There are an assortment of information pieces, topics of note and happenings worthy of attention and/or comment this week.
With college tuition and related costs escalating rapidly, the post secondary choices for many families and their college-bound son or daughter are seriously affected, or in some cases, eliminated entirely.
Be aware that many parents of college-bound students leave money on the table by not submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are not familiar with the application, call your local guidance office at the high school immediately as deadlines are imminent.
About 28 percent of families with college-bound students didn’t submit a FAFSA last year. About half of those families had no knowledge of the application or didn’t think they’d qualify. It is estimated that a third of those students who didn’t apply would have been eligible for a Pell Grant, the largest source of federal college aid.
Also you can go to FinAid.org for an excellent resource to assist your quest for aid dollars.
Do you wish your steer to your child with some confidence to a future career in this rather shaky economic climate? The projected labor market increases over the next decade that will occur are headed significantly by biomedical engineers followed by home health aides, medical researchers, market analysts, accountants, construction laborers and math/science occupations (including teachers).
The largest reductions in the labor force over that same period will occur in the textile machine operators (due to outsourcing to foreign lands), file clerks, shoe makers, tire manufacturing, postal clerks and door to door sales. In all the exhausting posturing about budget cuts, it should be more about setting priorities. Is anyone out there talking or proposing re-training of programs and offering pro-active programs?
Be careful, teachers and parents! A new advisory was just promulgated to remind teachers and schools that Big Brother is watching and, as a possible employee, there are strict limits on accepting gifts from grateful parents at year’s end. Even a $25 gift card may not be worth it if you have to defend yourself against others in your community who want to refer to it as influence peddling. Under no circumstances can the value of any offering exceed $50.
Imagine such close scrutiny and attention from the uppity-ups in the big seats of government who grapple for the perks from lobbyists.
The Texas college system administration is proposing a new approach to campus security and “personal safety” to combat attacks on and threats to students and staffs. It will save some money, too, and that’s always enticing. The solution? Allow guns on campus!!! In supporting the measure, one of the advocates stated, “We need to ready to shoot back.” Maybe it is not such a new concept. Isn’t it rather reminiscent of the “Old West?”
Are we not recognizing what the variable of guns would add to the sometimes wild and zany college partying scene? Personal safety improved? C’mon now, you’re not serious, right?
Finally, lost in today’s global turmoil, uprisings, government protests and dire economic straits is the plight of our children. As we react to our troubled conditions and seek instant solutions, our focus is lost to educate for the future and assure our young people that things will be OK.
At the turn of the century, the United Nations targeted 2015 for a universal primary education goal but we far from good progress at this checkpoint — in fact, UNESCO’s monitoring report states we are off track “by a wide margin.”
There are a reported 67 million eligible children not attending school, 28 million being in countries where there is armed conflict. If the trend continues, there will be more children out of school in 2015 than today.
An added tragedy is “Children and schools today are on the frontlines of these conflicts with classrooms, teachers and pupils seen as actual targets,” according to UNESCO. Attacks on schools resulting in terrible damage and pupil injury and death are part of the scene in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Yemen and in the Gaza strip as examples.
It makes me think of the words of John F. Kennedy — “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities because in each of us there is private hope and dreams which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength in our nations.”
Tom Casey is a retired high school administrator. In retirement he has served as a school administrative mentor, consultant to public and charter schools, and in school-to-career programs. He has also served in various interim administrative positions.