Posts tagged Education

Education: Doing Right By Our Kids


I’m going to stray from my usual theme, so be forewarned…

Education - Live Fit and SoreEarlier this week, I read a short article by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, regarding educational fraud.  As many of you know, I spent seven years at K12, an online education company that offers an alternative to students who, for many different reasons, are not able to thrive in a traditional school setting.

While there are issues with the way online educational companies are being run, the issues they are trying to address are very real. And the long term effects of not addressing the needs of today’s students has serious ramifications to their future. 

Professor Williams’s thoughts, which I agree with, really hit a nerve. We are not doing right by our kids.

“Focusing solely on the academic problems of blacks at the college level misses the point. It is virtually impossible to repair 12 years of rotten primary and secondary education in the space of four or five years of college … That’s evidence that primary and secondary education deficiencies have not been repaired during undergraduate years.

The academic achievement level for white students is nothing to write home about. Only 25 percent of white high-school graduates taking the 2011 ACT met its benchmarks for college readiness in all subjects for which it tests.  

The high academic failure rate among blacks means one of two things. Either black students cannot learn or primary and secondary schools, parental choices, black student attitudes, and cultural values regarding education are not conducive to what young blacks need for academic excellence. Colleges admitting underperforming black students conceal, foster and perpetuate the educational damages done to these youngsters in their earlier education.

Speaking of primary and secondary education, my county is now being forced to consider having parents pay for busing their kids to their local schools because of the drastic budget cuts being proposed. The belts are too tight as it is. Trying to squeeze blood from a turnip is going to do nothing to begin to rectify to the educational damage we have already caused our kids.

Education Matters in Cancer Outcome


When it Comes to Dying of Cancer, Education Matters

The American Cancer Society is out with its annual stats on how many people get and die from the disease in the U.S.

Incidence and death rates are on the decline, though this year, the report estimates, there will still be almost 1,597,000 new cases of cancer and 571,950 deaths.

But beyond the big-picture view, this year’s report digs into the disparities between the least- and most-educated. And they’re big. In 2007, cancer death rates for the least-educated were 2.6 times those of the most-educated. We asked one of the report’s authors, Ahmedin Jemal, ACS’s vice president of surveillance research, to help us understand why.

The number of years spent in school isn’t important because there’s some mandatory course for college freshmen that explains how to prevent cancer. Instead, it’s a proxy for socioeconomic status. Jemal tells the Health Blog that it’s a more permanent indicator than income or employment status, both of which can vary over a lifetime. And practically speaking, it’s available on death certificates, which is where the stats are drawn from.

Socioeconomic status affects cancer incidence and mortality in a bunch of different ways, he says. First, he says, the more-educated are much less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as smoking. “Knowledge matters,” he says. Indeed, 31% of men with 12 or fewer years of education are current smokers, vs. 12% of college grads and 5% of those with a graduate degree. And consequently, the lung-cancer death rate is five times higher in the least educated than in the most.

Obesity rates, too, are higher in people with lower socioeconomic status. People know less about nutrition. They have less access to affordable healthful foods. And it’s harder to get exercise — less access to safe running or biking areas near to home or to gyms.

People of lower socioeconomic status are also less likely to see a doctor regularly, particularly if they’re uninsured. “Having insurance is really everything in terms of access to care,” says Jemal. “They’re less likely to get preventive services, early detection and adequate treatment in a timely manner.”

Finally, he says illiteracy contributes to the disparities. People with low reading ability “are less likely to successfully navigate the health-care system and less likely to follow a doctor’s orders,” often because they don’t understand things like dosing instructions, he says.

The report discusses racial disparities, too. But underscoring the importance of socioeconomic status, it says that closing the gap between the most- and least-educated African-Americans could “potentially avert twice as many premature cancer deaths as eliminating racial disparities between blacks and whites.” Across the U.S., if death rates among the least-educated were the same as those among the most-educated, 60,370 premature deaths in 2007 amongst people aged 25-64 could have been prevented, the report estimates.


Live Webcast: Drive Customer Retention with Social Marketing


This is great exposure for me and the company I work for – K12, Inc and the out of the box thinking we did to create a successful community for our online school families using their software. Register and Attend if you can – Thursday, December 9, 2010!

Drive Customer Retention with Social Marketing.

Learn real-life online community strategies for proactively engaging customers, to boost satisfaction and loyalty.

Increase customer retention with social business:

The choice between business as usual, and social business, was clear for K12 Inc. K12, a leading online curriculum provider with thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students, chose social business to proactively engage with customers to resolve issues, increase satisfaction, and drive loyalty through a connected, educated community. Rather than trying to rely solely on consumer social tools like Facebook, the company built a community to foster an engaged, loyal customer base and drive sustainable competitive advantage.

When you attend, you’ll hear the insights and best practices that K12 learned when implementing their social business strategy, such as:

  • Leveraging social marketing tools to drive customer retention
  • Engaging proactively with customers to boost satisfaction and gather feedback
  • Driving viral adoption, not just among students, but also a less socially-savvy demographic — their parents
  • Thursday, December 9, 2010
  • 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern

It’s time for an Education Revolution


I am the Community Program Manager for the country’s leading online education provider, K12, Inc. They provide online education options for grades K-12 in many states and internationally via public and private schools.  Everyday I get to interact and meet the community of parents who choose this option for their families. It’s one of the most satisfying aspects of my job — getting to hear and see the opportunity and benefit that this provides to many families. I knew next to nothing about online education when I began working here almost 4 years ago. Our company has had tremendous growth — and is really an idea whose time has come!  And like many people I know, I had a pre-conceived notion of the type of families that would choose online education. But now, I know that any thoughts I had about the community of families were completely wrong. The truth is — there is no one type of family –there are a ton of reasons why someone would choose this option. I have met them all — and it has opened my mind to what online education has to offer everyone.

With this push for an Education Revolution by Oprah, Bill Gates and other innovative thought leaders – I believe online education’s time has come! It’s an exciting time for all of us — time to change the way we all have thought about education and learning and there is room for everyone that wants to join it.

As a part of my role, I also get to represent the company using social media tools. I am on a team of corporate bloggers that get to share our thoughts and musings directly with those we are helping.  How lucky am I?  I am a parent with school aged kids. I get to meet other parents and share experiences and also share my personal experience on a national level. Every day I realize how fortunate I am  — So here is my latest blog post at the thinktanK

No Such Thing as a Typical Online Education Family

Snaglearning is an Educational Tool


K12, Inc is an online education company that serves k-12 students.  Working there lets me develop new ideas and products in an emerging market that really impacts actual families. And I am so lucky because I get to talk to the families and interact with them on a daily basis. Connecting with other parents who have the same wishes and hopes for their children as I do for mine. A part of my job involves doing a lot of research on our business and hence when people see me online often — I have to explain it really is a part of my job. When I do find interesting, relevant information that has something to do with either online learning, education, parenting, children, learning or schools – it’s part of my job to send it out to followers or management. How lucky am I that as a part of my job – I get to do what I do when I am not doing my job!  So I found this interesting mention in Ted Leonsis’s blog and wanted to share. Learning communities are not only for kids ya know!

SnagLearning is dedicated to presenting high-quality documentary films as educational tools to ignite meaningful discussion within the learning community.

Teaching Girls Programming


Here’s a pic of Hannah and her partner working on a small basic training module on Sunday.  I wrote about it last week: Teaching Kids Programming Event. Although I think Hannah was a bit younger than the ideal age to introduce some of the concepts, it did spark some overall interest in programming. One the drive home she asked when she can work with her Daddy on building some stuff on the computer.

I think it is so great that Microsoft and Gen INC TV and Learning Tree International created this event to target young girls and introduce them to programming early. The earlier you show young girls that they can “get” science, math and computer technology, the great chance at success in “hooking” them for future careers.

And I love that they let Hannah go even though she didn’t meet the age target. They were open to seeing how she would take to it… What a great event and I hope to see more of these nationwide!

Way to go Microsoft!



Join us July 11th for an event that will transform the lives of 20 young girls.

Programming? For girls? ….YES! Programming has evolved and now more than ever girls have the opportunity in a world they’ve only known through technology to shape and mould the future of our society. So many young women have already discovered the limitless opportunities and adventures that programming careers bring. Small Basic is a first step in discovering the magic of object oriented programming and best of all ITS FUN Join us for a few hours and you’ll walk out ready to download and have hours of fun with more recipes (our format for learning Small Basic) Soon you’ll be teaching your friends and family.Oh and did we mention its FUN!

Join us July 11th at Microsoft’s Chevy Chase offices for a morning of learning, laughing and give aways.

Sign up today by going to the “more“ option from the menu at the top and choosing Registration Page. We`ll contact you to confirm your magical seat number and send you more details. Hurry seating is limited.

It’s going to end up biting us in the ass


Rachael Ray Lobbies Capitol for School Lunch Bill –

Instead, she grimaced, leaned in and sounded off about the federal Child Nutrition Act and what she considers to be the government’s stingy reimbursement rates for school lunches. “Ridiculous,” she said.

Rachel Ray also has a non-profit called Yum-o! Check it out for good recipes and ideas to empower kids to develop a healthy relationship with food!

Yum-o!® is a nonprofit organization that empowers kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids and funding cooking education and scholarships.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

This food revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way you eat. It’s not just a TV show, it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking. Find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better but it will add years to your life.

It’s so hard to argue for this stuff in the face of serious budget cuts all over the country in education. Read this article: to understand the extreme measures that some states are having to take to educate our children in the midst of an economic crisis. Asking for changes in nutritional guidelines and assistance costs money too. Money they already don’t have.  We are asking people what is more important – kid’s health or their education? The mere fact that we have to even ask that question is mind boggling…they are both important and non-negotiable to our future.

And while you are learning about the shortfalls in education, you turn the page to read about the record profits at banking institutions and oil companies. It’s so hard to fathom that we can’t possibly find the budget dollars to invest in education and health without having to short another important program when we know in the end, the lack of investing in both education and nutrition will come back around and bite us in the ass.

Lack of a quality education =lack of innovation, economic progress, less ability to compete and thrive on a global level (to name a few)

Lack of education about and access of good nutrition = increase in cancer rates, increase in obesity rates, increase in health care needs (to name a few).


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