Recommended Reading Exploring Higher Education in America

The works discussed below are currently the best books on higher education.

In Two Cheers For Higher Education: Why American Universities Are Stronger Than Ever-And How to Meet The Challenges They Face author Steven Brint provides a positive and unbiased critique of American research universities.

The Great Pretender is an exposé of David Rosenhan’s once lauded 1973 work on mental healthcare Staying Sane in Insane Places . Author Susannah Cahalan shines a light on the flawed research and lies that went into Rosenhan’s book.

Author Herb Childress discusses how the overuse of part-time adjunct professors is diluting the quality of post-secondary education in the United States in his work The Adjunct Underclass: How American Colleges Betrayed Their Faculty, Their Students, And Their Mission. An adjunct professor himself Childress reveals how using part-time professors save schools money and cost students a quality education.

The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, And a Legendary Basketball Team by Matthew Goodman discusses how the 1949-50 championship basketball season brought disgrace upon City College of New York. Members of the City College basketball team, the Beavers, colluded with gamblers to alter final scores.

David Kirp is a professor at UC-Berkley. His book The College Dropout Scandal broaches the little-discussed topic of low college completion rates. In the book, Kirp offers practical methods for increasing the number of college graduates.

Ann Gardiner Perkins interviewed 575 women who were among Yale’s first female students to research Yale Needs Women: How The First Group of Girls Rewrote The Rules of an Ivy League Giant. The first women to attend Yale faced a pervasive men only mentality that subjected the co-eds to outright discrimination.

The premise of Anthony Kronman’s The Assault on American Excellence is that schools’ desire to be more inclusive undermines the quality of education. Kronman argues for a return to the standards of excellence that once had to be met to earn a college degree.

Thomas Jefferson’s Education by Alan Taylor is about the role Jefferson and slavery played in the founding of the University of Virginia. Jefferson believed that educating farmer’s sons would strengthen Virginia’s economy ultimately leading to abolition.

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Highlighting Art, Science, and Emotional Health in Schools

Creativity is essential to succeed in technology careers. Technology is valuable to success in the creative arts. While academia can conjure certain expectations of a strict education environment, the truth is that focusing on the arts and sciences are not only important for overall education but also for emotional health in students. Emphasizing the importance of art and science in schools for elementary to university students will be beneficial to the future global society.

What is science education?

In addition to memorizing facts, laws, formulas, or theories, the scientific method is key in education. This method involves designing experiments, making observations, analyzing collected data, and forming conclusions. This is critical to gain information about the world.

Science is extensive in nature and there are many applications of this discipline. Students learn to use logical thinking to solve problems by identifying causes, evaluating them, and determining solutions. The studies train them to ask questions, notice patterns or relationships, explain results, and understand technology.

What is art education?

Although creativity is helpful in science, people think of art when asked about creativity. Art provides an outlet for expressing ideas, feelings, experiences, beliefs, or opinions. It encourages students to use their imagination. Students learn to share themselves through paintings, drawings, writings, music, dance, and other artworks. There are methods in creating art. They teach students how to generate and organize ideas, polish their work, communicate meaning, describe personal experiences, understand other people and cultures, analyze different presentations, and interpret messages.

Connecting art, science, and emotional health

Classrooms can be a platform for promoting creativity and emotional health through art and science programs. Students develop a growth mindset and discover that they can learn new things throughout their lives. Interesting ways of presenting subjects in schools make students more engaged and open to new opportunities. Some students are proficient with scientific courses and experiments, while some excel in creating paintings, poetry, music, or other art forms. Having a strong foundation in both disciplines regardless of their passions empowers students to explore possibilities in life. Science can be demonstrated using creative language and visuals to help students understand the principles. The process of producing art can be appreciated by looking at the science in components of art materials, themes, and techniques. The skills gained by students using a creative approach to learning improve their confidence. Students’ emotional health grows with the knowledge that they can solve problems and communicate effectively.

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The Role Of Technology In Education Post Covid-19

As schools continue to follow the state’s orders and close all physical locations, the education system is seeing a shift. Online classes are the norm, and there are talks among some states and tech companies on the feasibility of permanent online courses post COVID-19. There’s no disputing everyone from school staff to parents is adjusting to retaining the quality of education taught in physical schools. The advancements in technology made it possible to transition traditional learning to online learning. During the pandemic, school administrators are evaluating their students’ performance and their parents. Instructors also have the opportunity to custom-tailor a child’s learning. Listed below is the role technology will play in education post-COVID-19. 

The Investors’ Lens

Before the coronavirus pandemic, tech companies began investing in the education sector. Whether the investment came in the form of improved technology or new technology, the goal is to get kids interested in learning. Specifically, some investors in the education space wanted to persuade kids into a STEM career. Since the United States is graduating fewer engineers than China, some startups invented products to get kids interested in engineering from a young age. However, no change was enough until the coronavirus pandemic. Some school systems did not embrace technology to the point where it took them longer to adopt an online school system. Not only is technology changing in the education system, but the content as well. The method for content creation and delivery of that content is transforming. The only exception to this is universities. Universities are continually investing in technology infrastructure and content to make their offerings more accessible to prospective students. School systems across the country can learn something from the universities. 

The Educators’ Lens: 

Scrutiny is present with any change in the education system by parents, the community, and government officials. However, now is the time to embrace technology in the education system. All of the school’s main objective is the safety and learning of all students. Online learning, along with tools to keep kids engaged in learning, will allow kids to continually develop. Any lapse in a child’s education could have detrimental effects later on. The adoption of technology could also help post-COVID19. With snow days, schools can continue online to avoid prolonging the school year in the summer. 

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Emerging Tech Fighting the Spread of COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed the way the world works. Church services, workplaces, and transit plans all face disruptions now and in the future. Luckily, technology has been there to aid all the industries and people whose lives have been changed by this pandemic. New technologies are changing the ways some industries work. They’re making it possible for trades like construction to continue even amid a shut-down generally.

One of the most frustrating things for many Americans has been the closure of parks and beaches. In many places, playgrounds were covered with plastic wrap to prevent children from using the equipment. Some different countries are utilizing other strategies. One of the most unusual is the Boston Dynamics robotic dog. In Singapore, these friendly-looking robots patrol some public spaces. They make sure that people are observing rules related to social distancing.

Robots are also being used for disinfecting purposes in Europe. The Policlinico Abano hospital group utilizes robots with ultraviolet lights attached to clean spaces, including operating rooms. This is no great leap for this organization. They’ve been using robots for several surgeries. So expanding to disinfectants made sense, mainly after many doctors fell ill with COVID-19. Made by UVD Robots, the machines harness ultraviolet-C light power to dismantle the RNA in viruses and bacteria. That makes it impossible for the virus to reproduce. It also kills fungal spores.

Wearable technology has also become critical during the coronavirus pandemic. Spot-R sensors have been used successfully in the construction industry for the past few years. They automate the sign-in process and also have safety implications. For example, they alert supervisors if someone has an incident like a fall. This can mean a reduction in complications from injuries sustained on construction sites. 

Triax Technologies, the inventor of Spot-R, recently introduced a new product. The Proximity Trace device beeps when a worker gets too close to another person. This helps to ensure that six feet of social distance is always observed. Should a worker test positive, data from the device will let authorities know who else has been exposed to the virus. This data can help to contain the spread of COVID-19. There are some worries about privacy, but company representatives say they are careful with the data.

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Real-World Math Skills People Use Every Day

Although math problems can seem divorced from reality, math is actually incredibly useful in daily life. Math is used in cooking and baking, shopping for groceries, deciding on new appliances, and personal finances.

In the kitchen, knowledge of fractions and proportions is invaluable. Math is useful to alter recipes to one’s needs. If a recipe is for four servings, but you need six, you’ll use math to figure out the new amounts of each ingredient. If you’re missing a particular measuring spoon or cup, you can use fractions to ensure an ingredient’s correct amount is used.

Aside from simple addition to track spending, the most useful math skill for grocery shopping is understanding unit price. A large tub of yogurt may be several dollars and an individual cup only $0.50, but the large tub’s price per ounce is almost guaranteed to be lower. Grocery trips are more cost-effective when one understands that buying soda by the bottle is about half the price of buying it in six-packs.

Of course, for some purchases, cheaper is better, but if one wants an item to last a long time, it is often wiser to invest in a high-quality, more expensive option. If you’re looking for boots, you could buy a $12 pair at the nearest big-box store, but they may wear out over a season. You could instead buy a $100 pair of shoes that may last for years. Dividing the cost by the number of uses of the item goes a long way to helping a person understand the true cost. Buying an inexpensive pair of shoes twice a year adds up to a lot more money spent on footwear than simply spending more on better quality shoes.

Handling our finances requires a lot of math. One part of banking that often confuses people is inverse operations. This can be used to determine change and balance a checkbook. A bit of financial math that often gets people into trouble is understanding interest. Knowing how debt works can save one a lot of turmoil.

Math is far more than something to learn to pass a test; it is a vital part of our daily lives.

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Why More College Students Should Find Mentors

Oftentimes, college students go off to school without having all of the information needed in order to succeed. Whether they need to learn about which classes or professors to take, when to take specific classes, or what to do around town locally, they are destined to need help. This is where mentorship comes into play. A mentor can be someone from their hometown, a professor or advisor, or even a community member who is working in their field or something similar. 

Parents might find themselves sending their children off to college with the information needed to go and plan for success but, you can never fully be prepared as a college student. It takes focus and strategy to figure out the college lifestyle, especially if they do not have many mentors or friends who already attended and graduated from college.

Being away from home is reason enough for why more college students should find mentors. According to Best Colleges, a mentor can be someone in your field or a peer. They serve as a champion for your success as well as an anchor to keep you focused on your deadlines, goals, and pathway towards the journey of college and life after college. A mentor is a great person for a college student to talk to if they feel as though they cannot talk to their parents or loved ones back home. Many times, a mentor is someone who serves a temporary or potentially lifelong relationship with their mentee.

A great option for a mentor is someone who is older and within the same major or already working in the field. This is helpful because college students still continue to need guidance, and seeing someone who has already accomplished similar goals is a driving motivator. Mentors can be found at school-wide college and internship fairs, within the community, or through college-related activities such as guest speaker symposiums.

College students should find mentors because instead of feeling overwhelmed or not knowing what to do or when to do something, they can always call, text, or email their mentors for advice. Attaching a face to success is most helpful for college students where they can feel some sort of accountability to make sure they accomplish their college goals. Mentorship helps many students to get through their collegiate careers in a timely manner and ensure that they are on schedule for overall success within their major or field of study. 

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Children’s Books for Women’s History Month

While there are many ways you can go about getting involved in women’s history month and the events surrounding it in March, one of the easiest, most educational, and maybe even one of the most interesting ways to celebrate is through reading books. And what better group of people to get reading and learning about women’s history than young children? See below for a list of some of the best reads for women’s history month:

1. Rad American Women A-Z, by Kate Schatz

Designed for the 8-12 age range, this book gives a brief overview of some of the most important women in history, listed from A-Z, like musician Patti Smith, tennis player Billie Jean King, and scientist Rachel Carson.

2. Betsy Ross by Alexandra Wallner

An easy biography for young ones (recommended for ages 3-6), this book focuses on the woman who is widely believed to have created the first American flag for George Washington.

3. Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone

Inspiring women all across the USA, in 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a degree in medicine. Children can learn about her life through this picture book for ages 5-8.

4. Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when libraries weren’t for children. In fact, they weren’t even encouraged to read, let alone take books out from the library. But Anne Carroll Moore didn’t think this was right and transformed Room 105 at the New York Public Library into a suitable (and fun!) reading room for children. And thus, libraries and children were connected.

5. Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Muñoz Ryan

For ages 6-9, this picture book is a fictional tale starring two of the most influential women in American history: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and American aviator Amelia Earhart.

Five is undoubtedly not enough when it comes to great children’s books that help celebrate women’s history month. Check this list as well!

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GFW Adds Over 100 New Student Opportunities and Seeks Community Input

Community, Staff, and Students ask the district to explore programming and facility options.

The GFW School Board met on Tuesday, January 18 and heard public comment on the state of the district, its programming, and its facilities from a variety of speakers including students, staff members, and parents. Statements touched on a number of issues including programming wants, challenges for academic and athletic programming at district facilities, and other items that excited students and staff during the tours of other schools in December. 

GFW Athletics Director, Science Teacher, and district parent Rich Busse shared some of the challenges posed by current athletics facilities. 

“GFW used to be a hub for regional and sectional track meets, but we can’t hold those events because our track is simply beyond repair,” said Busse. “We have state-caliber track athletes that compete very well at the state level, but they don’t get to perform locally because of the condition of our track.”

Mr. Busse described other concerns including bleacher safety, an outdated lighting system of the football field, and other safety concerns. Middle and High School Principal Brittany Galetka shared statements from students and staff that touched on issues including expansion of the agriculture department, skilled trades education, and the need for student choice in programming.

“The common thread I saw at each of these schools was choice. Students had the opportunity to choose programs tailored to their interests which, not surprisingly, led to greater student interest, engagement and enthusiasm,” wrote Mark Leitheiser, a 34 year veteran staff member of GFW. “I’m certain a greater variety of class options in all academic areas would be a positive step forward for GFW students.”

Students who traveled to other school districts shared feedback that the programming that was offered in facilities that supported learning for today’s and tomorrow’s world got them excited about school. 

Superintendent Horton announced that initiatives to engage the community will continue with more opportunities to participate coming soon around potential facilities and programming options in the district.

 “We have listened to our community and responded by adding over 100 new opportunities for students; our community has been and continues to tell us that we need an answer to our facilities that will support 21st Century Learning, ” said Horton. “I will engage in a robust community engagement process to hear what our community wants and bring those opinions back to the board.”

The board approved a new course and registration guide for GFW Middle School and GFW High School. All grade levels will see expanded programming in a number of career clusters and pathways for students with expanded course options, additional support for students, and new technology initiatives. 

The district will be establishing what are called “Academies” that will be the overall umbrella for courses and programming focused on particular areas of interest and career options with several new opportunities for students. 

  • The BACE Academy (Business, Art, Communication and Entrepreneurship) provides additional business and entrepreneurship courses as well as work-based learning. Expanded arts programming including graphic design, web design, sculpture, and photography will also be offered. 
  • The AEM Academy (Agriculture, Engineering, Manufacturing) brings in a focus on agribusiness classes, auto mechanics, construction and metal fabrication courses, as well as more opportunities for work-based learning. Thunderbird Manufacturing will also combine a number of the fabrication skills with business courses that aim to train students to be able to produce products. 
  • The HSHS Academy (Health Sciences and Human Services) focuses on a number of areas including emergency medical careers, law enforcement, child growth and development, and additional science courses.  

The board also approved a resolution to move the fifth grade program to GFW Middle School starting in the 2022-23 school year. This move will improve staffing and curriculum planning and allow students to be able to participate in more options at an earlier age. Benefits for fifth graders will include early involvement with band and choir programs, more elective options and early trade experiences, and access to more after school programs. 

For more information on GFW Public Schools, visit

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Continuing our commitment to community engagement

These are exciting times for our school district! We are moving forward with a new course and programming guide that will result in over 100 additional opportunities for our students being added. These include expanded course options, additional support for students, new and improved programming, as well as new technology initiatives. Our career and college readiness academies include:

  • AEM Academy (Agriculture, Engineering, Manufacturing)
  • BACE Academy (Business, Arts, Communication, Entrepreneurship)
  • HSHS Academy (Health Services, Human Services)

When I started as superintendent, we held a listening tour and heard from community members about priorities for our district including improving our finances and expanding student opportunities. We kept those promises and are continuing that work. During the strategic planning process, We heard about the needs in our district and the areas that needed more focus, and we built those directly into our plan and have seen several goals achieved already. 

Now we are in a strong position to continue to expand student opportunities and are seeking community involvement as part of our “Your Strategic Plan in Action Tour” which has resulted in exciting new things on the way. We also continue to hear that our facilities need attention, and we will explore options with our community. There are benefits to looking into addressing these issues now according to our financial advisors and auditors. Interest rates are at historic lows and the Ag2School Tax Credit is increasing to 70% for agricultural property, which would cover around 50% of any facility project in our district. 

We have listened to our community and kept our promises, and we are seeing results of our work. We will continue to listen as I hold an extensive community engagement process where I will be in the community hearing about what direction our district needs to go in next. I encourage you to reach out to me and get involved with this process to help continue to strengthen our district and better serve our students. You can provide your feedback by emailing

Another exciting news item about our district is that we have received news that our credit rating has seen a big improvement according to S&P Global thanks to the decisions that we made and the work that we took on. Our previous credit rating came with a negative outlook, which means that S&P Global thought there was a high possibility that our rating would be downgraded. We have now seen an upgrade, which means our district will now have lower borrowing costs. This is a great achievement and I am very proud to be able to share that we took the charge from our community to improve our finances very seriously and that we are seeing results of that work.

All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a Thunderbird!

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How to Help Your Children Prepare for Their Finals

Being a child is tough, but dealing with final exams on top of growing up makes childhood even tougher. It’s a necessary part of growing up and getting your education, though, so as parents, it’s important to step in and help your child prepare if possible. While you can’t take the exam for them, you can help them at home to become as prepared as possible; this way, when they go to take the test they’re confident in their abilities and are more likely to succeed. How can you go about doing that, though? Here are a few ways.


One of the best ways to prepare for an exam is to learn about it and know what to expect. It’s important to know what will be on the test and how the test will be structured, because tackling a multiple-choice test is much different than going and taking a test based on essays. Look at class notes, the testing website if it’s online, or consult the school for information on the exam to find out things like when the test will be, what will be tested, how long it’ll take, and so on. 


Your child’s teacher will know the test best, so you should reach out to them if you want to learn about the exam. Doing so will get you the most up-to-date information on the exam’s structure and subject matter, and they’ll be able to tell you where your child is struggling the most so you can help them with it at home. Learning this will help your child study effectively.


If the exam in question is a standardized test, you should look for practice exams online for your child to take. These tests are ones from previous years, so you’ll be able to see the type of content typically on the tests and how it’s formatted. This method falls through if your child isn’t taking a standardized test, so if that’s the case, your best bet is to look at your child’s notes and textbooks. Some teachers provide review guides before their tests, and some textbooks come with practice tests at the back of them, so use both of these to your advantage.


Tutors are meant to help your child study and prepare for their classes and exams, so if you’re not sure about whether you can effectively help your child prepare, consider hiring one. You can reach out to older students who’ve taken these exams in the past or go online to tutoring websites to find a tutor for your child. 

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