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Advice for teen drivers (and their parents) heading to school for the …


Monday is the first day of school for students in Wyoming, Hamilton and Deer Park, and for many of them, it will be their first time driving to school.

Sixteen-year-old Beechwood HIgh School student Hank Birindelli has been driving alone to football practice in Fort Mitchell, but he’s making the big leap heading to classes on his own on Monday. 

His mother works at the school, so they used to come together, but that meant getting up earlier than Hank would have liked. He’s excited about getting to sleep in and his freedom, but his mother said she’d miss that bonding time on the way to school.

“It’s been so fun having Hank ride to school with me in the mornings,” said Hank’s mother, Shaun Birindelli. “We get to talk and chat so now he’ll be coming in on his own. But he’s a good driver, so I’m excited for him because I know he likes the independence of being able to drive himself to school.”

Mike Belcuore of AAA’s Driving School in Cincinnati said it’s important for parents to discuss the expectations of driving to school with their teens and help them familiarize themselves with traffic laws. 

“These teens may have never driven through a school zone and how important it is to slow down, keep the phone away, and pay attention to not only car traffic, but that extra pedestrian traffic that is out there as well,” Belcuore said.

Belcuore warned about the two big mistakes teen drivers make when driving to and from school. 

“One is speed. When you relate that going back to school, think about running late. First time they’ve had to drive, they’re in a hurry to get there,” Belcuore said. “The second one is distracted driving. Where we are right now in the school parking lot, before school and especially after school, some of these kids haven’t looked at their phone during the school day. They get out in the car after school and the first thing they do is pull that phone out. They’re in a congested school parking lot with a bunch of new drivers, so it can lead to big issues.”

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The final countdown to results is on – here’s some golden advice from those who have already done the Leaving Cert

Students across the country will be no doubt faced with a lot of decisions in the coming weeks, so took to the streets to find out what advice people have for them at this crucial time.

If you have any other advice you’d like to share, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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Self-defense classes offered as women head to college

Bettendorf High School students Emma Doyle, 17, and Lauren Rankin, 16, practice defense moves Friday, during a self-defense class.

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An Anti-Hate Group Has This Advice for When the Alt-Right Comes to Campus

For universities, the new academic year has nearly arrived. If it’s anything like last year, controversial speakers will be a consistent challenge for administrators and students alike.

More often than not, the speakers that generate the most controversy are those labeled right-wing reactionaries by their critics. Last fall, Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, launched a speaking tour to recruit college students to the alt-right, a loose group of white supremacists and online agitators. His speech at Texas AM University at College Station saw protest become physical, a turn that would become common throughout the coming months.

During a visit to the University of California at Berkeley in February, the far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was greeted by masked protesters who smashed windows and set fires on the campus. Weeks earlier, a man was shot during a protest of a speech by Mr. Yiannopoulos at the University of Washington.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that monitors hate groups, wants to reduce the number of these protests gone awry. To that end, the center, which also monitored cases of anti-immigrant and race-based harassment after the presidential election, has issued a 20-page report with advice for students on how best to respond when a controversial speaker from the alt-right comes to campus. The guide, titled “The Alt-Right on Campus: What Students Need to Know,” is geared toward student activists, but it also has relevance to administrators and faculty members on dealing with contentious speakers. Here are a few highlights:

Just ignore the event.

The spectacles created by counterprotesters, says Lecia Brooks, the SPLC’s outreach director, only serve to embolden the speakers and allow them to portray themselves as victims.

“The best response is not to show up at all,” Ms. Brooks said. “It is the better strategy.”

That’s the same advice Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, gave to the UVa community regarding a gathering of white-nationalists in Charlottesville, planned for this Saturday.

“To approach the rally and confront the activists would only satisfy their craving for spectacle,” she wrote. “They believe that your counterprotest helps their cause.”

A similar approach was adopted at Texas AM when Mr. Spencer came to its campus in December. University leaders organized a competing event, “Aggies United,” away from Mr. Spencer’s speech, though police officers in riot gear still had to stop some protesters from trying to enter the building where he was speaking.

Ask college leaders to denounce the speaker.

While it might be tempting for administrators to try and cancel the event, that could lead to even more attention for the speaker, Ms. Brooks said. That’s what happened at Auburn University when Mr. Spencer visited its campus in April. The university had tried to prevent him from speaking, but a judge ruled against that decision. Ms. Brooks said the event attracted more attention as a result.

The Far Right Comes to Campus

Read a collection of Chronicle articles documenting the challenges posed by the growing presence of extremist politics at colleges and universities.

Or consider Berkeley’s juggling of Ann Coulter’s ultimately canceled speech. That caused plenty headaches, even though she never spoke at the campus.

Instead, the SPLC report suggests that student activists ask the administration to denounce the speaker’s message. Michael K. Young, the Texas AM president, called Mr. Spencer’s racist message “beneath contempt” when the white nationalist visited that campus.

Talk to the group hosting the event.

It’s easy to forget that these speakers don’t materialize out of thin air, but rather are invited ­— often by other students, who can have mixed motives. The views of students who invite a controversial speaker may not correspond with those of the speaker.

That was the case when Mr. Yiannopoulos visited the University of Washington. A leader of the College Republicans chapter that had invited him told The Chronicle that student organizers had wanted a tamer conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro, to speak at the college, but they couldn’t afford his $10,000 fee. Mr. Yiannopoulos came free of charge.

And the dean of students at Wake Forest University was able to convince the College Republicans there to bring in Roger Stone instead of Mr. Yiannopoulos. The group’s goal had really been to get more conservative viewpoints on campus, not necessarily to endorse Mr. Yiannopoulos.

The Southern Poverty Law Center encourages people to try and suss out the host group’s motivation for bringing a controversial speaker to campus. For more of its insights, including a who’s who in the alt-right and other tips on how to quell the storm a controversial speaker brings, check out the full report.

Chris Quintana is a breaking-news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @cquintanadc or email him at

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Expert: Diversifying Cybersecurity Starts with “Targeted Recruiting”


by Jamaal Abdul-Alim

 In order to diversify the growing field of cybersecurity, employers must do more “targeted recruiting” at colleges and universities that are diverse themselves.

That advice comes from Debora Plunkett, a retired National Security Agency executive and adjunct cybersecurity professor at the University of Maryland University College, or UMUC.

“It just defies logic that if we’re trying to increase diversity, that we would aim our recruiting efforts at a university that is not diverse,” Plunkett said.

Deborah Pluckett

“It doesn’t mean that you don’t go there,” Plunkett said of institutions of higher education that lack diversity. “But it means if you’re trying to get a diverse population, you make sure you go to places where there are diverse candidates.”

Plunkett made her remarks Friday at a New America forum titled “Embracing Innovation and Diversity in Cybersecurity.” The forum proved a fitting coda for what ended up being a week with a whirlwind of controversy on the issue of diversity in technology.

The controversy ignited Aug. 5 when news reports began to appear about a leaked internal memo from Google written by a since-fired scientist at the company who attributed the gender gap in the tech world to biological differences between men and women. The scientist also criticized company programs and classes reserved for specific genders and ethnic groups.

Assessments of the memo — titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” — have varied. Gizmodo referred to it as an “anti-diversity screed” while The Federalist praised it as an effort to “brainstorm ideas about how to make Google a more friendly environment for women without resorting to explicit sex-based discrimination.”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai abruptly cancelled a companywide town hall meeting on the matter just moments before it was set to begin Thursday after some employees’ questions were leaked and triggered concerns for their safety.

Friday’s forum at New America — scheduled before the Google fiasco took place — offered a fresh perspective on the issue of diversity in the tech world from an all-women panel that shared personal stories of how they made forays into cybersecurity.

Plunkett, speaking in an interview with Diverse after the forum, said the Google memo “struck a nerve” with her.

“I just think anytime you ascribe characteristics to an entire class of people, regardless of whether it’s by gender or race or ethnicity or culture, then it’s biased,” Plunkett said.

Asked if she accepted the memo author’s argument that he was actually trying to fight bias, Plunkett said: “It might have been his intent. I just had a hard time seeing that.”

At the forum, Plunkett and other panelists offered advice for groups that ranged from industry executives to recent college graduates searching for ways to make inroads into the industry.

The advice ranged from having industry executives reflect on whether the workplaces they lead reflect the kind of workplace culture they would want for their wives or daughters, to encouraging students to make sure they pursue their passion and gain practical experience, not just book knowledge.

Such advice could prove quite useful in light of the fact that jobs for information security analysts are expected to grow by 18 percent between 2014 and 2024 — “much faster than average,” according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.

And these are high-paying jobs. BLS data show the median pay for information security analysts in 2016 was $92,600 per year, or $44.52 per hour.

Yet, women and minorities are not accessing these jobs at anywhere near a proportionate rate. For instance, a report from the Business-Higher Education Forum notes that African Americans and Hispanics represent just 6 and 7 percent of STEM employment, even though they represent more than twice that much of the U.S. population. And men outnumber women three to one as computer workers, the report states.

Friday’s forum sought to illuminate ways to turn those statistics around.

Mihoko Matsubara, chief security officer for Japan, Palo Alto Networks, recounted how as a result of a Fulbright Scholarship that led her to Washington, DC back in 2009 — back when cybersecurity was “not as sexy as today” — she got an opportunity to publish a paper on cybersecurity and also volunteered to write English summaries of cybersecurity threats in Japan for a prospective employer.

“That actually helped me a lot afterward, like, ‘Hey, I have something in English, peer-reviewed,’” Matsubara said of her paper. She said the English summaries she wrote helped her land a job in Japan.

“Try to show your value to people around you and find the champions who want to endorse you,” Matsubara said. “And be a good communicator, because cybersecurity touches on every single aspect of national security, and you never know who wants to help you or who needs your help.”

Asked if it’s better to launch a cybersecurity career in government or the private sector, Samara Moore, director of cyber strategy and engagement at Exelon Corporation, and a former White House National Security Staff leader on cybersecurity, advised against generalizing which sector is best.

“It depends. There isn’t a cookie cutter approach on where to go,” Moore said. “It’s what are you interested in, where do you shine, and how do the opportunities match up with what you are trying to do now or how does this opportunity match up with where you want to be in five years or ten years.”

Randi Kieffer, vice president of cybersecurity audit at Capital One and former deputy director of the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center, advised students to have intellectual curiosity and employers to target new talent that is “up to speed on today’s skills.”

“Cybersecurity is a continually new field,” Kieffer said. “Whatever skills you had ten years ago do not apply today.”

Jamaal Abdul-Alim can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter @dcwriter360.

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Prestige and the weak pound draw wealthy Arabs to UK schools

LONDON: Enrollment of Middle East students to Britain’s top public schools is on the rise, as the country’s leading educational establishments draw an increasing mix of international pupils.
Britain’s most prestigious schools are set to welcome a fresh intake of international students in the next three weeks as the 2017/18 academic year gets underway.
Enrollments in British schools from the Middle East rose by almost 14 percent over the last year, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).
From the £39,000-a-year ($50,000) Harrow School, where many of the Jordanian royal family were educated, to Eton College, previously attended by royals including Kuwait’s Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah – British public schools have long been popular with the region’s wealthy elite.
They are increasingly being joined by students from Asia.
Chinese students make up the highest proportion of overseas pupils by far, with the number of Chinese pupils in UK private schools increasing by more than 190 percent in the past 10 years.
According to Knight Frank’s 2017 Wealth Report, the number of ultra-high net worth individuals worldwide – including the Middle East — has jumped by 42 percent in the last decade to 193,000, and these super-rich are looking overseas to educate their children.
In a survey of nearly 900 private bankers and wealth advisers, 40 percent with clients in the Middle East said the super-rich individuals they work with – earning $30 million or over – are more likely to look overseas for a good school for their children than to educate them in their own country.
The Knight Frank survey also stated that the UK is set to become especially attractive to the ultra-wealthy, now that the fallen value of the pound has made it cheaper to send their children to UK private schools.
Liam Bailey, global head of research, Knight Frank, told Arab News: “The UK has been always been a preferred choice for education and, as more wealth is created, around the world there are more parents who can afford this education.”
Bailey said that as economies have become more globalized, “the benefits of an English education have become more important.” He added: “UK schools have become more diverse over time and are now seen as a place to build international networks for students.”
Bailey commented that Britain’s weak pound would likely be a contributing factor to the country’s schooling appeal, although it would not be “the first driver.”
Duncan Quirk, marketing manager at Education Advisers, said that most students in UK private schools come from backgrounds where the fees are of little relevance.
“British boarding school fees are above the average UK annual wage, so it can be argued that a 10-15 percent difference in exchange makes little difference to the real affordability of these schools. Does a 15 percent reduction of something very expensive change its affordability? Not really,” he said.
However, Quirk conceded that international parents are now likely comparing these fees with what they pay for the private schools in the Middle East.
“Perhaps they realize that the excess required to study in the UK has now narrowed, making UK boarding schools a more attractive proposition in comparison to what is available at home.”
Quirk also said he has witnessed more parents from the Middle East region requesting impartial advice on boarding school choices over the past five years.
He said: “While the majority of our inquiries used to be from British expats, recent years have seen us receive a growing number of advice requests from Middle Eastern parents. We also receive almost weekly requests from people looking to leverage our expertise and start their own education advice businesses in the Middle East region.”
Quirk said he expected the UK’s schools to welcome many more Middle East students in the coming years because the market for global education has matured rapidly in the region.
“Parents are much more well-informed than they used to be, and want to provide the best possible education for their children. There are plenty of international schools in the Middle East, but parents are becoming increasingly aware that these rarely match the academic achievements and extra-curricular opportunities set by their UK counterparts. There is also so much more choice in the UK, so they can find a school which is the best match for their child’s ability and aspirations.”
Quirk added that the students themselves are more interested in studying overseas than they were a generation ago.
“The Internet and globalization has seen to that and needs no further explanation. Middle East students know the UK is a great place to come for both their academic and personal development.”
According to Dean Hoke, co-founder and principal of Edu Alliance, a higher education consulting firm based in Abu Dhabi, the UK education system is reaping the spoils of being a major influence in the GCC region “for the past 150 years”.
He said: “Many of the leaders of the region attended British schools and universities over the years and the quality of British education is held in high regard. To this day the UK is still a desirable international location for their children to attend school if they are not staying in their home country.”

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Students choosing A-levels in career specific subjects are less attractive to elite universities, new study suggests

Meanwhile, Oxford advises law applicants that whilst it accepts all A-level subjects with the exception of General Studies, candidates should demonstrate that they are are “appropriately numerate”, and for those wishing to study abroad, they should possess a qualification in a modern language.

This is echoed by the study’s conclusions, which found that students taking A-level law, for example, were more likely to attend a lower-ranked university than those who studied subjects on the list.

“A student who aspires to a career in a professional services firm might easily think that taking an A-level in law, accounting or business would be helpful in achieving that goal,” Ms Dilnot adds.

“But it may be that choosing these subjects is actually unhelpful in high status university admission.

“Students may be unconcerned about the ranking of university they attend. But given that 42 per cent of those reading law have law A-level…the results described here are likely to be counter-intuitive for these students.”

“So an apparently sensible subject choice for students wishing to prepare for a professional career may, in fact, put them at a disadvantage.”

Commenting on the study, Jessica Cole, head of policy at the Russell Group, said that it was of “vital” importance” that students were given the correct information and advice when making choices at A-level.

“Choosing facilitating subjects allows students to keep their options open, meaning they have a wider choice of degree courses,” she added.

“Our advice is that if students don’t know what they want to study at university then it’s a really good rule of thumb that taking two facilitating subjects will keep a wide range of degree courses open.

“Students who aren’t sure which subjects they need to take for a specific course should be able find information in university prospectuses, or they can speak to the university directly who will be able to help them.”

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Parents’ concerns over discipline disparities at forefront of education forum

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Three-year recycling education contract reduced to one year

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Retiring superintendent Al Moyer reflects on education changes

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