Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How equitable is education? Amherst College carries the lead

Is a top-tier college education in the US for everyone or is it mostly a portal for the elite to climb even higher? This story in the New York Times profiles the efforts of Anthony Marx, the president of Amherst College, in diversifying the pool of students from various economic backgrounds who are admitted and have the opportunity to enroll at the college.

An overwhelming percentage of students at top colleges such as Georgetown and the University of Michigan (whose statistics are cited in the article) still come from high income backgrounds. Anthony Marx is trying to change all that with Amherst's new policy on financial aid. The college is distributing most of its resources to aid in the form of direct grants rather than loans. There's even a scholarship for low-income foreign students, and Amherst representatives are making an effort to reach out to more and more high schools in low-income areas of the U.S. The transfer program at Amherst also links directly to community colleges; in fact, most transfer students at Amherst now hail from community colleges, havens for students who are eager to learn but cannot afford an expensive education.

These steps offer hope as the US government cracks down on the education budget. It's nice too know that, though we are now mostly losing money for America's students, there are still educators out there working toward making opportunities at top colleges available to all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Go girl, go!

Last call about sign-ups for our very special women's empowerment workshop this summer at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton! Ever wanted to get more in touch with your feminine side and/or be aware of women's issues in the world today? Take part in "Go Girl Go! Setting Girls Up for Success," a personalized, project-based workshop designed to raise awareness about female empowerment and to encourage girls to take charge of their future.

This workshop is offered during the second session of our Summer 2011 Workshops, which will run from July 25th to August 5th. Check out more details on our website and remember to sign up here. Space is limited so don't waste any more time; make this summer the time that you become an empowered, socially aware individual with the help of Tutorpedia's fun and rigorous workshop curriculum!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Getting paid for the grade

This op-ed in the New York Times questions the value of the New York City Department of Education's recent decision to award student academic performance and attendance records with cash rewards. That's right. These students don't have jobs, they just go to school. A good grade? A perfect attendance record? Bring on the money.

The main question here is whether these financial bonuses will actually increase student performance overall, which is what Ronald G. Fryer, the economist behind the whole project, seems to think. Student motivation will now be driven by external rewards, not a thirst for knowledge or excellence. Can we keep kids intrinsically engaged while supplying them with money for their academic performance? What will win, the cash or the simple psychological drive to know more? And will we be able to tell the difference? When you alter the incentive, you're changing the whole game, and the fun in learning might disappear when you equate an "A" in biology or art class with dollar signs in kids' eyes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

College debt in the U.S.: how much are you willing to gamble?

The collective debt for higher education in the U.S. is steadily rising, and educators are taking a step back to evaluate whether the growing piles of money and interest that students owe are truly worth the hassle. This recent story on NPR takes a look at student loan debt all over the nation and discusses the choices that students make when borrowing for college:

The key, researchers say, is to get enough bang for your buck. When borrowing, it's important to realize what kind of degree you are getting, what the job prospects will be, and how long it will take to pay off college loans for the degree. Majors in ethnomusicology and theater, for example, who go heavily into debt must do so with their eyes open. Jobs in these fields are difficult to find and do not always pay well the first few years, unless one chooses to be in academia (for which a Master's or Ph.D is usually needed, not just a B.A.). So, follow your dreams but have a Plan B, experts agree...five or six figures in loans are only worth it if you've got the patience, drive, and stamina to handle the debt.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Race to success starts in kindergarten

Take a look at this story about how early children are getting a head start to learning these days. Apparently, age 3 is the up-and-coming time for kids to get a move on, to avoid getting left behind in kindergarten. Junior Kumon, a Japanese learning company, is opening offices in New York City where parents shell out $200 to $300 a month so that their toddler can get two hours of weekly tutoring in reading and math. The little ones get twenty minutes of homework each night, and instructors often rely on worksheets to teach the kids basic reading, writing, and math skills. Kumon's reach is anticipated to spread to the west coast some time from now, as this "accelerated learning" for toddlers trend is catching on fast.

Is this the continuation of the never-ending push for prestige, which affluent suburban parents inflict on their children from the time they're in diapers? Or is it simply a nice way for kids to learn their multiplication tables by age 6, thereby giving them a boost upon entering school? According to the article, many parents come to rely on programs such as Kumon to help develop their children academically. When the neighbor's kid is adding by age 4, you want yours to do the same. Then again, the spread of these programs tears kids away from blocks, toys, and from exploring the outdoors, all of which are equally powerful learning tools for their future. We all have at least twelve, if not sixteen or eighteen, years of education ahead of us; why cut childhood short by three more years?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time's a-ticking away! Get your smarts on this summer

Ladies and gents, parents and students, tutors and teachers...watch out! The deadline to register for Tutorpedia's very own Summer 2011 Workshops is approaching, so get to our registration website here and sign up for two to six weeks of invigorating learning and stellar enjoyment.

Again, here's the course line-up: SAT Prep, Headstart to Chemistry, Spanish Immersion, Graphic Arts and Web Design, Public Speaking, Final Cut Pro, and Google Apps Design are all at your educational disposal. For the more creatively inclined minds out there, try our Improv Comedy, Sustainable Agriculture, You Can Love Your Life Now (women's empowerment), and Creative Writing workshops to challenge your innovative spirit. There are three sessions, and you can sign up for one or all three! Classes run from July 11 to August 19 and are divided into three slots of two weeks each. The workshops will be held at Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton, CA.

So don't hold out; do something with your life and your brain this summer. We're excited to keep learning with you! For further question or info, visit our website or e-mail us with any concerns at info@tutorpedia.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Is your teacher prepared? Training programs undergo scrutiny

This story, aired by NPR, considers the value of teacher training programs across the country. Some U.S. schools are declining to participate in a study that will be published by the U.S. News and World Report later this year. The study will compile success rates and curriculums of different training programs for prospective teachers.

Some school officials, however, don't see the merit in compiling this data. While one school may give a biology teacher his credentials upon completion of nine biology courses, another institution may issue a similar degree with just one biology course required. Therefore, training programs for teachers vary across the board to such an extent that standards for teacher preparation have become impossible to set. Private prep programs are usually off-limits to public scrutiny and don't even apply to the data in the survey. This is all fine and good, but one can't help but wonder: who's educating our educators, and how effective is this path to education?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Empower yourself this summer!

Tutorpedia is excited to announce that we are offering a brand-new workshop for the summer of 2011: You Can Love Your Life, a workshop geared toward women's rights and female empowerment. So, ever wondered how to be more in tune with the life you're living and how best to support others (both men and women) around you? Here's your chance to find out! Start living to the fullest today...sign up for our stellar workshop on women's empowerment this summer.

But wait, the excitement doesn't stop there. Ever wanted to become a confident public http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifspeaker? Who knows, you may be the next Steve Jobs or Barack Obama...competent oratory skills are crucial for today's aspiring CEOS, politicians, teachers, you name it! Sign up for this real and rigorous public speaking workshop with Tutorpedia today. Take this chance to develop as an orator, student, and, well, human being - when you talk, others should listen. But it's all about the delivery...

Don't miss out on these two workshops that will push you to your creative and intellectual limits this summer! For more details, check out Tutorpedia's website here. The clock is ticking, so get your tickets today!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Education turned upside down

Learn at home, study at school? According to this story by The Wall Street Journal, it's the way to do things nowadays to optimize education! The Khan Academy provides online lectures in math, science, and economics to students at home, and enables them to come to school prepared with questions about homework. That way, instructors can filter through information that students already know to give help where it's truly needed. It's an interesting idea...though the concept of teaching to a classroom of kids is age-old and probably won't go out of style for quite some time.

Salman Khan's project, the Khan Academy, is really something - an innovative site that enables students all over the country to learn Calculus, Algebra 2, Chemistry, you name it, through interactive videos and live web-based lectures. Salman and his site act as home-based, free tutors for middle and high school students, who are then better prepared to excel in school. "Slow" students become "advanced" in a matter of weeks...Projects such as those of Salman Khan give a new definition to student success. Check out this video of how technology works in favor of non-traditional education.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Six weeks you won't want to miss!

That's right...the schedule for Tutorpedia's Summer 2011 Workshops is finally up, running, and finalized. To throw off the veil of mystery, go here for details on how to fill your summer with pro-active, enriching educational excitement. We've got the final list of workshops available for your viewing pleasure: Improv Comedy is definitely up for grabs, as well as Spanish Immersion, Creative Writing, and Sustainable Agriculture. For the first time, Tutorpedia is offering students the chance to learn about sustainable farming with real, hands-on experience that will transform your understanding of the natural world around you.

And, of course, don't miss out on some crucial study tips, offered by our SAT Prep and Headstart to Chemistry workshops. Get a tech boost with Google Apps Design classes and our Final Cut Pro workshops, and say good-bye to stage fright with the help of Tutorpedia's brand new Public Speaking workshop series.

Space is limited, so hurry and get your tickets here! For more information about our services and scheduling, please visit the Tutorpedia webpage.