring a quality and universal education for all.

Without mincing words, we can aver that globalized education can help achieving the Post-2015 development goals. For our assertion to stand and remain factual we must consider the interrelations that exist between education and development as they share a symbiotic relationship. Governments, institutions, organizations and individuals must recognize the full potential of education as a requisite and catalyst for sustainable development, and act as such.

Conclusively, globalized education is a multi-dimensional process that ultimately transforms our people, our economy, and our dear planet. Truly, globalized education empowers people, transforms lives, and shapes the system that drives the progress of sustainability. It is the foundation and the only means for achieving peace in our societies. It fosters economic growth thereby reducing poverty. It is growth and life, and a means to achieving the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda.