Petition Tag - education

1. I Care to Vote Campaign

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now:
Please sign the petition to help promote voters rights and awareness.
I.C.A.R.E Academy is organizing the ICARE ✌ Vote TOUR.
Our mission is to fight for the Freedom of Arts, Culture, and proper Education. We are looking for all individuals and organizations that can help us on this journey. We thank you in advance for your support.

2. Make Riverwood Science Fair Optional

During a Riverwood student's Sophomore year, any student taking Chemistry will be required to complete a science fair project, regardless if they are taking on-level or honors classes. It counts for a significant portion of their grade in Chemistry for the first semester. Riverwood Sophomores also have to complete the majority of an MYP Project during their first semester Sophomore year, which is another huge time commitment on top of the science fair. The MYP project, which is a requirement for all International Baccalaureate schools, is a long-term open-ended project with a suggested work time of 25 hours and is an in-depth exploration of a student's interest. The science fair is not any requirement for the school.
In high school, the majority of students do not want to participate in a science fair. Typically, they just find a project online and copy it just do get it done. Also, science fairs are unfairly biased towards high-income students with connections, finances, and parent involvement to aid them in their project. This disadvantages lower-income students in the judging process, and could negatively impact their grade.
At Riverwood, students are required to complete the science fair and the MYP Project, which is a huge workload on top of their regular studies. Riverwood should still support the science fair, as it fosters science exploration and invention, but should make it optional and intended for students with ideas and interest.
Chamblee Charter High School Blue and Gold Article about making their science fair optional- http://chambleeblueandgold.com/2016/10/teachers-experiment-with-optional-science-fair/

3. Dysart Unified School District parent notification requirement

On 10/4/2017 Dysart Unified School District was alerted to possible shooting threats at Dysart High school, 3 other schools, and all area schools.

They contacted police and began working with public safety services.

However parents were not directly informed of any risk or threat, and the schools stated “they worked with law enforcement to ensure safety”.

Most parents were not aware of any threat to the schools when sending their kids morning of 10/5 when text message images of the threats began to circulate to the students.

Dysart Unified School district took the liberty to make a judgement call regarding the children’s safety, without informing parents of the possible threat and only circulated a mass message to all parents at 10:25am, 3 hours after many schools in the district had already begun.

It is not the schools right to withhold information from parents, and the lack of their upfront communication resulted in many children feeling threatened and vulnerable.

4. Equitable funding for Catholic Voluntary Secondary Schools

Quite simply, without parents voluntary catholic secondary schools would not survive. Parents now provide over 30% of funding in voluntary contributions and fundraising. This is something that cannot be allowed to continue.
Minister Richard Bruton wants to give parents a strong voice in ensuring costs are always kept to a minimum. One substantial cost for parents each year is the voluntary fee. This level of parental support is necessary due to the inequitable funding of the voluntary sector. It is generally acknowledged that a Voluntary Secondary school of 400 pupils receives €212 per pupil less per annum in grants from the State than a similarly sized 400 pupil school in the ETB sector.
An ESRI report in 2013 was based on the most comprehensive survey ever of second level schools, and it shows that a significant gap (circa 30%) has developed between the funding of Faith based schools and State schools. The ESRI Study confirms that there is no equity in the way in which secondary schools in Ireland are funded. This is despite the majority of second level students in Ireland attending Catholic Voluntary Secondary schools.
By funding schools in other sectors to a greater degree than the voluntary sector the State is creating a double taxation for parents. Your taxes are contributing more towards the education of others than the education of your child. Fed-CSSPA is inviting the parents of the 194,164 students in our voluntary schools to join us in seeking equitable funding for our children’s education.
Sign this petition and let your local politicians know that you now know about the inequitable funding – help us to create the change. Provision for education should be the same for every child.

5. No Animal Dissection in Falcon Cove Middle School

Falcon Cove Middle School in Broward County, FL has a great PTA and excellent funding - yet does not take the effort to end animal dissection in their science classes, even though they have adequate funds to support humane and possibly even more educational technology for virtual dissections.

FCMS does not openly mention that its students have the right to not dissect - rather, the cutting up of animals is deemed as a graded assignment not to miss out on.

Exposure of students to dissection frequently results in children believing that in their future lives, it is OK to practice animal cruelty. Supporting and encouraging students to partake in such cruelty as "education" supports and encourages "bad science."

We know the future of these children lie in our hands - so we don't shove them
animals specially murdered for cutting up when even less expensive alternatives exist!

6. Improving Education: Preparing for My Future

Schools shouldn't strictly be focused on tests and money. Their main priority for students should be teaching them useful things about adult hood and preparing them for whatever life has in store. Schools should educate students on: everyday math (this would be extremely useful in so many ways such as purchasing items at the store, figuring up taxes and payments) , cursive (if you can't read cursive, how are the students going to read historical documents and important papers, or write their own personal signatures?) , fixing a car (such as changing a tire can be useful as well because it offers the knowledge of installing and replacing a flat tire by yourself when needed). There are still many things that we need to know how to do so we can be prepared for adult life: writing a check, applying for a job, purchasing a car/house, cooking, parenting, searching for a career, handling realistic everyday situations, and that's  just to name a few!
We should care about what is being taught to us. It's our school. It's our life. It's our future.

7. Later School Start Times

Teenagers need at least 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep based on their biological clocks.

Secondary School students are among the most sleep-deprived groups due to high workload, sports, co-curricular activities and starting the day too early.

A study by the University of Minnesota found that grades, test scores and overall performance in core subjects advanced significantly when school start times were switched to later hours.

Later start times were found to reduce tardiness, truancy and dropout rates. The same study cited above also found that starting the school day at a later time improved school attendance. When students slept adequately, they were less sluggish in the morning and more enthusiastic about going to school.

Later start times also enhanced all-day focus, improved mood and boosted sports performance. Getting adequate sleep and adjusting school schedules to coincide with the natural sleep patterns of teens improved mood and attitude. Physical performance in sports was boosted when students had enough sleep and sleep schedules coincided with biological sleep patterns.

Starting school later gave students time to eat a healthy breakfast.

8. Save Aberdeen Music Centre

NOTE: This is not the petition you signed in February - This is another campaign because the council broke the promises they made after that petition.

The Local Authority want to change the provision for Aberdeen Music Centre bands and orchestras. Without your help, the bands and orchestras will stop or the service will be seriously diminished. The bands will NOT be starting in the new academic year – not all of the parents and pupils involved have been made aware of this.

Music is vitally important for our city and our children. The Aberdeen Music Centre bands and orchestras have a rich tradition spanning more than 50 years.

To find out more about this campaign, please visit our website
saveaberdeenmusiccentre.com

9. Don't Stop The Hop!

The Hop of Central Texas has decided to stop transportation services to Dazona Life and Learning Center on Hwy 195 in Killeen,Tx as well as Texas A&M University-Central Texas. This will negatively affect students from both of these schools and students with disabilities will have difficulty obtaining education. Also, the Hop has decided to stop connecting transportation services between Temple,Texas and Belton,Texas. Socially disadvantaged and elderly person's that utilize the Hop to acquire medical care from Scott & White will have difficulty getting to their appointments.

10. Even the Playing Field: Academics vs. Athletics

As the seniors in the Eagle Pass Independent School District (EPISD) near the time to begin their college applications, they begin to realize the inadequateness and almost unfair disadvantages that they face compared to more affluent districts in the state of Texas. Located in an economically challenged Hispanic community, the high school students suffer from a lack of resources and thus their academic opportunities are impaired. When researching the best public high schools in Texas, a pattern begins to emerge. These high performing schools all have one thing in common: they prioritize investing their money on academics rather than athletics. Unfortunately, for the past three years, the EPISD has approved projects that solely benefit the athletics program disregarding the fact that a solid education is necessary for the future of their students. This school district might not have as much funding as the Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School in Austin or Highland Park High School in Dallas, but the money EPISD does receive should be going towards resources that will improve college readiness. Although it seems unlikely for this district to begin thriving academically, the New Leaders organization have proven that there is hope for high poverty schools to be high performing and it all starts with “exemplary leadership”. Essentially, these poverty-ridden schools, such as the two high schools in Eagle Pass need to reach into the core of their school’s infrastructure and start making changes. A huge sum of money like the kind being used to add a third gym, new locker rooms, new weight rooms, and new equipment could be relocated and used on updating technology, adding new AP classes, creating an SAT/ACT prep class, or providing scholarships for seniors on their way to college. This petition acknowledges that this 2017 project is in motion, but demands that next year the school receives funding that will benefit the entire student body by helping to provide a better rounded education that is sure to benefit them on their future endeavors.

11. Pregnant Girls deserves second chance

http://www.habarileo.co.tz/index.php/habari-za-kitaifa/23594-marufuku-wajawazito-kurejea-shuleni
Tanzanian president John Magufuli has said that under his presidency schoolgirls who become mothers will not be allowed to go back to school after giving birth.

In Tanzania, at least 8,000 girls drop out of school every year due to pregnancy, according to a Human Rights Watch Report.

12. Essay Dune

Let's unite students all over the world! Basically they already are united by experiencing the same (or very similar) college related issues every day and we just want them to share more for the advantage of education.

13. REPRISE DES COURS: UNDH/FMSS

Since April 7, we have been forced out of our school without asking for it. Our Dean and Administration Board have been at war for more then 3 years and we (Students) are the victim. There are a lot of promises that they did not keep specially toward the Pharmacy Student. They promised that, when they started at the end of their studies, they'd been granted a Ms in Pharmaceutical Studies, but from information we got, they never made any real actions at the Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population. So as result, the first promo is due to be graduate at the end of the year and still has no license or work permit and is still missing some laboratory classes.
There are a lot of other injustice we have been enduring but the pharmacy is the quick need.

14. Sarasota High Graduation Recognition

For years, Sarasota High-school has recognized the top ten percentile of the graduating class. However, over the past couple of years, the administration has chosen to no longer differentiate the top ten percentile with gold robes. This recognition the top ten percentile used to receive, has been a tradition since many of our parents graduated Sarasota High-school, and the upcoming class of 2018 has decided there needs to be a change. We would like for Sarasota High-school to reinstate the gold robes, in honor of those who have achieved their academic goals over the course of their high-school career. Moreover, we believe that the top ten percentile should be recognized in order of rank, not alphabetically, as it represents the position those students worked so hard to achieve. Furthermore, to stay in-tune with tradition, we also ask that Sarasota High-school withholds from removing the white robes that represents females, and making them wear black. Again, this is something that has been done for years, and is tradition. The removal of golden robes, and the distinction between male and female, will mean that the graduation ceremony will no longer have anything that is unique to Sarasota High. In order to make a change, we ask that you sign this petition to keeps things the way they should be. Thank you.

15. Extend the Hours of the Hendersonville Public Library

All ages use the Hendersonville Public Library. Many senior citizens use the computers. Students learn together in the study rooms. Young children participate in the reading programs. This library is experiencing record use this year, but the hours of operation are the same they were several years ago.

Currently the library is open only 40 hours per week, including only 4 hours between Friday and Sunday. It should be open Friday for eight 8 and Saturday for at least 6 hours.

16. Extend the Hours of the Hendersonville Public Library

All ages use the Hendersonville Public Library. Many senior citizens use the computers. Students learn together in the study rooms. Young children participate in the reading programs. This library is experiencing record use this year, but the hours of operation are the same they were several years ago.

Currently the library is open only 40 hours per week, including only 4 hours between Friday and Sunday. It should be open Friday for eight 8 and Saturday for at least 6 hours.

17. Stop teachers undermining students

Abuse of power is a problem often faced by those appointed to guide others. This is very evident in the school education system. Teachers continuously decide to undermine their students which not only affects a student's school life, but additionally affects their personal life. Corruption of those who guide leads to enormous damage to the one being guided. Lots of students are terrorized daily by teachers in search of authority. Many of these terrorizers also make their bullying public to other students, which in turn can lead to even more severe bullying of students. Worse of all students often feel scared to report their bullying as they feel like the cannot trust another educator, or even they may believe their bully may lower their grade scores. This corrupt system creates a negative environment for students which can destroy their lifestyles. My goal is for the

18. Our Kids Matter

Hello,
I am a concerned parent of JG Johnson Elementary School as well as a part of the Parent Action Committee here in Pahrump, Nevada.
We found out just last week that our Principal, Mr. Gabrylczyk, has been put on administrative leave (today 05/29/2017 I heard that he has been fired). We have tried to contact the Board of Trustees here in Pahrump and have been given the runaround. Everyone is passing the buck to the superintendent, Mr. Norton, who has not been returning our emails or calls for a special board meeting.

You see, Mr. Gabrylczyk was approved for a grant called SB-92 by the state of Nevada based on a series of interviews and applications he submitted for JG Johnson Elementary School. His background as a teacher and principal were verified and cleared, otherwise, the state would not award him this grant. SB-92 would give Mr. Gabrylczyk full autonomy in hiring staff, verifying curriculum, completing scheduling etc., to get the school up to a higher level than it's been. We were happy to find out he was awarded the grant.

This is the bad news: If he leaves then so does the grant that the State has awarded JG Johnson. This is specifically because of the scores he, as a principal, received during the interviewing process and the work he has done so far at the school. Grades have gone up at JG Johnson since Mr. Gabrylczyk has been there this year and the state had full trust that Mr. Gabrylczyk would ensure funds were used wisely at the school. Needless to say, the staff, the children and the parents love Mr. G.

He is the 4th Principal in the span of 2 years that has been called to leave. Soon after the decision was made by the state to award Mr. G the grant, he was put on administrative leave by the Board Superintendent. We want to know why this decision was made. Mr. G had a vision for the school which we feel now is being obstructed by the Board of Trustees. The school needs upgrades and support like those which other schools in the area have received.

We will be taking this to the furthest extent of our power in hopes of a positive outcome. We are protesting this disservice to our community and we want answers! It doesn't stand right with us as parents, teachers or students. It does the school no good to see so many principals come and go within a 2 year time span, without the Board even blinking an eye at us, the people who put them in their seats.

We have vowed to do everything in our power to get answers and to have Mr. G stay at JG Johnson! We need your help now to hold the Board of Trustees accountable and stop running around the fact that this is no good for our children. Please help us achieve our goal!

Sincerely,
Alicia Wells

19. Remove Towers From Ripon Unified School District

In 2009 a group of parents fought to stop the erection of the wireless tower at Weston Elementary School. Literature was presented that backed up the concern for health risks of our children attending Weston Elementary. Some points that were made included 3 out of every 100 people are electro sensitive, which means they suffer ill effects when exposed to electromagnetic radiation. The information suggested that once the tower was in place, at least fifteen students would be experiencing overt symptoms. Noting that these students may experience more serious diseases, like cancer, several years down the road.
Eight years later we are now seeing the probable effects of the installation of this tower . Two 5th grade students were diagnosed with cancer during the 2016-2017 school year. They have both attended Weston Elementary since Kindergarten. We have also seen two staff members diagnosed with cancer, as well as many students who have had several types of health issues for no apparent reason including digestive issues, headaches, and tiredness to name a few.
The FCC states the following on their website; Some studies have also examined the possibility of a link between RF exposure and cancer. Results to date have been inconclusive. While some experimental data have suggested a possible link between exposure and tumor formation in animals exposed under certain specific conditions, the results have not been independently replicated. Many other studies have failed to find evidence for a link to cancer or any related condition. The Food and Drug Administration has further information on this topic with respect to RF exposure from mobile phones at the following Web site: FDA Radiation-Emitting Products Page.

The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer Classified Radiofrequency Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans on May 31, 2011.The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), through the Monographs program, seeks to identify environmental factors that can increase the risk of cancer in humans. IARC uses the following categories to classify environmental agents:
Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans.
Group 2A: Probably carcinogenic to humans.
Group 2B: Possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Group 3: Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans.
Group 4: Probably not carcinogenic to humans.
IARC has classified radiofrequency fields in Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans.
IARC interprets the 2B classification as meaning there is limited evidence showing radiofrequency carcinogenicity in humans and less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. For perspective, IARC has classified the following other agents as "possibly carcinogenic to humans":
• Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (power line frequency)
• Talc-based body powder

With this information, along with the cancer diagnosis’ that have been founded this year at Weston Elementary alone, 8 years after installation of these towers, we are not willing to let another child fall victim to the effects of these wireless towers. There is ample amount of evidence that warrants these towers be removed immediately and we ask that you support the parents who are fighting this fight by signing this petition.

20. STOP the "Blanket" No Teacher Request Policy AND ask for a School Board REVOTE!

In the 2016/2017 School year the SCSD2 school board voted to change the traditional "Teacher Request" policy to a "blanket" 'No Teacher Request' policy that prohibits parents from voicing their input on what teacher their child receives the following year. This new "blanket" policy includes children with IEP's, special needs, and children from trauma backgrounds. The new policy silences the requests of the parents or guardians from being able to advocate for a teacher or classroom environment that may best emotionally, socially, and educationally help their child be successful. The new policy actually suppresses parental input into their child's education and communicates to the parent/guardian that the school system knows their child better than they do. Many parents received a letter informing them that this policy change was coming, but the wording of the letter led many to believe this was a state mandated change ( which it was not) and many felt it could not be challenged ( which it can). Surrounding school districts have refused to go down this "silencing" road and oppose the idea of a policy that would take away the voice of their school's biggest asset, the parent.

21. Rename Raffles Institution to Marymount Junior College

This is a petition to rename the esteemed Raffles Institution to Marymount Junior College in honour of recent paradigm shifts with regards to tertiary education and the utilisation of Darwin's memetic theory.

22. Higher Education Lower Price

From the humble origins of providing higher education to WWII Veterans to institutions devious use of the Psychology of Money, Americans have found themselves demanding education, but receiving it at a hefty cost. The old adage goes, “you have to spend money to make money”, but at what point is enough money, enough? It is time for Americans to rally together to reduce these costs for the collective and future generations. We must make our voices heard and work with our government to develop effective and efficient solutions for higher education funding.

For more sources, please view these articles:

Davidson, Adam. "Is College Tuition Really Too High?" The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Sept. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Cagle, Tamie. "Home." Online MBA Today. Online MBA Today, 10 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.
Sanchez, Claudio. "How The Cost Of College Went From Affordable To Sky-High." NPR. NPR, 18 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Johnson, Hans. "Making Housing More Affordable." (2010): n. pag. PPIC.ORG/HIGHER-EDUCATION. The Sutton Family Fund, 5 Apr. 2016. Web. 4 Apr. 2017.

History.com Staff. "G.I. Bill." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Federal and State Funding of Higher Education." A Changing Landscape. The Pew Charitable Trusts, 11 June 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

National Priorities Project Team. "Military Spending in the United States." National Priorities Project. National Priorities Project, 2016. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Ballotpedia. "Higher Education in California." Ballotpedia. Ballotpedia, 2016. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

Tamara Hiler, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, and Megan John. "Incomplete: The Quality Crisis at America's Private, Non-Profit Colleges." Third Way. Third Way Fresh Thinking, 26 May 2016. Web. 04 Apr. 2017.

23. Prayer to Hon'ble Bimal Gurung GTA Chief, to complete his elementary education from NIOS.

Sharing some of True Stories and inspiration stories who have still completed their education.
"It is never too late being"
Brenda Echols
Back to School Age: 58
Degree: Master’s in Nursing Management/Leadership

A True Survivor
At age 58, Brenda returned to school in the fall of 2009 for her master’s in nursing management/leadership degree with Western Governors University, a nonprofit online university designed for working adults looking to earn a bachelor's or master's degree. She was and still is the only person in her family with an advanced degree. Here's what she had to say about her journey to a masters degree as an older student:

I wanted to get an advanced degree for self-improvement to better equip myself with the tools I needed to remain current in the field. My biggest challenge was overcoming breast cancer while working on my degree. It almost took me out of school, but when I thought about it and talked it over, I decided to hold on and hold out as strong as I could.

I did it at almost 60 years old and I believe others can too, as long as they believe. It's never too late to believe, it is never too late to dream. Being a student helped me maintain my focus during my challenges; my dream sustained me along with family and friends. I never missed a beat.

Today I celebrate life: I am cancer-free, I am a survivor and I am a master’s degree recipient.


---------------------

Sarah Kelly
Back to School Age: 47
Degree: Cosmetology License
Career Change: Banking to Salon owner

I Found My Dream Job
My name is Sarah Kelly and I'll be 50 in July. I went back to school at 47 years old. I resigned from my job at Wells Fargo Bank in May of 2009, took a summer break then entered the Aveda Institute, Minneapolis to get my cosmetology license in October of the same year. I received my bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota back in 1990.

It's not exactly graduate school, but I've opened a salon and have had a very successful shop for a couple years now. I've been so much happier in my new vocation. It's my dream job and it's absolutely what I was meant to do.

Too old for school? Absolutely not! I was anxious about going to school with kids one-quarter to one-half my age. But I was also a more dedicated and serious student. I was motivated to lose weight (it is the beauty industry after all). I worked out every day (P90X – the ab and core exercises turned out to be crucial to my work). You can't have chicken arms when you're standing next to 20 somethings!

I worried for nothing. The kids were gracious and respectful. A lot of them called me Mom.


I was their surrogate mom away from home. I was flattered when they asked me for advice. I was gratified that they accepted me in their lives. I was floored they asked me to speak at our graduation. It was very flattering.

Tips to prepare for returning to school:

Do your homework, before, during and after your schooling. Be prepared, but you have no one to impress but yourself (and your instructors).
Be supportive of your classmates. They're probably young and this really is their first rodeo. Help them out, but only if they ask.
Don't judge. Everyone already does, don't add to their burden.
Keep an open mind. Everyone has something to teach you.
---------------------

Theresa Cardamone
Back to school Age: 55
Degree: B.A. in International Studies

It’s Never too Late to Pursue Your Education
As a 55-year old freshman with zero college credits, I had a steep road ahead of me when I enrolled at NYU-SCPS last fall.

There was a 38-year gap since my last formal schooling. I had no SAT scores. But I did have decades of life experience to draw on which provided me with a strong foundation for academic success.

I'd been business manager/outreach coordinator for a prominent children's theater, developed and managed a world-class Arabian horse farm, been heavily endorsed as a candidate for the Seattle School Board, lobbied the Washington State legislature on education issues, and ridden across the USA on the Bicentennial Wagon Train. I could drive a semi, clean a stall and/or entertain a sitting President of the United States. But only one year ago, I could not secure a minimum wage job. I was being screened out because I had no degree. That ends here.

My B.A. concentration in International Studies will bring my resume up-to-date and I will maximize my earning potential for the rest of my productive life. I hold a 4.0 GPA, I'm on the Dean's list, and I was just elected vice-president of my school's undergraduate student council. Has it been challenging? Yes. Worthwhile? Hell yes. It helps that my personal standards are in sync with the university's high bar. I was just notified that I have received one national scholarship, and have hopes for more. I am living proof that it is never too late to effectively pursue your education.

---------------------

Frank Anthony Polito
Back to School Age: 36
Degree: MFA in Dramatic Writing
Career Change: Actor to Writer

Second Oldest in the Class
My name is Frank Anthony Polito. In 2006, I received my MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University at the age of 36, after pursuing a career as an actor in New York City for the previous 11 years.

Out of the group of writers studying in the program, I was the second oldest. There were indeed challenges, like spending five to eight hours each day in a classroom after being out of school for over a decade. Sometimes the teachers would talk down to us, as most of the other students were right out of undergrad, and they would treat us like children. Often times, I had to remind them that I'd already lived in "the real world."

Alas, I've not done much dramatic writing since graduation, but I have taken the skills I learned to begin a career as a novelist. To date, I've published four books, the most recent being a novel called Lost in the '90s that I self-published under my own imprint.

In terms of tips for older students, I'd say that you should treat the younger students as your peers. Some of them will act as if they have all the answers, so try to remember how grown up you felt at the age of 20 or 21. You might even find that some of your teachers are younger than you, and you need to give them just as much respect, if not more. They will be grading your work, after all.

---------------------

Debbie McDonald
Back to School Age: 58
Degree: Medical Billing & Coding
Former Occupation: Small business owner

School Internship Led to Job
At 58, Debbie McDonald had reservations about going back to school, especially knowing she would be older than her classmates and likely even older than her instructors. But after owning several small businesses, including a children’s consignment store and an RV service and repair shop, the Western New York resident found herself unemployed and looking for a more stable position. She knew that the healthcare field was growing so decided to enroll in Bryant & Stratton College Online’s medical administration for billing and coding degree program.

One of Debbie’s first class assignments was to interview someone who worked in medical billing and coding. Her doctor’s office referred her to the company they used and Debbie made the call. That one call proved to be a game-changer for Debbie. Not only did she complete the class assignment, but when she was searching for an internship a few months later, Debbie reached back out to the same company and they created a position for her. Debbie’s efforts continued to pay off and she was eventually hired for a full-time position at the company.

Of going back to school, Debbie says: "You just have to keep going and put yourself out there to other people because you'll never know what comes back to you when you do. When you get older, you kind of lose some of your memory and mind, but [going back to school] really proved to me that you're never too old to learn."

---------------------

Nancy B. Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht.
Back to School Age: 44
Degree: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
Career Change: Stand-Up Comic to Psychotherapy/Clinical Hypnosis, Speaker/Author

From Stand-Up Comic to Sexual Abuse Recovery Expert
I returned to school at age 44 to earn my doctorate in clinical psychology. Theretofore, I was a stand-up comic. I was bored only working 30 minutes a day, and started volunteering at a shelter for sexually abused teens. It was an absolute epiphany for me. I fell in love with it; it waked up the healer in me and voila, now I'm an expert in sexual abuse recovery and prevention. I treat sex offenders as well as victims, for it is my belief that the best way to help victims is to help the perpetrators.

I went on to write the self-help, non-fiction Your-Turn: Changing Direction in Midlife (Amazon, 2008), which is a collection of over 40 stories of people over 40 who made positive transitions in their professional and/or personal lives.

It's never too late to create a life you love. You must be prepared to hear, "How old will you be when you finish?" a number of times. I learned to answer this one with a quip, "The same age I'll be if I don’t finish!"

---------------------

Yvonne Conte
Back to School Age: 45
Career Change: Sales Person to Motivational Keynote Speaker/Author
Monroe Community College, Rochester NY

Getting a Degree Changed My Life
Getting a degree changed my entire life. When I lost my sales job due to a corporate merger, I could not find work. Very quickly I could not pay my bills and lost my home to the bank. Financially, I was ruined. I was 45 years old with only a high school education. I felt defeated and lost.

I enrolled full time as a communications major not really knowing what I would do with that degree. In my classes, I learned to work a TV camera, write scripts and run a radio station. However, what I really learned was how to research, interact, write and network. And because I graduated with a 3.85 GPA, for the first time in my life, I had confidence. To me, that belief in myself was worth the price of tuition.

At local businesses, I began teaching classes about writing, stand-up comedy and acting. Eventually, I began to speak for local businesses and within one year after graduation, I was a full-time keynote speaker and a published author. Currently, I am a six-time published author and deliver 50 to 60 keynotes a year all over the U.S. None of that would have happened had I not attended college. The most important part of going back to school for me was gaining confidence and realizing that I had talents and abilities.

---------------------

Rhoda Weiss
Back to School Age: 50+
Degree: Ph.D. in Leadership and Change

I Would Do It All Over Again
Recently, I received my Ph.D. in Leadership and Change, some 30 years after receiving my master's degree. Many friends and colleagues questioned why I would do this. After all, I had a successful career and did not need my Ph.D. to advance. It was, however, something I always wanted to do for myself, a personal goal. It was certainly not easy. It took a good seven years to complete, all the while keeping up my work schedule (national speaking and consulting), my leadership commitments (national chair & CEO of the 32,000-member Public Relations Society of America) and many other commitments as well as a steep bill to pay (there goes the retirement saving) and humongous "homework" assignments.

What helped me was the fact that it was a high-residency program (it met throughout the year for determined periods of time), the fact that half my cohorts were over 50 and also that I listened to older graduates who had been through it. What really got me through the program were:

Amazing advisors and professors (all highly tenured and experienced that came to this very special program)
Terrific fellow students (three of us had a weekly conference call – one was the treasurer of a large multi-national, the other acting president of a university)
Excitement over the curriculum and projects and a dissertation that was fascinating (although not my original intent).
Most importantly, I learned a great deal more about leadership (even though I had led a number of organizations), organizational change, quantitative and qualitative research and so much more.

A few tips: to save some money, I was able to take some of the assigned books out of the library. Also, you need friends in and outside the program to support you emotionally. And, yes, I'd advise everyone to do it and would likely do it again.

---------------------

Kami Evans
Back to School Age: 41
Career Change: Headhunter to Holistic Health Coach

A More Fulfilling Path
As a successful headhunter with my own agency supporting the technology and financial services sectors, the writing was on the wall. I was a person who flew to nine countries in three weeks when I was only 29. I thought I was a rock star, so much so that I even had the audacity to fly the concord to England because I couldn't be bothered with first class. I thought money grew on trees and it was just going to be in abundance for the future. I made enormous investments at my local places of worship: Christian Dior and Luis Vuitton. Of course, I never got a return on my investments; post-baby I went up a size never to be seen again and my shoes also joined the increase. But I still have a collection of purses to be enjoyed.

So I did the usual marriage, mommy and the becoming a yoga teacher thing. I loved what I learned and shared knowledge but I wondered what else I could do. I came to the realization that I am 41 and have skills in yoga, social networking and a bit of branding. I thought why not. So I dabbled in fundraising and development but that was not a good fit and the money was not the same. Since I still have the entrepreneurial spirit, I thought I’d become a holistic health coach.

I felt that the program offered at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition ticked all the boxes. Learning is all online, support is via website and iPad (that you get when you pass the registration process) also it gives me the flexibility to work from home and hopefully help others and network with like-minded people. In September, I get to practice what I preach and by March I will be a graduate.

Needless to say, many of my peers are also mindful and living a greener life so I hope I can get those who don't to jump on the bandwagon. This is a far cry from the concord days but it sure feels more fulfilling.

---------------------

Andrew Yearde
Degree: B.A. in Economics from NYU

Returning to School Is Worth It
In fall of 2008, a small consulting company called CBAY Analytics I started with a partner ceased operation. We had trouble finding clients and unaware we were in the midst of one of the greatest economic downturns. I financed the business with all my savings, as many small business owners do and deferred taking salaries, so when the lights went out I was left without unemployment compensation.

Part of the trouble I was having in selling myself to other employers was that I did not have a college degree. In my career as a treasurer and guru at managing asset-backed commercial paper programs (ABCP), which is a segment of the structured finance sector, I managed individuals with MBAs and other advanced degrees. It took 15 years to process my green card and citizenship, so I put off college and worked hard. In summer 2008, I researched two universities, and the NYU-SCPS program admission individuals were the most receptive and offered a more comprehensive program for the adult student.

Initially, I had no money and no source of the tuition, so I managed to obtain a private student loan to cover the first semester. In the subsequent years, I was able to obtain financial aid, scholarships, and subsidized loans. Ultimately, the assistance I received may cover half of the total cost. I do not know the exact amount of the overall financial burden yet, but it may be somewhere around $60 -70,000.

The obstacle was a difficulty; however, it pales in comparison to the emotional drag life places on you. In January 2009, when I came home from class I discovered the lock on my apartment was changed. My wife decided she wanted a divorce. I still don't really know why, though unemployed I was aggressive and persistent in looking for work. I made hundreds of applications and at night I attend classes. In the days after that traumatic event, I slept in my car in the winter cold, used the school gym's facilities, and kept on attending classes.

A few months later, I was told by a judge in at a child support hearing that I have the capacity to earn over $168,000 per year based on my earnings in 2004 and 2005. I finally received employment in summer 2010, with Amazon.com at the lowest level as a warehouse worker. In the past two years, I received two promotions, but my day typically starts at 6 a.m. At 4 p.m., I drive a hundred miles to New York City, then sit in class for three hours and arrive home near 11:30. Anyone deciding to return to school and having to hold down a full-time job must buy stock in a coffee company because there will be nights you will not have much sleep trying to meet paper deadlines.

My employer does not reimburse tuition, but they approve time off if I need it, so as long as the work gets done. This may be oxymoronic, but adult students have to balance both demands. Another advice is to be weary of choosing online classes, the time demands and the stress of being permanently on the grid (Internet) is great. Another bit of advice, where I may get in trouble here is, do not rush out to buy the expensive textbooks. I have bought the previous versions for pennies on the dollar and they work fine. There were classes I did not even bother to buy the text books and used the online resources of the school library and the Internet.

The best advice I have is to avoid stressful relationships and ask for help. At times you may want someone to review a paper, to interview for an assignment, ask their opinions etc. In fact, if you have a significant other that will help with the children and housework helps significantly.

Is it worth it! You just become more efficient and that is not lost in the workplace. The sense of confidence, introspection, and pride from doing it is priceless. Going back to school is serious decision and adults should weigh the cost benefit, i.e. how much more will you earn for the remainder of your work life vs. the cost. How much do you value being able to in an exclusive club, where your chances of being employed is always greater that those without a degree?

Also, do not underestimate the value of family pride. Expect to lose key friends and family members during the journey, but the ones they are replaced with will be invaluable. This may seem corny, but to successful at the outset prospective adults must be focused, determined and resourceful in order to succeed. I will graduate from NYU with Honors in three weeks with a BA concentrating in Economics. I will also be the convocation speaker for my college.

---------------------

Chris Tobias
Back to School Age: 42
Director of Educational Excitement

An Unexpected Outcome
I returned to school at age 42 as a layoff loomed at my company. While the layoff, thankfully, passed me by, I went ahead and took the opportunity to get the education I had always wanted but never felt permission to get as a younger person. If age has taught me anything it has taught me that you never know what is coming next. So, why not study the topics that excite you? Perhaps your passions will lead you to something unexpected. Something better than you thought possible.

As a returning older student, I quickly discovered that I lacked the skills to handle a heavy load of school work along with full-time employment. Fortunately, my business background helped me to quickly research academic success tools and create a hands-on set of techniques for efficient, enjoyable school success.

When I first heard news of my company's planned layoff, I had no idea what was next for me. Today I am having a wonderful time helping other students, young and old, succeed in school. It was a wonderfully unexpected outcome.

---------------------

Elizabeth Venturini
Back to School Age: 50+
Career Change: Marketing to College Career Strategist

Do Something You’re Passionate About
My name is Elizabeth Venturini. I am a 50+-year-old, 2010 graduate of UCLA’s College Counseling Program. Today I make the college admissions process easier for high achieving, late blooming teenagers and all of the stressed out parents who love them. I focus on the end result of graduating with a college degree – a job.

Not knowing all of the terminology used in education was the biggest challenge I had to face. Coming from the corporate world was an advantage as I had a business perspective and used it throughout my coursework.

The UCLA College Counseling program provides students with the tools they need to help teens and adults with today’s demanding college admissions process. It gave me the opportunity to start a new career and do something I feel passionate about.

I suggest to any students in career transition who are interested in going back to college to complete a career interest assessment to find out their current likes, interests, values, and work style. This is important because what they valued in their careers when they were 20, 30 or 40 years old may have changed now that they are in their 50s or older.

---------------------

Greg Mantell
Degree: Master’s in Broadcast Journalism
Internet Talk Show Host

Just Go For It
I decided to return to grad school for my Master's in Broadcast Journalism at University of Missouri at Columbia. In many ways I see it as an extension of what we are already doing (an Internet talk show), the best way to take it to the next level. I was able to get in due to great networking and placement and connections. It didn't really hit me until a few people mentioned I would be older than many of the students who are in their 20s.

As an interviewer I am used to interacting with people of all ages—I interview many people younger and older than I am. I received a graduate research assistantship with the Investigative Reporters and Editors program and they seemed to like the fact that I had real world experience--mature, focused on what I'm doing. Personally [being older] hasn't phased me as much because I am aware that many people are going back to school at an older age now and I did already graduate from college years ago.

Unlike a 20 year-old who doesn't know what they want to do, I know what I want to do and I am very focused on doing it. Various people at the school have commented on the fact that they liked the that I have so much real world experience; so I am sure adding the master's program to it can only help take things to the next level.

My main challenge was moving from LA to Missouri! I enjoy living in LA ​but will do it for school. I plan to move back (or to another major city) after graduation. It is easier for me since I don't have kids.

Advice? if you know why you want to do the program, then go for it. No reason not to. It's a different world these days. I read that entering students at Harvard Medical School range from 20s to early 40s.

Please show us you are a true leader and a Visionary.

24. Three Terms for South African Schools

Three School Terms for South Africa.
I am a ballet teacher. I cannot get my work done with the 4 terms currently in place in the South African Education system.
I feel that in particular that the time between Easter in April and the public holidays on 27 April and 1 May is affecting the whole education system.
The school terms should start for the first school term as from about 15 January until the Thursday before Easter and commence again after the 1st of May. The
second term then from the 2nd of May to about the end of July and the 3rd and last term from the end of August to the end of November.
With all the public holidays currently in place in South Africa school going children are not getting the education they require particularly due to the public holidays in April interfering with the school terms as they are ( currently 4 terms ).
Children will benefit from a less interrupted schedule and have a sufficient time for the summer vacation of at least 6 weeks in December and half of January. Teaching is an extremely demanding occupation and both teachers and learners need to take a longer holiday in summer and focus on school work without interruption of so many public holidays piled up on top of each other.
The majority of private schools in South Africa have 3 trimesters and not 4 terms. The whole of South Africa should agree to a 3 term school term from learners from grade 0 to grade 12 irrespective of private or public schooling.

25. Fixing the College Achievement Gap

As college tuition has been on the rise, so has the number of people and entering and graduation colleges. However, this increase is significantly less in those whom are in poverty.

26. Get a Wheelchair-Accessible Van for CU Boulder

CU NightRide is a service that allows students at the University of Colorado to get free rides to, from, and around campus after sundown. It is vital for student safety, but unfortunately, it is not currently possible to use in conjunction with a wheelchair. The office of Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance is requesting a wheelchair-accessible van to be used for NightRide and extracurricular activities. One reason this van would be so important is that the Buff Buses are not always operating according to ADA code. As students, we see this van as a necessity for all our classmates to have safe transportation at night.

27. Advocate for Educational Change in Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada

Assignment requirements in undergraduate courses offered at Canadian post-secondary institutions are allowed to be vague. This ambiguity can allow for grades to entirely reflect the instructor’s subjective views rather than having them categorized and explained in a structured manner. Without a structured system the instructor: has unprecedented control over marks, is not required to communicate the reason for a grade to the student, and can give a grade with no adherence to the course or subject being studied. Because of this issue, post-secondary institutions have been offering courses that do not follow systematic instruction, and in doing so have failed to comply with how education is defined.

28. Stanley university of UK should reopen MBA course in Finance

• Manager of the Finance Department.
• Senior Financial Analyst.
• Chief Financial Officer.
• Real Estate Manager.
• Insurance Finance Manager
• Financial Director or Controller

29. Advocate for Educational Change at the University of Windsor

Assignment requirements in undergraduate courses offered at the University of Windsor are allowed to be vague. This ambiguity can allow for grades to entirely reflect the instructor’s subjective views rather than having them categorized and explained in a structured manner. Without a structured system the instructor: has unprecedented control over marks, is not required to communicate the reason for a grade to the student, and can give a grade with no adherence to the course or subject being studied. Because of this issue, the University of Windsor has been offering courses that do not follow systematic instruction, and in doing so it has failed to comply with how education is defined.

30. Accessible Green Roof at Bergeron Centre

This petition is to be given to the Dean of Lassonde at York University, Janusz A. Kozinski, for the purposes of making the existing green roof on the Bergeron Centre accessible to students. As of now, there are 2 existing green roofs on the Keele campus, both for stormwater management. With such wonderful benefits of a green space to students in education and health, there are many rewards we are missing out on. The presence of green spaces while studying increase attentiveness, memory retention and has been proven to help children with ADD. It also helps to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. Keele campus is heavily urban, therefore providing easy ways for students to commute to and from school, however, is proven to increase mental health disorders. With the green roofs we hope to bring to campus it will also incorporate ways in which they can positively affect the urban environment of campus by increasing comfort, convenience and green space which contribute to sustainable growth. Green roofs also allow for environmental benefits as well, including, providing a habitat for migrating species to meet in divided urban spaces, increasing biodiversity, and decreasing air pollution. The implementation of green spaces, in specific green roofs allow for more job opportunities in fields such as manufacturing, design, and maintenance. It also allows a new medium for research projects and studies. Furthermore, this place is a ground of community for the students as well as the surrounding North York area, combatting discrimination and oppression. This space will be a place of relaxation intended to increase productivity and mental health. There are many possibilities such as an event space and a community garden that can benefit both student, faculty and community members alike.