Building a business
Prevent identity theft
Internet thieves may be trying to steal your financial information. You can protect yourself by being informed and taking precautions on the phone and on the Internet.
Never provide financial information, including your Social Security number, bank and credit account numbers, and passwords on the phone or the Internet in response to an unsolicited request. Financial institutions never ask you to verify your account number or password online.
Be aware that pirates may use the real name of a financial institution, government agency, or organization such as the Better Business Bureau. Thieves may create Internet pages that look like the real thing and even have a fake padlock icon that is ordinarily used to denote a secure site. If you did not initiate the communication, don’t provide any information or click on the site.
Don’t be intimidated by a caller or e-mail that suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information. The message may use phrases such as “Immediate attention required.”
If you believe the caller or e-mail is legitimate, contact the bank or company yourself. You can find the phone number or website on your monthly statements. When you go to the company’s website, type the site address directly or use a bookmark you’ve used in the past. Do not use a link provided by the caller or in an e-mail. It may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
Review account statements, either hard copy or electronic, regularly to ensure all charges are correct. If a statement is late in arriving, call to find out why.
Don’t be caught by phishers
One type of piracy is phishing, pronounced “fishing.” That’s because it’s exactly what thieves are trying to do: fish for your financial information. They are looking for account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and other confidential information that they can use to raid your checking account or make charges on your credit cards.
Phishing can disrupt your business transactions, damage your financial history, and take years to resolve.
You can prevent damage to your own business and that of others by reporting suspicious calls and e-mails to the Federal Trade Commission. Call 1-877-IDTHEFT or go to the commission’s website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
What if your ID is stolen?
If you think your identity has been compromised, contact your financial institutions immediately and alert them to the situation.
If you disclosed confidential information, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus below. Discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, Ga. 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, Texas 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, Calif. 92634
Source: “Warning: Internet pirates are trying to steal your personal financial information,” published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
Refresh for fall
With families and staff on vacation in July and August, directors may feel friendless and sluggish. But the easier pace can be useful for taking stock and looking ahead. Some ideas:
Stand up and move around. Make time every day to visit classrooms, observe playground activities, talk to parents at drop-off and pick-up times, and chat with staff members face-to-face.
Offer diversions. Put up a bulletin board and invite staff to bring their baby pictures. Challenge staff to a contest for the best recipe using kale or collard greens. Contact a pet therapy program about having a trained dog and handler visit preschool classrooms.
Read a new book on education, career advancement, or leadership. Give a five-minute report at the next staff meeting and ask for suggestions about implementing the principles.
Look for training and leadership opportunities in the fall. Or organize an in-house staff training session for September. Update the orientation for new hires and think of ways to make it more interesting, such as showing videos and doing hands-on demonstrations.
Rearrange your work area. Toss out things you don’t need, recycle old papers after shredding any with sensitive information, repaint a wall, or hang a new picture.
Of course, there are always such options as cleaning out files and tending to long-overlooked repairs. But if the goal is to refresh and rejuvenate, you might consider taking time off yourself and remember why you chose to work in early education.
To paraphrase Albert Einstein: There are two ways of living your life. One is to live as if every day is an adventure, and the second is to live as if nothing is an adventure.
Yes versus no: A lesson
I’m taking a leave of absence starting next month,” Ms. Russell announces to parents in the school library.
“Oh, no,” parents murmur, surprised and saddened by her departure, although temporary.
“As you can see,” Ms. Russell says, pointing to her enlarged abdomen, “I’m expecting a baby in a few weeks. I need to finish making preparations and get some rest.”
“When will you come back?” Mr. Green asks.
“Maybe by the holidays,” Ms. Russell says. “We’ll have to see how things go. In the meantime, Ms. Wells will be teaching in my place.”
There are more murmurs and sighs. At length, Ms. Clayborn raises her hand:
“We’re happy that you’re having a baby,” she says, “and we know that Ms. Wells will do fine. But we will miss you terribly.” Others nod in agreement.
“Taking a leave was a hard decision for me because I love working with your children,” says Ms. Russell. “But as some wise person once said, every time we make a choice, we say yes to one thing and no to another. I’m saying no to you and your children right now, but I’m saying yes to my baby and family. When I return, I’ll be saying no to my baby and yes to teaching.”
“Oh, I understand,” says Ms. Nguyen. “Yes and no are like two sides of a coin. Neither is better or worse; they complement each other. They’re always working together, in harmony and balance.”
“Right,” says Ms. Hernandez. “Thank you for this explanation. I think this approach can help all of us in making decisions.”
More mothers staying home
The proportion of mothers who stay at home with their children has risen from 23 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2012, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. The increase reverses a trend of the previous three decades, when more mothers began working outside the home.
Mothers staying home today include not just those who prefer caring for their children but also those mothers unable to find a job, enrolled in school, or having disabilities.
Pew’s research showed that half of stay-at-home moms care for at least one child younger than 5. Fully a third live in poverty, compared with 12 percent of working moms. Stay-at-home moms are also more likely to be nonwhite and foreign-born and have a high school diploma or less.
Among less educated moms, the decision to stay home may be based in the higher cost for child care compared to expected wages.
And while public opinion toward working mothers has grown more positive in recent years, it’s still true that most Americans think a parent at home is best for children.
The Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts. The center conducts public opinion polls and social science research without taking positions on policy.