Public Education Can Save Our Country

Public education is broken. I wanted to grab your attention with something much more impactful. But the way I see it, what has more impact than the absolute and simple truth? Our public education system is broken and it has been for a long time.

Some of us believe it is the responsibility of our elected officials. Others think our communities can fix it. Parental involvement is the answer for many. “If only we had more funding” is another cry. They are all right.

Of course, the debate continues about No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Remember, this is the measure which was passed in January 2002 during the Bush Administration. It requires states test all students in certain subjects every year to be sure they are prepared for college. I don’t believe the problem is entirely about NCLB; it’s about public education in general. However, this initiative has had such an impact, mentioning one practically begs a mention of the other.

NCLB was supposed to fill in the gaps of public education. It was likely intended to do just as it says…leave no child behind. The goal is admirable, but the execution has a detrimental effect on how children are taught. We tried to solve the problem with one sweeping measure. There is no one answer and no one entity with the complete solution.

The reason I see the problem of public education in the United States as a national issue, and not an individual, family, group, regional, or even state issue, is very simple. Let me use myself as an example. I am not an educator or a student. I do not have a child in the public school system, or any school system. But I am a citizen of this country and have a vested interest in its present well-being and hope for its future. So, it is my problem. It is our problem.

We all know the future of this country and our place in the world depends on our children. How they fare and compete on the world’s stage depends on their access to quality education. That is why I am so afraid.

We are not preparing our children to compete. We are not teaching them to think. We are not teaching them to react. We are not teaching them to create. We are not teaching them at all. We are preparing them for tests. We are filling them with facts, having them regurgitate them at the appropriate time, in the appropriate format to attain the appropriate score.

Creativity, individuality, and inventiveness are practically discouraged. If a child shows too much individuality in the way she learns, acts, or interacts, she is considered inappropriate. She is relegated to a special class, isolated, or even worse, medicated.

We live in an age of entrepreneurs and innovators. The time has passed when we stay on a job at a factory for 25-30 years or even in a corporate cubicle for that long. We are not training our children to be innovative in the workplace, or to build businesses like the type built by the entrepreneurs and solopreneurs that are the backbone of my own industry, virtual business assistance.

The Public Education Network’s (PEN) National Survey of Public Opinion lists 10 key findings in its Survey of Public Opinion about our responsibility for our educational system. Top among those were:

1. Education continues to be a top national priority, even in the midst of war and concern about the economy, joblessness, and healthcare.

2. Americans want funding for public education protected from budget cuts, and they want to see more public investment in education.

3. The jury is still out on No Child Left Behind. [1]

What does this tell us about what we need to do to fix our broken system?

We have to stop making education a mere campaign promise and make it a policy priority for our elected officials. Any official who does not fulfill his promises to improve public education, especially our national officials, should not be re-elected.

Realize quality education comes at a cost. We must be willing to pay our teachers a competitive wage so that we can attract the best and brightest…or provide tax and other benefits to supplement their salaries. Be open to studying tenure and pay for performance as options for teachers. Even if these are not the best or only options for improvement, let’s at least consider them and be open to new, inventive options.

Consider a moratorium on NCLB, nationally, or on the state or local levels. This measure affects too many of our children to continue with so many unsure of the long-term consequences. If a moratorium is not practical, at least reconsider the amount of funding for the program so that schools are able to place more focus on traditional or creative teaching methods as well.

The results of the 2008 National Poll and the Civic Index for Quality Public Education conducted by the PEN shows that over 63 per cent of us do not think public officials are held accountable for the status of public education. Four in 10, nationally, and over one third of local respondents think our schools are declining. [2]

We have an election coming up on November 2, 2010. Let’s not forget education when we go to the polls. We can save the future of our country.

[1] 2004 NATIONAL SURVEY OF PUBLIC OPINION Learn. Vote. Act. The Public’s Responsibility for Public Education

[2] Public Education Network, Community Accountability for Quality Schools, Results of the 2008 National Poll and the Civic Indexor Quality Public Education

Why Automotive Logos Differ From Country to Country

The fact that automotive logos differ from country to country is true it’s not only the automotive logos that differ. This phenomenon is happening due to a lot of factors not only for identification on the production lines to know which car is for which country.As the same model cars differ in specs for different countries, and gets marketed under a different name. Why do the specs differ from country to country? There are a lot of reasons and a lot of petrol heads don’t believe this.This was a big discussion in my workshops already when imported cars came in for repairs in the past. When you inform the customer you can’t work on his car due to the fact it was imported into this country. Normally he will tell you it is only the automotive logos that differ because that was what the salesman informed him.If the software differs on a car your diagnostic tool don’t even enter the cars software, to do a diagnostic on the car. The next thing you need is a spare and it is not available in your country. That is normally the point the customer starts to realize it is not only the automotive logos that differ on the car it’s a lot more and the salesman lied to him.That is the point the owner of this car wants to know how it works.• Firstly the automotive software on the car will differ for various reasons; different countries have different driving conditions. This means temperatures, altitudes, fuel mixtures and even the drivers and driving styles.• The whole setup for the country you are in must be build into the car in the factory. For instance your specs on cars differ from the northern hemisphere to those in the southern hemisphere.• Your country authorities lied down all the specs for cars that can be driven in your country so that gets specially built into the car. In South Africa all vehicles that get imported into the country must have an approved number issued by the C.S.I.R our quality controlling board.• If you have a manufacturer of a car in your country or a register importer they will be the only ones that will get cars with the right specs for your country. Because they have the distribution rights in that country and they must be protected. This is not only for cars it work the same on all products.• In South Africa if they found any product in the country that doesn’t adhere to the laid down spec’s it gets destroyed.• So if a car’s automotive logos differ from the rest it is easy for the authorities to spot it.That is why automotive logos do differ all over the world in one country a car goes under a name. In another under a different name even if the look the same, and came from the same production line.

Branding – What It’s All About and Why You Should Do It

Branding is creating something that immediately identifies you or your company. Think of the golden arches of McDonald’s or the Nike ‘swoosh.’ Whenever you see either of those symbols, you know instantly who it is.

What identifies a brand can be anything. It could be a name, logo, motto, symbol, design, jingle, etc. Usually it’s a combination of many. Most people think that ‘brands’ are only for huge multi-national corporations that everybody knows, but this isn’t true at all. Everybody needs a brand, even if you’re just a tiny website or a small business.

The point of branding is to get your fans and prospects to see you as a solution to their problem. It’s about creating an image in their mind of what your company or website’s all about. Branding is part of carving out your unique niche in the market.

Why You Should Care About Branding

The main reason you should care about branding is that you’re already doing it even if you don’t realize it. Your brand is a natural extension of your reputation. As soon as you’re open for business, the branding begins. The only difference is that if you’re not actively building your brand, you’re not in control of it.

Branding is important mainly because of the recognition it creates. Something as small and insignificant as a little logo can communicate powerfully to millions of people. You can see examples of it everywhere – when you see the Starbucks symbol from down the street, you can smell the coffee brewing already.

Brands also create loyalty. Look at all of the clothing brands that have massive followings. Some brands do nothing more than print T-shirts with their name on it and people shell out lots of cash to buy them.

Your brand creates a lasting impression in the minds of your fans. This is how they remember you, and they attach all of their experiences with your company to this symbol or design.

How To Do Branding The Right Way

If you have any customers at all, you’re already branding but you may not realize it. It’s important to take control of your brand and here are some ways to do it.

Online branding is a little bit different from offline. Since the Internet is all about information, good online branding involves establishing yourself as an expert in your niche. You want people to see you as a trusted source of accurate and helpful information. Think of it this way – no matter what you’re selling online, you’ll be known for the information you provide.

You can boost your brand by offering only quality goods and services. This is especially important if you’re trying to build a long-term relationship with a subscriber list or fan base. If you try to pass off a garbage product on them even once, this can really ruin your reputation. When people see your brand, they should think, ‘This is a site that never lets me down.’

Finally, you can grow your brand online by making connections and building relationships. This is especially important with the rise of social media and social networking sites. Get out there and socialize so that you can let people see what a friendly and helpful soul you are.