Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Online Broadcasting Education Opportunities

The world of communication opens various avenues to pursue for an education. Online education opportunities are making it easier for individuals who need more flexibility to obtain a degree. A broadcasting degree can be obtained from many online accredited colleges, and can prepare students to enter the workforce by teaching them how to be a vital member of the communications industry. There are a number of things to learn prior to enrolling in an educational program.
1. Most online colleges offer degree distinctions for dedicated individuals from an associate's to a bachelor's degree. Some schools go a step further and give the option for students to attend a graduate program. Many of the graduate programs allow students to obtain a master's degree in broadcast journalism. Through each level of education students will learn the ins and outs of news dissemination using audio and video to relay information to an audience.
2. Many of the online distance learning programs provide students with a thorough curriculum. Online broadcasting programs specifically focus their courses to teach students the foundations of the industry, and allow them to experience the fast paced world of technology as it relates to communication through broadcasting. Many of the courses will help students by training them in media issues, production of audio, entertainment, production of video, videography, editing, and more. These skills will help a degree holding individual in the job market because the broadcasting side of communications centers on the knowledge of technology to present news. The ability to use technology to present media in an interesting way is an important factor that online colleges teach in their programs.
3. Students can gain a bachelor's degree in broadcasting from a wide range of online schools. Some colleges specifically focus on the broadcasting degree making each class incredibly focused on the subject. In programs where the main focus is on the broadcasting side of communication courses may be longer, but the program will consist of fewer courses. A student may enroll in a program like this that has 14 courses. These courses can include radio and TV operations, broadcast journalism and news, public relation strategies, and more. Many bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete. However, online courses are taken at an individual pace and some students could finish the program in less time.
4. A four-year program or bachelors' program will prepare students in a variety of ways. In the first year, students will learn about the history, organization, TV, radio, and Internet technologies that make up the industry. This basis is essential for students to understand how all media works together to create broadcasting. The second year of education will have students diving into writing, production, sound design, and more. These aspects will be crucial to show students what it is they will be doing in their chosen career. In the remaining two years students will work in a variety of ways to create examples of their work to be used in a professional portfolio. A portfolio is important because it provides samples of your work to potential employers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Sex Education Lessons From The Teen Pep Stories

One of the oft-repeated comments by characters in my novel, The Sex Ed Chronicles is that, in the absence of sex education, children learn about sex from their friends. However, the novel was based in 1980, before New Jersey high schools started to involve students in peer counseling.
On Valentines Day 2008, I read about a mini-controversy involving peer counseling on a New Jersey radio news Web site. The news coverage came out of one New Jersey high school: Clearview Regional High School in Harrison Township in the southern part of the state. There, parents object to peer counselors, high school juniors and seniors, counseling freshmen on a variety of topics related to sex education. The counseling model comes from a program called Teen Pep. Designed by the Princeton Center for Leadership Training (not affiliated with Princeton University), Teen Pep has been implemented in over 50 Garden State high schools for the past eight years. Therefore, Teen Pep is not a new program and school districts have had time to investigate its merits-only now, one school has made the news.
Teen Pep trains not only students, but also faculty advisors, to work one-to-one, but also as a team in various counseling situations. Schools contracting for Teen Pep work with the Princeton Center for a minimum of two years and there are supervisory field visits by qualified professionals to help ensure the program is running smoothly. A school that engages in Teen Pep makes a considerable intellectual investment, as well as a financial investment, to make it work. Part of this investment is to explain this program to parents.
Which takes me to lesson number one: if you are not ready to take these investments seriously, don't make them.
As I read about the incident at Clearview High, it became clear to me that the fault is not with the program, but with the school administration. It would have been easier for them to consult parents and clergy from the get-go, as they are supposed to do. I realize that teachers have objected to this-they did back in 1980 as well-but sex education is a subject where parents and clergy believe they have important opinions and knowledge.
I found it interesting to read that an advisory board would be formed after parents objected to individual aspects of the program. That should have been in place from day one.
Which takes me to lesson number two: after consulting parents, decide which topics students are qualified to discuss with peers.
Parental objections at Clearview stemmed from the idea that "kids were teaching kids to have sex. But there had to be clear differences between the topics teen peer counselors were allowed to teach, and those that had to be covered by a qualified sex education teacher-but they didn't make it in the press. Parents deserved to know, if they asked before school started. I realize that pro-abstinence organizations also use young speakers; their programs should be subject to the same parental review as the peer-counseling program.
Then I get to lesson number three: make sure you have qualified teachers.
The federal No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes a need for qualified teachers, meaning that a teacher should be certified in the subject they teach. That applies as much to sex education as any other subject. In the example of Clearview High, the program leader was an English teacher. When I reached family life education, I learned that sex education instructors were most likely to come from health education, home economics or social studies as well as nursing. I would also assume that guidance counselors could become qualified sex educators; they handle personal student issues as part of their job description.
It appears Teen Pep is working in most schools; only one school is in the news complaining, but those involved with this program should consider offering an alternative: to use degree candidates in counseling and education to counsel students.
This would not be peer counseling, but it would appease parents who worry about kids teaching kids about sex. It would also help provide professional development for sex educators.
Stuart Nachbar operates EducatedQuest.com, a blog on education politics, policy and technology. He has been involved with education politics and economic development as an urban planner, government affairs manager, software executive, and now as a writer. His first novel, The Sex Ed Chronicles, about sex education and school politics in 1980 New Jersey, earned a coveted "Publishers Choice" selection from iUniverse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Education Is Beyond College Degrees

I didn't take the ABMasscommunication (Journalism) course just because I wanted to have a degree, nor to ensure that I will become a journalist. In fact, I never dreamed to take a Masscommunication course since my health does not allow it. And I didn't like the spotlight. I took journalism for one reason and one reason only: to improve my writing. I was certain that writing was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was also certain that there, lies my strength. These things were made perfectly clear to the interviewers who gave me a job.
However, a college education gave me something else. I got more than I bargained for. I found confidence, independence and the ability to defend myself. I got stronger.
God knows, it was not easy. I was a certified wallflower and crybaby in high school. I swear, on normal days, you would find me in a corner contemplating, observing, reading or writing. I was scared of people.
In college, I was exposed to different environments and my course had much to do with it. I had been to different prison cells, police stations, government agencies, radio stations and a television station, museums, different schools, restaurants, factories and publications offices and lots of other places where I could get news. I had talked to media practitioners, government heads, police officers and prisoners and other people. One course on investigative journalism had me walking either at 10:00 p.m. or at 2:00 a.m. the Philippine streets of Ramos, Orlando, Jones and Junquera. During these times, I was usually with one or two girls who were my classmates, but I also tried doing it alone when I had no choice. There were also places like the Carbon market.
I got to work in newspapers particularly in the news, advertising, and credit and collection departments. I got to work even in a museum, which was actually a huge, almost two-hundred-year-old wooden house of a prominent Spanish era family.
There's so much to narrate where education is concerned. Yes, education is pointless if you don't use what you have learned...when your only aim in studying is to graduate and have a college degree. But education is there to help you gain the skills needed to survive in the real world where you have to be globally competitive. And if you already have that skill, education will improve it, bringing along other aspects and expertise you never thought would be useful. Education does not only focus on the intellect and the mechanical things...it also helps shape you into a better and mature individual and define you as someone who could go through the adversities in life.
Perhaps I was lucky to have studied in a very good school, which incorporates experience to solidify the what's in learning. In my school, we were thought about laws and human behavior, as well as confidence. I got to study broadcast and print laws and ethics. Even languages such as Nipongo, Spanish and Chinese were thought in my school. The Media Education and Psychology courses helped me know what to bring to the audience and understand why a person responds in such manner. Philosophy and Debate and Argumentation courses helped me know what is right thinking and reasoning from what is not. And so many other things.
Perhaps a person who claims to have attained education have not truly attained it if he had not made use with what he has learned. And education is not only confined within the four walls of the classroom. Education is a lifelong process.
I am currently working as a junior business news editor -- alongside UP graduates who are known to be intellectually advanced -- and this I tell you, if not for the kind of education I have, I wouldn't have become one. My kind of work deals with foreign laws on business especially on bankruptcies...things you don't easily get without education. My school did not teach me foreign laws, but it has thought me how to be analytical and how to adapt to the kind of environment I am exposed to.
The good thing about my college education is that I was thought on how to land a job I want. Having a job that can support your lifestyle is not enough. Well, good for those who are already well off and do not need to support other members of the family. Correct me if I am wrong, but I doubt that if you have incurable disease that you would get the money for treatment from your parents or from 'the others'. What if those persons have gone? What would you do then?
But the best thing education has brought me is the kind of person I have become. It has helped me see what I can be and that I can do great things even through small beginnings. It has helped me spot lessons out of disappointments and therefore helped me become optimistic. Education, all in all, has helped me love myself.
When I look at the mirror, I couldn't help but smile, although I am still learning more and more of this cool person.
A certain writer named Anne once wrote:
The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen
or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.
Loving myself is what I do best
No one can make me feel
any less.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booming: Television News Channels in India

News programmes have suddenly become hot property and are vying for attention with other popular programmes telecast in different channels. All major television broadcasters are including at least one news channel to their bouquet. The biggest headache for launching a satellite channel is programme software for round the clock. In this juncture, newsgathering is a major task for the 24-hour news channels. To cater this task, the emerging electronic channels have always made an attempt to cover all the incidents irrespective of position, location and time. These channels not only revolutionized the concept of news on Indian television but also changed the news formats. Before 1990s, Doordarshan had monopolized newscast on Indian television and also turned the news programs into a dowdy exercise. Now the private channels made the news an essential commodity like food, cloth and shelter. The strong point of all today’s news bulletins is their topicality, objectivity, glossy editing and high-quality visuals. News has traveled a long way from the DD era. From Local events to International events, breaking news to news analysis, television soap to page3 news, every happening comes under purview of news. In this article, we have covered some significant changes in news broadcasting in India before and after the Gulf War.
Indian Television - Flash Back
Television in India is undergoing significant changes in the current liberalized environment. To understand these changes, one needs to have some brief idea of the road covered by the television channels so far. The journey started as an experimental basis with a financial grant from UNESCO in 15th September 1959. The makeshift studio at Akashvani Bhavan in New Delhi was chosen for location of the experiment. The experiment started with one-hour program, broadcast twice a week, on community health, citizen rights, education and traffic sense etc. As far as news is concerned, it was launched exactly six years after the inception of television broadcasting. Daily one-hour program with a news bulletin was served to the Indian viewers. But one major drawback of television was that you could not enjoy the original colour of the objects because of black and white transmission. First multi-color programme was the Prime Minister’s address to the nation from Red Fort in Delhi on India’s 35th Independence Day. In the same day, DD National channel was launched. The aim of launching the National channel is nurturing national integration, and inculcating a sense of pride in Indians. Indian viewers also enjoyed the colored version of the Asian Games hosted by New Delhi in their drawing room. The coverage of major events and different occasions lend a big hand behind the infiltration of television signals to the nook and corners of the subcontinent. Indian Government had taken all possible steps to expand the television broadcasting demographically and geographically. In 1983 television signals were available to just 28% of the population, this had doubled by the end of 1985 and by 1990 over 90% of the population had access to television signals. In 1984, DD Metro channel was added to provide an exclusive entertainment for the urban viewers. In the beginning, this channel was confined to metropolitan cities.
As a public broadcaster, Doordarshan presented the news in naturalized manner. All controversial issues were pushed under the carpet. The ruling government had a strong hold on the television broadcasting. Doordarshan news bulletins were unable to provide the international news to the national viewers. Objectivity had been the first casualty as news was invariably slanted to suit the party in power. The news was liberated from the confines of the DD newsroom and gained in objectivity and credibility when New Delhi Television (NDTV) produced ‘The World This Week’ in 1988. Everyone was waiting for the Friday night to watch ‘The World This Week’. This was the only India-based programme, which looked out at the rest of the world. The World This Week was the best current affairs programme on the international scenario and carried good stuff of news, which the regular DD news was failed to carry out. This program is ranked as one of the country’s finest and most popular television shows. In 1989, NDTV produces India’s first live televised coverage of the country’s general elections. The critical and commercial success of the coverage sets a new standard for Indian television. After the Gulf War the media panorama has changed forever.
Golf War – The Catalyst
Post-1990 satellite television in India has become transnational in nature. It coincided with the entry of multinational companies in the Indian markets under the Government policy of privatization. International satellite television was introduced in India by CNN through its coverage of the Gulf War in 1991. In August 1991, Richard Li launched Star Plus, the first satellite channel beamed the signal to Indian subcontinent. Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV appeared in October 1992. It is India’s first privately owned Hindi channel to cater the interest of Indian viewers. This ignition followed by Sony and a little later by domestic channels such as Eenadu, Asianet and Sun TV. Entertainment programs had begun to occupy center stage in the organization’s programming strategies and advertising had come to be main source of funding. Doordarshan’s earlier mandate to aid in the process of social and economic development had clearly been diluted. Doordarshan had faced a stiff competition in news and public affairs programming with international channels like BBC and CNN. Doordarshan planned to sell some slots for news programme under sponsored category. In February 1995, NDTV becomes the country’s first private producer of the national news ‘News Tonight’, which aired on the country’s government-owned Doordarshan set a new landmark for Indian television because of its on-the-spot reporting with pertinent visuals. In the same year, TV Today Network occupied a 20 minutes slot in DD Metro channel and aired a Hindi and current affairs programme ‘Aaj Tak’. This programme became popular for its comprehensive coverage and unique style presentation by Late S. P. Singh. Still we remembered the sign-up message “Ye Thi Khabar Aaj Tak, Intizar. Kijiye Kal Tak”. Large number of viewers across India had been watching Aaj Tak as a daily habit because of its innovative style of news presentation. Besides that Nalini Singh’s five-minute fast paced, condensed daily news capsule Ankhon Dekhi, TV Today Network’s Business Aaj Tak and Newstrack was aired on the Metro channel of Doordarshan. This is the period when satellite channels concentrated on entertainment programmes for their respective channels. Doordarshan was still ruled the most wanted area ‘news’.
Major Players
Doordarshan’s monopoly was broken in 1992, when private television channels infiltrated into the Indian boundaries and entertain the viewers as much as possible. In the beginning of 1990s, the private channels offered only entertainment programmes. The entertainment programs include family drama, comedy serials, children programmes, cartoons, movies, talk shows, recipe shows, musical concerts, non-fiction programmes etc. Private entertainment channels added some infortainment programmes to their Fixed Point Charts (FPC). Keeping the demand of infotainment programmes in mind, the media houses started to produce news magazines, entertainment magazines and news programmes for different channels. India’s premier business and consumer news broadcaster and a leading media content provider, Television Eighteen India Limited (TV18) started India’s first ever entertainment magazine ‘The India Show’ on Star Plus in 1993. This emerging media powerhouse provided prime time television content to almost all leading satellite channels in India including BBC, Star Plus, Sony Entertainment Television, Zee, MTV and Discovery. After The India Show, TV18 produced a weekly business news program India Business Report for BBC World. Indian viewers had very limited options (like public service broadcaster Doordarshan, BBC and CNN) for watching the television news. For televised news, the viewers had to watch Dordarshan and some international news channels like BBC or CNN. In this race to provide more news, more information, Zee Television jumped into the battlefield by launching the news channel Zee News in 1995. This News and current affairs channel revolutionized the way news was delivered to the viewers. Since its inception Zee News has endeavoured to be the fastest to provide news, working towards a single goal of Sabse Pahle (Always First). The other round-the-clock news channel, the Murdoch-owned Star TV beamed its exclusively 24-hour news channels, Star News in 1998. Star made a contract of five year with Prannoy Roy-owned NDTV (New Delhi Television Company) to provide news content for this news channel.
The untiring exhaustive coverage of the Kargil war between India and Pakistan gained more publicity and attracted more viewers towards the electronic channel. This televised conflict also sets a news benchmark for wartime journalism. During the Kargil war, common citizens witnessed how their brave Jawans fought despite in hostile conditions and watched the war front live by the exclusively news channels, Star-TV and Zee-News. The live coverage of the battlefield helped to create a euphoria of patriotism among the Indian masses, which later facilitated into collecting huge funds for the welfare of the families of Kargil martyrs. Every news programme draws the attention of large number of viewers but Kargil war attracts private broadcasters to invest more money in the broadcasting business by launching a news channel. In November 1999, TV18 entered into a 49:51 joint venture with CNBC Asia to launch CNBC India. TV18 is the sole program provider to CNBC India, and produces 12 hours of local content per day on this 24-hour satellite channel.
After the huge success of news programme ‘Aaj Tak’, TV Today group launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel with the same name ‘Aaj Tak’, in December 2000, which covers India with insight, courage and plenty of local flavour. Within 11 months of its launch, Aaj Tak emerged as India’s number one news channel and was awarded Best News Channel award from Indian Television Academy Awards. Some mega events apart from regular interesting items (such as Kandhahar hijack, September 11 attacks, Afghanistan war, attack on Parliament, Iraq war, Godhra carnage and riots) have driven up the viewership. As time passed, NDTV’s five years contract with Star group for outsourcing of news and related programming expired on March 2003. With the expiry NDTV forayed into broadcasting business by simultaneously launching two 24-hour news channels; NDTV 24X7 – English news channel and NDTV India – Hindi news channel, which targets the Indian diaspora across the world. News crazy Indians received more news at faster speed from different channels. Any unusual happening can be caught by the television camera anywhere form Rastrapati Bhawan to bedroom. The power of TV journalism was become more visible by the major sting operations like Operation West End and Shakti Kapoor Case. This style of investigative journalism has brought about a change in the way we look at news, amidst new notions of editorial freedom. The world’s largest family ‘Sahara India Parivar’ launched a 24-hour national Hindi news channel, Sahara Samay, in March 28, 2003. It is the first ever city-centric satellite news channels covering 31 cities in India with their own city news bulletins. Keeping the demand of news in mind, the Union cabinet approved the proposal to convert the DD Metro to DD news in a meeting held on 3 October 2003. Consequent to these decisions, DD-News channel was launched on 3 November 2003. You might have noticed that the news channels are language specific. But DD’s news channel contains the round the clock news bulletins in Hindi/ English are also telecast twice a day on the National Network of DD National.
‘Aap Ki Adalat’ fame Rajat Sharma, Sohaib Ilyasi, the man behind the highly successful ‘India's Most Wanted’ and Taun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka roped together and launched a free-to-air Hindi news and current affairs channel India TV on May 20, 2004. Indian viewers had more expectations from this channel. The much-awaited news channel hopes to set itself apart from the existing ones by setting new benchmarks of responsible journalism. Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Rajat Sharma, chairman, India TV, said, “We aim to change the way broadcast news reporting is being conducted in the country. India TV will set new benchmarks by maintaining international standards of responsible and credible news reporting. We will stay away from graphic depictions of violence and sensationalism of news. We will uphold the viewer's right to correct information and their right to truth and verity. India TV is not just a news channel, it is a movement.” NDTV as a pioneer in Indian television news, set to create a fresh revolution in high-quality business news with the launch of NDTV Profit. NDTV launched this 24-hour business channel on January 17th, 2005.
There is no saturation point in launching of news channel, just booming like sky as the limit. Entertainment channel to infotainment channel, infotainment channel to news channel, news channels to business channel and Business channel to lots more. Now the satellite channels become more topicality with international standard. When we are talking about topicality, CNBC TV18, the only business channel, continues to be the medium of choice for India’s decision makers, affluent audiences across the country since 1999. It has set the pace for the growth in number of television channels by launching a 24-hour consumer channel in Hindi called ‘ Awaaz’. This news channel focusses on empowering consumers on decision-making related to investment, saving and spending. All the programmes are catering to consumers across different walks of life, which included personal finance; variety of markets including commodity, stocks, savings etc.; small businesses; education & career guidance; and verticals like health, shopping etc.
Another news channel was finally launched into the already cluttered news space in Indian television. Jagran TV Pvt Limited's news channel, Channel 7 up-linked to the air on 27 March 2005. The channel has been set up to cater to the vast Hindi-speaking audiences, already being targeted by a slew of news channels. Channel 7 developed every programme with a bid to cater to all types of audiences and not just pre-dominantly male audiences who get attracted towards news channels.
Regional Leaders
To cater the interest among the Indians, Doordarshan televises programmes in Hindi and associate Official languages. It has launched a number of Regional Language Satellite Channels (DD - 4 to DD - 11 and DD - 13) and telecast programmes in Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Kashmiri, Oriya and Tamil. The Regional channels relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programmes in the Regional Language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. The Doordarshan regional satellite channels telecast major news programme with some entertainment programmes.
If you think about the private regional channels, they have followed the path of the Big brother (i.e Doordarshan). They are neither completely entertainment channel nor exclusively news channel. They are following the middle path and claiming themselves an infotainment channels. The private channels televise through the state dominant languages. Rising advertising revenues and increasing numbers of viewers have provided the impetus for many big players to enter into the business. Some regional media leaders like ETV, Sun TV, Asianet have a strong grip over the regional market. Some major players tried their luck in different states. Zee television has three regional channels; Zee Marathi, Zee Punjabi and Zee Bangla. Star Network entered into Tamilnadu by launching Star Vijay, one of the most popular entertainment channels in India broadcasting in Tamil. Besides that ETV Network is a part of the well-established Ramoji Group, has created 12 dedicated infotainment regional channels. ETV network is the source of rich entertainment of eight different languages. Those are: Telugu, Bangla, Marathi, Kannada, Oriya, Gujarati, Urdu; and Hindi to viewers in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Every ETV Network channel focuses exclusively on its audience’s unique cultural identity, its aspirations and its distinct socio-political character. Let us think about the south Indian language Telugu, there are around twelve satellite channels are roaming around the sky with different taste and different flavour. These channels include three news channels, one song-based channels and rest are infotainment channels. When we confine ourselves into news, three channels (ETV2, TV 9 and Teja News) exclusively devoted to news programmes.
Sahara India Pariwar is proud to have five news channels as the bouquet of Sahara Samay. These channels are: Sahara Samay NCR, Sahara Samay Mumbai, Sahara Samay Bihar & Jharkhand, Sahara Samay Madhya Pradesh & Chattisgarh, and Sahara Samay Uttar Pradesh & Uttranchal. Sahara Samay has already managed to gain a loyal audience in India through a bouquet of National & Regional News Channels since its launch. These channels are youthful and vibrant channels targeting students and women, besides that hardcore news stuff. The regional news channels covers the entire spectrum of genre with specific programs on lifestyle, fashion, food, shopping, health and fitness, sports, education, career and city issues, besides giving user-friendly information on traffic updates, city events, train and air timings, etc. Now national news channels cannot confine its boundary to national level. They cannot ignore the regional news because of the stiff competition form the regional cannels. Regional news channels are entering into the competition with a strong will power and also with an aim to portrait regional issues in national and international level.
Now the television industry becomes more specific. In this competitive market, channels are targeting specific viewers. News channels attract more viewers beyond their target by producing interactive and interesting programmes. Every channel needs to do an extensive research on different concepts and different themes to attract more viewers and in the same time more advertisers. After all, advertisements are the bread and butter for the channels. With increased consumer preference for news programmes, television news channels have grown faster than other niche channels. News channels are booming just like sky as the limit. Those days are not far away, when we will get satellite news channel for every major city in India. Staying in abroad, we can update ourselves about all the happening of our hometown. Now news is not restricted to political happenings. It will be extended its limit to every unwanted and hided corners of the society. At last we can reach in the conclusion that anything, which is strange or disgusting, is news. There are no rigid rules, which defines news.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tax Credits Aim to Help Individuals Pay for College Education

Individuals who have filed their 2011 taxes early in an attempt to defray education costs may be wondering, "where's my return?" For starters, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has reported that millions of dollars worth of tax refunds have not been delivered due to mailing address errors. Some taxpayers who have not updated their residential location are experiencing a delay in their return, which has prompted the IRS to remind citizens to update their records. According to World News Insight, approximately $7 million worth of tax refunds in Georgia were undeliverable because of mailing address issues.
Individuals can ensure a speedier refund - and no residence confusion - if they sign up for a direct deposit into their bank accounts. But for those who prefer to mail in their forms, the news provider said that it will take up to four weeks to receive refund checks. Taxpayers can check the status of their payment by visiting IRS.gov, clicking on "Where's my refund?" and entering some information, such as your social security number, filing status and the exact dollar amount of your refund.
Individuals who claim college tuition and student loan interest on their returns may also have to wait another month before they file their federal taxes, according to CBS News Money Watch. Due to new laws that Congress did not pass until late last year, the IRS said it will not accept certain returns until mid-February at the earliest. The news provider reports that taxpayers who claim expenses for college education are included in the group of filers who have to wait.
However, the good news is that many scholars who are paying for college credits - whether through student loans or tuition payments - are eligible for a tax break this year. According to Bloomberg, the American Opportunity Credit will provide up to $2,500 in deductions for filers who are paying for higher education. To qualify, students must be attending a college or university at least half-time. The credit can be used through the first four years of school.
According to the IRS' website, the tax credit - which is included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - covers materials for course materials, as well. Thus, students or parents who shelled out money for books last year can claim those expenses. The credit is limited to individuals who have a modified adjusted income of $80,000 or less, and married couples who earn $160,000 or less. Taxpayers who earn more are not eligible for the deduction.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Currency Trading Education - The Best Free Sources to Help You Win

If you want to win at currency trading, you can buy advice but most currency trading education you need you can get for free and here we will look at how to find the best and enjoy currency trading success...
Let's first look at currency education that needs to be avoided.
Forex Expert Advisors
Most who claim they are not - anyone who claims they can make you money with no effort should be avoided.
If you want to see if an expert is a not qualified, look for the words "simulated" or "in hindsight", on the track record presented - this is not real trading and the track record is made up, to sell currency trading courses and systems.
Forex Forums
Want to find losers? Then currency trading forums are great. What trader who makes money uses them?
I don't know any. It's mostly losers who are trying to make themselves feel better, by dispensing their wisdom, or vendors trying to peddle their products - most of which are junk. Avoid Currency forums!
News Sources
We have better news than ever but traders need to learn 30 years ago before we had lots of currency news sources 95% of traders lost and 95% lose today, so improved news hasn't helped.
Prices don't move to the news, they move to trader's perception of. Try and trade breaking currency news and you will lose.
Most broker education won't help you - if brokers were good at trading, they wouldn't be brokers! Also, as brokers mostly trade against you when you take a position, it's a conflict of interest.
Good Sources
So what about the good sources? Well the good news is:
There is plenty of it and you can get a good solid currency education for free.
The best way to trade is to use currency charts and base your market timing on technical analysis. There is plenty of free information on the basics, all the different indicators and charts for free, so you can look at the indicators, try them and come up with a simple, robust currency trading strategy.
Any currency trader, who wants to win, should also learn breakout trading and you will find a lot of information on this as well.
The fast is anyone can learn currency trading, there are no secrets and the reason most traders lose is - lack of discipline and poor money management and there is plenty of information on this too.
Traders simply lack discipline and CANNOT keep their losses small or trade through losing periods.
Worth the Money.
You can get some great information on discipline for free but I Would recommend spending $100 or so, on some books, from the really great traders, to get more insight into the mindset to succeed.
These are traders who have walked the walk and don't simply talk the talk. We reviewed our top ten in other articles so look them up - this is money well spent.
So in conclusion, you can get all the currency trading basics for success for free and can build a currency trading strategy - your major challenge though is money management and discipline.
Its here I would recommend spending a few dollars, if you don't think you have discipline ( and most traders don't) and then, the combination of a simple, robust, currency trading system and the right mindset to apply it, can help you win at currency trading.
Getting the right currency education is easy; getting the right mindset is what separates the small number of winners from the losing majority.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Education Reform May Provide Better Incentives For Those With Education Degrees

Students in education degree programs might enter professions that, in the long run, are the most important to a successful economy. That's at least how President Barack Obama, interviewed by Matt Lauer for the Today Show in September, described teachers. Students who are working toward education degrees might also enter a field that's very different by the time they graduate.
The difference has to do with education reform. Last year, the federal government announced a $4 billion "Race to the Top" program designed to award $4 billion in grants to states that encourage education reform. Much of the news with regard to education these days has to do with enhanced college and university readiness and improved science and math education. Students in education degree programs might learn that America's K-12 students lag behind other countries in these subject areas particularly.
The American Federation of Teachers is on board with education reform. Math and science, many say, can enhance innovation, help the economy and help the country retain its role as a world leader. But where Obama in the Today Show interview announced plans to recruit thousands of science and math teachers over the coming two years, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten in an opinion piece on AOL News suggested that training and retaining teachers, as they do in Finland, might benefit the education system.
BBC World News America earlier this year reported on how representatives from throughout the world visited Finland to determine what makes the country's schools so successful. Finland's schools rank- highly on a worldwide scale, even though students there spend some of the least amount of time in class, according to the BBC article. The article explained about when students start school there and when they move to different schools and teachers. Among other things, the BBC World News article mentioned immigration and additional teachers who fill highly respected roles.
If you're pursuing an education degree, you might be keeping up with American teacher salaries. The National Education Association has proposed offering starting salaries of $40,000 per year across the board for teachers and $28,000 for school support personnel. The American Federation of Teachers has proposed what's known as "differentiated" pay, where teachers would start with adequate, locally negotiated base salaries and be paid more in instances where they take on added responsibilities. Obama mentioned to Lauer the possibility of creating a career ladder for teachers as a means of professionalizing the industry.
According to the National Education Association website, about 20 percent of new teachers change professions by the time they complete their first year in public schools and nearly half of public school teachers change professions within five years. American school systems as a result lose about $7 billion each year, Weingarten wrote. According to him, school districts should work with teachers to reform them and, through a relatively new model for evaluating their work, to help them develop professionally.
Whether or not you're working toward an education degree, it's likely that you've heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Weingarten and Obama agree that educating children is partly the responsibility of others as well. In Finland, the BBC World News America article noted, parents read at home with their children and communicate regularly with teachers.