The long awaited Review of Funding for Schooling has been completed and the Report by the panel of eminent Australians chaired by David Gonski AC has been released.In this Submission I have only focused on Chapter 3 in relation to equity and disadvantage but also have comments in relation to disabled children.I have also concentrated on western suburbs schools in Sydney as I live in that area and my children attended a western suburbs catholic school before moving to an independent school.The panel must be congratulated as the Report is both comprehensive and well researched and makes a number of recommendations that, if implemented may, to some degree, improve the educational outcomes of some Australian children.The ‘Pink Elephant’ In the Gonski ReportI believe, however, that the Report, (for whatever reason) fails to acknowledge ‘the pink elephant’ in the classroom and that is that parents are the first educators of their children. This is the foundation premise of many independent schools in Australia, including the PARED (Parents For Education) schools, which excel academically year in and year out, although they are not selective and offer no scholarships to secure bright children who will boost the overall marks of the school.Schools that acknowledge parents as the first educators of the child work in partnership with the parents so that the child receives the same message and expectations at home and at school. This applies not only to academic expectations but also to behaviour. When the parents bring the child up with the end in sight (ie. adulthood) not just the present moment, they focus on developing a strong character in the child by modelling this themselves and expecting the child to display human virtues such as sincerity, cheerfulness, generosity, perserverence, gratitude, respect, honesty and service to others. This means that it is normal for the child to do his or her best at school and in other endeavours, to respect school property, to care about the feelings of others and to help those less fortunate. This is simply the taught character of the child and it is unrelated to socio-economic status. These types of schools run in countries where the majority live well below the poverty line as we know it, such as the Philippines and these children still emerge as strong, independent young adults, full of gratitude and determination to make the most of life, despite the fact that they are among the poorest of the poor. One such school, Southridge (in Manila – Phillipines), runs a program whereby the fees of the day students are used to fund an afternoon school for students who would otherwise have to attend a poorly resourced public school and the university entrance marks of the afternoon students are actually outstripping those of the more financially privileged day students.Socio-Economic Status and Academic PerformanceThe Southridge experience shows us that socio-economic status does not have to adversely affect academic performance. In fact central to the Gonski panel’s definition of equity ‘is the belief that the underlying talents and abilities of students that enable them to succeed in schooling are not distributed differently among children from different socioeconomic status, ethnic or language backgrounds, or according to where they live or go to school’. The Report cites the findings of Caldwell and Spinks (2008) that all children are capable of learning and achieving at school in the right circumstances and with the right support.I believe that the key to success is whether the children have the right circumstances and support and this is not necessarily linked to socio-economic status, although, because of a lack of social welfare programs in Australia, it often is. For decades the children of migrants to Australia have been well represented in the lists of high achievers and their parents have generally had little or no formal schooling (which contradicts the findings of the Gonski Report p 114) and both worked long hours in manual or menial jobs for low pay. These families have always been in the low socio-economic segment but the children were, however, raised with the belief that education is the key to success and with the parental expectation that they would study hard and go to university. This was a non-negotiable given. They were also raised to respect their parents and other elders and to have an attitude of gratitude and service to others, with many migrants supporting family members back in their home countries although they had little themselves.These migrant parents had a mindset that saw the value of education. It is the same in third world countries such as the Phillipines. Parents support education as the key to a better life. Hence the success of initiatives such as the Southridge afternoon school. How many parents of children from a western suburbs high school would accept a scholarship for their children to undertake high school at say the Kings School (for boys) or Tara School for Girls (Parramatta) if it was a condition of the scholarship that they meet the requirements of these schools including:1. Having the children up by 6.30am every day to eat breakfast and travel to school to arrive by8.00am;2. Encouraging the children to do the minimum 90 minutes homework each evening (Year 7) afterarriving home around 5.00pm (This time increases each year);3. Allowing the child to devote at least half a day per weekend to homework and assignments;4. Ensuring that the child represents the school in a sporting activity which will involve driving the childto and from the venue on a Saturday; and5. Attending the school as required for meetings on the child’s progress.I believe that very few parents would accept the scholarship, as the commitment would disrupt their lives and the disruption would not be seen as worthwhile as education is not high on their list of values. As Dr John DeMartini teaches these families do not perceive education as a void, even though they did not get it themselves and therefore do not value it. As a result even if the child took the scholarship he or she would not understand why they were required to put in so much additional effort to their friends at local high schools and would resent the obligation.The Real Problem Of Disadvantage Is The Inconsistency Between Home and SchoolThe Gonski Report cites the findings of researchers Perry and McConney (2010) who found there are multiple ways in which schools with high concentrations of disadvantaged students differ from schools with high concentrations of students from more advantaged backgrounds. These include less material and social resources, more behavioural problems, less experienced teachers, lower student and family aspirations, less positive relationships between teachers and students, less homework and a less rigorous curriculumThe Report warns that new arrangements are needed to:• Make sure that Australian kids do not fall behind the rest of the world, and keep Australiacompetitive, after a decline in education standards in the past decade.• Stop the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students growing wider.To deal with these challenges, the Report recommends introducing a Schooling Resource Standard, which would have two elements: a set investment per student, plus additional top-up funding to target disadvantage.I support the set investment per student and believe that this should be the same no-matter where the child goes to school as each child deserves equal government investment in their education. This is the key to ensuring that the educational standard of our top students does not decline.I do not agree that there should be additional top-up funding in schools to target disadvantage. Such funding perpetuates the idea that there are advantaged and disadvantaged schools and locks in the idea that children from certain schools are different and less likely to succeed than children from other schools. It also confuses education with social services. The real issue is the academic standard and mindset that each child beings to the school year they are entering, not what is on offer from the school, as most Australian schools offer enough.All Australian children should have access to the same curriculum (and they do), to passionate and experienced educators (this is sometimes achieved) and to schools that are adequately resourced (generally achieved).It is irrelevant how much money a school throws at literacy and numeracy programs as although they may improve standards from what they initially were, they will not being the participants up to the same level as children in schools where the children, themselves value education, as the child must be willing to put in the effort necessary to succeed. You get nothing if you give nothing. The child must have the virtues of perseverance and hard work and these must be taught. An education must do more than give a minimum academic standard, it must also build character. As parents are the first educators of a child and have the most influence on them, a school by itself will never over-rule the mindset taught at home and is opening itself up to student resentment and belligerence when it sends a different message to what is taught at home, as it threatens the very foundations of the child’s world.In relation to the resourcing of the schools I believe that far too much weight is placed on this. The evidence is the fact that students of correspondence and on-line courses achieve high results with no physical resources. In addition many western suburbs high schools are far better resourced than independent high schools where the parents have to contribute funds to buy equipment and build buildings and are already stretched to the limit paying fees. However the results of these well resourced high schools do not reflect the amount spent on resources. Take Glenwood high school for example. The Mindquest program is run there one weekend a term for gifted and talented children (but really any child can go and does) and I was stunned when I saw what was on offer to local children such as technology labs, sports fields, cooking kitchens, art rooms etc.It is the same with the high schools at Quakers Hill, Rooty Hill high and Mt Druitt. Despite the outstanding resources these schools are not producing results that equal independent schools or indeed public schools in more affluent areas. Why is this? It is partly because:1. the standard and experience of the teachers is not exceptional in these areas for a variety ofreasons, including the fact that these children are difficult to teach and teacher’s lose motivation;and2. the family does not put a high value on education.What is also missing is the partnership between the parent and the school. The parents are the first educators of the child but they are not educating them in the importance of education and in the human virtues necessary to build strong character and determination in the long term. You will find that in disadvantaged areas many parents do not set high standards for themselves, they have not been taught how to persevere, how to see the opportunity in every obstacle and how to sacrifice momentary satisfactions for long term gain. Take the Kings School and Tara scholarship example above. It would be very difficult for many of these parents to see the value of their children exerting effort and the whole family making sacrifices for a first rate education.Very often children in western Sydney areas arrive at school without breakfast, without their text books and not having done their homework. There are conflicting messages being taught at home and at school and no amount of education funding is going to alleviate this problem. In fact throwing more funding at children who do not have the capacity to appreciate the innovative learning programs and amazing resources being provided in schools is a waste of precious funding and the government should stop. This funding could be better spent in the independent arena and on public schools where the children have a different attitude towards education and success, to raise the standard of our highest performing students. Yes, this will increase the gap further between our best and worst students but is this a bad thing? The Gonski Report shows that the standard of our brightest students is falling. We need to raise the standard of education in our country and raise the bar even higher, to which our disadvantaged children can aspire.Change The MindsetThe key to improving the educational standards of our disadvantaged students is to change their mindset. To bombard them with positive messages about what they can achieve if they exert effort and give them role models very different to their own families and community members.The universal laws say that ‘what you see, is what you’ll be’ as your thoughts and what you focus on, shape your reality. I have concentrated on Sydney’s western suburbs as that is where I live and I have a good understanding of western Sydney schools as my own children attended one. These local schools draw students from the local area and most families have the same values and beliefs as each other and lead the same kind of lives. I make no judgment on whether the lifestyle is wrong or right I am simply stating facts as I have experienced them.These families often live in housing commission homes, or in low cost rental accommodation, they receive social security or earn basic wages, they often place little value on what is given to them because it is free and they spend most of what they earn on lifestyle and instant gratification, they do not save. The parents generally drink and smoke, buy takeaway meals and ensure that their children have the latest version of any new technology. These families are consumer driven and very focused on satisfying immediate wants and needs. Little time is spent teaching the children the value of persevering to achieve a result, or postponing something now, to get something better later on.As a life coach who deals with children on a regular basis I have spent much time searching for the answer as to what breeds success at school and I know without doubt that after the parents, the teachers have the biggest influence. The value of an experienced, passionate teacher cannot be over-emphasised and they are hard to find, as in addition to their skills they must be able to relate to the children and earn their respect. They must also have the tolerance to deal with all manner of parents and this is as difficult in independent schools as disadvantaged public schools.In western suburbs high schools whilst the majority of teachers meet the above criteria too many do not and one bad teacher can destroy a child’s whole perception of school. I have heard countless stories of young, passionate teachers who enter the public school system only to become quickly disillusioned when it takes 20 minutes to settle the class so they can begin to teach the lesson. There is much absenteeism by teachers and the replacement teachers struggle. Also many of the experienced teaches needed in these schools are jaded and opt for an easier life in an area where the children place a greater value on education and respect authority. There is no easy answer here but what is clear is that teachers must be held accountable for the performance of their students when measured against a state or national measure. If a teacher in a western suburbs high school cannot get the desired results they should be asked why? If they do not have a clear answer they should be transferred out of the school as it may well be that they do not have the ability to connect with children of that particular mindset. This does not mean they are a bad teacher, it may just mean that they are not the right teacher for that type of school.We cannot, however, afford to pander to the sensitivities of our teachers at the expense of our children. In the independent schools if the children do not succeed academically and are not taught the values that the school has promoted the parents quickly demand answers and the teacher is held accountable. The same rules must apply in the public system if we are to achieve the ‘equity’ that the Gonski Report promotes. We must have teachers of such a high calibre in our disadvantaged schools that they have so much influence on their students that they can equal the parents as the first educators.The SolutionThe Gonksi report focused on additional funding for disadvantaged students and more resources. As I have explained above I do not believe that this is the answer. We must be careful not to confuse required spending on education with required spending on social services.Our schools must offer the same curriculum to all children and be adequately resourced. I think we have achieved this. Our schools must offer teachers of the highest possible calibre who are held accountable and in this area I believe we have a way to go.Where we are failing completely is in ensuring that children from low socio-economic areas have a mindset that values education and see the unlimited opportunities available to them if they are grateful for what is provided for them and exert personal effort. We are failing to develop a positive mindset and strong character in children from disadvantaged areas.What we should be doing is trying to show our disadvantaged children a different life to the life that surrounds them daily. We need to change the mentality that these children are poor and will grow up poor and will be taken care of by the government. By showing the children a different way of life they have something to aspire to and have a new focus for their thoughts. Remember the law of attraction says that you get what you think about.The solution is not giving more money to schools (except for better teachers) but spending money on programs outside the school day that fill the child’s time and reduce the amount of time spent in the home environment that devalues education and reinforces low self worth and the ‘poor me’ mentality of limited opportunities. These programs need to involve:1. teachers from the local schools so that the children can see them as human beings they canadmire and respect and build a relationship with (pay the teachers to be involved);2. adults from similar backgrounds who have gone on to excel;3. life coaches who can work on changing mindset and seeing the opportunity in every obstacle;4. youth leaders who understand the concept of unlimited opportunity if you, yourself, take actionand promote this; and5. promoting the value of service to others as it helps develop an attitude of gratitude.It is going to be a real challenge for these children to break away from the norms of the family as any change they try to make will be interpreted by their parents as criticism of their lives and this may even lead to violence. The children need to be taught how to respond to this.The children need to be taught self worth. They must be taught that when they wake up they must make and eat breakfast as this nourishes their mind and body. They must be taught that they are valuable and worth taking care of and developing. They must be given the strength to bring new routines and processes into their homes. They must be the change that brings the change to their family and their whole community.SummaryThe government has an obligation to ensure a first rate education for each Australian child. To do this it must provide funding so that each child has access to the same high standard curriculum, the highest calibre teachers who are held accountable for their student’s results and adequately resourced schools.I believe that it is faring quite well in its delivery of the above, although more work needs to be done in relation to making teachers accountable and attracting teachers who understand that their role is to educate the whole child in terms of both character and academics.Where the government is failing miserably is in the area of social services. It is failing to recognise that parents are the first educators of the child and failing to take steps to fill the gap when a child is not taught at home that education is valuable and that human virtues such as sincerity, cheerfulness, generosity, perseverance, gratitude, respect, honesty and service to others are integral to strong character and ultimate success as an adult.It does not matter how much government funding is provided to schools for literacy and numeracy programs and what resources are provided, if the child does not see the value of education he or she will not exert the effort necessary to succeed and will not have a mental picture of himself or herself as a successful adult.The government must fund social services programs outside the school system that ensure that children are given other positive role models when their parents, as first educators, do not perform their roles well. These programs must give the children an insight into lives very different to their parents so that they can focus on achieving such a life themselves, develop a positive mindset towards success, develop an attitude of gratitude, a belief in unlimited opportunity and a desire to serve others.When a child sees the value of education and lives a life based on human virtues they become receptive to education and are far more likely to enter each academic year having achieved the outcomes for the previous year. Additional literacy and numeracy programs then have an exponential impact on increasing educational standards.Our social service programs must teach our disadvantaged children self worth and self esteem. They must be given the tools to be the change that brings the change to their family and their whole community.The government needs to stop confusing the funding of education with the funding of social services programs.
Refinancing education loans might seem complicated. However, it doesn’t have to be. Refinancing is just another option to help you save money by consolidating various education loan balances into one new loan. The new education loan has a lower rate of interest and reduced monthly payments to help you repay the loan amount hassle free. Before getting the approval for refinancing, however, it is crucial to strategize. You need to have a game plan that can help strengthen your case and avail the lowest possible rate of interest. Here’s how to begin.
Evaluate Your Cost of Living
Some cities have a higher cost of living than others. Likewise, living alone or with a roommate can significantly affect your expenditures. You must understand that cost of living is an important aspect for refinancing companies to consider. Therefore, it is better to make lifestyle choices that might help you free up more cash. You can start by renting a smaller apartment or leasing out a cheaper car if you’re going to pursue higher education in a city such as Manhattan. Likewise, if you’re relocating to an inexpensive city, it is better to submit an application for refinancing at least two months after you move in. This is an important step because refinancing companies prefer candidates who have a living budget that allows them to have a stable cash flow each month to pay off the loan payments instead of those who scrap their savings.
Check Your Credit Score
There are many refinancing companies who consider the borrower’s credit score as a criterion. A good credit report does help secure a low-interest rate on both secured and unsecured education loans. You can significantly improve your credit score by paying all bills in advance in general. It is also helpful to reduce your credit card usage for a few months before submitting the application for a new education loan. There are multiple websites such as annual credit report.com, which can help you evaluate and improve your score.
Provide a Complete History
Most refinancing companies require you to provide a thorough insight into your educational qualifications and relevant work experiences. Therefore, if you’ve studied science, math, engineering or business at a reputable school, it always helps your case to include that information. Same goes for the hands-on skills and total work experience because overall, it all makes you attractive as an applicant who can continue to make the payments. Moreover, if you have a job offer in-hand, make sure to include the offer letter in your application.
Show All Income Sources
Before submitting your application, make sure you provide information on each and every source of income and not just job earnings. You can list dividends, bonuses, interest earned, and any other money-making prospects. Remember, with a higher income, you will be able to place more cash into the refinancing equation. Therefore, it helps to keep income proofs such as tax returns and interest statements. Moreover, make sure you have a current driver’s license and your private education loan statements are all correct.
If you have multiple education loans and you’re not getting the best possible rate, it is better to refinance only a couple of the loans. There’s a possibility that you can avail lower interest rates with a smaller refinance balance. You always have the option to apply for the full balance later when you have better income sources or you relocate to an inexpensive location. Adding a co-signer also helps improve your chances of approval.
Are you thinking of applying for a student loan? If so, a promissory note will need to be signed. Basically, this is a contract. On the due date, you will have to pay the loan along with the amount of interest based on the terms and conditions. Often, students don’t think much before accepting the terms and conditions of the promissory note. If you have got a loan but you are finding it hard to pay it back, you can refinance your student loan. However, make sure you consider 4 important things before you go ahead and refinance it.
No financing from the federal government
Remember: it’s the congress that decides on the rate of interest for the federal student loans. Moreover, the rates of interest are set based on the law irrespective of how good your credit rating is. If you have lower credit score, the interest rate will be higher and vice versa.
It’s possible to use a private loan to refinance a student loan. However, keep in mind that the same can’t be true about refinancing a federal loan into another federal loan.
Know the difference between refinancing and consolidation
Some borrowers believe that the consolidation of their loans is a good way of reducing the rate of interest just like refinancing. This is a common confusion as the options are quite similar. You get a new loan accepting new terms to replace a loan you took earlier. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t reduce your interest rate by consolidating a federal loan.
However, you can enjoy some benefits with consolidation. For instance, you are free to opt for a service you like. Moreover, you can qualify for other forgiveness and repayment options.
Refinancing and your loan terms
Remember: refinancing will made changes to the terms of your loan. For instance, your interest rate may come down based on your cosigner or credit rating. The reduction in the rate of interest is the main thing that entices students.
As said earlier, the new loan will feature new terms and conditions. What this means is that the rate of interest may go up.
If you are finding it hard to repay your loan, the protection that come with federal students loans can help you. For instance, you can try repayment plans that reduce the payments.
You can use other ways to cut down on the interest. Moreover, if you want to get federal student loans, you can use other options to reduce your interest rate. Therefore, it’s a good idea to give them a go. Some servicers may choose to reduce the interest rate provided you register in automatic payments.
You may also choose to pay an additional amount each month. As far as prepayment goes, federal student loans have no penalty. If you pay back faster, your overall interest will come down.
So, if you are going to refinance your federal student loan, we suggest that you consider these 4 things. They will help you get through the process more easily. Hope this will help.
Ever since Tim Ferriss published The Four Hour Work, in which he introduced the lifestyle business concept, a lot of people are chasing the same dream.
It’s pretty appealing, right? You start a business, automate it, hire a virtual assistant, and make money while you’re sleeping or traveling the world.
Everyone wants that. That’s why a lot of people have made it their business to teach you how to do it. They say things like:
“Do these 20 things and you’ll earn six figures.”
“Get this online course and you’ll become rich easily without putting in the work!”
“I travel the world and make 100K of passive income per month. Here’s how I do it.”
But entrepreneurship is not easy.
Have you thought about starting a business? Maybe you’re sick of the 9-5, want more freedom, and be your own boss?
All valid reasons to start a business. But you need a little more than that.
I’ve read that 96% of businesses fail in ten years. so I Googled it. It appears that it’s not backed by research. One person probably claimed it once and everyone else copied it.
But there’s some truth in that statement. Entrepreneurship is a long-term game.
Do you want to start a business? Or are you an entrepreneur?
The latter is something you do for the rest of your life. I’ve started businesses that failed in the past. But I’m still an entrepreneur. You see?
Entrepreneurship is not something you do; it’s something you are.
The question you want to ask yourself is: “What am I?”
This article might be about entrepreneurship, but you can apply it to everything in life. Building a solid career or business both require self-awareness.
In Letters From A Stoic, Seneca writes:
“You must consider whether your nature is more suited to practical activity or to quiet study and reflection, and inclince in the direction your natural faculty and disposition take you.”
Too often, we do things for the wrong reasons: Money, reputation, coolness, outside pressure.
But in life, it’s much better to follow your nature. Of course, to do that, you need to know your nature first.
Then, build your life around what you are, not what you or other people want you to be.
For instance, I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When I was a kid, I always had a side-hustle. I remember ripping CDs, printing booklets, and selling them for half price. Not particularly legal, but hey, I had no clue back then. That’s who I am.
Who are you?
Ask yourself a few questions.
Why do I want to start a business?
Am I interested in entrepreneurship or am I just attracted to the outcome (freedom, time, money)?
Do I want to learn the skills I need to succeed? As an entrepreneur, you need basic knowledge of everything that happens in your business.
If you’re thinking about starting a business, try to speak to some entrepreneurs in your environment. Ask about what they do on an average day.
Make up your mind after careful consideration. Not after watching a video from an idiot who is pretending he’s living “the” life. Or after looking at some motivational quotes on Instagram.
A Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) or Business Cash Advance is a loan variety that lends money to companies and start-ups promptly and efficiently. Business financing options, along with short payment terms of generally 24 months and regular recompenses, paid on each working day, characterize the MCA. The system opposes the usual larger monthly payments of traditional bank loans and associated longer disbursements terms.
Overall, MCA may be used to describe short-term business loans and future receivables of credit card sales. This type of financing is available to businesses, having stable and continual credit card dealing, including restaurants, retail stores, pharmacies, etc.
How Does A Merchant Cash Advance Work?
The process of getting a merchant cash advance is generally a quick one. The foremost step is the identification check of the business that wants the loan. The documentation needed for it include:
Government-issued identity proof
Bank and credit card statement processing
Business tax returns
Once the identification approval is processed and done with, it is only a matter of days before the business receives its borrowed amount. Subsequently, they receive a lump sum amount and pay it back through sales generation to customers.
To pay back the loan amount, the borrower offers a percentage of the sales, as specified in the contract, to the lender daily. It may also be done through the connected merchant account, calculated based on sales processed through debit and credit card. In this case, cheque and cash sales do not count in the daily quota.
The compensations can also be taken directly from the borrower’s bank account through Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments. By this logic, small-scale businesses with low credit and debit sale rates can also qualify for MCA if they opt for ACH repayments.
Borrowable MCA amounts range from a few thousand dollars to over two hundred thousand dollars. Irrespective of the rented sum, the payback time is usually very brief. In most cases, it is about 18 months or so.
Pros of MCA:
MCA has several benefits, some of which include:
An Effortless Application Process: MCA entails a quick application process, and money borrowing is possible in a day. It is also easy to qualify as, in this case, loan credit history is less significant than sales history.
Flexibility: MCA allows numerous payment plans and methods and permits the borrowers to use the funds as they see fit. Since the payments depend on a percentage of daily transactions, the debtors do not have to pay back if they have low income. It results in cash flow issues that can lead the business to deeper debt.
Absence of collateral: MCA loans are unsecured, meaning that it does not tie the borrowers to any collateral. For businesses with limited assets, this feature is a godsend.
Cons of MCA:
The disadvantage of MCA encompasses:
Potential Cash Flow Problems: MCA requires a specific amount of the borrower’s future sales dedicated to paying back the borrowed amount. This results in cash flow issued that can lead to a deeper debt for the business.
Comparatively Higher Costs: The cost to get an MCA, as factor rates and not interest rates, is much higher than many other types of funding. Factor rates do not depend on a specific period, and thus, paying off in advance does not help save money.