Finally, there are a large number of library software systems that would be suitable for home use, including open source ones. Many have been mentioned in comments, but there are far more out there. You may want to do some searching to find the one most suitable for you. Here are some links to get you started: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_library_system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_computer_system http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Free_library_and_information_science_software http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Library_and_information_science_software
Two main reasons to incorporate are liability and taxes.
This is correct but these are partly two different issues. If you set up an LLC you can elect to have it taxed as an S or a C corporation when you set it up. Which one you would want would depend heavily on your circumstances. Generally an LLC is more favorable now than either an S or C corp for this fexibility and ease of setting it up and reduced record keeping requirements, but LLC requirements and benefits vary quite a bit from state to state. Yes, you can form and LLC anywhere, Delaware for example for it's more lax and corporate friendly laws etc, but in some cases your home state's laws would determine if you got any benefit out of it.
To the original poster, basically you should consider and LLC or corporation when your business is successful enough to make it worth it. In other words when it has some substantial income and or assets that you'd like to protect, and the costs and hassle are made up for by the liability protection, etc. As others have noted it's not full liability protection, but it does protect you from certain things that can make it worth it, even as a sole proprietor. It can make your business more attractive to lend money to, more salable, etc.
Teaching is becoming a nasty job. The pay is low, and constantly under political threat. Socially teaching is looked down upon ("those who can't, teach", and "they get the summer off", "they are ruining our kids").
To some extent these concerns are founded and to some extent, of course, they are not. Teaching is looked down upon and much of that is due to teaching not being treated as much as a professional career as it should be. Another portion of why teaching is rightly looked down on is the large number of teachers that teach poorly yet are not removed as teachers due to union efforts. There are a variety of reasons why teachers don't treat their jobs more professionally. One is that the job is harder than most people think and there is nothing directly forcing teachers to treat it more professionally. There is a perverse incentive system where the teachers that work harder to teach better get paid less per hour and have less free time because the teacher that punches in the clock and goes home two second after the bell rings gets paid the same amount. Teaching certification programs and tests are far too easy, leading to teachers that do not have a broad understanding of their material. Finally, teacher development programs for active teachers are beyond terrible. They are rarely appropriately content focused or focused on the actual items that need to be addressed by each teacher to develop their teaching to be more effective. But teacher education and certification programs have a perverse incentive to turn out more graduates so they get more tuition and state money, instead of making standards and coursework more rigorous. The only solution is to make the certification tests more rigorous and test the right things, unlike the current ones. Then the teacher education programs would be forced to adapt.
But it's a vicious cycle. Because many teachers don't treat their jobs professionally, and bad teachers are difficult to weed out, parents don't have the respect for teachers. Thus the support for teachers from parents and students reduces. The answer is to change the system of incentives so that good teaching is rewarded. Better, more effective teaching can be identified, but it's not easy or cheap. Unions need to stop blocking efforts to adopt pay for performance and instead should work with schools to develop appropriate evaluations for teachers instead of rightfully pointing out that pay for performance with bad evaluation systems are not a good idea. They should also be more willing to help weed out bad teachers for the greater good of all their members.
Where I do agree with you is that the primary difference between statistics and mathematics is uncertainty, and that hard science students are often unhappy grasping this central concept. If you've seen that soft science students have a better time grasping the principles of statistics, then that is certainly something to take advantage of to level the field. Hard science students will tend to have an easier time with the rigor and equations.
...and my job is NOT funded by tax payer dollars, nor is it nearly as important as educating children.
Which makes it all the more important that the metric used for the evaluations is a good one. If the metric used for your evaluations at a private company are a bad one, pretty much only the owners of the company and employees suffer. If the metric used for evaluations at a public school are bad, it can have a heavy cost to a generation of kids. In this case, the union isn't just whining that we don't want to be evaluated and don't want them to be public (though they seem to do that too whih hurts their credibility), but they are correctly calling the evaluation method into question. The evaluations in this case are based on regression of multiple choice results of students, and have a huge error rate. There are ways to evaluate teaching performance that are effective, but this isn't it. The good ways are more expensive, and aren't as easy to check a box to say they're done. Tough luck. Doing a job right doesn't have to be easy, but as you say, it's important, so it is worth doing right.
As a teacher, I know that evaluations of my technique can help me hone my skills and become more effective. The public teachers in NYC should take the critique and act upon it to make them better at their jobs.
Yes, good evaluations can do that, but these aren't it. In this case the Union is right. These "evaluations" aren't evaluations, they are results of multiple choice tests run through a regression. Anyone with two bits of understanding of statistics knows to take a regression result with a block of salt, and when you start with bad data that compounds the problem. It is widely considered among education researchers that multiple choice tests do not measure well what a student knows.
If the NYC school system is using bad data and bad statistics like this to make decisions, then they are going to get the obvious result. Teachers will (even more so) teach to the multiple choice test instead of teaching for understanding, and good teachers will be fired or mentored away from being good teachers because of the high error rates in the method. Now of course, the NYC teachers union is also well known for being a significant hindrance to quality education. Their interests just happen to line up with what is right in this particular case. In general they don't want any of their members fired for any reason and will oppose any method of finding out which teachers are poor teachers and weeding them out.
Whoever came to that asinine decision should be sentenced to spend even just a single week trying to education nutter non vaxxer moron parents about why they should get their children vaccinated. In ten minutes they'd cry uncle at the unending stupidity of the non vaxxers and how unwilling they are to listen to any reason. Somehow they are all convinced by completely unscientific arguments that they all bandy about amongst themselves and will listen to nothing else.
So the result is non vaxxers will increasingly get fired by mainstream primary care physicians and there will certainly be plenty of quacks willing to tell them what they want to hear and take their money. The problem is it's the children that suffer not the parents. The children will get lower quality care. I think it will take nothing less than a widespread pandemic to change the situation and that may not be enough to change the minds of non vaxxers. It will probably take defining vaccine refusal as child neglect to actually fix the problem.
Nice nickname btw
When I hear educational theorists pronouncing with dogmatic certainty that lectures are an ineffective method of instruction I think back to that course, and find that I am skeptical of their dogma. Lectures are no doubt ineffective in many cases, but I think that such masterful lecturers are the exceptions that disprove their axiomatic claims.
A counterexample in special circumstances doesn't necessarily mean the general case isn't true in most cases. You would be hard pressed to find educational theorists that make absolute pronouncements that lectures don't work. What they will usually say is that they don't work as well in many or most cases as they should and that the evidence is building that there are better ways.
What you have in your case is either anecdote, it worked for you, or possibly a set of students that were all of similar preparation and ability and it worked for them. This is likely because you refer to a high level class with a lot of prerequisites and only the most dedicated students tend to take it. Of course, this is after selecting out students that didn't make it into your university or program. As the background knowledge and abilities of the class vary more, however, lecture tends to fail for more and more students. Any instructor intending to lecture has to essentially pick a target group to lecture towards. Those with better background knowledge and abilities than the target will be bored stiff, those with less will be lost. There is very little range in the lecture format to accommodate a wider range of abilities and successfully transmit a large amount of information and understanding to all of them. There is the additional factor of instructor skill. Very few instructors are skilled enough lecturers to do it well. That a few are does not automatically mean that lecture is the best or even a good overall teaching format for most students given that most instructors are poor lecturers. But don't take it from me even though I am an educator and have studied this stuff. If you want to know what you're talking about, take a look at success rates in lecture driven classes in a variety of circumstances and the literature on different teaching methods.