India’s Move to Right to Education

BACKGROUND.

It was Saturday afternoon; the world seemed to be on vacation but me, as I was busy serving guests at a lunch party at my masters’ residence. Chatting and laughing was loud enough to be heard in every nook and corner of the house. But those were of least concern to me, because I had to respond to every single call for any requirement at the very word of the guests or the master in particular. It was 2009, and I was just seven, wearing a sweater and a half pant, watching a bunch of people boasting about the achievements of their wards and trying to prove ones child better than the other. When suddenly, an old man read from a magazine that the government was to pass a new act namely, Right to Education Act. But to me those routine talks about the household work made more sense than this new coming up topic, because neither I could read or understand there high-level conversation, which had diverted there talks from their children, on top of that I didn’t even understand, what the word ‘right’ meant. That elderly fellow said something like…

History of the Act:

The Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2003 was the first attempt of the Central government to draft a comprehensive legislation on education after the 86th Constitutional Amendment that made education a fundamental right. The Bill was an excellent example of bureaucratic empowerment, creating up to 6 levels of various authorities to ensure the provision of free and compulsory education. Furthermore, the reservation of up to 25% of the private school seats for the economically backward students to be selected by these authorities ensured that the Bill was a throwback to the old licence-permit-raj regime. Following widespread criticism, the Bill was discarded.

The Right to Education Bill 2005 is the second attempt by the Central government to set the education system right. Some of the important provisions of the Bill:

• Promises free and compulsory education of equitable quality up to the elementary level to all children in the age group of 6 to 14.
• Mandates unaided private schools to reserve up to 25 percent of the seats for students from weaker sections. The schools will be reimbursed by the lower of the actual school fee or per student expenditure in the government school. The aided schools will reserve “at least such proportion of their admitted children as its annual recurring aid bears to its annual recurring expenses subject to a minimum of 25 per cent.”
• Requires all remaining students to be accommodated by opening new government schools and within three years of the passage all students to have a school to go within their own neighbourhood.
• Forms School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising parents and teachers for state schools and aided schools. The SMCs will own the assets of the school, manage the accounts, and pay salaries.
• Establishes a National Commission for Elementary Education to monitor the implementation of the Bill, State Regulatory Authorities to address grievances under the Bill, and several ‘competent authorities,’ ‘local authorities,’ and ‘empowered authorities’ to perform a vast number of regulatory functions and meet out punishment to defaulters.
• Assigns all state school teachers to particular schools from which they will never be transferred-creates a school-based teacher cadre.

The finance committee and planning commission rejected the Bill citing the lack of funds and a Model bill was sent to states for the making necessary arrangements.

INTRODUCTION

As is evident, even after 60 years, universal elementary education remains a distant dream. Despite high enrolment rates of approximately 95% as per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2009), 52.8% of children studying in 5th grade lack the reading skills expected at 2nd grade. Free and compulsory elementary education was made a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution in December 2002, by the 86th Amendment. In translating this into action, the `Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill’ was drafted in 2005. This was revised and became an Act in August 2009, but was not notified for roughly 7 months.

The reasons for delay in notification can be mostly attributed to unresolved financial negotiations between the National University of Education Planning and Administration, NUEPA, which has been responsible for estimating RTE funds and the Planning Commission and Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD). From an estimate of an additional Rs.3.2 trillion to Rs.4.4 trillion for the implementation of RTE Draft Bill 2005 over 6 years (Central Advisory Board of Education, CABE) the figure finally set by NUEPA now stands at a much reduced Rs.1.7 trillion over the coming 5 years. For a frame of reference, Rs.1 trillion is 1.8% of one year’s GDP.

Most education experts agree that this amount will be insufficient. Since education falls under the concurrent list of the Constitution, financial negotiations were also undertaken between Central and State authorities to agree on sharing of expenses. This has been agreed at 35:65 between States and Centre, though state governments continue to argue that their share should be lower.

KEY FEATURES OF THE ACT INCLUDE:

1. Every child from 6 to 14 years of age has a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till completion of elementary education.
2. Private schools must take in a quarter of their class strength from `weaker sections and disadvantaged groups’, sponsored by the government.
3. All schools except private unaided schools are to be managed by School Management Committees with 75 per cent parents and guardians as members.
4. All schools except government schools are required to be recognized by meeting specified norms and standards within 3 years to avoid closure.

On the basis of this Act, the government has framed subordinate legislation called model rules as guidelines to states for the implementation of the Act.

The family, I had been working for, (walia family) had always been caring for me, with occasional slaps and abuses, to which I had become accustomed to and accepted them as a part and parcel of my monthly income of 700 Rs along with square meals and the discarded cloths of the children to the master. But then that was my life……bhaiya and didi (son and daughter to the master) were both elder to me by 4 or 5 years respectively and during my free time often played along with me, but again I was reminded of my being a servant whenever I forgot that…they had thought me to read and write my name in Hindi, which I always kept scribbling at the corners of the walls which resulted in a colour change of my cheeks to red from white, whenever caught. That Act being the burning topic of those days always managed to occupy some space at the front page of every news paper, which further became a topic of early morning drawing room discussion for the family as it was that day and just like every normal citizen he also started which his speech, with the critique of right to education act and its loop holes….

LOOPHOLES IN THE ACT

The Act is excessively input-focused rather than outcomes-oriented. Even though better school facilities, books, uniforms and better qualified teachers are important, their significance in the Act has been overestimated in the light of inefficient, corrupt and unaccountable institutions of education provision. Then the Act unfairly penalises private unrecognised schools for their payment of market wages for teachers rather than elevated civil service wages. It also penalises private schools for lacking the infrastructural facilities defined under a Schedule under the Act. These schools, which are extremely cost efficient, operate mostly in rural areas or urban slums, and provide essential educational services to the poor. Independent studies by Geeta Kingdon, James Tooley and ASER 2009 suggest that these schools provide similar if not better teaching services when compared to government schools, while spending a much smaller amount. However, the Act requires government action to shut down these schools over the coming three years. A better alternative would have been to find mechanisms through which public resources could have been infused into these schools. The exemption from these same recognition requirements for government schools is the case of double standards — with the public sector being exempted from the same `requirements’. By the Act, SMCs (school management committees) are to comprise of mostly parents, and are to be responsible for planning and managing the operations of government and aided schools. SMCs will help increase the accountability of government schools, but SMCs for government schools need to be given greater powers over evaluation of teacher competencies and students learning assessment. Members of SMCs are required to volunteer their time and effort. This is an onerous burden for the poor. Payment of some compensation to members of SMCs could help increase the time and focus upon these. Turning to private but `aided’ schools, the new role of SMCs for private `aided’ schools will lead to a breakdown of the existing management structures. Teachers are the cornerstone of good quality education and need to be paid market-driven compensation. But the government has gone too far by requiring high teacher salaries averaging close to Rs.20,000 per month. These wages are clearly out of line, when compared with the market wage of a teacher, for most schools in most locations in the country. A better mechanism would have involved schools being allowed to design their own teacher salary packages and having autonomy to manage teachers. A major problem in India is the lack of incentive faced by teachers either in terms of carrot or stick. In the RTE Act, proper disciplinary channels for teachers have not been defined. Such disciplinary action is a must given that an average of 25 percent teachers are absent from schools at any given point and almost half of those who are present are not engaged in teaching activity. School Management Committees need to be given this power to allow speedy disciplinary action at the local level. Performance based pay scales need to be considered as a way to improve teaching.

The Act and the Rules require all private schools (whether aided or not) to reserve at least 25% of their seats for economically weaker and socially disadvantaged sections in the entry level class. These students will not pay tuition fees. Private schools will receive reimbursements from the government calculated on the basis of per-child expenditure in government schools. Greater clarity for successful implementation is needed on:

• How will ‘weaker and disadvantaged sections’ be defined and verified?
• How will the government select these students for entry level class?
• Would the admission lottery be conducted by neighbourhood or by entire village/town/city? How would the supply-demand gaps in each neighbourhood be addressed?
• What will be the mechanism for reimbursement to private schools?
• How will the government monitor the whole process? What type of external vigilance/social audit would be allowed/encouraged on the process?
• What would happen if some of these students need to change school in higher classes?

Moreover, the method for calculation of per-child reimbursement expenditure (which is to exclude capital cost estimates) will yield an inadequate resource flow to private schools. It will be tantamount to a tax on private schools. Private schools will end up charging more to the 75% of students – who are paying tuition’s – to make space for the 25% of students they are forced to take. This will drive up tuition fees for private schools (while government schools continue to be taxpayer funded and essentially free).

Reimbursement calculations should include capital as well recurring costs incurred by the government.

By dictating the terms of payment, the government has reserved the right to fix its own price, which makes private unaided schools resent this imposition of a flat price. A graded system for reimbursement would work better, where schools are grouped — based on infrastructure, academic outcomes and other quality indicators — into different categories, which would then determine their reimbursement.

Quality of Education

The quality of education provided by the government system remains in question. While it remains the largest provider of elementary education in the country forming 80% of all recognized schools, it suffers from shortages of teachers, infrastructural gaps and several habitations continue to lack schools altogether. There are also frequent allegations of government schools being riddled with absenteeism and mismanagement and appointments are based on political convenience. Despite the allure of free lunch-food in the government schools, which has basically turned the schools into a “dhaba” and school teachers to “chefs”, many parents send their children to private schools. Average schoolteacher salaries in private rural schools in some States (about Rs. 4,000 per month) are considerably lower than that in government schools. As a result, proponents of low cost private schools, critiqued government schools as being poor value for money.

Children attending the private schools are seen to be at an advantage, thus discriminating against the weakest sections, who are forced to go to government schools. Furthermore, the system has been criticized as catering to the rural elites who are able to afford school fees in a country where large number of families live in absolute poverty. The act has been criticized as discriminatory for not addressing these issues. Well-known educationist Anil Sadagopal said of the hurriedly-drafted act:

“It is a fraud on our children. It gives neither free education nor compulsory education. In fact, it only legitimizes the present multi-layered, inferior quality school education system where discrimination shall continue to prevail.”

For me this new topic was like Ramayana being recited in the house, although Ramayana was still Hindi, but this was complete alien…it was Wednesday afternoon and the family members were all taking rest when I decided to run away from that house, and then actually did…but when was back home I was scolded brutally by my father who said ‘here comes one more, person with his mouth wide open, good for nothing creature’. After few days, I was as well enrolled in local village school, which served lunch to every student who attended the school. But the food wasn’t easy here too, every pupil was made to cook food and wash dishes, the left out time was utilized in fulfilling the desires of the school teacher. I did everything in the school but study. But my sister was not as lucky as me, although for sake of attending school, she was only enrolled in there but the reality was that she hardly attended any classes due to engagement in the household work, as that was more important and education for marriage than that what was written the school books. The only day we had a feast was when inspection was on the calendar. I did wanted to study but my pockets didn’t allow me, I always pondered but couldn’t make out what was wrong with my school when compared to those big ones in the cities but the answers were nowhere for me……

THINGS WHICH CAN BE DONE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT.

The RTE Act has been passed; the Model Rules have been released; financial closure appears in hand. Does this mean the policy process is now impervious to change? Even today, much can be achieved through a sustained engagement with this problem.

Drafting of State Rules

Even though state rules are likely to be on the same lines as the model rules, these rules are still to be drafted by state level authorities keeping in mind contextual requirements. Advocacy on the flaws of the Central arrangements, and partnerships with state education departments, could yield improvements in at least some States. Examples of critical changes which state governments should consider are: giving SMCs greater disciplinary power over teachers and responsibility of students learning assessment, greater autonomy for schools to decide teacher salaries and increased clarity in the implementation strategy for 25% reservations. If even a few States are able to break away from the flaws of the Central arrangements, this would yield demonstration effects of the benefits from better policies.

Assisting private unrecognized schools

Since unrecognized schools could face closure in view of prescribed recognition standards within three years, we could find ways to support such schools to improve their facilities by resource support and providing linkages with financial institutions. Moreover, by instituting proper rating mechanisms wherein schools can be rated on the basis of infrastructure, learning achievements and other quality indicators, constructive competition can ensue.

Ensure proper implementation

Despite the flaws in the RTE Act, it is equally important for us to simultaneously ensure its proper implementation. Besides bringing about design changes, we as responsible civil society members need to make the government accountable through social audits, filing right to information applications and demanding our children’s right to quality elementary education. Moreover, it is likely that once the Act is notified, a number of different groups affected by this Act will challenge it in court. It is, therefore, critically important for us to follow such cases and where feasible provide support which addresses their concerns without jeopardizing the implementation of the Act.

Awareness

Most well-meaning legislation’s fail to make significant changes without proper awareness and grassroot pressure. Schools need to be made aware of provisions of the 25% reservations, the role of SMCs and the requirements under the Schedule. This can be undertaken through mass awareness programs as well as ensuring proper understanding by stakeholders responsible for its implementation.

Ecosystem creation for greater private involvement

Finally, along with ensuring implementation of the RTE Act which stipulates focused reforms in government schools and regulation for private schools, we need to broaden our vision so as to create an ecosystem conducive to spontaneous private involvement. The current licensing and regulatory restrictions in the education sector discourage well-intentioned ‘entrepreneurs’ from opening more schools. Starting a school in Delhi, for instance, is a mind-numbing, expensive and time-consuming task which requires clearances from four different departments totaling more than 30 licenses. The need for deregulation is obvious.

Today, I am 15 in age, out of school and again away from home, working only to earn hand to mouth, to boast that am literate I have gained my elementary education but the fact is, I only know how to write my name in Hindi along with few more things and that’s not because of the school but I owe that to Mr walias’ children. And today, the biggest question for me is, why should anyone get enrolled in a school to gain elementary education, when that education is doing no good to him in the future? After 14 I had to leave the school, in spite of me being still in standard four, I couldn’t support my studies further so ultimately all my efforts went in vain, leaving me all to myself, just to ponder what should I do????

CONCLUSION:

The Act has failed in identifying what actually ails our education system and so not surprisingly it offers solutions that are either redundant or counter-productive. Its unrelenting faith in the bureaucracy and its seething animosity towards private initiatives in education reflect a bygone era. However well-intentioned the government may be, the central planning approach cannot serve the future needs of India. It has failed in economics and it cannot do any better in education. The promises made in the Bill then amount to political grandstanding.

The fulfillment of the constitutional obligation does not necessarily require the state to build and manage schools. It can discharge its obligation successfully by restricting its role to the provision of financial resources to those who cannot afford and enabling all parents to make informed choices. The education system should be designed in such a manner that there is competition and choice. The schools should compete with each other to attract students and the students should in turn have the freedom to choose their school. This would ensure the best allocation of scarce resources and an improving quality of education.

One way for the government to finance education that would guarantee access to school and would create right incentives for improving quality is to fund government schools on the basis of number students in the school. Instead of a lump sum grant, the government fixes a per student charge, which multiplied with the number of students, determines the grant that a school would receive. The state can also provide financial support to students in the form of a voucher that can be redeemed only at educational institutions to cover the expenses of education. With this education voucher, the student would be in a position to choose from amongst the various public and private schools.

This would ensure competition amongst schools and thus good quality education. Furthermore, the financial resources of the state would be put to more effective use by targeting them towards the poor only and by optimally utilizing the management skills of the private sector. There is no doubt that privately managed institutions have made a tremendous contribution to the cause of education, and in the last decade particularly the unrecognised private schools for the poor. It would be a tremendous loss of social capital if these schools were forced to close down. If the government opens a new school and runs well, there would be no reason for parents to send their children to a fee-charging, unrecognised school.

They would go out of business automatically. One more reason not to outlaw these schools with the passage of the Act is the chaos and harm it would create since they will have to close down well before the government will be able to open new schools across the country. In its zeal to fulfill its constitutional mandate, the government would achieve the opposite.

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Improving Vocational Education in Massachusetts: Three Ideas

I have been blessed to serve in vocational education in Massachusetts. Our system is known as the best in the country, and I have little doubt that that reputation is well-deserved. Because of our success, particularly over the past several years, vocational education has become a darling of the press – and a lightning rod for criticism, often unfair.

It’s a great system, but it could be even better.

Here are three things that could help us improve the vocational education system in Massachusetts — or at least maintain its current excellence:

1. Directly Address the Tension and Misunderstanding Between Vocational School Districts and Their Non-Vocational Counterparts. Misinformation and misunderstanding is all too common. It needs to stop. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) can – and should – take the lead. DESE should convene regular meetings of representatives of the major professional education associations, including the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA), Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators’ Association (MSSAA), Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS), Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials (MASBO), Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS), and Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC).

Get them to talk.

As a bridge to common ground, DESE should ask these groups to focus on educational issues of mutual interest and ask them to identify solutions. The topics should include paying for out-of-district placement of students with severe disabilities, keeping alive arts and music in the public schools, providing education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and delivering 21st Century skills.

2. Insist on Maintaining High-Quality Vocational Education Programs. Chapter 74 of the Massachusetts General Laws governs vocational education. The law and its regulations outline high standards for program approval. The state must not deviate from those high standards – no matter where the program, no matter how high the political price. Doing otherwise puts the integrity of the entire vocational education delivery system and that of the state education department at risk.

In this context, DESE would be wise to drop the idea of “provisional” or “conditional” approval of Chapter 74 programs. Existing standards for these programs have worked well for decades. Why change them? If the state wants to speed up the approval process, that’s fine. Just reassign staff to put more people in charge of reviewing applications for program approvals. Don’t ease up on the standards.

Further, the state needs to clarify the circumstances under which the Commissioner would consider approving in an academic school district a Chapter 74 program that directly duplicates one already currently offered at a regional vocational technical district of which that community is a part. There might be exceptional circumstances where a duplicate program warrants such approval. In my opinion, those cases should be exceedingly rare.

3. Move Cautiously on Regulatory Changes. The vocational education system in Massachusetts is working well, exceptionally well. The regulations covering vocational education have been in place for many, many years. While there may be a need for some tinkering around the edges, there is absolutely no pressing need for wholesale change.

To its credit, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education invited the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) to talk about possible regulatory changes early on, before anything “official” was proposed. As a result, DESE modified its initial position on several issues and delayed its proposed timetable to bring the recommended changes to its board. With several new members on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the case for further delay and investigation is even more compelling. Massachusetts would do well to slow down, allow practitioners to discuss these proposed changes further, and reflect carefully on their potential impact.

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College Grants – A Boost to Your Educational Plan

The US government promotes higher education and offers one of the world’s best possible educational options to prospective students and has allotted a staggering $160 billion for the current financial year. With college education becoming expensive, it might be a bit difficult for the students especially on a tight budget to carry on higher education. But the US government offers various kinds of college grants to enable them to get college education.

College grants are actually excellent source of educational funding and the government has also launched various interesting funding schemes to encourage more and more students for higher education. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the National SMART Grant are some of the ways to help the students fund their studies. These education grants are meant for the academically bright students who want to pursue higher education.

The US Education Department’s different federal students’ aid program is the largest source of higher education grants in the US, not to mention the college grants. College grants are of different types to serve different purposes- the student grants to the students comes from low income families; subject specific grant to encourage more enrollment in under represented subjects; higher education grants to enable students go for doctoral studies, etc. The education department has an annual budget of more than $100 billion for scholarships, aids, grants and higher research. There are many subject specific grants available in the community colleges and the universities.

There are other types of education grants available like the Undergraduate Scholarship Program which encourages students to continue career in biomedical research. The other popular types of education grants are the PLUS loans and the Stafford loans that should be repaid but have very low interest rates.

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Grants For School – The US Education Department Offers TEACH Grants For Your Education

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 led Congress to make the Teach Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program (TEACH), providing potential future teachers with $4,000 each year in grants in order to pay for their education, particularly if they come from a family with not much income. Wen you want to find out more about the TEACH Grant Program, you just have to check out your college’s financial aid office, as they can help you get started on your journey.

When you get a TEACH Grant, it is with the proviso that you have to start work as a full-time teacher, educating low income students at a public or private secondary school or elementary. After your TEACH Grant is awarded, you have to teach around four years in the next eight years after you finish your degree that you got through the TEACH Grant. You have to keep in mind that, if you do not get this service obligation met within the allotted time, it will switch to a federal unsubsidized Stafford loan. You will then have to repay your grant to the Department of Education. You will also have to pay the back interest from the disbursement date.

If you want to get a TEACH Grant, you have to qualify on the following grounds:

Fill out your FAFSA form, though you do not require it in order to prove your financial need.
Have a status as a US citizen.
Enroll yourself in any part of the higher education process, given that you have an appropriate school that works with the TEACH program.
Take a course of study that will lead you to the classes needed to have a teaching career. Provided your preferred field of teaching, you have to take courses that will facilitate your ability to educate there.
Maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher, or otherwise meet the requirements that are given to you by the school in order to keep in good standing.
Get your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve signed.

You can get TEACH Grants in such high need fields as English Language Acquisition, Foreign Language, Reading Specialist, Science, Special Education, Bilingual Education, Mathematics, and many more fields of study that have shortages of qualified teachers in the nation when you get the grant.

If you are working in a low income school, you will know if it is listen in the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits created by the Department of Education. The tcll.ed.gov Website is a great place to find this Directory.

You have to sign your TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve each year that you get the grant; you can use the Department of Education Website to find this agreement each time. In the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, you can find the conditions that you have to meet in order to get the grant, as well as what you need to qualify for teaching service; this can include saying that you recognize that you consent to having the TEACH Grant switched to an unsubsidized federal loan in the event that you do not get a teaching job in the right time period.

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Do We Really Need The Education Department and The Department Of Energy?

The origin of this article comes from a short blurb in the December 17, 2010 issue of The Week magazine. The latest survey of student school achievement, which is done every three years by the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development, found that students in Shanghai ranked first in the world in reading, science, and math. Quite a feat, to be number one in all three. The survey measured the education proficiency of fifteen year olds in 60 countries around the world.

The very bad and sad news is that the United States ranked 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 31th in math. While the article did not give education expenditure information, it is a good bet that the United States ranked much higher in amount of education dollars spent per student than it did in any of the three categories measured. If this assertion is correct, then we are spending a lot of taxpayer money and getting mediocre performance in return.

Which brings us to the Federal Education Department, a bureaucracy that has been around since 1980 and according to its government website, has a discretionary budget of about $49.7 billion (this does not include the $33 billion or so of Pell grants that it administers). I guess one could make the argument that without the Education Department, the United States would have finished worse than 17th, 23rd, and 31th.

However, it is likely we could have finished this poorly without spending the $49.7 billion a year. In fact, if you look at the Education Department website, it acknowledges that “it is important to point out that education in America is a state and local responsibility.” They admit that they are not the main driver of education in this country but still eat up almost $50 billion a year just to fill a supplemental role.

Let’s do some fantasy math. What if we terminated the Education Department, what could we do with that money:

Since there are 50 states, you could provide an annual supplemental payment to the states, that the Department fully acknowledges has the main responsibility for educating our kids, of $1 billion per state to help improve their facilities and education processes.
According to the government’s National Center For Education Statistics, there are 93,295 public elementary and secondary schools in this country. If we divide this number of schools into the Education Department’s budget, each school could theoretically receive an additional $532,000 per school each year to help educate America’s youth.
If we purchased the basic iPad product at Best Buys’ current price of $499.95, we could outfit over 99 million students in one year with an iPad for themselves. Given today’s high tech world, wouldn’t iPads (or other worthy technology) be better use of taxpayer funds than a 31st finish in math?
Of course, just having a piece of technology is not going to improve an education process but imagine what could happen in education with an iPad. For example, the need for books and the high expense that goes with the school purchase of books could be diverted to hire more teachers, improve school curriculums, enhance teacher training, etc. since bound paper books are more expensive than electronic digital books, a format that that could also be much easily updated. And this is for only one year. With the technology already purchased in year one, next year, billions of more dollars could be spent on other education needs, if we eliminated the Education Department budget.
If you are not into helping improve our schools, you could divide the $49.7 billion by the number of U.S. households and give each household an annual check of just over $400. Certainly a better idea than 31st in math.

The point to be made by these math calculations is that the Education Department has done such a poor job of positioning our kids for success in the world that continuing to budget and pay for this non-performance is a farce. How much worse could it be to take the $50 billion or so and try something new with it? Given that the Department is supplemental, what is the worst that could happen? We fall to 32nd in math? The schools and education approach in Shanghai is getting results, why can’t we get the Federal government out of the way and let the states find a way to mimic what Shanghai is obviously doing right and our Education Department is obviously not doing at all?

While reading about our poor performance as a nation academically, it appears that another Federal agency, the Department of Energy, is also a total failure when it comes to its charter. Although it has been over 30 years since the traumatic energy crises of the 1970s, we as a nation are not closer to having a strategic, workable, and rationale national energy plan today than we were when the Department of Energy was formed decades ago.

Think about it: name one success story from the Department of Energy that you can come up with without doing some serious research? We still have no national energy policy. I can think of no significant project, program, or technology that the Department funded with our taxpayer money that has born fruit, either with cheaper energy, better energy, or less reliance on foreign energy sources.

If you look at their Federal website,you see that the Department Of Energy’s annual budget is around $28 billion, of which just over $11 billion of that is for Defense Department research. If you took that $11 billion and moved it and its staff into the Defense Department, you could dump the remaining parts of the Department Of Energy and save the taxpayers just over $17 billion a year. This would provide an annual tax reduction of about $150 for every U.S. household. What would you rather have: $150 in your pocket or just another government bureaucracy that did nothing it was supposed to do?

These are the types of questions that need to be asked as the country faces this extraordinary and looming budget crisis of skyrocketing national debt. Just because we always had a government program, does not mean we need to continue to have these programs. An Education Department that fails at education and a Department of Energy that fails at energy are not good reasons to continue to have them. Better to try somethng different and less expensive. Again, how much worse could it get when it comes to these two monstrosities?

Just because something exists today does not mean it has to exist tomorrow. Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, Montgomery Ward, Service Merchandise, American Motors, Studebaker, GTE, ITT, the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union, etc. all existed and are now all gone. Given this historical perspective, getting rid of a mere Cabinet Department or two should be no big deal, especially the ones that are expensive and ineffective, the cause for the demise of these past giants in their respective fields.

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Natural Osteoarthritis Relief Supplements To Ease Joint Stiffness Safely

Joint pain and inflammation due to arthritis is a health issue reported in hospitals. How to alleviate this health issue safely and naturally? This is a common query heard from people. In this article, we are going to see the details of natural osteoarthritis relief supplements to ease joint stiffness. Burdock root is a fine example of natural remedy to treat health issues like joint pain and inflammation.

Today, you can easily get burdock root products from market in the form of extracts and capsules. In order to obtain the best result, feel free to select the right product manufactured from a reliable manufacturer. For effective health advantage, it is generally advised to drink a cup of burdock root tea twice per day.

Flaxseed is another natural cure to alleviate the risks due to arthritis. You can make use of flaxseed oil both internally and externally. Omega-3 fatty acid present in flaxseed is found to be very useful to improve the brain function and joint flexibility. In order to alleviate the troubles due to joint pain and inflammation, make it as a habit to include flaxseed in daily diet. Turmeric is another cure to improve the flexibility of muscles. Curcumin and curcuminoids present in turmeric is mainly responsible for its health benefits. Apart from treating inflammatory diseases, turmeric can be also used to prevent health issues like cataracts and cancer.

Nettle leaf tea is another safe cure recommended to reduce the risk of joint pain and inflammation. To get effective result, it is advised to make use of three cups of nettle leaf tea daily. Apart from relaxing muscles and nerve cells, nettle leaf tea is also found to be very useful to alleviate the risks of health issues like anxiety, stress and depression. Have you ever used licorice root tea? Licorice root decreases the action of free radicals and reduces the troubles due to joint inflammation. How can licorice root help to treat joint pain and inflammation? This is a common query heard from people. Glycyrrhizin present in licorice root is mainly responsible for this health benefit.

Suppressing the functioning of immune system is a key feature of licorice root extract. You can also make use of this herbal cure to ease pain due to arthritis troubles. Today, licorice root products can be easily availed from market in the form of extracts and tea powders. Hence feel free to make use of this remedy as per the need. Those with blood pressure problems are generally advised to limit the consumption of licorice root products.

How many of you do regular exercises? As per studies, regular exercising is found to be as a safe means to improve the flexibility of muscles. To get effective result, it is recommended to do exercises for at least thirty minutes per day. Rumatone capsule is one among the best sold products to treat health issues like arthritis. Improving muscle flexibility is a key feature of this herbal product. For the best result, try to make use of this remedy consistently for three or four months.

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Herbal Remedies To Cleanse Liver Naturally And Improve Overall Health

Poor diet, lack of exercise and higher levels of cholesterol can put anyone to the risk of an unhealthy liver which is responsible for a wide number of functions in our body. Liver is responsible to digest the fat and filter the poisonous elements and when you are not taking care of your liver it can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Don’t wait till you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, vomiting, gallstones or indigestion. Try Livoplus capsules which are the widely trusted herbal remedies to cleanse liver naturally.

Too many pollutants, alcohol consumption, and bad living habits damage our liver, and its performance degrades over time. But there is a simple remedy for a timely cleansing of liver. Ayurveda has some powerful herbs that are fortified with liver cleansing properties and Livoplus capsules comprise of all such carefully selected ingredients to help us improve overall health.

Signs of an unhealthy liver:

Though liver is capable of natural regeneration but it’s not immune to diseases. Therefore, we should definitely take care of the most versatile organ in our body that is responsible for metabolism, blood clotting, eliminating the waste and filtration of the blood. Take a look at the below mentioned symptoms that are a clear sign that you should try herbal remedies to cleanse liver naturally.

1. Jaundice
2. Itchy skin
3. Abdominal swelling and pain
4. Excess weight loss
5. Nausea and fatigue.

Healthy liver is essential for a wide number of functions in the body, and if you encounter any of these warning signs then it’s high time that you should cleanse your liver. Livoplus capsules are one of the most trusted herbal remedies to cleanse liver naturally that help to detox liver and maintain overall health.

An effective liver cleanse with Livoplus capsules:

After too much calorie intake, alcohol, chemical-based medicine, junk foods and oily foods we should detoxify the liver to enhance its performance. Some life threatening situations can occur if your liver is not cleansed regularly. If you don’t have time to follow a strict detoxifying diet regimen then take Livoplus capsules twice a day to see the results.

The unhealthy liver is accompanied by loss of appetite, fatigue and variety of allergies and infections. Therefore, experts have presented the well-balanced formula of Livoplus capsules that contain Kantkari, Makoy, Kasni, Arjun, Mandur Bhasam, Kasmard, Palihari, Amrta, Daru Hald, Santhi, Bhangra Bhui Aamla, Aamla, Chitrak, Haritaki and Vaivading to improve overall health.

Key Features of Livoplus capsules:

As we all know liver is the most versatile organ responsible for a lot of functions in our body. Thus, it’s essential to cleanse it regularly by taking natural supplements like Livoplus capsules. You can try these capsules for a prolonged duration because:

1. These capsules are 100% natural and free from side effects.

2. Kantkari is the main herb in these capsules that is useful in detoxifying the liver.

3. The liver cleansing properties of Chitrak help to maintain overall health.

4. Liver’s ability to resist diseases can be regained.

5. Immune system and digestive systems can be enhanced.

6. All sorts of damages caused by jaundice and fatty liver can be treated.

All the herbs and ingredients in Livoplus capsules are formulated as per ayurvedic procedure to present one of the most effective herbal remedies to cleanse liver naturally. So don’t wait anymore and order the best liver detox pills today.

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