Monday, September 04, 2006

Show # 17

Click here to download Show #17

First of all, I'm Going To Podcamp!!!!!

I am so excited!
This next weekend, a huge number of podcasters are getting together at a conference in Boston- for all of those podcasters and listeners on the East Coast, unable to go to the Portable Media Expo in California, this is going to be Big! Driving up from PA, I'll be singing Podsafe Tunes in the car, and anxious to meet people I've listened to or developed an email relationship with over the past few months in person!

For Show 17, It's hopefully the last lonely solo show I'll do for awhile. Melody will be here for our next show all about IEP's, and we have other exciting guests coming up soon!

In this last show of the summer, I talk about Lesson 4 of the ten lessons to maximize your child's cognitive development, Help teach your childthat it's more important to learn what questions to ask, and how to ask themthan it is that they learn what they answers are. In a nutshell, this means that children need to learn to be critical thinkers in order to be good learners. Teaching our children to ask questions, and look for creative ways to solve a problem, research answers, and think about alternative answers is ultimately more important than any one "right" answer to a question.

The second half of the show is devoted to the economics of education, and why following where the money is going tells you alot about what is happening in education today. Between the investment parents are making in supplementental materials and tutoring services, the US is spending $1.5 billion in supplemental education alone, not counting the additional $3.2 billion spent in primary and secondary school tuition. The educational toy market is approaching $3 Billion dollars a year as well. Why?

Well, education is the last "sure bet" to later economic success. It used to be that you could get a good job, with benefits and a pension with only a high school diploma. In 1979, a man with a highschool diploma could earn $600 per week, while the same man, in adjusted dollars, could only earn $400 a week in 2002 with the same level of education. (US Department of Labor Statistics data , See In contrast, a man with a college diploma on average earned $900 weekly in 1979, but $1100 in 2002. This means while the high school graduate's earning power fell, the premium paid to a college graduate grew by 18% in the same time frame.
Education is the last great equalizer, and has the power to make the american dream come true for many. It's a surer bet than seeking fame and fortune in the entertainment or sports industries, and has more long-term payoffs.

So simple economics tell us that the investment in education, just like a business invests in research and development, has a long term payoff for our children. This is the reason why we are willing to spend so much money of education, and the reason why some children are denied services in public schools- it all comes down to the economics, and that it costs alot more to educate children with learning and developmental disabilities than it does to educate a child in a regular classroom, giving school districts, always strapped for cash, every incentive they need to be stingy with handing out services to kids. the most in need receive, where the kids on the margin, most likely to benefit from short-term interventions and then perhaps grow out of the special ed system, are left to fend for themselves.

It's contradictory, but perhaps the new changes in the IDEA regulations will fix this problem. I can only hope!


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