Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are Our Colleges and Universities Missing the Mark?

Colleges and Universities often "miss the mark," when it comes to preparing professionals for success. When students leave our college campuses, they often leave with a deficit in two areas: Experience and People Skills. A lack of experience is expected but an absence of people skills is often a big surprise to employers.

Of course, a lack of either is an obstacle to higher performance, but while cognitive ability often steers an inexperienced employee clear of mistakes, there is no quick fix for mistakes employees make when dealing with people. Discovering that employees with higher level of people skills are quicker to succeed, our colleges and universities are taking note. No longer is it only about thinking skills.

For example, some colleges are screening applicants for admission to professional studies that require higher levels of people skills by using a series of behavioral type interviews that surface a need for listening, communication and emotional skills among candidates. Many applicants are being rejected for professional degrees, simply because they do not have the people skills necessary to succeed. Still other colleges are offering people skills training and evaluation in the form of emotional intelligence testing and training, listening assessments and communication labs and workshops.

One university, for instance, received 2700 applications for Medical school, they reduced the number to be considered to 239 as a result of cognitive testing, but plan to make even more reductions based upon the results of behavioral interviews over a 6 month period. Class size is set at 42, so nearly 200 more will be eliminated based on their emotional skill level. It does seem to make sense that the process could be enhanced even farther by assessing candidates on their Emotional skills at the same time cognitive skills are evaluated. In all, the combination of the two processes: emotional assessment and behavioral interviewing of candidates, while not the perfect solution, may be far more successful at turning out professionals that are "High Touch" rather than "High Tech." That will be a good thing.

Stephen J. Blakesley, Managing Patner, GMS Talent L P ( http://www.gmstalent.com ) is an Entrepreneur, Author, Radio Show Host, and Speaker. His two, most recent books, "The Target-The Secret to Superior Performance; ( http://www.targetthebook.com ) and Strategic Hiring - Tomorrow's Benefits Today are top resources for business owners, mangers and C-Level executives around the world.

Personalized Graduation Gift Ideas for the High School Graduate

Graduation gift ideas for the high school graduate are sometimes hard to come by. After all, we are talking teenagers! Who can ever please a teen, right?

But I have found one avenue that opens up all sorts of ideas, and most of the time, it's a sure thing teens are going to love their gift. Try giving them a personalized graduation gift. There are tons of categories that can be investigated here, and because you went to the extra trouble to personalized it, the graduate will especially appreciate and cherish your gift.

Now, when choosing a gift, don't worry so much about what the graduate will be doing after high school. True, a monogrammed laundry bag or luggage might be more appropriate for those going away from home, and you can take that into account. But remember that the essence of the gift is to recognize their achievement in graduating. What they are doing afterward is really not what you are celebrating. It's a celebration of what they have accomplished thus far!

Practical gifts are great, and I will mention some. But you might want to go more in the keepsake direction for that personalized graduation gift. These are especially appropriate for commemorating the occasion, and create the feeling that you really care about the graduates accomplishments.

I'm really not putting down gifts that have a common sense value. Many, many people would prefer this kind of gift. So just take into consideration the personality and plans of the graduate before choosing. Practical gifts would be those laundry bags, duffle bags, luggage tags, cosmetic kits, book ends, stationary and journals, and laptop or ipad covers and cases. All of these can be found personalized, and make terrific gifts!

Keepsake gifts are the personalized gifts that recognize or commemorate the actual graduation in some way. Many gifts are engraved with the graduates name or initials, and the date of the graduation. Some of these personalized gifts would be a pen and pencil set, or an engraved locket, bracelet charm, or key chain. Photographs in personalized frames, or some sort of wall art with the graduation details, would also be really appropriate.

And, based on the recipient's personality, a really casual personalized gift might be perfect. Some kids just want a t-shirt with their name and graduation year, or a personalized pillow case or maybe just a coffee mug or water bottle that has been made personal in some way.

For more specific details on appropriate personalized graduation gifts, and for lots more ideas, check out Personalized Graduation Gifts [http://www.personalized-gift-ideas-for-kids.com/personalized-graduation-gifts.html] at [http://www.personalized-gift-ideas-for-kids.com]. You don't want to miss all the unique and creative ideas available!

Homeschooling Preschool Activities Ideas

Even if you don't intend to start homeschooling your child until the age 4 or 5, you could still consider some educational preschool activities. Scientific tests have shown that the first 3-4 years of life are extremely important in a child's future development as this is the period when the most brain cell connections are formed. A child that is neglected during this stage may end up by having speech troubles or attention deficit disorders. 

Homeschooling preschool activities have the aim of stimulating the child's brain, thus preparing it for acquiring new skills. No activity is silly at this age, so you can develop a huge list of crazy game and activity ideas. One such silly idea is, filling the bath tub and tossing ducks into it which will help the toddler understand and improve eye-hand coordination.

Art and crafts activities are welcome, as they will stimulate the child's creativity and sense of beauty. You can combine unusual materials such as pasta, rice, beads, buttons or paper clips, and have the child create 3D craft paintings which you can then organize into an exhibition on a wall in your home. Make sure that all materials used are non-toxic, including the glue, the watercolors and the paints. During this kind of activity it is strongly advised to closely watch the child, because of choking hazards. Small children will always attempt to put small objects into their mouths, so if you can't supervise them well, forget about this kind of activity.  This is definitely a 'hands on' activity.

Counting games can be very enjoyable for small children. Buy your kid a bed cover with some birds or animals designs in a repetitive pattern and have him count them repeatedly. Celebrate progress when it occurs. If today he can count up to six and tomorrow he remembers up to seven, that's a good reason for outlining his performance by showering praise on him. This will boost his self-confidence and make the learning experience more enjoyable.

The Zoo can be a great place for lots of entertaining homeschooling educational games such as naming the animals, comparing them so see which one is taller, or fatter, or uglier. You can ask the kids to indicate to you only the birds, then, at a second tour, you could ask them to show you the monkeys or you could have him try to count the stripes on a zebra, or anything else that may pop into your mind on the spot. This could be an excellent opportunity to teach them about different habitats of various species, thus emphasizing the idea of unity in diversity on the planet. This is an example of how to use physical things to demonstrate abstract concepts.

As you can see, almost anything has educative potential as long as the child enjoys it.

My Homeschool Software is a site dedicated to providing information about homeschooling your children. There are many homeschool software options and we want to help you by providing the best practices when it comes to choosing your own homeschooling products.

Research Papers - The True Definition

"Research Paper"- the very name conjures up images of hoards of books and journals piled on top of each other as one undertakes the unenviable task of scanning ideas and arguments from numerous different sources.

Regardless of the picture that this term creates in one's mind, it's almost certain that one is on the look out for sources of information-books, articles, paintings, and criticisms while composing a research paper. However, what distinguishes a research paper from an ordinary review of a subject or a summation of the various ideas related to a topic is its analytical and argumentative approach.

No matter which field one's paper focuses on, it ultimately highlights his or her own views on a particular subject that are supported by factual proofs derived from existing ideas and arguments.

Let us deal with a few specific examples; a lawyer writing a research paper on a specific case will read up case histories of similar nature to support his or her ideas; while a scientist may rummage through numerous case studies to establish his idea about a scientific principle. Thus, ideally we can define a research paper as an extended essay that represents or reflects the writers' own evaluation or interpretation of a specific facet of a subject.

However, while writing an ordinary essay a person tries to bring forward his own ideas and opinions about the topic in question; whereas in a research paper one attempts to develop ones' own knowledge about the topic in question and deliberately attempt to find out what other competent people know and feel about the subject.

Thus we can comment that a research paper involves the survey of a specific sphere of knowledge with an aim of producing the best possible and most competent argument regarding that topic. With the right approach, a research paper can be the most ordered and well-directed guide of the topic under consideration.

More Answers at: Writing Research Papers and How to write a research paper in MLA style

Joe, a reporter, has been travelling around the world for more than a decade now and has extensive experience in many fields. Now he has a blog along with other article writers. To know more about him, do visit: Random Rants [http://123archiver.com/rand/]

Teaching English in Mexico - Your Four Options

As a foreign English teacher in Mexico, you really only have four different teaching options open to you. However, first you will need to ask yourself some serious questions about your abilities to speak Spanish, and answer them with the up-most honesty. Do you speak Spanish? What level is your Spanish? Could you explain an English class in Spanish? etc.


1. If you do not speak Spanish, your only option is to work in one of the many Franchised English Schools, such as Harmon Hall, Quick Learning, Individual English, or Interlingua. They teach 100% in English, and offer their students no explication in Spanish. Working conditions are excellent, and teachers are usually either American or Canadian. Students get given an Internationally recognized English certificate at the end of their course. Pay is usually very low, although these schools do tend to pay at the end of each day.

2. If you speak Spanish, then your options begin to widen a little. You may find work in one of the many Private Schools, where students pay for their studies. The level of education is high, as good teachers are attracted to the schools by the offer of better pay. Contracts are usually for one year, after which may be renewed for a further period of time. You may be offered a house to live in as part of your contract, or your rent paid for which could be worth up to several thousand pesos a month. Also the benefit of medical insurance is usually included.

3. Government Schools and Universities are another option. Although these schools and universities are usually reserved for the lower grade Mexican English teachers. An excellent level of Spanish is required, as most of the teachers explain the English to their students in Spanish. However, the teachers level of English is usually very low, and it is normal for students when they finish school, still not to speak any English at all. It is usually very difficult to find work here if you are not Mexican, although not impossible.

4. Working from Home is your last option. Your Spanish level will need to be about 85% good, as you will be expected to explain your English classes in Spanish. You get paid either by the hour at the end of each class, or in advance having charged for a block of classes beforehand. Mexicans are not very punctual, so be prepared for your students to either turn-up late for classes, or not to turn-up at all. It is common for students to cancel five minutes before classes are due to begin.

Note: To teach English in Mexico you have to be residing in the country legally. If you are in Mexico on a tourist visa, then you are not permitted to work. However, this is usually seldom respected by foreigners!

Philip Albert Edmonds-Hunt is from the County of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has travelled most of Europe, and he has lived in Spain on more than one occasion. Philip has also travelled much of the USA and now lives and works as a Freelance Writer and English Teacher in Mexico. He is the owner of "The Oxford Quill," a small but reliable business offering a range of services such as, "Professional Article Writing, Proofreading, and Website Design." If you would like to read more about teaching English in Mexico, check out: https://sites.google.com/site/theoxfordquill/teaching-english-from-home-in-mexico

Monday, July 30, 2012

Polls Shows No Clear Consensus on Affordable Care Act

A majority of Americans believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will improve circumstances for individuals who do not currently have health insurance and for people who get sick, according to a Gallup poll released on July 16, 2012. However, most people also believe that the law will have detrimental effects on taxpayers, businesses, doctors, and people who currently have health insurance. As for themselves, only 38 percent of respondents believed that their personal circumstances would be better as a result of the law.  Forty two percent of those surveyed predicted that, under the ACA, their personal situation would be worse.

As you might expect, there was huge difference in the way Democratics and Republicans perceive the law's potential effect. Most Democrats believe that the law will make things better for themselves, people who are currently uninsured, people who are currently insured, people who get sick, hospitals, doctors, businesses and taxpayers. About half of Republicans agree that the law would benefit people who are currently uninsured, but a majority believe that things will be worse rather than better for all of the other groups. 

An NPR poll, released a few days later, also refected those mixed feelings. While a majority of Americans disapprove of the ACA, (48 percent to 43 percent), a small majority (51 percent) prefer to amend the law rather than repealing it outright. That position was also favored by voters in key battleground states, where 53 percent agreed that amending the law was preferable to repealing it.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Interest in Private Insurance Exchanges, “Defined Contribution” Plans Likely To Increase Due To Health Reform

Federal health care reform legislation and the desire of employers to limit their health insurance costs are likely to fuel interest in "defined contribution" (DC) health benefits and private health insurance exchanges, according to a recent report published in the July EBRI Issue Brief from the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The combination of insurance market reforms, especially the health exchange structure in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as rising health costs, have brought a renewed focus on limiting employer's health care cost exposure, the EBRI report noted.

A private health insurance exchange is the vehicle that some employers are interested in using to provide coverage, according to Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Education Program and author of the report. Through these exchanges, together with a DC funding approach, employers can accelerate the drive toward an insurance market that is more mass-consumer-driven and gain more control over their health care contribution costs, capping their contributions, and shifting to workers the authority to control the terms (and to some extent, the costs) of their own health insurance.

"Ultimately, whether and how the movement to private health insurance exchanges and DC health plans will occur is still subject to various influences and remains highly uncertain," Fronstin said. "But the enactment of ACA and employers' interest in reducing the risk of their health benefit costs indicate this is a field that is likely to grow."

EBRI noted that employers have long been interested in the concept of DC health benefits, but never moved in that direction for a number of reasons, both because they were hesitant to drop group coverage in favor of individual policies, and because they were concerned that many employees would not be able to secure coverage in the individual market.

Recently, however, the combination of insurance market reforms and the embodiment of the exchange structure in ACA has brought a renewed focus on an approach that limits employers' health care cost exposure by providing fixed-dollar contributions that workers could use to purchase individual policies.

According to EBRI, there are a number of potential advantages to both employers and workers in this structure. Employers could benefit from a higher degree of cost certainty, certainly if they were able to fix their costs at the level of their contributions. Workers could benefit from competition among insurance carriers, greater choice of health plans, and portability.

Employer issues that need to be addressed in adopting a private exchange/fixed contribution approach include plan design, implications of adverse selection, setting the level of fixed contribution, the amount of plan choice, and geographic cost variation.

Issues not addressed by an exchange/fixed contribution approach include worker preference of, and satisfaction with, employment-based coverage, group purchasing efficiencies, the role of employer as advocate in coverage disputes, delivery innovation and health care quality, and health literacy issues.

The EBRI report examined issues related to private health insurance exchanges, possible structures of an exchange, the funding of this approach, as well as the pros, cons, and uncertainties to employers of adopting them. It also reviewed recent surveys on employer attitudes and some changes that employers have made to other benefits that might serve as historical precedents for a move to some type of defined contribution health benefits approach.

For more information on the report, Private Health Insurance Exchanges and Defined Contribution Health Plans: Is It Déjà Vu All Over Again?, visit http://www.ebri.org.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CBSE Schools Make Learning More Enjoyable

Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. It is also known as Cyberabad due to the numerous IT companies mushroomed in the city. Due to these companies, people from almost all the states have migrated to Hyderabad in lieu of jobs. This has made Hyderabad a multicultural city, which makes the city a mini India. Due to the high flow of migration of people from other states of India to Hyderabad, the need of educational institutes has aroused. This led to the increase in the establishment of educational institutes in Hyderabad. Most of the educational institutes are of International standard. CBSE schools in Hyderabad are established in every nook and corner of the city.

These schools impart quality education by maintaining all the norms of the CBSE board. The curriculum of CBSE is somewhat easier for the students. It is on par with the entrance examinations for higher education. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad offer a perfect and effortless learning for the students to make the learning process more enjoyable. They offer good facilities to the students to make the learning process more comfortable and focused. The modern technology is very much used in the classrooms to make the students to learn the lessons in a proper way through participation in creative ways.

They offer the best coaching on a priority of individual attention as required by the student. In addition to those mentioned above, CBSE schools in Hyderabad are focused on bringing the creativity of the students and encourage them to take part in extra curricular activities like music, dance, sports etc. They also encourage students to inculcate healthy habits and boost them to participate in yoga classes. Yoga and meditation is good for health and increases concentration. So, these schools encourage their students to do yoga and meditation so as to increase their concentration and to keep the students physically and mentally healthy. They believe that only a healthy body can have an active and intelligent mind. This in turn helps the student to perform well in his / her studies. The schools offer a student friendly atmosphere which enables the student to have self-confidence in his / her abilities.

The faculty is highly qualified and has the ability to identify each student's potential and take necessary action to impart training as per their capability. They also guide and make them compatible for higher studies with all the knowledge required to face the examinations. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad are highly popular among the migrants to the city in lieu of jobs in the Information Technology industry. It is said the migrants were able to impart quality education to their children only because of the availability of the CBSE schools in Hyderabad. These schools guide the students towards a bright future with quality education and state-of-the-art facilities to its students. So, if you are planning to join your children in school, make sure that the school strives for the overall growth of your children, but not just for the ranks.

CBSE Schools in Hyderabad International schools are the schools that aim at promoting education that is of international standards. There are many ways of promoting and establishing an international standard of education. Click here for the best Best Schools in Hyderabad

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CBO Concludes Supreme Court Decision Lowers Projected ACA Cost, Number Of Covered Individuals

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce the federal government’s projected net cost of the law’s insurance coverage provisions by $84 billion over the 2012–2022 period, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have concluded.

In March 2012, before the Supreme Court decision was issued, the CBO and JCT had projected a net cost of $1,252 billion for that 11-year period. The two agencies explained that those figures do not include the budgetary effect of other provisions of the ACA, which in the aggregate reduce budget deficits.
These projected net savings to the federal government arise because the reductions in spending from lower Medicaid enrollment [in states that do not expand Medicaid eligibility, as provided in the ACA] are expected to more than offset the increase in costs from greater participation in the health insurance exchanges.

The Supreme Court’s decision in effect allows states to choose whether or not to expand eligibility for coverage under their Medicaid program pursuant to the ACA. Under that law as enacted but prior to the Court’s ruling, the Medicaid expansion appeared to be mandatory for states that wanted to continue receiving federal matching funds for any part of their Medicaid program. Hence, CBO and JCT’s previous estimates reflected the expectation that every state would expand eligibility for coverage under its Medicaid program as specified in the ACA. As a result of the Court’s decision, CBO and JCT now anticipate that some states will not expand their programs at all or will not expand coverage to the full extent authorized by the ACA. CBO and JCT also expect that some states will eventually undertake expansions but will not do so by 2014 as specified in the ACA.

The CBO and JCT now estimate that fewer people will be covered by the Medicaid program, more people will obtain health insurance through the newly established exchanges, and more people will be uninsured, 30 million nonelderly residents, by the end of the coming decade. Before the Supreme Court’s decision, the latter number had been 27 million, the CBO noted. In 2022, for example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are expected to cover about 6 million fewer people than previously estimated, about 3 million more people will be enrolled in exchanges, and about 3 million more people will be uninsured.

For the average person who does not enroll in Medicaid as a result of the Court’s decision and becomes uninsured, federal spending will decline by roughly an estimated $6,000 in 2022. For the average person who does not enroll in Medicaid as a result of the Court’s decision and enrolls in an exchange instead, estimated federal spending will rise by roughly $3,000 in 2022—the difference between estimated additional exchange subsidies of about $9,000 and estimated Medicaid savings of roughly $6,000.

Because the average savings for each person who becomes uninsured are greater than the average additional costs for each person who receives exchange subsidies, the projected decrease in total federal spending on Medicaid is larger than the anticipated increase in total exchange subsidies, the CBO explained.

The report, Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision, is available at http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43472.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Final Rule On Essential Health Benefits Issued

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a final rule that would establish data collection standards necessary to implement aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which directs HHS to define essential health benefits (EHB). The final rule outlines the data on applicable plans to be collected from certain issuers to support the definition of EHB. Also, the final rule establishes a process to recognize accrediting entities to certify qualified health plans (QHP). The rule was published in the July 20 Federal Register.

The ACA directs that EHB reflect the scope of benefits covered by a typical employer plan and cover at least the following ten general categories of items and services: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

The HHS issued a proposed rule on this issue in June. The final rule incorporates most of the provisions of the proposed rule, with a few substantive changes. For example, the final rule changes the definition of "treatment limitations" to include only quantitative limits and removes the requirement for insurers to provide data on nonquantitative limits.

This final rule includes data reporting standards for health plans that represent potential state-specific benchmark plans. Specifically, the final rule establishes that issuers of the largest three small group market products in each state report information on covered benefits. The final rule requires that the three largest insurers (determined by enrollment as of March 31, 2012) in each state provide the HHS with a report, by Sept. 14, 2012, with the following information:

  1. Administrative data necessary to identify the health plan;
  2. Data and descriptive information for each plan on the following items:
    1. All health benefits in the plan;
    2. Treatment limitations;
    3. Drug coverage; and
    4. Enrollment;

In addition, the final rule establishes the first phase of a two-phased approach for recognizing QHP-accrediting entities. These accrediting agencies will implement the ACA's QHP-accrediting standards on the basis of local performance. Each accrediting entity must be recognized by the HHS on a timeline established by the Exchange and includes some data sharing and performance requirements for the entities. In phase one, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC are recognized as accrediting entities on an interim basis. In phase two, future rules will adopt a criteria-based review process, the HHS noted.

For more information, contact Adam Block at (410) 786-1698, for matters related to essential health benefits data collection; or Deborah Greene at (301) 492-4293, for matters related to accreditation of qualified health plans.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Learn the ABCs of SBCs before open enrollment

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), don't forget that the requirement for the provision of Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) pops up soon, starting with enrollment periods beginning on or after September 23, 2012. According to final regulations issued in February 2012 by the IRS, DOL, and HHS (77 FR 8668), group health plans and health insurance issuers in the group and individual markets must provide participants and beneficiaries with SBCs and a uniform glossary. There's a $1,000 penalty for the failure to comply. Sixty days' advance notice of any changes to the SBCs must also be provided.

Speakers from the law firm of Trucker Huss who presented a webinar on July 11 (Health Care Reform After The Decision - What Should Employers Be Doing NOW?) have pointed out that SBCs must be provided at enrollment for each and every benefit package offered for which participants or beneficiaries are eligible. Therefore, they said, unless all of a company’s employees are eligible for all plans, employers should not be tempted to put the information for all plans on just one SBC for the sake of convenience.

“Under the SBC regulations, as an employee, I am entitled to an SBC for my enrolled plan but I must also be able to view the SBC for any plan I am eligible for. In corporations with multiple plans and many employees, it is an enormous logistical and communications challenge,” said Kim Buckey, principal, Compliance Communications Practice, HighRoads.

Tasks for employers. In the next few weeks HighRoads recommends employers focus on these four key tasks when it comes to SBCs:

1. Evaluate your plan design – evaluate what plans you currently have and where you can consolidate SBCs.

2. Decide who will produce your SBCs – time is of the essence. Figure out who will handle your SBCs and who will provide the data needed to complete them.

3. Create your communication plan – The SCOTUS decision was a landmark case. Employees will have many questions, and clear, informed communication to employees is essential. Be sure to provide some context — explain what the employee should do with the SBC and why it’s important now (and why it will be in the future).

4. Maximize your distribution methods – SBCs follow ERISA electronic distribution regulations – you will need to distribute and track these documents. And, if employees do not regularly have access to a computer as part of their jobs, you must obtain their consent to receive the materials electronically. Using an automated delivery and tracking method is the optimal way to meet compliance regulations and most importantly, ensure your employees are receiving the needed information.

You may have to issue SBCs for your health FSAs. According to the February 2012 final regulations, SBCs do not have to be issued for health plans that constitute excepted benefits. Therefore, you don't have to distribute them for stand-alone dental or vision plans. You also don't have to distribute them for health FSAs that constitute excepted benefits (see IRS Reg. Sec. 54.9831-1(c)(3)(v) for instructions regarding how to calculate this). If your health FSA isn't excepted, though, you have to issue an SBC for that, too.

The same final regulations state that the plan administrator is held responsible for providing the SBCs. However, they also state that, "if either the plan or issuer provides the SBC, both will have satisfied their obligations." Also, they state that the IRS, DOL, and HHS expect plans and issuers to contract together for the responsibility for providing SBCs. The Trucker Huss speakers also recommended that employers take ownership of the ACA’s SBC rules. Do not assume, they said, that your insurance carrier will send out SBCs, although employers are certainly free to contract with carriers to do so.

SPD cannot stand in for elements of SBC. An SBC is not permitted to substitute a reference to the SPD or other document for any content element of the SBC. However, an SBC may include a reference to the SPD in the SBC footer. (For example, "Questions: Call 1-800-[insert] or visit us at www.[insert].com for more information, including a copy of your plan's summary plan description.")

The ACA imposes a 4-page length limit on the new summary of benefits and coverage. Also, the new document is to be presented in a “uniform format” that does not include print smaller than 12-point fonts (Act Sec. 1001(5) of the ACA, adding PHSA Sec. 2715(b)(1)). (See also our June 18, 2012 blog, entitled "SBC coverage example calculator released under ACA").

A Summary of Benefits and Coverage Template and Uniform Glossary are available on the website of The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, at http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/other/index.html.

The SBC must be provided on paper, and free of charge, and must include the following 12 elements:

uniform definitions of standard insurance terms and medical terms so that consumers may compare health coverage and understand the terms of (or exceptions to) their coverage, in accordance with guidance as specified by the Secretary;

a description of the coverage, including cost sharing, for each category of benefits identified by the Secretary in guidance;

the exceptions, reductions, and limitations of the coverage;

the cost-sharing provisions of the coverage, including deductible, coinsurance, and copayment obligations;

the renewability and continuation of coverage provisions;

coverage examples;

with respect to coverage beginning on or after January 1, 2014, a statement about whether the plan or coverage provides minimum essential coverage as defined under Code Sec. 5000A(f) and whether the plan’s or coverage’s share of the total allowed costs of benefits provided under the plan or coverage meets applicable requirements;

a statement that the SBC is only a summary and that the plan document, policy, certificate, or contract of insurance should be consulted to determine the governing contractual provisions of the coverage;

contact information for questions and obtaining a copy of the plan document or the insurance policy, certificate, or contract of insurance (such as a telephone number for customer service and an Internet address for obtaining a copy of the plan document or the insurance policy, certificate, or contract of insurance);

for plans and issuers that maintain one or more networks of providers, an Internet address (or similar contact information) for obtaining a list of network providers;

for plans and issuers that use a formulary in providing prescription drug coverage, an Internet address (or similar contact information) for obtaining information on prescription drug coverage;

an Internet address for obtaining the uniform glossary, as well as a contact phone number to obtain a paper copy of the uniform glossary, and a disclosure that paper copies are available.

For a comprehensive analysis of the ACA, along with additional information on health reform and other developments in employee benefits, just click here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creative Fundraising Ideas for Schools

In today's tough economic times with schools enduring budget cuts, it's more important than ever to have fundraisers. Families are also suffering from the economy so coming up with unique school fundraising ideas, that will earn money without causing too much strain on anyone, poses a challenge.

Some of the more popular fundraising methods are becoming a thing of the past. It's no longer safe for children to go door to door selling things. Although schools still use the sale of products as fundraisers, parents seem to be doing most of the work by contacting family, friends and co-workers to buy the items. Car washes are another fundraising event that may not be safe for children, especially young ones. In today's world we need to get creative and come up with new ideas.

Here are a few ideas that are fun, and involve students, their families and even school staff:

School Jumble Sale

This type of yard sale can be held on the school playground and is sure to draw attention from the community. Students, parents and staff can drop off items to be sold prior to the day of the event. Volunteers sign up to work the day of the sale, and 100% of the proceeds go to the school. Schools might want to consider combining this with a bake sale, or even set up games that can be played by purchasing tickets. This becomes a fun day for the community as a whole! Flyers, road signs and other advertising should e done ahead of time. In addition to people bringing items from home to sell, the school may want to inventory their supplies and see if there are any that can be added to the sale.

Many local businesses are happy to help schools with fundraisers. Why not, it helps them too by bringing in business! The school contacts local businesses to set up a date where a percentage of their sales go to the school fund. Restaurants, ice cream parlours, miniature golf centres, retail stores, the possibilities are unlimited. Advertising can be done on both ends. Schools send home notices with students, and businesses advertise to their customers. This is another great way to include the entire family and school staff in the fundraising event.

Student Art Show and Sale

Children are amazingly creative and most enjoy showing off their talents. How about spending class, and homework, time having students create all kinds of art projects that will be used to raise money for their school. The school then holds an art show, showcasing the students work and selling it to the public. This type of fundraiser may need to be combined with another event, such as the above mentioned jumble sale.

These are just a few ideas showing that unique school fundraising ideas can be fun. They can also involve the students, and their family, more than some of the traditional fundraising methods do.

For more information on general fundraising including unique school fundraising ideas and sponsorship ideas, visit Easy Fundraising who can offer help in the field.

Different Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas

There are plenty of different chemistry science fair project ideas to choose from that will both be interesting to the student and allow them to understand the principles of this science. Obviously, the level of understanding will play a role in how advanced the project should be, otherwise the student will either be too bored or confused. If the student is in middle school, from seventh grade to the 9th grade, then they may enjoy an experiment involving metal. Considering all the different properties and types that there are in nature, testing which type of metal protects against radiation the best is a good idea to present at a fair.

Another idea with metal is to consider testing which lubricants are the most effective at reducing friction on the different surfaces. The results of this kind of experiment would be very interesting to see at a chemistry science fair. Of course, if the students are in high school, then they might consider doing something a little more advanced, such as testing how hydrochloric acid reacts with the different types of metals. Other ideas that aren't related to metals include biomass and fuels. A great experiment would be to test which types of oils are the most effective at powering lawn equipment.

Students might be interested in experiments that deal with physics and research. One great example is the project of building a biomass generator. This would make a fantastic group project that would attract plenty of attention at any chemistry science fair and is possible for students in middle school or high school to complete. Experimenting with salt is always interesting as well, and a great idea is to see just how much salt is required to make different objects float. It can also be compared to sugar by testing which substance dissolves more quickly in certain liquids.

The key to a good chemistry science fair project is one that will be both interesting to the person doing the experiment and the ones that will view it on display. Different students will have varying tastes in regards to what is entertaining and what isn't, but fortunately there are more than enough ideas to choose from.

Special Education

Special education refers to unconventional education services designed to cater to the needs of individuals suffering from physical and mental drawbacks such as physical handicaps, sensory (visual and hearing) impairments, intellectual capacity (mental retardation and autism), learning disabilities (reading and writing skills), speech impairment and those with behavior disorders. It seeks to address problems of the individual, as well as provide effective solutions through a set of formulated instructions, service aids and supports, learning techniques and transitions services.

The goal of special education is to address the needs of these special individuals (children, youth and adults) and ensure that they gain equal access to quality education regardless of their condition. In effect, it encourages them to keep up with the challenges of normal education and help improve their chances for success in life.

Specialized method of education

The primary focus of this special type of education is to provide support and learning techniques to the individual. Children are properly educated in the most learning-conducive environment to help them discover their in-depth skills and abilities hidden behind the disabilities they might have.

But not everyone can employ this educational service. As such, before the person can avail of it, different levels of evaluations must take place. The processes can vary, though the primary stages include referral, parental consent, child evaluation and review and recommendation of appropriate institutionalized methods.

An afterthought...

In today's society there are more than 6 million children and youth estimated to be suffering from disabilities, and the demand for special education has grown by leaps and bounds. By properly dealing with the issues and problems concerned and finding solutions, special education can give them the chance to stand up and be on equal footing with their peers, drawing out their true potentials as key movers and prime contributors to society regardless of their physical and mental difficulties.

Special Education provides detailed information on Special Education, Special Education Degrees, Online Special Education Courses, Journal Of Special Education and more. Special Education is affiliated with Teacher Education Philosophies.

Student Loan Myths Debunked

The amount of incorrect information about student loans is incredible. Part of the problem is that the media goes for a headline that will get viewers and it rarely is the whole story. You see it everywhere, some sensationalized headline screaming at you, but when you read the actual article you see that there's little to support the headline. The news media has become all about ratings (read money).

The new student loan changes that were included in the Healthcare Reform Bill is a good example. The reason it was included was to help offset the cost of healthcare. How? By taking the loan guarantees away from lenders (thereby not having to pay all the unpaid student loans) and directly collecting the interest from student loans. They essentially took out the middleman who was guaranteed to not lose money and got all the profits from the interest on these loans.

And due to the interest rates being so low to banks and other lenders (like 1%) and now getting a guaranteed interest of at least 4.5%, that's a lot of money changing hands. The private lenders get even more since their rates are sometimes double the government rates. Student loans are big business and even with a high default rate, it's still a strong area of activity regardless of the economy.

OK, let's get to the biggest myths about student loans now that the government has changed many of the basic rules. I'm not sure how these myths ever got started since the language is very simple and easy to understand in the new bill. And rumors and conjecture never tell the whole story.

Student Loans Will Now Be More Expensive

The biggest changes involved extending and reducing the amount of payments after graduation. The bill reduced the payments from 15% of discretionary income to 10% and loans can be forgiven now at 20 years rather than the 25 years as it was before this bill. So these changes actually made it easier and more affordable during the pay back period.

Available Financial Aid Will Be Reduced

Financial Aid covers many areas from grants, private subsidized scholarships, college or university grants and discounts, and student loans. Due to the less than stellar economy there has been a drop in private grants and related programs but that had nothing to do with any government student loan changes. Student loans have always been the predominate method of student financial aid and are still available just as they were before any changes occurred. You won't know what you might qualify for until you go to your college Financial Aid Office and let them review your specific circumstances.

I Can't Qualify For Financial Aid Due To My Parents Income

Some Financial Aid is based on need and financial status of parents. But most colleges review the whole picture and not just the income levels. Even if the parents make a good income they may have 3 kids in college or even high medical expenses or other factors that limit their ability to pay for college. And many scholarships are based on achievements, not financial status. Private grants and subsidized programs are based on other criteria than financial needs (a good example is if you or your parents work for a company that offers financial aid for college). It's highly recommended that anyone who is attending college go to their Financial Aid Office and let them determine what you qualify for since they are the most credible source.

The bottom line on Financial Aid is that each college may have different programs and resources. And the best way to find out the facts is to go find out at your college's Financial Aid Office. The colleges are the best source for any type of financial aid and will work with you to find any that you qualify for from all possible resources.

Classroom Teaching - Horizontal Management

Bureaucracy, hierarchical bullying, leaders and lowly followers, and any other form of governing at the expense and exploitation of the governed... these are hurtful and criminal systems for the benefit of the few and the misery of the many. There are better ways of living and working together. I have proposed and exercised a much simpler, balanced, harmonious, and successful guideline for a good teacher and willing students to truly work and learn together.

Leadership and responsibility are shared equally, as long as all members of a group first understand how it works and second, are eager to enjoy its productivity and share joy of learning and working together.

Much of the old "system" must necessarily be dispensed with: the pressures of fear, punishment, totalitarian authority, ugly competition, and a resulting lack of learning, joy, and boundless lack of productivity. Replacing these "traditional" habits of non-learning with fresh new attitudes of caring for one another's qualities and abilities, sharing and helping, and developing a sense of confidence and trust in one's own integrity and that of your fellows... and seeing and experiencing the infinite benefits... this is what we were all able to accomplish together.

Each individual is given the experience of planning and carrying out an agenda drawn up by each and every member of the group, with the teacher's guidance and experience as a resource of good use. First, the agenda of varied skills is drawn up and agreed upon, each one contributing to and approving of our outline of what we want to learn. Thus... we have a plan, a syllabus, from which to draw our daily activities of curriculum and learning.

Next, we determine what kind of leadership or management qualities are necessary, in order to accomplish real learning skills together. The literal qualities: subject preparation; understanding group dynamics; and making the best possible use of our time together. Also... collecting our work material together, for daily use. The abstract qualities: variety of different ways; caring for the productivity of each member of the group; having a well-earned pride in the advancement of each individual; concern for individual and group behavior and harmony; enjoying the vast variety of skills and experience that can be achieved; transferring the learning skills and subject content beyond the classroom, as life lessons.

What specific duties must each of us experience, in order to make this daily venture a success? To love who we are and what we are engaged in. Yes! This is the best of living, in and out of the classroom. Loving our work... and working to love our lives.

We rotate leadership and management duties, once our agenda is available from which to draw for our daily lessons. Two students at a time... work cooperatively as co-teachers; they must both prepare ahead of time so that they can be relied upon to keep things moving smoothly. At the same time, the students want this pair to succeed: if the student teachers do well, so will the rest of the class. They help each other to succeed... as a group effort.

We also rotate other classroom management duties, i.e... the passing and collecting of materials; posting the daily agenda on the board; welcoming one's fellows upon arrival and contributing to immediately getting down to business; acting as host to any and all visitors, and taking care of interruptions quickly and efficiently; taking attendance (to be checked by the teacher); moving around and giving aid wherever necessary; keeping a simple journal/log of our day's accomplishments, to be eventually used by the next pair of student teachers in making their plans, keeping transition as smooth as possible.

We must also encourage and prepared for flexibility and spontaneity in how we make valuable use of our time together. Issues come up... that require immediate attention. In addition, we want to periodically evaluate how we are all doing. What are our strengths? Where might we improve? This is necessarily an ongoing process. Be as genuinely upbeat and encouraging as possible. Once again... this learning experience transfers to each person's own life situation. Think of how this can and does benefit future and current family and community life. It works! The best critics and supporters... are the students themselves.

It is a beautiful experience, also from my point of view as both a teacher and student. Much affection is openly encouraged. Students are eager to come to class. Boredom and the need to cheat fade from existence. Memorable moments are experienced. Students invited others to visit: parents, staff members, community mentors, siblings, and also visitor/participants from our "special class" which, in turn, invited our students to come to their room and share with them also. Their teacher was thrilled to participate. A not-so-foreign exchange.

Perhaps our only problem: just not enough time to do everything we were eager to accomplish. Hence... it became the individual's option to continue to develop his/her own objectives beyond our limited class time. Many "projects" were done outside, and then the results were shared with the group. Fantastic variety! One senior lad had initiated his own business by purchasing one porta-potty to be rented for farmworkers in the field (having no other such facility); he earned enough, eventually, to invest in another one, continuing to maintain them very well. An accomplishment for himself... and others. A young woman in a junior class crocheted warm and attractive baby blankets to be first given and later sold as lovely and useful items; I still use mine, many years later.

Life skills were a constant, including curriculum lessons and developing a lifelong joy and appreciation for learning, and living as good a life as possible, plus having an immediate and extended positive impact on others. Horizontal management... a blessing to all... and a horizon without limit or boundaries.

Research Paper - MLA Format

What is a research paper in MLA Format? MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association, and such research papers follow specific guidelines for citing sources. A research paper written in MLA format adheres to the MLA rules and guidelines. It has twelve-point font, double-spacing within the text, in-text parenthetical citations, as well as sources referenced on a Works Cited Page, a header addressed appropriately (student's name, course name, title, professor, etc.), as well as a title page that is formatted according to MLA rules and guidelines.

One benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows students how to write papers in the liberal arts and humanities disciplines. MLA is the research format used for cinematic studies, cultural studies, art history, English, History, comparative literature, languages, and other classes. Students can only be approved in these disciplines by writing within the research framework these disciplines require.

Another benefit of a research paper in MLA format is that it shows mastery of MLA style. The best way to test students' knowledge of a research format is to demand that students produce a research paper in the required format. Knowledge is not knowledge until it is incarnated in application. Students who properly format their papers well need to say nothing of their knowledge---it is evident. Any professor can read students' research papers and distinguish those who have studied the format from those who have not. This is a huge benefit for professors of English classes. Grades are often (though not always) a reflection of hard work and effort.

Lastly, a benefit of MLA format papers is that, by studying MLA reference style, students will gain an appreciation for the research format. The longer students study how to do MLA format, the better they will become. The better their efforts at learning MLA reference style, the more they will use it; and the more students use the format, the more cherished it will become for them. What was once a tedious, monotonous, and boring exercise will become an acquired skill that will help them better understand research and the scholars that produce it. MLA format could possibly work to increase the number of scholars in academic scholarship!

A research paper in MLA is the culmination of a research effort with the help of the MLA format. Students can ttrn in their papers on the required due date with a sense of satisfaction for a research job well done.

Hire a professional and affordable editor. I am a retired teacher and a professional writer and editor for hire.

Better Speed Reading Strategies

Research shows that there is a big connection involving reading rate and reading understanding.

Some people read swiftly and comprehend effectively; others read little by little and comprehend badly. For that reason, there is some reason to consider that the items leading to slow reading are also uneasy in lowered comprehending.

Wise understanding depends on whether you can extract and sustain the crucial views that you've read, not on how fast you read them. If you can do this fast, then your reading speed can be increased. If you pair fast-reading with worrying about comprehending, your reading pace will drop because the mind is occupied with your fears and you are not paying attention to the opinions that you are reading. But, if you focus on the aim of reading (obtaining primary thoughts and finding answers to your inquiries), your pace and knowledge really should increase. Your concern should be not with how fast you can get through a chapter alone, but with how immediately you can notice the facts and ideas that you desire.


Knowledge during speed reading is simpler than during standard reading. This is because the mind is active in search of information, not rereading phrases and sentences. The average reader spends about 1/6th of the time rereading text words than truly reading them. Rereading words interrupts the flow of comprehension and slows down the activity, that's why the habit of it should be taken out. How to realize easily? Scan the chapter first. Determine the sections to which the author devotes the most amount of space - what where the text focuses. If there are lots of diagrams for a special subject, then that must also be an significant concept. If you're really under time pressure, you can skip the sections to which the minimum amount of space is dedicated. Take notice on headings and read the first sentence of every paragraph more meticulously than the rest of the paragraph. The greatest concept is have a tendency to situated there. Read the important parts and the main ideas. Focus on nouns and main propositions in each sentence. Look for the noun-verb combinations, and focus the mind on these. Then, close the book and ask yourself what you now know about the subject that you didn't know before you started.

Reducing Skip Backs

Crucial: Don't reread the same phrases from the text! Poor readers read and reread the same phrase over and over again. This habit of making "regressions" doubles or worse triples reading time and often does not even result in better comprehension. A single careful, attentive speed reading may not be always enough for completely understanding the subject you are reading, but is often more beneficial than constant regressions in the middle rate of a reading. It is best to work on paying closer attention and doing a preview first before the careful reading. To help reduce the number of times that the eyes goes back to a previous word or sentence, run a pointer along the line as you read. This could be a finger, a pen or any pointed material. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, smoothing the flow of speed reading. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer; so if you want to speed up your reading, you also have to increase your pointing rate.

Preschool Recipes For Fun

All preschoolers love arts and crafts activities. With a little preparation, you can save money and have fun by making your own paste, playdough, and finger paints for all your preschooler's craft projects. Let your child help you measure and stir for a fun learning activity!

Finger Painting

1/2 c. cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. cold water
Food coloring

In a medium sauce pan, mix all the ingredients together. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, stirring until mixture is smooth and thick. Cool. Separate into storage containers and add food coloring as desired.

Pudding Finger Painting

Vinyl tablecloth

This activity is fun for all, and safe for young children who can't help but put their fingers in their mouth. Cover a table with a vinyl tablecloth. Put some pudding at each child's place. Let them play!

Homemade Paste

1/2 c. flour
Cold water

Add some cold water to the 1/2 cup flour until it is as thick as cream. Simmer and stir on stove for 5 minutes. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container when not in use. Boiled paste lasts longer and sticks better than no-cook paste.


2 c. flour
1 c. salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 c. water with food coloring
2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients together in a non-stick sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture becomes a hard ball. Knead while warm for a smoother consistency. Recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half.


1 1/2 c. warm water
2 c. white school glue
1 1/3 c. warm water
3 tsp. Borax
Food coloring

Mix 1 1/2 cups warm water, glue, and food coloring together. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/3 cups warm water and Borax together. Pour the glue mixture into the Borax mixture and take out of the bowl to knead until flubber is soft and consistent in form. Store in Ziploc bag or tightly sealed container. This stuff is really fun!

Homemade Bubble Solution

1 c. water
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/3 c. dishwashing liquid

Combine all ingredients. Mix solution well and allow to sit for 1 hour before using. Cover and label any leftover solution and store in the refrigerator.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.christian-parent.com

Top Universities in Asian Nations to Fulfill Your Study Abroad Ambition

Students in search of high quality education are no longer hesitant to adopt a foreign destination. International education has come a long way with thousands of students studying in numerous universities and colleges in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australasia, and Africa. Many Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and India have brought about welcome changes to their higher education systems to draw students from various parts of the world. These countries are nowadays home to some of the world's leading universities and colleges. In this article, you'll find a number of reputable universities in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

Singapore has made its mark on the world map by offering an absorbing learning atmosphere to international students. The country boasts three chief domestic universities along with numerous study centres of foreign universities. Even though technology and management are the two most dominating disciplines here, equal stress is given to other disciplines like law, education, nursing, and engineering. The three top universities in Singapore include the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, and Singapore Management University. The NUS is the oldest as well as the biggest university in Singapore offering both bachelor and master level courses in many subjects. While bachelor level courses are offered in architecture, business administration, accounting, computer engineering, dental surgery, law, industrial design, chemical engineering and civil, master level courses have specializations in urban design, management, pharmacy, bioengineering and computing. Nanyang Technological University is famous for its research works involving scholars from different cultural backgrounds.

Various universities in Malaysia can be categorized as public and private universities. While public universities are funded by the Malaysian government to upgrade the standard of education in the country, private universities are established in joint collaboration with other prestigious universities from countries like the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The names of top universities in Malaysia are the University of Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia and National University of Malaysia. As the oldest university in the country, the University of Malaya emphasizes the importance of knowledge for development. It offers bachelor programs in accounting, arts, biomedical engineering, business administration, computer, electrical, manufacturing and telecommunication. Postgraduate courses are also available in science, applied statistics, biotechnology, education, information technology, etc. Universiti Teknologi Malaysia is the premiere university in the field of engineering and technology. Above 200,000 graduates have already passed from this esteemed university since its inception.

Hong Kong, which was under the British rule for more than 150 years, is highly favored by international students since English is the chief medium of instruction here. After returning to the control of China, this leading commercial centre of the world has made substantial progress in higher education. There are approximately 10 universities in Hong Kong. The majority of these universities offer popular study abroad programs for overseas students. The list of top universities in Hong Kong contains Chinese University of Hong Long, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University and City University of Hong Kong. The University of Hong Kong is the most erstwhile university offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business administration, language education, journalism, engineering, law, finance and economics.

Mr. Pankaj is providing Infinite Courses, a foremost name in the arena of web sites and portals offering umbrella solution to all education related queries and dilemmas. It is India's top most informative and resourceful education portal. It has earned an unrivaled reputation in this field and is counted amid the best educational websites and web portals related to higher education. Explore top universities in Singapore, top universities in Malaysia, top universities in Hong Kong and much more.

Going The Distance With Online Education

Working professionals, who wish to pursue higher education, are sometimes unable to pursue their aspiration because of unavoidable constraints of strict timings and demanding job schedules. These act as barriers in enhancing qualifications for the working people. Online education is the ideal solution for people from all walks of life who wish to earn a degree but are not able to devote time to pursue regular education courses. According to a report by U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, Individuals with master's degrees make $558 more weekly in 2009 than those without a college degree.

Earning an online degree is one of the best solutions for working professionals who either want to switch their fields, get better career options or broaden their educational qualifications. They go for web-enabled learning service as it creates a balance between their work and study. With no geographic restrictions and constraints of traditional classroom teaching, they can easily access higher educational qualifications. It gives you the option to study from anywhere and anytime. Though there are some strict deadlines and restrictions for the classes and other related assignments, students are given the choice to set the schedule within those deadlines as per their convenience. While there are all kinds of benefits associated with e-learning, some of the underlying advantages of online education for the working professionals are listed below:

    Work and Learn: Online degree provides access to education for working people without affecting their current job. It also cuts down the chances of violating the bonds, if any, between employee and the organization. They can continue their regular jobs and complete the course structure side-by-side.

    Better job performance: Educating yourself online helps you keep yourself up-to-date with current knowledge, retain more information and use it in current job as well. It will also help in increasing the efficiency and level of productivity at the job.

    Improving Career prospects: Job profile is mainly determined by educational qualifications one has. Online executive programs help working people to rise ahead in their profession and find their niche in the company. It increases their potential for current as well as other new suitable job profiles.

Apart from these benefits, online courses also present networking opportunities and personality development for future growth. With online education programs, one can easily earn degree while minimizing the disruptions to the professional life. Learning while earning helps in advancing the career by making number of other better career options available.

Homeschooling Pros And Cons Are Certainly Thought Provoking

Homeschooling is becoming an increasingly popular option for educating American children with an adoption rate of about 10 percent per year. Listing out homeschooling pros and cons can help make the decision about homeschooling an easier one for most parents. About 2 million students are currently homeschooled in this country and these students do well on standardized tests and are widely accepted along with their conventionally schooled peers at colleges and universities.

When I investigated homeschooling pros and cons awhile back during our own family's educational crossroads, I found it extremely helpful to list out the various positives and negatives. I wanted to share those points with others who may be struggling with that same decision, hoping it will help make the decision more clear for you and your family.

Homeschooling Pros and Cons:

Homeschooling Pros
You are on your own Time
Undoubtedly there is an adjustment period when you migrate from a standard school to a home schooled schedule but the benefits soon outweigh any adjustment. Students and parents are free from school mandated calendars and days off, hours and homework. This often allows more time for family vacations off-peak times and permits time for visits to museums or parks for non-traditional learning opportunities.

Social Norms
Peer pressure, bullying and competition come with the territory in many public and even private schools. This can be excruciating for boys and girls alike and distract from the main reason students are in school - to learn. Homeschooling allows more time at home and time for socializing by choice, with those fellow students with similar ideals and interests.

Religious Choice
Different religions have various belief systems that often differ from what is taught as part of the mandatory curriculum in public schools. Varied beliefs around sex education, marriage and alternative lifestyles permit the homeschooler to approach and discuss these topics how the parents want, when the parents feel their child is ready.

Sufficient Rest
As children get older they need more sleep during peak growth periods. Often this is in direct conflict with most public and private school schedules. Just when teens need more sleep, school starts earlier and homework last well into the late evening hours. Homeschooling allows you to set your child's schedule to ensure he/she is well rested and focused on key learning objectives.

Clear Learning Objectives
How often has your child come home with a project that takes an awful lot of effort yet leaves you wondering what the learning objective really is? Homeschooling allows parents to set clear, concise learning objectives that are coupled with appropriate assignments designed to meet those objectives.

Homeschooling Cons

Time Management
While you are not on the school calendar or clock, this means you need to use time wisely at home and not treat each day as vacation or weekend time. Proper planning for chores and grocery shopping to be done off-hours will allow you and your students to focus on key learning activities and assignments during peak hours of the day. This may take some getting used to, but like any schedule change, being consistent is the key to success.

Financial Concerns
In many dual income households, one member agrees to forgo their career or work schedule to teach the children. In uncertain economic times, this can create some financial hardship for some families. However, most families who have made the sacrifice to give up the additional income in order to homeschool their children believe that the temporary sacrifice was well worth the effort.

Too Much Togetherness?
Being together had its advantages but can also have disadvantages particularly when preteens and teens reach that point where they can become moody. If you do not have a great relationship with your child and too much time together can be a bad thing, then homeschooling is not for you. If you do have a good relationship and can usually work through even those difficult times, you may develop an even closer relationship with your child after this experience.

Not the Norm
You and your child may feel peer*pressure due to homeschooling being outside of the norm. Sporting activities normally engaged in through organized school programs will be a big miss, but often can be replaced by YMCA or local community sporting programs. If you can cope with and ignore the curious comments from mainstream parents and students, about your homeschooling choice then the benefits will surely outweigh the negative bystanders who feel you are not following the mainstream education culture.

Pam Oliveri is an ex Montessori instructor who decided to homeschool her own children and used her hands on experiences in the classroom to model her approach. So as it relates to the pros and cons of homeschooling or insight on the best homeschool curriculum, or interesting homeschooling statistics which might surprise you, Pam is an excellent resource.

List of Scholarships for High School Seniors Graduating in 2012

Finding the best list of scholarships for high school seniors graduating in 2012 is easy if you know a few basic techniques. It is important to recognize the types of qualifications required for different scholarships before beginning your search. Grade point average (GPA), athletic or other in-school extracurricular participation, church or other civic group volunteer work, letters of recommendation, and personal essays are all important elements in successful scholarship applications.

There are two primary ways to find the most complete listings of scholarships. First, talk with your school's guidance (or career) counselor. These trained professionals can help you find the best matches for financial aid based on on your student record and your standardized test scores. Remember to talk to the counselor about your parents' employers and any backgrounds that might qualify you for a diversity scholarship.

Many companies -- McDonald's, IBM, Wal-Mart, just to name a few -- offer scholarships to the children and other close family members of existing employees. Diversity awards are designed to encourage under-represented groups of people to attend and graduate college. Most diversity awards only require one parent have a non-caucasian background, so biracial students often qualify.

The second way to find thorough listings of scholarships is through the internet. Using Google or Bing, simply use a query string such as "high school 2012 scholarships" or "best scholarships 2012" (without the quotes) then follow the links for more information. Be sure to avoid any sites with links featuring warnings from the search engine about malware or potentially harmful content.

Links to some sites contain dangerous content (like viruses) that can execute on your computer without your permission. It is a good idea to gather information about scholarships from the internet including requirements for approval, deadlines for submissions, and types of essays or letters of recommendations considered appropriate. Take this information to your school guidance counselor or have your parent or another trusted adult help you complete the applications.

Applying online is fine provided you are sure the website is legitimate and the protocol is secure (HTTPS). Scholarship applications linked to from.GOV or.EDU domains are good examples of more trustworthy sites, but due diligence should still be exercised. Most applications do not need details such as your social security number in the initial application stage, so call via telephone to verify any applications that seem to ask odd questions like "what is your mother's maiden name?" With a little effort, you are sure to find a list of scholarships for high school seniors graduating in 2012.

High School Football Days

It's fourth and eleven with ten seconds left on the clock. All we need is a touchdown to win the game and then we advance to a bowl game. My best friend is in at quarterback and I am right behind him at tailback. My hands are sweating as I wait for the ball to be hiked. The play that was called is a toss to the left to put the ball in my hands and hopefully bring the team to a win. The stands are silent as the ball is hiked, I swing out to the left of the line and feel the ball hit my hands. I am running with all my heart and can see the endzone twenty yards away, I have an open lane, now fifteen yards, ten, five, touchdown! I hit the endzone and throw the ball into the air. We did it! My best friend comes running up to me screaming and hollering, "we are going to a bowl game!"

That was me my senior year of high school. Our best season in school history we won ten out of twelve games that year and I can say I helped out. Football was my life and all I ever wanted to do. I always dreamed of getting scholarships to play college ball and then go pro, but of course those were dreams and none of that happened.

I started playing football when I was seven years old and played all the way through to my senior year of high school. My dad got me started on football at an early age because he played football his whole life until he broke his ankle in a game on year and that ended his career. My dad played tailback and so of course that was the only position I ever wanted to play. It wasn't easy playing tailback and you really had to prove to everyone especially the coaches that you could do it because tailback is a main aspect to the game. I took some hard hits, including having been knocked out before. I also broke quite a few bones and tore all the ligaments out of my shoulder, but I never once fumbled the ball and that's why the coaches liked me. They knew they could count on me to hold a ball until the play was over.

Now that I am out of high school and can't play football anymore I really miss it. That is my story of high school football and how I loved the sport.

Football can be a rough sport at times, but can also be the time of your life whenever you get to play under those Friday night lights. When you are on a team you meet some really good people and become friends with just about everyone. Plus all the ladies love football players! Practices are one of the worse things about playing football, but it is all worth it when that game comes around once a week.

Personalized Graduation Gift Ideas for the High School Graduate

Graduation gift ideas for the high school graduate are sometimes hard to come by. After all, we are talking teenagers! Who can ever please a teen, right?

But I have found one avenue that opens up all sorts of ideas, and most of the time, it's a sure thing teens are going to love their gift. Try giving them a personalized graduation gift. There are tons of categories that can be investigated here, and because you went to the extra trouble to personalized it, the graduate will especially appreciate and cherish your gift.

Now, when choosing a gift, don't worry so much about what the graduate will be doing after high school. True, a monogrammed laundry bag or luggage might be more appropriate for those going away from home, and you can take that into account. But remember that the essence of the gift is to recognize their achievement in graduating. What they are doing afterward is really not what you are celebrating. It's a celebration of what they have accomplished thus far!

Practical gifts are great, and I will mention some. But you might want to go more in the keepsake direction for that personalized graduation gift. These are especially appropriate for commemorating the occasion, and create the feeling that you really care about the graduates accomplishments.

I'm really not putting down gifts that have a common sense value. Many, many people would prefer this kind of gift. So just take into consideration the personality and plans of the graduate before choosing. Practical gifts would be those laundry bags, duffle bags, luggage tags, cosmetic kits, book ends, stationary and journals, and laptop or ipad covers and cases. All of these can be found personalized, and make terrific gifts!

Keepsake gifts are the personalized gifts that recognize or commemorate the actual graduation in some way. Many gifts are engraved with the graduates name or initials, and the date of the graduation. Some of these personalized gifts would be a pen and pencil set, or an engraved locket, bracelet charm, or key chain. Photographs in personalized frames, or some sort of wall art with the graduation details, would also be really appropriate.

And, based on the recipient's personality, a really casual personalized gift might be perfect. Some kids just want a t-shirt with their name and graduation year, or a personalized pillow case or maybe just a coffee mug or water bottle that has been made personal in some way.

For more specific details on appropriate personalized graduation gifts, and for lots more ideas, check out Personalized Graduation Gifts [http://www.personalized-gift-ideas-for-kids.com/personalized-graduation-gifts.html] at [http://www.personalized-gift-ideas-for-kids.com]. You don't want to miss all the unique and creative ideas available!

No Shortage of Options With Apprenticeship Programs

When one thinks about apprenticeship programs, certainly there are several obvious industries that come to mind. For example, automotive mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and welders are some of the few categories of employment associated with apprenticeship-style training. What most of these have in common is their obvious hands-on technical skill-set.

But today, not all apprenticeship positions are reserved for just these kinds of industries. Many new areas of expertise are taking advantage of the combination of theoretical and practical education given through colleges with apprenticeship programs. Here are some examples of programs and how they utilize the apprentice system to best prepare aspiring career professionals.

Child and Youth Workers

Child and youth workers are specialists working with young children, teenagers, and their families, helping them establish optimal environments for the children with an emphasis on self-esteem and positive growth. With sufficient in-class training activities will get the opportunity through an apprenticeship program to get agency placement to continue learning while working as an apprentice.

Early Childhood Educators

Early childhood educators, or child development practitioners, work with very young children to encourage and ensure a meaningful experience for the child's independence and decision-making skills. Mixing theoretical training with a college's on-site family-resource programs helps the smooth transition from learning to doing. Placements for the apprentice can be in daycare centres, nursery schools, and parent-child drop-in centres. One could also focus on working with children with special needs or learning disabilities.

Social Workers

Developmental social workers use a variety of skills to help improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities that must deal with developmental disabilities. Some of the skills taught in a college program and continued through apprenticeship work include psychology, social policy, public administration and human development studies. Apprentices can expect to continue their training in community agencies, special needs agencies, and school boards.

The above programs, unlike the obvious service style jobs like automotive apprenticeships, focus more on social and community development. Below are some examples of the more typical apprenticeship programs in the service-industry.

    Horticultural technicians, studying grass and plant care, water conservation, and development and maintenance of landscape construction. Apprentices can work in nurseries, golf courses, municipal parks and botanical gardens.
    Instrumentation and control technicians, gaining the skills to repair, maintain and calibrate industrial controlling and measuring instrumentation. Apprenticeship programs often have placements with mining companies, chemical manufacturers, steel producers and pulp and paper processing plants.
    Tool and die maker, getting theoretical and practical experience making and modifying tools for industries while getting a background in metallurgy and blueprint interpretation. An apprentice can focus his experience on making, inspecting or operating machining tools

Because apprenticeship programs are opening up to an ever-increasing variety of careers, we are ensuring future generations with the best-trained and most-highly skilled practitioners of so many of our leading industries.

Visit Mohawk College for information on the apprenticeships in Ontario.

Michael Zunenshine is a Copywriter at Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other Web marketing services and tools.

Guide to Renting Student Accommodation

This will be more than likely the first time you will encounter private rented accommodation and although this sounds like a simple process to follow there are several important decisions you will have to make before you gather all your belongings and move in.

What Kind of Student Accommodation is Available?

There are many types of student accommodation available for you to choose from, each having advantages and disadvantages. For first year students the popular choice will be halls of residence, this gives students time to settle into their new environment and make friends. One of the main advantages of halls of residence is that the majority will offer rent inclusive of bills which allows you to concentrate on studying and meeting new people.

Other options also include house/flat sharing which are predominantly occupied by 2nd or 3rd year students who are a bit more experienced. One of the main advantages on house or flat sharing is freedom and private space. Halls of residence can be very short on space and there can be more distractions as you are living with more people, with a house share you have more privacy and more importantly the ultimate freedom of living in your own house. This comes at a price however with more responsibility with utility bills, landlord checks, and general maintenance. In addition you will need to be more considerate and conscious about your own living habits.

If you are struggling to find people to live with or have simply left it a bit late then you can rent a room in a privately owned property, whilst this may not be the most sociable way to live at University you will be guaranteed a secure, well maintained property.

Once you have picked your preferred choice of student accommodation it is useful to consider the following points to make sure you make the best of your student property.

Signing the contract

It seems very simple but making sure you read the contract thoroughly and raise any concerns with the landlord or letting agency is essential. If you are unsure of anything then query it, gain a second opinion if necessary or seek advice, the last thing you want is to face unexpected fines or fees just because you did not read the contract properly. Take the time to read the contract properly and avoid any nasty surprises.


This is less important for students living in halls of residence and more important for house share or renting a room privately. It is easier for you to have a property to be already furnished as furnishings such as beds, sofas, cupboards, tables and chairs tend to be expensive. In addition when you tenancy agreement is up you will need to take these furnishings with you which is an additional expense, if you leave them behind then your landlord will charge you for the removal also. Try and move into a furnished property as all you will need to do move your possessions and appliances in.


When you move in your landlord will provide you with an inventory list, this will list all the items and appliances in the property prior to you moving in. Similar to the contract check this thoroughly and make a note and take pictures of any existing damage or missing items. This will protect you from losing your damage deposit when you decide to move out.


As with all accommodation location is very important. It is a good idea to situate yourself with good access to public transport and amenities. This will not only save you money but also will be useful if you have to familiarise yourself with the area and socialise.

Tyneside Lettings Company specialise is providing student accommodation in Newcastle, with a big choice of student housing in Newcastle available to rent for all students.