Archive | January, 2013

The 02/01/13 Joy Jar

31 Jan

Moi is a ‘bus chick’ and rides the bus all over Seattle or she walks. She is registered with the two pay-by-use car programs, but rarely uses them. The bus takes moi everywhere she needs to go. The bus tunnel runs under downtown Seattle and is deep underground. To reach the surface, one takes an escalator, at the deepest points of tunnel, to the street. Today moi was leaving the tunnel and riding the escalator to the street. There were several people who went past moi walking up the escalator. They shaved maybe 30 seconds off the escalator ride. Than got moi thinking about the speed of contemporary life. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a liveable pace of life.

Life is made up of special moments which make it worth living. There are many cherished moments that are missed due to the stress and fast pace of daily living. We must slow down and remember how precious it is to be alive and to love!!!!  


“Smile, breathe, and go slowly”                                                                          Thich Nhat Hanh

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”                                        Ovid

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”                  Chinese proverb
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”                                                Mahatma Gandhi

Study: Elementary school teachers have an impact on girls math learning

31 Jan

Science Daily reported in the March 14, 2011 article, Gender Stereotypes About Math Develop As Early As the Second Grade

Children express the stereotype that mathematics is for boys, not for girls, as early as second grade, according to a new study by University of Washington researchers. And the children applied the stereotype to themselves: boys identified themselves with math whereas girls did not.

The “math is for boys” stereotype has been used as part of the explanation for why so few women pursue science, mathematics and engineering careers. The cultural stereotype may nudge girls to think that “math is not for me,” which can affect what activities they engage in and their career aspirations.

The new study, published in the March/April issue of Child Development, suggests that, for girls, lack of interest in mathematics may come from culturally-communicated messages about math being more appropriate for boys than for girls, the researchers said.

But the stereotype that girls don’t do math was odd to lead author Dario Cvencek, who was born and raised in the former Yugoslavia. “We didn’t have that stereotype where I grew up,” said Cvencek, a postdoctoral fellow at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “People there thought that math went with girls just as much as it did with boys.”

Cvencek and his co-authors wanted to examine whether American children have adopted the cultural stereotype that math is for boys during elementary-school years, and if so, whether they apply that stereotype to themselves….

Math self-concept — how much youngsters identify themselves with math, as in “math is for me” — has been left out of previous studies of the math-gender stereotype. Even though other studies using self-report measures show that boys and girls alike make the “math is for boys” linkage, the studies don’t distinguish between whether girls simply know about the math-gender stereotype but aren’t fazed by it, or are instead applying it to themselves so that it affects their identity, interests and actions….

In the math-gender stereotype test, for example, children sorted four kinds of words: boy names, girl names, math words and reading words. Children expressing the math-gender stereotype should be faster to sort words when boy names are paired with math words and girl names are paired with reading words. Similarly, they should be slower to respond when math words are paired with girl names and reading words are paired with boy names.

As early as second grade, the children demonstrated the American cultural stereotype for math: boys associated math with their own gender while girls associated math with boys. In the self-concept test, boys identified themselves with math more than girls did.

The researchers also used self-report tests and on all three concepts found similar responses to the Implicit Association Test.

“Our results show that cultural stereotypes about math are absorbed strikingly early in development, prior to ages at which there are gender differences in math achievement,” said co-author Andrew Meltzoff, a UW psychology professor and co-director of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. Meltzoff holds the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Chair at UW.

Parental and educational practices aimed at enhancing girls’ self-concepts for math might be beneficial as early as elementary school, when the youngsters are already beginning to develop ideas about who does math, the researchers said.

Here is the study citation:

Dario Cvencek, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Anthony G. Greenwald. Math-Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children. Child Development, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01529.x

John ChildUp has an excellent synopsis of the math study, Math Gender Stereotypes Start As Early As Second Grade at his ChildUp blog:

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, For Girls, Teachers’ Gender Matters, Study Says:

Female elementary school teachers’ comfort with mathematics has an outsize effect on the girls they teach, according to new research.

Girls taught by a female teacher got a learning boost if that teacher had a strong math background, but had consistently lower math performance by the end of the school year if she didn’t, according to a study presented at the American Economic Association’s annual conference here.

By contrast, boys’ math scores were not affected by having a female math teacher, regardless of the teacher’s background in that subject, and there were no differences in math performance among male and female students of male teachers of different math backgrounds. The study adds to growing evidence that children’s gender biases can significantly affect their own ability.

“Children’s perceptions of gender start emerging between the ages of 7 and 12,” said study coauthor I. Serkan Ozbeklik, an assistant economics professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “Positive or negative, the primary school experiences may shape the academic course of students, leading to long-term consequences like choice of study, choice of major, and occupation.”

Scope of Research

Researchers led by Heather Antecol, an economics professor at Claremont McKenna, analyzed the mathematics performance of more than 1,600 1st through 5th grade students under 94 teachers in 17 high-poverty, high-minority schools in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta region between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years.

On average, the teachers had more than six years of experience, but only 11.5 percent of the study’s students had a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in math or a related field like engineering, economics, or accounting. Nearly a third of the teachers were men, far above the national average of only one-tenth of primary school teachers.

Ms. Antecol and her colleagues found that girls taught by a female teacher, as opposed to a male teacher, saw their math test scores drop by 4.7 percenage points by the end of the school year. Moreover, those girls performed on average 1.9 percentage points lower than their male classmates, about 10 percent of a standard deviation. The researchers characterized both effects as strong.

By contrast, boys saw no drop in math performance under the same teachers.

While education-watchers have voiced similar concerns about gender stereotyping of boys’ reading ability, the study found no differences between boys’ and girls’ reading performance based on having a male or female teacher.


The Effect of Teacher Gender on Student Achievement in Primary School: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

Author Info

  • Antecol, Heather

( (Claremont McKenna College)

  • Eren, Ozkan

( (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

  • Ozbeklik, Serkan

( (Claremont McKenna College)

Registered author(s):


This paper attempts to reconcile the contradictory results found in the economics literature and the educational psychology literature with respect to the academic impact of gender dynamics in the classroom. Specifically, using data from a randomized experiment, we look at the effects of having a female teacher on the math test scores of students in primary school. We find that female students who were assigned to a female teacher without a strong math background suffered from lower math test scores at the end of the academic year. This negative effect however not only seems to disappear but it becomes (marginally) positive for female students who were assigned to a female teacher with a strong math background. Finally, we do not find any effect of having a female teacher on male students’ test scores (math or reading) or female students’ reading test scores. Taken together, our results tentatively suggest that the findings in these two streams of the literature are in fact consistent if one takes into account a teacher’s academic background in math.

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Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein.


Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls

Girls and math phobia                                                          

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers                                     

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?

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The 01/31/13 Joy Jar

30 Jan

A couple of weeks ago, moi’s favorite soap and fragrance store at the mall had a sale. You could get three things for x dollars and you could mix and match items. They gave you cute little bags to put you stuff in. The place was crowded and although they say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, the crowd was happy. Today, moi broke open the Lemon Vanilla lotion and the subtle calming scent really made the moment. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is scented lotion.



A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.”
Jeffrey Stepakoff,
The Orchard: A Novel


Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
Diane Ackerman

To wash one’s hair, make one’s toilet, and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure.

Sei Shonagon

Each day has a color, a smell.”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices


That awkward moment when you have to much lotion on and don’t know where to put it…


The 01/30/13 Joy Jar

29 Jan

Moi loves her big bag or big purse, whatever you want to call it. Actually, moi has several big bags. She keeps all her stuff in it, whether it is immediately needed or not. After all, you might need this or that and someone else might need this or that. They are actually big enough to be useful in Seattle, a city which instituted a plastic bag ban. These days one brings a bag on shopping trips or has to purchase a bag in Seattle. Moi has her calendar, umbrella, smart phone, snacks, lip gloss, and all manner of other stuff. Sometimes, there are snacks. Of course there are pens. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is her big bag.

“Don’t give a woman advice; one should never give a woman anything she can’t wear in the morning”
Oscar Wilde

You’re never too fat for a new purse.
Nia Vardalos

No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.
Theodore Roosevelt

Open your mouth and purse cautiously, and your stock of wealth and reputation shall, at least in repute, be great.
John Zimmerman

Fashion fades, only style remains the same.”
“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.”
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”
Coco Chanel



Courts are becoming the mechanism to force states to fund education

29 Jan

Moi wrote about education funding in Education funding lawsuits against states on the rise:

Moi has often said in posts at the blog that the next great civil rights struggle will involve access for ALL children to a good basic education. Sabra Bireda has written a report from the Center for American Progress, Funding Education Equitably

Andrew Usifusa writes in the Education Week article, State Finance Lawsuits Roil K-12 Funding Landscape about several lawsuits:

As state budgets slowly recover from several years of economic contraction and stagnation, significant court battles continue to play a related yet distinct role in K-12 policy, even in states where the highest courts have already delivered rulings on the subject.

This year, meanwhile, marks the 40th anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that was a turning point for the role of property taxes in financing school districts and that continues to complicate fiscal decisions for state policymakers. The 5-4 ruling, in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, held that the state did not have to justify the higher quality of education for wealthier districts that might result from their local property taxes.

In a 2008 article for the Virginia Law ReviewRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, based in Cincinnati, wrote: “For better, for worse, or for more of the same, the majority in Rodriguez tolerated the continuation of a funding system that allowed serious disparities in the quality of the education a child received based solely on the wealth of the community in which his parents happened to live or could afford to live….”

Since the 1970s, lawsuits filed in 45 states have challenged the constitutionality of school finance systems, according to the National Education Access Network, a research group that tracks lawsuits related to education finance and equity based at Teachers College, Columbia University.


School funding lawsuits continue to bedevil several states still recovering from the economic downturn that began in 2007. The suits are at various stages, and concerns about the courts’ role in education finance have emerged.

On Jan. 15, the Arizona Court of Appeals said that lawmakers were wrong to deny school funding increases to account for inflation. The court ruled that legislators did not follow a ballot measure approved by voters in 2000 that mandated K-12 funding increases for inflation.

A District Court judge is presiding over what began as four separate cases brought by hundreds of districts against the state after the legislature cut $5.4 billion from K-12 aid during its 2011 session. Districts allege that the structure of the current system creates inequalities between school systems based on wealth, and that the state has not provided the “efficient system” of public education as mandated by the state constitution.

State Republican lawmakers indicated that they are considering changes to the state’s constitution in order to strengthen the state legislature’s power over K-12 finance and limit the state supreme court’s oversight. The move could be a significant counterpoint to a U.S. District Court ruling Jan. 11 that the state’s funding system is unconstitutional.

Lawmakers and others are waiting for the state supreme court to rule in the Lobato v. State of Colorado case that could mandate an increase in K-12 spending by the state by anywhere between $2 billion to $4 billion annually.

Less than a year after the state supreme court ruled in McCleary v. State of Washington that the state’s K-12 funding system was constitutionally inadequate and needed to be fixed, the state’s chief justice claimed lawmakers had not done nearly enough to remedy the problem. The impact of satisfying McCleary on the court’s terms could cost the state an additional $1.4 billion in the 2013-15 budget cycle.

SOURCE: Education Week


Moi wrote in  The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding: Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v.Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy.See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education

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

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

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

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century.

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The 01/29/13 Joy Jar

28 Jan


Moi doesn’t eat a lot of cake for two reasons. One, she likes the good stuff which is made with milk, eggs, cream, real chocolate, real fruit and real flavorings. That costs $$$$. Given the choice between good wine or good cake, the wine wins. Second, once one has a slice of good cake, why stop at just one piece. Eating the whole cake is as Martha would say, ‘not a good thing.’ Today, moi has a tiny slice of really good cake. The kind of cake that rolls around your mouth and makes your taste buds stand to attention. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is good cake.


Let’s just say you may regret that second piece of cake.’
Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil.”
Rachel Hawkins,
Hex Hall


If I was made of cake I’d eat myself before somebody else could.”
Emma Donoghue, Room


Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C.


I suppose I wanted to have my cake and eat it.
But then again, what were you going to do with your cake if not eat it?
Frame it?
Use it as a sachet in your underwear drawer?”
Marian Keyes,


Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.
Audrey Hepburn

The 01/28/13 Joy Jar

27 Jan

Moi has been at the ALA Midwinter Meeting for the past couple of days and it has been raining off and on in Seattle. Some folk in Seattle think of themselves as Rambos. They wouldn’t be caught dead carrying carrying an umbrella and some not only forgo an umbrella, but are sans hat. Their choice of badge is Gore Tex. Moi has a trusty fold-away umbrella which she carries everywhere in her purse, even in August. Because in Seattle, no matter the date on the calendar, one never knows. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is my umbrella.


It is the habitual carriage of the umbrella that is the stamp of Respectability. The umbrella has become the acknowledged index of social position. . . . Crusoe was rather a moralist than a pietist, and his leaf-umbrella is as fine an example of the civilized mind striving to express itself under adverse circumstances as we have ever met with. Robert Louis Stevenson


Prepare the umbrella before it rains. Life is full of surprises!



With large umbrellas, come large responsibilities” Matt Maldre


The rain it raineth on the just And also on the unjust fella, But chiefly on the just, because The unjust steals the just’s umbrella

Charles Bowen quotes

It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains.” Alice Caldwell Rice

This last quote could be written for Seattle.

Any fool carries an umbrella on a wet day, but the wise man carries it every day.
Irish Proverb


The 01/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Jan

Moi has been attending the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Several times a week, she goes to the main branch of the Seattle Public Library. It always feels like home. The main library is in the middle of a very diverse city. In fact, moi often says the only places where all classes of people in Seattle meet regularly are the library and the dollar store. Some people who visit the library have issues like mental illness and may be in the throes of some substance. A couple of times moi was at the library and a person had a meltdown. The librarians always try to treat people with dignity and courtesy, no matter who you are. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are librarians.

Most people don’t realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn’t value its librarians doesn’t value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Don’t mark up the Library’s copy, you fool! Librarians are Unprankable. They’ll track you down! They have skills!”
Charles Ogden

The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
Bruce Coville

To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in the Dust.”
Rick Riordan,
The Red Pyramid

Good librarians are natural intelligence operatives. They possess all of the skills and characteristics required for that work: curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memories, organization and analytical aptitude, and discretion.”
Marilyn Johnson,
This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim.”
Linton Weeks

When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.”
Joan Bauer

ALA 2013 Seattle Midwinter Meeting update: The headline is libraries are reinventing and re-purposing themselves

26 Jan

There is a theme running through the ALA 2013 Seattle Midwinter Meeting which is that libraries are reinventing and re-purposing themselves to meet the challenges of surviving in a digital world where publishing is rapidly changing with more challenges to distribution of content and more diversity in the channels of content production. The Friday sessions attended by moi were all consistent with the theme.

ALA President Maureen Sullivan held a joint press conference with Rich Harwood, the founder of the Harwood Institute. The focus of their comments was the joint initiative between ALA and Harwood, called The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities. See, ALA Midwinter Conversations: Community Engagement and the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities This is how the initiative is described:

Funded through a grant from IMLS, the multi-phase initiative’s goal is to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead their communities in finding innovative solutions by advancing library-led community engagement and innovation. The conversations at Midwinter are one step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan.

The press conference aimed to describe the focus of the initiative. Moi was thinking, obviously libraries have to do something with brick and mortar buildings.

Mr. Harwood started off with the theme that Americans are yearning for a sense of community and because librarians are trusted members of the community and libraries are natural centers for community gathering. Both Cooney and Sullivan emphasized that they wanted to work with individual communities emphasizing “don’t want to adopt and not adapt.” This means that they do not want a one-size-fits-all approach to community engagement, but they want to respond to individual community needs. Harwood focused upon the Harwood Youngstown project.

See, Community Conversation Guide

The ALA session, ALA and E-books: Prospects and Directions for 2013 was packed. The session dealt with the changing landscape of not just books, but the delivery of information and content. The session was co-chaired by Sari Feldman and Robert Wolven with remarks by Alan S. Inouye. Panelists were George Coe of Baker and Taylor, Matt Tempelis of 3M, and Jamie La Rue of Douglas County Library of Colorado. It emphasized that ALA is advocating for the interest of libraries to have a free and open information flow. ALA has an e-content blog, a toolkit, and has written an “Open Letter to Publishers.” See,

Wolven described the issues with the various business models that exist. These models differ based upon content, terms, price. There is growing diversity in the channels of publishing and how books or content come to market. The question is what content is available and at what price.

Inouye discussed the future direction of e-books. He emphasized that there are different models for large publishers and distributors; smaller and mid-sized publishers; and the self-published markets. The panel could be summarized as the library market is trying to acquire as much information as possible for a price they consider reasonable. The producers of content and distributors want to control as much of the content as they can and charge up to the point that they don’t kill the goose which laid the golden egg.

Moi attended two other sessions, but the point was still the same. Libraries are operating in a world which is a bit like surfing. One hopes to ride the wave and not get knocked off their board to find themselves treading water or drowned.

Corrected to reflect the press conference attendee was Rich Harwood, founder of Harwood Institute.

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The 01/26/13 Joy Jar

25 Jan

Moi is attending the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Don’t know what others think of when they think of a good book and reading, but moi thinks of a comfy chair, a glass of wine, and slippers. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a comfy pair of slippers.

Don’t you stay at home of evenings? Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?
Oliver Wendell Holmes

.. its not so much about the shoes, but the person wearing them”
Adriana Trigiani,
Viola in Reel Life

Those must be comfortable shoes, I bet you could walk all day in shoes like those and not feel a thing.

Forrest Gump

To be happy, it first takes being comfortable being in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there.”

Sophia Bush

If we were nothing here, at least we were children of God. At some far-off point in time, all these things would be rectified and we would get our golden slippers.

Calvin Marshall