Archive | April, 2013

The 05/01/13 Joy Jar

30 Apr


May 1 is, well duh, May Day. In Seattle, that could mean peaceful demonstrations or anarchists can have their version of a party and cause as much chaos as possible. Moi, wondered if anarchists have little routines like brushing their teeth with toothpaste or is that considered a capitalist tool? Anyhow, moi thought about the fact that often one only thinks about toothpaste when the tube is low and is about to run out. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is toothpaste

Most entertainment is trying to get you. It’s tested, like toothpaste.
Albert Brooks

The reading public is intellectually adolescent at best, and it is obvious that what is called ”significant literature” will only be sold to this public by exactly the same methods as are used to sell it toothpaste, cathartics and automobiles.”

Raymond Chandler

There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by. It was called the People. Find out where the People have gone. I don’t mean the square-eyed toothpaste-and-hair-dye people or the new-car-or-bust people, or the success-and-coronary people. Maybe they never existed, but if there ever were the People, that’s the commodity the Declaration was talking about, and Mr. Lincoln.

John Steinbeck

Social Media is like toothpaste: flavors, daily routine, doesn’t cost too much, there is always more.”

Lily Chatterjee

Stanford University report: Advanced placement may not be the cure for education ills

30 Apr


Moi wrote about doubts concerning the rush toward advanced placement classes in An interesting critique of the College Board’s AP test report:


Moi wrote in Who should take AP classes?


AP is a program designed by the College Board, the same organization that designs and administers college entrance exams like the SAT and ACTAP consists of more than 30 courses and exams, which cover a variety of subject areas. The College Board describes the value of AP.


Receive recognition by more than 90 percent of colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries, which grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP Exam grades.


In other words, AP is designed to boast the chances of students in gaining admittance to colleges, especially those colleges who are known to be highly selective. AP Program


 AASU Research


This research seems to say that a highly motivated person will succeed in college whether they have taken AP coursework or not. But, all things being equal, the AP program appears to help children in later academic work. The rigorous curriculum is given as the explanation for later student achievement.


A paper in the Southern Economic Journal by Klopfenstein and others looks at the link between AP coursework and college success.


Our research finds no conclusive evidence that, for the average student, AP experience has a causal impact on early college success. Our findings support a clear distinction between courses that are “college preparatory” and those that are “college level.” The former type of course emphasizes the development of skills needed to succeed in college, such as note taking, study skills, and intellectual discipline; the latter type assumes that such skills are already in place. At-risk high school students particularly benefit from skills-based instruction, including “how to study, how to approach academic tasks, what criteria will be applied, and how to evaluate their own and others’ work,” where writing and revising are ongoing…. It is important to recognize that prediction and causality are not the same, and that the practice of placing extraordinary weight on AP participation in the college admissions process absent evidence of human capital gains from program participation distorts incentives. Our research finds that AP course-taking alone may be predictive of college success, a finding that is consistent with College Board research by Dodd et al. (2007) but casts doubt on the notion that AP participation imparts a positive causal impact on college performance for the typical student. …


This report seems to conclude that the reason AP students are successful is that they are highly motivated to succeed and achieve. Southern Economic Journal


For a good overview of why students take AP courses, see Grace Chen’s article, How AP Classes Benefit a Public School Student’s Future


AP courses tend to attract students who are preparing for college and are very goal oriented. So, what if a student either doesn’t want to go to college or may want a career, should they take AP courses? Since the average person, according to Career Information Online will have three to five careers over the course of a life time, the best advice to everyone is prepare for any eventuality. Even if students don’t attend college after high school, they may attend later as part of a career change. Many former automobile workers are now getting college degrees in nursing and other fields, for example. The College Board releases an annual report about the AP test.


A Stanford University report challenges some of the basic assumptions about advanced placement classes.



Valerie Strauss posts in the Washington Post article, AP program isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — study:



A new study from Stanford University that reviews research on the Advanced Placement program of college-level high school courses concludes that the common wisdom about AP — including about how much benefit students get from it  — is not accurate.


The white paper challenges these four basic common assumptions about AP:


  • The AP program  gives students several advantages in terms of college

  • The AP program helps to narrow achievement gaps

  • AP programs enrich students’ high school experiences

  • Schools with AP programs are better than schools without AP programs


The review of existing research on the AP program was undertaken by Denise Pope with Madeline Levine, both co-founders of Challenge Success, a research-based organization at Stanford University that develops holistic curriculum, conferences and other programs for parents, schools and students.  Pope is also a senior lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education.


The report, “The Advanced Placement Program: Living Up to Its Promise?” makes the following suggestions for teachers and students:



Suggestions for Students


Before enrolling in an AP class, carefully consider your reasons for doing so. There are several good reasons to take an AP course: you are passionate about the subject; you want to be in a small rigorous class with motivated, engaged students and a highly knowledgeable, prepared teacher; and you are willing and prepared to put in the extra time and effort.



Don’t take AP courses just to get into college. While many elite colleges will expect applicants to have enrolled in rigorous and challenging courses, particularly in subject areas of interest to the student, AP enrollment alone will not guarantee your college admission. Moreover, taking AP courses and doing poorly because you are taking them for the wrong reasons or are not interested in the subject or are in over your head or are spread too thin will not reflect well upon you, nor will taking AP courses that cause undue stress, limit your ability to participate in other meaningful activities, or impact your ability to get enough sleep each night. It’s best to enroll in AP courses only in areas that are of real interest to you and in which you are prepared and able to work hard.



Do your homework ahead of time. Know that not all AP courses are the same, even within the same subject. In spite of the common curriculum, courses vary between schools and between teachers. Avail yourself of older or experienced students, guidance counselors, information nights, and teacher expertise. Gather as much information from them as possible so that you have realistic expectations about the course content, expectations, quality, and workload.


 Understand how colleges award credit for AP courses. Policies for awarding credit vary between colleges and universities and even within universities, between departments. Some colleges may award college credit for passing scores (though what constitutes a passing score varies between institutions); others may not award credit but will allow students to forego prerequisite courses; while others still may not even allow students to opt out of introductory level courses. Furthermore, many students feel that it is valuable to repeat coursework in college even if they took the equivalent AP courses in high school and earned passing scores on their AP exams.



If you are enrolled in an AP course and it is not going well, get help. Perhaps you’ve just hit a difficult topic and you need a little extra support, or perhaps you are in over your head and need to find a way to get out of the course. Talk with your teachers, guidance counselors, and principals. They will be able to help you formulate the best strategy.



If you are deeply interested in a subject but do not have AP courses available to you, explore other avenues. Look into your school’s honors courses or find out if you can enroll in a course at a local college. If you take a rigorous, advanced course and are then interested in taking the AP exam, you may. Students can take AP exams even when they aren’t enrolled in an official AP course.



If you are interested in taking the AP exam but cannot afford it, do not be deterred. Financial assistance is available. Visit the College Board website.


Suggestions for Educators


If you are considering implementing an AP program in your school, consider the level of readiness and preparation of all involved. Do students and teachers have the background and support necessary to succeed? Are students in an AP program likely to thrive without the program being too big of a drain on the non-AP students? Take a hard look at the potential costs: teachers will require ongoing professional development, non-AP students will likely be in larger classes, non-AP course offerings might be reduced, and non-AP students may have less access to the best teachers in the school. Think carefully about whether it might be a better allocation of resources to invest in improving all existing classes and working with teachers to differentiate instruction for all learners.



Know that in places where the AP program is being effectively used as a tool for school reform and increasing student achievement, the AP is but one part of a larger reform effort. Effective programs such as the National Math + Science Initiative not only provide access to and encourage enrollment in AP courses, they provide many supports such as funding, teacher training, and student tutoring, which are all crucial to the program’s success.



If you are assessing an existing AP program in your school, pay attention to how many students are passing the AP exams. As noted in one study above, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if some students are earning scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams. Perhaps these students were still exposed to a level of rigor that they might otherwise not have been, or perhaps the program is new and the kinks are still getting worked out. We suggest if the majority of AP students are not able to earn passing grades on the exams, check both the rigor level of the course and whether the teachers and students are prepared for this type of course and assessment. Make sure that the course curriculum is adequate for cultivating a deep understanding of the subject matter. It might be that the curriculum is not well aligned with the test or with the needs of your students.



Invite students (and their parents) interested in AP courses to attend an AP information session that provides an overview of your school’s AP program, course requirements and expectations, and a discussion of the commitment involved. Teachers from each department should be available to answer questions and provide information including course syllabi, sample assignments, and any expectations for summer work. In an effort to make sure students have given serious and realistic thought to their obligations and time management, consider also requiring students to get permission/signatures from parents, counselors, and teachers for each AP course in which they wish to enroll. Download our free scheduling tool to help facilitate better course scheduling and time management.



Establish an open enrollment policy, and make AP classes available to all students who have an interest in taking them, not just top-tier students. Students can benefit from the AP for various reasons including their passion for a topic, the need for a challenge, or the exposure to what it means to do college-level coursework. However, along with open enrollment, consider creating a safety net for students in serious academic trouble who may need to be re-assigned mid-semester, so that they have an option other than failure. Some schools have had success when they combine AP and non-AP sections together in one classroom, where AP students do supplemental reading, research, and writing and meet a few additional times to prepare for the test. This way all students may benefit from increased rigor and better teaching.            


© 2013 Challenge Success


For Further Information


Challenge Success offers parenting classes and professional


development workshops specifically on improving curriculum and assessment, as well as other issues that concern parents and schools. Please consider making a donation to Challenge Success to support our work so that we can continue to keep you informed on improving school practices. For more information please visit us at our website.


Assuming your school has an effective process for course enrollment that includes consultation with teachers and guidance counselors, and assuming you also have a safety net in place that allows for course re-assignment midstream if students need to transfer out of AP courses, don’t cap or limit the number of AP classes in which students are permitted to enroll. We have found that there is no magic number or formula for determining the optimal number of AP courses for students. As mentioned above, our research shows that stress levels in students are not necessarily correlated to the number of AP classes they take. Some students will be able to handle a few AP courses at once and the homework load that accompanies them; while others will be unduly stressed by taking only one AP course (Challenge Success, 2011). Rarely do we see students who can handle 4 or 5 AP courses at once who are still able to participate in extracurricular activities and get the sleep they need, but setting general caps may not work as well as helping each student find the right courses and challenge levels that will allow for optimal learning.



Don’t confuse AP rigor with load. We have seen several successful teachers who can curb the homework load in their AP courses without sacrificing test scores. Just because a course is rigorous and offers college-level work, does not mean that students need to complete hours and hours of homework each night to succeed. Students may benefit more from fewer assignments and a focus on deep understanding of concepts learned in class. Some teachers offer an AP course over two years instead of one, in order to make the load more manageable for students. For more on how to make homework more effective and meaningful, see our Challenge Success white paper, “Changing the conversation about homework from quantity and achievement to quality and engagement.”



Whatever your school decides about its AP policies and offerings, make sure that the School Profile that accompanies every college application accurately reflects your school’s policies and most current offerings so that colleges will know how to interpret a student’s choices.




“The Advanced Placement Program:
Living Up to Its Promise?”

Download it for Free.



There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:


The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.                                                                     


There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The compromise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college?




Poor people and school choice: The Cristo Rey work/school model


Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’


Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person


Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping




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The 04/30/13 Joy Jar

29 Apr

The past couple of days have been a pause in the march toward Spring. This evening is downright chilly and fleece is actually welcome. But, everything is changeable and the temperature should head toward the 70s in the next couple of days. These chilly days make us appreciate the warm which is coming our way. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are the chilly days which really make us appreciate Spring.

Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.

Mark Twain

Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde

Weather is a literary specialty, and no untrained hand can turn out a good article on it

Mark Twain

An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.
Washington Irving

A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.
Marcel Proust

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
Anthony J. D’Angelo

Rutgers study: Underfunding of preschool threatens at-risk children

29 Apr

Moi wrote in Policy brief: The fiscal and educational benefits of universal universal preschool:

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.

Joy Resmovits reported in the Huffington Post article, Preschool Funding Reached ‘State Of Emergency’ In 2012: NIEER Report:

States are drastically underfunding programs for their youngest learners now more than ever, according to a report released Monday, even as researchers and policymakers increasingly point to pre-school as a ladder to the middle class.

Funding per student for state pre-school programs has reached its lowest point in a decade, according to “The State of Preschool 2012,” the annual yearbook released by Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research. “The 2011-2012 school year was the worst in a decade for progress in access to high-quality pre-K for America’s children,” the authors wrote. After a decade of increasing enrollment, that growth stalled, according to the report. Though the 2011-2012 school year marks the first time pre-K enrollment didn’t increase along with the rate of population change.

“The state of preschool was a state of emergency” in 2012, said Steve Barnett, NIEER’s director. Between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, pre-K spending on state programs dropped by more than $548 million overall, and $442 per student (to $3,841) when adjusted for inflation, according to the report.

This means state pre-K funding per child has fallen more than $1,100 in real dollars from 2001-2002. “That’s the lowest since we’ve been tracking pre-K,” Barnett said. He called the cuts “severe” and “unprecedented.” This is the first time NIEER has seen average, per-student spending slip below $4,000.

Here is the press release from The National Institute for Early Education Research:

Study Finds Drastic State Pre-K Funding Cuts Put Nation’s Youngest Learners at Risk

Monday, April 29, 2013

Funding Per Child Has Fallen More Than $1,000 Over the Decade; Programs Lose Quality as Financial Support Declines

CONTACT:  Jen Fitzgerald, (848) 932-3138,

Washington, D.C. — State funding for pre-K decreased by over half a billion dollars in 2011-2012, the largest one-year drop ever, says a new study from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) which has tracked state pre-K since 2002.

The State of Preschool 2012 yearbook cited two other “firsts”: After a decade of growth, enrollment in state pre-K has stalled. And despite stagnant enrollment, state funding per child fell to $3,841 — well below the $5,020 (inflation-adjusted) national average in 2001-2002.

Even though the nation is emerging from the Great Recession, it is clear that the nation’s youngest learners are still bearing the brunt of the budget cuts,” said NIEER Director Steve Barnett. Reductions were widespread with 27 of 40 states with pre-K programs reporting funding per child declined in 2011-2012.

The adverse consequences of declining funding were manifested in a retrenchment in program quality as well. Seven programs lost ground against benchmarks for quality standards while only three gained. Only 15 states plus the District of Columbia provided enough funding per-child to meet all 10 benchmarks for quality standards. And, only 20 percent of all children enrolled in state-funded pre-K attend those programs. More than half a million children, or 42 percent of nationwide enrollment, were served by programs that met fewer than half of NIEER’s quality standards benchmarks.

Education in the years before kindergarten plays an important role in preparing our youngest citizens for productive lives in the global economy. Yet, our nation’s public investment in their future through pre-K declined during the recent economic downturn at the very time that parents’ financial capacity to invest in their children was hardest hit. America will pay the price of that lapse for decades to come. Barnett also noted that “while the recession greatly exacerbated the decline in funding, there was already a general trend in the states toward declining funding for quality.” In this respect, President Obama’s new universal pre-K proposal is especially timely. “We have studied the President’s plan and find it provides states with strong incentives to raise quality while expanding access to pre-K. The plan will assist states already leading the way, states that lost ground during the recession, and the 10 states that still have no state-funded pre-K,” he said.  


The National Institute for Early Education Research ( at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy and practice through independent, objective research.

The State of Preschool 2012: State Preschool Yearbook

View the full report

One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education in this country, we are the next third world country.


What is the Educare preschool model?                 

The state of preschool education is dire          

Oregon State University study: Ability to pay attention in preschool may predict college success                                              

Pre-kindergarten programs help at-risk students prepare for school

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The 04/29/13 Joy Jar

28 Apr


Moi plans to spend the summer writing. She has begun looking for a new desk chair and will get a comfortable desk chair. A clearly defined space for work is what she is planning. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is moi’s new desk chair which she will find sooner rather than later.

A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.”

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless”

May Sarton

Every chair should be a throne and hold a king”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can travel the world and never leave your chair when you read a book.”
Sherry K. Plummer

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.

Napoleon Bonaparte

How to have a sane prom

28 Apr


Joseph Pisani reports in the Huffington Post article, Prom Spending Is On The Rise Again, Expected To Average $1,139 In 2013:


— The prom is making a big comeback.


The recession forced parents and teens to cut back on spending for the annual high school dance, but wallets are finally opening again.


“Dresses are more elaborate,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group. “They are now buying two pairs of shoes, one to go to prom and one to dance in.”


“This crop of kids cares about prom,” says Cohen.


And so do the parents, who see the dance as a rite of passage. The pressure to help give teenagers a memorable night is high. “You don’t want your kid to be the only kid who doesn’t have what the other kids have,” says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University.


Prom spending is expected to rise this spring to an average $1,139. That’s among families who are planning to spend some money to attend the annual affair, according to a survey of 1,025 parents of prom age teens by payment processor Visa Inc. and research company Gfk. Not included in the average were 12 percent who said they wouldn’t spend anything on the prom. A majority of parents with teenagers surveyed were still unsure how much they’d spend.


There are ways to cut prom expenses.


CBS News recommends in the article, 6 ways to cut prom costs:


However, it is possible to shrink prom costs to a more manageable level. Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money saving expert, provided some great tips on how to slash the price:


1. Don’t overspend on the dress.


You can find cheaper dresses at consignment shops and discounted bridesmaid dresses at bridal shops. You can also rent a dress. offers designer dresses and accessory rentals for savings up to 90 percent off retail.


2. Don’t overspend on the tuxedo.


The average cost of renting a tuxedo is $141, according to You can cut the price if you don’t order the deluxe packages that can include such things as a pocket square and vest. When my son went to proms, he saved a considerable amount of money by picking the no-frills tuxedo. Nobody, after all, is looking at the boys’ outfits. Price breaks are also possible if friends place orders together.


3. Skip the florist.


Grocery stores are often a cheaper source of flowers than florist shops. According to Woroch, the cost can be as much as 40 percent lower. You can also make your own corsage or boutonniere after following this tutorial from LovelyCraftHome.


4. Do your own hair.


Formal up-do’s can cost around $40. Up-dos, however, are being replaced by more casual looks that you can do at home. Here are some hair ideas from the popular website Pinterest. My daughter got her prom up-dos at a beauty school, which was a cheaper option.


5. Take your own photos.


Formal prom portraits can cost up to $75 per person. Skip those photos and use the photos that mom and dad take when dates meet before the prom begins. You can always use your smartphone to take pictures during the prom. 


6. Use coupons.


Here’s my own idea: use prom coupons at Retailers with deals at the site include  Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Sears, Target, Express, House of Brides, TJ Formal and Victoria’s Secret.


The key is to be reasonable.


The Partnership for a Drug Free America has some great advice for parents on prom night:     


To keep celebrations safe and healthy, here are some helpful tips and advice for parents and caregivers:    


Know Your Teens’ Plans and tell them to update you if the itinerary changes so you’re aware of their whereabouts.


Check In With Them Via Text – they are more likely to reply, since it’s discreet. You can send messages like “Hope ur having a gr8 time!” or “U OK?” before and after the dance.


Trust Your Teens and resist the urge to hover. You’ve filled them in on the rules and the risks – chances are they got the message.


 Additional Resources:
For a Safe Prom Night: Parents, Please Don’t Serve Alcohol to Teens


Survey: Parents Let Their Own Experiences Affect Drug and Alcohol Boundaries Set for Teens at Prom and Graduation Parties


The emphasis is on limiting alcohol use and keeping in touch with your child. 


Letty Maldando echoes the advise to keep in touch with your teen in her ehow article, How to Plan a Safe Prom Night for Your Teen


 Step 1


Prepare a complete itinerary of the prom night events. Include:


*Prom pre-party, party, and post party location information

*Phone numbers – friends, locales, limo driver, prom chaperones, etc…

*Transportation alternatives

*List of people they’ll be with – include phone numbers and parent info


Make sure that both you and your teen have a copy of the itinerary so that you can reach other in an emergency.


Step 2


Discuss prom night safety issues well in advance. This should not be something that parents should be shouting at teens as they are leaving. Prepare what information you want to share. Bring notes if you think you might trip up on your words. Don’t be shy about the topics (alcohol, drugs, sex). If need be, pull out some news stories and pictures of the consequences of unsafe behavior. Sometimes visual aids are more memorable than a lecture.


Step 3


Agree on an “unconditional” call for your help and/or a ride home if something should happen. If you are worried that your child won’t call you (even with this agreement) then assign a trusted relative, friend, or neighbor that will take the phone call and help them out of whatever the situation may be.


Step 4


Hire a driver to ensure that your teen has reliable transportation. If this is not financially feasible then make sure that you know the person who will be driving on prom night. Meet your teen’s friends and don’t be afraid to have the “no drinking and driving” conversation with them as well.


Step 5


Set up a check in time for each part of the evening. If they are going to be hopping around to several locations make sure to receive a call from them as they arrive at each place. If your teen doesn’t want to call in or misses a check in then set up a text message that they can respond to with a code word that indicates that they’re doing well. It’s best to speak to them directly but a text message is the next best thing.     


According to Maldando and the Partnership for a Drug Free America, parents should communicate both before and during the prom. They should know what their children’s plans for are for the evening.  



High school administrators have cancelled school dances and proms because of the phenomenon of freak or dirty dancing. King5.Com reported about a recent dirty dancing incident at Nathan Hale High School.


The dance lights have been shelved and the beat silenced at Nathan Hale High School after the principal determined that the homecoming dance got out of control.


“The students were dancing inappropriately,” said Dr. Jill Hudson. “I’m not going to get into the details.”


She wouldn’t describe the offending behavior.


“What I’m determined in calling it is inappropriate behavior,” said Hudson. “I cannot allow that at school functions.”


But she did tell the school’s student newspaper that “students were dancing with their genitals against each other and that’s not OK” and that creates an unsafe environment for other students.


There have been several incidents of dirty dancing at schools in California. Carla Rivera writes in the LA Times that some schools are requiring students and parents to sign contracts saying they won’t engage in dirty dancing


To many observers, many forms of freak or dirty dancing are really simulations of sex acts. A lot of issues arise such as setting boundaries for teen sexual behavior, peer pressure to engage in inappropriate behavior or dress and the general question of is this really good for teens?


What is Freak or Dirty Dancing?


Love to Know: Party defines freak dancing


Freak or dirty dancing is sexually suggestive dancing and the question is whether it is appropriate for teens in middle or high school?


What are Sexual Boundaries?


Women’s Health Center has an excellent definition of boundaries




A boundary is your personal physical, emotional and sexual comfort zone. We all have a gut feeling that lets us know when our boundaries are being broken.


Below are examples of how boundaries can be broken:


Interrupting a conversation


Taking someone’s possessions without her or his permission


Teasing or making fun of someone


Asking very personal questions


Telling other people stories about someone


Making someone uncomfortable by always being around or invading their private space


Saying or doing things that others find offensive or vulgar


Forcing someone into doing something sexual


Physically assaulting someone


Using inappropriate language or touching


Using violence in any way


Healthy Place says the setting boundaries are important to minimize sexual assault


Teens must understand that communication is not only verbal, but physical as well. What they are communicating with body language or apparel may or may not be what they intend to communicate.


How to Talk to Your Teen About Sexual Boundaries


Stop It Now MN has some excellent guidelines about talking to kids about sexual boundaries


Things have sure changed from back in the day.





Prom Night Perils



A Prom Night Plan: Avoiding the Perils of Drunk Driving


Straight Talk About Sex


Negotiate and Enforce Curfews


Keeping Teens Safe and Sober on Prom Night


Prom Lessons Learned the Easy Way



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The 04/28/13 Joy Jar

27 Apr


The past several days have been sunny in Seattle. Today and for the next couple of days there will be a series of Spring storms coming through. Today there was a spurt of wind which caught moi. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the wind.

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
William Arthur Ward

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
John Ruskin

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
Bruce Lee

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
Henry Ford

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, look like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards.
Pope Benedict XVI

The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
Jimmy Dean

Study: Prior criminal behavior does not necessarily predict behavior on campus

27 Apr

As colleges seek to make campuses safer, they are beginning to look at the criminal records of applicants. Kelly Sennott writes in the New Hampshire article, One in 29 college students has a criminal record:

Everyone makes mistakes in high school and college. Some make bigger mistakes than others, potentially affecting their chances of getting accepted into school, getting an internship, or finding a job. This difficulty is not an uncommon problem for college students, as one out of 29 has a criminal record., a supplier of criminal background checks for students and faculty members, recently revealed a study that showed that one out of every 29 college students have some type of criminal record. In the study, which didn’t include juvenile records, 13,859 college students at 125 universities, career colleges, nursing schools, and other educational institutions were surveyed through a website,

 The names of the schools involved in the study were not revealed, but the percentages of convictions were; Driving violations topped the charts at a whopping 60 percent, followed by disorderly conduct (9.5 percent), theft (8.8 percent), drug possession (7.4 percent), sexual abuse (5.2 percent), assault (4 percent), fraud (2.7 percent), and child molestation (2.4 percent)….

Colleges debate whether students with criminal backgrounds should be admitted.

Libby Sandler is reporting in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Students’ Prior Criminal Histories Don’t Predict Future Misconduct, Research Finds:

As colleges seek ways to make their campuses safer, many have opted to examine the criminal histories of students before they’re admitted. New research, however, reveals that criminal-background checks and pre-admission screening do not accurately predict whether an incoming student will pose a threat or disruption in college.

Based on an analysis of nearly 7,000 seniors at a large Southern university, a report says that only 3 percent of students who engaged in misconduct on the campus during their college years had reported criminal histories during the admissions process. Of the students who did report a criminal record, meanwhile, just under 9 percent were accused of misconduct during college.

The report, published in the journal Injury Prevention in February, was written by Carol W. Runyan, an epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health, and three other researchers.

For years, colleges and legal experts have wrestled with the question of whether—and how—institutions should attempt to identify incoming students who might present a threat to public safety. The quandary is what to do with any information collected: how to evaluate it fairly and consistently while avoiding discrimination against some students but also protecting against any future incident.

‘Likely Troublemakers’

According to a national survey in 2010, more than 60 percent of colleges consider applicants’ criminal histories in admissions decisions, but only half of those colleges have formal policies on how to do so, and only 38 percent of admissions staffs receive training on interpreting criminal records.

The new research sought to examine if students who were likely to engage in misconduct could be effectively screened during the application process. It also explored whether students with a criminal background upon entering college were more likely to commit crimes while enrolled than were students who started with clean records.

Researchers reviewed students’ responses to application questions about their criminal history, which asked them to say whether they’d been convicted, taken responsibility for a crime, or had charges pending against them at that time. A “yes” to any of those questions meant the students were considered to have criminal histories.

To evaluate students’ behavior in college, the researchers looked at the university’s disciplinary records and kept track of nonacademic misconduct violations, focusing on offenses like assault, robbery, property crimes, driving under the influence, marijuana use, and other drug-related charges. They also included cases that the institution’s honor court had dismissed but that were prosecuted successfully in local court. (The report states that the research was approved by the institutional review board at the University of North Carolina.)

The findings reveal that students who were guilty of misconduct in college were more likely than their classmates to have had pre-college criminal records. But the screening questions often did not identify which students would go on to commit crimes, and most students who did have records before enrolling in college didn’t cause any trouble once there.

In the report, Ms. Runyan points out that the research “raises as many questions as it answers.” Many questions, she says, are practical and ethical: If colleges are going to make smart decisions about pre-admission screening, she writes, they’ll need to think about how past behavior influences future actions. And even if the screening does accurately identify “likely troublemakers,” colleges must decide in which cases to admit them.                                                                            


Can student-perpetrated college crime be predicted based on precollege misconduct?

  1. 1.    Carol W Runyan1,2,
  2. 2.    Matthew W Pierce3,
  3. 3.    Viswanathan Shankar4,
  4. 4.    Shrikant I Bangdiwala5,6,7

+ Author Affiliations

  1. 1.     1Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  2. 2.     2Pediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research Program, Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
  3. 3.     3School of Law, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4.     4Division of Biostatistics, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
  5. 5.     5Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6.     6Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Institute for Social and Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
  7. 7.     7University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  8. Correspondence to Dr Carol W Runyan, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Paediatric Injury Prevention, Education and Research (PIPER) Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E. 17th Place, Mail Stop B119, Aurora, CO 80045, USA;

     Received 23 September 2012

     Revised 2 January 2013

     Accepted 16 January 2013

     Published Online First 23 February 2013


Objectives Many colleges assess criminal histories during the admissions process, in part, to address violence on campus. This study sought to examine the utility of screening as a means of reducing violence.

Methods Using cohort and case-control analyses, we identified college misconduct through college records and self-reports on a confidential survey of graduating seniors, and examined precollege behaviour as indicated on admissions records, a survey and criminal background checks.

Results One hundred and twenty students met our case definition of college misconduct, with an estimated OR of 5.28 (95% CI 1.92 to 14.48) associated with precollege misconduct revealed on the college application. However, only 3.3% (95% CI 1.0% to 8.0%) of college seniors engaging in college misconduct had reported precollege criminal behaviours on their applications and 8.5% (95% CI 2.4% to 20.4%) of applicants with a criminal history engaged in misconduct during college.

Discussion Though precollege behaviour is a risk factor for college misconduct, screening questions on the application are not adequate to detect which students will engage in college misconduct. This pilot work would benefit from replication to determine the utility of criminal background investigations as part of admissions.

See, College Admission Questions Rarely Identify Criminal Behavior

A 2010 Chronicle of Higher Education article, Experts Debate Fairness of Criminal-Background Checks on Students by Sara Lipka reported that some administrators urge a pragmatic approach:

She recommended not simply considering students’ criminal histories, but establishing policies to evaluate them fairly and consistently. Such policies should specify how to handle sealed juvenile records, news reports of arrests or convictions, and other tricky circumstances like reduced charges; how to disclose admissions decisions to applicants; and how to control access to students’ criminal records, to limit accusations of discrimination and defamation.

Institutions should also consider updating their information with repeated checks, Ms. Dickerson advised. And legal and mental-health experts must regularly train the administrators who make decisions on which students to let in versus keep out, she said. “Just putting background checks in place I’m not really sure is going to do much for campus safety.”         

Unfortunately, this is an issue where colleges will be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                               Dr.

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The 04/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Apr


Rhododendrons and azaleas grow in most parts of the world, but they grow especially well in Seattle. Gardens all over the city are adorned with these beautiful flowers. They are a sure sign of the arrival of Spring and early summer. Today;s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are the beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas.

And in the woods a fragrance rare
Of wild azaleas fills the air,
And richly tangled overhead
We see their blossoms sweet and red.
Dora Read Goodale—Spring Scatters Far and Wide.

The earth laughs in flowers.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I must have flowers, always, and always.”
Claude Monet

In joy or sadness flowers are our constant friends.”
Kakuzō Okakura, The Book Of Tea

A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
Oscar Wilde

Now Spring returns with leaf and blade,
Some seek the garden, some the glade;
And all to Nature turn, but I
To the fresh fields of Poetry,

Sweet are the first green leaves, and sweet
The scents, and genial the first heat;
And backed by pine or cypress glooms
How rich the rhododendron blooms!

Yet rich or sweet as these appear,
They were as wonderful last year;
And all as then move without pause
Through the same course by the same laws….

Archibald Young Campbell

The 04/26/13 Joy Jar

25 Apr


Today was another glorious day in Seattle. Spring and summer are especially nice. The ice cream tuck or an ice cream shop just make the day even better. Nothing says summer quite like an ice cream cone. No ice cream cone today, but there are plenty of ice cream cones in moi’s future. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the first ice cream cone of the season.

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.


Ice cream goes with springtime.

Susan Hill

Ice cream is happiness condensed.

Jessi Lane Adams

I don’t cry over spilt milk, but a fallen scoop of ice cream is enough to ruin my whole day.

Terri Guillemets

I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream.

Heywood C. Broun

If you like ice cream, why stop at one scoop? Have two, have three. Too much is never enough.

Morris Lapidus

I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.

Wendy Liebman

I had always thought that once you grew up you could do anything you wanted — stay up all night or eat ice-cream straight out of the container.

Bill Bryson

An ice cream cone can solve any problem— even if it’s only for a few minutes.