education & tech

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Education + Tech

Education & Tech, was created to build hope that education based on social technologies, can transform the new century, and enable abundance not only spiritually but economically. Milton Ramirez, Ed.D. - @tonnet is the founder & editor. He is a teacher, tech blogger, writes on education, and hails this blog from Union, NJ. For further questions, tips or concerns please e-mail him to:miltonramirez [at] educationandtech [dot] com

Teacher + Scholar

If you are a regular to Blog Education & Tech, you shall remember that I am a blogger and I'd written a post about education almost everyday since 2003. Education & Tech provides you with education news, expert tech advice, classroom management ideas, and social media tools for educators, administrators, parents and k-12 students.

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Obama vs. Romney: Where They Stand on Education

By Amelia Wood*

There's been a lot of talk about how President Obama and Mitt Romney differ when it comes to issues like healthcare, gay rights, and the economy. In the midst of all the talk about these hot button issues, both candidates will occasionally throw in their two cents about educational matters. However, if you're not particularly tuned into what the president and his opponent are discussing on the campaign trail, you may not be exactly sure where each of them stands when it comes to education. It turns out that Obama and Romney agree about a few key things regarding education, but they also disagree about a handful of important things as well. Here's what you should know about their stances:

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

 What They Agree On

     1. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree that teachers' unions should have less control and that ineffective teachers should be let go. Additionally, each candidate has asserted that merit-based pay for teachers should be taken into consideration.
    2. Obama and Romney are both in favor of increasing the number of charter schools nationwide to give students and parents more educational options and to create healthy competition among educators. Obama has already provided grant money to states that foster the growth of charter schools.
    3. The current U.S. president and his opponent both would like to revise certain parts of the No Child Left Behind Act to give the federal government less strict control over the education policies of individual states. Obama has already limited federal control by issuing waivers to 26 states that agreed to measure their educational improvement in ways that differ from the metrics outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act. If Romney becomes president, he plans to give states additional control to create their own standards and evaluations.
    4. They also both ardently believe that standardized test scores should be factored into teacher evaluations.
 How They Differ

    1. President Obama thinks more teachers need to be hired and the number of students in each American classroom needs to decrease. Romney, on the other hand, thinks that class size has no effect on student performance and that we need to focus on hiring better teachers instead of more teachers.
    2. Romney strongly believes in issuing school vouchers to give students a chance to attend the private, public, or charter schools of their choice. Obama doesn't think vouchers are the solution, and he thinks that voucher programs could actually hurt public schools as a whole by providing more support to private, religious schools and less much-needed support to public education programs.
    3. As a part of his work as president, Obama ended the relationships between private banks and federal student loan programs. In doing so, he was able to collect a substantial amount of money that would have gone to subsidize those private banks. With the money saved as a result of this arrangement, the president was able to increase the number of need-based Pell Grants issued to low-income college students. Mitt Romney believes that private banks should be allowed back into the equation.
    4. Romney wants to reverse Obama's recent legislation that would shut down for-profit colleges that aren't able to produce a substantial number of graduates who are able to become gainfully employed. He believes that the federal government should have no control over which higher education programs exist. Additionally, Romney has praised the work of some for-profit colleges, asserting that they are lowering the overall cost of higher education and producing a more skilled workforce in the medical and technology sectors.
 As the debate over how to reform public education continues to heat up, it should be interesting to see how Obama and Romney's views on the matter change and expand. Let's just hope that, no matter who wins the presidential election, educating the future leaders of our country becomes an even bigger priority in the White House over the next few years.

 (*) This guest post was written by Amelia Wood, a blogger who specializes in articles on medical billing and coding schools. Feel free to reach her at amelia1612 AT gmail DOT com.

How to Help Prevent Pregnancy among High-School Students

By Dana Vicktor*

Teen pregnancy continues to be a big problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC, 367,752 babies were born to women ages 15-19 in 2010, the last year for which data is available. That was a record low for women in that age range, and a drop of 9 percent from the previous year.

However, the CDC noted that the rate of teen births remained "substantially higher" than that of other western industrialized nations, and that teen births create significant social and economic costs, including:

  • $11 billion per year in taxpayer programs, including health care, foster care, and increase incarceration rates
  • Increased high-school dropout rates
  • Increased unemployment rates among teen mothers
  • Increased reliance on social programs by these young mothers

Teen pregnancy is also often bad for both the mother and the baby, as most young mothers have limited access to health care or do not have the maturity to keep appointments or tend to prenatal care. Teen mothers are more likely to have low birth-weight babies, who are prone to a host of health problems. Children born to teen mothers are also less likely to receive the nutrition, health care, or developmental support that they need.

Finding ways to prevent or reduce the number of teen pregnancies is critical to reducing these social, economic, and health problems.

Here are a few ways that educators can help play a role in preventing teen pregnancy:

Educate about the Risks

As educators, you are in a prime role to help make teens aware of the dangers of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other consequences of sexual activity. You can teach teens about responsible sexual health, including using contraceptives and being tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Provide Counseling

Depending on your role or your training, you can either provide counseling to teens or push for programs at your school that provide it. Counseling can help teens understand when to recognize that they are ready for sexual relations, how to choose their partners, and how to make responsible decisions about romantic relationships.

Counseling should also focus on the underlying problems that can lead teens to engage in risky behavior, such as problems at home or emotional insecurity.

Push for Support Programs

If your school or community does not already have them, you can work to introduce them. Support programs can include those that provide free contraception like condoms or birth control or that provide free or affordable health care.

Support programs can also include positive activities that can provide an outlet for teens, such as sports programs or community theater. While these programs won't be teaching teens about making healthy sexual choices, they will provide them an outlet for expression and for building up their self-esteem and sense of belonging so that they don't seek unhealthy activities to get a false sense of fulfillment.

Encourage Parental Involvement

Parents are the biggest influence on teen behavior. If parents are involved in their children's lives and are providing a positive role model, teens are far less likely to be involved in risky behavior.

As educators, you can talk to the parents of your students about what their teens are doing at school and how they can get involved. Hold conferences where you ask about what's going on at home then provide information about local support services to help make it easier for them to be more involved with their children.

Teen pregnancy is a problem that affects everyone. Teen mothers become adults who struggle with getting an education and rising to the level of their peers. The children of teen mothers struggle with health and education problems.

Finding ways to help prevent or reduce teen pregnancy is critical. Educators can play a role by promoting sexual education, offering counseling, encouraging the adoption of support programs, and encouraging greater parental involvement.

(*) Dana Vicktor is the senior researcher and writer for Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in communications and sociology. Her current focus for the site involves stem cells and being pregnant.
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