Archive | September, 2015

Sitting on your fat butt can make you stupid

27 Sep

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART: sitting on your fat butt can make you stupid. Science Daily reported in Types of athletic training affect how brain communicates with muscles:

Using endurance training or strength and resistance training not only prepares an athlete for different types of sports, they can also change the way the brain and muscles communicate with each other.

A University of Kansas study shows that the communication between the brain and quadriceps muscles of people who take part in endurance training, such as running long distances, is different than those who regularly took part in resistance training and those who were sedentary. The findings may offer clues to the type of physical activity humans are most naturally suited to.

Trent Herda, assistant professor of health, sport and exercise sciences, and Michael Trevino, a doctoral student, conducted studies in which they measured muscle responses of five people who regularly run long distances, five who regularly lift weights and five sedentary individuals who regularly do neither. The studies have been published in the Journal of Sports Sciences and Muscle and Nerve.

Among the findings, Herda and Trevino showed that the quadriceps muscle fibers of the endurance trainers were able to fire more rapidly.

“The communication between the brains and their muscles was slightly different than the resistance trainers and sedentary individuals,” Herda said of endurance trainers. “This information also suggested that resistance trainers and those who are sedentary were more likely to fatigue sooner, among other things.”

Survey participants were 15 healthy volunteers. The endurance trainers had consistently taken part in a structured running program for at least three years prior to the study and ran an average of 61 miles a week and did not take part in resistance training. The resistance trainers had consistently taken part in a weight-training program for at least four years prior to the study. They took part in resistance training four to eight hours per week and reported doing at least one repetition of a back squat of twice their body mass. One reported doing a squat of 1.5 times his or her body weight, but none engaged in aerobic activity such as swimming, jogging or cycling. The sedentary participants did not take part in any structured physical exercise for three years prior to the study…http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150918132022.htm

Although, the University of Kansas study looked at how different types of exercise affect the communication of the brain with muscles, this is in accord with the Health and Fitness Association (Association) post, The Exercise–Brain Connection.

According to the Association:

Cognitive Function
A sedentary lifestyle affects the brain—and in turn lessens mental capacity. Sibley and Etnier (2003) found a clear connection between how much schoolchildren exercised and their cognitive performance: the more aerobic exercise the children engaged in, the better they performed on verbal, perceptual and mathematical tests. The same pattern of results was found in older adults: aerobic training improved cognitive performance (Colcombe & Kramer 2003), and active lifestyles decreased age-related risks for cognitive impairment and dementia (Yaffe et al. 2009). Not surprisingly, these cognitive effects were accompanied by clear changes in brain structure and function…. http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/the-exercisendashbrain-connection

Jennifer Larino of the Times-Picayune (NOLA) reported in Couch potato crisis? More Americans ‘totally sedentary,’ Wall Street Journal reports:

The number of Americans who say they have participated in no physical activity in the past year has hit its highest point since 2007, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The report cites figures from the annual Physical Activity Council, which reports about 28 percent of Americans age 6 and over were “totally sedentary” last year, meaning they did not participate at least once in any of the more than 100 physical activities the survey listed. That is about 83 million Americans total.
That is the highest level of inactivity since the survey fine-tuned its sports and fitness list, excluding activities such as billiards and darts, the report says….http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2015/04/more_americans_totally_sedenta.html

This rise in the number of sedentary individuals affects both the national health, but the ability to participate in the democratic process. A stretch, the reader might opine. Consider this quote from Jon Gruber, the architect of Obamacare:

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass
3 Jonathan Gruber Videos: Americans “Too Stupid to…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adrdmmh7bMoCached
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adrdmmh7bMo

See, Obama promised Obamacare wouldn’t do exactly what Gruber says it will do http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/18/politics/gruber-obamacare-promises/index.html

Bottom line, pun intended is that sedentary folk harm their health, the wealth of the country paying increased health care costs and the political dynamic because they don’t have the mental or physical energy to participate giving the Jon Grubers of the world, free reign.

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National Center for Education Statistics study: Students Underperform in Schools With Large Black Populations

25 Sep

Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids. It is worth reviewing that post. http://drwilda.com/tag/class-segregation/
Moi wrote about the intersection of race and class in education in Race, class, and education in America:
Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/http://drwilda.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

U.S. News reported in the article, Study Finds Students Underperform in Schools With Large Black Populations:

As concerns mount over the resegregation of the nation’s public schools, a new federal study shows that black and white students at schools with a high density of black students perform worse than those at schools with a lower density of black students.

The report, released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, sheds new light on the achievement gap between white and black students and bolsters policymakers’ fears about the ramifications of increasingly segregated schools.

“I think that we all have some sort of anecdotal sense that racial isolation or the resegregation of schools going in that direction is not a good thing,” says acting NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr. “It’s not good for anyone. But being able to define it and put your finger on it … and be more diagnostic about the probable impact was really eye-opening for me.”

The report found that, on average, white students attended schools that were 9 percent black while black students attended schools that were 48 percent black.

Achievement was lower for both black and white students in schools where black students accounted for more than 40 percent of the student body, compared to schools where black students accounted for less than 20 percent of the student body.

Those findings weren’t entirely unexpected. But what did surprise Carr, she says, was that the achievement gap for black students was largely due to the performance of black male students, not black female students.

Further, Carr explains, black males actually did worse in schools with a high density of black students while white males did better, compared to schools with lower densities of black students.

“Even when we account for factors associated with higher achievement such as student socioeconomic status and other student, teacher, and school characteristics, we see that black male student achievement is lower in schools with higher percentages of black students,” Carr says.

The black-white achievement gap has been studied for years, but its relationship to school composition has generally not been explored.

The study was conducted using data from the results of the 2011 eighth-grade math test given as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an assessment that’s given to U.S. students in various subjects in grades four, eight and 12…..

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/09/24/study-finds-students-underperform-in-schools-with-large-black-populations

Citation:

School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap Description: School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap explores public schools’ demographic composition, in particular, the proportion of Black students enrolled in schools (also referred to “Black student density” in schools) and its relation to the Black-White achievement gap. This NCES study, the first of its kind, used the 2011 NAEP grade 8 mathematics assessment data. As reported earlier, Black students at the national level, on average, scored 30 points lower than their White peers in 2011.

Among the results highlighted in the report, the study indicates that the achievement gap between Black and White students remains whether schools fall in the highest density category (i.e., schools that composed of at least 60 percent Black students) or the lowest density category (i.e., schools that composed of less than or equal to 20 percent Black students). When accounting for factors such as student socioeconomic status and other student, teacher, and school characteristics, Black students, and Black male students in particular, scored lower in the highest- rather than the lowest density schools. Further, the portion of the Black-White achievement gap attributed to within-school differences (e.g., how schools internally distribute resources and treat students) is larger than the portion attributed to between-school differences (e.g., how schools vary in technology, updated textbooks, and qualified teachers). Online Availability:

Need Help Viewing PDF files?
Cover Date: September 2015 Web Release: September 24, 2015 Publication #: NCES 2015018
Center/Program: NCES Authors: NCES Type of Product: Statistical Analysis Report Survey/Program Areas: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Keywords:

Achievement

Blacks, educational progress
Mathematics

Questions: For questions about the content of this Statistical Analysis Report, please contact:
Taslima Rahman.

Here is the executive summary:

School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap

September 24, 2015

Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing.  (8.6 MB)

​Executive Summary  ​​

​​​​​The Black–White achievement gap has often been studied, but its relationship to school composition has generally not been explored. The demographic makeup of public schools is of particular interest, given recent concerns about the growing resegregation of schools (Frankenberg, Lee, and Orfield 2003; Orfield, Kucsera, and Siegel-Hawley 2012). This report explored eighth-grade achievement as it relates to the percentage of students in the school who were Black1. ​The category Black includes students who identified as “Black or African American.” or the density of Black students, to contribute to the understanding of the Black–White student achievement gap. The data used to explore these relationships came primarily from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2011 Mathematics Grade 8 Assessment but also from the Common Core of Data for 2010–11, which provided additional school characteristics.

On average, White students attended schools that were 9 percent Black while Black students attended schools that were 48 percent Black, indicating a large difference in average Black student density nationally. When the analysis examined variation in density by region and locale, the results showed that schools in the highest density category (60 percent to 100 percent Black students) were mostly located in the South and, to a lesser extent, the Midwest and tended to be in cities. The highest percentage of schools in the lowest density category were in rural areas.

Analysis of the relationship between the percentage of students in a school who were Black and achievement showed the following:

  • Achievement for both Black and White students was lower in the highest Black student density schools than in the lowest density schools.
  • However, the achievement gap was not different.

However, when accounting for factors such as student socioeconomic status (SES) and other student, teacher, and school characteristics, the analysis found:

  • White student achievement in schools with the highest Black student density did not differ from White student achievement in schools with the lowest density.
  • For Black students overall, and Black males in particular, achievement was still lower in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.
  • The Black–White achievement gap was larger in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools.
  • Conducting analysis by gender, the Black–White achievement gap was larger in the highest density schools than in the lowest density schools for males but not for females.

In addition, the size of the achievement gaps within each category of Black student density was smaller when the analysis accounted for student SES and other student, teacher, and school characteristics (except in the highest density category), suggesting that these factors explained a considerable portion of the observed achievement gap2.

In a separate analysis, the report estimated the extent to which the Black–White achievement gap could be attributed to between- versus within-school differences in achievement. The value of this analysis is to inform policies that allocate resources between schools versus policies that allocate resources within schools. Results of this analysis showed that, nationally and in most of the states examined, the portion of the Black–White achievement gap attributed to within-school differences in achievement was larger than the portion attributed to between-school differences. There was, however, a portion of the gap that could not definitively be attributed to either within- or between-school differences alone. This portion was labeled “indeterminate.”

Download the complete report in​ a PDF file for viewing and printing.​  (8.6 MB)​​​​

​​NCES 2015-018 See the entry in the NCES database for contact and ordering information, and for links to simila​r topics.
Suggested Citation

1– The category Black includes students who identified as “Black or African American.”

2​​- In the highest density schools, the reduction in the achievement gap was not statistically significant ( p = .058)

​ National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

NAEP Studies – School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap

https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2015018.aspx

The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty http://www.adb.org/documents/assessing-development-impact-breaking-cycle-poverty-through-education For a good article about education and poverty which has a good bibliography, go to Poverty and Education, Overview http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2330/Poverty-Education.html  There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education, we are the next third world country.

Related:

Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/11/micheal-pettrillis-decision-an-ed-reformer-confronts-race-and-class-when-choosing-a-school-for-his-kids/

The role economic class plays in college success

http://drwilda.com/2012/12/22/the-role-economic-class-plays-in-college-success/

The ‘school-to-prison pipeline

http://drwilda.com/2012/11/27/the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

Trying not to raise a bumper crop of morons: Hong Kong’s ‘tutor kings and queens’
http://drwilda.com/2012/11/26/trying-not-to-raise-a-bumper-crop-of-morons-hong-kongs-tutor-kings-and-queens/

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HARD QUESTION Update: Do Black folk REALLY want to succeed in America? Choice of college major affects future earnings

20 Sep

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART. All moi can say is one has a Constitutional right to be a MORON. One must ask what are folk thinking and where do they want to go in THIS society and not some mythical Africa which most will never see and which probably does not exist. Remember, fplk live in THIS society, at THIS time and in THIS place.

Moi wrote in Black people MUST develop a culture of success: Michigan State revokes a football scholarship because of raunchy rap video:
The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture.
See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts and Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink? http://drwilda.com/2013/05/01/hip-hop-and-rap-represent-destructive-life-choices-how-low-can-this-genre-sink/

One person does not speaks for a group, but members of a group can often provide useful insight about the group.
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reported in the Washington Post article, Racial disparities in college major selection exacerbate earnings gap:

African American and Hispanic students disproportionately earn more bachelors degrees in low-paying majors, putting them at higher risk for financial instability after graduation, according to a new study from Young Invincibles, an advocacy group.
The study identified the highest-paying and lowest-paying majors using data from the U.S. Education Department and Payscale. The highest-paying majors through mid-career were primarily in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields, while the lowest were in law enforcement, education and professional studies.
Researchers found African Americans are over-represented in four of the six lowest-paying fields; the same is true for Hispanic students in three of the six majors at the bottom of the income ladder. Starting salaries in low-paid majors are approximately $35,000 a year and barely grow to $55,000 within 10 or 15 years into a career. By contrast, students with STEM degrees start out making at least $50,000 and can reasonably expect to make more than $75,000 by the middle of their careers.
On the bright side, African Americans are gaining ground in engineering, mathematics and science technologies majors. Still, they only obtain 5 percent of the degrees awarded in each of those lucrative fields. Hispanic students, meanwhile, are registering similar results, which experts say is a clear indication that policymakers and educators need to pay extra attention to both minority groups to close racial income gaps…. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/09/16/racial-disparities-in-college-major-selection-exacerbates-earnings-gap-3/

Here is the press release:

New Brief Finds Major Racial Disparities in College Major Selection

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Colin Seeberger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 16, 2015
Contact: Colin Seeberger, colin.seeberger@ younginvincibles.org, 214.223.2913
New Brief Finds Major Racial Disparities in College Major Selection, Boosts Case for Providing Outcomes Data by Major
[WASHINGTON]–Today, Young Invincibles released a new brief called Major Malfunction, which looks at racial disparities in college major selection. The report finds African American and Latino students are overrepresented in the lowest paying majors, Latinos are underrepresented in almost all top paying majors, and African Americans are represented at half the rate they should be in important STEM majors.
This brief comes on the heels of the White House unveiling its new College Scorecard, providing students and families with information about institution cost, graduation rates, and average starting salaries. This is a step in the right direction, but students and families need additional information to fully be able to weigh the value of their investment, and that information is major-level data.
“Our research shows that not only are there vast disparities in educational attainment by race, but the inequities extend to fields of study, with students of color underrepresented in the most lucrative fields,” said report authors Tom Allison and Konrad Mugglestone. “For this reason, it is all the the more important to provide students with data about outcomes at both the institution- and major-levels so that they can better asses which schools and fields of study will best set them up for success upon graduation.” http://younginvincibles.org/major-malfunction/

Here are some highlights from the study:

In brief, this analysis finds:

• The top seven highest paying majors, defined through starting and mid-career median salary, are:

• Engineering
• Computer & Information Sciences
• Mathematics & Statistics
• Engineering Technology
• Health Professions
• Business
• Physical Science and Science Technologies

The six majors with the lowest salaries are:

• Family & Consumer Science
• Education
• Theology & Religion
• Legal & Professional Studies
• Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting
• Multi-Interdisciplinary Studies
• Latino students are underrepresented in almost all of the top majors identified.
• In 2013, African Americans earned mathematics & statistics, engineering, and physical sciences
degrees at half the rate necessary to achieve an equal distribution of bachelor degrees overall.
• Out of the bottom six majors with the lowest median salaries, African American students are
overrepresented in four of them. Latinos are similarly overrepresented in three of the six….

Conclusion

Students of color already face many disadvantages accessing and completing postsecondary education,
and as we have uncovered, lag behind in completing degrees with the greatest economic returns in the
workforce. Understanding the roots of the disparities explored above is complicated, involving
centuries of racial discrimination, uneven budgetary support for our K-12 education system, social and
environmental conditions, and deficits in our academic advising and student support systems. Tracking
and using robust and reliable education data can shed light on this complicated issue, but our current
postsecondary data infrastructure is inadequate to do so.

A new data paradigm focused on students and outcomes would address issues in this brief. Under such
a paradigm, we could map out which degrees and institutions are leading to certain salaries and careers,
thus equipping students with more information on what institution and program to pursue. Perhaps
more importantly, this would give the higher education community the ability to identify which
institutions excel in serving low-income and first-generation students, as well as students of color. From
there, other institutions looking to help their disadvantaged students succeed in difficult majors could
then learn what tactics and strategies and adapt those best practices in their own programs. This can
only be achieved by overhauling our postsecondary data systems and connecting them to workforce
outcomes, and would be an important first step to addressing racial disparities in areas of study…. http://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Major-Malfunction_FINAL.pdf

There is no such thing as a “model minority” and getting rid of this myth will allow educators to focus on the needs of the individual student. Still, the choice of many parents to allow their children to make choices which may impact their success should have folk asking the question of what values are being transmitted and absorbed by Black children.

Resources:

Culture of Success
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/culture-success

How Do Asian Students Get to the Top of the Class?
http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/teaching-values/481-parenting-students-to-the-top.gs

Related:

Is there a model minority?
http://drwilda.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

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