Now that the experts seem to think what has become known as the ‘Great Recession’ in the USA is over (interesting that the Fed. Reserve is still propping up the economy though and Europe is back in another recession) a great deal has changed in American society. Some of these changes are notable and are having a big effect on parents and our ability to raise our children. For better or worse some of the changes and challenges to be aware of now and in the near future are:
Less Time Off Work – As reported by The Exchange “Nearly one of four Americans (23%) has no paid vacation and 23% have no paid holidays, while most of the world’s developed countries offer workers at least six paid holidays a year. These statistics come from a new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), “No-Vacation Nation Revisited,” which could cause Americans to lament their too-much-work, not-enough-play lives”. The U.S. is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation.
Obamacare – Only time will tell on this one, but for now if you do have healthcare you can expect continued premium increases, more healthcare advertising, coverage for your dependents up to age 26, a shortage of primary care providers, the increased power and wealth of healthcare insurance providers, annual free well-visits, and the IRS becoming a bigger part of your life.
Shrinking Middle-Class/Increased Poverty – If the disparity between the poor and rich in the USA is allowed to increase further the implications for society, education and our children’s future is sad at best.
The ‘War on Terror’ – The true cost in lives, privacy and dollars of 12 years of constant, large-scale military engagement will only be fully recognized by history. I tend to believe that like Vietnam it will probably be seen as a senseless waste of resources compared to the benefits it provided American Society. As reported by Brown University’s Cost of War Project: “Our tally of all of the war’s recorded dead — including soldiers, militants, police, contractors, journalists, humanitarian workers and civilians — shows that over 330,000 people have died due to direct war violence, many more indirectly”. For the USA the number of soldiers who have died in the wars is over 6,600 but what is also startling is disability claims continue to grow with over 750,000 disability claims already approved by the Veteran’s Administration. Cost estimates hover around 4 trillion USD…probably enough to build a small colony on the moon?
Mom’s As Primary Family Breadwinners – As reported by the Pew Research Center and reported in the Huffington Post on May 29, 2013 by Hope Yen “America’s working mothers are now the primary breadwinners in a record 40 percent of households with children – a milestone in the changing face of modern families, up from just 11 percent in 1960”. Women now account for 47% of the American workforce and women outnumber men with bachelor degrees. The implications of this change are for individuals, families, children, employers, society, government and our education system are discussed in the article but the bottom line is that it is a dynamic that is here to stay and has yet to be fully addressed by anyone affected.
CCSS – The Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity, were developed by mapping backwards from college and career success, internationally benchmarked, and informed by research. Bottom line is that school will be made more challenging for UPK to grade 12 students so they are educationally prepared for college. This is great, but in my opinion they fail to look at college standards, jobs for college graduates and the increasing difficulties of students and parents being able to even afford college/university without becoming an indentured servant of their student loan. I personally see this as a new form of slavery built for the 21st Century. (Note:A description of how to find the CCSS standards in NYS are included at the end of this post).
UPK (Universal Pre-Kindergarten) – The age of starting formal school is quickly becoming 4 yrs. old. This is being done in order to meet the CCSS standards and to reduce the stress on families trying to afford day care while they work. Sure, UPK and Kindergarten are not ‘mandated’ as of yet in most states. Thus, school districts do not need to offer these educational opportunities to their residents and if they are offered parents do not need to send their children. However, Parents do need to be aware that they NEED to know the 1st grade entrance standards and have their child ready for them. This is not an easy task and parents need to know how serious it is and plan. I’d advise you to talk to your local school district counseling department or an educational consultant to assist you in getting your child ready for school starting at the age of 3 or earlier.
Charter Schools – As the Federal and State governments continue to become more involved in our children’s education you can expect to see the continued rise of private enterprise; ‘quasi-governmental’ run charter schools. The rise will mean the reduction of public education as we have known it. For most teachers this will means that benefits, security and pay will be reduced.
The following was taken from education.com and is great support for knowing what the new CCSS standards are in New York State for each grade level. Most of these standards are the exact same for the other 45 USA States that have adopted the CCSS.
How Do I Find the State of New York Academic Standards?
- Choose a subject area from the links on the main curriculum page.
- Under the “Resources” section on the subject area main page, look for the “Core curriculum”document.
- This link will take you to the Curriculum page where the K-12 curriculum standards can be downloaded in PDF, Word, or HTML.
Standards are available for Grades K-12 in the following disciplines:
- Career Development and Occupational Studies
- English Language Arts
- Health, Physcial Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences
- Languages Other Than English
- Math, Science, Technology
- Social Studies