Secretary DeVos Praises Expansion of Educational Opportunities for Illinois Students and Families

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today released the following statement:

“Real change and innovation in education will not come from Washington—it will come from states where parents and students demand more education options and have their voices heard. I commend Gov. Rauner and Superintendent Smith for their leadership in making Illinois the 18th state to adopt a tax credit scholarship program. By expanding choices for families and focusing funding on individual students, this program will help thousands of Illinois children succeed.”


Illinois Lawmakers Give Students More Opportunities in Education

In the throes of a debate about how much taxpayer money would go to Illinois public schools, state lawmakers have agreed to provide students more educational options.

On Thursday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature created a program that allows for up to $75 million in tax credit-eligible contributions to K-12 private school scholarship organizations. Under the law, individuals and businesses can make charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations that award scholarships to eligible students.

Donors will receive a credit on their state taxes worth 75 percent of their contributions. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must be from families with household incomes not greater than approximately $74,000.

Commonly known as “tax credit scholarships,” this school choice opportunity helps thousands of students in 17 states access a quality education when their assigned district school is not a good fit for them.

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In Florida, more than 100,000 children use a scholarship, while Arizona scholarship organizations awarded some 70,000 private school scholarships in fiscal year 2016.

The scholarships have helped students like Gabe Alva-Rivera. As a child, he attended a school in Mexico that didn’t even have running water, but his family moved to Arizona where he thrived in a private Catholic school.

In a 2013 interview, he explained that he founded and coached a middle school robotics team. He went on to study mechanical engineering at MIT.

This year, Illinois joins Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina as states that created or expanded ways for students to find a great learning experience when they struggle in a district school.

Arizona and Florida lawmakers made more students eligible for education savings accounts, scholarships that allow parents to customize a child’s education through personal tutors, private schools, and online classes, to name a few possible uses. North Carolina policymakers enacted a similar law in June.

Illinois’ new scholarships are a bright spot in a bill marked by burdens on taxpayers and even requirements for private schools that want to enroll scholarship students. The Illinois Policy Institute explains that taxpayers will fork over another $150 million to Chicago Public Schools, and city residents should expect a property tax increase.

Additionally, scholarship students under the bill will be required to take the state assessment. This rule undermines a private school’s ability to decide what and how to teach, and gives schools an incentive to provide the same instruction as district schools since students will take the same tests.

Surveys indicate that similar rules in Louisiana’s K-12 private school voucher system have prevented some private schools from enrolling scholarship students, and, as a result, families have fewer educational options.

President Donald Trump’s administration has indicated that a federal tax credit scholarship proposal could be in the offing later this year.

But Heritage Foundation experts and researchers from states like Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, New Mexico, Idaho, Iowa, Utah, and Oklahoma have urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to keep federal activity within the bounds of Washington’s areas of responsibility.

The Trump administration would do well to provide more private educational opportunities to children in Washington, D.C., students in active-duty military families, and children living on Native American reservations.

Meanwhile, proposals to give students more learning opportunities in the 50 states should be left to state lawmakers. Well-intentioned proposals to help students can be mired in complex federal funding formulas and extend the federal government’s reach into our everyday lives.

Trump administration officials that favor more learning options should use their high profile to explain that every child should have the chance at a great education and the American dream. For students succeeding in their local district school, policymakers should encourage these achievements.

But when a district school isn’t a good fit for a child—students with special needs or those looking for more challenging material—state lawmakers should create opportunities like the new Illinois scholarships (absent the aggressive regulations) for families living within their borders. Washington should practice restraint.

10 In-Home Business Opportunities You Can Start From Your Smartphone

10 Ideas to Start a Business on Your Phone

You no longer need tons of expensive equipment to start a business. Today’s smartphones are so sophisticated and have so many different features that you can actually use them as the main tool for running a business.

If you want to start a business from home without putting a lot of investment into equipment, here are some businesses you can start with just a smartphone.

Start a Business on Your Phone

App Developer

Mobile apps have become incredibly popular. So it’s an increasingly popular business idea as well. From your own smartphone, you can build and test mobile apps for your own venture and sell them for a profit, or you can even contract with other companies to create apps for them.

Vine, Instagram or Snapchat Marketer

Social media platforms and apps like Twitter’s Vine, Facebook’s Instagram, Snapchat and more offer plenty of new and unique opportunities for marketers. If you want to start a social media business from your smartphone, you can offer to post content for business clients on their accounts. Or you can become an influencer and work with brands to spread the word about their offerings on your accounts.

Event Planner

Working on events, from weddings to corporate functions, requires a lot of planning and organizational skills. Luckily, there are plenty of mobile apps that offer the ability to manage schedules, lists and more. And of course, you can use your phone to keep in touch with clients and vendors, through both phone calls and emails.

Chatbot Developer

Chatbots are computer programs that use artificial intelligence to mimic human conversations. This technology has many potential business applications. And you can actually work to develop some of those solutions from your smartphone and then sell them to businesses and clients.

mCommerce Seller

More and more consumers are shopping from their smartphones. So you can also now set up those mobile shops right from your smartphone or similar device. Doing so will actually give you a better idea of how your shop will look to potential mobile customers so you can make sure the shopping experience is compatible with popular mobile devices. Or you could even use mobile apps for popular retail sites like eBay and Etsy to sell your goods.


If you have expertise in a particular area, you can share that expertise with others right from your smartphone by working as a consultant. You can communicate with potential clients via email and then set up phone calls or even use the Skype mobile app to set up video conferences with clients.

Tech Support

Tech savvy entrepreneurs, you can offer your expertise to clients needing tech support for a set fee or hourly rate. You can have customers contact you with queries and then respond to them via email, phone or Skype with solutions or any further questions you might have to help solve their tech related issues.


No longer do you need lots of expensive equipment to make and edit videos. Today’s smartphone cameras are often HD quality. And you can download editing apps right onto your phone. So you can create your own videos or even offer your videography services to clients.

Airbnb Host

Home rental services like Airbnb let anyone with some extra space in their home, or a separate income property, make extra cash by renting it out. With the Airbnb app, or others like it, you can create a listing for your home or room and manage communication with renters right from your phone or mobile device.

Life Coach

Life coaches work with clients to provide general help with things like career, relationships and even health and fitness. You can communicate with clients via email, phone calls or Skype. And you can even set up a website and social profiles to offer your services right from your phone.

Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock


Opportunities and Hurdles With Google’s Daydream VR Vision

Opportunities and Hurdles With Google's Daydream VR Vision

Google on Wednesday unveiled its Daydream VR at I/O 2016.
Smartphones strolling Android N simplest will guide Daydream.
Google’s bluetooth controller will be able to feel movement in Daydream VR.
Upcoming virtualtruth headsets primarily based on Google’s new Daydream VR system might not be assophisticated as Fb‘s Oculus Rift.

But they could supply greater human beings a taste top-of-the-line VR and make better games andprograms low cost.

On Wednesday, Google stated it’ll increase a number VR headsets that promise to be greater relaxed and durable than its extremelyreasonably-priced Cardboard headset. Google will make one and proportiondesign tips with other producers.

(Additionally see: Google’s Daydream VR Environment: The whole thing You Need to Recognize)

There may also be a wireless motion controller – functioning like a fishing rod, a steerage wheel or a pointer – to allow moresophisticated VR reports.

state-of-the-art structures which includes the Rift and the HTC Vive are pricey, limiting their appeal togamers and other tech fanatics. Rather, inexpensive VR headsets that faucet the energy probably the greatest smartphones are commonly tied to one producer‘s phones, which includes Samsung’s or LG’s.

Daydream headsets will paintings with a variety of smartphone manufacturers. Gartner analyst Brian Blau says he believes the Daydream-powered devices may want to show to be a “thorn within the sidetop-of-the-line both Samsung and Oculus, which teamed as much as make a comparable VR headset , referred to as Gear VR, past due closing yr.

However there are hurdles:

You should buy a brand new phone
You will Want a higherstop cellphone walking the upcoming “N” version among the finest Android.Present phones won’t have the right hardware, and less expensive “N” phones won’t both, so youwould possibly need to spend some hundred dollars more for a 92902aa20c12d87b40dfdf6f0aff9775model.

Google says as a minimum 8 manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, and Huawei, will make well matched telephones this fall. It is a remember one of the best adding sensors and appropriatesufficient monitors, amongst other matters.

Due to the fact those telephones don’t exist yet, it’ll take time for Daydream to develop, says Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Studies.

Moreover, Daydream may not paintings with Apple’s iPhones, while Google Cardboard headsets do.

If anything, Daydream should spark hobby in telephone enhancements. Due to the fact the tempo top-of-the-line phone innovation has slowed, a few people had been keeping on to their phones longer.

less expensive, But not most inexpensive
Although no rate was announced, the Daydream headsets could be extra steeply-priced than Cardboard,probably inside the ballpark top-of-the-line Samsung’s $one hundred Tools VR. By using evaluation, Google sells Cardboard for as little as $15, and plenty of brands, including The Big apple Times,provide them away as among the finestone of the best promotions. The fee difference gives you highersubstancesnot cardboard – and a strap to maintain your hands loose.

Still, the new headsets might be tons less expensive than highquit VR systems like the Rift and the Vive. The ones fee numerous hundred bucks, not such as a effective private laptop with speedysufficient pics.

It’s now not complete VR
You might not get The whole lot you get with betterend structures. The Vive, for example, offers fullposition monitoring. As you stroll round a room, photos on the headset change to mirror your newangle.

Through evaluation, smartphonebased VR is greater like a 360-degree film in 3-D. You are supposed to look at it sitting down on the same spot. Shifting around might not alternate the perspective.

It is the distinction between mountaineering Mount Everest With the aid of gripping digital ladders, orlooking a person with a 360-diploma camera do it.

In which Google’s system advances over other smartphone headsets is in its motion controller. Cardboard and Tools VR don’t offer a good deal manage past pushing a button at the headset as you pass your head. Google’s controller will be able to experience movement, so you can swing it like a tennis racketwhen playing a tennis sport in VR.

The compatibility question
The advent one of the best yet every other VR system may create more confusion and convince somepeople to attend till It’s clear if you want to continue to exist. In any case, nobody wants to be stuckwith VR’s equivalent among the finest Betamax recorders after the world has moved to VHS.

However, those headsets are reasonably-priced sufficient that consumers are not taking a big monetaryhazard, truly nothing close to what it takes to decide to a Rift, Vive or Sony’s upcoming Ps VR, says Ian Fogg, head one of the best the cellular analyst group at IHS.

And even as some human beings is probably shopping for VR games and apps that might notpaintings with a destiny, competing machine, Fogg says these are reasonably-priced, too – priced like aphone app, alongside the traces probably the greatest a few bucks.

better apps, However not the fine
Once Google’s devices are in the fingers – and heads – among the best clients, there can be moreincentive for companies, educators and people to create VR apps. Google says main manufacturers like Netflix, HBO, The Wall Road Journal and sport maker Electronic Arts have devoted to Daydream. moreapps and video may want to encourage even greater human beings to buy headsets.
And the motion controller should result in better VR reviews, ones In which you do more than take a seatand swivel in a chair to appearance at the back of you.

However You will Want something a long way greater sophisticated to free up the real strength among the best VR.

“You omit out on rich pics, the completely immersive audio and the fully simulated environment,” says Jason Paul, trendy supervisor for the VR business for Nvidia, which makes chips powering the images in the back of the Rift and the Vive.

However Paul is supportive one of the best cell headsets, for the reason that informal users are notlikely to enjoy a sophisticated VR device.

Every has their price,” he says. “We will use the cellular platform to get the phrase out.”

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