Education

The Inherent Inequality of How America Funds Public Schools

Across the country, poor and minority students face myriad challenges, including food insecurity, inadequate preventative health care or having primary care givers away from home for long hours due to multiple low-wage jobs. 

“The correlation between educational attainment and civic participation is strong and well-documented: educated citizens have more opportunities to obtain and exercise civic skills, are more interested in and informed about politics, and in turn, are more likely to vote” - Stanford 2017

“The correlation between educational attainment and civic participation is strong and well-documented: educated citizens have more opportunities to obtain and exercise civic skills, are more interested in and informed about politics, and in turn, are more likely to vote” -Stanford 2017

They also miss out on educational opportunities because they attend chronically underfunded schools. Due to an inherently unequal system of school funding across the country, predominantly white school districts received $23 billion more in state and local funding than nonwhite school districts in 2016.     

This alarming and excessive inequality in American public school funding stems from a basic design flaw: local taxes fund local schools. Thus, tax revenues in wealthier, mostly white, areas with higher property values generate significantly more money for schools, even when their tax rates are lower. Poor, more diverse, areas can attempt to levy taxes even to ridiculous levels (for example, Detroit’s effective property tax rate is a whopping 3.81%, versus Michigan’s overall rate of 1.5%) but still cannot produce enough money to send to schools. 

Those with Less get Less

This funding gap plays out between states, within states and sometimes even within school districts. Federal funding balances out some funding disparity, but that money is not meant to make up for state and local inequalities but rather to offset the extra costs of educating needy students. 

Because these funding gaps magnify racial disparities and often cement a student’s socioeconomic status before he or she finishes grade school, this issue belies the notion of the American dream as achievable for everyone. 

Systemically underfunded schools send a tiny fraction of their students on to higher education. In Chicago, 75 percent of public school students graduate from high school, but only 19 percent are projected to graduate from college within 10 years. Of those, the prospects for racial minorities are even worse: the school district anticipates only 10 percent of young black men and 13 percent of Latino men will earn a degree in that time. 

“Chicago Public Schools has been especially hard hit, with annual budget deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” - Washington Post

“Chicago Public Schools has been especially hard hit, with annual budget deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” -Washington Post

State by state, the amount spent per capita varies extremely, from Utah on the lowest end spending less than $7,000 per pupil in 2016, to New York spending more than three times that: $22,366. Even with cost of living differences across states, students from Utah and New York will eventually compete for admission to the same colleges and jobs at the same companies. How will their unequal K-12 educations have prepared them? 

The ability to so accurately predict a child’s college success rate based on race and zip code indicates of how deep and prevalent the problems of poverty and racial discrimination run. It elevates school funding equality as the most pressing civil rights issue of our day and makes equalizing school funding a key lever for a more just society. 

A $100,000 Difference

So, what does an inadequate education look and feel like for elementary and high school students? In Pennsylvania, where the funding gap between high-wealth and low-wealth districts is the largest in the nation and growing, it means nearly $4,000 more is spent per child per year, or nearly $100,000 more per year on a classroom of 25 students.  

It means more and better staff, facilities and resources such as curriculum and technology. 

Time and again studies have pointed to teacher quality as the largest determinant of student achievement. Disparate school funding means the students who already have the most advantages end up with the best educated, most experienced and highest paid teachers.  

In suburban Lower Merion, PA, the median household income is $127,125 and the poverty rate hovers near 5.2 percent. Here, teachers earn nearly $100,000 per year on average. With these salaries, Lower Merion schools can afford to attract and retain the best quality teachers who only get better with time. The average teacher in this school system boasts 15 years of experience and 92 percent have an advanced degree. 

“The proven long-term benefits of reducing class sizes—achievement gains and higher graduation.” - National Education Association

“The proven long-term benefits of reducing class sizes—achievement gains and higher graduation.” -National Education Association

Teacher vacancies happen infrequently not only because Lower Merion students and families less frequently face the desperate issues of homelessness, foster care, and discrimination, but also because Lower Merion teachers can afford to care for their own families on their generous salaries.

By contrast, just across City Line Avenue in Philadelphia, the median household income stands at $40,649 and a full quarter of the city’s residents, or about 400,000 people, live in poverty. Philadelphia’s teachers face challenges inherent in educating poor students, new arrivals to the United States and a high percentage of students with special needs. These students may present various misbehaviors, struggle with the effects of trauma, or be unwilling to trust new teachers who come and go so quickly. 

Instead of earning extra for meeting extra demands, Philadelphia’s teachers make far less money per year than their counterparts in Lower Merion. The average teacher’s salary is $67,000. As a result, the Philadelphia school district loses around 27 percent of its teachers each year due to burnout and attrition. So, year after year, the students who need the best, most experienced teachers, frequently get novice teachers who do not last in their schools or even the profession. 

Disparities in school funding can also be seen in school facilities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, localities carry more than 80 percent of the burden for capital costs of building and improving schools. So, while wealthier areas have new school buildings or renovations featuring state of the art technology labs, tracks and swimming pools, poor areas suffer. 

“Right now, in many states, schools with the highest-need students receive fewer resources than those serving the most affluent,” - National Education Association

“Right now, in many states, schools with the highest-need students receive fewer resources than those serving the most affluent,” -National Education Association

Outdated and underfunded schools can also expose students to environmental risks that make them sick, such as exposure to lead paint, lead pipes and asbestos. The ceilings and roofs of these buildings sometimes leak, crumble or cave in, and temperature control issues reach dangerous levels as boiler systems fail to heat classrooms above 40 degrees in winter or 5-year-olds roast in un-air conditioned classrooms when the heat index tops 98 degrees. 

To top this all off, well-funded schools can afford more computers, counselors, psychologists, gifted and talented program coordinators, research-based, proven curriculums, and comprehensive training for teachers to effectively teach that curriculum. Underfunded schools cannot count on any of these resources. Sometimes they cannot even count on having the most basic learning tools, such as copy paper, pencils or pencil sharpeners. Teachers either pay out of pocket for these materials, raise money online through websites like donorschoose.org or simply go without. 

Equitable School Funding Starts at the Ballot Box

So, what can everyday citizens do to advocate for equal funding of all public schools and help students, teachers and families in these cash-strapped districts? 

First and foremost, participate in local, statewide and federal elections to support candidates who believe in public—not charter or voucher—education. Even seemingly esoteric contests for, say, state supreme court justices become vitally important when issues of free and fair public education arise.

For example, the supreme court of New Jersey ruled in 1985 and 1990 that the K-12 education offered in its poor communities was unconstitutionally subpar and ordered the state to fund a handful of poor school districts to the average level of the state’s wealthiest districts. 

“People with higher levels of education and higher income have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared to those with less education and lower income levels,” - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“People with higher levels of education and higher income have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared to those with less education and lower income levels,” -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Voting for and lobbying state legislators matters, too. Pennsylvania’s state legislature passed a bipartisan fair funding formula in 2016 that accounts for students in poverty, those with special needs, or who are learning English as a second language and who leave for a district for charter schools. However, the state only distributes new money, or about 10 percent of state aid, according to this formula and distributes the other 90 percent based on 28-year-old student population data.

Obviously, voting for the nation’s highest office profoundly impacts school funding. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, advocates dramatically underfunding all public schools in a bid to privatize education. She recently pushed to cut $7.1 billion from the federal education budget and instead divert up to $50 billion over ten years into school choice voucher systems and $500 million of federal aid to charter schools. These policies would have an outsized effect on schools relying heavily on federal funding due to inadequate state and local dollars. 

Inspiring and unlocking the potential of all our children through education improves our country’s morale and strengthens our economy. Too many bright students languish with their gifts unused—and will continue to until we give them the equal educational opportunities they deserve. 

News Literacy Should Be a Mandatory Part of Education

In the 2016 United States presidential election false news took center stage in a completely unprecedented fashion. Falsified news stories and propaganda have existed since the beginning of the printing press, and likely even before that, but what became new was the ability for bad actors to publish outright lies, then use tools build by social media conglomerates (intended to sell you just the right thing) to plant misinformation on a highly targeted and distributed fashion.

The same tools that allowed brands like Warby Parker and Glossier to target the exact demographic of purchasers they think will most likely buy their goods (young urbanites with newly disposable income) allowed foreign governments, white nationalists, and disingenuous political actors to target who they thought would most likely carry out their strategies.

A recent survey conducted by Statista states that 41% of adults in the United States get their news from Facebook and social media, daily. According to the same source, 52% also believe that online news sites regularly report false stories regularly, and that 64% believe that false news causes a great deal of confusion. By Facebook’s own numbers, 126 million American Facebook users were exposed to Russian propaganda in the 2016 election.

To combat the deeply toxic nature of false news, platforms need to take an editorial stand, like Facebook did earlier this week by banning white nationalist and separatist content off of their platforms. Even further, we need to harden ourselves from false news, through the education system, and better teach our students news literacy.

News literacy, as defined by the Center for News Literacy, is “designed to help students develop critical thinking skills in order to judge the reliability and credibility of information, whether it comes via print, television or the Internet. This is a particularly important skill in the Digital Age, as everyone struggles to deal with information overload and the difficulty in determining the authenticity of reports.”

If schools were to incorporate lessons of news literacy into their curriculum, it would equip their graduates with the ability to think critically about the information that they receive, and where it’s coming from. In an increasingly digitized world where remote working and freelancing are becoming standards of practice, being able to give a critical eye to what you are being told gives one the ability to discern between potential propaganda and actual fact.

In our current distributed, internet, information overload-scape that we live in, even non-political actors are incentivized to create inauthentic news stories. This might sound less scary than what we see when content is made maliciously, but if counted is incentivized to be made solely for what gets clicks and not what is accurate, then what is at stake is an information landscape where fact and fiction are completely indiscernible.

In the book Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts by Jill Abramson, we are introduced to a case study as to how false news stories can be produced solely for the purposes of profit, and how they can have real world outcomes. “Across the world, in the small Macedonian town of Veles, a legion of young adult online marketers have developed a vibrant local industry of pro-Trump fake news websites with thriving audiences that they had built on Facebook into lucrative ventures.”

The book goes on to tell us that, “Silverman would later visit Veles and meet the internet marketing guru who had instructed the kids. He told the Buzzfeed reporter that these were his stand out students and that he was proud of them. He had not taught them to explicitly publish fake news, but rather to do what works… Some of their post were getting nearly half a million interactions on Facebook, meaning they had appeared in the News Feeds of millions of users.”

The point of the excerpt concludes with, “‘The beautiful thing about the Macedonians,’ Silverman explained, ‘is that they are the perfect expression of the social media publishing economy.’ Teenagers concocting fake news stories could make as much as $10,000 a month from the advertising they attracted. The Macedonians were succeeding because they gauged the desires of their readership and addressed them directly.”

Even if platforms like Google and Facebook were able to clean up the worst kinds of false news stories, there will still be a market for people who need a paycheck to create websites that publish content that is at the very least click-baity, or at the very worse toxic and intentionally divisive. Because these types of disingenuous stories will likely continue to exist, we need to better prepare how to spot and ignore them.

There are nonprofits and organizations working on this solution now, but as with everything, progress only goes as fast as it can be funded. Recently, the News Literacy Project received a $5 million grant from the Knight Foundation to help the organization expand its efforts. The organization’s programs have reached 122,000 students nationally. Google and Facebook have both announced plans to spend $300 million to support journalism. The problem, however, is that tech companies like Google and Facebook have damaged journalism to the tune of billions of dollars, not millions. If the false news and news illiteracy problem is really going to get solved, those numbers are going to have to swell.

On some level, YouTube is getting ahead of this problem by providing informational context below videos about climate change (a hotbed for false news) hosted on its site by pointing viewers towards Wikipedia. On the other end, the site is mired in its own controversy surrounding algorithmic rabbit holes recommending conspiracy theory videos to users, causing some to believe them as fact. The problem of news illiteracy is a massive undertaking that we as a society will be reckoning with for the foreseeable future, but if our education system could pick up where tech companies lack, we will at least be able to defend ourselves.

Why Universal College Tuition Programs are Really, Very, Good Ideas

A few decades ago, a college degree was a symbol of a sustained commitment to higher education, one that set you apart from the crowd on the job market and gave you a leg up against your non-college educated peers. However, in today’s increasingly competitive, increasingly globalized economy, a college education has become a prerequisite for many careers. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that by next year, 65% of all American jobs will require at least a two-year associate’s degree, if not a four-year bachelor’s degree. Although many college graduates end up pursuing careers completely unrelated to their majors, some proof of post-high school education is an absolute necessity to get your foot in the door. Many high schoolers and their families are acutely aware of this educational imperative, and they’re willing to go to great lengths to secure a diploma that promises them a successful career, financial stability, and opportunities that non-college graduates will never have. 

Of course, this all-important diploma comes at a great cost. About 70% of all college graduates in the United States leave their colleges or universities with a significant amount of student debt. As of 2018, the total amount of student loan debt owed by American college graduates was almost $1.5 trillion. Averaged out among individual college grads, this means that the average college student graduates owing $37,172. This figure is up over $17,000 from the average individual student loan debt in 2005. Monthly student loan payments have increased accordingly, with the average monthly student loan payment reaching about $400 in 2016, almost double the average monthly student loan payment from 2005. As a consequence, economists expect the retirement age of current college students and recent college graduates to skyrocket. Currently, the social security retirement age in the United States falls between 65 years old and 66.5 years old, depending on a person’s specific birth year. New studies predict that the average college graduate of the Class of 2015 will have to defer their retirement until the age of 75 because of their student loan debt. As time goes by, the average amount of student debt that future college graduates accrue will likely increase. If current trends are anything to go by, it already has. In 1987, the average annual tuition cost of a public four-year institution was just $3,190 per year, adjusted for inflation. Thirty years later, that cost has tripled, reaching $9,970 per year. The average annual tuition for a private, nonprofit four-year institution in 1987 was $15,160. Now, it’s reached $34,470 per year. With each coming year, it becomes increasingly expensive to attend college, and the financial burden placed on college students and their families grows increasingly heavier. 

Students from low-income backgrounds are consistently at a distinct disadvantage throughout their college years. Although financial aid is available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as work-study programs, publicly and privately-funded scholarships, and grants, these avenues are oftentimes still not enough to cover the exorbitant costs of tuition, room and board, and textbooks. Low-income students, defined by a total family annual income of less than $40,000 per year, often find themselves having to work additional part-time jobs in order to pay their tuition, and every hour spent taking classes, studying, and doing homework is an hour that could have been spent making money. These financial stresses can become a distraction from academics, leading to poorer performance in classes and defeating the purpose of attending college in the first place. Additionally, many low-income students opt to live at home and commute to campus, forgoing the costs of dorms and meal plans. However, although commuting to college can save thousands of dollars per year, it can also have adverse effects on a student’s overall college experience. Much of the value of college doesn’t exclusively come from the things a student learns in class — extracurricular clubs, internships, research programs, and social life are often centered around the college campus itself. These opportunities, which are crucial for networking, personal development, and resume-building, are more difficult to attain for commuter students. 

Colleges (rightly) claim that a degree is the key to upward financial mobility, a tantalizing prospect for anyone, but especially for low-income students. Ironically, the process of surviving and thriving in college is also the most difficult for those very same low-income students that universities purport to help. Of course, race also matters a great deal in the discussion around low-income students. Black, Hispanic, and Native American households are the most likely to classify as low-income, which means that their children are disproportionally affected by the struggles that befall low-income students in the United States. These students are placed in an impossible bind — without a college degree, their ability to land a solid career and obtain financial stability is significantly diminished. However, obtaining a college degree almost guarantees burdening themselves with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, which will likely take upwards of two decades to pay off. This conundrum is the birthplace of the fight for universal college tuition. It’s crucial that we level the playing field, allowing all students, regardless of their race or economic status, to enjoy the full spectrum of opportunities that college can offer. A program of universal college tuition makes college accessible for all students, allowing them to prove themselves based on their academic prowess, intelligence, curiosity, and creativity, not their families’ gross annual income. 

Although they may sound like a utopian pipe dream, universal college tuition programs are already being implemented in the United States and abroad. As of 2018, 17 states offer promise programs, which offer tuition-free scholarships to public college programs for qualifying low-income students. Of these 17 states, New York is the only one to offer tuition-free scholarships for both community colleges and participating public four-year universities. Outside of the United States, countries like Norway, Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Mexico, and Brazil offer free tuition in their public universities, making a good education infinitely more accessible for all students. Although the sheer geographic size of the United States makes universal free tuition at all public universities a daunting challenge, we can still learn from these international universal tuition programs. If we can’t make higher education free, we should at least endeavor to make it much more accessible. 

Aside from offering personal growth opportunities to low-income students, investing in educational accessibility would also do the entire nation good. A 2015 study conducted at the University of Munich in Germany asserts that education may be the single biggest factor in a nation’s economic growth. When more people receive a good education, unemployment rates drop and income levels rise. Over generations, this causal relationship becomes bidirectional. Better-educated people are able to land better jobs with better pay, and are thus able to better educate their children, setting off a feedback loop of educational prowess and economic prosperity. In countries like China and Bangladesh, this feedback loop has caused a marked increase in GDP per capita, proving that improvements in education are crucial for nationwide economic growth. Although universal tuition might seem like a hefty investment, it absolutely will pay off.

At its heart, universal college tuition isn’t just about sending more students to college. A universal college tuition program helps mitigate systemic inequalities of class and race, allowing low-income students from all over the country to better their economic situation for generations to come. It ensures that bright, talented students aren’t at a disadvantage because of their families’ finances, and leads to greater diversity of thought and experience in business, tech, academia, and any other major industry you could possibly think of. At a national level, universal college tuition increases employment rates and income levels. When implemented correctly, it can even lift an entire nation’s GDP per capita. If we want to ensure our country’s continued economic prosperity, allowing people of all backgrounds to partake in the academic and career opportunities out there, investing in universal college tuition is an absolute must. 

Uber Set to Offer Their Best Drivers a College Tuition

In an effort to boost driver satisfaction and loyalty, Uber is launching a new program called Uber Pro. Amongst other perks, the rideshare company is offering its best drivers free college tuition through a partnership with the University of Arizona’s online program. The incentive covers both undergraduate and graduate programs that the school offers, and is good for as long as drivers maintain their status in the perk system.

Source:  Uber

Source: Uber

Uber Pro is a tier based incentives program designed by Uber to both improve relationships with its drivers, and also discourage them from driving with its major competitor, Lyft. In addition to college tuition, drivers can earn up to a 6% bonus on fares, free car repair for dents and scratches, cash back on gas purchases, and free 24/7 roadside assistance. The rewards are broken into segments, and as drivers drive more (while keeping their positive reviews), they will earn better and better rewards.

In order to be eligible, you need to meet a few qualifications. Uber Pro is designed for people who drive for Uber professionally—hence the name Uber Pro. That means people who drive for Uber regularly, and not just as an occasional lark. Uber isn't planning to restrict based on hours, however, qualifying applicants must have a high review rating, with a minimum of 4.85 stars, and a low cancellation rate of less than 4%. The goal isn't so much to encourage drivers to drive more, but to make sure when they are driving they are giving customers their all.

Source:  Uber

Source: Uber

Although the free college tuition is restricted to just one college and online courses only, you can still get 80 different undergraduate degrees using the program, fully funded by Uber. The courses, offered by the University of Arizona, are advertised to be the exact same coursework as their in person courses. They also have skill programs tailored to helping you in life, such as English language courses in addition to more technical offerings and graduate programs. For cash strapped students and drivers, this is an opportunity that may be too good to resist. To make the incentive accessible for even more drivers, Uber allows drivers to transfer the tuition to another person in their family.

Right now the pilot program is only being tested in eight cities. It's available to all drivers in Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, and Phoenix, and to about half of drivers in Denver, New Jersey, Orlando, and Tampa.

There are four tiers to the program. Partner, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. In order to receive free college tuition you need to achieve either Platinum or Diamond status. You have the opportunity to go up or down in status once every 3 months, so even if you have a bad week, you still have the opportunity to do better and recover your status. You can also lose your status if you start exhibiting poor driving skills after achieving your coveted level.

After the initial test period, Uber plans to expand the program nationwide. If successful, this will become a great opportunity for Uber’s drivers- either giving them economic mobility that may have otherwise been out of reach or furthering them or a family member along in their professional life. While there are still issues in the relationship between rideshare companies and the people they contract to drive for them, this is an incentive offered in good faith that makes that relationship seem less tenuous.

Girls Who Code: Bringing Women Back to Technology

Right now, the United States is suffering from a huge computing crisis. It's not a virus or a new technology, but simply a lack of skilled coders. Right now there are 500,000 computer science jobs open, but only 40,000 graduates to fill them. With coding and other jobs in the computer field becoming more important to businesses everywhere, that gap is only widening. One of the reasons? Half of our future generation is being ignored as potential people to fill the gap.

Men vastly outnumber women in the computer science field, and a common answer to this problem is that it starts with the educational system. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2015, women accounted for only 18% of all computer science degrees earned for that year, and even less for women of color. This is reflected in the job market where, according to the Observer, women in tech represent only 25% of computing jobs- while also earning less of a salary than their male counterparts 63% of the time.

Some people even argue that women will never be a major part of the sciences, not from anything people are doing, but due to personality differences in men vs. women. Their arguments, however, are false and don't measure up to studies. This can be shown not only in paper, but in countries outside the US. In India, half of the students in computer science classes are female, and they perform just as well in examinations.

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Despite the conflicts on the gender gap, the fact is jobs need filling, and women weren't being catered to. At least until Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that reaches out to girls and organizes workshops for them to learn computer programming. These workshops can also be hosted by community organizers and leaders that register an independent workshop through the Girls Who Code website. These workshops can even be found throughout the US in all 50 states.

Girls Who Code focuses on computer clubs, for children as young as third grade, and has both camps and summer program for kids 6th grade through 12th grade. Their efforts have been highly effective. Those who complete the program often go on to graduate in computer science, at a rate of 15 times the national average. 

Their success is so great, they are projecting to help close the gender gap by 2027. Girls Who Code has already helped 90,000 girls, and continues to help more every day. Their efforts have been especially beneficial to minorities that are underrepresented in technology, such as black and Latina women, and low-income girls that may not have the same opportunities available to them. By choosing a computer science degree, they choose a better life for themselves, by helping to diversify tech or by ending the cycle of poverty. 

“...what we are doing is preparing students to be able to tackle STEM [science, technology, engineering and math]-related fields and to feel relatively comfortable with it as the technology changes and the workforce changes.” -Tracy Gray, the Managing Director of the American Institutes for Research

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Bootcamps and workshops like the ones that Girls Who Code put on are not only important now because of the amount of job openings, but are also important for the future. As the work force becomes more and more digital, with more traditional jobs being phased out due to forces like automation and artificial intelligence, teaching girls and women to code better prepares them for the future of work- a future where coding will be table stakes for many jobs.

When women get jobs in technology and even out the gender differences in companies, those companies also go on to preform better. According to a study reported by Forbes, "tech companies with a higher proportion of women employees, especially in leadership roles, perform better - both financially and in terms of creativity and innovation."

Even if girls can't find a good coding job, the odds are good they have a strong future in the tech industry—but only if they have the qualifications to apply. Girls Who Code still has a great deal of work to do. There are thousands of girls to be reached. Without programs like this one, they can slip through the cracks, and miss out on a career they might find themselves enjoying.

Apple is Bringing Programing to Chicago Schools

Computers are an every day essential in our modern lives. Hardly any of us can get through a day without resorting to some sort of technology to help us through it, and most of us spend the majority of our work life on a computer or cell phone. According to Recode, this reality has even gotten to the point that nearly half of American teens are online 'almost constantly.'

Despite how critical technology is for our day to day living, computer programming is not nationally mandated to be taught, and school systems have been slow to add on classes that reflect our need to understand technology, until now. The city of Chicago is working with Apple to provide education to thousands of school age children on how to code.

The new program, entitled “Everyone can Code,” teaches children of all ages Apple's Swift Code. This is a popular code used to make many of the apps we are familiar with today, and is fairly simple and easy to understand compared to many other computer languages. 

Children learn how to code through Swift Playground, a series of simple lessons made up of puzzles and games that the code can solve. As you advance through the game, so does your knowledge of coding. Apple also plans to make this program available for after school clubs, so that children will have as many chances as possible to learn these valuable skills.

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There are nearly 500,000 children in Chicago, and Apple is working hand in hand with the city of Chicago itself, as well as Northwestern University to help make the new changes easier. Northwestern staff will be working directly with teachers to help them learn how to teach the Everyone Can Code Curriculum. The lessons are free for any teacher who wishes to bring this curriculum to their school.

Apple is also providing all of the equipment at the Center of Excellence, where these free classes are being offered to teachers, needed in order to learn the curriculum. This includes iPads, Macs, as well as the necessary accessories that go with them.

Coding is a skill that is in high demand right now. Today's technology, from the computers that help run our cars to the apps on our phones all need a coder to create them. According to code.org, there are over 500,000 high paying programming jobs available right now, but less than 50,000 coders entering the workforce each year. As more of our every day items require technology to move forward, the demand for coders is expected to only grow.

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Apple's new program comes at a very good time for the world, and may help encourage young children to fill some of these needed jobs. With the average salary of a computer programmer around $80,000, learning to code could make a bright future for any child who takes an interest in this program. As an added benefit, some computer programming jobs can be earned through apprenticeship programs as opposed to a college degree - which can be a cost barrier for those who stand to gain the most from a job in a growing field.

This investment comes at a vital time as the city of Chicago has faced stress on its educational system in the past few years over budget and funding issues that has lead to the closure of schools. At a time where computer programing is not yet mandatory nation wide, this new program could lead to Chicago becoming another source of recruitment for highly coveted jobs in technology- especially given that Apple and fellow tech company Amazon are both searching for cities to build ancillary headquarters.

The program is already rolling out to schools around Chicago, and will be one of the largest roll outs of Apple's program so far.

How YouTube is Changing the Face of Education

When people think of advanced learning concepts such as calculus or quantum physics, they often think of a university or other place of higher learning. At the very least, high school might come up in a person's mind. Yet a surprising number of students are learning advanced concepts on a social media platform called YouTube. This might be surprising to some, considering the popularized idea of YouTube might bring up thoughts of the recent controversies with one of their biggest vloggers Logan Paul, but more and more, people are turning to the platform to learn.

YouTube is a video based platform that allows people to upload and share their videos. The people who watch them can vote on whether they like it or not and leave comments. YouTube has spawned a diverse number of videos, from classics like music videos, to vlogs, to educational videos on how to do just about anything.

If you are a visual learner, YouTube can be a fantastic tool for understanding new concepts. If you've never changed a tire before, or don't know how to do your taxes, there's a video that will walk you through it. Always wanted to compete your dog but can't afford the $200 a month in lessons? You can follow along with a video and get your dog show ring ready in no time.

Many YouTubers are catching on to just how useful the educational side of YouTube can be. The CEO of Youtube, Susan Wojcicki, noted at the 2018 Code Media Conference that the educational related views alone on YouTube reached one billion a day.

Inside of the classroom, YouTube is just as useful as outside of it. The short, easy to understand videos available can explain difficult concepts as well as text books, and in some cases better. As a popular example, Brian Cox has videos on quantum mechanics, where he explains advanced concepts so simply anyone could understand them.

When you are having trouble absorbing information for your class, YouTube can be a life saver. While this is a boon for homework, the educational field itself has had mixed results with it. Some schools have banned the use of YouTube, citing the inappropriate comments also available on the website. 

Others have a different view. At Columbia college, Mr. Mike Perkins frequently shows YouTube videos in his Case Management class. He uses YouTube to show his students real examples of the cases they might encounter. Language teachers also frequently use YouTube, because it offers interesting videos in different languages for their students to practice with. 

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While many teachers can and do use YouTube to help their students, it does have a drawback besides the inappropriate materials. Many school faculty reject YouTube for a completely different reason—its Wikipedia like management. Because anyone can upload videos, and there is no way to validate how true the information is, it can't always be taken seriously.

Fortunately, YouTube has responded with a compromise that has allowed YouTube and education to combine in helpful ways. YouTube EDU is a program established in 2012 that has been lauded by the Association of American Educators. It allows people in the educational field to hand pick which videos they want their students to see. This makes it so that a respected person can verify the facts themselves, and allows teachers to make full use of the benefits of YouTube without the potential drawbacks.

YouTube is rapidly becoming an important part of the educational sphere, both for its usefulness for the teachers, and for one other important feature. YouTube is changing how we learn because it is free to use. In a world where education is often out of this world expensive, it is a welcome relief and in some cases life saving.

In developing countries, getting an education can be an impossible task. Many children are forced to quit school because their parents can no longer afford the tuition fees, or they must work in order to help support their families. Luckily, thanks to the power of this social media platform, it doesn't have to mean the end of a chance for a better life for them.

YouTube has created an opportunity for them to learn skills that can help improve their lives. In India, women are changing the lives of their families through skills they have learned off of YouTube. One enterprising teenager learned to make bangles, bracelets, and other things off of YouTube. She sold them in nearby villages, and her skills earn her double what her father makes in a day. 

In other countries, YouTube does much the same thing. In Kabul, Danielle Moylan was able to help herself and others escape from the stress of living in a war zone through learning yoga. She used YouTube to help herself learn the techniques, and was even able to get enough training from watching videos that she was able to qualify as a yoga instructor. She now teaches others and helps give them a break from the every day tension in their life.

Stories like these are becoming more common. YouTube does not cost anything except for the price of the internet you need to access it, and in many countries the internet is readily available and free or cheap to use. According to the World Bank, the poorest households in the world are more likely to have access to a mobile phone than they are a toilet. 

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While this isn't necessarily a good thing in itself, it does provide hope for people of every demographic. YouTube is free to use, so even the poorest person in the world can still afford to get education and learn important skills through its power. Thanks to the power of YouTube, men and women of every age are learning how to build wind mills for their villages, gaining new status as business women in developing countries, or simply understanding the basic concepts of algebra for their math class.

YouTube is a powerful education tool, and one that should not be ignored. Thanks to this social media platform, anyone can learn how to do anything at any time. It is a gift to the world that can't be ignored.