Today The American Education Is Being Reinvented

Today the American education is being reinvented. The assumptions that have governed its structures and power relationships for more than a century are being replaced. This reinvention is breeding all manner of novel approaches to schools, and hybrid arrangements that blur the line that has long separated public and private schools. For example, the best of what have come to be called charter schools possess elements of today’s public and private systems. Moreover, this new model is not an unbridled, laissez-faire, free-market one. The public retains its interest in the delivery of educational services paid for by public funds. Public authorities continue to set standards for educational performance-especially student achievement standards-of all schools receiving public funds and monitor whether those standards are achieved.- Shift of power from producers to consumers. Public education has long been producer-oriented. The primary beneficiaries of this model are the school and its employees, not its customers. Bureaucrats, experts, and special interests control the system and make decisions within the framework of a public-school monopoly.New studies show that students want higher standards of behavior and achievement, and that nearly six out of ten parents with children in public schools would send their children to private schools if they could afford to, which the analysts interpreted as “a public poised for flight.”- Emphasis on results. The second principle guiding reinvention is the primacy of what children learn and how well they learn it-not on what rules schools follow, how they are run, the (worthy) intentions of educators, or what they spend. Administrators should monitor the academic results of education, letting individual schools decide how to achieve them-including yearly calendar, daily schedules, staffing arrangements, student grouping, budget decisions, and so forth.- Accountability. Schools must establish accountability and create an assessment system that measures results. An accountability system begins with a clear set of learning standards or expectations. There are two types of standard. Content standards define the skills and knowledge students should attain at various stages-what they should know and do. Performance standards-sometimes called achievement levels-specify an expected level of proficiency-what is good enough to advance from one stage to the next.Students should be promoted and graduate only when they have met specified standards; universities should admit students only when they meet college-level entry norms; and employers should examine transcripts and use them in their hiring decisions. Likewise, teachers, principals, and other responsible adults should be rewarded for success, penalized for failure, and dismissed if they or their schools cannot get the job done.- School choice. Also guiding the reinvention of American education is the notion that schools can be different from one another rather than identical and that families should be free to choose among a variety of educational opportunities and settings. Schools should fit the differing needs of families and kids-not bureaucrats, state and local regulations, or union contracts. Various current proposals would allow non-government schools and home schoolers to receive money under choice plans: tax credits, tax-free K-12 education savings accounts, publicly (and privately) funded scholarships, and others. Because these scholarship dollars would be aid to families, not schools, they could be used at any lawfully operating school-public, private, or religious.- Professionalism. The reinvention model holds that those who work in schools should be treated like-and conduct themselves as-professionals. This means deregulating the schools, freeing them from bureaucratic control and micromanagement, and allowing individual schools, educators, and parents wide latitude in decision-making on issues such as teaching loads and methods, staffing, and resource allocation.- The education profession itself should be deregulated. Recruitment of educators for the reinvented public school should not be limited to graduates of teacher- or administrator-training programs. The teachers’ unions may be an obstacle to such reforms, but even they have shown some hopeful signs.This new vision of American education is spreading rapidly, redefining public education, and blurring the line between public and private schools. It is creating a radically new system of education in which families choose from a continuum of opportunities and learning designs, with public money following the child to the school of choice. As lines blur and private and public schools become more alike (and different from today’s schools), private schools too will change. Mounting private school opposition to vouchers suggests that some would rather keep their independence than participate in a blurring that is apt to bring considerably more control from others. States, however, already have the authority to regulate private schools; it is thus unlikely that reinvention will destroy their autonomy. The new model allows them to remain “private” in several important ways: they are self-governing, free from most regulations, able to hire whomever they like, in control of their own curriculum, and attended by youngsters whose parents choose them.The central principle organizing the academic program of most parochial schools is a core curriculum for all students regardless of background and future educational plans. Electives are limited, and required courses predominate.Students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds respond well to the challenge. The focused core curriculum of a parochial school improves student achievement, particularly among disadvantaged students, and protects against the academic fads that sweep through the education world with such depressing frequency. Schools of the future will require more core academic coursework of their students, particularly socially and economically disadvantaged ones.Such a structure requires a strong communal organization. Parochial educators view teaching as a vocation, a ministry of service. The schools promote personal interactions and shared experiences among those who work in, attend, and support them. Numerous activities unite staff, students, and supporters-including athletic events, fundraisers, rallies, school plays, alumni gatherings, retreats, and various forms of religious ritual and prayer. Academically, the core curriculum plays this unifying role. These promote a commonality of purpose that supports the school’s mission.Parochial schools are typically less constrained by centrally controlled bureaucracies than are public schools. Nearly all important decisions are made at the school site, under the leadership of the principal. This allows a school to develop a distinctive character and sensitivity to the unique needs of students and families.This market responsiveness is moderated by the fundamental beliefs and values that permeate the school. The unique educational philosophy of a parochial school affirms the existence of fundamental truths and includes a special, religiously based respect for the dignity of each person and the sacredness of human community. This perspective determines not only what students know but also the morality they will follow and the moral community the school creates.Perhaps the greatest difference between the public and private realms is this explicit moral education, character development, and, in religious schools, religious instruction (though public schools in recent years have become more mindful of these issues).Charter schools-(mostly) independent public schools of choice accountable for the results of student learning-comprise a serious attempt by the public sector to reinvent education along these lines and give public schools full autonomy. Unfortunately, not all charter school laws are equal: some display the facade of freedom but not the reality. Policymakers must resist the temptation to constrain charter operators with the current web of state statutes, rules, collective bargaining agreements, and the like.As charter schools demonstrate, a public school is coming to mean any school willing to embrace high standards, enroll students without discrimination, and be accountable for its results, regardless of who owns or operates it. Public money follows the child to these schools, and what unites them is a compulsory set of academic outcomes confined to a core list of broadly accepted knowledge and skills.American “public” schools of the future will not look, feel, or act like “government.” But they are plainly larger than the individual or family. In that sense, they satisfy the classic definition of a “mediating” institution, They are, in fact, examples of what contemporary analysts term “civil society.” They are voluntary institutions, neither compulsory nor monopolistic. They are more responsive to their communities than schools created by large public bureaucracies.Schools, of course, should play a fundamental role in this process, but today’s conventional public schools are hobbled by bureaucratic constraints against religious education. Of course, in a pluralistic society there are bound to be varying ideas of what this means. Unfortunately, the current system of American public education cannot accommodate such variety. Thus if we are to revitalize our communities, if we are to rebuild the social capital of our families and neighborhoods, if we are to educate our young people, especially those who are most disadvantaged, we must allow families much more choice in schooling, and with it a flowering of variety, pluralism, and freedom. Antiquated laws and attitudes that favor the status quo are the only real limit on the future of American education.

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Government and Federal Student Loan Programs offer Student Loans Without a Cosigner

If you are considering entering college in the near future you should be aware of the many different types of government and federal student loans. While many colleges do offer free student loan scholarships and there are various types of need-based financial aid and grants available; loans still make up the major portion of funding for the cost of education for most college students. Private student loans are also available; however the advantages of federal student loans usually far outweigh any benefits of private student loans; if you qualify to receive them.Private college loans are credit based and may involve a co-signer from the students parent. You must qualify to receive a private student loan even though the loan program features are quite attractive. The National Student Loan Center or the NSLC offers many private low cost low rate college student loan programs. The NSLC also offers private as well as government student loans. An especially attractive student loan program offered by the NSLC, is the NSLC PLUS loan program; which gives parents of students the option to borrow up to 100% of their child’s cost of education. This is nice because the cost of higher education institutions is blasting through the roof every year! Armed with this type of higher education financing, a college student can fund everything from room and board to books and just have to concentrate on studies.Government and federal student loans allow college loans without a cosigner. They are non credit based student loans. Credit is not even looked at under federal college loan programs for students. Their will always be a student loan lien on the students credit until the college loan is finally paid.Perkins LoanOne of the most common government and federal student loans is the Perkins loan. It comes with a low interest rate of only 5% and is awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students. There are no origination fees charged for this loan and it is paid back to the school because loan funds are issued directly from the school to the student from monies provided by the government. Take a look at the following facts regarding the Perkins Loan:
Need based loan; only those students with exception financial need will qualify

Able to borrow up to $4,000 for each year of undergraduate study and $6,000 for each year of graduate study.

Loan limits are $20,000 for two years of undergraduate study and $40,000 for graduate school.
FFELP (Federal Family Education Loan Program)This is also another common loan and features both subsidized and unsubsidized student loans. The difference between the two is that the government will pay for the interest of the student loan while the student is in school and during the grace period of a subsidized student loan while the student is responsible for the interest in an unsubsidized student loan. Additionally, students must display a financial need to qualify for a subsidized student loan while the unsubsidized student loan is non need based.Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)This type of student loan is available to parents and guardians of dependent undergraduate students. Borrowers do not need to demonstrate financial need and may borrow up to the cost of attendance; minus any amount of financial aid that may be received. Loan funds are first applied to tuition and fees. This type of government and federal student loan has a variable interest rate.

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Seven Steps to Getting a VA Home Loan

Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage loans have increased exponentially in recent years due to the downturn in the U.S. economy. This economic slump has resulted in banks tightening lending standards for conventional loans. The increase in VA loans is largely due to the fact that they are easier to qualify for than conventional mortgages and are one of the few mortgage options available for qualified borrowers who do not have a down payment.VA loans often offer lower interest rates than other type of loans and are available for the “full reasonable value” of a given property. Consequently, a down payment is not required as with other government programs such as FHA, which requires a 3.5 % minimum down payment.So what is a VA loan? VA loans are home mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs however they are not a direct lender. The loan is made through a private lender (of your choice) and is guaranteed by the VA as long as guidelines are met. What are the guidelines and who actually qualifies for a VA loan? To follow are the seven basic steps you will need to take to successfully obtain a VA home mortgage loan.Step One: Determining EligibilityMost members of the military – veterans, reservists, and members of the National Guard are eligible to apply for a VA loan. The spouses of military who died in active duty or as a result of service-connected disability may also apply. Active duty members qualify after about six months of service.Reservists and National Guard members must wait six years to apply unless they are called to active duty, where they gain eligibility after 181 days of service. However, during war periods members are generally eligible after 90 days of service. In consideration of your status of service, loan applications can differ. Your VA regional office personnel can assist you with any additional eligibility questions.After pre-determining your eligibility, the first step for potential borrowers is to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (26-1880) before applying for a loan. At this juncture, you will need to select an accredited VA loan specialist who will assist you in moving forward in the loan process which includes accessing and submitting this eligibility form online.Step Two: The Pre-Approval ProcessBefore embarking on step two of the VA loan process, it is crucial that you have pulled your credit report in advance with all three credit reporting agencies to see where you stand with your FICO credit score. You should thoroughly examine the report for any errors and/or identity theft, taking care of any such issues beforehand. Although Veteran’s Affairs does not require a minimum score for a VA loan, most lenders have internal requirements, asking for a credit score of 620 or higher.After you have completed this important task, you will provide this information to your VA loan specialist. They can answer any questions that you have and help you with determining the loan amount you are eligible for through a pre-approval process. The pre-approval process is required by most realtors before working with you to find a home. It serves to give you piece of mind and a price range that you can afford based on a pre-approved amount.To obtain a VA loan, the law requires that:• The applicant must be an eligible veteran who has available entitlement.• The loan must be for an eligible purpose.• The veteran must occupy or intend to occupy the property as a home within a reasonable period of time after closing the loan.• The veteran must be a satisfactory credit risk.• The income of the veteran and spouse, if any, must be shown to be stable and sufficient to meet the mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home, take care of other obligations and expenses, and have enough left over for family support.Your experienced VA loan specialist will be able to further discuss specific income and other qualifying requirements. According to the VA Loan Quick Guide, the VA loan limits generally do not exceed $417,000 (exception in maximum limits with VA Jumbo loans in designated High Cost counties – calculations can vary).Step Three: Decide on a Home & Make an OfferSelect a realtor to work diligently with you to find your desired home. After finding the home based on your personal and financial criteria, you will make your offer. The offer should not be too low or too high, as you want to stay ahead of the pack in bidding but not risk overpaying for the property. After making the offer, you will be required to place a deposit down ($500.00 is customary) on the property.In placing your offer, be aware that there are certain fees such as brokerage and lender fees, commissions or buyer-brokerage fees that the seller may have to absorb as they are disallowed by the VA to be charged to the veteran buyer. This amount may need to be factored into the offer/purchase price to be acceptable to the seller.Step Four: Signing the Purchase AgreementIt is recommended that two contingency provisions: 1) upon financing and 2) upon inspection, are inclusive or amended to the purchase agreement. Fact: A “pre-qualification” letter does not necessarily guarantee financing so you must be covered in the event that it does not go through. However, if you have proceeded as directed in Step Two and you are “pre-approved,” you should be fine. The pre-approval process is a more extensive check performed by your VA loan specialist on your financial background and credit rating. After completion, your lender will provide a conditional commitment on the amount of your loan.A home inspection can be a critical contingency provision, giving you the option to back out if repairs are costly and substantially decrease the fair market value of the property. Fact: VA fee appraisers are not required to step on the roof for inspection nor do they have the specialized knowledge that a certified home inspection can provide.The VA appraiser’s job is to ensure that the home lives up to minimum property requirements. He/she establishes fair market value for the home and a Certificate of Reasonable Value is issued. However this VA appraisal does not take the place of a detailed inspection of the property. Although optional, it is highly recommended that your offer be contingent upon a detailed home inspection.Step Five: Offer AcceptedContact your lender immediately and let them know that your offer was accepted. Congratulations! You are on your way to homeownership! If you have not done so already, you will need to provide the last two or three years of tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. He/she will help you complete your application and submit it to processing and approval.Subsequently, the lender will order a VA appraisal and the certified home inspection. Your VA loan specialist will complete the appraisal and perform a complete review and verification of your credit, income and assets to give a “clear to close.” This will initiate the date, time and place where you will close to sign all necessary documentation to have the title transferred to you.Step Six: VA Funding FeesThe VA funding fee is an essential component of the VA Home Loan Program. This basic one-time funding fee must be paid to the VA by all but certain exempt veterans. First time users of the VA loan benefit program with no down payment requires a 2.15% fee. A down payment of at least 5 percent but less than 10 percent requires a 1.5% fee, and a down payment of 10% or more requires a 1.25% fee.For subsequent users of the VA loan benefit, no down payment requires a 3.3% fee and a down payment of at least 5 percent but less than 10 percent requires a 1.5% fee. And a down payment of 10% or more requests a 1.25% fee.The category of Reserves/National Guard first time users with no down payment requires a 2.4% fee. A down payment of at least 5 percent but less than 10 percent requires a 1.75% fee, and a down payment of 10% or more requires a 1.5% fee. For subsequent users for the category of Reserves/National Guard, no down payment requires a 3.3% fee. A down payment of at least 5 percent but less than 10 percent requires a 1.75% fee, and a down payment of 10% or more requires a 1.5% fee. The funding fee may be paid in cash or it may be included in the loan.The following persons are exempt from paying the funding fee:• Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for service-connected disabilities if they did not receive retirement pay.• Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for service-connected disabilities if they did not receive retirement pay.• Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities (whether or not such surviving spouses are veterans with their own entitlement and whether or not they are using their own entitlement on the loan).More good news! Unlike FHA and conventional loans (with less than 20% down), VA loans do not require mortgage insurance.Step Seven: Approval & ClosingIf your lender is authorized for automatic processing under VA’s Lender Appraisal Processing Program (LAPP), upon receipt of the VA appraised value determination the loan can be approved and closed without waiting for VA review. For loans that must be further reviewed by the VA, the lender will send the application to the local VA office, which will notify the lender of its decision.After receiving VA approval, you (and your spouse) will attend the loan closing. Your lender or closing attorney will go over the terms of the loan and its requirements and where and how to make the monthly payments. You will sign all necessary documentation and the property will be then be transferred to you. You have completed the seven steps to getting a VA loan and are now a homeowner!VA Loan Program Benefits – Now and in the FutureThe VA loan program is effectively the U.S. governments’ and the American people’s way of saying “thank-you” to those who are actively serving or have served in the military. The benefits of the VA loan program extend beyond getting a home loan, as they can also be used for refinancing and fixing up an existing home.Another advantage of a VA loan is in the assistance offered to borrowers who might be struggling. If the borrower of a VA loan cannot make their mortgage payment, the VA will negotiate on behalf of the borrower. They have a dedicated nationwide staff committed to helping veterans who are experiencing financial difficulties. These financial counselors can help borrower s negotiate repayment plans, loan modifications and other alternatives to foreclosure.We are keenly aware that many of our troops will be returning from overseas in the near future and that there are veterans who have served our country in the past now looking for a home. Be assured that VA accredited lenders are honored to work on your behalf, in financing your home and the bright future that you and your family so richly deserve.

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