How is the Biden Administration Performing in the Area of Education?

The Biden Administration has come into power with a promise to prioritize education in the country and to increase access to quality education across the board. With the pandemic raging on, education has become even more critical, given the challenges of online learning and continued instability in many school districts.

One of the first measures taken by the administration was to propose a $1.9 trillion stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan. This proposal includes a significant amount of funds dedicated to education, with an emphasis on reopening and maintaining safe schools, providing better resources for students, and mitigating learning loss. This has been welcomed by educators across the country, who have struggled for the past year to provide quality education to students while navigating the pandemic’s challenges.

Another key area of focus for the administration has been on increasing access to higher education and making it more affordable. President Biden has proposed a series of measures to help students, including the doubling of the Pell Grant program, expanding debt cancellation, and free community college. These measures aim to make education accessible to more individuals, and hopefully, decrease the financial burdens that students often face.

Furthermore, the administration recognizes the importance of addressing student loan debt, which has become a significant concern for many individuals. The proposal of DAFSA forgiveness for low-income borrowers and plans to simplify the loan repayment process are some of the steps taken towards reducing the student loan crisis.

However, the Biden Administration’s plan for education has not been without criticism. Some argue that the proposal of free community college does not go far enough and that more needs to be done to reduce the cost of higher education further. Critics also point out that the administration is not doing enough to address systemic inequities that exist in the education system.

Overall, the Biden administration has taken significant steps to prioritize education and increase access to education across the country. With a focus on reopening schools safely, investing in quality resources, providing affordable higher education and reducing student loan debt, and addressing systemic inequities, the Biden administration seems to be making strides in improving education standards in the US. However, as the education system faces continuing challenges, it is crucial that the administration continues to listen to educators and advocates to ensure that the necessary efforts are made towards equitable and high-quality education for all.  

COVID-19 School Closures Leave a Lasting Make on Students

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most impactful events in recent history, with far-reaching consequences that have affected every aspect of our lives. The closure of schools amid the pandemic has been one of the most significant changes, causing widespread disruption to young people’s education and learning.

As the aftermath of the pandemic continues to affect the daily lives of individuals around the globe, the long-term effects of school closures are being recognized as a legacy of the pandemic. After all, school closures have left many students grappling with academic, social, emotional, and psychological challenges that may have lasting effects on their trajectory and success.

The academic impact of COVID-19 school closures cannot be overlooked. With millions of students out of school for months, even years, in some cases, there have been significant disruptions to the education system. Many students lacked access to quality remote learning, while others grappled with the challenges of learning through screens. The closure of physical classrooms also meant that students missed out on valuable social interaction and guidance from teachers.

As a result, many young people have experienced a significant decline in their academic performance, particularly in subjects like math and science. The gap between high-achieving and low-achieving students has also widened. This academic lag can lead to long-term consequences such as delayed graduation, missed career opportunities, and reduced earning potential.

Besides the academic challenges, COVID-19 school closures have also impacted students’ mental health. Many students have been grappling with isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. The pandemic’s uncertainty has added to student stress, leading to many teens seeking support for their mental and emotional health.

Social isolation has disrupted the mentorship relationships that exist between many students and their teachers, counselors, and coaches. Many students have also been unable to compete in or attend extracurricular activities, leading to a sense of loss and missed opportunities.

Moreover, with the sudden shift to remote learning, the challenges of navigating technology and new platforms to get coursework have induced stress and anxiety among students. With chronic absenteeism on the rise, students are going to struggle to keep up with their work. The lost years of learning, not only during the pandemic but through remote learning and back again to traditional classrooms, have the potential to hold back students from further academic success.

Best Graduation Gift Ideas

Graduation is a significant milestone in a person’s life. Whether it’s a high school graduation, college graduation, or a graduate school graduation, it’s a momentous occasion that should be celebrated. One way to do that is by giving a graduation gift that will be cherished for years to come. Here are some of the best graduation gift ideas that are sure to make your graduate feel loved and appreciated.

1. Tech Gadgets

One of the best graduation gifts is a tech gadget that your graduate will use for years. Among the most popular tech gifts include smartphones, laptops, tablets, or cameras. These tech gadgets help them stay connected and productive even after graduation. Think of the latest tech trends, and your grad will be forever grateful.

2. Travel Vouchers

Adulting can be challenging for most graduates. They deserve to have some fun and relax after years of hard work. With travel vouchers, you can help them explore new places and take a break from their busy lives. These vouchers can be applied towards airline tickets, hotel reservations, and even rental cars. The best thing about travel vouchers is that they are flexible, and the graduate can choose their destination.

3. Personalized Gifts

One of the most thoughtful graduation gifts is personalized gifts. These gifts show that you put extra effort into selecting the perfect gift for your grad. You can personalize anything from jewelry, photo books, phone cases, mugs, or blankets. These gifts will always be cherished and evoke memories from graduation day.

4. Career Advice Books

As your graduate transitions from a student to a professional, they may need guidance and help identifying their career goals. Career advice books such as “What Color Is Your Parachute?” can help them navigate the job market and find their dream job. These books will be a valuable resource to them as they start their careers.

5. Professional Apparel

Professional attire can be expensive, and your graduate may not have the funds to buy all the appropriate work clothes. As a graduation gift, you can buy them a business suit, briefcase, or a professional watch. These items will be handy as they start their careers and attend job interviews.

6. Health and Wellness Gifts

Graduates have a lot going on as they transition from school to work, and they may not have the time or energy to focus on their health and wellness. A gift certificate to a gym, exercise equipment, yoga mats, or a spa treatment package can help your graduate prioritize their health and well-being.

In conclusion, these are the best graduation gift ideas that will make your graduate feel loved and appreciated. No matter what you choose, remember to include a heartfelt message to congratulate them on their achievements. They will cherish the gift and the thought that went behind it for years to come.  

Best Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation is a big achievement that deserves a big celebration. It’s a time of reflection, acknowledgement, and excitement for the future. Throwing a graduation party is the perfect way to commemorate this milestone in style. Here are some of the best graduation party ideas to make your celebration unforgettable.

1. Themed Party

Choose a theme that reflects the graduate’s interests or future plans. Perhaps a beach party, a Hollywood-style gala, or a sports theme party. A themed party will add color, life, and character to the festivities.

2. Food Stations

Instead of a traditional buffet, set up different food stations with different themes. For instance, create a taco station, a popcorn bar, a pizza station, or a dessert table. This will offer an impressive variety of scrumptious treats and allow guests to constantly mingle and move around.

3. Photo Booth

Hiring a photo booth or setting up a DIY one will create an excellent way for guests to capture fun memories and moments with the graduate. The photos can also serve as a party souvenir. You can add fun props to the photo booth and customize the backdrop to match the party’s theme.

4. Customized Favors

Give guests a party favor, which could be anything from personalized T-shirts, keychains, collapsible water bottles, or custom-made cupcakes. These customized gifts will remind guests of your graduate’s special day.

5. Games and Activities

These could include anything from video games, card games, board games, trivia games, or a karaoke contest. These types of activities provide a fun and competitive way for guests to engage and interact with one another.

6. Decorations

Make sure you create a festive atmosphere by using decorations such as balloons, streamers, banners, and confetti. Don’t forget to incorporate the graduate’s school colors to amplify the graduation spirit. Proper decorations will also provide great photo opportunities.

7. Music

Music is an essential element of any party, and your graduate’s celebration should be no exception. Choose a playlist that reflects the graduate’s music taste and the party’s theme. You may even hire a DJ, create a dance floor, or provide some fun party lights to enhance the mood.

In conclusion, these are just some of the best graduation party ideas to help celebrate the moment in style. Remember to tailor the party to the graduate’s personality, and create an atmosphere filled with fun, laughter, and celebration! 

Why Many School Buildings in America Need to Be Replaced

School buildings across America are in need of replacement due to an array of reasons. The issue of deteriorating school buildings has been a pressing concern for many years because of the impact it has on the quality of education for students, the health and safety of students and staff, as well as the efficiency of building operations.

One reason for the need for school building replacements is age. Many schools in America were built in the early 20th century and have reached the end of their lifespan. Years of wear and tear have resulted in many structural and functional problems in the buildings, making them inefficient and potentially unsafe for students and staff.

Another reason is outdated infrastructure. Many older school buildings lack updated electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. These systems are essential for a healthy and comfortable learning environment. Outdated infrastructure can lead to high energy costs, poor air quality, and inconsistent temperatures, all of which can negatively impact student learning and health.

Many school buildings also suffer from poor and outdated classroom designs. As our understanding of how students learn has evolved, students’ needs have changed. Outdated classroom designs can hinder the learning process and negatively affect students’ academic performance.

In addition to these factors, natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes have damaged many school buildings, rendering them unsuitable for use. Climate conditions such as extreme heat, snow and rain, can also greatly magnify ongoing wear and tear of school buildings. These extreme weather conditions leave school buildings vulnerable and susceptible to weather-related damage.

The economic implications of deferred maintenance are alarmingly high. Fixing building components piecemeal would cost more because it will require maintenance, frequent replacements of outdated systems, and other operational interventions. The cost of additions and alterations that contribute to upkeep, such as upgrading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, can eat into the school’s budget in the long run.

To address these concerns, many schools have developed plans to replace or renovate their structures. It’s important to invest in modern, well-designed, and sustainable schools to create a safe and productive learning environment for our students. School districts must increasingly seek innovative building solutions to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and cost savings.

In conclusion, replacing America’s aging and poorly maintained school buildings is a necessary step to ensure the success of our students, staff, and communities. School buildings should be functional, safe, and comfortable environments that promote effective learning, support student health and reduce school costs. Investing in modern schools is an investment in America’s future.  

The Water in Many Schools Districts is Not Safe to Drink

The water crisis has been an issue for many years, but it seems that the problem is still not under control in many school districts. The water that many students use to drink and wash their hands is not safe for consumption. This is a big concern and should be addressed as soon as possible.

The reason why the water is not safe to drink varies depending on the school district. However, the most common reason is the presence of lead in the water. Lead is a toxic metal found in old pipes and plumbing fixtures. When water passes through them, lead particles can mix into the water supply, which can cause serious health problems when ingested.

Lead poisoning has been linked to developmental delays, behavior problems, and learning difficulties in children. It can also affect adults who have been exposed to lead for prolonged periods of time. This is a serious problem that needs immediate attention from school officials.

The problem with lead in the water supply is not new. In fact, it has been a concern for decades. The government has taken measures to reduce the amount of lead in the environment, but it is still a prevalent problem in some areas. School officials must take responsibility for ensuring that their students have access to safe drinking water.

One way to address this problem is to replace old plumbing systems with new ones that are free from lead. This is a costly solution, but it is necessary to protect the health of students. Another way is to install water filtration systems that can remove lead particles from the water. Filtration systems are less expensive and can be installed in areas that are more prone to lead contamination.

School officials should also be transparent about the quality of their water supply. Parents and students need to know if their drinking water is safe or not. Regular testing should be conducted to monitor the level of lead in the water.

The water crisis in many school districts is a serious problem that must be addressed immediately. Students and staff members deserve to have access to safe drinking water. It is the responsibility of school officials to take action and ensure that their water supply is free from lead and other contaminants. We cannot afford to ignore this problem any longer.     

19 Ways to Help Kids Develop a Habit of Finishing What They Start

Are you looking for ways to help kids develop a habit of finishing what they start? If so, keep reading.

1. Give the learner established time limits before a learning experience begins.

2. Support the learner in performing their duties. As the learner shows success in performing duties, slowly decrease assistance and require the learner to independently assume more responsibility.

3. Be clear when giving instructions to transition from one learning experience to the next.

4. Draft an agreement with the learner stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., putting learning materials away and getting ready for another learning experience) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

5. Select a peer to model finishing a learning experience and putting learning materials away for the learner.

6. Give the learner more than enough time to finish a learning experience. As the learner shows success, decrease the amount of time given to finish a learning experience.

7. Establish time limits so that the learner knows how long they have to work and when they must be finished.

8. Give sufficient transition time for the learner to finish a learning experience and get ready for the next learning experience.

9. Utilize a timer to help the learner know when it is time to change to a new learning experience.

10. Teach time-management skills. Get the learner to make a daily plan and follow it. Urge the learner to avoid becoming distracted by activities, impulses, and moods.

11. Talk about the learner’s duties at the beginning of each class period so they know what is expected.

12. Restrict the learner’s use of those things they have been irresponsible in putting away, returning, etc.

13. Show the learner when they do not put things away, what they are doing wrong, what they are supposed to be doing, and why.

14. Make sure that duties given to the learner are appropriate for their level of development and capacity and ability.

15. Use a signal method (e.g., turning the lights off and on) to warn that the end of a learning experience is near, and it is time to finish and put learning materials away.

16. Be firm, fair, and consistent, expecting the learner to change from one learning experience to another (e.g., do not let the learner change learning activities without putting learning materials away one time and not the next).

17. Give an incentive statement along with an instruction (e.g., “You may listen to your CD player after you finish your task and put away all learning materials. ”).

18. Assess the appropriateness of the task to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.

19. Consider using assistive technology designed to help students to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder concentrate. Click here to view list of assistive technology apps that we recommend.

PreK Education Leadership Apps, Tools, and Resources That We Love

Are you looking for PreK education leadership apps, tools, and resources that you can use in your organization? If so, we have you covered. Check out our list below. Let us know if there are any that we missed.

AGB OnBoard – AGB OnBoard software provides boards and leadership teams with AGB-trusted content that can be used to transform meetings from operational presentations to strategic working sessions. It helps leaders to use technology to make intelligent and informed decisions in pursuit of their institution’s strategic goals.

TeachBoost – TeachBoost helps schools and districts to develop a culture of continuous improvement; incorporate your rubrics, templates, and resources to streamline your processes; and deliver actionable data to scale for great teaching practices. With TeachBoost, you can use a customizable instructional leadership platform for improving feedback quality, developing educator capacity, and increasing student achievement.

The Edvocate Podcast, Episode 7: How Digital Age Teachers Can Win Over Parents

Education is a collaborative process, as it takes many stakeholders working in unison to help students succeed academically. One of the most integral parts of this collaborative team is parents, as teachers know all so well. So, if you are a teacher struggling to increase parental engagement, how do you fix this issue? In this episode, we will discuss 7 ways that digital age teachers win over parents.

The Edvocate Podcast, Episode 2: How Edtech Companies Should Start the New School Year

As summer reaches its peak, and fall gears up to make its arrival, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are all preparing for the beginning of a new academic year. So many gains were made last year, and they are eager to build upon that success. When we talk about education stakeholders who are concerned with starting the school year off right, we rarely, if ever, talk about edtech companies. They too are an integral part of the school community, as they provide a valuable service.

So how do edtech companies stay on their “A” games to begin the new school year? Not to worry, we have you covered.

Hello, my name is Dr. Matthew Lynch and welcome to the second episode of The Edvocate Podcast. Today, we will discuss back to school tips that will help your edtech company get off to a running start and sustain that momentum until summer break comes around again.