NY Law Will Require Mental Education in Schools

On October 3, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that requires all New York middle and high schools to teach mental health, starting in 2018. This was added to the existing health education program which now includes the topics of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and the prevention and detection of cancers. The intent behind this act is to help students recognize the early signs of impending mental illness and be encouraged to seek help. Schools will have to align the resources needed to assist these students.


Prevalence of Mental Illness in Youth


The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)

reports that of adults living with mental illness, 50 percent experienced onset by age 14, and 74 percent by age 24. They also report that one in five youth live with a mental health condition. Nearly 80 percent of these individuals remain untreated.


Another sobering statistic: suicide is the third leading cause of death for the 10 to 14 age group, and the second leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 34. Over 90 percent of children who commit suicide have a mental health condition.


How Will Schools Deliver Mental Health Education?


The New York school system follows the requirement of one semester of comprehensive health education for all middle school and high school students. It is also specified that this course be taught by a qualified health education teacher.


Mental health advocates recognize that adding mental health to this one course will not suffice in identifying and helping students in need. In fact, many schools already include mental health in their health education course. It’s the teachers that students see daily who are in key positions to spot struggling students, and they need training and knowledge of how to help these students get to the proper resources. The generally understaffed counselors, social workers, school nurses and other support staff need to work closely with teachers and also to establish referral procedures to mental health resources and clinical professionals in the community.


The Role of the School in Meeting Mental Health Needs of Students


A safe and supportive school environment is fundamental to the well-being and academic achievement of students. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) cites a study in which a school climate of safety, connectedness and peer support were protective of mental and emotional wellbeing in students transitioning to secondary school. Other studies show that a climate of teacher support, peer support, student autonomy and consistency in school rules are associated with better psychological and behavioral adjustments and lower levels of depressive symptoms.


Better than to identify and treat mental illness is to prevent it. The spirit of the new mandate calls for imaginative solutions to stem the tide of mental illness that has been referred to as a “silent epidemic”. Schools have over a year to address this problem and prepare for the mandate. If the creativity of school staff and students is unleashed, much can be done to aid troubled students to find their way back to mental health.


Resources Needed to Help Schools in Addressing Mental Health Problems


Schools need help to effectively carry out the new mandate. The Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS) is drafting legislation that will provide basic mental health education to all teachers. NAMI advocates support for schools where trained community mental health professionals are brought into schools to provide mental health care. They have also developed training programs for school personnel on child and youth mental health as well as classroom materials for teaching students on how to ask for help.


Besides these, schools need federal and state funding to cover expenses for training and for services to carry out the mental health education mandate. Principals should not be forced into the position of managing debt to carry out an effective preventative program for the mental health of students.


The Educational World is Shocked as ITT Tech Closes

The Educational World is Shocked as ITT Tech Closes

The curtain has closed on ITT Tech. In a shocking development, federal sanctions have led to the for-profit educational institution to close all 130 campuses. Students of ITT Tech are now in a difficult position since their school no longer exists. The actual number of those students is staggering: 45,000.


ITT Educational Services was founded in 1969 and owned and operated technical learning institutes across the United States. Students enrolled in the various programs at the school could earn a associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Battles with the Department of Education led to the school filing for bankruptcy in September of 2016 and shutting down.


Troubles with the Department of Education


The bankruptcy followed the Department of Education’s decision to cut off all financial aid to the school. Student loans and various grants could not be accessed by students to pay for their tuition. In essence, this move made it impossible for the school to accept many new students. The costs of tuition are too high for the budgets of most attendees.


Students and Transfer Credits


A number of students can take solace in the news certain colleges are willing to transfer in credits from ITT Tech. This could lead to a smoother transition to a new learning environment. Still, students are not likely to be pleased with the turn of events that created their current situation. Nothing really can be done. ITT Tech’s doors are closed and closed for good.


Financial Worries


The Department of Education has stated that there were numerous concerns about the financial stability of ITT Tech. Actually, there were several things that raised concerns at the agency.


The Department of Education felt the institution was lacking in many areas and required to department to post a massive letter-of-credit. The amount the institution was required to post was in excess of $240 million. The letter-of-credit is put in place as a protection against any defaults that may occur on loans or other government-issued funds to an educational enterprise.


The combination of putting up a massive amount of money in the form of the letter-of-credit and the barring of federal financial aid pushed ITT Tech over the proverbial brink. The entity could not remain in existence with such an incredible financial strain. The closing of ITT was only a matter of time with such fiscal strains in place.


Taxpayers will have to accept their own personal losses on the closing of ITT Tech. Upwards of $500 million in student loan debt may be discharged since the school has closed.


Legal Woes


ITT Tech had been embroiled in a few controversies over the years. Lawsuits had been filed against ITT Tech based on how it went about enrolling students and also in regards to predatory lending. One complaint focused on the institutions “over-promising” of career success potential with an IT Degree. One lawsuit dealt with claims the school took students solely to collect federal funds even though the aptitude of the student was in question.


Time will tell what the ramifications the ITT Tech closing is going to have on the higher education world as a whole.


7 Study Skills Every Student Should Know


Think of things ahead of time. Time management isn’t just important for studying and doing well in school, but for succeeding at anything in life. Thinking of deadlines, tests, and other events well in advance and planning around them effectively will save you several headaches in the long run.



This might mean notebooks, folders, binders, highlighters– or just some sticky notes and a clean desk. Being organized is a seriously important study habit. Keep things in order and distinguishable from one another, know where they are, and save yourself some time and energy. Sometimes being organized can even mean rewriting or making multiple copies of your notes.


Marathon, Don’t Sprint (Or Cram)

Effective studying means not cramming the night before. Studies have shown again and again that much of the real learning we do happens when we sleep, where our brain encodes information from the short-term to long-term memory. This mean you want to avoid staying up all night trying to cram for that exam at all cost, and instead space your studying out over the course of days or weeks if possible.



As the saying goes, time is precious. Learning how to figure out where you need to focus is crucial. This applies to the subjects you’re studying, meaning the areas you’re weaker in than others, but especially how you spend your time. Perhaps this means delaying that basketball game or movie, or even social events, in order to prepare for that crucial exam coming up.


Take Good (and efficient) Notes

Trying to write down what your teacher or professor says word for word is simply inefficient. It leaves you not fully paying attention to what they are saying and lagging behind, trying to catch up as you scribble furiously. Learn to pick out the most important pieces of information–take note of the crucial things you think you need to remember. Not only does this streamline your notes and provide an efficient source of information of the subject matter presented that day, but it limits your time spent writing and frees up your brain to really pay attention to what your instructor is saying.


Skim & Reread

As I’ve already mentioned, time is important. Textbooks can be extremely dense and wordy, and sometimes you only need to pick out the important information and ideas. Depending on your workload and the amount of material to study, reading every single word may not be the most efficient use of your time. But when the time does allow, start skimming through chapters before reading them–taking note of the headings, subheadings, and especially any bold words included. Doing this beforehand can help you retain more of what you read when going through the material more slowly.


Learn to Get Help

Everyone needs help at times, especially when studying. Part of getting help entails finding out what kind of help is available to you. This could be services provided by your school, your town, or a teacher or friend. Sometimes, you should get help even when you don’t think you need it. It can be surprising to find out what improvements you may need after letting another person look over your work or challenge you with a different problem.


Indiana schools chief proposes statewide pre-K education

On Tuesday June 7th 2016, Superintendent for Indiana state schools, Glenda Ritz, called upon Governor Mike Pence and the Legislature for school reform. Ritz wants Indiana to adopt a universal pre-k education program that anyone would of age would be able to attend. This program would allow all people regardless of income to be able to send their children to preschool free of charge. Getting this passed is going to be one tough task. Glenda Ritz is the only elected official who is a democrat and will have a hard time convincing the Republican Legislature and Governor to pass such a progressive bill.

There are only a few states that do not offer a functioning pre-kindergarten program and Indiana is one of them. Behind on the times, Glenda Ritz is trying to push Indiana into the 21st century. Some of the biggest skeptic of this proposed bill are tea party groups. In short, they believe almost everything should be privatized and government should be as small as possible. Spending taxpayers money on education is frowned upon by such groups. They believe citizen protection and minimal taxation helps preserve personal liberties. Funding this would divert funds from other things taking up the budget or Indiana would have to raise more money through taxation. Along with tea party groups; home schoolers and religious conservatives all are also opposed to receiving federal financial support.

Governor Pence is an advocate for getting children ready for kindergarten and for people of all social classes to be able to participate, he once said. Unfortunately for the kids that he wanted to help he rejected $80 million dollars in federal grants to support a similar proposition. He believed that with the money provided by the federal government that “federal intrusion” would occur. Fearing that he would lose control of this project primarily funded by the federal government.

Glenda Ritz urged on that by using less than 1% of the state budget most children in the state of Indiana can be kindergarten ready. She is determined to get this program on the roll. Ritz claims that regardless of the politics of the matter she will get this program implemented.

“When it comes to disadvantaged kids, the benefits of opening doors of access to early childhood education is very significant and that’s what we’ll focus on…I think it’s important that whatever we do in the years ahead that it’s voluntary, but also that parents would be able to use those resources at a public, a private or even a faith based pre-K program.” Pence said.

Implementation of this program would cost less than 1% of the annual budget and everyone in the state can reap the benefits. Children from all backgrounds will be able to get prepared for kindergarten. Glenda Ritz may have an ally in Pence if she can iron out the financials involved in a program such as this one. For now, tea party groups, homeschooling networks and religious conservatives will have their way.


How to Prepare Your Kids for a Long, Hard College Education

18 years fly by. Before you know it, the baby you took home from the hospital is loading up to go to college, leaving you sobbing in the rearview mirror. Will your kids succeed and accomplish the goals they have set for themselves? Here are five tips to ensure they are prepared for the long road to a college degree.


Take time to talk to your kids about college.

The only information your child hears about college should not come from the school counselor or the Internet. Let’s face it, although the counselor means well, your child is but one of many. Share your college experience with your child (the appropriate parts, of course). What study methods worked for you? Did you have a hard time balancing social time and coursework? How did you solve this dilemma? By telling your child these things, you are getting their wheels turning, and they are preparing mentally about how they might handle future obstacles.


Teach your kids basic survival skills.

Teach your kids how to scramble an egg, change a flat tire, write a check, and schedule their own doctor’s appointment. These mundane things may seem insignificant while your child is in middle and high school, but when they reach college, they will be thankful you’ve taken the time to prepare them for adult life.


Encourage your child to enroll in college courses while still in high school.

Moving to a college campus can be a shock in itself. Add the new people, freedom, and experiences, and it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed. This is before you even consider the college courses. Encourage your children to take several college classes before they graduate. This will expose them to the way a college course operates, what to expect from college professors, and hopefully, start their college career off with good grades.


Show your child what good work ethic looks like.

If your child sees you putting off important work deadlines, rolling out of bed an hour after your alarm went off, and not caring about your career, they are likely to inherit this attitude. Children notice what their parents do, the amount of effort they put into their jobs, and they absorb this like osmosis. Unfortunately, a college education doesn’t work this way. Kids must push themselves, stay focused, and dedicate time to achieve a degree. They learn this by the example their parents set for them.


Love them, but let your kids make their own mistakes.

Shower your children with unconditional love. Love them on the days they are in horrible moods, the days that you are in a horrible moods, and on the days where you just feel like you have no extra love to give. Support them, show them you care, but let them make their own mistakes. College is a time for mistakes and personal growth. Let your kids fall and pick themselves up. Resist the urge to jump in the car and drive 90 MPH down the highway just to have a conversation with the professor that you child should have handled. You’ve raised them well, now let that show.