Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rural Middle School Students

If you are a parent of a middle school student who lives 15 or more miles from his or her school (or if you have parented middle school students who have lived that distance from a middle school), please take this survey:  Rural Middle School Students.

This survey is completely anonymous, and the results are for student research purposes with the American Public University's school of health and public administration.  If you decide to take the survey, your answers will contribute to academic research, but the the research will not be published.

Thank you.

Rural Middle School Student Survey.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What if We Dropped Minimum Wage...for New Businesses

So Upworthy.com posted the news that Seattle, Washington is geared to increase its minimum wage to $15/hr.  So many HooRaH's flooded the responses, my stomach went all aflutter with tingles.  Then, I read comments from small business owners.  They booed.  My mother-in-law tried her hand at a small business, and paying employees is no joke.  Many small businesses fail before they can get a leg up.  A lot of small-business success hinges on decent business acumen, but sometimes that intelligence comes with a little experience, so I offer a...

Meet-in-the-Middle Idea.  

It's the liberal/conservative blender concoction of the century!  It's better than chocolate covered vanilla ice cream, it is!  It's the mega-conservative approach to minimum wage that is all covered in liberal slime.

What if...all businesses less than two years old with fewer than 100 employees had zero minimum wage obligation until they reached their first two years---and we raised the federal minimum wage to a living wage.  It's totally libertarian until two years in, then BAM!  Socialist!

Hear me out for a minute.

1.  New businesses struggle with start-up costs, including wages.  What if they can hire people at what the people are willing to work for them as they build their brand and business.  For the employees, they have a guaranteed wage increase if they stay loyal.  If the employees play their part and do well, they can negotiate for higher wages.

2.  The employers will attract people who either need excess income or who don't need it.  In either case, the employees either will or won't work for the offered wages.  Retired people on social security, older workers, and part students could effectively be the target employees for businesses who opt to pay less than minimum wage.

3.  We may have more successful businesses offering more job opportunities if wages don't keep them from successfully launching their business.  I mean, after two years, they are obliged to pay more, but that doesn't mean they'll only pay minimum wage.  If they are successful, they may begin paying more before they reach their second year.  Any savvy business owner wants to keep and attract talent by offering a competitive wage.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fat Shaming to Healthy Motivation?

 Being overweight or obese could cost more in health insurance. No matter how big the "love your body" or "fat acceptance" movement gets, there will always be more profound and deeper reasons to obtain a healthier body than what other people say about our bodies.
That said, the "fat acceptance" movement is built on the premise that people are people, no matter what size they are, yet "love your body" campaigns often draw one reasonable criticism: we shouldn't be encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle. How can we redirect the message of fat acceptance to one that encourages a healthier lifestyle without shaming people for the challenges their bodies face?  
So what we should be doing is encouraging health rather than fat shaming.  Read this article to learn how to encourage health.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Florida Public Schools: Challenges to Parental Involvement

You really can't forecast the effects of budget cuts and school year changes until your child is knee-deep in the school year muck.  I wrote an article about the way FCATs, budget cuts, and tech-books have proven to be road-blocks in my helping my child succeed in school here:  FCATs to Tech-books:  Challenges to Parental Involvement in Florida Schools.  

Before the school year started, the school board debated the merits of starting the school day earlier. The change was only a 15 minute change.  The change went through, but as a parent, I really had no clue how big of a difference 15 minutes could make.  Firstly, my child was transitioning from elementary school to middle school for the first time.  Because the middle school is 20 miles from our home, that means she has to wake up exceptionally early.  Add to that fact that the middle schoolers have to wait for high schoolers before trekking home, a fact about being a middle school bus rider I had little experience to consider, her 30 minute ride home becomes an hour and a half ride home from school.

So while there was a public meeting on early start times, I wasn't fully aware of the impact those changes would have on my student until she was experiencing those changes as they had already been implemented.  

Parental involvement is a huge aspect of ensuring the success of student education.  I wrote the article, FCATs to Tech-books, because I hope people think about the budget challenges schools face and how they may impede increased parental involvement.  Teachers are facing insurmountable odds when parents are struggling to keep up with changes and curriculum plans.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Earth Day

If anything, Earth day is the one day to think about the abundance on the planet Earth.  It's a day to reconnect to the source of all of our gadgets and do-dads, the source of our energy (which does come from the Sun and is given to the Earth).  It's a day to feel the dirt beneath our feet, see the new leaves growing on trees, experience the sight and touch of flowers and butterflies, and to be grateful for what we have.

Write a poem out in the spring sun.  I wrote a poem to the Earth here.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

College Advice for Low Income Students

College Advice for Low Income Students

Because of college grants, Pell-Grants, student Loans, and scholarships, financing college for low-income students is completely within reach, but there are nuances to navigating the college journey that low-income students should understand before making such a life-altering decision. As senior in high school, I had a lot of information on what it took to get into college, but I was completely clueless about life after high school and beyond college. My guidance counselors poured a great deal of college information on me, but there were some things they didn't tell me about what to expect as a low-income student in college...(continue reading)