New Bedford schools in financial crisis

7 Jan

new bedford schoolsWith the recent financial crisis in the New Bedford Schools that forced the layoffs of dozens of teachers, I’m reminded of George Santayana’s quote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

” The history of financial mismanagement in the school department has lasted for well over a generation.

Consider the tenure of Steven Lamarche as the associate superintendent for business, who announced a surprise $2.75 million deficit in the fiscal 1996 budget.

It is rather shocking that he was ever in a position of overseeing tens of millions of dollars, because he lacked state certification as a business school manager or a graduate business degree. Prior to his employment in the business office in 1985, he was a fifth-grade classroom teacher.

He also revealed that for several years, purchase orders were documented after the fact and an outside auditor’s analysis found “virtually no documentation of the number of employees, their salaries or other expenses by the people responsible for the budget.” (The Standard-Times, March 7, 1997) The business manager hired to replace him certainly had the background and experience for the job.

Before the New Bedford Schools , Peter Roche had been the business manager for two other school districts and was a state-certified school business manager. The only problem was that he left New Bedford after just seven months on the job.

Why would such a qualified professional leave so quickly? With the sudden departure of Business Manager Lawrence Oliveira in 2011 after seven years on the job, you will never believe who was hired back as the interim school business manager.

Yes, the guy that never got certified and did purchase orders after the fact: Steven Lamarche.

With the hiring of Deborah Brown in August 2011, things were looking up, as she was perhaps the best qualified school business manager of the past 30 years.

She was a certified public accountant and had a MBA degree. Yet she only lasted 13 months, giving her two-week’s notice shortly after the beginning of her second school year.

Was she alarmed by the business practices of the department? Why did the two most qualified school business managers, Roche and Brown, have such short tenures? Steve Urbon’s column of Feb. 22, 2013 (“Looking under rocks in the School Department”), was revealing in what she may have encountered.

Would you believe payroll was being done by hand and in pencil?

Urbon’s column made no [...]

Paris gets 1st Place in QS Best Student Cities list

27 Dec

qs best student citiesThe Independent has reported that QS Best Student Cities has released their list of the best 50 cities for students.

Home to twenty-two universities and a variety of other education establishments, London achieved second place in the list. While the cost of living and studying in London was discussed, the QS Guide referred to London as “a nerve-centre of global academia,” with “world class facilities”.

For the second consecutive year Paris was given the plaudit of first place, succeeding London by two points, due to its 17 world-ranked universities, low tuition fees, range of employers, and its status as “one of the world’s most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities.”

Universities included in the QS best Student cities were based on scores in five categories, which included university rankings, quality of living, and employer activity. With London in 2nd place, Manchester and Edinburgh reached 29th and 32nd place respectively.

As an international removals company offering a wide range of services for students moving abroad, the team at Interdean were interested in the release of the top 50 cities for students in the world.

A spokesperson for the company shared their thoughts on the subject:

“It’s welcome news that a list of the best cities around the world for students has been compiled and Paris received first place.

Studying abroad can be an exciting experience for students but there are many things to consider, so lists such as these can play an important part in the decision process when students moving overseas are considering between cities.

We look forward to the release of the next list.”

Thomson Reuters Sales Graduate Program

25 Dec

thomson reuters sales graduate programAre you driven and self motivated for the Thomson Reuters Sales Graduate program ? Do you love working with people?

At Thomson Reuters, we believe the right information, in the right hands, at the right time leads to amazing things.

Through our sales teams, we provide invaluable information and insight to our customers that help drive their businesses forward.

If you’re motivated by retaining and growing our business, whilst delivering exceptional customer service, we want to hear from you!

The Thomson Reuters Sales Graduate Program (SGP) is designed for recent graduate students  from a broad range of academic backgrounds who demonstrate strong sales potential and can make a quick impact within the organization.

Throughout the 15 month program, you will rotate through three of our sales and customer facing teams where you will develop the skills necessary to launch a successful sales career within our Go To Market organisation.

You will learn about our customers, the products and information that power the financial markets and gain valuable insight into the industry that shapes our world.

The Thomson Reuters Sales Graduate Programs allows you to take advantage of all that Thomson Reuters has to offer. Whether it’s through the comprehensive induction program, the wide range of training and development opportunities available, or the ongoing support of an experienced mentor, the SGP sets you up for success.

On completion of the program, high performing sales graduates would expect to move into permanent roles within our Go To Market teams. The specific roles are not predetermined but would depend on individual aptitude and business needs. Are you a good fit?

Our ideal candidate has a good mix of the following: Bachelors degree – open to discipline with a history of strong academic results.

Fluency in English (Mandarin/Cantonese for Hong Kong) – additional languages are a plus.

Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Sales or customer-centric work experience – within the financial services sector is a plus.

A passion and drive to begin a career in sales.

An interest in Thomson Reuters and financial markets. Curiosity to learn, innovation and creativity.

Candidates must be legally and independently able to work in that location they are applying for. Shortlisted applications will be invited to take part in interviews and a full day assessment center event.

The number of graduates offered positions will depend on the quality of the applicants and the business needs of Thomson Reuters in the recruitment year. How do you apply? Apply online. [...]

2013 Linfield online Degree Program Survey results

24 Dec

linfield online degree programLinfield College announces the release of the 2013 Linfield online Degree Program (ADP) Graduates’ Survey.

After being graded on their performance as graduate students , the 2013 graduates of Linfield’s ADP gave high marks to the private non-profit regionally accredited college where they earned their bachelor’s degree.

The 2013 Graduates’ Survey reveals both quantitative and qualitative data on the students’ experience in Linfield’s online graduate degree programs .

94% of the graduates who completed the survey reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the teaching they received as Linfield College students.

93% reported the Adult Degree Program to be academically stimulating.

87% of respondents said their original expectations; to acquire in-depth knowledge in a particular field were fulfilled through their online learning experience at Linfield.

Many adults who return to college are motivated by expectations of career advancement and graduate school after achieving a bachelor’s degree. How well did Linfield deliver on these expectations?

81% of the respondents report their Linfield experience fulfilled or exceeded their expectations to develop relevant career skills.

86% agreed with the statement, “I’m well prepared for professional work,” and 85% agreed, “I’m well prepared for further study after Linfield.”

A graduate of the online Business Information Systems major observed, “The demand for the type of work this major provides is rapidly increasing.”

An accounting degree graduate said, “A major strength of Linfield online degree program is the job marketability (of the degree) in all states.

”The graduates were also asked to provide a “before and after” measurement of their academic and personal development gains from their experience at Linfield.

84% reported that their abilities to think critically and analyze effectively were moderately or greatly enhanced.80% reported they have developed increased abilities to formulate creative and original ideas to a moderate or greatly enhanced extent.

76% – 80% report that their ability to write effectively and to use quantitative tools was either moderately or greatly enhanced by the online bachelor’s degree program.

An online management degree graduate called out the strengths of the major program: “The capstone course and instructor through the simulation, projects, and memo writing assignments, developed my over-all, applicable understanding of business and increased my confidence in managing in real world situations.”While many [...]

TPD discharge process for students loans detailed

23 Dec

tpd dischargeI’m in the TPD discharge process myself and they are definitely nit picky about dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on the applications.

So before you submit your TPD discharge applications make sure everything is spelled out and not abbreviated and that you have a separate discharge application filled out for each of your loan program as you are going to need the original for every lender. Hope this helps.Total and permanent disability (TPD) Discharge

Student loans may be discharged if you have a TPD.

The Department of Education (Department) considers you to have a TPD if you are unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment that:

1) can be expected to result in death;

2) has lasted for a continuous period of not less than 60 months; or

3) can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 60 months.

The following will help you navigate the discharge process:

The TPD discharge process is complex and will take a significant amount of time; the time varies depending on the dates of disability and TPD discharge application.

TPD discharge applications must be reviewed first by the student loan holder and guaranty agency.

If approved by them, the Department then reviews the applications. You and your physician may be contacted at each level of the review.

The Department of Education’s TPD discharge requirements are different from the disability eligibility requirements for Social Security, Veteran’s Affairs, or any other federal agency.

In August 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) made changes to the Higher Education Act that established a separate process for determining whether certain veterans are totally and permanently disabled.

Veteran borrowers will be considered totally and permanently disabled for purposes of this discharge if the veteran provides documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs showing that they have been identified as individual unemployability (IU) or 100% disabled due to a service-connected condition.

A doctor of medicine or osteopathy, authorized to practice in the United States, must describe and certify your TPD status on the TPD discharge application form [see link below].
You must provide each loan holder with a [...]

Newsweek’s 2013 High School Rankings

20 Dec

Newsweek’s 2013 High School RankingsNewsweek’s 2013 High School Rankings have been compiled by “Newsweek” and “The Daily Beast” and releases a list of the nation’s top high schools in the country for the last two years, and this year, High Tech High School made the grade, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Director of High Tech High School.

Although “Newsweek” and “The Daily Beast” invited over 5,000 high schools to participate in the high school rankings survey for 2013, approximately 2,500 responded to the survey. All public high schools in the U.S. may participate in the survey.

High Tech ranked 436th out of approximately 2,500 for 2013.

The Newsweek’s 2013 High School Rankings list takes into consideration the nationally-proven indicators of college readiness, namely, graduation rates, participation in college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, and acceptance into a two- or four-year college program.

This year, “Newsweek” and “The Daily Beast” updated their methodology, weighing the percentage of enrolled students in an AP, IB or Advance International Certificate of Education (AICE) course instead of considering the number of courses offered. Schools volunteer their data to “Newsweek” and “The Daily Beast” for the 2011–12 school year.

The full methodology and weighing of the school rankings go as follows:
(1) Four-year, on-time graduation rate (25 percent): According to the National Governors Association’s calculation, one divides the number of graduates in 2012 by the number of ninth graders in 2008, plus transfers in, minus transfers out. This calculation does not include graduate students who took longer than four years to complete high school. High Tech has a 99% graduation rate.

(2) Percent of 2011 graduates accepted into either a two- or four-year college (25 percent): 99% of High Tech graduates move on to college.

(3) AP/IB/AICE tests per student (25 percent): This metric considers the total number of AP, IB, and AICE tests given in 2012, divided by total enrollment in order to normalize by school size, subtracted by the AP exams taken by students who also took an IB or AICE exam in the same subject area. 30% of High Tech students take AP courses.

(4) Average SAT and/or ACT score (10 percent): High Tech students average 1660 on the SAT and 23 as an ACT score.

(5) Average AP/IB/AICE exam score (10 percent): High Tech students have an average score of 3.5 on the AP exams.
(6) Percent of students enrolled in at least one AP/IB/AICE course (5 percent): See above for AP tests per student.

How I Signed Up for ACA Health Insurance

19 Dec

aca health insuranceI am one of the earliest people to sign up for new ACA health insurance under the Affordable Care Act last October.

I, by no means, am an expert on the Affordable Care Act, Covered California (my state’s insurance exchange) or health insurance in general. This is my experience and your experiences and your state’s exchanges will be different.

If you have questions about the Affordable Care Act, contact an insurance representative or someone who works in your state exchange.

I originally tried to get health insurance about fifteen years ago, but was denied for non-health related reasons. The only other alternative was to sign up for my state’s Major Medical program which was prohibitively expensive.

A few years later, I started looking at plans again, out of curiosity, and found that their premiums have gone up 500%! High deductible plans were costing over $300 for nothing since you had to meet the deductible before they would cover you for anything .

When the ACA health insurance came out, I worried about being able to pay for my insurance. I have a large student loan debt and most of my “spare” income is spent paying for it for many years to come.

I was worried I would have to cut back on necessary expenses. When I used the calculator on Covered California, before signing up, the plans and prices still seemed expensive even though a subsidy reduced the costs.

Covered California’s site was difficult to use when I signed up the first week. It kept freezing and crashing on me, but I completed all the questions.

I found that my student loan interest payments were deducted from my income and, in the end, the payments were very low. I could opt not to use my entire subsidy and make higher payments in case I made more money than what was calculated after plugging in my hourly wage and self-employment income.

I found out that any difference in what I actually paid in premiums and what I should have paid in premiums is figured out when you file your taxes the following year.

If I paid too much, then I get a refund when I file my taxes. If I paid too little, I would owe for the difference. It was important that I figure out what my income will be as close as possible. I opted to pay more, get a refund rather [...]

Apply for the 2014 Artist Trust Fellowships

18 Dec

artist trust fellowshipsWashington State artists practicing in Music, Media, Literary and Craft Arts are encouraged to apply for the 2014 Artist Trust Fellowships . These $7,500 awards will recognize 14 practicing professional artists of exceptional talent and demonstrated ability, acknowledging an artist’s creative excellence and accomplishment, professional achievement and continuing dedication to their artistic discipline.In addition, and new this year, Artist Trust will partner with the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY, to provide one artist each in the Literary and Music disciplines a one-month long residency at the Colony and a $1,000 stipend. Residency recipients will be chosen by the grants panel during the Fellowship review process.

As an integral component of the Scholarship program , recipients present a Meet the Artist event outside of their geographic area of residence or to a community that would not ordinarily have access to their work, within Washington State.

Meet the Artist events have included public readings, lectures, workshops and performances, increasing artists’ visibility and providing Washington State residents increased awareness about artists in our community.

Applicants must apply online by visiting www.artisttrust.org . Applicants must be 18 years of age or older by the application deadline date; be a generative artist; and be a resident of Washington State at the time of application and when the award is granted.

Applicants may NOT be a graduate or undergraduate matriculated student enrolled in any graduate degree program by the application deadline.

Fellowships to artists working in Emerging Fields & Cross Disciplinary, Performing, Visual and Traditional & Folk Arts are awarded in odd-numbered years.

A complete guide to the Fellowship application can be found at www.artisttrust.org .

A free one-hour webinar , providing information on specific components of the application such as work sample and résumé, and the online application process, will be offered December 10, 6-7pm.

Artists who want to apply for the 2014 Artist Trust Fellowships are also encouraged to attend grant-writing and professional development workshops and webinars offered by Artist Trust to artists around the state. Visit www.artisttrust.org for more information.

The application deadline is January 13, 2014. Artists can download guidelines at www.artisttrust.org or by mailing a business-sized, self-addressed stamped envelope to: 2014 Fellowship Application, Artist Trust, 1835 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122.

About Artist Trust Artist Trust is a not-for-profit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich [...]

Why NYU graduate students fought to unionize

17 Dec

nyu graduate studentsNYU graduate students voted overwhelmingly for union representation , making NYU the only private university in the country with unionized graduate workers.

Teaching, research and program assistants from dozens of departments at NYU , including the department of history, where I teach, participated in the two-day election, marking the culmination of an eight-year organizing effort on the part of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee/United Auto Workers Local 2110.

The decisive victory — with 620 voting in favor of the union, and just 10 voting against — gives the union a strong mandate as we enter contract negotiations over pay, health care costs and job stability with the university administration.

That mandate represents an important victory not only for university workers across the country, but for the parents of current and future college students, and for the graduate school students themselves.

There has been a vast restructuring of higher education in the past few decades, as universities have come to be run increasingly like corporations, with an emphasis on their international branding and an eye to the bottom line.

This restructuring has brought about a number of important changes: an enormous expansion in the numbers of highly paid executive administrators; a greater focus on revenue-generation, with some colleges deciding to cut departments like history and English, which are deemed unprofitable; an increasing reliance on part-time adjunct faculty , whose meager pay and lack of benefits have driven some to public assistance ; and, most importantly for students and their families, massive increases in tuition rates and student debt.

Amongst NYU graduate students , a typical student in one of my classes is likely to graduate with almost 50 percent more student loan debt than the national average; the school also has the highest total of student loans in the country.

The cost of attending NYU is among the highest in the country , and its financial aid remains woefully inadequate — a fact thrown into sharp relief when it was disclosed this summer that the university was footing the bill for high-priced vacation homes for its executives.

After the vacation-home scandal focused national attention on the university’s financial priorities, the administration announced a new fundraising campaign focused on increasing graduate scholarships , a step in the right direction.

But the larger, underlying problem remains: The national trend toward corporate-style governance shortchanges the core mission of the university: research, teaching and learning.

The graduate students ’ [...]