Education and Politics in Wisconsin

Sadly, Wisconsin is in a bind.

For years, I gave up pay raises and benefits to keep great insurance as a teacher. I willingly traded cash for the best health care for my family. In his first 45 days, our governor announced a bill for public employees to pay more toward their health care in order to balance the budget. Not OUR problem to solve, of course, but an equal opportunity for all Wisconsinites to help balance the budget was not an option. Unfortunately, we understood the dilemma.

Our unions conceded, knowing our public school funding is at an all-time low. Then came the catastrophic decision to end collective bargaining. As of June, I will have no contract, no consideration for 20 years of teaching in the same district, and no reason for my district NOT to cut me and hire a first-year teacher to save $20,000. All this including a file of wonderful evaluations and praise from students and parents that I hold dear.

Every person has an opinion. Wisconsin has successfully recalled their governor and will force another election. Not a proud moment in Wisconsin history. Many shake their heads and wonder what happened. Unions across the state are similarly impacted, except the police and fire unions. Hmmm.

Public supporters of the law say that THOSE teachers deserve it. THEY get paid too much anyway. THOSE teachers are awful, and then they identify one bad apple. THOSE teachers should have to pay like the rest of us. (Meaning those who did AND did not go to college.)

I am a professional. I have a bachelor’s degree in my field. I have a master’s degree in my field. I have 20 years experience in my field. I have to renew my license with college courses or a PDP every five years to stay current. I have to stay abreast of every change and new method in order to best meet my students’ needs. Yet, I chose a low-paying job because I love what I do. I really do.

Yet, this whole situation makes me feel ashamed to admit I’m an educator because (now) some people who pay taxes think they own a piece of the school system. It’s not OK to be treated as any other worker. The teaching profession is a licensed profession for a reason. Not many could (or would) do what I do. Trust me, parent volunteers rarely come back.

I implore the public to understand what it’s like to tackle today’s tasks. I am a parent and caregiver, as well as a teacher, most days. Honestly, I am. Some kids have so much baggage that my lesson on adjectives is unattainable. Students are in school eight hours a day. Some of my students don’t get eight hours with a parent throughout the whole work week. It’s sad, but completely true. A school is a multi-million dollar institution that holds our children’s future and skills in its hands.

Every person went to school, so they think they understand what it takes. Believe me, I went to college in the 80′s and 90′s for education and the world of education today is hardly the same I was trained for – good and bad.

Advancing Careers With Online Education and Distance Learning Programs

Do you feel stifled in your current career? Are you stuck in a rut and find yourself unable to move up the corporate ladder? Are you looking for better job prospects and a higher salary? Do you believe that having only an undergraduate degree is preventing you from accomplishing your career goals? Then, maybe its time to look at the best possible solution to your professional problems! The answer lies in online learning and what it can offer you in terms of career advancement.

Now, you might think that you are just too busy to resume your education. Juggling your job along with responsibilities at home may be preventing you from enrolling for that college course you have been toying with. Or taking time off from work to complete your education may just not be an option in today’s competitive market. It is in situations like these that an online degree program becomes an ideal solution. No doubt, earning a living is important, but nowadays this does not necessarily imply giving up your dream of a higher education. You can attend college after work with an online education school.

Online education is growing fast with many schools offering online degrees. Many colleges now offer courses and methods of studying that are easier and more enjoyable. You will receive the same quality education and degree as attending a campus. The difference is that your online degree is earned from home in your own time.

There are so many options when it comes to an online degree. You can choose from an Associate, Bachelor’s and even a Master’s degree. But the biggest plus point in favor of online education is the convenience. There are no set times and class schedules and you can work faster or slower depending on the pace you require. You can complete your degree in lesser timeframe, which allows you to re-enter the work arena in a shorter time frame than with a traditional college program. You can attend class whenever you have the time and without having to commute or spend on gas or public transport. All that you require is a computer with an Internet connection to access all your course information online. A good program will promote communication between lecturers and other fellow students through email, forums, message boards and chat rooms. For those on a budget, most online programs offer flexible payments and are, as a rule, less expensive than a normal school program. Financial aid is also available for online education, so check out your options before registering.

Therefore, the highlights of online education are:
- A school that is open round the clock
- No traveling or commuting fees
- Less expensive course fees
- Study at your own convenience
- Access to the curriculum and course material is always available

In terms of today’s shaky economy, you might be struggling to hold onto your job and stay afloat. It’s in such situations that you need to boost your job skills and optimize your resume by adding new up-to-date skills through the variety of online degree programs available. Regardless of what you are interested in, the odds are that you will be able to find an online degree that meets your needs. Another benefit of choosing long distance education is that you are not limited by the programs offered by the schools around you. You can choose a program, no matter how obscure the field, rather than settling for programs available only through your local college or university.

In many careers, promotions are limited for individuals who do not have degrees. Working professionals should choose an online degree program to get out of a dead-end job. Choose a program that offers training that will benefit you with your career goals as well.

At the end of the day though, online programs are not an easy option. All said and done, completing any online degree program requires commitment and determination. You need discipline to stay on track but when you finally graduate, you will reap the benefits of online education that make all the difference to your career … and your life.

Questions To Ask Before Enrolling In A Real Estate Investment Education And/Or Coaching Program

If you are like me, then you have an interest in real estate investment and want to do the right thing by educating yourself so that you can obtain your first real estate investment cheque. I have spent thousands of dollars over the years trying to find the company that would help me accomplish this goal. So what did I do? I watched various infomercials on the television with amazing testimonials of real estate investment success. I quickly found that once I registered to attend, my information was sold to various marketing companies, and I was in receipt of invitations to other investment opportunities that I didn’t even know about. Okay. Now I have sifted through all the invitations and I am on my way to a one-day seminar.

For the most part, the information delivered is tantalizing and I am hungry for more knowledge and the opportunity to start working on my first deal. I also find that the information delivered in the one-day seminar is in bits – for a beginner investor, it is not enough material to be useful. But what do I hear? I now have to register for a weekend workshop to learn more. Full of excitement and determination, I pay the $1500 to $2500 cost for the workshop and off I go. Again, the information presented is titillating and at least one of the presented methods is immediately implementable. The other participants and I followed the instructions given, but no results – we could not find a property matching the given search criteria. Therefore, the audience was not taught what the next steps would have been had we done so. Still filled with hope, I took careful notes and listened intently for the remainder of the workshop. What’s this I hear? I can have advanced training if I want, a coach to work with me one-on-one, and the almost guarantee that I would make money at that level? What’s the cost? Oh, only between $10 000 to $100 000. This is where I hit the proverbial brick wall. Where was I to find all that money, and for some of the workshops, the money had to be paid the very weekend! The long and short of the model is this; one has to spend anywhere from $1500 to about $100 000 without even doing your first real estate deal! It didn’t make sense.

Wait a minute. I now found that most of the real estate investors, who were calling themselves and each other gurus, were doing a massive on-line marketing campaign during the market’s downturn, only this time downplaying the ‘guru’ title. They were all offering one-on-one coaching. Why? No one was attending the conventions and workshops as before. The personal coaching idea sounded good. I decided to check out a few of them and tried one of them. I tell you the truth, because I was a rookie, I didn’t know what to ask for or what to expect from this coaching. As you can imagine, I did not get my money’s worth. By the way, the coaching was through e-mail and sometimes instant messaging only, at a cost of USD $1000 per month. Now, I could have allowed all these disappointments to derail my vision and cause me to be bitter. I refuse. Instead, I decided to use the experience to help others in similar situations make better decisions, spend less, and actually make money in real estate investment.

The sum of it all is this: not having the right real estate investment education will cost you money and just as truly; obtaining the right real estate investment education will cost you money. However, obtaining the right education is an investment, not a liability. What should one look for in a real estate investment coach/coaching program? What questions should be asked? Here are a few to consider:

• Before any money exchange hands, an outline should be provided to the student to ensure that both parties/sides understand what will be offered.

• Costs should be clearly defined and explained.

• Discuss funding. Will the coach/organization provide funding for your real estate deals? If not, will the coach/organization provide you with information that will allow you to access funding? What type of funding can you expect? Will it be transactional funding, hard money, private money, other?

• Discuss if there will be or is there an option to partner on deals. Will the coach/organization put up the funding for the real estate deal while the student does the ‘ground’ work? If partnership is an option, discuss and agree on the split. Will it be a fifty-fifty split?

• Discuss availability of the coach: Does the student have telephone, e-mail, and/or text access? What response time might the student expect? Does the student have to pay the fees for services like Skype or is it included in the coaching fee?

• What are all the things included in the coaching fee?

• If the coach is not available, is there a mentor or someone else that will be available?

• Is this a stand-alone coach or is there a professional team available to the student? Is there a lawyer, accountant, contractor, et cetera that are a part of the team? If the coach is a one-man-band, then this might not be a good option for you.

• Is there creative financing for property acquisition?

• What are the payment options for the coaching costs? What are the financing terms?

• How will the education be delivered? Will it be delivered through webinars, CDs, mp3′s, other? For how long does the student have access to the education?

• How current are the strategies being taught? Is there proof?

• Relative to the cost, how long is the coaching? How many hours of one-on-one coaching?

• Will the student be provided with a virtual assistant?

• What peripheral costs are entailed in the program? For example, LLC, websites, 800 numbers, et cetera. What other additional costs might the student expect to pay/cover?

• What real estate investment qualifications does the coach have? If the coach is reticent to discuss this, then that might be a cue to not sign up with that particular coach/organization. Also, if the coach has a bad attitude, then you should reconsider using him/her.

• Research the coach on-line. Look at reviews. Check out Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, et cetera. Also use these sources to review his/her profile. Hint: If the coach has less than five hundred contacts in their profile, then that could be proof of inexperience.

• What is the approximate turn-around time from the time the student signs up and follows all coaching instructions, to the time the student does his/her first deal?

• How many hours per day/week is the student required to invest?

• How are deals analyzed? Does the coach personally review them? How many exit strategies does the coach utilize per deal?

• What is the coach’s real estate investment specialty: wholesaling, fix and flip, buy and hold, et cetera?

• What real estate strategy are you expected to start with? Will this complement or go against your current financial situation?

• How much money is the student expected to have on hand to do his/her first real estate deal?

• If student does not make any money in say the first three months of the coaching, what is the next step? Will the current real estate investment strategy be changed or adjusted?

• What guarantees does the coach/organization provide?

• Is there a rescission period? What is it?

• Can the student do the coaching with his/her spouse or business partner at no additional cost?

With these points to consider, you should be well on your way to making the right decision as to your real estate investment education and coaching. I am sure that as you read through the points, they caused you to think of other questions that you might ask. Good.

All in all, I am very thankful that I have finally found an organization that is indeed the complete package for real estate investment education and coaching – and the price is right! Working with a team of experienced real estate investors does make a difference in performance and results! For more information please visit www.sell-buy-or-rent-to-own.com.