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Free Computer Training In Plainfield Public Library Made Possible By Federal Funding

Posted by on Thursday, 3 March, 2011

Computer Training


New Jersey – Free computer training is being made possible at Plainfield Public Library and Union County College this Spring all thanks to a federal stimulus grant of over $5 million dollars.   Part of the grant will be used to fund the computer training courses starting Saturday March 19th, and continue each Saturday until April 9th.

The curriculum consists of computer training on Microsoft Word, Outlook, Windows and Internet Explorer and will be limited to 12 students each class.   Each student is required to register.

The goal of the course is to provide job seekers a way to improve their work skills. It is also a part of the overall New Jersey State Library’s Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP).   The vision is to make the libraries in New Jersey “strategic job-creating facilities”.

According to Joe Da Rold, the library director of Plainfield Public Library,  “These classes will provide important feedback for our future planning… From the instructors and the clients, we will learn if the public wants a higher level of computer instruction that what we currently offer.”

Related resources:
Computer training courses – Includes MS Office: Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Access

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‘Texas on the Brink’ Report Released

Posted by on Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry

 – Yesterday Democrats in Texas released a report that shows the state is behind many other states in several categories in providing services to its residents. The report, titled “Texas on the Brink,” directly disagreed with Governor Rick Perry’s portrayal of the state as one of the most successful in the country. Statistics included in the pamphlet, also available on the Internet, show that Texas is well below other states in such categories as education, per capita income, quality of life, and health care.

In categories related to education, Texas is last or close to the bottom. It ranks 50th in the country for the percentage of people over 25 that have a high school diploma, at 76.9%. The Lone Star State has the highest percentage of people that are uninsured at 28%, and fourth highest percentage of its population living below the poverty level at 17.3%.

Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, said, “We’re not in the bottom in every category. We’re first in the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and first in carcinogens released in the air. If we don’t do something to reverse course, the health of Texans will be jeopardized by merely breathing our state’s air.”

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Cuts In Education Budget Will Cost Iowa Federal Funds

Posted by on Thursday, 3 February, 2011

Governor Terry E. Branstad

 – A proposal by the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, to reduce the education budget by almost $413,000 will have larger ramifications. Education officials said yesterday that the cuts will cause the state to lose approximately $25.8 million in federal grants. To receive federal money, in many instances states must match a portion of the spending, so when a state makes cuts, it’s federal funding is reduced as well.

These federal losses include $11.2 million that the state usually collects to aid districts with reduced-price and free school lunches for deserving students. Local residents will have to pay higher taxes to cover the difference. Other options include raising the cost of meal plans for students, or making cuts to programs and services.

The Director of the Education Department, Jason Glass, has met with Gov. Branstad to resolve this issue before the Legislature faces it. Branstad’s recommendations are actually almost $642,000 less than what the department has requested.

Jeff Berger, chief financial officer for the education department said “It’s a 1-to-63 ratio, so whenever you cut $1, you’re losing 63 federal dollars.”

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Nevada’s Governor Proposes Education Funding Cuts

Posted by on Tuesday, 25 January, 2011

Gov. Brian Sandoval

 – In his State of the State address yesterday, Gov. Brian Sandoval of
Nevada suggested many changes for the education system. The proposal
included fixes for the system and major cuts to funding. While he
agreed that this is not ideal, he argued that how the remaining money
is being spent is most important.

“I don’t think its how much you spend, it’s how you spend it,” the
Governor said.

In his plan, Sandoval will cut just under 10% of state funds for
higher education. Currently, the university graduation rate is under
50%. The rate is worse in community colleges. To counteract his cuts,
Sandoval wants to allow universities to raise tuition on their own.

University of Nevada Chancellor, Daniel Klaich said, “I’m very
concerned with the number, we obviously have to look at what he’s
proposing for cuts and analyze what impact that number is.”

Proposed changes for kindergarten through 12th grade include
eliminating mandates for full day kindergarten, early childhood
education, and gifted programs. Funding for these grades would be
reduced by 5.2%.

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First Medical Cannabis Conference In Orange County, CA

Posted by on Saturday, 22 January, 2011

Maturing female Cannabis plant

 – Village Cannabis hosted a conference in Laguna Woods, CA on Saturday that aimed to educate seniors about medical cannabis. Attendees were taught the difference of characterics in eating baked weed and raw weed, and also how to make marijuana smoothies.

Shari Horne, president of Village Cannabis, gave out information to many elderly people that were unfamiliar with marijuana’s medical uses. Doctors and lab researchers talked about the benefits of using cannabis. They also approached the subjects of quality control and self-regulation.

The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been legal in CA since 1996, however many cities have attempted to keep out medical marijuana dispensaries. Orange County has adopted a ban for unincorporated areas. Cities such as San Clemente and Huntington Beach have done the same. Officials believe that banning dispensaries will keep those areas safer.

Laguna Woods does allow dispensaries, but currently does not have one. Some groups run nonprofit collectives in the retirement community in town, however.

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Charges Filed After Student Brought Gun to School

Posted by on Thursday, 20 January, 2011

Gardena High School - Photo by Mike from Los Angeles, California

 – A 17 year old student at Gardena High School has had criminal charges levied against him today for bringing a gun to school and firing it. The name of the boy is not being released because he is a minor.

The student was arrested at Gardena High in Los Angeles on Tuesday after he allegedly brought a gun onto school grounds. He smuggled it in his backpack, and it accidentally went off. The single bullet wounded two 15 year old students.

Today, Los Angeles County prosecuters charged him, and are calling for him to be tried as an adult. According to district attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison, he could face as many as seven years in a state prison if convicted of bringing a gun to a school zone and also discharging it in a school zone. If he is tried as a juvenile, the maximum sentence he can receive is nine months in detention.

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Coach Challenges President, Put on Administrative Leave

Posted by on Thursday, 13 January, 2011

White Bear High School Logo

 – Jacob Volkmann is under investigation at White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota after he questioned President Obama’s intelligence, and then challenged him to a fight. Volkmann has worked at the high school for three years as an assistant wrestling coach, but is now on administrative leave.

Volkmann said, “They didn’t like how i was representing the school. They said I was representing them bad because of what I said about the president and his policies.”

According to the school district’s director of communications, Marisa Vette, the coach has been placed on paid leave, however she did not say if it was his comments about the President that started the investigation.

Volkmann made his comments on New Year’s Day after he had won a Mixed Martial Arts fight. He was asked by a reporter who he would like to fight next, and he replied, “Obama…he’s not too bright. Someone’s got to knock some sense into that idiot.” While the statement caused the U.S. Secret Service to visit, Volkmann says the comments were “tongue-in-cheek.” He also said that her was referring to Obama’s health care reform policies. Volkmann is also a chiropractor.

In a recent interview, Volkmann said, “The only regret I have is calling him an idiot. I don’t think he’s an idiot, but I do think he’s making a lot of mistakes.”

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Education Supers Fired In NJ

Posted by on Tuesday, 4 January, 2011

Chris Christie

 – Gov. Chris Christie has decided not to renew the contracts of seven education chiefs after their contracts expired on Monday. This represents one third of the superintendents in the state. According to a spokesman for Christie, Michael Drewniak, the seven county superintendents were hired by the previous administration and will be replaced by Christie appointees. Appointments are for a three year period.

Each of the positions holds a salary of $120,000. The responsibilities of the county superintendents are to confirm that state Education Department policies are adhered to at the local level. Superintendents dismissed were from Cape May, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, and Somerset counties. The Middlesex superintendent acting as super for Bergen county was also let go.

Gov. Christie also announced that he wants to change the requirements for superintendents. Presently, applicants must have a master’s degree, but Christie would like those with a bachelor’s degree and managerial experience to be eligible.

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New Legislation To Be Proposed In Virginia On School Textbooks

Posted by on Sunday, 2 January, 2011

 – Last year, a couple of books were approved by textbook review committees in Virginia for use in social studies teachings. But after state-appointed scholars last month found dozens of historical inaccuracies in the texts, Del. David Englin (D-Alexandria) will introduce a bill tomorrow that will overhaul the adoption process the state uses for textbooks. The new legislation will make book publishers responsible for the content, not panels consisting mostly of school teachers.

Publishers will have to become certified with the Virginia Board of Education before their books are authorized to be used in public schools. The certification process will require that publishers prove that their books are examined by subject-area specialists. These specialists’ expertise will have to be approved by the Board of Education. In addition, publishers will have to assume responsibility for correcting any mistakes that are discovered.

Currently, the Education Department approves textbooks one at a time. Approvals depend largely on whether the content is in correlation with the state’s Standards of Living. The result is that many small publishers are tailoring books to the state’s curriculum to get them in circulation, but not necessarily taking the care needed to confirm the contents.

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South Korea Students Are Taught By Robots

Posted by on Tuesday, 28 December, 2010

 – A pilot program is underway in Daegu, south east of Seoul, South Korea that uses robots to teach. There are 29 robots in this initial phase of the program, and they teach English to elementary students. The robots are each about 3.5 feet high, have a TV display panel for a face (which displays the face of a Caucasian woman), and wheel around the classroom.

They are controlled remotely by teachers in the Philippines, who can actually see and hear the students. Cameras detect the facial expressions of the actual human teachers and express them on the TV panel faces of the robots. The test ‘teachers’ were developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. The program is using Filipino teachers because they are well-educated and experienced, yet cost far less than comparable educators even in South Korea. The robots read books and use pre-programmed software to sing songs and play games that help students learn the alphabet.

“The kids seemed to love it since the robots look, well, cute and interesting. But some adults also expressed interest, saying they may feel less nervous talking to robots than a real person,” noted Kim Mi-Young of the Daegu city office of education. Kim added that robots may be sent to remote areas of South Korea that foreign English teachers will not travel to.

The pilot program is scheduled to last four months, and is sponsored by the government at a cost of 1.58 billion won ($1.37 million).

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