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Breaking Into Interior Design Without A Degree: Tips & Resources

Designing spaces and creating beautiful environments is a dream career for many people, but the traditional path to becoming an interior designer may not be accessible to everyone. Going through formal education programs and obtaining a degree in interior design can be time-consuming and expensive. However, this does not mean that you cannot pursue your passion for interior design and turn it into a successful career. There are various ways to break into the interior design industry without a degree and become a sought-after interior decorator or stylist on your own terms. In this article, we will explore the unconventional route to becoming an interior designer and share tips, resources, and steps to help you succeed without a formal degree. Whether you are a self-taught creative or looking for a career change, read on to discover how to become an interior decorator without a degree.

How to Become an Interior Decorator Without a Degree: Tips, Tricks, and Resources

The world of interior design is often perceived as exclusive and requiring years of formal education and training. While a degree in interior design can certainly be beneficial, it is not the only path to a successful career in this field. With the rise of the internet and digital resources, it is now easier than ever to become a self-taught interior designer. In this article, we will explore the steps, tips, and resources for becoming an interior decorator without a degree.

The Importance of Mindful Decor in Home Learning Spaces

Before diving into the specifics of how to become an interior decorator without a degree, let’s address the significance of mindful decor in home learning spaces. In today’s world, many children are being homeschooled or participating in remote learning due to various reasons such as the ongoing pandemic. This has led to an increased need for creating effective and inspiring learning environments at home. According to a recent study, the environment in which a child learns can have a significant impact on their academic performance and overall well-being. Therefore, as an interior designer, you have the power to create a space that not only looks beautiful but also supports the cognitive and emotional development of a child.

To learn more about the importance of mindful decor in home learning spaces, check out this article by A House in the Hills.

Tips for Becoming an Interior Designer Without Formal Education

If you are passionate about interior design but do not have a degree, don’t worry. With these tips, you can still build a successful career as an interior decorator:

  • Study Design Principles: While you may not have a formal education in interior design, it is crucial to have a strong understanding of design principles such as color theory, balance, proportion, and scale. Look for online courses, books, or workshops that can help you learn these principles.
  • Gain Hands-On Experience: The best way to learn interior design is by doing it. Offer to help friends and family with their home decor projects, volunteer to assist established interior designers, or even work on your own home. This will not only give you practical experience but also help you build a portfolio.
  • Utilize Online Resources: The internet is a treasure trove of resources for aspiring interior designers. From online tutorials and blogs to virtual design tools and software, take advantage of these resources to learn new skills and stay updated with industry trends.

Ways to Break into the Interior Design Industry Without a Degree

If you want to break into the interior design industry without a degree, here are some strategies that can help:

  • Network: Networking is crucial in any industry, and interior design is no exception. Attend local design events, join design groups on social media, and reach out to designers in your area. Building relationships with fellow designers can open up opportunities for collaboration or even a mentorship.
  • Start Small: Instead of aiming to handle a large project right away, start small and build your way up. Offer to do small design jobs for friends or acquaintances, and use these projects to showcase your skills and build a client base.
  • Consider Certification: Though not required, obtaining a certification from an accredited organization can improve your credibility and open up more job opportunities. Look into programs such as Certified Interior Decorator or Interior Design Society Certification.

Becoming an Interior Stylist Without a College Degree

An interior stylist is someone who focuses on creating aesthetically pleasing homes for clients, while an interior decorator may also handle other aspects such as functionality and space planning. So, if you want to become an interior stylist without a college degree, here are some tips:

  • Develop Your Personal Style: As an interior stylist, your personal style will set you apart from others in the industry. Spend time exploring different design styles and elements and find what suits you best.
  • Build a Strong Portfolio: A portfolio is an essential tool for any designer, especially for those without a degree. Use your portfolio to showcase your style and skills to potential clients.
  • Stay Updated with Design Trends: As an interior stylist, it is vital to stay current with design trends. Follow design blogs, attend trade shows, and refer to magazines for inspiration and to stay updated with the latest trends.

Career Path for Aspiring Interior Designers Without a Degree

If you are starting as an interior designer without a degree, there are several career paths you can consider:

  • Freelance Designer: Many self-taught interior designers choose to work as freelancers. This allows them to have more creative control over their projects and work on a variety of design styles.
  • Independent Contractor: You can also work as an independent contractor for design firms or magazines. This may include doing design work for specific projects or providing content for publications.
  • In-House Designer: Some companies hire designers in-house to handle all of their design needs. Though these positions may be more competitive, they can provide a steady income and the opportunity to work on various projects.

Steps to Becoming a Self-Taught Interior Designer

If you are determined to become a self-taught interior designer, here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Start with the Basics: Begin with learning the fundamentals of interior design, such as color theory, space planning, and design styles.
  2. Gain Experience: Offer to assist established designers or work on small projects to gain hands-on experience.
  3. Build a Portfolio: Use your projects to build a portfolio that showcases your skills and style.
  4. Network: Attend design events, join groups, and network with other designers to build connections and opportunities.
  5. Stay Educated: Keep up with industry trends and continue learning new skills through online resources and courses.

How to Succeed as an Interior Designer Without a Formal Degree

The key to success as an interior designer without a formal degree lies in constantly improving your skills, building a strong portfolio, and networking. Additionally, having a strong work ethic, a clear understanding of your clients’ needs, and a unique design perspective can set you apart in the industry.

Resources for Starting an Interior Design Career Without a Degree

Here are some excellent resources for those looking to start an interior design career without a degree:

  • Books: "The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book" by Linda O’Shea and "Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life" by Erin Gates.
  • Blogs: A House in the Hills, Decor8, and Interior Design.
  • Software: AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Courses: Skillshare, Udemy, and CreativeLive.

Mastering Interior Design Without a College Education

It is entirely possible to become a successful and skilled interior designer without a college degree. With self-motivation, determination, and a willingness to continuously learn and improve, you can master the art of interior design and build a thriving career.

The Unconventional Route to Becoming an Interior Designer

In conclusion, while a formal education in interior design can provide valuable knowledge and skills, it is not the only way to become a successful interior decorator. By utilizing resources, gaining hands-on experience, and networking, you can still build a successful career in this field without a degree. So, do not let the lack of a formal degree hold you back from pursuing your passion for interior design!

In conclusion, becoming an interior decorator without a degree is not only possible but also a viable option for those interested in the interior design industry. With the right mindset, dedication, and resources, anyone can break into this field and achieve success. Whether through self-teaching, apprenticeships, or leveraging online resources and networking, there are various paths to take to become a successful interior designer without a formal degree. It’s important to continuously learn and stay updated on industry trends and techniques to excel in this competitive field. Remember, with passion and perseverance, you can turn your dream of becoming an interior designer into a reality, regardless of your educational background. So take the first step today and start your journey towards a fulfilling career in interior design.

Enhance Your Music Writing Skills With These Tips

Music has the power to evoke emotions, transport us to different worlds, and connect us with others. It is a universal language that can be experienced and interpreted in countless ways. As a music lover, you may have been inspired to share your thoughts and feelings about a particular song or album. But how do you effectively capture the essence of a piece of music in words? How can you craft a compelling review that does justice to the art form? In this article, we’ll explore tips and techniques for writing about music, whether you’re a seasoned music journalist or simply someone who wants to share their passion for music through words. Get ready to unleash your inner music critic and take your writing to the next level.

Tips for Writing about Music

Music has the power to evoke emotions, memories, and tell stories. As a music writer, it is your job to capture the essence of a song or album and convey it to your readers through words. Whether you are writing a music review, analyzing and interpreting songs, or exploring the world of music through creative writing, there are certain tips and techniques that can help you master the art of music writing. In this article, we will discuss some helpful tips for effectively writing about music.

Crafting a Music Review

Writing a music review is a great way to share your thoughts and opinions on a particular song or album with others. It allows you to express your personal taste in music while also providing insight for potential listeners. To craft a well-written music review, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Listen and take notes: Before you start writing, make sure to listen to the song or album multiple times. Take notes on the lyrics, instrumentation, and overall feel of the music.
  • Provide context: It is important to provide context for the reader, especially if they are not familiar with the artist or genre. Mention the background of the artist and any notable information about the album.
  • Use descriptive language: Music is a form of art, so use descriptive language to paint a picture for the reader. Describe the sound, mood, and emotions evoked by the music.
  • Be honest: Give your honest opinion about the music, but also be respectful. If you didn’t like the song, explain why without being overly critical.
  • Incorporate quotes: Including quotes from the song or from the artist can add depth to your review and give the reader a better understanding of the music.
  • Include a rating or recommendation: Many readers look for a quick summary of a music review, so consider including a rating or recommendation at the end.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of music writing, there are many online MBA programs that offer courses on music journalism. These programs can help you hone your skills and provide valuable knowledge about the music industry. For more information, check out this list of top universities for online MBA programs.

Exploring Music through Words

Music has the ability to transport us to different places, evoke emotions, and tell stories. As a writer, you have the power to do the same with your words. Here are some tips for effectively exploring music through creative writing:

  • Set the scene: Just like in a music review, it is important to set the scene for the reader. Describe the environment, atmosphere, and any other details that will help the reader visualize the music.
  • Use sensory language: Sensory language will bring your writing to life. Incorporate descriptions of sound, taste, touch, smell, and sight to truly immerse the reader in the music.
  • Experiment with different styles: There is no one right way to write about music. Experiment with different styles such as poetry, short stories, or personal essays to find what works best for you.
  • Be authentic: Your personal experiences, emotions, and thoughts can add depth to your writing. Don’t be afraid to share your personal connection to the music.
  • Revise and edit: Like any form of writing, it is important to revise and edit your work. This will help refine your writing and ensure that your words effectively convey the essence of the music.

Mastering the Art of Music Writing

Music writing is not just about describing the sound of a song, but also interpreting and analyzing its meaning. To master the art of music writing, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Research: Before analyzing and interpreting a song, do some research on the artist, their background, and any relevant information about the song’s creation.
  • Listen closely: Pay attention to the lyrics, instrumentation, and overall structure of the song. Identify any themes or symbols that may be present.
  • Provide evidence: When making an interpretation or argument about the meaning of a song, provide evidence from the lyrics or other sources to support your claims.
  • Consider different perspectives: Music can be interpreted in many different ways, so consider how others may interpret the song and acknowledge these perspectives in your writing.
  • Use critical thinking: Analyzing and interpreting music requires critical thinking skills. Be open-minded and analyze both the positives and negatives of the music.

The Art of Music Critique

Becoming a music critic takes time, practice, and a keen eye for detail. Here are some tips for writing effective music critiques:

  • Be knowledgeable: It is important to have a strong understanding of music theory, history, and the current music landscape.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses: When critiquing music, it is important to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. This will help provide a well-rounded review.
  • Provide constructive criticism: If you have criticisms about the music, make sure to provide constructive feedback for improvement.
  • Be respectful: Remember that there is a person behind the music, so be respectful in your critiques and avoid personal attacks.
  • Stay up-to-date: Keep up with new music releases and trends in the industry to stay relevant and knowledgeable.

Writing Creatively about Music

Music can be a source of inspiration for creative writing. Here are some tips for writing creatively about music:

  • Choose a specific song or album: Instead of writing about music in general, choose a specific song or album that resonates with you.
  • Use music as a prompt: Listen to a song and use it as a prompt for your writing. Let the music guide the direction of your story or poem.
  • Experiment with different perspectives: Instead of writing from your own perspective, try writing from the perspective of a character or the artist themselves.
  • Think outside of the box: Music can evoke strong emotions and memories, so don’t be afraid to get creative and explore unconventional themes or ideas in your writing.

Unleashing Your Inner Music Journalist

A music journalist is someone who reports on news, trends, and events within the music industry. Here are some tips for becoming an effective music journalist:

  • Stay informed: Keep up with the latest news and events within the music industry. This can include new releases, tours, and any other relevant information.
  • Network: Attend concerts, events, and conferences to network with other professionals in the industry and gain insights for potential stories.
  • Be versatile: As a music journalist, you may be required to cover a variety of topics related to the industry. Be open to writing about different genres, emerging artists, and current trends.
  • Build relationships with artists: Building relationships with artists can provide you with exclusive content and interviews for your writing.

Effective Techniques for Music Writing

Lastly, here are some general techniques that can help improve your music writing:

  • Read and learn from others: Read reviews, articles, and books about music writing to gain insight and learn new techniques from others.
  • Practice regularly: Like any skill, writing about music takes practice. Set aside time to write regularly, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
  • Get feedback: Find someone who can provide honest feedback on your writing and use their suggestions to improve your skills.
  • Be passionate: Writing about music requires passion and an appreciation for the art form. Let your love for music shine through in your writing.

In conclusion, writing about music is a creative and rewarding process. Whether you are writing a music review, exploring music through words, analyzing and interpreting songs, or becoming a music journalist, these tips and techniques can help take your writing to the next level. Remember to stay authentic, be open-minded, and always strive to improve your craft.

In conclusion, writing about music is an art form that requires a unique set of skills and techniques. By following these tips and techniques, you can elevate your music writing and effectively convey the emotions and nuances of a song to your readers. Whether it’s through a music review, song analysis or critique, exploring music through words allows us to appreciate and understand it on a deeper level. By mastering the art of music writing, we can unleash our inner music journalist and bring a new perspective to the world of music. Use these effective techniques to craft creative and captivating pieces that will leave a lasting impact on your readers. Keep practicing and honing your skills, and you will become a master at conveying the power and beauty of music through your writing. So go ahead and unleash your words and let the music guide you in creating impactful and memorable pieces.

How To Write An Informative Essay Introduction

When you are writing an informative essay, your goal is to provide your audience with information about a specific topic. In order to introduce your topic, you will need to write an informative essay introduction.

The introduction should provide your audience with a general overview of the topic. It should also introduce the specific topic that you will be discussing in your essay.

In order to write an informative essay introduction, you will need to:

1. Introduce the topic

2. Provide a general overview of the topic

3. Introduce the specific topic that you will be discussing

4. Write a thesis statement

Understanding the Role of an Introduction

An informative essay introduction is the first paragraph of an essay that provides information about the topic. It is important to understand the role of an introduction in order to write an effective one.

An introduction should provide a brief overview of the topic and identify the main points that will be discussed in the essay. It should also provide a thesis statement that will summarize the main point of the essay.

The introduction should be well-organized and concise, and it should provide enough information to help the reader understand the topic. It should also be engaging and interesting so that the reader will want to read the rest of the essay.

An informative essay introduction is an important part of the essay, and it should be well-written in order to provide the reader with the information they need to understand the topic.

Capturing the Reader’s Interest with a Hook

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A good introduction is key to a successful informative essay. The introduction should capture the reader’s interest and provide background information on the topic. It should also include a thesis statement that outlines the essay’s main points.

There are a number of different techniques you can use to capture the reader’s interest in your essay. One popular technique is to begin with a hook. A hook is a brief statement or anecdote that captures the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more.

You can also provide background information on the topic to help the reader understand the context of your essay. Background information can include historical facts, statistics, and expert opinions. It’s also important to include a thesis statement that outlines the essay’s main points. The thesis statement should be clear and concise, and it should be easy for the reader to understand.

If you’re having trouble writing a good introduction, you can try using a question as your hook. Questions are a great way to engage the reader and make them want to find out the answer. You can also try using a quotation or a short passage from a reputable source.

No matter what technique you choose, make sure that your introduction is engaging and easy to read. The introduction is your chance to make a good first impression and capture the reader’s interest.

Providing Necessary Background Information

An informative essay introduction should provide necessary background information so that the reader understands the topic at hand. In order to write an informative essay introduction, the writer must first research and gather information about the topic. The writer should then organize the information in a way that is easy to understand. The introduction should also include a thesis statement that provides the main point of the essay.

The purpose of an informative essay is to educate the reader about a specific topic. The introduction should provide some basic information about the topic so that the reader understands what is being discussed. The introduction should also include a thesis statement that provides the main point of the essay.

The body of the essay should include information that supports the thesis. The information should be organized in a way that is easy to understand. The conclusion of the essay should recap the main points that were discussed in the body of the essay.

Setting the Tone and Style for the Essay

The introduction to an informative essay is very important. It sets the tone and style for the essay, and it also gives the reader a preview of what to expect in the essay. There are a few things that you can do to write an effective introduction for an informative essay.

The first step is to choose a catchy opening sentence. This sentence should be interesting enough to capture the reader’s attention, but it also needs to be relevant to the topic of the essay.

The next step is to provide some background information about the topic. This information should be concise and easy to understand. It’s important to avoid overwhelming the reader with too much information at once.

The final step is to introduce the main points of the essay. These points should be clearly stated and easy to follow.

Formulating a Clear and Informative Thesis Statement

In order to write an effective and informative essay, it is important to formulate a clear and concise thesis statement. This statement should provide your reader with a brief overview of what your essay will be discussing. It is also important to make sure that your thesis statement is specific and informative, rather than vague and general.

One way to formulate a clear and informative thesis statement is to make sure that your essay topic is narrow enough to allow you to provide a detailed analysis. For example, if you are writing about the history of the American Revolution, you would want to focus on a specific event or battle rather than discussing the entire Revolution. This will allow you to provide your reader with a more in-depth analysis.

Another way to ensure that your thesis statement is informative is to make sure that it is supported by evidence. This means that you should back up your arguments with concrete examples and facts. Not only will this make your essay more convincing, but it will also help your reader to understand your points better.

Finally, it is important to make sure that your thesis statement is clear and concise. This means that it should be easy to understand and it should not be excessively wordy. By following these tips, you can create a thesis statement that will effectively introduce your essay and provide your reader with a glimpse into what to expect.

Building a Bridge from the Hook to the Thesis

In order to write an informative essay, you first need to introduce your topic in a way that engages your reader. You can do this by using a hook. A hook is a statement or anecdote that captures your reader’s attention and makes them want to learn more.

After you introduce your topic, you need to state your thesis. Your thesis is your main point or argument. It should be clear and concise.

Finally, you need to provide evidence to support your thesis. This evidence can come from a variety of sources, including research, personal experience, and expert opinions.

When you put all of this together, your introduction should look something like this:

“Did you know that the average American watches five hours of TV a day? In this essay, I will explore the effects of television on our society. I will argue that TV has a negative impact on our culture and that we need to take a closer look at the role it plays in our lives.”

Thesis: TV has a negative impact on our culture.


-The average American watches five hours of TV a day.
-TV has been linked to obesity, aggression, and violence.
-It can be harmful to our mental health.
-TV can be addictive and isolating.

Ensuring Clarity and Relevance for the Target Audience

An informative essay introduction sets the tone for the entire essay by providing relevant and clear information for the target audience. It is important to ensure that the introduction is both clear and concise, while also being relevant to the topic at hand. In order to write an effective introduction, it is necessary to understand the purpose of the essay.

The purpose of an informative essay is to provide readers with information about a specific topic. The introduction should provide a brief overview of the topic, as well as the key points that will be covered in the essay. It is also important to make sure that the introduction is relevant to the target audience.

The best way to ensure that the introduction is relevant is to consider the interests of the readers. The introduction should pique the interest of the readers and provide them with a taste of what is to come. It is also important to establish the tone of the essay, which should be respectful and objective.

The introduction should be brief and to the point, while providing readers with all the information they need to understand the topic. It is also important to be clear and concise, so that readers are not overwhelmed with information. The introduction should not be too long, as it is only meant to provide a brief overview of the topic.

The introduction is an important part of the essay, and it is necessary to take the time to write it effectively. By following these tips, it is possible to write an informative essay introduction that is both clear and relevant for the target audience.

Fine-tuning for Smooth Transitions to Body Paragraphs.

The introduction to an informative essay is very important. It lets the reader know what the essay is about, and it should introduce the thesis statement. A good introduction will make the reader want to keep reading, and it will set up the body paragraphs for a smooth transition.

There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your introduction is effective. First, start with a strong sentence that will capture the reader’s attention. You can also introduce the topic with a question or a quotation.

After you have introduced the topic, you need to introduce the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the main point of the essay, and it should be clear and concise. You can also include a summary of the main points that you will be discussing in the body paragraphs.

Finally, you need to make a smooth transition to the body paragraphs. You can do this by using a sentence that will introduce the first point. You can also use a quotation or a statistic to introduce the paragraph.

By following these tips, you can write an effective introduction for your informative essay.

In an informative essay, your introduction acts as a map of the essay. It should provide a roadmap of the points you will make and the order in which you will make them.

An effective introduction will:

-Introduce the topic of the essay
-Provide a brief history of the topic
-State the purpose of the essay
-Introduce the thesis statement

Grabbing the Reader’s Attention with a Compelling Hook

An informative essay is a type of writing that aims to educate the reader about a specific topic. In order to engage the reader and make sure they are interested in learning more, you will need to start your essay with a compelling hook.

There are a few different ways that you can go about doing this. One option is to start with a statistic or fact that is interesting or shocking. For example, “Did you know that more than 1.5 million people are injured in car accidents each year?”

Another option is to tell a story that is relevant to the topic of your essay. For example, if you are writing about the history of the United States, you might start your essay by telling the story of the first colonists.

Whatever method you choose, make sure that it is interesting and relevant to your topic. Once you have grabbed the reader’s attention, you can then move on to introducing your topic and providing more information about it.

Providing Background Information and Context

An informative essay introduction should provide background information and context. The introduction should set the stage for the rest of the essay by explaining the issue or topic at hand. It should also provide a brief overview of the main points that will be covered in the essay.

In order to write an effective introduction, you need to first understand the purpose of an introduction. The introduction should not be used to simply state the facts. Instead, it should be used to provide the reader with a context for the essay. The introduction should also provide a brief overview of the main points that will be covered in the essay.

When writing an informative essay, it is important to remember that the introduction should not be too long. The introduction should be around 5-10 sentences long. The goal of the introduction is to provide the reader with a context for the essay and to introduce the main points that will be covered in the essay.

Clearly Stating the Purpose and Scope of the Essay

When you are writing an informative essay, it is important to clearly state the purpose and scope of the essay in the introduction. This will help the reader understand what you will be discussing, and it will also help you stay on track while writing the essay.

The purpose of an informative essay is to educate the reader on a specific topic. You should begin the essay by introducing the topic, and then you should provide a clear explanation of what the essay will be about. Make sure to include a thesis statement that will summarize the main points of your essay.

The scope of an informative essay is limited to the topic that you choose to discuss. You should stay focused on the topic that you have chosen, and you should avoid including any personal opinions or judgments. Make sure to back up your points with evidence from reputable sources.

By introducing the topic and explaining the purpose and scope of the essay, you will help the reader understand what you are discussing. This will make the essay easier to read, and it will also help you stay on track while writing.

Presenting a Strong Thesis Statement

The introduction to an informative essay should present a strong thesis statement. This statement informs the reader of the topic of the essay and what to expect in terms of the essay’s content. The thesis statement should be clear and concise, and it should state the essay’s main point.

In order to write a strong thesis statement, the writer must first understand the purpose of the essay. The purpose of an informative essay is to educate the reader on a specific topic. The thesis statement should reflect this purpose. It should be something that the reader can learn from, not just a statement of fact.

The thesis statement should also be something that can be supported with evidence. The evidence can come from a variety of sources, including research, interviews, and personal experience. The writer should make sure that the evidence is relevant to the thesis statement and is presented in a clear and concise manner.

The thesis statement should be the last thing that the writer introduces in the introduction. It should be followed by a brief explanation of how the essay will be structured. This explanation should include the main points that will be covered in the essay.

Outlining the Main Points and Structure of the Essay

The introduction to an informative essay should capture the reader’s attention and provide essential information about the topic. The introduction should also outline the main points of the essay and provide a structure for the rest of the essay.

The first paragraph of the introduction should introduce the topic of the essay. The second paragraph should provide some essential background information about the topic. The third paragraph should introduce the main points of the essay. The fourth paragraph should provide a summary of the main points. The fifth paragraph should provide a conclusion.

The introduction should be around 400-500 words long.

Establishing Credibility and Authority on the Topic

An informative essay introduction must do more than introduce the topic; it must also establish the author’s credibility and authority on the topic. The best way to do this is by sharing relevant personal experience or expert knowledge. In addition, the introduction should include a clear thesis statement that provides the focus of the essay.

To write an informative essay introduction that achieves these goals, follow these steps:

1. Introduce the topic.

2. Share relevant personal experience or expert knowledge.

3. Introduce the thesis statement.

4. Explain the significance of the thesis statement.

Creating a Smooth Transition to the Body of the Essay

A well-written introduction is important for an informative essay because it sets the tone for the rest of the paper and introduces the reader to the topic. The introduction should be brief and concise, and it should include a thesis statement that provides the reader with a preview of the body of the essay. A strong thesis statement will concisely state the main point of the essay and will provide the reader with a roadmap so that they know what to expect.

One way to create a smooth transition to the body of the essay is to use a transition sentence at the beginning of the introduction. A transition sentence can be used to introduce the topic of the essay, to provide a brief overview of the main points that will be covered, or to introduce the thesis statement. Some effective transition sentences include:

"In this paper, I will discuss . . ."
"The purpose of this essay is to . . ."
"I will be discussing three main points . . ."
"The main points that I will be discussing are . . ."
"My thesis statement is . . ."

Texas Senate Panel Advances Bills Limiting The School Sports Teams That Transgender Athletes Can Join

Texas Senate Panel Advances Bills Limiting the School Sports Teams That Transgender Athletes Can Join

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A Senate committee has advanced a bill that aims to restrict the participation of transgender students in school sports. This comes after a similar bill failed to pass during the regular session. Due to the absence of Democratic members, who had fled the state to oppose GOP-backed voting restrictions legislation, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which consisted of six Republicans, held a public hearing on the proposed bills during the ongoing special legislative session. Governor Greg Abbott included this issue in the session’s agenda.

Senator Charles Perry, who authored Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 32 and serves as the vice chair of the committee, argued that these bills would protect the rights of cisgender women to compete in their chosen sports. According to these bills, student athletes would be required to participate in sports teams that align with their biological sex assigned at birth or stated on their official birth certificate. SB 32 would affect sports in K-12 public schools, while SB 2 would cover both K-12 and public colleges and universities.

Perry emphasized that the purpose of these bills is to prevent one person’s dreams from being sacrificed for the benefit of another. He stated that transgender boys and men could potentially deprive cisgender girls and women of opportunities in sports.

Opponents of the bill, including advocates for transgender athletes, argued that there is insufficient evidence to suggest that transgender athletes are dominating women’s sports. Maddox Hilgers, a nonbinary graduate student at the University of Houston, pleaded with the committee to stop the legislation, stating that the notion of transgender athletes taking over women’s sports is unfounded due to the limited number of transgender girls in sports.

The University Interscholastic League of Texas, which governs high school athletics in Texas, currently determines a student’s gender based on their birth certificate. However, the UIL does recognize changes made to a student’s birth certificate, such as updating the gender to align with their gender identity. Senate bills 2 and 32 would prohibit this recognition.

During the regular legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick prioritized similar legislation, resulting in Senate Bill 29 passing the Senate. However, the bill ultimately failed to meet the deadline for passage in the House.

Cassie Villela, a parent of a transgender child from San Antonio, spoke out against the sports bills during Monday’s hearing. Villela, who had previously testified before the Legislature during the regular session, expressed the difficulties her 7-year-old transgender daughter already faces and the additional challenges created by having to justify her existence to the Texas Legislature.

Villela criticized the legislators for not understanding the lived experiences and realities of transgender individuals. She had visited the Capitol multiple times during the regular session to share her perspective on bills affecting transgender youth.

Allyson Waller is a reporter at The Texas Tribune, an independent and member-supported news organization that focuses on public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues in Texas.

Please note that the University of Houston is a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, but they have no influence on the organization’s journalistic practices.

School Choice Is Great, But To Have Schools Worth Choosing, There Must Be Equity, Access, And Diversity, Say Authors Of New Report

School Choice Is Great, but to Have Schools Worth Choosing, There Must Be Equity, Access, and Diversity, Say Authors of New Report

Washington, D.C.

To establish an effective school choice system that benefits all children, experts emphasize the importance of focusing on equity and access, as well as the creation of schools that cater to the needs of every student. This was highlighted in a recent report, which was discussed at an event in Washington, where John Brittain, a professor and acting dean of the law school at the University of the District of Columbia, stressed the significance of the right choice in promoting educational equity and reducing racial isolation and segregation.

The report, released by the Learning Policy Institute think tank and authored by Patrick Shields, outlines the need for policymakers to prioritize choice in order to establish a system of schools that are worth choosing and ensure that every student is selected by a high-quality school. The authors emphasize that districts must consciously create options that are accessible to students in all neighborhoods and of all academic levels.

An example of successful systemic reforms can be seen in San Antonio, where sought-after schools like Montessori and dual language programs were introduced. These schools not only catered to the most disadvantaged students but also attracted wealthier families, thus promoting integration within district schools.

Mohammed Choudhury, the chief innovation officer and architect of the innovative integration approach in San Antonio, argues that neglecting integration implies acceptance of a "separate but equal" standard for schools, similar to the ruling in the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case. Choudhury believes that advocating for the promise of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which abolished segregated schools, is crucial.

Furthermore, it is vital for choice systems to address the needs of special populations, including students with disabilities. Julie Mead, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, suggests that policymakers should determine whether charter schools should be obligated or incentivized to serve students with disabilities. Additionally, for interdistrict transfers, it is important to clarify whether the sending or receiving school district bears the responsibility of providing a free, appropriate public education to the student, as required by federal law.

The effectiveness of accountability systems relies on their implementation. According to Mead, regions that are less autonomous tend to have higher quality accountability systems. Massachusetts serves as an example of a place with such high quality systems.

Schools must also address issues like disproportionate school discipline and segregation within schools, particularly within gifted and talented programs, according to Ashley Griffin, director of P-12 research at The Education Trust.

It should be noted that the Learning Policy Institute and receive financial support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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Microphone Check − 5 Ways That Music Education Is Changing

Microphone Check − 5 Ways That Music Education Is Changing

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The landscape of music education is evolving to adapt to the current era, moving away from its traditional reliance on large ensembles and classical music. This shift is comparable in significance to the introduction of school wind ensembles in the 1920s and the growth of marching bands in the 1950s.

The changes taking place are aimed at increasing student participation in music classes at all levels of education, from kindergarten to college, within both school and community settings.

As a professor in music education, I am currently conducting research on the development of new classes that go beyond traditional band, choir, and orchestra offerings. I find this to be an incredibly exciting time in the field of music education. Here are five ways in which music education is transforming in American schools:

1. Student Songwriting

In 2021, Florida became the first state to establish an All-State Popular Music Collective for high school students. As members of this collective, the most talented pop singers, drummers, guitarists, DJs, bassists, and keyboardists in the state come together to perform their own original music. Their repertoire spans various genres, including hip-hop, pop, and rock.

Following suit, Missouri introduced its own version of the Florida program called The Collective in 2023. Students submit audition videos, and if selected, they join a band of approximately 15 members who collaborate on songwriting and perform at the state conference alongside the top concert band, choir, and orchestra students in the state.

Currently, 15 states offer similar opportunities for their students.

Furthermore, there is a growing number of collegiate-level programs that focus on studying hip-hop. Institutions like the University of South Florida, where I teach, have joined established programs at the University of Southern California, the University of Miami, and Belmont University as places where students can learn to create hip-hop, as well as other styles such as pop, rock, and country.

2. Smaller Musical Ensembles

During the mid-20th century, school music primarily revolved around large ensembles performing classical music arrangements. Since the 1990s, music education has expanded its offerings to include activities such as winter drumline, which involves marching percussion and color guard, and intricate theatrical marching band shows that incorporate contemporary instrumentation. These additions have widened the range of musical styles being explored.

Modern bands have emerged in schools throughout North America, featuring smaller ensembles, contemporary instrumentation, and modern musical tools. Some even incorporate turntables and effects processing, aiming to mirror the diversity of music found outside the school environment.

3. Student-Focused Teaching

For the majority of the past century, music teachers have focused on instructing large numbers of students, often exceeding 100 students per class. Across the United States and Canada, instructors oversee marching bands comprising over 200 students.

Music teachers are among the few educators who actively strive for increased student enrollment in their classes. Previous pedagogical practices prioritized managing large groups of students as efficiently as possible. However, this approach often suppressed individual expression and autonomy. Fortunately, this is beginning to change. Smaller ensembles allow for greater individual creativity and more adaptable performances.

4. Integration of Technology in Performances

Technology plays an increasingly prominent role in music education, both in performance and delivery. Understanding mixers, public announcement systems, and digital instruments is crucial in smaller ensembles and pop music. However, setting up a mixing console is no longer a prerequisite for a successful concert band performance.

Instruments like Maschine and Push have gained popularity for creating beats and layered textures. These instruments cater to students’ desire to produce music reminiscent of what they hear on the radio, as well as in video games or movies they enjoy.

Turntables, once synonymous with DJs and their crates of records for scratching, have evolved into standalone hardware devices. The use of musical effects triggered by the performer or someone offstage has become common practice in professional music production, and these practices are now extending into music education.

5. Emphasis on Recording in Addition to Performing

Since the invention of sound recording in 1877, individuals have refined their skills in capturing musical performances. Recording music has become an art form in its own right.

A musician’s career consists of two primary aspects: performing and recording. While performing has always been a part of school music education, recording has historically been overlooked. However, this is changing, and educators are recognizing the value of teaching students the art of recording musical sound.

In our current era, it has become common for schools to have recording studios, and the inclusion of contemporary and commercial music in music education is becoming more prevalent.

Approximately one out of every five high school students is involved in a music program, typically through traditional bands, choirs, and orchestras. However, this statistic may change as music education progresses to prioritize the students and the music that personally resonates with them, rather than solely focusing on classical music and old traditions.

Clint Randles, a professor of Music Education at the University of South Florida, shares these insights.

This article has been republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please refer to the original article for further reading.

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Medical Training Programs Teach Abortion Procedures. What Happens If Abortion Is Outlawed?

Medical Training Programs Teach Abortion Procedures. What Happens if Abortion is Outlawed?

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The potential elimination of federal abortion rights will not only create more obstacles for women seeking abortions but also hinder the training of medical professionals in abortion procedures. This is considered a crucial skill by doctors and other healthcare providers who specialize in women’s health.

This poses a significant public health concern, as stated by one doctor, as it impacts not only patients seeking abortions but also those who experience miscarriages or stillbirths.

The decision regarding a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks is expected to be delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court soon. A leaked draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion suggests a call to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

If the final opinion aligns with this conclusion, it would reinstate an 1849 state law in Wisconsin that prohibits most abortions. Although legal challenges are expected, if this centuries-old law is enforced, terminating a pregnancy would become a criminal offense regardless of the circumstances.

Overturning Roe could potentially jeopardize, and even end, the training in abortion procedures for medical residents specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in states like Wisconsin that have implemented abortion bans. OB/GYN residency programs are required to provide this training, and in the worst-case scenario, Wisconsin’s programs may lose national accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) establishes the requirements for medical residency programs in all specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology. These programs must include a family planning curriculum that incorporates training in abortion provision. OB/GYN residents must also gain experience in managing abortion-related complications and receive training in various forms of contraception.

Religious or morally objecting residents have the option to abstain from participating in abortion training or performing abortions, as per the requirements.

By enforcing a consistent set of standards across all residency programs, the ACGME ensures that patients have access to high-quality care nationwide, explains Susan White, a spokesperson for the council. If performing certain aspects of family planning becomes illegal in some states, the ACGME is exploring alternative pathways to fulfill this training requirement.

UW Health, which sponsors an OB/GYN residency program in Madison, is prepared for potential implications resulting from the Supreme Court’s final decision on Roe v. Wade. Emily Kumlien, UW Health’s press secretary, emphasizes their commitment to monitor any changes to requirements and maintain the continuity of their comprehensive training opportunities.

Beyond the field of OB/GYN, Dr. Abigail Cutler of Madison highlights the importance of teaching medical students and residents how to counsel patients in various pregnancy-related situations. These include unintended pregnancies, pregnancy complications, fetal abnormalities, maternal health issues, and the experience of miscarriages. Such training is crucial for all physicians who encounter patients capable of becoming pregnant, not just OB/GYNs.

(Note: Dr. Abigail Cutler clarifies that her opinion represents her views as a private citizen and medical professional, not as a representative of the medical school.)

In surveys conducted among OB/GYN doctors, those who had limited or no training in abortion care expressed feeling unprepared to provide comprehensive care to individuals experiencing a miscarriage, according to Cutler. On the other hand, doctors who had more exposure and experience in abortion care showed a correlation with their comfort level in managing miscarriages surgically in later stages. Cutler expresses concern that if a state’s laws restrict or ban abortion, it will limit access to the necessary training, which can have detrimental effects.

Cutler highlights that one out of every five pregnancies ends in abortion and restricting access to this healthcare service leads to preventable health issues and even death. She emphasizes that this is a significant public health concern.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the primary professional association in the field, updated its longstanding policy in May to support abortion rights. The updated policy states that all individuals should have access to comprehensive and evidence-based healthcare, including abortion. Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, ACOG’s president and board chair, states that abortion is a critical medical intervention, and the revised policy aims to convey that doctors and patients, not lawmakers, should make decisions regarding patients’ health and well-being.

Surveys have shown widespread support for abortion rights and abortion care among doctors. A survey conducted by the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity (CORE) at the UW medical school in 2019 found that over 90% of doctors believed that overturning Roe v Wade would negatively impact women’s health in Wisconsin. Jenny Higgins, the director of CORE, states that the survey included doctors from various medical specialties and revealed overwhelming support for abortion services and providers. Additionally, a majority of respondents expressed concerns that increased abortion restrictions would make it more difficult to attract faculty and trainees.

Cutler has noticed a strong desire for training and education in abortion care among residents and medical students. She anticipates that this demand will continue even if Roe v Wade is overturned, possibly increasing the need for such training. However, the availability of this training will be limited to only a small number of states.

John King’s Common Core Education: What Getting Schooled In NY Will Mean For His Tenure As Ed Sec

John King’s Common Core Education: What Getting Schooled in NY Will Mean for His Tenure as Ed Sec

John King, who will officially take over as the U.S. Education Secretary on December 1st, rarely engages in political discussions. His background is in education, and that is what he primarily focuses on.

During a 2014 interview with WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer, King passionately defended the Common Core. He highlighted the need to improve classroom instruction and emphasized that aligning classrooms with the right standards can lead to better outcomes for students in college and their careers.

Rather than making political arguments, King advocates for education.

In this aspect, King resembles his predecessor, Arne Duncan, who was also known for avoiding politics. However, the problem lies in the fact that political appointees can choose to ignore politics, but politics are unlikely to ignore them, as King experienced in New York.

Backlash against tougher tests

In 2013, New York was one of the first states to administer standardized tests aligned with the more challenging Common Core standards. Before the results were released, then-state Commissioner John King and other officials predicted a significant drop in the number of students rated as proficient on the exams. They believed that the new scores would provide a more realistic assessment of students’ performance.

The intention might have been to wake parents up to the state of their schools and the level of preparedness of their children, in the hope that they would push for educational reform in their communities.

As anticipated, the proficiency rates did decrease considerably. Surprisingly, rather than rallying support for reform from "white suburban moms," the opposite occurred. Many parents expressed widespread dissatisfaction with the standards and the tests.

The teacher unions at state and city levels also raised concerns about a lack of training for teaching in the new standards. Additionally, New York state began using scores from the new Common Core-aligned assessments to evaluate teachers. Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, argued that this connection with testing would undermine the standards, pointing to New York as an example of what should not be done.

Despite the criticism, the State Education Department showed no intention of backing down. Meryl Tisch, a staunch supporter of King and chair of the State Board of Regents, wrote that it was not the time to slow down on the implementation of the Common Core. She argued that students were already being held accountable for the standards when entering college or the workforce, and often ended up taking student loans for remedial education.

Contentious town hall meetings

At the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, King and the state Education Department announced a series of town hall meetings across the state to address the growing backlash against the Common Core. However, instead of calming the situation, the forums became dominated by frustrated parents expressing their concerns about the Common Core, testing, and data privacy.

One particularly heated forum in Poughkeepsie saw King being heckled and shouted at, with parents claiming they were not given enough time to express their grievances. Initially, King canceled the events, attributing it to special interests taking over. However, due to intense backlash, he quickly reinstated the meetings.

King continued to face intense criticism. During a town hall on Long Island, the president of a local teachers union boldly asserted that children were being abused in the state of New York due to the Common Core. The audience responded with applause, although no psychiatric manual recognized this alleged "Common Core syndrome."

Frustration persisted among teachers, despite national unions being among the major supporters of the Common Core. In January 2014, the state teachers union board of directors withdrew its support for the Common Core standards "as implemented" and called for King’s resignation.

According to union president Richard Ianuzzi, King ignored the opinions and expertise of parents and teachers, offering only empty words and superficial changes. However, even with the withdrawal of union support, Ianuzzi was unable to retain his leadership position. Karen Magee defeated him in the re-election in April, promising to more vigorously oppose recent reforms in the state. In response, a state Education Department spokesman dismissed the election result as typical union politics, stating that Commissioner King remained committed to improving schools and ensuring that every student possesses the necessary skills and knowledge for success in college and their careers.

Surge in Opt-Out Movement

In response to the ongoing criticism, King enlisted the support of Arne Duncan, his future boss, to defend the Common Core and King himself against what Duncan referred to as "the drama and noise."

In May, on the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, King linked the Common Core to the civil rights movement, suggesting that those who oppose high standards for all students are essentially accepting that some kids are destined to fail.

Around the same time, the opt-out movement began to gain momentum. A principal from Brooklyn wrote an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that the state tests were inadequate, and the article was titled "A Problem with the Common Core." Although the number of students opting out was still small, there was a significant increase compared to the previous year.

On a positive note, it seemed that a compromise with the unions was within reach. In June, NYSUT (the New York State United Teachers) negotiated with Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a safety net that would prevent any teacher from receiving a low evaluation rating due to the Common Core-aligned tests. King, a strong advocate of using test scores to evaluate teachers, appeared to tentatively support this idea, and the provision was passed by the legislature.

However, Cuomo did not sign the bill right away. Then, in December, after winning re-election without support from NYSUT or the city teachers union, Cuomo vetoed the same safety-net bill that he had helped negotiate, causing outrage among the unions.

It was also in December that King announced his resignation to join the U.S. Department of Education, stating that he was proud of the accomplishments they had achieved for New York’s students.

Since then, opposition to the Common Core and testing has continued to grow.

Cuomo, who successfully pushed for increased emphasis on testing in teacher evaluation, had robocalls made by NYSUT President Magee urging parents to opt out of the state exams. The official numbers released in August confirmed a large number of opt-outs: 200,000 students, or about 20 percent of eligible test takers, chose not to take the Common Core-aligned state tests, a four-fold increase from the previous year.

More recently, Cuomo has distanced himself from the Common Core, forming a panel that he promised would "overhaul" the standards.

Cuomo stated, "The implementation of the Common Core just did not work."

Playing Politics to Succeed

It is uncertain how King’s challenging experiences advocating for standards in New York will affect his new role in the federal Department of Education, especially considering the department’s uncertain position according to most accounts.

Conservatives hope to reduce the federal government’s oversight of schools, and teachers unions want to scale back test-based accountability. The Common Core has become a favorite target of most Republican presidential candidates, and opt-out numbers are increasing nationwide. The administration has also faced criticism for its higher education policies.

What is certain is that reformers like King and Duncan must recognize that playing smart politics is crucial for sustaining their policy agenda. In other words, the politics of education should not be disregarded, but rather seen as an integral part of King’s new job.

Disclosure: In my previous role at Educators for Excellence-New York, I collaborated with New York teachers who supported the Common Core in advocating for improved implementation of the standards in New York.

Photo by Getty Images


1. Many media outlets inaccurately reported that test scores had "fallen." This is not accurate. Since the tests were different, it is not appropriate to compare the scores. What we can say is that the new tests identified fewer students as proficient. (Return to story)

EduClips: From A Parental Dress Code In Houston To Questions Over A New Parcel Tax In Los Angeles, School News You Missed This Week From America’s 15 Biggest Districts

EduClips: From a Parental Dress Code in Houston to Questions Over a New Parcel Tax in Los Angeles, School News You Missed This Week From America’s 15 Biggest Districts

EduClips is a weekly compilation of the most important education news from the largest school districts in the United States. These districts serve over 4 million students across eight states. For previous EduClips editions, please refer to our archives.

Miami-Dade County — Concerns Raised as State Considers Increasing Scholarship Standards: Proposed bills in the Florida legislature aim to raise the minimum test scores required for a popular scholarship program, leading to discussions about the potential disproportionate impact on minority students. The bills suggest raising the scores needed to qualify for merit-based Bright Futures scholarships. Under the new measures, students seeking the "Academic" scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees at state universities and colleges, would need a SAT score of around 1330, up from 1290. For the second-tier "Medallion" award, which covers 75 percent of tuition and fees, the benchmark would increase from 1170 to approximately 1200. Supporters of the bills argue that these changes align with the scholarship’s purpose of rewarding students who score within a certain percentile compared to the national average. However, the Miami-Dade County school district estimates that 45 percent of eligible students, roughly 770 seniors, would no longer qualify for the "Academic" scholarship if the changes are applied to current students. Of these students, 63 percent of black students and 46 percent of Hispanic students would lose eligibility, compared to 40 percent of white students. Critics argue that these proposed changes would disproportionately affect students of color. (Read more at the Tampa Bay Times)

Houston — High School Implements Controversial Dress Code for Parents: A high school within the Houston Independent School District has introduced a new dress code, but this dress code is not for students, who already have a uniform. Instead, it applies to their parents. The school’s principal, Carlotta Outley Brown, issued a memo outlining the guidelines, which state that parents will be turned away if they arrive at the school wearing pajamas, leggings, hair rollers, or bonnets. While some argue that these guidelines are necessary to maintain a sense of dignity, others see the rules as a way of perpetuating deeper issues related to social class, gender, and race. The new policy was implemented after a parent was denied enrollment for her daughter due to her attire, as reported by KPRC-TV (Channel 2). (Read more at The Houston Chronicle)

Los Angeles — Business Community Calls for Reform Before Implementing $500 Million Parcel Tax: Representatives of the business community in Los Angeles are voicing their objections to a proposed measure that would introduce an annual parcel tax of $500 million. These representatives, including heads of organizations such as the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation, Valley Industry & Commerce Association, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, argue that they cannot support the tax until they see evidence of reform within the school district. They claim that the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A. Unified) has repeatedly failed to enact internal reforms that address deficit spending and improve student outcomes. Instead, the district has relied on new funding to prevent further financial instability. To demonstrate its commitment to accountability, the school board unanimously voted to establish an "independent taxpayer oversight committee" that will monitor the allocation of tax revenue and report on progress in student achievement. (Read more at The74Million.org)

New York City — Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, has been considering a possible presidential run in 2020, despite the fact that 76 percent of New Yorkers do not believe he should pursue the Democratic nomination, according to a recent poll. One of de Blasio’s key talking points has been his record on improving the city’s public school system. He has invested almost a billion dollars to try and enhance the schools instead of closing them down. Additionally, he has advocated for reducing suspensions and implementing restorative justice practices, which are supported by civil rights and community groups. de Blasio has also introduced an ambitious and expensive pre-K program and improved relations with the city’s main teachers union. However, his education record does have its shortcomings. He has been reluctant to address issues of segregation directly, and his "Renewal" program to boost struggling schools has not yielded consistent results, leading to its discontinuation at the end of this school year. Furthermore, the charter school sector, although currently capped, primarily serves low-income families of color who have opted to attend privately-run schools. (Read more at Chalkbeat)

Hawaii — Alakai O Kauai Charter School in Hawaii has the highest rate of vaccination exemptions in the state, with 40 percent of students being exempted, largely due to religious reasons. Fred Birkett, the principal of the school, is unhappy about this ranking and hopes that it was not the case. The district health officer on Kauai, Janet Berreman, is now working to persuade families and school administrators to prioritize vaccinations, as Kauai has high rates of non-vaccination in general. (Read more at Honolulu Civil Beat)

Clark County — Concerns have been raised about the employment of retired personnel in the Las Vegas school system. A Facebook post from a former school police officer blamed "substitute administrators" in the human resources department for exploiting funds from the school system. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the district has paid $84,129 to 10 different substitute administrators in human resources who have already retired from the district and are collecting pension. These administrators mainly work on "special projects," with only two of them being active staff members. (Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Noteworthy Essays & Reflections

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Opinion: An analysis highlights the significant funding gap of $13 billion between charter schools and traditional public schools, and the negative impact it has on underserved students. (Read more at The74Million.org)

RACE — A discussion on the disciplines where black individuals are not earning Ph.D.s. (Read more at The Atlantic)

EARLY EDUCATION — Opinion: Three ideas from Montessori schools that early education should adopt. (Read more at The Hechinger Report)

STUDENT LOANS — A proposal to eliminate student loans. (Read more at National Review)

CHARTER SCHOOLS — A call for Democrats to support charter schools. (Read more at The Wall Street Journal)

Quotes of the Week

“Parents, we value you as partners in your child’s education. However, it is important to adhere to certain standards." — Madison High School Principal Carlotta Outley Brown, announcing that parents will be turned away if they arrive at the school wearing inappropriate clothing items such as bonnets, pajamas, hair rollers, or leggings. (Read more at The Houston Chronicle)

"The motivation behind the ‘unsafe school choice’ provision was to provide options for families. While we were unable to secure choice for poor students, we could gain majority support by addressing schools that were violent or dangerous." — Former representative Bob Schaffer, a Republican from Colorado, discussing the inclusion of the "unsafe school choice" provision in federal education law. (Read more at The74Million.org)

"I don’t want our school to be ranked first on that list." — Fred Birkett, the principal of Alakai O Kauai Charter School, expressing his dissatisfaction with the school being ranked first in the state for vaccination exemptions. (Read more at Honolulu Civil Beat)

"Upon entering a school, one can’t help but feel as if they have stepped into a highly regimented military zone. Does such an environment truly foster a conducive atmosphere for education?" questioned Jagdish Khubchandani, an esteemed professor specializing in health science at Ball State University. (As read in The New York Times)

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Case Study: With Only 18% Of Young Children In Nebraska Vaccinated, Experts Warn Schools Are Providing ‘Kindling’ For Wider COVID Outbreaks

Case Study: With Only 18% of Young Children in Nebraska Vaccinated, Experts Warn Schools Are Providing ‘Kindling’ for Wider COVID Outbreaks

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According to two Nebraska health experts, schools play a significant role in fueling the spread of viral outbreaks, with schoolchildren currently getting infected at higher rates. This makes it crucial to increase the number of children receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Presently, only 18.5% of children aged 5 to 11 in Nebraska have been vaccinated, while 51.1% of youths aged 12 to 19 have received shots, totaling approximately 114,500 individuals.

Dr. Gwenn Skar, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, pointed out that these percentages have not demonstrated significant growth in recent weeks. Dr. Skar expressed appreciation for the number of vaccinated children but emphasized that there is still a substantial amount of work to be done.

Dr. Skar added that at the start of the pandemic, only 2.6% of all cases involved children. This figure has now risen to 25.5% of all cases. Dr. James Lawler, director of the Global Center for Health Security at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, joined Dr. Skar in a Zoom call with school officials to provide an update on COVID-19.

The call, organized by the Nebraska State Education Association and sponsored by the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, took place amidst a spike in hospitalizations due to coronavirus. As of Thursday, the State Department of Health and Human Services reported 754 Nebraskans hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number since November 2020.

Dr. Lawler explained that schools act as a catalyst for community outbreaks of COVID and flu due to students’ prolonged exposure to respiratory infections in crowded buses and classrooms. He also debunked the myth that few children get infected with COVID, highlighting that children are tested at a significantly lower rate than adults. Consequently, the true number of infections among children does not accurately reflect in reported statistics. Furthermore, blood tests conducted for other reasons have demonstrated a faster rise in infections among children compared to other age groups.

According to Dr. Lawler, as of August 2020, 10% of children aged 17 or younger showed evidence of infection through blood tests. By November 2021, this figure had increased to 45%. In comparison, 35% of adults aged 18-49 showed evidence of infection, while less than 20% of those aged 65 and over did. Dr. Lawler concluded that children between the ages of zero and 17 are currently getting infected at a higher rate than any other age group.

Contrary to some observers, Dr. Lawler does not believe that the current wave of infections caused by the Omicron variant indicates the end of the pandemic. He argued that there is no evidence to suggest that the virus has exhausted all its opportunities to generate new variants. Additionally, communities with low vaccination rates provide an opportunity for the virus to mutate and lead to a new wave of infections. Dr. Lawler asserted that until the population achieves a vaccination rate of 80% or higher, the emergence of new variants remains a distinct possibility.

Other key points from the Zoom presentation include:

– Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a dangerous side effect that can manifest two to six weeks after a child is infected. Approximately 1 in every 3,200 infections results in this syndrome, causing internal organ damage such as the liver and kidneys. Children’s Hospital has treated roughly 100 children for this syndrome since the onset of the pandemic.

– Heart problems like pericarditis are very rare among children, affecting approximately 54 cases per million, primarily among 16- and 17-year-old males.

– A study conducted in Georgia revealed that schools without mask requirements were 3.5 times more likely to experience COVID outbreaks.

– Vaccination is effective for children, significantly reducing the likelihood of hospitalization for COVID-19. Dr. Skar stated that vaccinated children have a 93% lower risk of hospitalization.

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