Archive | November, 2012

Should ‘Enron’ weasels be trusted with K-12 education?

29 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi has been following the for-profit college sector for quite awhile:

Report: For-profit colleges more concerned with executive pay than student achievement                                             

Scary study about what happens to for-profit college graduates                                                          

For-profit colleges: Money buys government, not quality for students                                                                           

Huffington Post is reporting in the article, Online Charter Schools Spent Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars On Advertising To Recruit New Students:

An analysis by USA Today has revealed that 10 of the largest online charter schools spent an estimated $94.4 million in taxpayer dollars on advertising over the past five years. The largest, Virginia-based K12 Inc., spent approximately $21.5 million in just the first eight months of 2012.

The estimates are based on advertising rates and buys compiled by Kantar Media, a New York-based provider of “media and marketing intelligence,” according to the paper. K12 spokesman Jeff Kwitowski declined to comment to USA Today on whether the estimates are accurate, but defended the company’s marketing strategy.

“We try our best to ensure that all families know that these options exist,” Kwitowski told USA Today. “It’s really about the parents’ choice — they’re the ones that make the decision about what school or program is the best fit for their child.”

According to the Colorado consulting firm Evergreen Education Group, about 275,000 students nationwide attend school online full-time.

While charter schools claim they need to spend money on advertising to make parents and students aware of their institutions, critics contend the public dollars the schools receive could be better spent helping current students learn, rather than recruiting new ones.

In Ohio, critics of the online charter school system also argue that local taxpayer support would be better served funding public schools in districts that are facing budget crises. An NPR report that online schools can operate by spending just $3,600 per student, but Ohio pays online charter schools close to $6,300 per student, leaving companies with a substantial amount to devote to advertising.

That advertising money is spent on popular websites, as well as on ads directed at students. According to NPR, the Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy is one of several online charter schools that advertise on Facebook, and the organization also has banner ads that show up on sites for students seeking help coping with depression. Similarly, Connections Academy, which is operated by Pearson, purchased Google ads that show up next to a search for “bullied at school.”

USA Today reports K12 strives to target children with its television and web ads; the for-profit online learning company spent an estimated $631,600 to advertise on Nickelodeon, $601,600 on The Cartoon Network and $671,400 on It also bought $3,000 worth of ads on, which claims to be “the Web’s largest community for dark alternative culture.”

Critics also point to the low success rates of online charter schools. K12’s Ohio Virtual Academy has a four-year graduation rate of just 30 percent, while its Virtual Academy in Colorado only graduates 12 percent of its students.

The debate currently going on in society is whether education is a “public good.”

The Business Dictionary defines a “public good.”

public good


An item whose consumption is not decided by the individual consumer but by the society as a whole, and which is financed by taxation.

A public good (or service) may be consumed without reducing the amount available for others, and cannot be withheld from those who do not pay for it. Public goods (and services) include economic statistics and other information, law enforcement, national defense, parks, and other things for the use and benefit of all. No market exists for such goods, and they are provided to everyone by governments. See also good and private good

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize economist wrote KNOWLEDGE AS A GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD:

This paper combines two concepts developed over the past quarter of century: the concept of global public goods and the notion of knowledge as a global public good.[3]

A public good has two critical properties, non-rivalrous consumption–the consumption of one individual does not detract from that of another–and non-excludability–it is difficult if not impossible to exclude an individual from enjoying the good. Knowledge of a mathematical theorem clearly satisfies both attributes: if I teach you the theorem, I continue to enjoy the knowledge of the theorem at the same time that you do. By the same token, once I publish the theorem, anyone can enjoy the theorem. No one can be excluded. They can use the theorem as the basis of their own further research. The “ideas” contained in the theorem may even stimulate others to have an idea with large commercial value.


The fact that knowledge is non-rivalrous–there is a zero marginal cost from an additional individual enjoying the benefits of the knowledge–has a strong implication. Even if one could exclude someone from enjoying the benefits of knowledge, it would be undesirable to do so because there are no marginal cost to sharing its benefits. If information is to be efficiently utilized, it cannot be privately provided as efficiency implies charging a price of zero—the marginal cost of another individual enjoying the knowledge. However, at zero price, only knowledge that could be produced at zero cost would be produced.

To be sure, to acquire and use knowledge, individuals may have to expend resources–just as they might have to expend resources to retrieve water from a public lake. That there may be significant costs associated with transmission of knowledge does not in any way affect the public good nature of knowledge itself: private providers can provide the “transmission” for a charge reflecting the marginal cost of transmission while at the same time, the good itself can remain free.

See, Education is a public good, not a consumer good

Moi wrote in Accountability in virtual schools:

Technology can be a useful tool and education aid, BUT it is not a cheap way to move the masses through the education system without the guidance and mentoring that a quality human and humane teacher can provide. Education and children have suffered because cash sluts and credit crunch weasels have destroyed this society and there is no one taking them on. They will continue to bleed this society dry while playing their masters of the universe games until they are stopped.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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Embracing parents as education leaders

28 Nov

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved.  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 Class Matters

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools.

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.

Julia Lawrence of Education News reports in the article, Kentucky Venture Aims to Train Parents to Become Ed Leaders:

When the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership opens its doors in Kentucky, it will do so with the goal of getting parents more involved in their children’s academic lives. The Institute’s mission will be to empower parents to take a more active role in determining the future direction of their local education system, which includes greater participation in parent-teacher groups, local school boards and school councils.

Kentucky residents who wish to get involved will have an opportunity to enroll in a 24-month mentoring program offered by the Institute, which will introduce them to the ins and outs of the state’s academic system. Institute leaders say that parents will graduate from the course having learned “the business of education,” leaving them more able to understand the problems confronting state schools today.

Their attempts at involvement will no longer be thwarted by unfamiliar jargon and impenetrable quantitative reports. The goal at graduation will be to have parents not only fully cognizant of the current issues facing K-12 education in the state but also ready to provide solutions for those issues as well….

The CIPL will be building on top of the work done by the existing Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, which has been working for more than 15 years on ways to keep parents in the loop on education. Over 1,600 Kentucky parents have gone through the programs offered by the CIPL, with many going on to take leadership positions in their schools, districts and even at state level. According to, CIPL boasts recruiting two people who have served on the Kentucky Board of Education.

Furthermore, as CIPL expanded its reach, it created a self-perpetuating network among the state’s parents. Those who go through CIPL later go on to recruit and mentor up to 20 other parents each – all in service of giving parents a greater voice in their children’s education…..

In the end, the aim of the Institute is to convince parents that with the right preparation they can have a real, positive impact on student achievement statewide.

Here is the press release:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Leadership institute encourages parents to get more involved to boost student success

An new initiative to engage and educate parents to be strong and effective leaders in Kentucky schools was recently announced. The Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (GCIPL) will be an independent nonprofit organization, building on the 16-year record of the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, developed by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

The Institute’s mission is preparing parents to take leadership roles in parent-teacher organizations, school councils and committees, local school boards and in other roles that can positively influence student achievement.

We know how important it is to invest in education for the future of Kentucky, and we can’t overlook parents as a critical resource,” said Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Engaging families in improving schools has benefits that extend far beyond the students whose parents participate in the training. We have parents in our communities who want to help our schools and our students achieve excellence. The Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership will help them do that.”

The Insitute teaches and mentors parents over a 24-month period to understand what Institute leaders call “the business of education” – such as how to read aggregated test scores to understand trends, then recommend steps to help struggling students based on that data. The Institute unlocks educational jargon and technical language so that teachers, administrators and parents can speak with a common understanding of tools and goals.

Parents will also learn to understand how a school’s budget works and how to maximize resources. The goal is to train parents specifically in partnering with educators and administrators to enhance student achievement. Institute administrators estimate that every CIPL graduate mentors another 20 parents, which exponentially enhances the program’s impact on Kentucky students.

The existing Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership (CIPL), which has garnered national attention and served as a model for other states, has engaged about 1,600 Kentucky parents, teaching them how to have a positive impact on student achievement.

Many have gone on to serve in key leadership positions: At least 750 have served on local site-based councils, 47 have served on local school boards and two have served on the state Board of Education.

Begun in 1997, the impact of CIPL fellows, parent leaders with information, skills, and data that prepares them to partner with schools to improve student achievement, is being felt across the state,” said Bev Raimondo, director of the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership. “We are excited that Gov. Beshear sees this and is supporting it by making CIPL the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership.”

In this era of high quality reform taking place in our nation, it is more important now than ever to have parent leaders deeply involved with our schools,” said Stu Silberman, executive director, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. “The Governor’s Institute will be a gold standard for this leadership training for our parents. Once again, Kentucky steps up and takes the lead.”

In its most recent sessions, the Institute this past year held three regional classes for parents – in Hazard, Florence and Henderson. Those parents then share their knowledge with others, as peers and mentors.

My participation in the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership has refined me as a person, a parent and a citizen. I am so proud of the achievements, the successes and the advocacy opportunities I’ve been given because of confidence gained while educating myself and others,” said Teresa Dawes, a parent and 2001 participant in the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership. “Being an advocate for change is true empowerment. GCIPL’s support will reinforce the mission of the Prichard Committee by providing a public voice advocating for continually improved education for all Kentuckians. CIPL fellows past, present and future welcome the collaboration with open arms.”

The new program extends the reach of the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, taking the program statewide and formally recognizing its efforts. The program will remain a private, independent, nonprofit corporation funded by donations.

While it is not a state agency, the new name demonstrates the Governor’s commitment to the program. Since there is no state funding available, the program is seeking private support from individuals, corporations and foundations.

Additionally, University of Pikeville President Paul Patton and Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews announced a collaboration that will conduct the first Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership session, to be held in Eastern Kentucky next fall.

The new program’s goal is to fund and schedule at least two more institutes in 2013, and eventually offer five to six per year throughout Kentucky. Each program is three sets of two-day sessions, with follow-up coaching.

For more information or to get involved in the Institute for Parent Leadership, visit

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.


Tips for parent and teacher conferences                

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance                                                    

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs                                                                 

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

Making time for family dinner                                           

Where information leads to Hope.Dr.

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Many young people don’t know they are infected with HIV

27 Nov

Moi wrote about HIV in the article, People MUST talk: AIDS epidemic in Black community:

Aside from the devastation that a poor economy has wrecked upon the Black community, a scourge that few are talking about is the AIDS epidemic in the Black community. NPR reports in the story, AIDS In Black America: A Public Health Crisis:

Of the more than 1 million people in the U.S. infected with HIV, nearly half are black men, women and children — even though blacks make up about 13 percent of the population. AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44, and the mortality rate is 10 times higher for black Americans than for whites.

A new Frontline documentary, Endgame: AIDS in Black America, explores why the HIV epidemic is so much more prevalent in the African-American community than among whites. The film is produced, written and directed by Renata Simone, whose series The Age of AIDS appeared on Frontline in 2006.

On Thursday’s Fresh Air, Simone is joined by Robert Fullilove, a professor of clinical sociomedical studies at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and chairman of the HIV/AIDS advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When I started doing this work in 1986, roughly 20 percent of all of the people in the United States who were living with AIDS were African-American,” Fullilove tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 45 percent of all the new cases of HIV infection are amongst African-Americans. … If we continue on the current trend, in the year 2015, especially in the South, it will probably be the case that 5 to 6 percent of all African-American adults who are sexually active will be infected with the virus.”

Endgame explores how politics, social factors and cultural factors allowed the AIDS epidemic to spread rapidly in the African-American community over the past three decades. The film — shot in churches, harm-reduction clinics, prisons, nightclubs and high school classrooms — tells personal stories from children who were born with the virus, public health officials and educators who run HIV clinics, and clergy members around the country, many of whom have been divided on their response to the epidemic.

The film also explores how the war on drugs in the 1980s and 1990s affected the spread of HIV in communities where large percentages of African-American men were incarcerated.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Preventions studies a variety of diseases.

Nirvi Shah is reporting in the Education Week article, Disproportionate Numbers of Young People Have HIV, Don’t Know It:

About 1 in 15 people living in the United States who has HIV is 13 to 24 years old—and more than half of these young people don’t know they have the disease, new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, and the agency says schools must work harder to prevent HIV’s spread.

These estimates, shared today by the CDC, are from 2009. In all, about 1.1 million people in the United States have HIV, the agency reported.

The CDC estimates that about 70 out of 100,000 teenagers and young adults have HIV and they accounted for 12,000 cases—about 26 percent—diagnosed in 2010. Meanwhile, 13- to 24-year-olds represent only about 21 percent of the total population. The majority of the new cases, about 60 percent, were among black teens and young adults. Another 20 percent of the new cases were among Latinos of the same age.

The infection rate among young people is disproportionately high, the CDC said, while the percentage of people in the same age group tested was disproportionately low.

In 2009, people ages 13 to 24 comprised 6.7 percent of persons living with HIV, but more than half, nearly 60 percent, didn’t know they were infected, the CDC said, the highest rate for any age group.

Here is a portion of press release from the Centers for Disease Control:

Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths — United States

Early Release

November 27, 2012 / 61(Early Release);1-6


Background: In 2009, 6.7% of the estimated 1.1 million persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the United States were youths (defined in this report as persons aged 13–24 years); more than half of youths with HIV (59.5%) were unaware of their infection.

Methods: CDC used National HIV Surveillance System data to estimate, among youths, prevalence rates of diagnosed HIV infection in 2009 and the number of new infections (incidence) in 2010. To assess the prevalence of risk factors and HIV testing among youths, CDC used the 2009 and 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System for 9th–12th grade students and the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for persons 18–24 years.

Results: Prevalence of diagnosed HIV was 69.5 per 100,000 youths at the end of 2009. Youths accounted for 12,200 (25.7%) new HIV infections in 2010. Of these, 7,000 (57.4%) were among blacks/African Americans, 2,390 (19.6%) among Hispanics/Latinos, and 2,380 (19.5%) among whites; 8,800 (72.1%) were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. The percentage of youths tested for HIV overall was 12.9% among high school students and 34.5% among those aged 18–24 years; it was lower among males than females, and lower among whites and Hispanics/Latinos than blacks/African Americans.

Conclusions: A disproportionate number of new HIV infections occurs among youths, especially blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and men who have sex with men (MSM). The percentage of youths tested for HIV, however, was low, particularly among males.

Implications for Public Health: More effort is needed to provide effective school- and community-based interventions to ensure all youths, particularly MSM, have the knowledge, skills, resources, and support necessary to avoid HIV infection. Health-care providers and public health agencies should ensure that youths are tested for HIV and have access to sexual health services, and that HIV-positive youths receive ongoing health-care and prevention services.


The risk for acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection during adolescence and early adulthood starts with initiation of sexual behavior or injection drug use, and initiation of contributing behaviors such as use of alcohol and other drugs. The prevalence of HIV in potential sex partners, the percentage of HIV-infected persons unaware of their status, and the frequency of risky sexual behaviors and injection drug use contribute to the level of risk. In 2009, youths (defined in this report as persons aged 13–24 years), who represented 21% of the U.S. population, comprised 6.7% of persons living with HIV. More than half (59.5%) were unaware of their infection, the highest for any age group (1). All persons need to understand the threat of HIV and how to prevent it (2). Youths, particularly those at highest risk, need effective school-based, school-linked, and community-based interventions (3) that make them aware of their risk for HIV and help delay initiation of sexual activity, increase condom use for those who are sexually active, and decrease other behaviors, such as alcohol and drug use, that contribute to HIV risk. This report describes, among youths, 1) rates of those living with a diagnosis of HIV infection at the end of 2009, 2) the estimated number of new HIV infections in 2010, 3) the percentage that have been tested for HIV, and 4) the percentage that engage in selected risk behaviors.

Conclusions and Comment

Based on the most recent data available from 2009 and 2010, youths represent 6.7% of persons living with HIV in the United States and account for 25.7% of new HIV infections. Of new HIV infections among youths, 45.9% were among black/African American males, the majority of which were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Nationwide, the percentage of youths who had ever been tested for HIV was low compared with other age groups (1): 12.9% among high school students (22.2% among those who ever had sexual intercourse) and 34.5% among persons aged 18–24 years.

The higher HIV prevalence among blacks/African Americans overall (nearly three times higher than among Hispanics/Latinos and nearly eight times higher than among whites [1]) and MSM overall (nearly 40 times higher than other men [5]) contributes to the disproportionate number of new HIV infections among black/African American youths and young MSM. Because of this disparity, black/African American youths are at higher risk for infection even with similar levels of risk behaviors (6). Other research has found that among young MSM, other factors such as stigma, discrimination (7), less condom use, more alcohol and drug use, and having sex with older partners (8) contribute to even higher risk for HIV acquisition. This analysis also found that young MSM were significantly less likely to use condoms during last sexual intercourse, more likely to drink alcohol or use drugs before last sexual intercourse, and more likely to have four or more partners during their lifetime compared with young men who had sexual intercourse only with females. These behaviors are associated with substantial risk for infection. In one study among MSM, the attributable risk for new HIV infection was 29% for using alcohol or drugs before sex and 32% for having four to nine sex partners (9). Further, in a study of primarily young MSM, 75% of those with acute HIV infection reported sex under the influence of drugs or alcohol compared with 31% of HIV-uninfected MSM. Moreover, the risk for HIV infection doubled for MSM with a sex partner 5 years older and quadrupled with a sex partner 10 years older (8).

More than half (59.5%) of youths with HIV are unaware of their infection (1). Although the number of new HIV infections is highest among males, fewer males have been tested for HIV than females. Routine HIV testing as part of regular medical care is recommended by CDC for all persons aged 13–64 years (10) and by the American Academy of Pediatrics for all youths by age 16–18 years and all sexually active youths regardless of age (11). Better adherence to these guidelines, especially for males, is needed to increase early HIV diagnosis and facilitate treatment that improves health and reduces transmission.

Interventions for youths have been proven effective for delaying initiation of sexual activity, increasing condom use, and reducing other risk behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use.¶¶ The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends risk reduction interventions in school and community settings to prevent HIV among adolescents (3). Individual- and group-level HIV prevention interventions provide knowledge, skill building, and increased motivation to adopt behaviors that protect against HIV infection, and some are designed specifically for youths at high risk for HIV.

For young MSM (those aged 18–29 years), “Mpowerment” is an effective community-level intervention that has been shown to reduce unprotected anal intercourse, the sexual behavior that carries the greatest risk for HIV transmission (12). However, additional individual- and group-level interventions specifically designed for young MSM, and young black/African American MSM in particular, are needed. Evidence-based behavioral HIV interventions for high risk youths can be adapted to address the unique needs of young MSM and to communicate the substantial risks associated with having sex with partners who are more likely to be infected, particularly those who are older.

Multicomponent school-based interventions, including classroom-based curricula and school-wide environmental changes, have been shown to decrease unprotected sex and increase condom use among youths (3). Policies can support these efforts by promoting in schools an inclusive environment for sexual minorities that reduces stigma and discrimination (13) and requiring evidence-based HIV prevention education (3) for all students. In addition, community organizations, schools, and health-care providers can establish procedures that reduce barriers and protect confidentiality (i.e., procedures that do not disclose information to unauthorized persons unless required under state law) for youths seeking sexual health services (14) and facilitate access to education and other HIV prevention services.

Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce HIV progression and prevent transmission, but youths are less likely to be tested, access care, remain in care, and achieve viral suppression (15). Youth-friendly, culturally competent, confidential, and convenient health services facilitate access to and retention in care.*** Comprehensive health services, including HIV/sexually transmitted infection screening, treatment, and prevention services, and adjunct services, such as mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, and housing assistance, are necessary for youths at highest risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. Because young MSM often acquire HIV from older, HIV-positive partners (8), regular testing, care, and treatment for adult MSM also are essential to prevent HIV infections among youths.

Limitations of the estimates of new HIV infections have been described previously (15). In addition, the findings in this report are subject to at least three more limitations. First, YRBS data apply only to youths who attend school and therefore are not representative of all persons in this age group. Nationwide, in 2009, of persons aged 16–17 years, approximately 4% were not enrolled in a high school program and had not completed high school (4). Second, NHIS excludes active military personnel and those who live outside of households (e.g., persons who are incarcerated, in long-term–care institutions, or homeless), who might be at greater risk for HIV infection than persons in households. Finally, data from YRBS and NHIS are self-reported and subject to recall bias and potential underreporting of sensitive information, such as HIV risk factors and HIV testing.

To achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (i.e., to reduce the number of persons who become infected with HIV and reduce disparities), public health agencies, in conjunction with families, educators, and health-care practitioners, must educate youths about HIV before they begin engaging in risk behaviors, especially young gay and bisexual males, particularly blacks/African Americans, who face a disproportionately higher risk (2). To delay the onset of sexual activity, increase condom use among those who are sexually active, and decrease injection drug use, multicomponent school- and community-based approaches that provide access to condoms, HIV testing and treatment, and behavioral interventions for those at highest risk are needed.

Reported by

Suzanne K. Whitmore, DrPH, Laura Kann, PhD, Joseph Prejean, PhD, Linda J Koenig, PhD, Bernard M. Branson, MD, H. Irene Hall, PhD, Amy M. Fasula, PhD, Angie Tracey, Jonathan Mermin, MD, Linda A. Valleroy, PhD, Div of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Div of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC. Corresponding contributor: Suzanne K. Whitmore,, 404-639-1556.

The Centers for Disease Control has many resources about HIV testing:

Positive? Negative? Not sure?

What You Need to Know About HIV:

Frequently Asked Questions About HIV and STD Testing

There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
Collected Works

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The ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

27 Nov

Moi wrote about the “school-to-prison pipeline” in Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure:

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions  Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”

The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said.

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Sarah D. Sparks reports in the Education Week article, Study: Student Arrest Leads to Push Out, Low College Attendance:

A minor student’s arrest record may be wiped clean at 18, but it may already have permanently blemished her chances of graduating high school and going on to college and funneled her into the school-to-prison pipeline, according to a new study at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Students may drop out of school or opt not to enter college following arrest because they assess, perhaps correctly, that the touted benefits of education are not likely to materialize given the stigma of a criminal record,” said David S. Kirk, an associate sociology professor and co-author of the study, in a statement. “Though they might not even be conscious of it, teachers and advisers tend to think of arrested teens as ‘problem students,’ and focus more of their time on the students with promising futures while alienating problem students.”

Kirk and co-author Robert J. Sampson, a social sciences professor at Harvard university in Cambridge, Mass., disentangled students’ arrest history from the load of other dropout risk factors—poverty, a minority background, school disengagement, and so on. Using individual student longitudinal data from local and national education and criminal databases in Chicago, the researchers tracked cohorts of 12-year-olds and 15-year-olds from 1990 to 2005, cross-referencing enrollment and dropout data with student arrests between 1995 and 2001. (About 12 percent of students studied were arrested at least once.)

The study, to be published in the January 2013 issue of Sociology of Education, finds that school discipline policies that heavily favor out-of-school suspensions and expulsions disproportionately “push out” students after an arrest. Although in Chicago as in the rest of the country, a teenager’s arrest is supposed to be under seal, school staff and administrators often find out about them—first and foremost because a quarter of the arrests of students in Chicago happened on campus. District rules also allow a student to be expelled from school for serious behavior problems off-campus, including arrests.

While 64 percent of Chicago students who were never arrested eventually earned a high school diploma, the graduation rate for students who had been arrested was only 26 percent. Similarly, only 16 percent of students with an arrest record eventually enrolled in a four-year colleges, compared with 35 percent of students with a diploma or GED who avoided the legal system. Arrested students were also more likely to have missed school, failed a grade, or been identified for special education, even though the researchers found little difference in the IQ of students arrested and not. In subsequent analyses, the researchers found that after arrest, students come back to campus with significantly worse support from friends, though they still felt attached to school.

Other characteristics being equal, a student who had been arrested was 22 percent more likely to drop out of school than his peers. For a frustrating look at how quickly things can spiral downhill, check out the American Civil Liberty Union’s school-to-prison game.

These results add fuel to a growing push-back against exclusionary discipline in schools. Civil rights advocates charge that “zero tolerance” discipline policies more frequently lead to police involvement, particularly for students of color. For more on how schools are finding alternatives to these practices, check out my colleague Nirvi Shah’s series Rethinking Discipline.


Juvenile Arrest and Collateral Educational Damage in the Transition to Adulthood

  1. David S. Kirk
  2. Robert J. Sampson


Official sanctioning of students by the criminal justice system is a long−hypothesized source of educational disadvantage, but its explanatory status remains unresolved. Few studies of the educational consequences of a criminal record account for alternative explanations such as low self−control, lack of parental supervision, deviant peers, and neighborhood disadvantage. Moreover, virtually no research on the effect of a criminal record has examined the “black box” of mediating mechanisms or the consequence of arrest for postsecondary educational attainment. Analyzing longitudinal data with multiple and independent assessments of theoretically relevant domains, the authors estimate the direct effect of arrest on later high school dropout and college enrollment for adolescents with otherwise equivalent neighborhood, school, family, peer, and individual characteristics as well as similar frequency of criminal offending. The authors present evidence that arrest has a substantively large and robust impact on dropping out of high school among Chicago public school students. They also find a significant gap in four-year college enrollment between arrested and otherwise similar youth without a criminal record. The authors also assess intervening mechanisms hypothesized to explain the process by which arrest disrupts the schooling process and, in turn, produces collateral educational damage. The results imply that institutional responses and disruptions in students’ educational trajectories, rather than social− psychological factors, are responsible for the arrest–education link.

This Article

  1. Published online before print May 22, 2012, doi: 10.1177/0038040712448862 Sociology of Education May 22, 2012 0038040712448862
  1. » AbstractFree
  2. Full Text (PDF)                                                                                            

In Who says Black children can’t learn? Some schools get it, moi said:

People want an education for a variety of reasons. Some have a love of learning. Others want to attend a good college or vocational school. Still others, see an education as a ticket to a good job. Increasingly for schools, the goal is to prepare kids with the skills to attend and succeed at college. In order to give children the skills to succeed, schools need teachers who are effective at educating their population of kids. There are many themes in the attempt to answer the question, what will prepare kids for what comes after high school. What will prepare kids for what comes after high school is a good basic education. The schools that provide a good basic education are relentless about the basics.


Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet                                        I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?


A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’                                                       

Single-sex classrooms should be allowed in public schools

Boys of color: Resources from the Boys Initiative

U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention                                      

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Trying not to raise a bumper crop of morons: Hong Kong’s ‘tutor kings and queens’

26 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi tackled the issue of “model minorities” in Is there a ‘model minority’ ??

Let’s get this out of the way, moi has always thought the term “minority” as applied to certain ethnic groups or cultures is and has been condescending and demeaning. Edward Schumacher-Matos, the NPR ombudsman writes in On Race: The Relevance of Saying ‘Minority’ This article deals with American society, but the term reflects the thought of many whether dealing with American ethnic groups or international ethnic groups.

Schumacher-Matos cites Mallary Jean Tenore’s article, Journalists value precise language, except when it comes to describing ‘minorities’:

Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark said the word “minorities” may be going through a “semantic shift” — a change in the associations and meanings of words over time. “Sometimes the changes in a word take centuries,” Clark told me. “Other times it can happen very quickly.”

The word “girl,” for example, used to refer to a young person of either gender. The definition of “colored” has also shifted.

The term ‘colored’ was used for a long time to designate African Americans until it was deemed offensive. And it only really referred to ‘black’ people,” Clark said. “Now we have ‘persons of color,’ which seems to be a synonym for non-white. As the population changes, a term like ‘person of color’ rather than ‘minority’ might be more appropriate.”

Some people, however, argue that “person of color” is as bad as “minorities” or worse. We also may be limited by the AP Stylebook or our newsrooms’ style. When that’s the case, it helps to be open with readers about why we use certain terms.

On its “About” page, the Asian American Journalists Association explains: “AAJA uses the term ‘Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ to embrace all Americans — both citizens and residents — who self-identify with one or more of the three dozen nationalities and ethnic groups in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. We use this term to refer to our communities at large, as well as to our membership, which includes representatives from all these regions.”

Recently, the Los Angeles Times published a memo from Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann explaining why the Times uses “Latino” over “Hispanic.” Some readers applauded the Times for its decision, while others suggested the term is misleading and raises more questions than it answers.

That’s the problem with using one word or phrase to describe an entire group of people — it never fully captures the nuances of that group. Inevitably, some people  are going to feel slighted or mischaracterized.

It is difficult to theorize or surmise what is going on in a particular culture if one is not imbued with understanding the context of that culture. Still, Yojana Sharma’s BBC report about Hong Kong’s star tutors makes moi theorize that the families paying the hefty bill are not satisfied with being “minority” anythings.

Sharma reports in BBC article, Meet the ‘tutor kings and queens’ about the educators who are accorded as much adulation and status as rock stars in Hong Kong:

They strike glamorous poses in posters in shopping malls and on the sides of buses.

But they are not movie stars or supermodels: they are Hong Kong’s A-list “tutor kings” and “tutor queens”, offering pupils a chance to improve mediocre grades.

In Hong Kong’s consumer culture, looks sell. Celebrity tutors in their sophisticated hair-dos and designer trappings are treated like idols by their young fans who flock to their classes.

And they have earnings to match – some have become millionaires and appear regularly on television shows.

“If you want to be a top tutor, it definitely helps if you are young and attractive. Students look at your appearance,” said Kelly Mok, 26, a “tutor queen” at King’s Glory, one of Hong Kong’s largest tutorial establishments.

Her designer clothes and accessories are not just for the billboards; it’s how she likes to dress outside classes. But she is also careful to add that she wouldn’t be in such high demand if she could not deliver top grades in her subject,

Richard Eng from Beacon College is often credited with being the first of Hong Kong’s “star tutors”. A former secondary school teacher, he says he got the idea after he featured in photographs advertising his sister, a performance artist.

“In school all the teachers look the same, there’s no excitement,” he said.

Richard Eng has brought a show business approach to the world of improving exam grades

His own image appears on special ring-binders and folders containing study tips, or pens which harbour a pull-out scroll with his picture and other gifts. Such items became so sought after that they propelled him to near-rock star status among young people.

The celebrity tutor phenomenon is a result of the huge growth in out-of-school tutoring in Asia.

It is fuelled by highly pressured examination systems and ambitious parents wanting their children to secure places at top universities and high-status secondary schools.

In societies where success is equated with good exam results, parental anxiety converts into a “steady stream of revenue” for tutoring establishments, according to a study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The tutoring industry, or “shadow education” as the ADB calls it, has become very widespread in Asia, fed by the growth in universities and the rising proportion of school leavers aiming for university.

Hong Kong University’s professor Mark Bray, one of the authors of the ADB study, said a staggering 72% of final-year school students in Hong Kong now go to private tutors.

Richer families have always paid for individual tutoring, but the star tutors offer exam tips and revision notes to the less well-off, studying in groups of over 100.

‘Getting an edge’

It’s not just Hong Kong. Tutoring has “spread and intensified in Asia and become more commercialised,” said professor Bray. In South Korea, 90% of primary school children attend such classes.

Forget the elbow patches, tutor Kelly Mok teaches English with style

In South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, tutorial schools use star tutors to attract even more students. “They have found a way to appeal to young people and pull them in. They create a buzz,” he said.

“We had this phenomenon of star tutors in Kota as well,” said Pramod Maheshwari, chief executive of Career Point Coaching School in Kota, Rajasthan, India, a city of residential tutorial colleges which attract students from all over the country.

“It can give you an edge.” But ultimately, he says, expansion of tutoring is driven not by personalities but by “the inefficiency of the school system”.

“Across India, students’ education level is not up to the mark, and millions are preparing for competitive college examinations. It is a huge market,” said Mr Maheshwari.

In China, where private tutorial schools were unknown until the economy opened up in the 1990s, New Oriental Education and Technology has grown to become one of the largest tutoring schools in Asia with around 2.4 million students this year.

It boasts 17,600 teachers in 49 cities and an online network of over 7.8 million users.

Listed on the New York stock exchange since 2006, its founder Michael Yu (also known as Yu Minhong), became a multi-millionaire on the back of his blend of rote learning exercises, stand-up comedy and motivational speeches.

A man from a humble background, who had become an English teacher at Peking University, Mr Yu used the Hong Kong model of employing star tutors to prepare students for tests for universities abroad.

Extensive tutoring is sometimes seen as contributing to East Asian countries’ high performance in international school comparisons, particularly in mathematics.

One person does not speaks for a group, but members of a group can often provide useful insight about the group.


One of the most central features of a culture are its values. Values are the standards by which one may judge the difference between good and bad, and the right and wrong things to do. Though some values are universally shared among all cultures, it is the contrast and differences in values of different cultures that can account for the interactions and perceptions that occur between different cultures.

Traditional values are a common thread among individuals in a culture. Stereotyping comes about because of common behavior patterns that are based on common values, and distortion and misperception can come about as a result of misunderstandings of those values. Stereotyping can also be dangerous because people are individuals with their own values which may vary a great deal from the traditional ideal. Values can vary quite a bit depending upon one’s generation, class, education, origin, among other factors. For example, there is considerable difference in what might be called “traditional” and “modern” American values.

Although each distinct Asian culture actually has its own set of values, they all share a common core, which is probably best documented in the Japanese and Chinese traditions, and by philosophers such as Confucius, whose writings had considerable influence throughout Asia. In the Asian American experience, these values interact with what might be called simply “western” or “Caucasian” values, but if one contrasts the values of America with those of Europe, it can be seen that these are really “Modern American” values that provide the best contrasts.

Asian values are very much inter-related. They all support the view of the individual as being a part of a much larger group or family, and place great importance on the well-being of the group, even at the expense of the individual. American values, on the other hand emphasize the importance of the well-being of the individual, and stresses independence and individual initiative. Although it may seem that values such as education, family, and hard work are shared between cultures, these values manifest themselves quite differently in the two cultures.

Some Asian values are so important that some of the cultures, especially the Japanese have given them names of their own, and are used commonly. Here is a list of some of the most outstanding values:

Ie (japanese) – The family as a basic unit of social organization, and as a pattern for the structure of society as a whole.

Education – The whole process of child rearing and education as a means of perpetuating society, and of attaining position within society.

Enyo (japanese) – The conscious use of silence, reserve in manner.

Han (chinese) Conformity, and the suppression of individual attriputes such as talen, anger, or wealth which might disrupt group harmony. (Chinese)

Amae (japanese) – To depend and presume upon the benevolence of others. A deep bonding in human relationships between one who is responsible for another, and one who must depend on another.

Giri (japanese) – Indebtedness, obligation and duty to others, reciprocity.

Gaman (japanese) – Endurance, sticking it out at all costs. Self-sacrifice for the sake of others.

Tui Lien (chinese) – Loss face, shame. The final standard as to how well one lives up to these values.

Family and Education

Probaly the most notable aspect of the modern “Asian Model Minority”­stereotype is that of the academic overachiever. A number of asian students have done conspicuously well in  terms of test scores, gifted student programs, admissions to prestigious schools, academic awards, and in classical music. Though obviously not all Asians fit this pattern, this trend can be attributed primarily to the basic notion of the family, and the central role that education plays in the family.

Great importance is placed on child rearing, and education is a funda­mental aspect of this. Asian parents are more likely to spend much more time with their children, and drive them harder, sometimes even at the expense of their personal time and ambitions of the parents themselves. Though Americans might consider Asian parents to be dominating, parents in turn are expected to give children all the support they can.

While it would no be unusual for an American parent to hire a babysitter to watch the kids while they go out, or expect their children to put them­selves through college lest the parents sacrifice their own stand of living, this is much less likely in an Asian family. Living in an extended family is not unusual, and filial piety, respect for parents is a very important principle.

Unlike the youth orientation in American culture, age and position are most highly respected. The Asian family has within it a heirarchy which is a mirror of the structure of society as whole. For example, the parent child relationship is carried further on to ruler and ruled, employer and employee. Education is the most valued way of achieving position, an success in education is viewed as an act of filial piety. In imperial times, examinations were the only way to achieve position in China. Even in America, education is seen as a key to social mobility, and economic opportunity. Education for their children was a major reason why many immigrants came to America from Asia.

There is no such thing as a “model minority” and getting rid of this myth will allow educators to focus on the needs of the individual student. Calling ethnic groups “minorities” is really a misnomer. According to Frank Bass’ Bloomberg article, Nonwhite U.S. Births Become the Majority for First Time:

Minority babies outnumbered white newborns in 2011 for the first time in U.S. history, the latest milestone in a demographic shift that’s transforming the nation.

The percentage of nonwhite newborns rose to 50.4 percent of children younger than a year old from April 2010 to July 2011, while non-Hispanic whites fell to 49.6 percent, the U.S. Census Bureau said today.

If a racial identifier must be used, it is better to describe the cultural group or ethnic group with an appropriate term for that group.

The is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education, there is what works to produce academic achievement in each population of students.

What moi observes from the Hong Kong case study is that success does not occur in a vacuum and that students from all walks of life can benefit from the individual intervention to prevent failure.


The Creation—and Consequences—of the Model Minority Myth

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Policy brief: The fiscal and educational benefits of universal universal preschool

25 Nov

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:

Preschool is a portal to the continuum of life long learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner are reporting in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit.

Huffington Post reports in the article, Preschool Education Deserves Expansion, Investment: National Education Policy Center Brief:

In a brief released Tueday, National Education Policy Center managing director Dr. William Mathis urges policymakers to invest in high-quality preschool education, citing its universally acknowledged economic and social benefits.

According to Mathis, in inflation-adjusted dollars, overall funding per child is lower than a decade ago, despite the fact that high-quality, intensive preschool education for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap.

Involvement in preschool programs can also yield more positive adult outcomes, such as fewer arrests, less drug use, fewer grade retentions, higher college attendance rates, higher employment and earnings, greater social mobility and less welfare dependency.

Mathis goes on to explain the key elements of a quality preschool program, which include small class sizes and ratios — 20 or fewer children, with two adults. He also says programs should boast well-trained, adequately compensated teachers and include strong links to social and health services. The author highlights the importance of featuring a mix of child-initiated and teacher directed activities, with adequate time for individualized and small group interactions.

According to Mathis’ brief, economically deprived children benefit most from preschool, but all children experience some advantage from participation in such programs. Branching off that, children from middle-income families tend to struggle with access because they are not eligible for programs like Head Start, which enrolls fewer students than state or district programs. Results indicate Head Start is a cost-effective program with lesser but nonetheless positive results, suggesting it should be retained but also strengthened

Besides broad investment in preschool, Mathis recommends states develop and monitor early education standards in order to ensure quality programs. Furthermore, programs should be expanded to include three-year-olds, with an emphasis on needy children and promoting the well-being of the “whole child.”

The results of a Chicago-based study released last June bolstered the findings from similar, smaller studies showing that high-quality preschool “gives you your biggest bang for the buck,” according to Dr. Pamela High, chair of an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that deals with early childhood issues. The study tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago children for up to 25 years, including nearly 900 who attended the city’s intensive Child-Parent Center Education Program in the early 1980s. Overall, those who attended the program fared much better in life than their peers who did not attend preschool, recording fewer arrest and securing better jobs.

Here is the press release from The National Education Policy Center:


William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058,

URL for this press release:

BOULDER, CO (November 13, 2012) –Policymakers should heed the sound research evidence supporting the expansion of high-quality preschool opportunities, according to the third in a series of two- and three-page briefs summarizing key  findings in education policy research.
The brief is authored by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Bo ulder School of Education.
There is near-universal agreement among researchers “that high-quality preschool programs more than pay for themselves in economic and social benefits,” Mathis writes. Indeed, high-quality preschool for at least two years has been found to close as much as half the achievement gap. Such preschool participation is also associated with a wide range of more positive adult outcomes, including less drug use, less welfare dependency, higher graduation rates, higher college attendance, and higher employment.
Despite these demonstrated outcomes and the increase in children attending pre-school, “in inflation adjusted dollars, overall funding per child served is lower than a decade ago,” Mathis writes. For preschool to reap its proven substantial benefits, lawmakers must assure that the programs are of high quality and are adequately supported.
The brief explains the key elements of a quality pre-school program. It also discusses research findings concerning basic issues such as the entrance age for preschool, comparisons of center-based and home-based programs, and whether preschool should be universal or targeted by socioeconomic group.
The three-page brief is part of
Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.
The brief is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:
The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit
This brief is also found on the GLC website at

Here is more information from Dr. Mathias:

William J. Mathis

November 13, 2012

Press Release →

Media Citations →

Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. 


Section 1:  Teacher Evaluation.  After reviewing different types of evaluative methods, Mathis points out the importance of using a combination of methods, of including all stakeholders in decision-making about evaluation systems, and of investing in the evaluation system.

Section 2:  Common Core State Standards.  Mathis explains how the actual effect of the widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards will depend less on the standards themselves than on how they are used.

Section 3:  Preschool Education.  Investment in high-quality preschool education is one of the most effective reform strategies. Bill Mathis details the key elements of such a program, and the supporting research.

Section 4:  Effective School Expenditures

Section 5:  Funding Formulas and Choice

Section 6:  English Language Learners Parent Involvement

Section 7:  Dropout Strategies

Section 8:  21st Century College and Career Ready

Section 9:  LGBT Safety Policies

Section 10:  Detracking

Moi wrote in OECD study: U.S. lags behind in preschool enrollment:


Lesli A. Maxwell reports in the Education Week article, Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Preschool Enrollment a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD):

According to the Paris-based OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2012,” a report released today, the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary education programs, at 69 percent. That’s compared with more than 95 percent enrollment rates in France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Mexico, which lead the world in early-childhood participation rates for 4-year-olds. Ireland, Poland, Finland, and Brazil are among the nations that trail the United States.

The United States also invests significantly less public money in early-childhood programs than its counterparts in the Group of Twenty, or G-20, economies, which include 19 countries and the European Union. On average, across the countries that are compared in the OECD report, 84 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in public programs or in private settings that receive major government resources in 2010. In this country, just 55 percent of early-childhood students were enrolled in publicly supported programs in 2010, while 45 percent attended independent private programs…..


Education at a Glance 2012: OECD Indicators

Our goals should be: A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

Think small, Not small minded ©

Money spent on early childhood programs is akin to yeast for bread. The whole society will rise.


What is the Educare preschool model?                      

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Figuring actual college costs

25 Nov

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn have written With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the U.S. Department of Education’s new site about college costs. As college becomes more unaffordable for more and more people, they are looking at ways to cut college costs.

Suzanna de Baca wrote the great Time article, The 12 Hidden College Expenses:

Here are some less obvious but common — and pricey — expenses to watch for:

Books and media: According to the College Board, the average annual cost of books for a college student ranges from $850 to $1,000. This is one item you shouldn’t skimp on. To save money, buy used textbooks (even cheaper used books can be found online vs. in the bookstore) or use library resources. If books cost more than you expected, revise the textbook budget for future semesters accordingly.

Class and parking fees: Some classes — like art or chemistry — charge fees for materials and studio or lab use. Know in advance which classes come with additional fees and plan for them so you aren’t blindsided. Also, many schools or cities charge for parking on or near campus, so find out how much a parking pass costs.

Having fun: Campus life often includes socializing and entertainment. However, movies, concerts and sporting events come with a cost. If this is a priority, explore purchasing a discounted season sports or events package vs. paying per event. Also, set entertainment spending limits for yourself or your child.

Fraternities and sororities: The Greek system can be pricey. Dues may be required (from modest to expensive), and joining halfway through the year can require paying for months past, which can double the dues. Other required Greek spending, like clothing for special events and traveling, can also add up.

Getting involved: Learning experiences outside the classroom are an important part of college, but clubs, intramural sports and memberships may cost money and require the purchase of T-shirts or member memorabilia. When considering activities, think about what’s most important and weigh the varying costs.

Furnishings: You have likely purchased items not included in the dorm plan, like bedding, towels, lamps, decorations, furniture, laundry and waste baskets, bulletin boards, hair dryers and even storage and appliances. Once settled, you may have a new list of things you discovered you’re missing, like a vacuum or other electronics. Think about what is necessary, as many of these items have a limited life postcollege and can often be rented or shared.

Electronics: According to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Back to School report, electronics are popular expenditures with college students: 60% said they will buy a new computer, MP3 player, smart phone or other device and will spend an average $217.88. Tack on a new flat screen for the dorm room, and the cost of electronics seems daunting. Determine what non-necessary electronics you can afford to splurge on in advance, and avoid peer pressure around purchasing the hottest new item.

Cable TV:  Most dorms have common areas with TVs that have cable access. However, many students opt for cable in their room or apartment on or off campus — at a fee! Evaluate how much time you spend at home or in your room and determine whether the cost is worth it, especially given the options now available in streaming media for both entertainment and news.

Wardrobe: While purchasing back-to-school clothing is an annual affair for most students, once on campus, unexpected clothing purchases may emerge. Internship interviews and extracurricular activities along with other special events may all require specific attire. Try to anticipate these expenses and think about delaying your shopping trip until after you get to campus. Consider which purchases are priorities and make budget trade-offs if you tend to spend more on clothes.

Mobile-phone service: Understanding the right mobile-phone plan is important. Your chatting, texting and data-downloading habits may change at school as you keep in touch with friends or use services throughout business hours. Staying on the family plan is usually a good option, but determine which provider has the best service on campus.

Food and beverage: While you may have a food plan, the cost of eating out and buying snacks and beverages for the dorm may be more than you think. You also might overspend on these things as you navigate campus life.

Travel: Most students go home to visit several times a year, so budget for gas or plane tickets. Since these trips will likely happen at heavy travel times, plan ahead to get good prices. If you’re a parent planning to visit your child’s campus, don’t forget to plan for your trips, which can include many of the same costs as a vacation: travel, food, transportation and entertainment. Talk about how often is realistic for you to see your family based on travel costs and consider using technologies like Skype to eliminate some of these costs.

Applying to a college is just the first step. Students and families also have to consider the cost of particular college options.


Five Ways to Cut the Cost of College                           

Secrets to paying for college                                        

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist Brochure

Funding Education Beyond High School

Federal Student Aid


Choosing the right college for you

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’

Is a woman’s college the right college for you?          

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‘Big Brother’ and the schools

24 Nov

Moi wrote about that Texas “Big Brother” in Texas digital school ID: ‘Big brother’ or the ‘mark of the beast’?

There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”

George Orwell, 1984

Huffington Post is reporting in the article, Texas School District Reportedly Threatening Students Who Refuse Tracking ID, Can’t Vote For Homecoming:

Weeks after Northside Independent School District in San Antonio rolled out its new “smart” IDs that tracks students’ geographic locations, the community is still at odds with the program.

The “Student Locator Project,” which is slated to eventually reach 112 Texas schools and close to 100,000 students, is in trial stages in two Northside district schools. In an effort to reduce truancy, the district has issued new student IDs with an embedded radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip that tracks the location of a student at all times.

The program officially launched October 1 at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School. Without the badges — required to be worn around the neck — students cannot access common areas like the cafeteria or library, and cannot purchase tickets to extracurricular activities. WND reports that the district has threatened to suspend, fine or involuntarily transfer students who fail to comply and officials have noted that “there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation.”

Parents and students from the schools spoke out against the project last month. But now, WND is reporting that schools are taking the restrictions one step further.

John Jay High School sophomore Andrea Hernandez refuses to use the new IDs, citing religious beliefs and instead sticking with her old badge from previous years, calling the tracking devices the “mark of the beast.” She tells Salon that the new badges make her uncomfortable and are an invasion of her privacy.

But to add to her restricted school grounds access, the teen says she was barred from voting for homecoming king and queen.

I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” she told WND. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”

If successful, the tracking program could save the district as much as $175,000 lost daily to low attendance figures, which in part determine school funding. Higher attendance could lead to more state funding in the neighborhood of $1.7 million. A statement on the school district’s website lays out the program’s goals: to increase student safety and security, increase attendance and offer a multi-purpose “smart” student ID card that streamlines grounds access and purchasing power.

While uncommon, RFID chips are not new to school IDs, according to Wired. Schools in Houston launched a monitoring program as early as 2004, and a federally funded preschool in California started placing RFID chips in children’s clothes two years ago. Numerous districts have also considered similar programs, but without making them mandatory.

What one might ask would cause a school district to do that ‘big brother’ thing. It’s the money, stupid. According to the Texas Tribune’s Maurice Chammah and Nick Swartsell writing in the article, Student IDs That Track the Students which was published in the New York Times:

In Texas, school finance is a numbers game: schools receive money based on the number of students counted in their homeroom classes each morning. At Anson Jones, as at other schools, many students were in school but not in homeroom, so they were not counted and the district lost money, said Pascual Gonzalez, a spokesman for the district.

We were leaving money on the table,” he said, adding that the district expects a $2 million return on an initial investment of $261,000 in the technology at two pilot schools. [Emphasis Added]

Students who refuse to be monitored are being expelled.

Aaron Dykes writes at Infowars.Com in the article, Student Expelled for Refusing Location Tracking RFID Badge:

After months of protesting a policy requiring high school students to wear an RFID-enabled ID badge around their necks at all times, Andrea Hernandez is being involuntarily withdrawn from John Jay High School in San Antonio effective November 26th, according to a letter sent by the district that has now been made public.

The letter, sent on November 13, informs her father that the Smart ID program, which was phased in with the new school year, is now in “full implementation” and requires all students to comply by wearing the location-tracking badges.

Since Andrea Hernandez has refused to wear the badge, she is being withdrawn from the magnet school and her program at the Science and Engineering Academy, and instead will have to attend William Howard Taft HS, which is not currently involved in the ID scheme, unless she changes her position.

Civil liberties lawyers at the Rutherford Institute told that they are in the process of filing a temporary restraining order petition to prevent the school from kicking Hernandez out until further appeals can be made to resolve the matter. Representatives for John Jay did not return calls for comment by the time of publishing.

Andrea, backed by her family, has claimed the policy violates her religious beliefs and unduly infringes on her privacy. The controversial ID badge includes the photo and name of each student, a barcode tied to the student’s social security number, as well as an RFID chip which pinpoints the exact location of the individual student, including after hours and when the student leaves campus.

The battle over the IDs has been an ongoing saga. The Hernandez family has previously attended several school board meetings, organized protests and filed formal grievances with the district over the matter, and has been backed by numerous civil rights advocates.

Infowars reporters covered a protest that took place in early October, following up with appearances by the Hernandez family on the Alex Jones Show and the Infowars Nightly News programs.

Letter from John Jay High School withdrawing Andrea Hernandez for not submitting to the RFID tracking ID badges.

For money, you would sell your soul.


Big Brother invades our classrooms                           

ACLU documents show increasing phone and internet surveillance by Department of Justice                                             


Who has access to student records?                     

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Studies: Current testing may not adequately assess student abilities

22 Nov

Moi wrote about testing in More are questioning the value of one-size-fits-all testing:

Joy Resmovits has an excellent post at Huffington Post. In Standardized Tests’ Measures of Student Performance Vary Widely: Study Resmovits reports:

The report, written by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, found that the definition of proficiency on standardized tests varies widely among states, making it difficult to assess and compare student performance. The report looked at states’ standards on exams and found that some states set much higher bars for students proficiency in particular subjects.

The term “proficiency” is key because the federal No Child Left Behind law mandates that 100 percent of students must be “proficient” under state standards by 2014 — a goal that has been universally described as impossible to reach….

They found many states deemed students “proficient” by their own standards, but those same students would have been ranked as only “basic” — defined as “partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at each grade” — under NAEP.

The implication is that students of similar academic skills but residing in different states are being evaluated against different standards for proficiency in reading and mathematics,” the report concludes….

Here is the report citation:

Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Variation and Change in State Standards for Reading and Mathematics, 2005-2009

August 10, 2011

Author: Victor Bandeira de Mello

PDF Download the complete report in a PDF file for viewing and printing. (1959K PDF)

W.M. Chambers cautioned about testing in a 1964 Journal of General Education article, Testing And Its Relationship To Educational Objectives. He questioned whether testing supported the objectives of education rather than directing the objectives.

Here is the complete citation:

Penn State University Press Testing And Its Relationship To Educational Objectives

W. M. Chambers

The Journal of General Education
Vol. 16, No. 3 (October 1964), pp. 246-249
(article consists of 4 pages)

Published by:

Stable URL:

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, Today’s Tests Seen as Bar to Better Assessment:

The use of testing in school accountability systems may hamstring the development of tests that can actually transform teaching and learning, experts from a national assessment commission warn.

Members of the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education, speaking at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Education here Nov. 1-3, said that technological innovations may soon allow much more in-depth data collection on students, but that current testing policy calls for the same test to fill too many different and often contradictory roles.

The nation’s drive to develop standards-based accountability for schools has led to tests that, “with only few exceptions, systematically overrepresent basic skills and knowledge and omit the complex knowledge and reasoning we are seeking for college and career readiness,” the commission writes in one of several interim reportsRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader discussed at the Academy of Education meeting.

“We strongly believe that assessment is a primary component of education, … [part of] the trifecta of teaching, learning, and testing,” said Edmund W. Gordon, the chairman of the commission and a professor emeritus of psychology at Yale University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

The two-year study group launched in 2011 with initial funding from the Princeton, N. J.-based Educational Testing Service and a membership that reads like a who’s who of education research and policy. Its 32 members include: author and education historian Diane Ravitch of New York University, former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise of the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education, and cognitive psychologist Lauren Resnick of the University of Pittsburgh, among others.

The panel is developing recommendations for both research on new assessments—for the Common Core State Standards and others—and policy for educators on how to use tests appropriately. The final recommendations, expected at the end of the year, will be based on two dozen studies and analyses from experts in testing on issues of methods, student privacy, and other topics….

Related Stories

There are education scholars on all sides of the testing issue.

Moi wrote in What, if anything, do education tests mean?

Every population of kids is different and they arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Schools and teachers must be accountable, but there should be various measures of judging teacher effectiveness for a particular population of children. Perhaps, more time and effort should be spent in developing a strong principal corps and giving principals the training and assistance in evaluation and mentoring techniques. There should be evaluation measures which look at where children are on the learning continuum and design a program to address that child’s needs.     

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Study: too many kids are pumping up with steroids

20 Nov

Moi wrote in In Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders, moi said:

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kid’s Health has some good information about Body Image

In an attempt to have a buff body many teens are using steroids.

Brian Toporek writes in the Education Week article, Study: Muscle-Enhancing Behaviors Increasingly Common Among Teens:

Both teenage boys and girls are engaging in muscle-enhancing behaviors far more than previously known, according to a study published online today in the journal Pediatrics.

As large, lean, muscular male body images have risen in popularity in Western culture, so too has teenage boys’ dissatisfaction with their own bodies, the study suggests. Some boys thus decide to engage in muscle-enhancing behaviors to shape their bodies like the ones being presented to them in the media.

For this study, three researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University examined data from 2,793 youths (with a mean age of 14.4) at 20 urban middle and high schools taken during the 2009-10 school year. The researchers set out to determine the prevalence of five specific muscle-enhancing behaviors: changing eating habits to increase muscle size, increasing exercise, the use of protein powder, the use of steroids, and the use of other muscle-enhancing substances.

Nearly 70 percent of the boys in the study (897 of 1,307 total) reported having changed their eating habits in order to increase their muscle size or tone within the past 12 months, and more than 90 percent of boys increased their amount of exercise to achieve the same goal.

More than 40 percent of boys reported that they often exercised more to boost their muscle mass or tone, while 39.1 percent sometimes did, and 11.3 rarely did. Only 8.8 percent of boys never did, according to the study.

While changing eating habits and exercising more could each be considered healthy habits, many boys engaged in unhealthy behaviors, too. More than one-third of the boys in the study reported using protein powders or shakes, 5.9 percent reported using steroids, and 10.5 percent reported using some other muscle-enhancing substance.

On the female side, more than 60 percent of girls reported changing their eating habits to increase muscle size or tone, and more than 80 percent of girls exercised more for the same reason. More than 20 percent of girls reported using protein powders or shakes, 4.6 percent reported using steroids, and 5.5 percent reported using other muscle-enhancing substances…

The researchers suggest that pediatricians should ask their adolescent patients about muscle-enhancing behaviors, and say sports physicals could present a perfect opportunity to do so.

Generva Pittman of Reuters writes about steroids in the article, One in 20 youth has used steroids to bulk up: study:

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Steroids are prescribed legally to treat conditions involving hormone deficiency or muscle loss, but when they’re used for non-medical purposes, it’s typically at much higher doses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In those cases, steroids can cause mood swings – sometimes known as roid rage – and for adolescents, stunted growth and accelerated puberty.

Anabolic steroids have become pervasive in professional sports, including baseball, football and boxing. (Another example of performance-enhancing drug use is “blood doping” with erythropoietin or EPO, which is behind the Lance Armstrong cycling controversy that caused him to be stripped of his Tour de France titles last month.)

Experts have worried that the drive to get ahead of competitors at any cost could trickle down to college and high school athletes, as well.

Goldberg, co-developer of the ATLAS and ATHENA programs to prevent steroid and other substance use on high school teams, said it’s important to give teens healthier alternatives to build muscle.


Muscle-enhancing Behaviors Among Adolescent Girls and Boys

  1. Marla E. Eisenberg, ScD, MPHa,b,
  2. Melanie Wall, PhDc, and
  3. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RDb

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aDivision of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and
  2. bDivision of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and
  3. cDepartments of Biostatistics and Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York

OBJECTIVE: Media images of men and women have become increasingly muscular, and muscle-enhancing techniques are available to youth. Identifying populations at risk for unhealthy muscle-enhancingbehaviors is of considerable public health importance. The current study uses a large and diverse population-based sample of adolescents to examine the prevalence of muscle-enhancing behaviors and differences across demographic characteristics, weight status, and sports team involvement.

METHODS: Survey data from 2793 diverse adolescents (mean age = 14.4) were collected at 20 urban middle and high schools. Use of 5 muscle-enhancing behaviors was assessed (changing eating, exercising, protein powders, steroids and other muscle-enhancing substances), and a summary score reflecting use of 3 or more behaviors was created. Logistic regression was used to test for differences in each behavior across age group, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, BMI category, and sports team participation.

RESULTS: Muscle-enhancing behaviors were common in this sample for both boys and girls. For example, 34.7% used protein powders or shakes and 5.9% reported steroid use. Most behaviors were significantly more common among boys. In models mutually adjusted for all covariates, grade level, Asian race, BMI category, and sports team participation were significantly associated with the use of muscle-enhancing behaviors. For example, overweight (odds ratio = 1.45) and obese (odds ratio = 1.90) girls had significantly greater odds of using protein powders or shakes than girls of average BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of muscle-enhancing behaviors is substantially higher than has been previously reported and is cause for concern. Pediatricians and other health care providers should ask their adolescent patients about muscle-enhancing behaviors.

Parents have more influence on their children’s values and beliefs than most are willing to exercise. You need to support your children’s dreams, not yours.

Because people have free will, even the best parents will have children who make mistakes. Some so identified “progressives” will attribute this lapse not to individual free will, but the fact that the message of morality is a failure. It is not. People learn lessons at different speeds, some sooner, some later. Remember the lesson of the Prodigal Son


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Social media spreads eating disorder ‘Thinspiration’

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