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Monday, November 3, 2008

Is An Online Education A Good Choice For You?

Content Provided By University of Phoenix

There are some people who scoff at the idea of online education; however, the reality is that for those who are looking to save money while pursuing their degree an online education is a great option. Likewise, if you are someone who has a hectic schedule, someone who is busy with family and with work, you just may find that the flexibility of an online education makes it an extremely appealing choice.
It is important to note that an online education is not necessarily the best option for everyone. Those who do their best learning while listening to a professor as well as those who have found that they are in a better position to learn when they are able to talk with classmates and to work together on projects and who find that they get more out a the dialog in the classroom may want to explore options other than those that are available online.
However, the reality is that, for many people, an online education creates a number of great opportunities:
• With an online education, those students who are already full time employees will find that they are able to study at their own pace. If as one semester takes place you have a number of projects that are taking place simultaneously, you may want to take only one or two courses; during slow periods at work, you'll find that you are able to focus on your education more.
• With an online education, those students who are not comfortable speaking up in class but who want to participate will be able to do so. For some individuals, the benefit of an online education is that they are able to think out their responses before contributing to the conversation and, as a result, they are able to interact with others more than they would feel comfortable doing in a conventional classroom.
• With an online education, those students who have families will discover that they are in a position to still head home at the end of the day to sit down to dinner with their families and to help the kids with homework. Because an online education involves courses that can be fit into any schedule, those who have families often find that they do not need to sacrifice time with their kids in order to pursue a degree.
Because an online education allows students to focus on their lives as well as on learning, many students discover that they are able to learn even more. For them, an online education creates the opportunity to advance their education, to earn a degree and – ultimately – to move their career forward with far less of a sacrifice than scheduling time in the classroom.
Now that online education has become quite common, what many people discover is that they are able to find reputable schools, to compare programs and to find the courses and programs that will help to get them to where they want to be. A wide variety schools offer online programs; if an online education appeals to you, you will want to pursue finding the right program and taking action.

CONSULT WITH ME, LLC provides services to assist parents and students who may be looking for an alternative school setting, higher education, or assistance with any other educational needs. Contact owner Michelle Elliott-DeShields at info@consultingwithme.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

No campaign education advisor left behind

If many recent polls are to be believed, Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. And this week we got an important glimpse into the dynamics of his education team that might preview what we can expect in the four years to come.
"Portfoliogate" started Tuesday morning on the Diane Rehm Show, when Obama staffer Melody Barnes expressed her candidate's openness to using portfolios to assess student achievement under No Child Left Behind. "We have to deploy and employ the proper kinds of assessments," Barnes said, "portfolios for example and other forms of assessments that may be a little bit more expensive but they are allowing us to make sure children are getting the proper analytic kinds of tools."
Both Greg Toppo of USA Today and I thought we heard Barnes make news, and said so on the air. (We were guests on the show, along with Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation.) Neither of us remembered the Obama camp speaking so effusively about portfolios before. Later, I wrote that this appeared to signal a big shift for Obama, opening the door to portfolios as an alternative to standardized testing.
It turned out that both Toppo and I were wrong about the first point; as Michele McNeil of Education Week demonstrated, Obama mentioned "digital portfolios" way back in his first big education speech (last November in New Hampshire). And the Obama campaign strongly disputed my second point, releasing a statement hours later calling my interpretation "a willful misreading of his comprehensive agenda on education" and pointing to comments he made after his second big education speech (in May in Colorado) that showed a clear commitment to testing.
But a few hours later, the plotline took yet another twist, this time when Obama advisor Linda Darling-Hammond spoke about portfolios during her Education Week/Teachers College debate with McCain adviser Lisa Graham Keegan. "If you look at other countries, their assessments include relatively few multiple-choice items and in some cases none," said Darling-Hammond. "Their kids are doing science inquiries, research papers, technology products. Those are part of the examination system." Later, she addressed Barnes's statements on the Diane Rehm Show. "She said in addition to standardized tests we need to look at other assessments. She did mention portfolios. They are used in the charter school she is on the board.... And we have to get knowledgeable about what does go on in other countries....They routinely include elements like research products, they are scored, they are scored in consistent and reliable and valid ways."
So here we have an Obama advisor speaking in glowing terms about assessments in other countries that include "science inquiries, research papers, technology products" but "few multiple-choice items." Doesn't that sound a lot like portfolios? And regardless of what Darling-Hammond insists, experience has shown portfolios to be unreliable measures of achievement, since, by their very nature, they include so much variability and subjectivity on the part of those who evaluate them. (They're also time consuming and costly but save that problem for another day.)
Why does any of this matter, beyond the specific policy concerns about using portfolios in lieu of standardized tests? First, it illustrates, in stark relief, the divisions within Obama's own education team. It's hard to imagine Andrew Rotherham or Jon Schnur speaking with such conviction about "authentic assessments"; these Obama advisors have been known as accountability hawks who support standardized testing, imperfect as it may be.
And this is just one area where the "reform" camp within the Obama campaign (and the Democratic Party) disagrees with the "establishment" camp, epitomized by Darling-Hammond. (Support for non-traditional routes into the classroom, such as Teach For America, is another obvious example.) These factions are still jockeying for position, and this week their infighting spilled out into the public domain.
Second, this fracas shows how fluid Obama's education policy still is, especially when it comes to the No Child Left Behind Act. It's hard to pinpoint the Senator's position on assessments, for example, because that position has yet to solidify. We simply don't know where a President Obama would go on NCLB, because he (like McCain in this regard) has been coy about the specific fixes he would propose.
Perhaps we should be grateful; as of now, at least, Senator Obama hasn't irrevocably embraced any terrible ideas about how to fix NCLB. But he hasn't embraced any great ideas, either. And he probably hasn't even decided yet which way to go politically: throw the reformers under the bus and embrace his union and ed-school friends, or throw his establishment pals under the bus and hug the reformers.
If he chooses the latter--let's hope--he will need to find Republican votes in order to get a reform-minded NCLB reauthorization through Congress. That's because many members of his own party won't be so brave as to buck the unions, and they want the law eviscerated. So he will need to find some version of bipartisan compromise.
What might that entail? Right now, NCLB micromanages the procedures and timelines by which schools are labeled and sanctioned, yet it allows states total discretion over the academic standards and tests used to judge schools (and kids) in the first place. These should be flipped. Turned upside down. Inside out. Uncle Sam should provide incentives for states to sign up for rigorous nationwide (not federal) standards and tests. (Tests, not portfolios!) Make the results of this testing publicly available, sliced every which way by, state, district, school and group. But then allow states and districts (or private entities, such as GreatSchools.net) to devise their own school labels and ratings--and let them decide what to do with schools that need help.
This will not only enable parents, policy-makers, and taxpayers to compare schools in an apples-to-apples manner, across state lines, but will also empower states and communities to take the driver's seat again when it comes to determining which schools need help and how to intervene.
This solution won't please everyone. And perhaps it won't thrill anyone, either--not a bad definition of consensus, ultimately. Some reformers will worry that, absent stern mandates from Washington, some states will fail to hold troubled schools accountable. Some conservatives will complain about "national" testing. And some union leaders, maybe all of them, will still chafe at the transparency of school results and the possibility of tying student performance to teacher effectiveness.
But reasonable people on all sides of the issue will see that this approach is better aligned with Uncle Sam's true skill set. After all, Washington is at least three or four steps removed from the operation of local schools. There's only so much policy-makers can do from Capitol Hill and the federal Education Department, whatever their intentions. It would be far better for the feds to focus on making school standards explicit and results transparent, and then allow the states, communities and expert educators to focus on how to reform schools that aren't making the grade.
To be sure, this would be a radical departure from current policy under NCLB, and is different from what anyone is talking about now. But it could work, both politically and substantively. And there's nothing about this proposal that would conflict with what Obama and his warring sidekicks have laid out during the campaign. So perhaps we should be heartened that he has left himself so much room to maneuver, after all.

By Mike Petrilli

What do you think about this plan? Let's blog about it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Top Five Qualities a Parent Should Look For in a Tutor

Hiring a tutor can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you have never done it before. The following five qualities are the most important ones that our company looks for when matching a tutor with a child. If youchoose to hire a tutor on your own without the help of a service, keep these guidelines in mind.

1. Their ability to “connect” with your child and you.
2. Their teaching style – does it match your child’s learning style?
3. Their ability to be patient and empathic when your child is truly struggling.
4. Their reliability and dependability.
5. Their tutoring experience backed up by current references.

It is imperative that the tutor immediately makes a strong connection with your child. The tutor should usepart of the first session getting to know your child by asking questions about their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Setting the rapport is important so future sessions run smoothly and productively. The tutor should also be able to easily communicate with you after the session and give you adequate feedback regarding what he or she accomplished during the session.

If your child is a visual learner, the tutor should bring appropriate materials (a small white board, for example) so the learning process compliments your child’s learning style. Conversely, an auditory learner would benefit from reading out loud with the tutor or talking through math problems. A kinetic learner will need the sessions to be very handson
and interactive. There is nothing worse than a tutor giving up and getting angry with a child when the going gets tough. Patience is definitely a virtue and every tutor needs to posses this quality to put your child at ease. An inpatient person will have the opposite effect. Chances are good that your child will not want to be cooperative in the future with anyone who can’t relate to their problems. The reason you hired a tutor was to find someone who can repeat themselves numerous times if necessary or present information in a different way until it “clicks” with your
A tutor who is constantly late or just doesn’t show up without calling should immediately be terminated. Checking a tutor’s references is imperative. Written references should not be older than a year old and you should call the author of the letter anyway, just to confirm they wrote it. The best references are from individuals who have observed the tutor teaching or tutoring. Other parents who have used the tutor are the best references, but don’t dismiss your gut feeling about someone you are interviewing. When we contract with tutors we do an extensive interview to be sure we are selecting only topnotch teachers and tutors. We also conduct a thorough background and criminal check and call all of the references provided to
Most importantly, we visit every home and meet the family before we attempt to place a tutor. This complimentary visit proves invaluable when making a “match” with you child.

By Laurie Hurley

For more information on Consult With ME, LLC , please visit

Policy Allows for Admission of Clayton County High School Students Should System Lose Accreditation

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) shares the concern of students and parents regarding the Clayton County School System's impending loss of SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accreditation. While the fate of the Clayton County School System will not be known until early September, the University System of Georgia recognizes the challenges this situation creates for students and parents as they attempt to determine what impact this may have on admission to college and what steps they should take to ensure that their college plans are not jeopardized.

The University System of Georgia is dedicated to providing access to college to the students of Georgia and offers its support to the students of the Clayton County School System during this difficult time.

Admission to any University System of Georgia college or university will not be negatively impacted should SACS determine that the accreditation of the Clayton County School System must be revoked.

Current University System of Georgia policy allows for the consideration
of students graduating from a high school regulated by a school system and state department of education. The Clayton County School System continues to meet this requirement. Students graduating from a Clayton County high school, meeting all other Board of Regents and institutional admission requirements (including the 16 units required of the College Preparatory Curriculum (for those graduating prior to 2012) or the 17 units required for the Required High School Curriculum (for those graduating 2012 or later)), will continue to be considered for admission
in the same manner as students from SACS accredited schools in the state.

The Undergraduate Admissions section of the Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy Manual may be viewed online at http://www.usg.edu/academics/handbook/section3/301-310/301-310.phtml#n3.

Additional admission information for each of the USG colleges and universities may be found on the GAcollege411 website at GAcollege411.org or by contacting the admission office at the college or
university of interest.
Amanda D. Seals
Executive Director for Government Relations Office of External Affairs Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia 270 Washington Street, S.W., Suite 7035 Atlanta, Georgia 30334-1450 Amanda.Seals@usg.edu
404.657.7075 phone
404.651.9301 fax

Good Grades Pay off Literally!

Teachers have long said that success is its own reward. But these days, some students are finding that good grades can bring them cash and luxury gifts.
In at least a dozen states this school year, students who bring home top marks can expect more than just gratitude. Examples:
•Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso last week promised to spend more than $935,000 to give high school students as much as $110 each to improve their scores on state graduation exams.
•In New York City, about 9,000 fourth- and seventh-graders in 60 schools are eligible to win as much as $500 for improving their scores on the city's English and math tests, given throughout the school year.
•In suburban Atlanta, a pair of schools last week kicked off a program that will pay 8th- and 11th-grade students $8 an hour for a 15-week "Learn & Earn" after-school study program (the federal minimum wage is currently $5.85).
corporate or philanthropic donors.
The most ambitious experiment began in September, when seven states — Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington — won spots in an Exxon/Mobil-funded program that, in most cases, pays students $100 for each passing grade on advanced placement (AP) college-prep exams.
It's an effort to get low-income and minority students interested in the courses, says Tommie Sue Anthony, president of the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science. "We still have students who are not sure of the value, who are not willing to take the courses," she says. "Probably the incentives will make a difference with those students."
Gregg Fleisher of the National Math and Science Initiative, which runs the seven-state program, says the effort is modeled on a program adopted by Dallas in the 1995-96 school year that saw AP course-taking jump substantially. That program is now statewide.
While many educators would blanch at offering kids cash for good grades, Fleisher and others say the idea is simple: "It's an incentive to get them to basically make the right decision and choose a more rigorous class," he says. "This teaches them that if they work at something very hard and have a lot of support, they can do something they didn't think they could do."
An analysis of the Texas program last month by Cornell economist C. Kirabo Jackson found that it linked to a 30% rise in the number of students with high SAT and ACT scores and an 8% rise in college-going students.
But a few critics say the payouts amount to little more than bribes, undermining kids' motivation to do high-quality work when they're not being paid.
"It's a strategy that helps only around the edges," says Thomas Toch of the Education Sector, a Washington think tank. Most students in AP classes "are already internally motivated, and the opportunity to earn college credits for passing AP tests is a bigger motivator than small cash awards."
Bob Schaeffer of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a watchdog group, is more blunt: "Bribing kids for higher test scores — or paying teachers bounties for their students' work — is similar to giving them steroids," he says. "Short-term performance might improve but the long-term effects can be very damaging."
At Northeast Health Science Magnet High School in Macon, Ga., principal Sam Scavella says he's trying lots of different incentives for doing the right thing. If students attend Saturday study sessions, they qualify for an iPod, movie tickets or a dinner for two, among other prizes.
Jessie Humphrey, a sophomore at Northeast, is one of 25 students who made the school's All-A Honor Roll. That entitled her to a slot in a special drawing Thursday. When it was over, she walked away with a 26-inch, flat-screen television set, which now sits in her room.
An honor roll student most years, Jessie, 15, says she usually pulls As and Bs, but this semester, "I got lucky and got all As."
Scavella says the incentives seem to be making a difference — only 10 students made the All-A Honor Roll this time last year.
"We have to reward the behavior we expect," he says. "I don't see it as a way of paying students to do well — it's a reward. If you do well in school, then life will pay you well. If you do well in school , you can afford a lifestyle that will pay you well."
The two-year New York City experiment, begun last September, essentially pays students monthly to do their best on skills tests. If it seems like an economist's dream, that's because it's the brainchild of wunderkind Harvard economist Roland Fryer, who also serves as the schools' chief equality officer. He came up with the idea while trying to figure out how to make school "tangible" for disadvantaged kids with few successful role models. "I just thought that giving them some short-term incentives to do what's in their long-term best interests would be a good way to go."
While teachers talk about success, he says, it's not enough to tell a kid that, in the long term, hard work will pay off. "We're asking them to look down a path that they have probably never seen anyone go down … and then to have the wisdom and the fortitude to wait for their reward."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Michelle Elliott -DeShields Launches Tutoring Business

Certified Georgia educator and guidance counselor, Michelle Elliott-DeShields has launched a successful educational consulting business, Consult With ME, LLC. Consult WIth ME primarily provides tutorial and educational consulting services for students in grades PK- 12 and their families. Consulting services also includes consulting for new and veteran teachers, parent/student advocacy, and a new and exciting way for children to spend their summer break. For parents looking for a way to keep their children engaged in learning throughout the summer in a creative and fun way a Character Education Summer Camp is held during summer break for students in all grade levels.

For more information visit www.consultingwithme.com

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Defying the Odds by Pamela Roberts

Please visit Defying the Odds website

In 1988, 250 inner city students in Atlanta and nine other U.S. cities were given the opportunity of a lifetime: the Merrill Lynch Foundation promised full scholarships to the colleges of their choice. All that the kids had to do was graduate from high school and get accepted into college. It sounds simple, but for the first-grade class of thirty kids chosen at Capital View Elementary in southwest Atlanta, the intervening years have been anything but simple. Since 1997, GPB’s Emmy-winning team of Executive Producer Pamela Roberts and Director of Photography Wayne Baumgardner have followed five of these Atlanta students who were given a chance to break free from the inner city . . . Defying the Odds.

PDF Resource Guide for Educators PDF Transcript