Tag Archives: education

Arizona State University study: In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

1 Jan

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/

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

Perceptions about race are often rooted in perceptions about class with many viewing Blacks no matter their economic status as lower class.

Science Daily reported in In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white:

Recent race-related events in Ferguson, Mo., St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, Charleston, S.C., and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests.

Now, three Arizona State University researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do? The answer, surprisingly, may have little to do with race, per se. Instead, many predominant race stereotypes reflect beliefs about how people from different environments, or ‘ecologies,’ are likely to think and behave.

In “Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes,” published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ASU doctoral students Keelah Williams and Oliver Sng, together with Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation Professor of Psychology, conducted a series of five studies examining the stereotypes people hold about individuals who live in resource-poor and unpredictable (‘desperate’) environments as compared to those who live in resource-sufficient and predictable (‘hopeful’) environments.

Research shows that desperate and hopeful environments tend to shape the behavior of those living within them by altering the costs and benefits of different behavioral strategies. Desperate ecologies tend to reward ‘faster,’ present-focused behaviors whereas hopeful ecologies tend to reward ‘slower,’ future-oriented behaviors.

Because ecology shapes behavior, the authors argue, social perceivers are likely to use cues to another’s ecology, or environment they come from, to make predictions about how that person is likely to think and behave. Indeed, research participants stereotyped those from desperate environments as relatively faster — as more impulsive, sexually promiscuous, likely to engage in opportunistic behavior and as less invested in their education and children, than individuals from hopeful ecologies….

“In America, race and ecology are somewhat confounded — whites are more likely to live in relatively hopeful ecologies, and blacks are more likely to live in relatively desperate ecologies,” said Williams. “We wanted to examine whether Americans were actually using race as a cue to ecology, and if so, whether providing ecology information independently from race information would lead people to decrease their use of race stereotypes.”

To assess the relationship between ecology and race stereotypes, the researchers first examined participants’ stereotypes of individuals from desperate and hopeful ecologies (with no race information provided) and compared these responses to participants’ stereotypes of blacks and whites (with no ecology information provided). The patterns were identical — stereotypes of blacks mirrored stereotypes of individuals from desperate environments, and stereotypes of whites mirrored stereotypes of individuals from hopeful environments….                                                 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151229204648.htm

Citation:

In race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

Date:           December 29, 2015

Source:         Arizona State University

Summary:

Recent race-related events in Ferguson, Mo., St. Louis, Baltimore, Chicago, Charleston, S.C., and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests. Now, three researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do?

Journal Reference:

  1. Keelah E. G. Williams, Oliver Sng, Steven L. Neuberg. Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201519401 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1519401113

Here is the press release from Arizona State University:

Researchers find that in race stereotypes, issues are not so black and white

Department of Psychology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

December 28, 2015

Recent race-related events — in Ferguson, Missouri; St. Louis; Baltimore; Chicago; Charleston, South Carolina; and New York City — all point to the continuing need to study and understand race relations in modern America. These events show how race and stereotypes are intertwined and can lead to explosive situations and protests.

Now, three Arizona State University researchers have approached this problem by asking, why do white Americans’ stereotypes of black Americans take the particular forms they do? The answer, surprisingly, may have little to do with race, per se. Instead, many predominant race stereotypes reflect beliefs about how people from different environments, or “ecologies,” are likely to think and behave.

In “Ecology-driven stereotypes override race stereotypes,” published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ASU doctoral students Keelah Williams and Oliver Sng, together with Steven Neuberg, an ASU Foundation Professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, conducted a series of five studies examining the stereotypes people hold about individuals who live in resource-poor and unpredictable (“desperate”) environments as compared with those who live in resource-sufficient and predictable (“hopeful”) environments.

Research shows that desperate and hopeful environments tend to shape the behavior of those living within them by altering the costs and benefits of different behavioral strategies. Desperate ecologies tend to reward “faster,” present-focused behaviors whereas hopeful ecologies tend to reward “slower,” future-oriented behaviors.

Because ecology shapes behavior, the authors argue, social perceivers are likely to use cues to another’s ecology, or environment they come from, to make predictions about how that person is likely to think and behave. Indeed, research participants stereotyped those from desperate environments as relatively faster — as more impulsive, sexually promiscuous, likely to engage in opportunistic behavior and as less invested in their education and children, than individuals from hopeful ecologies.

But why are these ecology-driven stereotypes relevant for understanding the content of race stereotypes?

“In America, race and ecology are somewhat confounded — whites are more likely to live in relatively hopeful ecologies, and blacks are more likely to live in relatively desperate ecologies,” said Williams. “We wanted to examine whether Americans were actually using race as a cue to ecology, and if so, whether providing ecology information independently from race information would lead people to decrease their use of race stereotypes.”

To assess the relationship between ecology and race stereotypes, the researchers first examined participants’ stereotypes of individuals from desperate and hopeful ecologies (with no race information provided) and compared these responses to participants’ stereotypes of blacks and whites (with no ecology information provided). The patterns were identical — stereotypes of blacks mirrored stereotypes of individuals from desperate environments, and stereotypes of whites mirrored stereotypes of individuals from hopeful environments.

“However, when provided with information about both the race and ecology of others, individuals’ inferences about others reflect their ecology rather than their race,” Williams said. Black and white targets from desperate ecologies were stereotyped similarly, and black and white targets from hopeful ecologies were stereotyped similarly.

“In thinking about black and white individuals from hopeful and desperate ecologies, information about the individuals’ home ecology trumped information about their race,” Williams said.

The researchers stress that these findings shouldn’t be taken to imply that race is unimportant, or that stereotypes about people from desperate ecologies are the only source of racial prejudices. Moreover, the researchers note several important caveats for interpreting their findings.

First, said Neuberg, “although in present-day America blacks are more likely than whites to be from desperate ecologies, and whites are more likely than blacks to be from hopeful ecologies, this association between race and ecology is far from perfect, meaning that race is an imperfect cue to ecology. Second, even stereotypes that do possess meaningful kernels of truth are rarely perfect representations of any particular individual. Third, because people are biased to exaggerate perceived threats, stereotypes of those from desperate ecologies are likely to be more extreme than is warranted by the actual behaviors of people living within those ecologies.”

Findings of this study have potentially important implications for understanding the content of race stereotypes in America.

“Race stereotypes have far-reaching consequences,” said Williams. “Stereotypes about groups can lead to negative prejudices and discrimination directed towards members of those groups. If we can understand why American race stereotypes take the particular forms they do, we may be able to find new ways of reducing racial prejudices and discrimination.”

The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Arizona State University Foundation for a New American University.

Discoveries Department of Psychology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Psychology Research Social Science

Skip Derra

Associate Director , Media Relations & Strategic Communications

480-965-4823 skip.derra@asu.edu

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 and an economic system which produces jobs. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education and job opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education and job creation, 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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Comments from an OLD BLACK FART: Pressitutes not journalists

31 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART. Urban Dictionary defines pressititute:

presstitute

A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.

Bishop T.D. Jakes tweets about the power of thought:

T. D. Jakes @BishopJakes
Most people’s thoughts are held captive by the influences of their past or held hostage by their environment. Research and think 4 yourself!

Moi chooses to use the Investing Answers definition of “critical mass” because when one analyzes why a Free Press is important to the information stream of a society, “critical mass” is important.

What It Is:

Critical mass refers to the size a company needs to reach in order to efficiently and competitively participate in the market. This is also the size a company must attain in order to sustain growth and efficiency.

How It Works/Example:

A company’s critical mass is determined by the size of its staff, resources, revenues, and market share. Once these elements reach the size that enables a company to operate efficiently, it is said that a company has reached its critical mass. Critical mass is the point at which a company becomes profitable.

To illustrate a company’s critical mass, consider Company XYZ which was recently formed and has been experiencing steady growth and increasing strength in the market. The company’s steady revenues allowed Company XYZ to invest in more capital and to hire additional employees. XYZ’s productivity subsequently increased and their revenues exceed their expenses: XYZ then becomes profitable. The company is said to have reached its critical mass, since its capital and human resources have reached a size at which they can sustain themselves through productive efficiency.

Why It Matters:

A company’s critical mass is important to consider because it can mean the difference between thriving and surviving in a market environment. A company that sustains profitability is safely above its critical mass. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/economics/critical-mass-623

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person, moi wrote:                                                                               The key is developing the idea that facts should be used to support an opinion.
The Critical Thinking Community has several great articles about critical thinking at their site. In the section, Defining Critical Thinking:

A Definition

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result

A well cultivated critical thinker:

• raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
• gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
• thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
• communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism. (Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008). http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766 http://drwilda.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Critical mass, journalism and education are intertwined if one thinks the critical issue is how to get peopleto fully participate in the political process, especially when their participation in the political process is key to the society’s movement up the economic ladder and democratic development.

Moi wrote about “group think” in Penn State: An example of ‘groupthink’ The University of Oregon has a great synopsis of “groupthink.”
In Groupthink, the synopsis describes the key elements of “groupthink.”

Groupthink occurs when a homogenous highly cohesive group is so concerned with maintaining unanimity that they fail to evaluate all their alternatives and options. Groupthink members see themselves as part of an in-group working against an outgroup opposed to their goals. You can tell if a group suffers from groupthink if it:

1. overestimates its invulnerability or high moral stance,
2. collectively rationalizes the decisions it makes,
3. demonizes or stereotypes outgroups and their leaders,
4. has a culture of uniformity where individuals censor themselves and others so that the facade of group unanimty is maintained, and
5. contains members who take it upon themselves to protect the group leader by keeping information, theirs or other group members’, from the leader.

Groups engaged in group think tend to make faulty decisions when compared to the decisions that could have been reached using a fair, open, and rational decision-making process. Group thinking groups tend to:

1. fail to adequately determine their objectives and alternatives,
2. fail to adequately assess the risks associated with the group’s decision,
3. fail to cycle through discarded alternatives to reexamine their worth after a majority of the group discarded the alternative,
4. not seek expert advice,
5. select and use only information that supports their position and conclusions, and
6. does not make contigency plans in case their decision and resulting actions fail. http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/theory/grpthink.html

The Founders of the U.S. Constitution recognized the importance of a Free Press and attempted to guarantee an Free Press by enacting the First Amendment. The Pressitutes have Voluntarily given up much of the Freedom they have been granted.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:

Seek Truth and Report It

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:
– Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
– Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
– Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
– Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
– Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.
– Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
– Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was grante– Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
– Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
– Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.
– Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant. – Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.
– Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.
– Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.
– Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.
– Label advocacy and commentary.
– Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
– Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

Minimize Harm…….                                                                                                                                                   http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.
George S. Patton

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If Black lives matter, why isn’t your kid in school?

7 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD BLACK FART. Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/school-absenteeism-absent-from-the-classroom-leads-to-absence-from-participation-in-this-society/

Sara Guaglione of ischoolguide wrote in A new report from two nonprofits Attendance Works and the Healthy Schools Campaign revealed kindergarten attendance is linked to future academic success:

A new report from two nonprofits Attendance Works and the Healthy Schools Campaign revealed kindergarten attendance is linked to future academic success.
“Poor attendance is among our first and best warning signs that a student has missed the on-ramp to school success and is headed off track for graduation,” the report says. “We must address attendance and its connection to public health early in a child’s life.”
According to the Washington Post, the report discovered that 5-year-olds in kindergarten who were chronically absent lagged behind their peers in later grades, scoring an average of 20 percentage points lower on reading tests and 25 points lower in math. They also were twice as likely to be retained a grade.
The report found that absenteeism rates among kindergartners are nearly as high as those among high school freshmen. An estimated 1 in 10 kindergartners misses at least 18 days of school, or nearly a month of class, per year.

The Washington Post suggests that absences from kindergarteners may go unnoticed, as they are often associated with mental or physical health problems. Fourteen million absences – or one-third of all missed school days – are due to asthma, the leading cause of absenteeism, according to the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention.

But the consequences of missing school can be long-term.
According to the report, the association between poor attendance and lower National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores is a significant pattern that holds throughout the U.S.
Students who missed three or more days of school in the prior month had lower average NAEP scores in reading and math than students with fewer absences.
The report also notes that absenteeism in preschool and kindergarten can influence whether a child will be held back in third grade. Several studies show a link between chronic absence (missing 10 percent of the school year) in the early grades and a child’s ability to master reading by the end of third grade. Researchers in Baltimore and Chicago found the effects starting in preschool, the report adds.
http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/24388/20150903/report-attendance-works-kindergarten-future-academic.htm

Here is the report summary:

Absences Add Up

This state-by-state analysis of national testing data demonstrates that students who miss more school than their peers consistently score lower on standardized tests, a result that holds true at every age, in every demographic group, and in every state and city tested.

Absences Add Up: How School Attendance Influences Student Success is based on the results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). It compares attendance rates and NAEP scores for every state and for 21 large urban areas.

Supplemental Tables:

These supplemental tables provided expanded information on the national trends shown in this analysis.
http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/absences-add/
The disintegration of the family has profound implications for the education success of children. Schools are dealing with the reality of certain cultural dynamics because many parents have not absorbed from their upbringing the thought that education is crucial to later success in life. Further, children of these parents often face emotional and economic challenges because of their family circumstance.

Related:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Hard truths: The failure of the family
http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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Let’s speak the truth: Values and character training are needed in schools

2 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Government will never be able to fix problems in society, there must be a social compact. We would be far better as a society if we put the emphasis of preserving and promoting intact families, making sure that Nixon, yes Nixon and Senator Moynihan’s idea of a Guaranteed Annual Income  based upon tax credits for work were enacted, and character education. Yes, obesity is a problem, but peeps when you are bleeding from the gunshot to the head of 70% of Black children born to single mothers, most of whom are poor and the other ethnic groups rapidly catching up to that sorry statistic, a fat kid is the least of the worries. Caralee J. Adams writes in the Education Week article, Character Education Seen as Student-Achievement Tool:

Many school administrators are realizing character education, once thought of as an intrusion on the school day, can actually help students perform better.

A growing body of research supports its effectiveness, and educators say they’ve seen a difference in students when positive value lessons become part of the school’s culture.

“Good character education is good education,” said Marvin Berkowitz, a professor of character education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“If kids come to schools where they feel valued, safe, and feel teachers have their best interests at heart, … they commit themselves,” said Marvin Berkowitz, a professor of character education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “They work harder, there are fewer distractions, and kids are more motivated. Of course they learn more.”

Character education often entails a school embracing a set of values that are taught in regular advisory sessions or integrated into classroom lessons or both. Supporters say character education is simply about how people treat each other, and the ideas are fairly universal. The primary traits that schools promote, according to Mr. Berkowitz, are respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, and honesty. It is seen more in elementary schools, sometimes getting squeezed out at the secondary level to make room for more intense academics. But experts say resistance is lessening in some places.

Yet some challenge the notion of the public schools, rather than families, being charged with teaching values. They are concerned about whose values will be taught. Others, however, maintain that schools and families should share the job of nurturing character.

Related Stories

Related Opinion

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/27/22character.h32.html?tkn=ZWCCLxeX3LDwiUyqp0X2qnWCYtHevYBywESM&cmp=clp-sb-ascd&intc=es

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others.

This comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means someone who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence

“I love teaching, and I feel like I am needed,” said Thomas, 33, of Bowie. “We need black male teachers in our classrooms because that is the closest connection we are able to make to children. It is critical for all students to see black men in the classrooms involved in trying to make sure they learn and enjoy being in school.”

The shortage of black male teachers compounds the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups, officials said.

Educators said black male teachers expose students to black men as authority figures, help minority students feel that they belong, motivate black students to achieve, demonstrate positive male-female relationships to black girls and provide African American youths with role models and mentors.

The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Indiana University has a concise definition of character education in Creating a Positive Climate: Character Education:

Character education simply does that in a more systematic way. Character education includes two primary components: 1) Education in civic virtue and in the qualities that teach children the forms and rules of citizenship in a just society, and 2) Education in personal adjustment, chiefly in the qualities thatenable children to become productive and dependable citizens.4   

                                                                                                                                                 Character education may include a variety of subcomponents that can be a part of a larger character education program or that can be self-standing.      

                                                                                                                                                            These can include social skills instruction and curricula, moral development instruction and curricula, values clarification instruction and curricula, caring education and curricula,5 and school values statements.                                                                                                                                                               Other programs such as cooperative learning strategies, participatory decision-making for students, and service learning are sometimes also classified as components of character education. Character education itself is often viewed as simply one component of some larger school reform and improvement strategies.                                                                                                                                                                  For example, the “Basic School” has four components, one of which is a “Commitment to Character.”6According to Likona,7 the moral or character education of elementary students is designed to accomplish three goals:

· To promote development away from self-centered thinking and excessive individualism and toward cooperative relationships and mutual respect;

· To foster the growth of the capacity to think, feel, and act morally; and

· To develop in the classroom and in the school a moral community based on fairness, caring, and participation – such a community being a moral end in itself as well as a support system for the character development of each individual student.                                 http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/charactereducation.pdf

See, Character Education Partnership    http://www.character.org/key-topics/what-is-character-education/

“I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”

Thomas Jefferson

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Legal theft: Education institutions claim copyright ownership of teacher and student work

3 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read with interest that Prince Georges County was considering taking copyright ownership of student work. Ovetta Wiggins reports in the Washington Post article, Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work:

A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual.

The measure has some worried that by the system claiming ownership to the work of others, creativity could be stifled and there would be little incentive to come up with innovative ways to educate students. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.

There is something inherently wrong with that,” David Cahn, an education activist who regularly attends county school board meetings, said before the board’s vote to consider the policy. “There are better ways to do this than to take away a person’s rights.”

If the policy is approved, the county would become the only jurisdiction in the Washington region where the school board assumes ownership of work done by the school system’s staff and students.

David Rein, a lawyer and adjunct law professor who teaches intellectual property at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, said he had never heard of a local school board enacting a policy allowing it to hold the copyright for a student’s work.

Universities generally have “sharing agreements” for work created by professors and college students, Rein said. Under those agreements, a university, professor and student typically would benefit from a project, he said.

The way this policy is written, it essentially says if a student writes a paper, goes home and polishes it up and expands it, the school district can knock on the door and say, ‘We want a piece of that,’ ” Rein said. “I can’t imagine that.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/prince-georges-considers-copyright-policy-that-takes-ownership-of-students-work/2013/02/02/dc592dea-6b08-11e2-ada3-d86a4806d5ee_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

The Free Dictionary defines theft:

A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent.

The term theft is sometimes used synonymously with Larceny. Theft, however, is actually a broader term, encompassing many forms of deceitful taking of property, including swindling, Embezzlement, and False Pretenses. Some states categorize all these offenses under a single statutory crime of theft.

OK, moi gets that BIG INSTITUTIONS have been able to manipulate the rules to benefit them and their flow of $$$$. But, shouldn’t the game be fair???? Also, Prince Georges wants to take control of student creations. Really.

Here is an explanation from the UCLA Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research:

Who is an author and who is an owner?

Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author of a copyright is not the same thing as the owner of the copyright, although in many instances the author is also the owner.  See below.

Who is the owner?

Ownership of copyrightable works created at UCLA is determined in accordance with the UC 1992 Policy on Copyright Ownership. See the Who Owns What Chart and the UC Copyright Policy: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/copyright/systemwide/pcoi.html.

In general, copyrights are owned by the people who create the works of expression, with some important exceptions:

  • If a work is created by an employee of UCLA in the course of his or her employment, UCLA owns the copyright.

  • In most cases, the general rule is that faculty own those copyrightable works that they create as scholarly or aesthetic works. There are some exceptions, generally determined by project funding.  

  • In most cases, course work and syllabi that you create are your own, unless “exceptional university resources” or sponsored or departmental funds are used in the creation.

  • If you create the work in the course of sponsored research, or using special departmental funds, or are otherwise relying upon “exceptional university resources,” UCLA likely owns the copyright and you should disclose it to OIP for further evaluation and discussion.

  • Works that are “made for hire” are generally the property of the organization that hired the contractor. Therefore, if you pay an outside vendor to create or assist in creation of a potentially copyrightable work, such as software, photographs, or video/film footage, you should be sure to have an advance, written agreement which specifies that the vendor is doing a “work for hire” and also agrees to assign all rights to the Regents. Feel free to contact OIP at 310-794-0558 for suggested language.                                 https://oip.ucla.edu/copyright/authorship-and-ownership

UCLA’s policy is typical of large research universities. It is not just universities who are claiming copyright in work product.

Tim Walker writes at the NEA site in the article, Legal Controversy Over Lesson Plans:

Anyway, if everybody sells everything on the Web, the thinking goes, then why can’t teachers peddle their lesson plans – original content created on their own time – over the Internet?

Maybe because there is a good chance that you don’t actually own the copyright to the classroom materials you produce.

Intellectual Property: It’s Complicated

This is a legal issue,” says Cynthia Chmielewski of NEA’s Office of General Counsel. “So if you want to sell your lesson plans online, make sure you actually own them.”

As far as Carol Sanders is concerned, she does.

This is America,” says Sanders, a veteran English teacher in Brooten, Minnesota. “My district does not own me. And I own what I create for the classroom.”

Right on the first two counts, but does Sanders also “own” the teaching materials she produces?

The short answer is . . . it depends.

If your employment contract assigns copyright ownership of materials produced for the classroom to the teacher, then you probably have a green light. Absent any written agreement, however, the Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that materials created by teachers in the scope of their employment are deemed “works for hire” and therefore the school owns them.

Sanders and many of her colleagues, however, believe that if they create materials on their own time, using their own equipment, they surely have the right to do with them as they please.

Under the law,” explains Chmielewski, “this may not make a difference. The issue is whether you created the materials as part of your job duties.”

In 2004, a federal appellate court in New York ruled that “tests, quizzes, homework problems, and other teaching materials” were works made for hire owned by the district and that the “academic tradition” of granting authors ownership of their own scholarly work cannot be applied to materials not explicitly intended for publication. http://www.nea.org/home/37583.htm

Way back in the day, 1956, to be exact, C. Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite which talked about the concentration of power in the hands of a few. Mark Toma updated and explained Wright at Economist’s View in 2009.

In The Power Elite” Toma opines:

So what is Mills’s theory, exactly? It is that there is a small subset of the American population that (1) possess a number of social characteristics in common (for example, elite university educations, membership in certain civic organizations); (2) are socially interconnected with each other through marriage, friendship, and business relationship; (3) occupy social positions that give them a durable ability to make a large number of the most momentous decisions for American society; (4) are largely insulated from effective oversight from democratic institutions (press, regulatory system, political constraint). They are an elite; they are a socially interconnected group; they possess durable power; and they are little constrained by open and democratic processes.                                         http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/07/the-power-elite.html

BIG educational institutions are simply the part of “power elite” and they will operate just like “too big to fail” banks, unions, and untouchable lobbyists and dysfunctional government. Their only interest is their self-preservation.

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Horrific Connecticut school shooting: Is posting the Ten Commandments at school really the problem?

14 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Today there was another horrific school shooting. AP reports in the article, AP: 27 Dead, Including 18 Children, At Sandy Hook School Shooting In Newtown:

Twenty-seven people, including 18 children, have been killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to the Associated Press.

The report cites an official with knowledge of the situation.that there are at least 20 shooting victims. Many of the shootings took place in a kindergarten classroom, sources said. One entire classroom is unaccounted for, sources said. http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/hc-police-responding-to-incident-in-newtown-20121214,0,3969911.story

Here is a partial list of school shootings from the last 20 years:

CNN) — Here is a list of some violent incidents at U.S. schools over the last 20 years:

February 27, 2012 – Chardon High School, Chardon, Ohio. Student Daniel Parmertor, 16, is killed and four others wounded when student T.J. Lane opens fire in the school, authorities say. On February 28, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, dies from his wounds, and Russell King Jr., 17, is declared brain-dead. On March1, T.J. Lane is charged with three counts of aggravated murder, two of attempted aggravated murder and one of felonious assault.

October 2, 2006 – West Nickel Mines School, Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Charles Roberts IV, 32, goes to the small Amish school and takes at least 11 girls hostage. Five girls were killed and six others wounded. Roberts then killed himself.

November 8, 2005 – Campbell County Comprehensive High School, Jacksboro, Tennessee. A 15-year-old student opens fire on a principal and two assistant principals, killing one of them and critically wounding another, authorities said.

March 21, 2005 – Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. Jeff Weise, 16, kills his grandfather and another adult, four fellow students, a teacher and a security officer. He then killed himself.

March 5, 2001 – Santana High School, Santee, California. Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, kills two classmates, a 14-year old and a 17-year old, and injures 13. Williams is sentenced in 2002 to at least 50 years in prison.

April 20, 1999 — Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, kill 12 fellow students and one teacher before committing suicide in the school library.

May 21, 1998 – Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon. After killing his parents the previous day, 15-year old Kip Kinkel returns to Thurston High armed with a rifle. He kills two students in the school cafeteria, a 16- and a 17-year old. He is sentenced to 112 years in prison.

March 24, 1998 – Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, ambush fellow students and their teachers, killing five. Johnson is incarcerated in a youth facility and released on his 21st birthday in August 2005. Golden is released on his 21st birthday in May 2007.

December 1, 1997 – Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky. Michael Carneal, 14, opens fire on a school prayer group, killing three girls. He is serving life in prison.

February 2, 1996 –– Frontier Junior High School, Moses Lake, Washington. Barry Loukaitis, 14, takes a rifle to school and kills two classmates and a teacher. He was sentenced to life in prison.

May 1, 1992 – Lindhurst High School, Olivehurst, California. Eric Houston, a 20-year old dropout, returns to his old high school and kills a former teacher and three students. Houston is sentenced to death.

February 26, 1992 – Thomas Jefferson High School, Brooklyn, New York. A 15-year old shoots and kills two other students. The shooter, Kahlil Sumpter, was sentenced in 1993 to between 6 2/3 and 20 years in prison. He was released in 1998. http://fox8.com/2012/12/14/history-of-school-shootings/

See, Time Line of Worldwide School and Mass Shootings http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777958.html#ixzz2F3UWDwnB

At the Anti-Defamation site in the article, The Ten Commandments Controversy: A First Amendment Perspective:

In the majority of cases considering official posting of the Ten Commandments, the Court has extended this prohibition. In its 1980 (Stone v. Graham) decision striking down a Kentucky law requiring that a copy of the Ten Commandments be posted in every public school classroom, the Court said:

The pre-eminent purpose for posting the Ten Commandments on schoolroom walls is plainly religious in nature. The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact. The Commandments do not confine themselves to arguably secular matters, such as honoring one’s parents, killing or murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and covetousness. Rather, the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath Day.

The Court recently issued two decisions concerning official display of the Ten Commandments with differing results. In McCreary v. ACLU of Kentucky, the Court considered county courthouse displays of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky. Similar to the Stone decision, it again recognized that the Ten Commandments is “… an unmistakably religious statement dealing with religious obligations and with morality subject to religious sanction.” The Court ultimately decided that the displays were unconstitutional because their history and context demonstrated a clear religious purpose and intent on the part of county officials.

In Van Orden v. Perry, the Court considered a forty-year-old granite Ten Commandments monument on the Texas capitol grounds – one of seventeen monuments on the broad plaza. Reaching an opposite result, the Court decided that this display is constitutionally permissible. However, Justice Breyer, who cast the deciding vote in the case, characterized the display as “borderline” and found that it served “a mixed but primarily nonreligious purpose.” Significantly, as with the McCreary decision, a majority of the Justices indicated that displays in public schools likely will be unconstitutional. In other situations, a display or posting’s location, history and context will be critical in determining its constitutionality. http://www.adl.org/10comm/print.asp

There are pros and cons of posting the Ten Commandments or any other statement of values.

The blog TresSugar posted a good summary of the pros and cons of posting the Ten Commandments:

PRO 1

Our government was based on religious principles from the very beginning. The 10 Commandments are the foundation of our moral government.

CON 1.1

Having religious principles does not mean that they wanted to use the government to force religion on the country. The ratification of the constitution by the states was held up because it didn’t have a written list of basic rights that couldn’t be taken away. The very first line in the Bill of Rights reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. After these were assured only then was the constitution ratified.

PRO 2

Since the court outlawed prayer, the nation has been in steady moral decline. Former Secretary of Education William Bennett revealed in his cultural indexes that between 1960 and 1990 there was a steady moral decline. During this period divorce double, teenage pregnancy went up 200%, teen suicide increased 300%, child abuse reached an all-time high, violent crime went up 500% and abortion increased 1000%. There is a strong correlation between the expulsion of prayer from our schools and the decline in morality.

CON 2.1

If you go back the other way in time, do you find higher morals in slavery, or our treatment of Indians, or more recently, Jim Crow laws in the South, or official discrimination against women or children being used as cheap labor?

CON 2.2

The Census Bureau reports that 63 percent of the population claims church membership, a figure that has remained virtually unchanged since the 1960 census.

CON 3

The BILL OF RIGHTS was designed to protect the minorities basic rights from the majority. In the case of religion “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. It says its against the constitution to prohibit free exercise of religion. Free is a key word here, state supported religion is not “FREE EXERCISE” its “FORCED RELIGION” and that is prohibited.

PRO 4

Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., a cheerleader for the measure, reportedly said that if the Ten Commandments had been posted at Columbine, the shootings would never have taken place.

CON 4.1

The boy who shot six of his fellow students in Barr’s home state of Georgia had attended a church service the night before.

CON 5

The book of EXODUS has two completely different versions of the 10 Commandments. EXODUS 20 and EXODUS 34. One Commandment that is common to both versions is keeping the Sabbath. In EXODUS 35 Moses tells the people that those who break the Sabbath, even lighting a fire in their homes, should be put to death. Will this Commandment teach our kids about ignoring inconvenient rules?

PRO 6

All that we would like to do is give the kids a foundation for moral behavior. This is not an evil conspiracy, its an attempt to make things better and safer for all kids.

CON 7

“This is about the government playing favorites and saying Judaism and Christianity are the appropriate religions and everyone else is wrong,” explains Peter Eliasberg, an ACLU attorney. “That’s not moral guidance, it’s dividing the people on the basis of religion.”

CON 8

The 1st Commandment says “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”. I believe some reasonable people might consider this “establishment of religion”. http://religions-of-the-world.tressugar.com/Pro-Con-Ten-Commandments-posted-schools-6229083

In the attempt to eradicate all vestiges of religion from the public square, this society has thrown out a good deal of the values and moral principles which are the glue that holds a society together. Note the time line of school shootings after the 1980 Stone v. Graham case. Values education in schools should be a part of the curriculum.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Resources:

Teaching Values in School: An Interview with Steve Johnson http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v13n1/interview.html

Integrating values and ethics into post secondary teaching for leadership development Principles, concepts, and strategies http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/for-current-faculty-and-staff/strategic-plan-folder/prof-ethics-study-team/Appendix%20C%20-%20Ethics_Begley.pdf

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The education opportunity divide: Parents face jail for wanting a better life for their child

11 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi wrote about the importance of parenting in Not P.C., but it is true, parents and parenting matter:

Many “progressives” want to put forth the idea that families don’t matter, particularly in low-income communities of color. It is a different story in middle and upper income “progressive” families as they “helicopter parent “their children. There are some awesome single-parent households, but moi is going all “OLD FART” on you and saying that children need two active, engaged,and involved parents to thrive. https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/not-p-c-but-it-is-true-parents-and-parenting-matter/  The fact that two parents care very much about the well-being of the child means that they might face felony charges for caring too much.

Rosa Duarte of WFMZ69 News is reporting Parents face felony charges for sending daughter outside their district:

A Philadelphia couple is facing felony charges after allegedly lying about where they lived in order to send their daughter to a school outside their district.

Hamlet and Olesia Garcia were charged in August of this year with “theft of services”, a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison, by the Lower Moreland School District in Montgomery County.

The Garcias are accused of sending their daughter to the district even though they didn’t pay property taxes, according to the District Attorney’s office. The couple cost tax payers $10,752.81.

Thursday, civil rights activists along with lawmakers held a press conference saying the laws and the ways Pennsylvania public schools are funded are unfair.

“The District Attorney should go after real criminals and not put parents in prison facing up to seven years and be registered as felons because they allegedly stole a quality education,” said former California State Senator Gloria Romero.

Romero introduced the nation’s first ‘Parent trigger’ law in 2008, which allows parents of a failing school district to vote on a method to restructure the school, mostly by transforming it into a charter school….

According to Bethlehem Area School Superintendent, Joseph Roy, stories like the Garcias’ are a symptom of a much bigger matter.

“This issue of inequities and funding has been going on for years and there have been different efforts to try to adjust it but never to full satisfaction,” said Roy.

As for a solution, those involved like the Garcias’ attorney Thomas Kenny said it’s up to legislators, “I would very much like the laws in the commonwealth to change and I hope today is the start of that process happening,” he said.

“One suggestion is to just have the state contribute more to public education, take the burden off the local taxpayers, another is to create more regional districts so you have a balance of wealthy areas and poorer areas in areas where they’re divided,” said Roy….http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-southeasternpa/Parents-face-felony-charges-for-sending-daughter-outside-their-district/-/121434/17688040/-/ek6n7/-/index.html

The Garcias’ case is the beginning of many because education equity is the next great civil rights struggle.

Moi wrote inThe next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding:

Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education. Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

I know that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century. http://drwilda.com/2011/12/02/the-next-great-civil-rights-struggle-disparity-in-education-funding/

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