Baylor University study: ‘Violence Free Zone’ program can be effective

25 Mar

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects statistics about school violence. According to School Violence: Data & Statistics, the CDC reports:

The first step in preventing school violence is to understand the extent and nature of the problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Justice gather and analyze data from a variety of sources to gain a more complete understanding of school violence.
According to the CDC’s School Associated Violent Death Study, between 1% and 2% of all homicides among school-age children happen on school grounds or on the way to and from school or during a school sponsored event. So the vast majority of students will never experience lethal violence at school.1
Fact Sheets
• Understanding School Violence Fact Sheet[PDF 254 KB]
This fact sheet provides an overview of school violence. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/school_violence_fact_sheet-a.pdf
• Behaviors that Contribute to Violence on School Property[PDF 92k]
This fact sheet illustrates the trends in violence-related behaviors among youth as assessed by CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). YRBSS monitors health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among young people in the United States, including violence. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/pdf/us_violenceschool_trend_yrbs.pdf
• Understanding Youth Violence [PDF 313KB]
This fact sheet provides an overview of youth violence.
• Youth Violence: Facts at a Glance[PDF 128KB]
This fact sheet provides up-to-date data and statistics on youth violence…. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/schoolviolence/data_stats.html

A Baylor University study examined an intervention strategy which might be effective in reducing school violence.

Science Daily reports in ‘Violence-free’ zones improve behavior, performance in middle, high school students:

A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Wisconsin and Virginia, according to a new Baylor University case study.

The “Violence-Free Zone” is the national model of mentoring students in areas with high levels of crime and violence. The mentoring program is designed to address behaviors that result in truancies, suspensions, violent incidents, involvement in drugs and gangs and poor academic performance in public middle and high schools.

Four evaluations of VFZ programs conducted between 2007 and 2013 show positive impact, including a unique return-on-investment (ROI) analysis of a VFZ high school in Milwaukee, according to study leaders Byron Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and William Wubbenhorst, non-resident fellow at Baylor and scholar in faith-based and community initiatives.

The case study evaluates improvements at two VFZ high schools in Richmond, as well as the impact of the Milwaukee VFZ program on youths mentored by adults who work full time in the schools as hall and cafeteria monitors and role models. They work closely with safety officers, teachers and counselors.
Among the key findings:

1. A four-year study (academic years 2007 to 2010) of the VFZ Program in Milwaukee’s School for Career and Technical Education showed a: • 44 percent reduction in the average number of behavioral incidents per VFZ student per month • 79 percent reduction in average number of suspension days per VFZ student per month • 23 percent reduction in truancy incidents per VFZ student per month • 9.3 percent increase in GPA per VFZ student • 24 percent higher rate of graduation from high school than non-VFZ students • 8 percent higher college enrollment rate (as compared to the Wisconsin state level) • 64 percent increase in the number of students reporting a more positive school climate (as compared to the year prior to the VFZ program start)

2. A Return-On Investment Analysis of the Milwaukee school’s program showed an estimated lifetime savings of $8.32 for every $1 invested in the VFZ program, based on reduced administrative costs from fewer suspensions; reduced police costs from service calls; reduced juvenile detention costs; lower truancy rates; savings from reduced number of auto thefts within 1,000 feet of the school; savings from reductions of such high-risk behaviors as drinking, violence against intimate partners or violence against oneself; and projected increases in lifetime earning associated with higher high school graduation and college enrollment rates.

3. A four-year study (from academic years 2009-2012) of overall school-level trends of the VFZ program in Richmond showed a: • 44 percent reduction in the average number of suspensions per student • 27 percent reduction in the average number of suspension days per student • 18 percent increase in the average grade point average

4. A one-year study (academic year 2013-14) of VFZ students in three middle schools and eight high schools in Milwaukee showed a: • 7 percent decrease in the average number of non-violent incidents per VFZ student per month • 31 percent decrease in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month.
The Milwaukee Violence-Free Zone program was created and is directed by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and implemented in Milwaukee schools by CNE’s community partners, Running Rebels Community Organization and the Milwaukee Christian Center. The Richmond program was operated in partnership with the Richmond Outreach Church.

“The VFZ initiative not only is measurably effective in reducing violence, it is cost-effective,” said CNE President Robert L. Woodson. “It produces saving to the community by avoiding court and incarceration costs and by promoting attendance and academic achievement. It makes it possible for teachers to teach and students to learn.” For more information about the Multi-State Mentoring Research study, visit http://www.cneonline.org/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323111642.htm

Here is an excerpt describing the Violence Free Zone concept:

Reducing Youth Violence: The Violence-Free Zone Violence-Free Zone Initiative:
A Proven Model for Stopping Violence in the Schools and Creating Peace in the Community
The Violence-Free Zone is the national model of a youth violence reduction and high-risk- student mentoring program created by the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. Designed to operate in the most trouble-plagued schools in urban centers with high levels of crime and violence, the VFZ has produced measurable decreases in violent and non-violent incidents and suspensions in more than 30 schools across the country. The principles developed in the Violence-Free Zone model have also proved applicable to suburban and rural communities.
Three studies by evaluators from Baylor University reported that the VFZ had measurable impact in improved safety, reduction in suspensions and truancies, and increased academic performance. Educators and law enforcement officers from sites around the country have praised the VFZ for changing the culture of previously violent schools and reducing crimes in surrounding neighborhoods.
How It Works
The goal of the Violence-Free Zone initiative is to reduce violence and disruptions in the schools and prepare students for learning. The Center provides overall management and direction to the Violence-Free Zone initiative sites, and selects established youth-serving organizations to be CNE’s community partners and implement the VFZ program in the schools. These organizations have the goal of stopping violence in their neighborhoods and have demonstrated that they have the trust and confidence of young people. The Center provides training in the Violence-Free Zone national model as well as technical assistance, administrative and financial oversight, and linkages to sources of support.
Central to the program are the Youth Advisors, mature young adults who are from the same neighborhoods as the students in the schools they serve. The Youth Advisors command respect because they have faced and overcome the same challenges as the students. Carefully screened, hired, and managed by the local community-partner organization, the Youth Advisors work in the schools as hall monitors, mediators, and character coaches, and they mentor the high risk students that often are responsible for disruptions…. http://www.cneonline.org/reducing-youth-violence-the-violence-free-zone/

Citation:

Violence-free’ zones improve behavior, performance in middle, high school students

Date: March 23, 2015

Source: Baylor University

Summary:
A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Richmond, Virginia, according to findings of a new case study.

Here is the press release from Baylor University:

‘Violence-Free’ Zones Improve Behavior and Performance in Middle and High School Students, Baylor University Study Finds
March 20, 2015
WACO, Texas (March 23, 2015) — A youth violence-reduction mentoring program for trouble-plagued schools in urban centers has contributed to improved student behavior and performance at high-risk middle and high schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Richmond, Virginia, according to findings of a new Baylor University case study.
The “Violence-Free Zone” (VFZ) is the national model of mentoring students in areas with high levels of crime and violence. The VFZ mentoring program is designed to address behaviors that result in truancies, suspensions, violent incidents, involvement in drugs and gangs and poor academic performance in public middle and high schools.
Four evaluations of VFZ programs conducted between 2007 and 2013 show positive impact, including a unique return-on-investment (ROI) analysis of a VFZ high school in Milwaukee, according to study leaders Byron Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Program on Prosocial Behavior in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, and William Wubbenhorst, non-resident fellow at Baylor, scholar in faith-based and community initiatives and co-president of Social Capital Valuations, LLC.
The case study also includes an evaluation of school-level improvements at two VFZ high schools in Richmond, as well as the impact of the Milwaukee VFZ program specifically on youths directly receiving mentoring services from the VFZ “Youth Advisers” — adults who work full time in the schools as hall and cafeteria monitors, role models and mentors. They work closely with school safety officers, teachers and counselors to provide a support system for students.
Among the key findings:
1. A four-year study (academic years 2007 to 2010) of the VFZ Program in Milwaukee’s School for Career and Technical Education showed a:
44 percent reduction in the average number of behavioral incidents per VFZ student per month
79 percent reduction in average number of suspension days per VFZ student per month
23 percent reduction in truancy incidents per VFZ student per month
9.3 percent increase in GPA per VFZ student
24 percent higher rate of graduation from high school than non-VFZ students
8 percent higher college enrollment rate (as compared to the Wisconsin state level)
64 percent increase in the number of students reporting a more positive school climate (as compared to the year prior to the VFZ program start)
2. A Return-On Investment Analysis of the Milwaukee school’s program showed an estimated lifetime savings of $8.32 for every $1 invested in the VFZ program, based on reduced administrative costs from fewer suspensions; reduced police costs from service calls; reduced juvenile detention costs; lower truancy rates; savings from reduced number of auto thefts within 1,000 feet of the school; savings from reductions of such high-risk behaviors as drinking, violence against intimate partners or violence against oneself; and projected increases in lifetime earning associated with higher high school graduation and college enrollment rates.
3. A four-year study (from academic years 2009-2012) of overall school-level trends of the VFZ program in Richmond showed a:
44 percent reduction in the average number of suspensions per student
27 percent reduction in the average number of suspension days per student
18 percent increase in the average grade point average
4. A one-year study (academic year 2013-14) of VFZ students in three middle schools and eight high schools in Milwaukee showed a:
7 percent decrease in the average number of non-violent incidents per VFZ student per month
31 percent decrease in the average number of violent incidents per VFZ student per month
The Milwaukee Violence-Free Zone program was created and is directed by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) and implemented in Milwaukee schools by CNE’s community partners, Running Rebels Community Organization and the Milwaukee Christian Center. The Richmond program was operated in partnership with the Richmond Outreach Church.
“The VFZ initiative not only is measurably effective in reducing violence, it is cost-effective,” said CNE President Robert L. Woodson. “It produces saving to the community by avoiding court and incarceration costs and by promoting attendance and academic achievement. It makes it possible for teachers to teach and students to learn.”
For more information about the Multi-State Mentoring Research study, visit the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s website at http://www.cneonline.org
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR STUDIES OF RELIGION
Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.
School violence is a complex set of issues and there is no one solution. The school violence issue mirrors the issue of violence in the larger society. Trying to decrease violence requires a long-term and sustained focus from parents, schools, law enforcement, and social service agencies.

Resources:

A Dozen Things Students Can Do to Stop School Violence                                                  http://www.sacsheriff.com/crime_prevention/documents/school_safety_04.cfm

A Dozen Things. Teachers Can Do To Stop School Violence.                                                        http://www.ncpc.org/cms-upload/ncpc/File/teacher12.pdf

Preventing School Violence: A Practical Guide                                                                          http://www.indiana.edu/~safeschl/psv.pdf

Related:

Violence against teachers is becoming a bigger issue                                                                        http://drwilda.com/2013/11/29/violence-against-teachers-is-becoming-a-bigger-issue/

Hazing remains a part of school culture                                                                                            http://drwilda.com/2013/10/09/hazing-remains-a-part-of-school-culture/

FEMA issues Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans  http://drwilda.com/2013/07/08/fema-issues-guide-for-developing-high-quality-school-emergency-operations-plans/

Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence                                                                           http://drwilda.com/2013/08/05/study-1-in-3-teens-are-victims-of-dating-violence/

Pediatrics article: Sexual abuse prevalent in teen population                                                        http://drwilda.com/2013/10/10/pediatrics-article-sexual-abuse-prevalent-in-teen-population/

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The REAL civil rights issue is not ‘hands up,’ but equitable education funding

19 Mar

Plessy v. Ferguson http://www.streetlaw.org/en/landmark/cases/plessy_v_ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v. Board of Education http://www.streetlaw.org/en/landmark/cases/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 http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/resources/two.html

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.

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.

Sabra Bireda wrote in the Center for American Progress, Funding Education Equitably

The old axiom that the rich get richer certainly plays out in the American classroom—often to the detriment of achieving academic success. Data on intradistrict funding inequities in many large school districts confirm

what most would guess—high-poverty schools actually receive less money per pupil than more affluent schools.1 These funding inequities have real repercussions for the quality of education offered at high-poverty schools and a district’s ability to overcome the achievement gap between groups of students defined by family income or ethnicity.

The source of these funding inequities is not a deliberate scheme designed to steer more state and local funds to affluent schools. Rather it is often the result of an accumulation of higher-paid, more senior teachers working in low-poverty schools. High-poverty schools typically employ less-experienced, lower-paid teachers, thereby drawing down less of the district’s funds. The imbalance in funding created by this situation can total hundreds of thousands of dollars school by school.2 Archaic budgeting practices that track positions instead of actual school expenditures only serve to reinforce this inequity.   https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2011/03/28/9310/funding-education-equitably/

Bireda’s findings are supported by a U.S. Department of Education (Education Department) report.

In the report, Comparability of State and Local Expenditures Among Schools Within Districts: A Report From the Study of School-Level Expenditures, the Education Department finds:

For the study, Education Department researchers analyzed new school-level spending and teacher salary data submitted by more than 13,000 school districts as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This school level expenditure data was made available for the first time ever in this data collection.

Using the data from the ARRA collection, Department staff analyzed the impact and feasibility of making this change to Title I comparability. That policy brief finds that:

Fixing the comparability provision is feasible. As many as 28 percent of Title I districts would be out of compliance with reformed comparability provisions. But compliance for those districts is not as costly as some might think—fixing it would cost only 1 percent to 4 percent of their total school-level expenditures on average.

Fixing the comparability provision would have a large impact. The benefit to low-spending Title I schools would be significant, as their expenditures would increase by 4 percent to 15 percent. And the low-spending schools that would benefit have much higher poverty rates than other schools in their districts.                                                                                                                                             http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/title-i/school-level-expenditures/school-level-expenditures.pdf

Emma Brown reported in the Washington Post article, In 23 states, richer school districts get more local funding than poorer districts, about the continuing inequity.

According to Brown:

But in 23 states, state and local governments are together spending less per pupil in the poorest school districts than they are in the most affluent school districts, according to federal data from fiscal year 2012, the most recent figures available.

In some states the differences are stark. In Pennsylvania, per-pupil spending in the poorest school districts is 33 percent lower than per-pupil spending in the wealthiest school districts. In Vermont, the differential is 18 percent; in Missouri, 17 percent.

Nationwide, states and localities are spending an average of 15 percent less per pupil in the poorest school districts (where average spending is $9,270 per child) than they are in the most affluent (where average spending is $10,721 per child).

“What it says very clearly is that we have, in many places, school systems that are separate and unequal,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in an interview. “Money by itself is never the only answer, but giving kids who start out already behind in life, giving them less resources is unconscionable, and it’s far too common….”

See how spending differs between the nation’s poorest and most affluent school districts.                          http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/03/12/in-23-states-richer-school-districts-get-more-local-funding-than-poorer-districts/#graphic

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/03/12/in-23-states-richer-school-districts-get-more-local-funding-than-poorer-districts/

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.

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Ohio State University study: Narcissist parents create narcissist children

16 Mar

Chris Weller examined two studies dealing the “participation trophy” culture.
Weller opined in the Newsweek article, Two Words That Could Hurt Your Kids: Nice Job:

The most controversial topics in professional sports may be doping and concussions, but in youth sports, no two words are more inflammatory than “participation trophy,” those “awards” given to kids just for showing up, regardless of how well they played…

But a new trio of studies from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Ohio State University suggest that this strategy can backfire. They also suggest that parents often dole out inflated praise to the children most likely to be hurt by it. “If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they did incredibly well, they may think they always need to do incredibly well,” Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the studies and a doctoral candidate at Utrecht University’s department of psychology, said in a statement. “They may worry about meeting those high standards and decide not to take on any new challenges.”

Brummelman and his fellow researchers devised three experiments. The first found that children with low self-esteem typically receive twice as much inflated praise as children with high self-esteem. Inflated praise is the difference between “Job well done!” and “You did an incredibly good job!” That adverb, that small boost, can turn a minor success into an expectation that ends up crushing a kid who doesn’t believe in himself.

The second study enlisted the help of parents. The children completed 12 timed math exercises, which their parents then scored. Brummelman and his colleagues watched for any instance in which the parents administered inflated praise – a “You’re so incredible!” or a “Fantastic!” – or opted for a simple, “Good job” or “Nice work.” Correlating the kids’ scores with earlier assessments of self-esteem, the team found that children with lower self-esteem received more inflated praise.

Don’t start slagging supportive parents, though. Co-researcher Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State, says their logic is impeccable: Kids who feel bad about their abilities tend to have very negative responses to poor performance, so the observant parent intervenes with a few supportive words. Problem solved, right?
The team’s third study took the praise administered in the second study and extended it to future performance. Children were asked to recreate van Gogh’s Wild Roses (to the best of their ability) and were told the final drawing would be critiqued by a professional painter. The critic either gave the children inflated praise, noninflated praise, or no praise at all. Then they did a second drawing. This time they had a choice: Would they rather copy an easy drawing or take on a more difficult piece?

To the chagrin of participation-trophy-pushing parents in the group, the children with lower self-esteems chose the undemanding piece. They took the safe route. The high self-esteem kids were actually more likely to seek out the challenge after receiving inflated praise….
“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said. “But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.” http://www.newsweek.com/two-words-could-hurt-your-kids-nice-job-225389#.UshBxlkCHTc.twitter

An Ohio State University study reaffirmed these studies.

Science Daily reported in How parents may help create their own little narcissists:

Children whose parents think they’re God’s gift to the world do tend to outshine their peers — in narcissism.

In a study that aimed to find the origins of narcissism, researchers surveyed parents and their children four times over one-and-a-half years to see if they could identify which factors led children to have inflated views of themselves.

Results showed that parents who “overvalued” their children when the study began ended up with children who scored higher on tests of narcissism later on.

Overvalued children were described by their parents in surveys as “more special than other children” and as kids who “deserve something extra in life,” for example.

“Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others. That may not be good for them or for society,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.

Bushman conducted the study with lead author Eddie Brummelman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The study appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….

While the dangers of narcissism are well known, its origins are not, according to Bushman. This is the first prospective study to see how narcissism develops over time.

The study involved 565 children in the Netherlands who were 7 to 11 years old when the study began, and their parents. They completed surveys four times, each six months apart. All the surveys used in the study are well established in psychology research….

Citation:

How parents may help create their own little narcissists
Date: March 9, 2015
Source: Ohio State University
Summary:
Children whose parents think they’re God’s gift to the world do tend to outshine their peers — in narcissism. Results showed that parents who “overvalued” their children when the study began ended up with children who scored higher on tests of narcissism later on. Overvalued children were described by their parents in surveys as “more special than other children” and as kids who “deserve something extra in life,” for example.

Origins of narcissism in children
1. Eddie Brummelmana,b,1,
2. Sander Thomaesb,c,
3. Stefanie A. Nelemansd,
4. Bram Orobio de Castrob,
5. Geertjan Overbeeka, and
6. Brad J. Bushmane,f
Author Affiliations
1. Edited by Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved February 12, 2015 (received for review November 7, 2014)
1. Abstract
2. Authors & Info
3. SI
4. Metrics
5. Related Content
6. PDF
7. PDF + SI

Significance

Narcissistic individuals feel superior to others, fantasize about personal successes, and believe they deserve special treatment. When they feel humiliated, they often lash out aggressively or even violently. Unfortunately, little is known about the origins of narcissism. Such knowledge is important for designing interventions to curtail narcissistic development. We demonstrate that narcissism in children is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others. In contrast, high self-esteem in children is cultivated by parental warmth: parents expressing affection and appreciation toward their child. These findings show that narcissism is partly rooted in early socialization experiences, and suggest that parent-training interventions can help curtail narcissistic development and reduce its costs for society.

Abstract

Narcissism levels have been increasing among Western youth, and contribute to societal problems such as aggression and violence. The origins of narcissism, however, are not well understood. Here, we report, to our knowledge, the first prospective longitudinal evidence on the origins of narcissism in children. We compared two perspectives: social learning theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by parental overvaluation) and psychoanalytic theory (positing that narcissism is cultivated by lack of parental warmth). We timed the study in late childhood (ages 7–12), when individual differences in narcissism first emerge. In four 6-mo waves, 565 children and their parents reported child narcissism, child self-esteem, parental overvaluation, and parental warmth. Four-wave cross-lagged panel models were conducted. Results support social learning theory and contradict psychoanalytic theory: Narcissism was predicted by parental overvaluation, not by lack of parental warmth. Thus, children seem to acquire narcissism, in part, by internalizing parents’ inflated views of them (e.g., “I am superior to others” and “I am entitled to privileges”). Attesting to the specificity of this finding, self-esteem was predicted by parental warmth, not by parental overvaluation. These findings uncover early socialization experiences that cultivate narcissism, and may inform interventions to curtail narcissistic development at an early age.
• childhood narcissism
• childhood self-esteem
• parental overvaluation
• parental warmth
• socialization
Footnotes
• 1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: e.brummelman@uva.nl.
• Author contributions: E.B., S.T., B.O.d.C., and G.O. designed research; E.B. performed research; E.B. and S.A.N. analyzed data; and E.B., S.T., S.A.N., B.O.d.C., G.O., and B.J.B. wrote the paper.
• The authors declare no conflict of interest.
• This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.
• This article contains supporting information online at http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1420870112/-/DCSupplemental.

Stephanie Pappas wrote in the Livescience article, 10 Scientific Tips For Raising Happy Kids:

1. Last But Not Least, Know Your Kids

Everyone thinks they know the best way to raise a child. But it turns out that parenting is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, kids whose parents tailor their parenting style to the child’s personality have half the anxiety and depression of their peers with more rigid parents, according to a study published in August 2011 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. It turns out that some kids, especially those with trouble regulating their emotions, might need a little extra help from Mom or Dad…

2. Don’t Aim For Perfection
Nobody’s perfect, so don’t torture yourself with an impossibly high bar for parenting success. According to a study published in 2011 in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, new parents who believe society expects perfection from them are more stressed and less confident in their parenting skills….
3. Don’t Sweat a Little Sassing
Teens who talk back to their parents may be exasperating, but their argumentativeness is linked to a stronger rejection of peer pressure outside the home. In other words, autonomy at home fosters autonomy among friends….
4. Mamas, Be Good to Your Sons
A close relationship with their mothers can help keep boys from acting out, according to a 2010 study. A warm, attached relationship with mom seems important in preventing behavior problems in sons, even more so than in girls, the research found. The findings, published in the journal Child Development, highlight the need for “secure attachment” between kids and their parents, a style in which kids can go to mom and dad as a comforting “secure base” before venturing into the wider world….
5. Tend to Your Mental Health
If you suspect you might be depressed, get help — for your own sake and your child’s. Research suggests that depressed moms struggle with parenting and even show muted responses to their babies’ cries compared with healthy moms. Depressed moms with negative parenting styles may also contribute to their children’s stress, according to 2011 research finding that kids raised by these mothers are more easily stressed out by the preschool years….
6. Nurture Your Marriage
If you’re a parent with a significant other, don’t let your relationship with your spouse or partner fall by the wayside when baby is born. Parents who suffer from marital instability, such as contemplating divorce, may set their infants up for sleep troubles in toddlerhood, according to research published in May 2011 in the journal Child Development. The study found that a troubled marriage when a baby is 9 months old contributes to trouble sleeping when the child is 18 months of age….
7. Let Go
When the kids fly the nest, research suggests it’s best to let them go. College freshmen with hovering, interfering “helicopter” parents are more likely to be anxious, self-conscious and less open to new experiences than their counterparts with more relaxed moms and dads….
8. Foster Self-Compassion
Parental guilt is its own industry, but avoid the undertow! Research suggests that self-compassion is a very important life skill, helping people stay resilient in the face of challenges. Self-compassion is made up of mindfulness, the ability to manage thoughts and emotions without being carried away or repressing them, common humanity, or empathy with the suffering of others, and self-kindness, a recognition of your own suffering and a commitment to solving the problem….
9. Be Positive
Parents who express negative emotions toward their infants or handle them roughly are likely to find themselves with aggressive kindergartners. That’s bad news, because behavioral aggression at age 5 is linked to aggression later in life, even toward future romantic partners…
10. LOL! Joking Helps
Lighten up! Joking with your toddler helps set them up for social success, according to research presented at the Economic and Social Research Councils’ Festival of Social Science 2011…. http://www.livescience.com/17894-10-scientific-parenting-tips.html

Moi agrees with Pappas’ suggestions with one huge addition the role of fathers. Dr. Gail Gross wrote in The Important Role of Dad:

Fathers are central to the emotional well-being of their children; they are are capable caretakers and disciplinarians.

Studies show that if your child’s father is affectionate, supportive, and involved, he can contribute greatly to your child’s cognitive, language, and social development, as well as academic achievement, a strong inner core resource, sense of well-being, good self-esteem, and authenticity.

How fathers influence our relationships.

Your child’s primary relationship with his/her father can affect all of your child’s relationships from birth to death, including those with friends, lovers, and spouses. Those early patterns of interaction with father are the very patterns that will be projected forward into all relationships…forever more: not only your child’s intrinsic idea of who he/she is as he/she relates to others, but also, the range of what your child considers acceptable and loving.
Girls will look for men who hold the patterns of good old dad, for after all, they know how “to do that.” Therefore, if father was kind, loving, and gentle, they will reach for those characteristics in men. Girls will look for, in others, what they have experienced and become familiar with in childhood. Because they’ve gotten used to those familial and historic behavioral patterns, they think that they can handle them in relationships.

Boys on the other hand, will model themselves after their fathers. They will look for their father’s approval in everything they do, and copy those behaviors that they recognize as both successful and familiar. Thus, if dad was abusive, controlling, and dominating, those will be the patterns that their sons will imitate and emulate. However, if father is loving, kind, supportive, and protective, boys will want to be that…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-gail-gross/the-important-role-of-dad_b_5489093.html

Our goal as a society should be healthy children raised by healthy families.

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Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352): Duty of teachers to report suspected abuse

9 Mar

Most people do not want people, especially children, abused. One means of early intervention is mandatory reporting of suspected abuse by certain groups like teachers or medical personnel. Accessing Safety lists the pros and cons of mandatory reporting:

Pros
Supporters of mandatory reporting believe that mandatory reporting can enhance victim/survivor safety by:
• linking people with services that will provide information and referrals to improve their living situations,
• getting victim/survivors away from abusers and perpetrators;
• reporting violence, abuse, and sexual assault to increase the number of cases reaching authorities and being documented, thereby increasing an understanding of the prevalence of such violence and its incidence; and
• offering an opportunity to provide training on issues of violence to professionals and persons who are mandatory reporters.
Cons
Some feel that mandatory reporting may create more harm than good. They believe that risks and consequences of mandatory reporting can include:
• retaliation by abuser/perpetrator/stalker,
• broken trust and confidentiality,
• damage to an individuals’ right to self-determination, an issue that is of particular concern when working with people with disabilities, and
• damaging the relationship between the victim/survivor and service provider, and, ultimately, leading to victims/survivors not seeking help or not returning to services…. http://www.accessingsafety.org/index.php?page=137

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352).

Mark Walsh reported in the Education Week article, Supreme Court to Hear Case on Abuse Reporting: Mandatory-Reporting Laws Complicate Teachers’ Role:

The U.S. Supreme Court next week takes up a case involving an important but uneasy duty of teachers: reporting suspected abuse or neglect of their students to the appropriate authorities.
The criminal appeal of an Ohio man asks whether teachers’ obligation as “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse—something required of them, along with various other professionals, in all 50 states—makes them adjuncts of law enforcement when it comes to prosecuting such cases.
The case of Ohio v. Clark (No.13-1352) also examines whether a child’s statements to a teacher about abuse trigger the Sixth Amendment right of the accused “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” That typically means such witnesses must testify in open court, where the defendant’s lawyers may cross-examine them.

Darius Clark, a 27-year-old Cleveland man, argues that his rights under the “confrontation clause” were violated when he was convicted of felony assault and endangering children based in significant part on the trial testimony of two Head Start teachers. They recounted information from a child alleging physical abuse by Mr. Clark, who was the boyfriend of the child’s mother.
The 3-year-old boy, identified as L.P., was considered by authorities to be too young and unreliable a witness to testify in court, a common situation in child-abuse cases.

“This case could have implications anywhere there are mandatory-reporting laws, which is everywhere,” said Jason Walta, a senior attorney in the general counsel’s office of the National Education Association. The NEA has filed a joint friend-of-the-court brief with the American Federation of Teachers and the National School Boards Association on the side of the state.
Eric E. Murphy, the state solicitor of Ohio, will argue before the justices on March 2 that a mandatory duty to report suspected child abuse does not, as Ohio’s highest court held, turn teachers into agents of the police.

“The teachers in this case were acting more in a teacher-care capacity, not as the police,” he said in an interview….

Reporting Abuse and Neglect: One State’s Guidelines

A case in the U.S. Supreme Court involves a teacher’s duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect. A booklet from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services serves as a reference for educators on the legal definitions and indicators of abuse and neglect, as well as reporting procedures. Both sides of the Supreme Court case point to one or more of the procedures as bolstering their case.

Among Ohio’s reporting procedures:
• Any school employee who has reason to believe that a child is being, or has been, abused or neglected shall immediately make an oral report of that suspicion to the local public children’s services agency. The report should include, among other information, the following:
– The identity of the caretaker or guardian of the alleged child victim.
– When and where the alleged abuse or neglect occurred, the type, extent, and duration of the alleged abuse or neglect, and the child’s current condition.
– The identity and current whereabouts of the alleged perpetrator, the relationship of the alleged perpetrator to the child victim, and the access he may have to the child. (Note: This is a key phrase pointed to by the criminal defendant to suggest teachers are serving as agents of law enforcement.)
• Immediately after making the report, the school employee shall notify the school principal that a report has been made.
• The oral report shall be followed up with a written report within five working days. That report could include additional helpful information from school records, such as the name of the family physician or other reports the school has made regarding the child.
• The booklet says that “since it is the responsibility of the [children’s service agency] to investigate alleged child abuse and neglect, school personnel shall not pressure the child to divulge information regarding specific circumstances or the identity of the alleged perpetrator.” (Note: This is a key phrase pointed to by the state to say that teachers are not being asked to serve as agents of law enforcement.)
Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/02/25/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-abuse.html#

Here is the summary of the case http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/ohio-v-clark/

Joan Meier, Professor of Clinical Law, George Washington University Law School wrote in Ohio v. Clark: Do Children’s Statements Have to Be Live Testimony:

Ohio v. Clark thus is the first case both to address children’s statements, and statements made to non-government personnel. First, because the primary purpose test requires an “objective” analysis of whether the circumstances indicated that the statements were made for “testimonial” reasons, or to seek help in an “ongoing emergency,” children’s statements are necessarily a different kettle of fish from adults’ statements. Many courts have wrestled with whether the intent of the speaker, the listener, or both must be factored into the analysis. But unlike with adults, we cannot infer children’s awareness or intent to report to law enforcement, so the objective determination of “purpose” must be made without that input…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joan-meier/ohio-v-clark-do-childrens_b_6057662.html
Education groups filed amicus briefs arguing the Ohio Supreme Court decision should be overturned.
The National School Boards Association reported in Legal Clips:
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) have joined the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in an amicus brief in Clark v. Ohio, No. 13-1352, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Ohio Supreme Court’s holding:
(1) that teachers are acting as agents of law enforcement when questioning a minor student regarding suspected child abuse pursuant to Ohio’s mandatory reporting law for purposes of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause; and
(2) that out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher’s concern about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause….
First, it argues that the Ohio Supreme Court adopted an expansive reading of the Confrontation Clause that would deputize millions of school employees (including teachers, counselors, and administrators), doctors, social workers, and even ordinary citizens as agents of law enforcement, and would render the U.S. Supreme Court’s well-established “primary purpose,” test largely meaningless. –
Second, amici contend that mandatory reporting statutes do not deputize teachers as agents of law enforcement. The brief states: “The argument that statements to mandatory reporters of child abuse are testimonial under the Confrontation Clause has been raised in a number of cases, and both federal and state courts have consistently rejected it….”
Third, the brief argues: “Even if school personnel were treated as agents of law enforcement (or if the Court were to broaden the audience to whom testimonial statements can be made), within the unique context of school settings it is clear that in virtually all situations, their inquiries into a child’s injuries are non-testimonial because those inquiries are made for the primary purpose of protecting children and not primarily to advance a future prosecution….” Fourth, amici assert that by deeming teachers and other school personnel as law enforcement when engaged in their mandatory reporter duties could also have far-reaching consequences that would undermine the welfare of students and the educational process.
Finally, the brief contends “even assuming that statements made to teachers or school personnel could be testimonial in some circumstances this case can be resolved on narrow grounds because the statements at issue here were non-testimonial for at least three additional reasons….” http://legalclips.nsba.org/2014/11/25/sua-sponte-nsba-and-osba-join-nea-and-aft-in-amicus-brief-urging-u-s-supreme-court-to-reverse-ohio-supreme-courts-holding-that-teachers-are-agents-of-law-enforcement-for-purposes-of-the-sixth-amen/#sthash.vZz5Zfg4.dpuf

The Supreme Court could uphold the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision or decide the case more narrowly.

Resources:

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/manda/?hasBeenRedirected=1

Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect 2013 Introduced State Legislation http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/redirect-mandatory-rprtg-of-child-abuse-and-neglect-2013.aspx

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign study: Many education experts lack expertise

23 Feb

Reporters, seminar sponsors, political town halls often rely on “experts” to give an opinion about a particular issue. Education is an area populated by “experts” from all over the pedagogical and political spectrum. What exactly is an expert? The Legal Information Institute provides the legal definition of expert:

Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses
A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.
Notes (Pub. L. 93–595, §1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1937; Apr. 17, 2000, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.) https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_702

The legal definition provides some guidance.

Science Daily reported in the article, Education ‘experts’ cited in news stories may lack expertise, study finds:

The people most often cited as “education experts” in blogs and news stories may have the backing of influential organizations — but have little background in education and education policy, a new study suggests.

The findings are cause for concern because some prominent interest groups are promoting reform agendas and striving to influence policymakers and public opinion using individuals who have substantial media relations skills but little or no expertise in education research, say the authors of the study, Joel R. Malin and Christopher Lubienski, both at the University of Illinois.

To examine possible links between individuals’ media presence and their levels of expertise, Malin and Lubienski compiled a diverse list of nearly 300 people who appeared on the lists of experts prepared by several major education advocacy and policy organizations, including the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal National Education Policy Center.
Malin and Lubienski also added to their sample a handful of scholars not on those lists but who are prominent and influential in the field of education.

Each person’s level of expertise was then scored using a formula that included their number of Google Scholar citations; their years of experience, calculated by subtracting the year they attained their highest degree from 2014; and whether or not the person had earned a doctoral or equivalent degree.

Each person’s level of media influence was calculated based upon the number of times they were quoted or mentioned in education press, U.S. newspapers or blogs during 2013; whether they had a Twitter profile; and their Klout score, which is a proxy for social media influence.
Experts were more likely to be quoted or mentioned in newspapers and blogs if they had higher scores on Google Scholar, Malin and Lubienski found. Every 1-point increase in an expert’s Google Scholar score was associated with a 1-percent increase in blog mentions.
Accordingly, each 1-point increase in years of experience corresponded with an increase of about 1 percent in newspaper citations, the researchers found.

However, affiliation with a policy or advocacy organization also substantially increased an expert’s media presence. People associated with the American Enterprise Institute were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be cited in education media.

Likewise, experts were 1.78 and 1.5 times more likely to be mentioned in blogs if they were affiliated with Cato or the American Enterprise Institute, respectively.

Although the initial list included 287 experts, Malin and Lubienski could not find the necessary information to estimate 52 of these individuals’ years of experience. More than half of these people were connected to organizations such as Cato and Heritage.

While the three people in the sample who were affiliated with Cato each received the maximum number of points for blog mentions, these individuals’ average estimated expertise score was 4.67 — substantially lower than the average score for the full sample, which was greater than 20. Perhaps the most troubling finding was that possession of a doctoral degree was associated with 67 percent fewer blog citations and 60 percent fewer newspaper mentions, and fewer Klout points, which indicates that academic researchers with empirical expertise in education are often far removed from popular and policy conversations, Malin and Lubienski said…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150220133338.htm

Citation:

Education ‘experts’ cited in news stories may lack expertise, study finds
Date: February 20, 2015

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A study of education experts cited in news stories and blogs during 2013 finds that some lack background in education policy and research.
Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence
Joel R. Malin, Christopher Lubienski

Abstract
The efforts of many advocacy organizations to advance their preferred policies despite conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of these policies raise questions about factors that shape successful policy promotion. While many may like to think that expertise on an issue in question is an essential prerequisite for influence in public policy discussions, there is a traditional disconnect between research evidence and policymaking in many fields, including education. Moreover, the efforts of many policy advocates suggest that they see advantages in other factors besides research expertise in advancing their interpretation of evidence for use in policymaking processes. We hypothesize that some of the most influential education-focused organizations are advancing their agendas by engaging media and drawing on individuals who possess substantial media acumen, yet may not possess traditionally defined educational expertise. Thus, we hypothesize that media impact is loosely coupled with educational expertise. In fact, in analyzing various indicators of expertise and media penetration, we find a weak relationship between expertise and media impact, but find significantly elevated media penetration for individuals working at a sub-sample of organizations promoting what we term “incentivist” education reforms, in spite of their generally lower levels of expertise. We find these organizations are particularly effective in engaging new media forms by going directly to their audience. We consider the policy implications in the concluding discussion.
Keywords
agenda setting; decision making; educational policy; expertise; information dissemination; political influences; politics
Full Text:
PDF http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/1706/1456
Related Articles
Jabbar, H., Goldie, D., Linick, M., & Lubienski, C. (2014). Using bibliometric and social media analyses to explore the “echo chamber” hypothesis. Educational Policy, 28(2), 281-305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0895904813515330

Lubienski, C., Scott, J., & DeBray, E. (2014). The politics of research use in education policymaking. Educational Policy, 28(2), 131-144. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0895904813515329

Henig, J. (2009). Politicization of evidence: Lessons for an informed democracy. Educational Policy, 23, 137-160. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0895904808328525

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.1706

Here is the press release from the University of Illinois:

Education ‘experts’ may lack expertise, study finds
2/20/2015 | Sharita Forrest, Education and Social Work Editor | 217-244-1072; slforres@illinois.edu

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The people most often cited as “education experts” in blogs and news stories may have the backing of influential organizations – but have little background in education and education policy, a new study suggests.

The findings are cause for concern because some prominent interest groups are promoting reform agendas and striving to influence policymakers and public opinion using individuals who have substantial media relations skills but little or no expertise in education research, say the authors of the study, Joel R. Malin and Christopher Lubienski, both at the University of Illinois.

To examine possible links between individuals’ media presence and their levels of expertise, Malin and Lubienski compiled a diverse list of nearly 300 people who appeared on the lists of experts prepared by several major education advocacy and policy organizations, including the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal National Education Policy Center.

Malin and Lubienski also added to their sample a handful of scholars not on those lists but who are prominent and influential in the field of education.
Each person’s level of expertise was then scored using a formula that included their number of Google Scholar citations; their years of experience, calculated by subtracting the year they attained their highest degree from 2014; and whether or not the person had earned a doctoral or equivalent degree.
Each person’s level of media influence was calculated based upon the number of times they were quoted or mentioned in education press, U.S. newspapers or blogs during 2013; whether they had a Twitter profile; and their Klout score, which is a proxy for social media influence.

Experts were more likely to be quoted or mentioned in newspapers and blogs if they had higher scores on Google Scholar, Malin and Lubienski found. Every 1-point increase in an expert’s Google Scholar score was associated with a 1-percent increase in blog mentions.

Accordingly, each 1-point increase in years of experience corresponded with an increase of about 1 percent in newspaper citations, the researchers found.
However, affiliation with a policy or advocacy organization also substantially increased an expert’s media presence. People associated with the American Enterprise Institute were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be cited in education media.

Likewise, experts were 1.78 and 1.5 times more likely to be mentioned in blogs if they were affiliated with Cato or the American Enterprise Institute, respectively.
Although the initial list included 287 experts, Malin and Lubienski could not find the necessary information to estimate 52 of these individuals’ years of experience. More than half of these people were connected to organizations such as Cato and Heritage.

While the three people in the sample who were affiliated with Cato each received the maximum number of points for blog mentions, these individuals’ average estimated expertise score was 4.67 – substantially lower than the average score for the full sample, which was greater than 20.
Perhaps the most troubling finding was that possession of a doctoral degree was associated with 67 percent fewer blog citations and 60 percent fewer newspaper mentions, and fewer Klout points, which indicates that academic researchers with empirical expertise in education are often far removed from popular and policy conversations, Malin and Lubienski said.

“Our findings suggest that individuals with less expertise can often have greater success in media penetration,” said Malin, a curriculum specialist with the Pathways Resource Center and a doctoral candidate in educational administration and leadership at the university. “Although some individuals might not have formal training in research methods for analyzing the issues about which they are speaking, they possess skills and orientations that make them accessible and appealing to the media. And when these people are affiliated with organizations that have strong media arms or outreach efforts, they have the support and the incentive to engage broader and policy audiences.“
“Newer forms of media offer particularly useful opportunities for directly engaging audiences, while bypassing traditional forms of quality checks on expertise,” said Lubienski, a professor of education policy and director of the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the university. “We believe caution and consideration of individuals’ expertise are warranted when reporters and bloggers are researching topics and seeking insights – and when policymakers and laypersons are consuming media.”

Researchers who want to see their work have impact beyond the academic community must become more adept at communicating via traditional and new media. Otherwise, policy changes in education will be guided more by ideology and agendas than by research, Malin and Lubienski said.
The study was published in a recent issue of the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives.

Editor’s note: To reach Joel Malin, call 217-244-9390; email jrmalin2@illinois.edu.
To reach Christopher Lubienski, call 217-333-4382; email club@illinois.edu

The paper, “Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence,” is available online or from the News Bureau. http://news.illinois.edu/news/15/0220expertise_JoelMalin_ChristopherLubienski.html

The point of this study is that critical thinking cannot be stressed enough when evaluating the validity or worth of any opinion.

“Incestuous, homogeneous fiefdoms of self-proclaimed expertise are always rank-closing and mutually self-defending, above all else.”

Glenn Greenwald

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: Seattle Art Museum’s Indigenous Beauty

18 Feb

Moi recently attended the press preview of Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) exhibit Indigenous Beauty. Here are the exhibit details:

Indigenous Beauty
Feb 12 – May 17 2015
Seattle Art Museum
Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

SAM describes the exhibit with the headline, “Experience the First Art of North America.” The Native Peoples of North America belong to many cultural groups and lived in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Indigenous Peoples is an attempt to give a flavor of the many cultures by organizing the art according to geographic region. The Native Peoples used the materials and resources that each region provided.

The America Federation of Arts, SAM and other supporters helped bring a sample of the Diker Collection to Seattle, Fort Worth, Atlanta and Toledo. The Diker Collection has been displayed at both the Smithsonian and Metropolitan Museums. Deborah Donovan wrote in a 2009 review of First American Art: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection of American Indian Art:

The Dikers also have an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art in their home, and it was there that the curators of this exhibit, Native and non-Native scholars alike, came together to discuss the meanings of Native art.

Inspired by the unique juxtapositioning before them of historical Indian art with modern art-an Acoma olla placed on a table beneath two huge Jean Dubuffets and a colorful Calder mobile, for instance-the curators organized their discussion around seven aesthetic principles common to both: idea, emotion, intimacy, movement, integrity, vocabulary, and composition…. https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/first-american-art/

Given the breadth of the Native experience in North America, this carefully curated exhibit provides examples of the very best of Native artistry and craft. The artists and that is what they were, whether the genesis of their work arose from an expression of their spirit or just a need to create, demonstrate exceptional workmanship. Keep in mind; the artists used the materials they had available. Each piece in the exhibit tells a story about an aspect of the Native experience. Some of the stories may have been lost in the attempt to force assimilation on some of the cultures, but contemporary Native tribal members are attempting to recover the stories.

Indigenous People is simply stunning and a great education experience for all ages. It is worth traveling to one of the venues to breathe in the exceptional artistic and spiritual experience. Dr. Wilda gives Indigenous People a thumbs up.

Educational Resources:

Bibliography
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/Bibliographies/Bib_DikerCollection.pdf

Indigenous Beauty Educator Resource List
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/Documents/Indigenous%20Beauty%20Educator%20Resource%20List.pdf

Explore the regions
Western Arctic / eastern subarctic / northwest coast / great basin & california / southwest / plateau & plains / woodlands & southeast
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/exhibitions/indigenous

Here is the SAM press release:

Indigenous Beauty
Feb 12 – May 17 2015
Seattle Art Museum
Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries
Get Tickets
This spring, Seattle has the opportunity to see some of the most stunning works of American Indian art ever made.
Marvel at nearly 2,000 years of amazing skill and invention. Linger over drawings, sculptures, baskets, beaded regalia, and masks.
The immense variety of Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection reflects the diversity of Native cultures. This superb exhibition offers more than great works of art and cultural artifacts—it is an invitation to explore other worlds.
Deeply engaged with cultural traditions and the land, indigenous artists over the centuries have used art to represent and preserve their ways of life. Even during the 19th and 20th centuries, when drastic changes were brought by colonization, artists brilliantly adapted their talents and used the new materials available to them to marvelous effect.
The works in Indigenous Beauty will inspire wonder, curiosity, and delight. Come experience the vast beauty of indigenous art from all across North America.
The guest curator for this exhibition is David Penney. Local curator is Barbara Brotherton, Curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum.
Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts. This exhibition was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, the JFM Foundation, and Mrs. Donald M. Cox.

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University of Texas Austin study: Small words in college essay can predict college success

11 Feb

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.

The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.

As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.                                                                                                     http://education-portal.com/articles/Illiteracy_The_Downfall_of_American_Society.html

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read. Reading and literacy are important for writing and the ability for an individual to express their ideas.

Scott Jaschik wrote in the Inside Higher Education article, Analyzing Application Essays:

Admissions essays are thought of by many as less scientific than other parts of the college application process — a chance to share a personal story, to inject personality into the process, to become more than just a grade-point average or test score.

But it may be that statistical analysis can be applied to application essays — and that some words and some topics correlate with better performance in college. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in PLOS One that analyzes the words used in application essays with grades earned once enrolled.

The study found that the essays that predicted the most academic success demonstrated “categorical thinking,” which involves writing that categorizes things, and that connects concepts and ideas. Generally, writing with categorical thinking uses many articles such as “the” and prepositions such as “on” and “of.”

Essays that show “dynamic thinking,” in contrast, predict lower G.P.A.s in college. This writing tends to use pronouns such as “I” and “they” and to rely on personal narratives.

The authors of the paper — all at the University of Texas at Austin — are James Pennebaker, a psychology professor, David Beaver, professor in of linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The analysis is based on data from 50,000 essays from 25,975 applicants who, after being accepted, enrolled at “a large state university” from 2004 through 2007, and were then tracked for their grades. The study does not explicitly state that the students are at UT Austin, and the researchers declined to name the institution. But the size of the university seems to match UT, and the Institutional Review Board that reviewed the project was at that university….

Generally, those applicants who, compared to the average applicant, used greater numbers of long words (6 letters or more) than others, used more complicated sentences, and wrote longer essays all ended up with slightly higher GPAs than did other admitted students…. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/08/new-study-links-certain-application-essays-and-college-success

Citation:

Article Source: When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays

Pennebaker JW, Chung CK, Frazee J, Lavergne GM, Beaver DI (2014) When Small Words Foretell Academic Success: The Case of College Admissions Essays. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115844. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115844

Abstract

The smallest and most commonly used words in English are pronouns, articles, and other function words. Almost invisible to the reader or writer, function words can reveal ways people think and approach topics. A computerized text analysis of over 50,000 college admissions essays from more than 25,000 entering students found a coherent dimension of language use based on eight standard function word categories. The dimension, which reflected the degree students used categorical versus dynamic language, was analyzed to track college grades over students’ four years of college. Higher grades were associated with greater article and preposition use, indicating categorical language (i.e., references to complexly organized objects and concepts). Lower grades were associated with greater use of auxiliary verbs, pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions, and negations, indicating more dynamic language (i.e., personal narratives). The links between the categorical-dynamic index (CDI) and academic performance hint at the cognitive styles rewarded by higher education institutions.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0115844

Here is the press release from the University of Texas:

Short Words Predict Academic Success

Jan. 7, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas — The smallest, most forgettable words in admissions essays can tell us in advance how students will perform in college, a new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reveals.

Common sense suggests that academic potential is shown by use of long complicated words. The new research shows, on the contrary, that common, easily overlooked words — such as the, a, to, I and they — matter. These short words provide a better yardstick than long words for measuring a person’s potential.

The new study used 50,000 admissions essays written by prospective college students, enabling the researchers to connect language use to later college performance. It turned out that how students use small words is related to subsequent GPA. For example, students who heavily use the word I tend to do worse in class, and students who heavily use the words the and a do better.

“Function words allow us to assess how people are thinking more than what they are thinking about,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin and co-author of the paper. “In the growing age of big data, we can now begin to identify the potential thinking patterns of individuals, groups and perhaps even cultures for whom there exist language records.”

The UT Austin team used computerized text analysis to show that college performance is tied to a new measure that they call the Categorical Dynamic Index (CDI). This measure is calculated from a simple combination of the frequencies of common words. Categorical thinking involves categorizing things into kinds and connecting objects and concepts in a sophisticated way. Categorical thinking is reflected by use of articles such as the and prepositions such as on and of.

The new research shows that people who think categorically do better in college than those who don’t. On the other hand, dynamic thinkers see the world in terms of narratives, typically personal and subjective. Dynamic thinkers use more pronouns such as I and they and more auxiliary verbs such as will and had, and these applicants ended up, on average, with lower GPAs in the study.

The paper, titled “When Small Words Foretell Academic Success,” appeared in the Dec. 31 online edition of the journal PLOS ONE. In addition to Pennebaker, the interdisciplinary team of researchers includes David Beaver, professor in the Department of Linguistics; Gary Lavergne, program manager in the Office of Admissions; Cindy Chung, psychology postdoctoral fellow; and Joey Frazee, a linguistics graduate student.

The surprising finding that small words are tied to academic success could, of course, be used by admissions officers. But the researchers caution against the simple use of word counts in admissions decisions.

“The results could be interpreted not as a failure of dynamic thinkers to do well in college,” said Beaver, “but as a failure of college to help students add categorical thinking to their arsenal.”

For more information, contact: David Ochsner, College of Liberal Arts, 512 626 0788;  David Beaver, Department of Linguistics, College of Liberal Arts, ;  James Pennebaker, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-2781.

K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Related:

Helping community college students to graduate                                          http://drwilda.com/2012/02/08/helping-community-college-students-to-graduate/

The digital divide affects the college application process                                 http://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

College readiness: What are ‘soft skills’                                                                       http://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/college-readiness-what-are-soft-skills/

Colleges rethinking who may need remedial education                                       http://drwilda.com/2012/10/24/colleges-rethinking-who-may-need-remedial-education/

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