Expand Your Mind: Education This and That

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Expand Your Mind: Education This and That

expand-your-mindI don’t have kids, but I have a great interest in education, because I will live out my life in a world run by Millennials and younger. To some extent that is a scary thought, but there are plenty of aMillennials out there, too.

Let’s take a look at the worst idea in higher education—for-profit colleges or perhaps I should say for-profit rip-offs. I first wrote about them April 1, without even noticing the irony of the date, and thought I would share a couple of up-dates today.

There is a perception that operators of for-profit education are devoid of real credibility, but unfortunately, that isn’t true. Kaplan isn’t the largest of the for-profit operators, but its high-profile owner gives it enormous credibility—it is owned by the Washington Post. And the Post is going all out to prevent any kind of regulation or accreditation. Kaplan and the Post and spent $350,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of this year and Chairman Donald Graham is personally lobbying lawmakers.

But over the last few months, Kaplan and other for-profit education companies have come under intense scrutiny from Congress, amid growing concerns that the industry leaves too many students mired in debt, and with credentials that provide little help in finding jobs.

College tuition is going up, student debt is going up and college presidents’ salaries are going up. What do you think? Are they worth their money? (The public survey is coming soon.)

Thirty presidents of private colleges each earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2008, up from 23 the previous year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual salary report.

Last month I told you about a trend for teachers to run schools and the difference it is making.

Here is the story of another school turned around by its teachers.

Test scores are up 18 percent and enrollment has spiked more than 30 percent. The model works, teachers say, because everyone from the principal to the janitor is vested in the outcome. “Everybody has a stake,” said teacher Bruce Newborn. “We all suffer and we all win.”

If you are looking for a different TV show check out School Pride on NBC. Think Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, but for US schools. The schools will make you angry, ill or cry and then lift you up and amaze you. It’s on Friday night at 8 pm Pacific time.

Finally, Bullying is on the upswing and, as everyone knows, empathy is sadly lacking in kids. Enter Roots of Empathy, an educational organization that uses babies to teach empathy to kids.

Since then, Roots has worked with more than 12,600 classes across Canada, and in recent years, the program has expanded to the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States, where it currently operates in Seattle. Researchers have found that the program increases kindness and acceptance of others and decreases negative aggression.

Be sure to join me Monday to learn how entrepreneurs are taking bullying in the adult world and turning it into a business, much like they did with leadership.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedroelcarvalho/2812091311/

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