Monthly Archives: May 2016

Homelessness Increasing!

As we move across the USA on our trip, we are noticing a large number of homeless. So many men, women, and children laying on the street.  After researching, Mental Health Cuts seem to be the main culprit though the list below shares other reasons for homelessness. Check out the increase in children that are homeless. Also, look at the cuts by each state!  How many students not being educated in any format?  ~Sandy

“In 2004 the United States Conference of Mayors… surveyed the mayors of major cities on the extent and causes of urban homelessness and most of the mayors named the lack of affordable housing as a cause of homelessness…. The next three causes identified by mayors, in rank order, were mental illness or the lack of needed services, substance abuse and lack of needed services, and low-paying jobs. The lowest ranking cause, cited by five mayors, was prisoner reentry. Other causes cited were unemployment, domestic violence, and poverty.”

The major causes of homelessness include:

  • The failure of urban housing projects to provide safe, secure, and affordable housing to the poor.
  • The deinstitutionalization movement from the 1950s onwards in state mental health systems, to shift towards ‘community-based’ treatment of the mentally ill, as opposed to long-term commitment in institutions. There is disproportionally higher prevalence of mental disorders relative to other disease groups within homeless patient populations at both inpatient hospitals and hospital-based emergency departments.
  • The failure of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide effective mental health care and meaningful job training for many homeless veterans, particularly those of the Vietnam War.
  • Deprived of normal childhoods, nearly half of foster children in the United States become homeless when they are released from foster care at age 18.
  • Natural disasters that destroy homes: hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc. Places of employment are often destroyed too, causing unemployment and transience.
  • People who have served time in prison, have abused drugs and alcohol, or have a history of mental illness find it difficult to impossible to find employment for years at a time because of the use of computer background checks by potential employers.
  • According to the Institution of Housing in 2005, the U.S. Government has focused 42% more on foreign countries rather than homeless Americans, including homeless veterans.
  • People who are hiding in order to evade law enforcement.
  • Adults and children who flee domestic violence.
  • Teenagers who flee or are thrown out by parents who disapprove of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Overly complex building code that makes it difficult for most people to build. Traditional huts, cars, and tents are illegal, classified as substandard and may be removed by government, even though the occupant may own the land. Land owner cannot live on the land cheaply, and so sells the land and becomes homeless.
  • Foreclosures of homes, including foreclosure of apartment complexes which displaces tenants renting there.
  • Evictions from rented property.
  • Individuals who prefer homelessness and wish to remain off the grid for political and ideological purposes. Often self-identified as Gutter Punks or Urban Survivalists. The Department of Housing and Urban Development rarely reports on this counter-cultural movement since Gutter Punks and similar individuals often refuse to participate in governmental studies and do not seek governmental assistance for ideological or political purposes.
  • Neoliberal reforms to the welfare state and the retrenchment of the social safety net.

“In 2013, a Central Florida Commission on Homelessness study indicated that the region spends $31,000 a year per homeless person to cover “salaries of law-enforcement officers to arrest and transport homeless individuals — largely for nonviolent offenses such as trespassing, public intoxication or sleeping in parks — as well as the cost of jail stays, emergency-room visits and hospitalization for medical and psychiatric issues. This did not include “money spent by nonprofit agencies to feed, clothe and sometimes shelter these individuals”. In contrast, the report estimated the cost of permanent supportive housing at “$10,051 per person per year” and concluded that “[housing even half of the region’s chronically homeless population would save taxpayers $149 million during the next decade — even allowing for 10 percent to end up back on the streets again.” This particular study followed 107 long-term-homeless residents living in Orange, Osceola or Seminole Counties. There are similar studies showing large financial savings in Charlotte and Southeastern Colorado from focusing on simply housing the homeless.”

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Etiquette and Manners are Important!

Have manners changed with new technology?  Are you a Poor Listener? Check the list to see! Did Robert Fulghum have it right that we learned it all in kindergarten? Are manners about being a good servant or a giver?

In order to display better manners in the workplace, in the fun places and with your own family, please check out the attached posters, articles and Tim McGraw’s song!  When we are not irritating each other, then real conversations can begin.  ~Sandy

Poor Listeners

things_learned_kindergarten25 Manners Kids Should Know

Helping your child master these simple rules of etiquette will get him noticed — for all the right reasons.  By David Lowry, Ph.D. from

Your child’s rude ‘tude isn’t always intentional. Sometimes kids just don’t realize it’s impolite to interrupt, pick their nose, or loudly observe that the lady walking in front of them has a large behind. And in the hustle and bustle of daily life, busy moms and dads don’t always have the time to focus on etiquette. But if you reinforce these 25 must-do manners, you’ll raise a polite, kind, well-liked child.

Manner #1 – When asking for something, say “Please.”

Manner #2 – When receiving something, say “Thank you.”

Manner #3 – Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking.

Manner #4 – If you do need to get somebody’s attention right away, the phrase “excuse me” is the most polite way for you to enter the conversation.

Manner #5 – When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save you from many hours of grief later.

Manner #6 – The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.

Manner #7 – Do not comment on other people’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

Manner #8 – When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.

Manner #9 – When you have spent time at your friend’s house, remember to thank his or her parents for having you over and for the good time you had.

Manner #10 – Knock on closed doors — and wait to see if there’s a response — before entering.

Manner #11 – When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.

Manner #12 – Be appreciative and say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.

Manner #13 – Never use foul language in front of adults. Grown-ups already know all those words, and they find them boring and unpleasant.

Manner #14 – Don’t call people mean names.

Manner #15 – Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

Manner #16 – Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.

Manner #17 – If you bump into somebody, immediately say “Excuse me.”

Manner #18 – Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and don’t pick your nose in public

Manner #19 – As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.

Manner #20 – If you come across a parent, a teacher, or a neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. If they say “yes,” do so — you may learn something new.

Manner #21 – When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

Manner #22- When someone helps you, say “thank you.” That person will likely want to help you again. This is especially true with teachers!

Manner #23 – Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure how to do so, ask your parents to teach you or watch what adults do.

Manner #24 – Keep a napkin on your lap; use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

Manner #25 – Don’t reach for things at the table; ask to have them passed.


Etiquette Rules For Our Times


“It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct,” Sigmund Freud said.

There’s always a tension between how much we should follow our instincts and how much we should yield to social conventions. But at times like ours, the tendency is to tilt too far toward our instincts, since the conventions are changing fast and there’s no consensus about them anyway. There’s a risk in that. You don’t know whom you might be offending or how you might be sabotaging your own success.

The original etiquette manuals of Western civilization were in fact success manuals. As author Steven Pinker notes, they taught knights and nobles how to conduct themselves in the court of the king—which is where we get the concepts of “courtly” and “courtesy.”

[See this related post for more on the history of manners, including Pinker’s provocative suggestion that the rise of manners at the dinner table helped bring about a steep decline in violence on the streets.]

I asked some tasteful and civilized friends and colleagues what an updated manual for 2014 would look like. Here are 27 rules to help you, whether at an office lunch, the company gym or the birthday party of your child’s schoolmate.

You’ll notice a common denominator in all of them: Think about other people’s feelings first because it’s not all about maximizing your personal convenience.

1. Texting “Hey, I’m running 20 minutes late” is not as acceptable as making the effort to be on time.

2. If you can’t attend an event that you’re formally invited to, don’t think that not RSVPing is the same as declining. And don’t RSVP at the last minute for an event that involves real planning by the host.

3. Show some decency around the office refrigerator: If you didn’t put the food in, don’t eat it. And take your leftovers home or throw them out before they morph into some radioactive nightmare.

4. Don’t bellow on your cell phone. Just because you can’t hear the other person well doesn’t mean the other person can’t hear you well.

5. Turn off the phone at a dinner party, and be in the moment. You’re annoying at least one person who thinks you have no social skills. At bare minimum, turn off the ringer so you can text and conspire in relative stealth.

6. Remember that if you feel a need to respond immediately to every incoming text, you’ll lose more in the eyes of the person who’s in front of you than you’ll gain from the unseen people who are benefiting from your efficiency.

7. When you get to the front of the line at Starbucks, don’t tell the barista to wait while you wrap up your phone discussion. The barista hates you, and so does everyone behind you. They are hoping the barista spits in your latte.

8. If you come late to an exercise class, don’t think you’re entitled to barge your way to your favorite spot in the front.  And don’t block others from weight racks or other equipment—just step back three feet and make everyone happy.

9. Keep personal conversations and arguments off social networking sites. The dramatic airing of grievances is best done through SMS .

10. Moderate your use of cameras and video at events. Enjoy your time with colleagues, friends and family in the present and preserve only a memento for the future, rather than recording the entire thing to “relive” later in some “free” time that you’ll never actually have.

11. Remember how easily e-gossip can be forwarded along to the wrong person.

12. Just because you’re wearing headphones doesn’t mean you can tune out from social courtesies. For example, if you accidentally cross someone’s personal space, apologize graciously.

13. Don’t lend someone a book or item unless they specifically ask for it. They’re probably too busy to ever get around to it. They’ll feel guilty about that, and you’ll be annoyed that they didn’t appreciate it or even get around to returning it.

14. Don’t RSVP for an event, then not show. Now you’re not just being rude, but you’re costing the host money, and you’ve probably kept a lonely soul from being invited as a backup.

15. Don’t be the first or second person to talk on your cell phone in a public space (like a bus or train). If everyone’s doing it, you’re allowed some slack here.

16. Don’t show up at a party empty-handed, unless you’ve been instructed to — and sometimes not even then. Bring wine or dessert or a plant.

17. Use your turn signal at least 50% more than you use your middle finger.

18. Don’t make your dietary requirements everyone else’s dilemma. As one friend reminds me, “People who can eat dairy don’t just keep coconut oil-based butter around.”

19. If your children are invited to a friend’s house to play, they (and you) should also feel invited to help with the cleanup.

20. Don’t break up with someone by text. And don’t announce a death in the family by text. There are still times when phones or face-to-face are the best way to go.

21. Don’t take photos for posting on the People of Walmart page.

22. Don’t discuss sensitive personal issues on Facebook, especially if you’ve friended coworkers.

23. Your dog is cute, but he or she doesn’t have a pass to go anywhere. “I’m a huge dog lover,” says one colleague, “but don’t assume it’s okay to bring along your dog to my house. I can barely stand what my own dogs do to my house … I also don’t like people who bring their animals to Petco. Seriously, do you think your dog likes to shop? It’s just you seeking attention. You probably don’t even need anything at Petco… you’re just there because you can bring your dog in, and you think it’s cool to bring a dog out in public. Dogs don’t shop. They would rather be sniffing the pee on that trashcan outside by the front door than walking on slippery retail flooring.”

24. Double-check that your headphones are plugged-in before streaming your favorite Spotify station.

25. Don’t say, “I’m having a party. Bring your own food and drink.” That’s not a party.

26. If you’ve been invited to an event, be reluctant to ask for an upper ceiling on how many friends and relatives you can bring.

27. And finally, all the classics still apply. One working mother offers a quick review here:

Chew with your mouth closed; don’t talk with food in your mouth; keep your elbows off of the table while eating; wash your hands after going to the restroom. My children know better—so why do I see adults exhibiting such poor behavior? If you bump into someone, say excuse me. Don’t reach across someone’s face. Don’t board a plane when they’re loading group A and you are in group D. Don’t stay behind the crosswalk when you are making a left turn and thus prevent anyone else behind you from turning. Don’t let your kids act like wild monkeys in a restaurant. Don’t touch someone’s belly when she’s pregnant–or even when she isn’t. Don’t leave cupboard doors and drawers open—someone can get hurt. And don’t pull up to the exit gate in a parking lot without your ticket handy.”

That may seem like a lot, and to some it may seem like an uptight way to live. But just remember the basic success principle underlying all manners: Think about other people’s feelings first because it’s still not all about you.


Part of being both charming and just a good human being is having the right set of manners. Here’s a few reminders…

1.) Never push someone into a pool or off the dock.

2.) When going out to eat, always offer the seat that has the better view.

3.) If someone asks you for the salt or pepper, always hand them both.

4.) If you’re staying with a friend, never wake up after them.

5.) As a dinner guest, never salt your food before you taste it.

6.) Never get more drunk than the hosts of the party.

7.) Meet your date at your door, not in your car.

8.) At a sporting event, don’t take your seat in the middle of play.

9.) When a lady comes back from the bathroom while out to eat, stand up until she takes her seat. Tom Ford approves of this one.

10.) Never wear sunglasses inside unless you’re Jack Nicholson.

11.) Hold the door open for a woman. It’s old fashioned, sure, but classy.

12.) Always stand when shaking someones hand.

13.) When meeting someone for the first time, never fist-pound.

14.) In a crowded area, never take a seat. Let someone have it who needs it more.
15.) Write hand-written thank you notes after receiving gifts.

16.) Always bring something for the host, even if it’s just a bottle of wine or a 12-pack.

17.) Celebrate with grace, but don’t “humblebrag.”

18.) Place your knife and fork in the 4:20 (clock) position when you’re finished eating. That lets the host or server know you’re finished.

19.) Never check texts, emails, or Instagram when dining with someone.

20.) When introducing someone at work, always introduce the person with higher “rank” first. “Mr. CEO, this is Mark from marketing.”

21.) If you use the last of something, always replace it. Last cup of coffee, toilet paper, etc.

22.) When on speakerphone in a public area, always let the person you’re chatting with know that you are on speakerphone.

23.) When staying with someone, make your bed each morning.

24.) Never say something through the internet that you wouldn’t say to someones face.

25.) Never “one-up” a conversation.

26.) When telling a story, keep it short and sweet.

27.) Don’t give an opinion on a book or movie unless you’ve seen or read it.

28.) Check in with old friends regularly.

29.) Be liberal with your group texts.

30.) When borrowing a car from a friend, always return it with a full tank of gas.

31.) Whether you’re driving with a guest or in the passenger seat, never stay on the phone for longer than a minute. It’s rude to the other person who can’t listen to music and has to hear one-half of a conversation.


Need a GAP YEAR?

As a student that has worked your way through your high school diploma, do you wonder what is next?  Did you look into colleges and feel you weren’t quite ready?  Did you look at Trade Schools and wonder what trade am I really intrigued by?  Did you think you were done with school forever and then realize that your parents won’t let you hang out on the couch watching tv or playing games, eat out of their refrigerator or prepare food for you the rest of your life?  Maybe it’s time to consider a GAP YEAR.
What IS a gap year?  It is a British term referring to a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between secondary school and higher education.
If that sounds like a great plan for you, look further into this article of all the possibilities. ~ Sandy

The USA Gap Year Fairs profile a broad range of Gap Year programs.

All the programs listed below are Keystone Programs; that is, they are registered to participate in the majority of our fairs across the country.

Below you will find a profile of each Gap Year program and a link to its full website. If there is a specific program you are interested in or a question you have regarding these programs, please feel free to contact them directly!



Dynamy Internship Year is the oldest and only residential internship program in the country. Our mission is to offer young people, ages 17-22, a transformational gap year (or semester) opportunity. Located in Worceste…


Thinking Beyond Borders

Thinking Beyond Borders’ gap year programs are specifically designed for students who are passionate about learning and are eager to create meaningful social change in the world. We combine deep cultural immersion, worki…


API Abroad

API Abroad is dedicated to providing comprehensive gap year and gap semester programs in Argentina, Chile, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. API’s language and cultural immersion programs provide students with oppo…

gap force


Students from the USA, UK, Canada, Europe, Australia and more all come together as a Gapforce team to share their adventure. Over 15,000 global students have all participated on our professionally led gap year and study …


Venture Semester

Venture Semester provides young adults with life-changing experiences in food, farming and leadership in the Green Mountains of Vermont. As a program of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, corps members live, lea…


Outward Bound

Over one million students in the U.S. have benefited from Outward Bound’s unparalleled approach to “learning by doing.” Outward Bound in the U.S. traces its roots to 1962 when courses were developed to prepare young peop…

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Cross-Cultural Solutions

Expand your horizons through immersive service-based experiences with Cross-Cultural Solutions. With CCS, the possibilities are endless.  We operate year-round in 10 exciting destinations across Africa, Asia, and Latin …

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The Experiment in International Living

The Experiment in International Living provides summer abroad programs for high school students who want to connect deeply and engage meaningfully with the richness and complexities of another country. Participants explo…


EF International Language Centers

Invest in your dreams on the ultimate study abroad experience. Achieve fluency, see the world, expand your international network – and launch your global future. Study for 6, 9 or 11 months and start in April, June, Se…


Academy at Watkinson

The Academy at Watkinson offers a pre-college year designed by YOU. While strengthening your transcript at a historic preparatory school, you can participate in intriguing internships, travel opportunities to amazing pla…


Carpe Diem Education

Carpe Diem programs are designed to safely challenge every student. Through service, travel, community and cultural exchange – our students receive a unique and personal insight into themselves and the cultures they live…


Youth For Understanding (YFU)

YFU advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 dif…


Youth International

Since 1997, Youth International has been providing many people with the most exciting, fulfilling and educational experience of their life. Youth International is an experiential learning program that combines rugged int…


Summit Adventure

Summit Adventure is a nonprofit organization that uses experiential education, adventure, service and cross-cultural immersion as tools to move individuals and groups out of their comfort zone and into more reliance on G…


RIDGE Mountain Academy

RIDGE Mountain Academy is a campus-based gap year enrichment program that revolves around mountain sports. Located in Whitefish, Montana, RIDGE is designed for male and female student athletes ages 17 to 20 that are inte…



Sea|mester offers a range of unique gap-year adventures where our students live full-time aboard either S/Y Ocean Star or S/Y Argo sailing from island to island, country to country or continent to continent in any number…


Eastman Immersion

If you’re passionate about music – if you can’t wait to get home from school so that you can practice, if the highlight of your week is an orchestra rehearsal, if you scour the web for recordings or videos of your …

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LEAPNOW: Transforming Education

LEAPNOW runs LEAPYEAR, the only gap year program that is a full academic year in length, focuses equally on international travel and your inner journey and features a fully integrated and accredited year of college and r…



Visitoz – visit Australia – is the only organisation in Australia that guarantees jobs for young people coming to our country on a Work and Holiday Visa. The visa is for people between the ages of 18 and 30, but most pa…


Irish Gap Year

Ceid Mile Failte! A hundred thousand welcomes to Ireland! At Irish Gap Year, our pristine beaches, forests and mountains are your classroom. You’ll truly immerse yourself Irish culture, history and nature through trave…

ARCC Gap Image For USAGF Site


ARCC Programs has been offering programs for young adults since 1983. ARCC Gap Semester programs are an opportunity to live and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Our Semester programs take students on a …

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MEI Academy

Imagine studying Buddhism in the temples of Angkor Wat, examining communism in the Silk Market of Beijing, or observing efforts in ecological sustainability while scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. Learning about th…


Center for Interim Programs

Founded in 1980, the Center for Interim Programs is the first independent gap-year counseling organization in the United States. For 35 years, Interim has been developing an extensive database of vetted programs and plac…


Amigos de las Americas

AMIGOS offers Gap Year and Gap Semester opportunities in Nicaragua, Colombia, and Brazil with the goal of empowering youth leaders and promoting community development throughout the Americas. Gap volunteers intern wit…



An overseas volunteer or internship placement is a great way to get experience of working in a team and overcoming challenges while having a great time in a beautiful location.  You can also earn qualifications includin…

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The High Mountain Institute (HMI) Gap

The HMI Gap is a semester of rock climbing, exploration, and conservation in the rugged American West and wild Patagonia.HMI Gap is for 18-22 year olds looking to discover more about the world and themselves through out…


The Leap

Every program delivers a unique and varied experience. In all our program, you’ll get to travel to different locations and work on a range of different projects.  One week you could be teaching local kids whilst livi…


Art History Abroad

Study art, architecture and European culture in Italy, Paris and London. Our carefully structured programs last for 12 weeks in the fall, or 6 weeks at other times. We also offer shorter summer courses. Learn about t…


Where There Be Dragons

In the days before the world had been fully charted, mapmakers would draw dragons to represent lands that were still unknown. Bold explorers who ventured beyond the map’s edge were said to go “where there be dragons….


National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

For nearly 50 years, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has been the leader in wilderness education. More than 221,000 students have learned and mastered outdoor skills, developed leadership, and studied envir…

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Expedition Education Institute

Expedition Education Institute Do you want to be an Ecological Leader, to become deeply rooted in the natural world and in your own power to make change and create a better, more resilient world? Organized as the e…

About Global Impact (1)

International Studies Abroad

ISA Gap programs range anywhere from one month to a full year in length, and include courses that cover virtually every academic discipline: Language, Science, Humanities, and more. Students will take classes at prestigi…


YMCA of the Rockies

TREK is a working Christian gap program designed for 18 to 24 year olds seeking personal and spiritual growth while working in a seasonal job at Snow Mountain Ranch. The 2016-2017 TREK @Snow Mountain Ranch (TREK @SMR) w…

Winterline_web image_11_2015

Winterline Global Skills Program

9 months. 10 countries. 100 skills. Are you ready to travel? Gain practical life skills that you didn’t get in high school and won’t get in college? Develop friendships that will last a lifetime? Then come join us…


International School for Earth Studies

The International School for Earth Studies (ISES) is a private, interdisciplinary institution specializing in earth-based studies.  We seek students who wish to pursue interests related to responsible and sustainable en…


Enroute Consulting

EnRoute Consulting creates customized itineraries for students who are looking for a meaningful, rewarding gap year. Director Julia Rogers offers a personalized, supportive approach in connecting young people with vetted…


University of Navarra

International Foundation Program Enrolling in the International Foundation Program at the University of Navarra will be an adventure you will remember for the rest of your life. Experience a total language and cultura…



CIEE offers recent high school graduates a unique way to explore the world. While on a gap year with CIEE, participants establish and hone skills needed to excel in a globally interdependent world gaining greater appreci…

Oyster Worldwide

Oyster Worldwide

Oyster Worldwide is a gap year and responsible travel company with over fifteen years of experience. Our unique projects are demanding, but worthwhile, offering the opportunity to experience life overseas first-hand. …


Rustic Pathways

A global leader in community service, experiential education, and international adventures for young adults, Rustic Pathways facilitates incredibly unique and powerful Gap Year programs. While emphasizing safety, positiv…

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Keep Kids Brains Active Through Summer!

25 Activities to Keep Kids’ Brains Active in Summer

As students set out on summer adventures, send their parents a much-needed “life preserver” — a list of 25 activities to share and enjoy with their children. These fun activities cover all subjects and grades; there truly is something for everyone. And, if you have your own summer adventurers at home, this list can rescue your kids from the boredom and blahs of rainy summer days. This year, do more than amuse and entertain your kids and hope for the best for your students, keep their minds working all summer long! Included: Twenty-five activities to fight summer boredom and build thinking skills.

It’s summer — that time of year when teachers bid farewell to students, hoping their gleefully escaping charges don’t forget everything they’ve learned during the school year. It’s also the time of year when nervous parents take on the challenge of keeping their children physically busy and mentally active during long summer days. To help those efforts, Education World offers 25 ideas that not only reinforce skills taught during the year, but also to entertain students through the summer months. Share these resources with parents to help them and their children make the most of the lazy, hazy days to come!

Many of these activities link to online resources. In most cases, however, the activities can be completed even by those without Internet access. The activities that do require Internet access can be printed and distributed to students before school ends or accessed and printed by parents at most public libraries.

  1. Fill in summer’s special days and events on the Education World Coloring Calendar for June, July, or August. Or help children use pencils, drawing paper, and rulers to create, decorate, and fill in their own summer calendars.
  2. Teach kids to cook with the step-by-step lessons and recipes at Cooking With Kids. The site also includes measurement reminders, safety tips, and suggestions for involving kids in the cooking process. Or check out your local library or book store for one of the recommended Heritage Cooking for Kids: Taste History books and try out recipes from Colonial days, the Civil War, and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  3. Make homemade Bubble Solution and experiment with such unique Bubble-Blowing Tools as strings, milk containers, and garbage can lids.
  4. Read aloud The Paper Crane by Molly Bang. Then introduce the art of paper folding by printing and following the instructions for How to Make an Origami Crane.
  5. Go on a Light Walk, an outing designed to teach kids the properties of light and facts about the sun. Bob Miller of the Exploratorium explains it all. Can’t take an online tour? Do your own image walk by printing the directions and template found at the site.
  6. Create musical instruments from materials found around the house. Need help? Enchanted Learning provides instructions for such Musical Instruments as a rattle, box guitar, maraca, and rain stick.
  7. Cool down by making Ice Cream in a Bag. The simple technique produces delicious ice cream in about 5 minutes. What ice cream varieties will you and your child concoct?
  8. Read aloud a selection from Candlelight Storybooks or your own favorite myths or fairy tales. Discuss the stories with your child. Then invite your child to choose a favorite story, and together make a diorama depicting a pivotal moment in the tale.
  9. Catch a firefly and then go to The Firefly Files online, or read a book, such as Fireflies by Sally M. Walker, to help your child learn more about them. Then invite your child to complete the Education World Firefly Facts work sheet. Firefly Facts Answers:
    • Fireflies are really beetles because they have four wings; true flies only have two wings.
    • Most fireflies like warm, humid areas.
    • In the United States, glowing fireflies are found east of the middle of Kansas.
    • Firefly larvae feed mostly on earthworms, snails, and slugs.
    • Scientists believe fireflies use their ability to flash as a warning signal to predators and to attract mates.
  10. Print a grid of dots from Connect the Dots by Math Cats and invite your child to make an original tessellation.
  11. Staple together pieces of plain paper or use a notebook to help your child make a cartoon flip book. Kids draw a sequence of cartoons and simulate motion as they “flip” through the pages. (Note that the first image in the series should be at the bottom of the stack of pages, and the illustrations should progress from bottom to top.) How to Draw Cartoons or The Complete Cartooning Course by Steve Edgell, Brad Brooks, and Tim Pilcher, offer simple instructions for drawing cartoon figures.
  12. Learn about national parks from the comfort of your own home, and encourage your child to complete online activities and become a Web Ranger. Materials are grouped by age and include cool awards and a membership card.
  13. Start a rock collection. Collecting Rocks, a Web site by the U. S. Geological Survey, offers advice to help the novice collector gather, identify, and store neat rock specimens. The Audubon Society Pocket Guide Familiar Rocks and Minerals North America will help children identify and label the rocks and minerals they find.
  14. Plan with your child a family activity day. Decide how much money to spend, and help your child research events and activities in your area and choose an affordable activity the whole family can enjoy. Remind your child to be sure to allow enough time for the activity, and to remember to include food in the day’s plan. (The online Planning a Party guide will help.) Don’t forget to bring a camera and take lots of pictures. Your child can mount and label each photo and create a family scrapbook of your special day. You might provide the questions below to help guide your child’s thoughts as they plan this special day.
    • Describe the event or activity your family will attend.
    • Will everyone in the family enjoy this activity? Why do you think so?
    • What do you need to arrange ahead of time? Will you need to purchase tickets? Pack a lunch? Make reservations?
    • What supplies or materials will you need?
    • What costs will be involved?
  15. Take a virtual CampusTour of colleges and universities your high school student might be considering. Tour the schools’ grounds, look at maps, view videos and photos, and request information about those institutions of higher learning. If you don’t have Internet access at home, take your tour at the local library.
  16. Have your child follow instructions to Build the Best Paper Airplane in the World. Then ask your child to design an original paper airplane and diagram the steps for constructing it, so another family member can recreate it!
  17. Start a family or neighborhood book club. Even a parent and child can form a book club, by reading the same book and chatting about it. For larger groups, check out some online hints for starting a book club.
  18. Hang a white sheet outside at night and shine a light on it. Observe the variety of insects it draws. To identify some of those nighttime visitors, see The Orders and Selected Families of Insects or read the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders.
  19. Kids rarely have the opportunity to design their own rooms to best suit their individual needs. Invite your child to devote some thought to ways to improve his or her living space. Explore with your child Kids’ Room Decorating Ideas to find ways your child might individualize his or her room without spending a great deal of money. Then have the child draw the layout of their “new” room. The following questions might guide kids as they consider the possibilities:
    • Other than sleeping, what do you do most often in your room? Play games? Work on a computer? Listen to music? Do homework? Entertain guests?
    • What furniture or other items do you use most often? What do you use least often?
    • What kind of storage do you need? A dresser? A bookcase? A clothes hamper? A desk?
    • What do you like best about your room? What do you like least?
    • How do you want to change your room?
  20. Help your child make a set of tangrams with instructions found at the Math Forum’s Constructing Your Own Set of Tangrams. Trace the designs on a piece of paper, mix up the tangram pieces, and use them to create jigsaw puzzles.
  21. Create a thing of beauty from a lump of coal! With a few common ingredients, you and your child can grow a “Magic Crystal Garden” with pieces of coal. Instructions for the crystal garden can be found at Joey Green’s Mad Scientist Experiments.
  22. Soar into space (the space in your bedroom, kitchen, or dining room) by constructing Science Bob’s Balloon Rocket. This simple science experiment using a balloon, string, straw, and tape, illustrates the use of air pressure to produce movement.
  23. Turn plain white carnations or fresh-picked Queen Anne’s Lace into dramatic colored creations by Coloring Flowers. Using just food coloring and water, flowers can be changed from white to any tint, usually in just one day. Colors deepen over time, and kids will enjoy modifying the experiment to see what unique combinations they can make.
  24. Invite your child to play a Math game and record his or her scores on a sheet set up like the illustration below. Choose a probability game, a timed flashcard activity, an online game from a site such as FunBrain, or another favorite math activity. Then have your child graph the results of the Game Challenge chart. Celebrate your child’s effort with a special treat.Game Title: _________________________________
    Round Kind of Game Level of Difficulty Score


  25. Put old wallpaper and magazine scraps to good use by using them to create Recycled Paper Beads. This easy activity requires very few common materials and keeps kids very busy on rainy days. When they’re finished, children can string their beads and give them as gifts or wear them for fun.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2009 Education World

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Binge Eating Disorder – BED

Several eating disorders exist.  Learning about them is important when dealing with children.  A student may not be functioning well in a classroom to do a disorder.  Staying informed helps you help them. ~Sandy

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder. Common aspects of BED include functional impairment, suicide risk and a high frequency of co-occurring psychiatric disorders.

Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States, affecting 3.5% of women, 2% of men,1 and up to 1.6% of adolescents.2

The DSM-5, released in May 2013, lists binge eating disorder as a diagnosable eating disorder. Binge eating disorder had previously been listed as a subcategory of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) in the DSM-IV, released in 1994. Full recognition of BED as an eating disorder diagnosis is significant, as some insurance companies will not cover an individual’s eating disorder treatment without a DSM diagnosis.

BED Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria
The DSM-5, published in 2013, lists the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder:

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  2. The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal.
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
    • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
  3. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
  4. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
  5. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

Characteristics of BED
In addition to the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder, individuals with BED may display some of the behavioral, emotional and physical characteristics below. Not every person suffering from BED will display all of the associated characteristics, and not every person displaying these characteristics is suffering from BED, but these can be used as a reference point to understand BED predispositions and behaviors.

Behavioral Characteristics

  • Evidence of binge eating, including the disappearance of large amounts of food in short periods of time or lots of empty wrappers and containers indicating consumption of large amounts of food.
  • Secretive food behaviors, including eating secretly (e.g., eating alone or in the car, hiding wrappers) and stealing, hiding, or hoarding food.
  • Disruption in normal eating behaviors, including eating throughout the day with no planned mealtimes; skipping meals or taking small portions of food at regular meals; engaging in sporadic fasting or repetitive dieting; and developing food rituals (e.g., eating only a particular food or food group [e.g., condiments], excessive chewing, not allowing foods to touch).
  • Can involve extreme restriction and rigidity with food and periodic dieting and/or fasting.
  • Has periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling uncomfortably full, but does not purge.
  • Creating lifestyle schedules or rituals to make time for binge sessions.

Emotional and Mental Characteristics

  • Experiencing feelings of anger, anxiety, worthlessness, or shame preceding binges. Initiating the binge is a means of relieving tension or numbing negative feelings.
  • Co-occurring conditions such as depression may be present. Those with BED may also experience social isolation, moodiness, and irritability.
  • Feeling disgust about one’s body size. Those with BED may have been teased about their body while growing up.
  • Avoiding conflict; trying to “keep the peace.”
  • Certain thought patterns and personality types are associated with binge eating disorder. These include:
    • Rigid and inflexible “all or nothing” thinking
    • A strong need to be in control
    • Difficulty expressing feelings and needs
    • Perfectionistic tendencies
    • Working hard to please others

Physical Characteristics

  • Body weight varies from normal to mild, moderate, or severe obesity.
  • Weight gain may or may not be associated with BED. It is important to note that while there is a correlation between BED and weight gain, not everyone who is overweight binges or has BED.

BED Population and Demographics
Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States; it is estimated to affect 1-5% of the general population.1 BED affects 3.5% of women, 2% of men,1 and up to 1.6% of adolescents.2

Demographic Information

  • Binge eating disorder affects women slightly more often than men—estimates indicate that about 60% of people struggling with binge eating disorder are female and 40% are male.
  • In women, binge eating disorder is most common in early adulthood. In men, binge eating disorder is more common in midlife.
  • Binge eating disorder affects people of all demographics across cultures.

Physical and Psychological Effects of BED
Binge eating disorder has strong associations with depression, anxiety, guilt and shame. Those suffering from BED may also experience comorbid conditions, either due to the effects of the disorder or due to another root cause. Comorbid conditions can be both physical and/or psychological.

Physical Effects

  • Most obese people do not have binge eating disorder. However, of individuals with BED, up to two-thirds are obese; people who struggle with binge eating disorder tend to be of normal or heavier-than-average weight.
  • The health risks of BED are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity. Some of the potential health consequences of binge eating disorder include:
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol levels
    • Heart disease
    • Type II diabetes
    • Gallbladder disease
    • Fatigue
    • Joint pain
    • Sleep apnea

Psychological Effects

  • People struggling with binge eating disorder often express distress, shame and guilt over their eating behaviors.
  • People with binge eating disorder report a lower quality of life than those without binge eating disorder.
  • Binge eating disorder is often associated with symptoms of depression.
  • Compared with normal weight or obese control groups, people with BED have higher levels of anxiety and both current and lifetime major depression.

BED Treatment
Effective evidence-based treatments are available for binge eating disorder, including specific forms of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and pharmacotherapy.

All treatments should be evaluated in the matrix of risks, benefits, and alternatives. Decisions regarding treatments should be made after consulting with a trained medical professional and eating disorder specialist.

To find a treatment provider who specializes in binge eating disorder, please visit NEDA’s Treatment Options database.

Social Stigma of BED
Many people suffering from binge eating disorder report that it is a stigmatized and frequently misunderstood disease. Greater public awareness that BED is a real diagnosis—and should not be conflated with occasional overeating—is needed in order to ensure that every person suffering from BED has the opportunity to access resources, treatment, and support for recovery.

NEDA’s shareable binge eating disorder infographic offers an easy way to spread the word about BED. It is important to underscore that BED is not a choice; it’s an illness that requires recognition and treatment.

1. Hudson, J.I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H.G. et al. (2007)The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biol.Psychiatry, 61, 348–358.
2. Swanson SA, Crow SJ, Le Grange D, Swendsen J, Merikangas KR. Prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in adolescents. Results from the national comorbidity survey replication adolescent supplement. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2011;68(7):714–723

What Donald Trump Believes About Education

How innovative to start your own university?  Schools need to have open enrollment to raise the competition and I have seen it work in Oro Valley, Arizona. Tenure needs to dissolve or go back to “ten years”.  To become an administrator, I beleive a teacher needs to have taught in a classroom for at least 10 years. Teachers need better pay to compare to other 5 year degrees and get paid much better for overtime and coaching.  Common Core needs to be fully explained out to the public in terms everyone understands – math seems to be the most confusing. Spelling is definitely an issue today as technology-users depend on spell check. Getting the writing flow without worrying about spelling should not be an issue if students learn to go back and rewrite drafts.  This is my opinion about education.  ~Sandy

What Donald Trump Believes About Education


Republican presidential hopeful and celebrity billionaire Donald Trump has expressed his views on the Iraq War, the economy and immigration policy, but he hasn’t waded far into education policy. Although some of Trump’s statements have been fairly moderate or favorable to liberals, such as saying he opposes cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and pointing out that a single-payer health care system works well in Canada and Scotland, Trump views on education fall in line with most of the Republican field. He supports school choice, opposes Common Core and is likely in favor of for-profit colleges.

Attacking Common Core Standards

He recently criticized two of his Republican opponents, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), for their positions on Common Core. Like most of the Republican field, with the exception of Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Bush, Trump has characterized Common Core as federal overreach. The standards were created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers and states were not forced to adopt them.

Trump said of Bush’s support of Common Core standards on Fox’s On The Record, “I watched Jeb Bush … I think it’s pathetic what’s going on, his stance on Common Core … He’s in favor of Washington educating your children.”

Trump also pointed out Walker once supported Common Core and changed his position. Walker, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Arkansas Gov.Mike Huckabee (R), has been inconsistent in his position on Common Core and supported it before he came out against it.

Relaxing Regulations On For-Profit Colleges?

Trump started his own online for-profit college, Trump University, in 2005. It never received accreditation, but it also never attempted to get accreditation, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. In addition to the website, Trump University sold CDs and DVDs but it did not offer degrees. The New York State Department of Education asked that it stop calling itself a university and shortly after it changed its name to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. In 2013, the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company, saying it misrepresented its classes. The legal battles continue, since a class action suit has been brought against the company by a student who spent $36,000 plus on Trump’s investing tips.

For-profit colleges have been in the news recently after falling attendance rates and increased federal scrutiny have made it more difficult for some for-profit colleges to operate.
Corinthian Colleges shut down all of its remaining campuses after the U.S. Department of Education found that it misrepresented job placement data. Education Management Corporation or EDMC, announced it would gradually shut down 15 of 52 campuses of The Art Institutes, leaving 5,400 students without a college. It recently delisted its common stock from Nasdaq after the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was not in compliance with SEC rules.

Although Trump hasn’t discussed for-profit colleges in terms of policy, as someone who once ran a for-profit college, he may be in favor of some of the measures Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Christie have suggested to support the growth of for-profit colleges, such as loosening rules on accreditation. Many of the candidates have ties to the for-profit college industry, but Trump is the only candidate who actually ran one — although it was never accredited as an actual university.

Cutting The U.S. Department Of Education ‘Way, Way, Way Down’

A popular political stance for Republicans in recent years has been to suggest eliminating the U.S. Department of Education. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) have said the department wasn’t worth keeping. In comparison, Trump’s position seems tame. He only wants to cut the department “way, way, way down.” He has not provided specifics on how much funding should be cut from the department, which administers Pell grants, provides overnight to the states to check on inequality of education between low-income and wealthy districts and is responsible for keeping national education data.

School Choice And Teachers Unions

In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve Trump supported vouchers and charter schools. In the same book, he also took a shot at teachers unions, and compared them to monopolies:

Defenders of the status quo insist that parental choice means the end of public schools. Let’s look at the facts. Right now, nine of ten children attend public schools. … When teachers’ unions say even the most minuscule program allowing school choice is a mortal threat, they’re saying: If we aren’t allowed to keep 90% of the market, we can’t survive.

In the book, Trump opposes what calls the “dumbing down” of school and blames things such as “creative spelling” and “empowerment,” saying he wants schools to challenge students and allow them to make mistakes. Creative spelling, or inventive spelling, is a pedagogical concept that allows children to spell their words in the way they speak them and then move on to learning how those words are typically spelled in the English language. Those who favor it argue that it fosters self esteem while the child is still learning, that knowledge is formed through our social and cultural context and that students who use inventive spelling may be more creative writers, while those who oppose it say it delays understanding of conventional spelling and requires more of a teacher’s time.

Make Math Simple

There are only Eight Mathematical Practice Standards. EASY, right? Below I have found 4 different ways to post it on your walls to help students. Don’t forget to check out reference pages at the bottom.  Don’t get caught up in all the strange things you see online or in textbooks. Remember the goal is to be able to USE mathematics to make sense out of life. We want students to start to automate their brains to go through these steps. Let’s make math easier for all!  ~Sandy

Common Core mathematics is a way to approach teaching so that students develop a mathematical mindset and see math in the world around them. We are making problem-solvers. No matter what your objectives, textbook, or grade level, the eight mathematical practice standards are a guide to good math instruction. Here they are in plain English with suggestions for incorporating them into your everyday math class.

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Other Resources:

Standards for Mathematical Practice

Good Teachers Don’t Need Tenure!

As a teacher, I never depended on tenure. I didn’t need tenure. I was a hard working, organized, and productive member of many school staffs. When I hear teachers concerned about losing tenure, I wonder what they are doing to cause them to be concerned about losing their teaching position. Adminstators don’t have tenure. County Office Educational employees don’t have tenure. State and Federal Educational positions don’t have tenure. Educational careers depend on good educators on the team.  The PIE team doesn’t worry about tenure because they are making a difference for students not hiding behind closed doors. Dead weight creates a problem for students, parents, coworkers and districts.  Get rid of tenure and work for the sake of all stakeholders! ~Sandy

Teachers who can’t teach.

Ending tenure would rid classrooms of incompetents


Anew study in the New England Journal of Medicine has a surprising conclusion. It finds that over the past decade, 1 percent of physicians accounted for 32 percent of malpractice claims. In other words, health care providers could eliminate one-third of malpractice and its associated health, legal and economic costs by removing the worst 1 percent of doctors.

It’s called the “law of the vital few” — better known as the 80/20 rule. It states that a disproportionate impact comes from a small input. Eighty-four percent of total income tax payments, for instance, are paid by 20 percent of earners. And more than two-thirds of all drunken-driving fatalities are caused by the tiny fraction of drivers with at least a 0.15 blood-alcohol level (the hard-core drunk drivers).

Perhaps nowhere is this rule more apparent than in the U.S. education system. Education economist Erik Hanushek has found that a small percentage of teachers are responsible for virtually all of the United States’ poor global education ranking. (U.S. students score worse on international tests than students from countries like Vietnam, Poland and Latvia.)

According to Mr. Hanushek, replacing the bottom 5-8 percent of teachers with average teachers could move the United States near the top of international education rankings. A 2013 study by a different group of researchers found that replacing the bottom 5 percent of teachers with average teachers would increases students’ lifetime income by approximately $250,000 per classroom per year. Getting rid of the worst teachers would improve productivity and economic output by trillions of dollars, says Mr. Hanushek.

Subpar teachers are complicit in poor student performance. According to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, one-quarter of eighth grade students do not have basic reading skills, and two-thirds don’t have “proficient” reading skills. About one-third of high school graduates who try to enlist in the armed forces are rejected for insufficient reading or basic math abilities.

Unskilled people have few employment prospects. As a result, there is currently a youth unemployment crisis in this country. The youth unemployment rate is more than triple the overall one and is much higher than that in certain parts of the country. In Washington D.C., whose schools are notoriously bad, the current youth unemployment rate is 30 percent.

The value of early-career work experience is well covered. Thomas Mroz of the University of North Carolina and Tim Savage of Welch Consulting find that someone who is jobless for just six months at the age of 22 will earn 8 percent less at 23 than someone without an employment gap. Economists at the University of Bristol found that men who were jobless in their youth earn 13 percent to 21 percent less at age 42 than their employed counterparts.

On the flip side, Christopher Ruhm of the University of Virginia and Charles Baum of Middle Tennessee State University conclude that those with early-career work experience — even a part-time or summer job — earn about 10 percent more per hour throughout their careers than those without such experience.

It’s said that there are three ways people leave a job: some quit, others are fired, and some quit and stay. It is this last group that is most troublesome in any workplace. To solve this youth unemployment crisis and its associated ramifications, teachers who quit and stay must be fired.

But it’s easier said than done. Militant teachers unions like the American Federation of Teachers led by Randi Weingarten make it virtually impossible to fire the worst teachers. Less than 0.1 percent of teachers are fired each year in major districts nationwide. As a colleague of hers once said, “Randi Weingarten would protect a dead body in the classroom. That’s her job.”

The single most effective reform to make it easier to fire ineffective teachers is ending tenure, which virtually guarantees teachers jobs for life after as little as two years in the classroom. “Teacher tenure, and the related onerous and costly requirements for dismissing an ineffective teacher,” says Mr. Hanushek, “have evolved into a system that almost completely insulates teachers from review, evaluation, or personnel decisions that would threaten their lifetime employment.”

The concept of tenure for grade school teachers is taken from the university system, which needs to protect professors who promote nontraditional theories and views in courses like religion and political theory. But there is no justification for this level of employment protection for people who teach junior high algebra or geography.

The end of teacher tenure is overdue. Doctors, lawyers and first responders are all accountable for results and failures. Why do grade school teachers get a pass? The sorry state of our schools and the reasons for it should be a 2016 campaign issue.

Richard Berman is president of Berman and Co., a Washington public affairs firm.