The United States began to attract people from all over the world at the end of the Revolutionary War. “We the people”, the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution refers to South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 2010 Census data reported that half of the U.S. most recent births were minorities. The results also reveled that 49.8 percent of infants under the age one are members of race ethnic minorities. According to Pew Research, 2012 Democratic and Social Trends, Asian American’s are the fastest growing racial group in the United States The United States is considered to be a globalized nation of individuals from all over the world.
As the minority populations continue to rise in the U.S., there is a great demand for school counselors to improve their multicultural competencies. Arming counselors with this worldview knowledge of a culturally diverse student body will better equip counselors to handle dynamics of each student on an individual level that encompasses their cultural background, attitudes, beliefs and feelings.
Respect for students’ individual needs, life experiences, and worldviews is vital in schools. It’s extremely important that attitudes, beliefs and knowledge are taken into consideration when counseling diverse students. School counselors who are not trained in multiculturalism and who do not develop appropriate multicultural awareness skills might provide inappropriate counseling intervention, thus, underestimating the student’s cultural background and causing cultural sensitivity.
How can counselors become multicultural competent? Share your thoughts.
As more education reforms emerge there is a great need for effective leadership in the profession of school counseling. According to American School Counselor Association, professional school counselors are certified/licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling making them vital in the role of maximizing student success. “Through leadership, advocacy and collaboration, professional school counselors promote equity and access to rigorous educational experiences for all students”.
Although school counselors are usually not mentioned in education reforms they have a unique perspective on the educational process. For example, school counselors collaborate and interacted with various populations. They hear the issues of teachers, students, parents and administrators which makes them keenly aware of real matters and give them the ability to focus on the wellness of a student’s success. School counselors have the responsibility of keeping students interested in staying in school to gain the best possible education they can. They concentrate on dropout preventions and alternative programs that will ensure student achievements.
Additionally, school counselors advocate for students that may have personal issues interfering with their learning. School counselors have comprehensive training combined with human relations skills. They support students and help them prepare, develop and achieve personal, career, and lifestyle growth. School counselors are the principal support personnel for students and their caregivers, as well as teachers and administrators.
So, why aren’t school counselors included in education reforms? The National Center of Transforming School Counselors reported that although school counselors have an enormous impact on student achievement and attainment, they enter the field unprepared to serve as effective advocates. As a result they have been left out of education reform discussion. According to TSC, school counselor’s profession should emphasize assertive advocacies, leadership, team player and consultant.
School counselors should redefine their role as leaders and loose the stigma of only being good for building and changing a student’s schedule.
Should school counselors become more involved in education reforms?
Students who graduate from the U.S. public school system are deemed to have been educated, at least to the grade level they have completed. According to PISA, the 2011 student assessment results showed that U.S. high school graduating students only had a 32 percent proficiency rate in math and a 31 percent proficiency rate in reading compared to a 50 percent rate in Korea, Finland and Japan. These findings suggest that students are moving from one grade to another without a solid understanding of that subject.
In many states, students pass to the next grade level with a “D”. That means with only a 60% comprehension level in a subject a student will pass and even receive a diploma. Some schools, including public junior high schools, even use a system called peer promotion, which grants the student an opportunity to correct a test they failed and receive a passing grade. As a result, many students enter high school without a strong foundation or a high degree of competence in subjects. This, unfortunately, becomes a problem for the next level teacher to endure and the rest of the students in the class will suffer the consequences.
According to Michelle Swartz, an Arizona math teacher at Chandler High School, “Some students are thrown at the high school level without retaining 6th, 7th,or 8th grade math, and these students are likely to fail 9th grade math”.
Accountability in education is sorely needed in the U.S. schools. “If we don’t have accountability what’s going to happen when a failing student gets to high school”, stated Michelle. “Many of these students do not have the prerequisites to move on to high school, yet they were passed through peer promotion in junior high.”
On March 31, 2012, athletes from Arizona, California, and Nevada will compete in the USA Track and Fields 48th Annual Phoenix Invitational held at Glendale Community College.
The USA Track and Field youth program was established in 2004, and provides young athletes an opportunity to be active and competitive. Through Zone Championship, athletes compete in track and field events within their residing state. After several preliminary competitions such as the Phoenix Invitational, performance youths advance to the Junior Olympic program. Dating back to the 1960’s, the Junior Olympics welcomes approximately 70,000 athletes each year. It is the largest youth development competition in the world.
12-year-old sprinter Anaya Bailey has competed since the age of 6. In 2009 she was a 2x Gold Medalist in the USA Nationals, and ranked eighth in the nation as a USA Junior Olympian. “Practicing a lot got me to where I am today”, stated Anaya. “I am extremely dedicated to this sport”. According to Florida State University Ph.D. professor K. Anders Ericsson, individual achievement is linked to drive, discipline and dedication.
Programs such as the USA Track and Field teach youths the determination and discipline they need to be successful. Individual athletes must bring the dedication.
The 2001 No Child Left Behind Law focused on the use of standardized test scores in schools that would help establish measurable goals and improve individual outcomes in education. Since the laws enactment the Obama administration’s new education law, enacted in 2011, has sought to free states from it and 10 states have already done so.
The No Child Left Behind required all students to be 100 percent proficient in math and reading by 2014. According to Winnie Hu, New York Times reporter, the 2014 deadline for math and reading proficiency was an “impossibly high bar”.
Although the NCLB law had the right idea, to improve on academic standards in U.S. schools, its primary focus was on testing in math and reading. Schools and parents had criticized the law for sometime. Schools concentrated so “intensively” on testing in those subjects, that science, social studies and the arts became insignificant topics.
The Obama administration’s education law would focus on “Higher, more honest standards”, according to Caren Bohan, Reuter’s reporter. The new law will put into place accountability systems that would reward high performing schools and single out low performing schools. It will also develop and implement plans for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.
Many educators have turned their attention from the NCLB law and are focusing on adopting the Common Core State Standards, a requirement under Obama’s new education plan. The Common Core State Standards is a new blueprint to raise academic achievement. It seeks to improve education in the classroom and help students reach their full potential. According to Emma Reicks, Tempe, Arizona Imagine Schools Instructional Data Coach, “I like the idea of the Common Core State Standards. I am a little afraid of its implementation.” The Common Core State Standards will be fully implemented in schools by the 2014-2015 academic school year. In Revolutionize Education, teachers reflect on the current state of America’s education system and whether or not a Common Core State Standards will raise the bar for academic achievement.
Will Obama’s new education law help to restore America’s public education system?
The Intel Fab 42 Building slated to be one of the most high-tech production facilities in the world welcomes President Obama
Obama is scheduled to visit the construction site of the new Fab 42 facility for Intel in Chandler, Arizona. According to Ralph Kalian, a subcontractor for Intel, “We weren’t aware President Obama would visit the job site until lunch today. We were simply told there would be no work tomorrow because the president would be here.”
The $5 Billion Intel project broke ground early 2011 delivering thousands of jobs in construction, factory production, engineering and office jobs for the unemployed and newly graduated students.
“Think about the America within our reach.” President Obama said as he addressed the nation. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.” “Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot…”
Less than a year ago, Kalian was one of those Americans barely getting by.
“Money was scarce. I had very little hope.” Ralph stated. “Now that I’m employed at Intel, I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel”.
Although the unexpected visit of Obama to the Intel site hasn’t been widely publicized, his State of the Union speech extensively covered the need for jobs in America and it’s presumed that he’s using Intel as a role model for the rest of big business in America.
All signs point to a deterioration in American schools.
According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. Countries such as Europe and Asia are rapidly expanding their educational systems. The U.S. high school graduation rates are also lower today than they were a decade ago.
Should we care? According to the Hoover Institution, “Weak educational systems won’t ruin the country overnight, but prolonged incompetence will eventually prove consequential”.
Boosting America’s Education system won’t be easy, but if we all join together America will have a fighting chance.
If you are an educational advocate and would like to share information for others to get involved, contact me and I will list your resources.
The extensive use of computers and the ease of access to the World Wide Web have added an abundance of information in digital form. To copy, publish and distribute information has never been easier. The Web is one of the world’s largest libraries holding a plethora of digital media. This makes it easy to enrich student’s minds and to help them learn and grow as the world continues to evolve.
The amended Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed in 1998, affects how students and teachers of higher education can use digital material in the classroom. Renee Hobbs, professor of communication at Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater, and a handful of other determined educators led a formal petition to obtain an exemption that would allow educators and students to legally “rip” excerpts of protected material. According to professor Hobs, “Increasing students’ digital literacy is a responsibility educators can’t afford to brush off.” Media literacy is important in classes such as Mass Media. To fully understand it depends on the use of copyright material. As professor Hobbs stated, “We can’t do our job without using them”.
Although college students are able to explore and study the work of protected material the Copyright Office stated that K-12 teachers and students are ineligible for the exemption. Eric Richardson, an Arizona High School Instructor, agrees with this. “The amount of time spent reviewing the work of an artist in high school is brief compared to a class that focuses entirely on mass media.” Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor of eSchool News, also agrees. “There is very little need to reproduce a book, film or song in high school studies. K-12 students and teachers should use only screen captures of a film.” Also, the distribution of copyrighted material from home computers, such as music, games and videos that do not have owner’s permission is a violation of the DMCA federal law and college policy.
The purpose of the copyright law is to encourage creative work by giving creators exclusive rights to distribute their products without having others infringe upon their work through piracy or other acts of devious mischief.