Monthly Archives: December 2016


Americans are very generous and donate much and often. I put some lists up on Facebook about good and poor donations. I then started thinking it might be beneficial to share how we processed our donating.

My husband and I set up our Vision, Mission, Value and Goals for our family and business. We run all of our decisions through that filter before we give.

We began with keeping people alive: starving, getting clean water, medications, etc. So as we looked at where to donate to assist with that mind frame, we found that all donations are not created equal which is why you should research places to best donate and those to avoid.

When we couldn’t figure out where our donations really ended up, we decided to work closer to home. We started feeding people ourselves. We started with a small church group. Then my husband decided he wanted to show up alone and make sandwiches for the hungry. What we found then was people abusing that system, not really hungry but just wanting to see what they could get for free.  (We saw this pattern more than once in our hands-on giving which was very disheartening. Made us more concerned about where donations go.)

We then turned to the homeless in our area. Instead of getting involved with others, my husband and son found people on the streets and provided them with sleeping bags. We have learned over time that some homeless people choose not to live in a home. They want to live how they live, they just appreciated the warmth during cold nights.  It was a great way to help others.

Ensuing my passion of teaching, I wanted to assist teachers. Reaching students is the greatest gift a teacher can have in this world. After many years in the classroom, I felt that I had much to offer others in streamlining their workload.  My goal was to help others keep their fire in teaching.

I  wanted to help teachers with the basics of mathematics via workshops on hands-on tools for teaching mathematics. Helping others discover best teaching practices in mathematics was very beneficial to teachers as well as teachers. Sharing the importance of utilizing manipulatives for concrete to representational to abstract interaction to create better student understanding and putting it into long-term memory was the foundation of this work.

As we watched my son struggle as an high-functioning-ADHD student in the public school system, we next set up ADHD conferences along with a psychologist for teachers and parents separately. This turned into an incredible long-term relationship with those in attendance. Parents and teachers alike loved what they learned about this Learning Disability that affects so many. Understanding how to deal with ADHD allows teachers to differentiate instruction to enhance universal learning.

Following, I set up a conference for teachers that wanted to THRIVE and not merely SURVIVE the classroom. This is  where I shared my 28 years of classroom experience to assist teachers with making the best use of time. Classroom management simplified leads to more time to create and work with students.

Next was an ADHD preparation for students called “Starting Off on the Right Foot.  We helped students and their parents prepare for the school year.  We shared what worked in the past and what each had to do to be responsible for their success in the classroom.  We set them up with folders, ways to take notes, using their phone, pencils, pens and more. Parents understood more about what teachers expected in the classroom and what they could do to support their children in the classroom.

All conferences went wonderfully and given at no profit.  I knew exactly where the donations were going and was thrilled with the outcomes.  This is a way to donate hands-on.

Further on, I opened a not-for-profit online school that offered courses for high school students. This morphed into an avenue for highly-motivated students to take courses not offered by their school and courses that allowed students to accomplish school-offered courses in order to take more courses throughout their school years.  It was exciting to be working with students again.

We donate to Christian Radio Stations as we appreciate all the ears that fall upon this music and messages.  We donate to people that directly affect our lives in a positive fashion. We donate to schools where friends and family work or attend. We donate to the cancer society directly through those affected by cancer. We tithe and donate to all of our churches. All of this COULD save lives which gets us back to our hearts desire.

After many trials, we narrowed donating money where it best meet the needs we want to see fulfilled. Currently we donate to leaders in and out of education that we personally know will do what is best. Leaders that follow our vision and mission. Leaders that share with us how others benefitted from the donation. This is how we suggest all to donate.

When you donate to a large organization, you have no idea where that money goes.  If you give a dollar or two at the check-out of a store, where does it go? It’s easy to drop a check into an pre-addressed envelope, but where does it go? Are you helping those in need or is it going into someone’s pocket?

It may take a little time to figure out what your passions are, but make your dollars count for those with needs. Your church is best place to donate above tithing.  Listen for the needs and then match it to your passion. Next, look at the teacher of your children or grandchildren. Look at the places these children are involved.  All of these things will directly effect people you love.

So, before you write that next check, consider if you know exactly where this money goes and whom it will assist.

Happy giving!


Stats about High School and College Dropouts

Eye-Opening Stats about High School and College Dropouts

Guest blog post by Chad Aldeman

With Congress busy debating the future of federal education policy, here’s a thought-provoking statistic: American adults in the 1940s had about the same odds of being a high school graduate as today’s Americans have of being a college graduate.

Beyond the pure shock value of this dramatic shift, it begs the question of whether the two rates will grow at the same rates. Will we boost college attainment rates in this century as fast as we increased high school attainment in the last century?

So far, they’re relatively close mirrors of each other. In 1910, 13.5 percent of American adults had a high school diploma. Forty years later, that figure had risen 21 percentage points. In 1975, 13.9 percent of American adults had a bachelor’s degree. 38 years later, that figure had risen 18 percentage points.

The graph below shows how these two trend lines look remarkably similar. The key question is what will happen next.

chad college-hs completion


We already know what happened to high school attainment rates. We shifted from relatively slow progress through the first half of the 1900s into a much faster rate of growth between 1950 and 1980. In those 30 years, the percentage of American adults with a high school diploma or GED (General Education Diploma) doubled from 34.3 percent to 68.6 percent. Today we’re inching toward 90 percent of our adult population with a high school diploma or GED.

There are still schools with low graduation rates, but even those are falling fast. Nationwide the number of dropout factories—high schools with a graduation rate under 60 percent—declined from more than 2,007 in 2002 to 1,146 in 2013. Similarly, the number of students enrolled in those dropout factories plummeted from 2.6 million to 1.1 million, even as the total student population nationwide increased.

As I show in a new report for Bellwether Education Partners, rapid progress at the high school level, combined with very slow progress in postsecondary education, has led to dramatic changes in our society. And in 2009, the U.S. passed an almost-inevitable milestone: There are now more American adults who have dropped out of college than have dropped out of high school.

chad more college hs dropouts


In pure, raw numbers, college dropouts are now a bigger problem than high school dropouts. Today there are 29.1 million college dropouts versus 24.5 million Americans with less than a high school diploma. It’s safe to predict that this trend will only accelerate as older generations with lower educational attainment rates are gradually replaced by new generations with higher attainment rates.

A number of factors contributed to these changes. In the labor market, employers send a powerful signal that they value candidates with higher levels of education. Individuals are more likely to be employed, and to earn higher wages, for higher levels of education. Compulsory attendance laws played a role too, accelerating high school attendance and completion rates. The introduction of the GED began as a way to offer returning World War II veterans a path to a high school diploma without having to go back to high school. Over time, it took on an even bigger role for other groups of high school dropouts. There are now 6 million Americans with a high school equivalency degree like the GED. That alone accounts for about 3 percent of the increase.

More recently, No Child Left Behind forced schools and districts to start paying attention to high school graduation rates. Those accountability mechanisms helped kickstartanother push to get all students through high school, a reform that has particularly paid off for low-income and minority students and for students with disabilities.

Will college attainment rates keep making slow but steady progress, as they have over the past 40 years, or will we start to see faster growth like we did for high school attainment rates? In my recent paper, I argue that enhancing high school policies could be one lever for policymakers. If states truly held high schools accountable for what happens to their students after graduation, they would build robust portraits of high school quality that measured things like advanced high school course-taking rates, student engagement, and student outcomes in college and careers. All of these steps would ease the transition from high school into college.

But we shouldn’t let higher education institutions off the hook for oversubscribing students to remedial courses or for failing to graduate large portions of their students. It’s an open question whether we’ll make the equivalent policy adjustments in higher education as we did in K-12: will someone create a “GED for college” or will we start holding colleges accountable for their graduation rates to boost education attainment? The answers to these questions matter both to the individuals graduating today and to our broader society going forward.

Chad Aldeman is an Associate Partner at Bellwether Education Partners and the author of “Mind the Gap,” a new report making the case for re-imagining the way states judge high school quality.

Best Jobs for 2017: College Degree Not Necessarily Required

Plumbing, HVAC repair and electrician are three of the hottest job fields for 2017. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — The professions expected to show one of the biggest job growth rates in 2017 and the largest growth in sheer number of jobs will be trade skills, according to a year-end report from CareerBuilder and labor market data provider Emsi.

The U.S. economy is expected to add just over 1 million new jobs in fields such as electrician, plumber and HVAC technician in 2017. That’s a job growth rate of 8 percent. The average hourly earnings for professionals in those fields will be $21.38, or about $45,000 a year in 2017, the report says.

While skills trades generally don’t require a college degree, they do require significant training, through apprenticeship programs and both in-class and on-the-job experience.

The professional category that will show the largest job growth rate in 2017 will be information technology. CareerBuilder says that field will add 472,000 jobs next year, for a growth rate of 12 percent. In demand jobs in that field will include data scientists, user interface developers and mobile software engineers.

Business and financial operations, health care and sales also make CareerBuilder’s list of the five top professions for job growth and opportunities in 2017.

“Our research shows that employers are very invested in expanding head count in areas such as analytics and data science, product development and sales as they strive to stay competitive in B2B and B2C markets,” said CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson.

“Skilled laborers will also see high employment demand in the year ahead as will workers in clinical roles,” he said.

CareerBuilder and Emsi used a variety of national and state employment resources as well as online job postings to come up with their list of 2017’s best jobs.  The full list is below:

(Courtesy CareerBuilder)