Archive | October, 2013

The 10/23/13 Joy Jar

23 Oct

No matter who one is or what their circumstance is, the best way to live is one day at a time.

Philippians 3:13-14
New International Version (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is living one day at a time.

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln

Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules.
Wayne Dyer

Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time.
Charles M. Schulz

“One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Dr. Suess

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

“This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your

Don’t be afraid of the future. With God by your side, there’s nothing to fear. Take life one day at a time. Make the most of today.

The 10/22/13 Joy Jar

22 Oct

Moi is usually a couple of generations behind in the tech world because she buys used stuff that others have discarded as they race to become first with the newest technology. Today, Apple, Microsoft, and Nokia unveiled new tablets. See, Apple’s tablet competitors:

As prospective tablet buyers await news on updated versions of the iPad and the iPad mini, Microsoft and Nokia are gearing up to go head-to-head with Apple.
Apple is expected to announce a redesigned 9.7-inch iPad as well as a new iPad mini with Retina display, according to Dana Wollman, managing editor of Engadget.
A Windows Surface tablet.Microsoft’s new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets will also be released this week, and of the two, Wollman says the Pro version will be the fiercer competitor with the iPad, though it won’t be fierce enough to really pose a threat to Apple.
Meanwhile many gadget watchers are likely keeping an eye out for details on Nokia’s Lumia 2520 tablet, which Wollman said could be just as well-designed and well-built as the rest of Nokia’s hardware.

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is innovation.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.
Bill Gates

I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.
Alexis de Tocqueville

Every Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. The act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.
Peter Drucker

Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.
Milan Kundera

Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.
William Pollard

Despite all our gains in technology, product innovation and world markets, most people are not thriving in the organizations they work for.
Stephen Covey

The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organization, Innovation and Communication.
Harold S. Geneen

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out.
Max Planck

Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.
Michael Porter

I’m a big fan of small business ownership. I think it’s the backbone of American innovation. But to be successful, you first have to have the courage to go for it.
Bill Rancic

Out-innovating them is the way to beat China. And to do everything that we do in this country to support innovative policy, that drives innovation and new products and more jobs and creates jobs. You can’t – you can’t put a wall up around here. We tried that in the ’30s. It didn’t work.
Jack Welch

Stanford University study: Affluent children have better vocabulary and language skills

22 Oct

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at:

Motoko Rich reported in the New York Times article, Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K:

Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.
Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate.
The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.
The new findings, although based on a small sample, reinforced the earlier research showing that because professional parents speak so much more to their children, the children hear 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income households, early literacy experts, preschool directors and pediatricians said. In the new study, the children of affluent households came from communities where the median income was $69,000; the low-income children came from communities with a median income of $23,900.
Since oral language and vocabulary are so connected to reading comprehension, the most disadvantaged children face increased challenges once they enter school and start learning to read.
“That gap just gets bigger and bigger,” said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, an advocate of early education for low-income children. “That gap is very real and very hard to undo….”
But at a time when a majority of public schoolchildren in about a third of the states come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation, those who are pushing for higher preschool enrollment say that investing in the youngest children could save public spending later on.
In the latest data available from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, 28 percent of all 4-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in state-financed preschool in the 2010-11 school year, and just 4 percent of 3-year-olds.
The National Governors Association, in a report this month calling on states to ensure that all children can read proficiently by third grade, urges lawmakers to increase access to high-quality child care and prekindergarten classes and to invest in programs for children from birth through age 5. In New York, the Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has said he would tax high-income earners to pay for universal prekindergarten in the city.
“A lot of states are saying, ‘Let’s get to the early care providers and get more of them having kids come into kindergarten ready,’ ” said Richard Laine, director of education for the National Governors Association. That way, he said, “we’re not waiting until third grade and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we have so many kids overwhelming our remediation system.’ ”
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have policies requiring that third graders be held back if they do not meet state reading proficiency standards, according to theEducation Commission of the States.
Now, with the advent of the Common Core, a set of rigorous reading and math standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, educators say the pressure to prepare young children is growing more intense.
Literacy experts have previously documented a connection between a child’s early vocabulary and later success in reading comprehension. In a study tracking children from age 3 through middle school, David Dickinson, now a professor of education at Vanderbilt University, and Catherine Snow, an education professor at Harvard University, found that a child’s score on a vocabulary test in kindergarten could predict reading comprehension scores in later grades.
Mr. Dickinson said he feared that some preschool teachers or parents might extract the message about the importance of vocabulary and pervert it. “The worst thing that could come out of all this interest in vocabulary,” he said, “is flash cards with pictures making kids memorize a thousand words.”
Instead, literacy experts emphasize the importance of natural conversations with children, asking questions while reading books, and helping children identify words during playtime.
Even these simple principles may be hard to implement, some educators say, because preschool instructors are often paid far less than public schoolteachers and receive scant training. In one study, Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, found that in observations of 700 preschool classrooms across 11 states, teachers in less than 15 percent of the classes demonstrated “effective teacher-student interactions.”
“There is a lot of wishful thinking about how easy it is, that if you just put kids in any kind of program that this will just happen,” said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, referring to the development of strong vocabularies and other preliteracy skills.
Literacy experts and publishing companies are rushing to develop materials for teachers. Scholastic Inc., the children’s book publisher, for example, began selling the Big Day for Pre-K program to preschools three years ago. Collections of books come with specific question prompts like “I see a yellow taxi. What do you see?”
Educators and policy makers say they also must focus increasingly on parents……

Here is the Stanford University press release:

Stanford Report, September 25, 2013
Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find
Research by Stanford psychologists reveals that 2-year-old children of lower-income families may already be six months behind in language development. Future work aims to devise intervention methods.
Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.
Stanford researchers have now found that these socioeconomic status (SES) differences begin to emerge much earlier in life: By 18 months of age, toddlers from disadvantaged families are already several months behind more advantaged children in language proficiency.
The study, published in Developmental Science, is the first to identify an “achievement gap” in language processing skill at such a young age and could inform strategies to intervene and bring children up to speed.
In an experiment designed to investigate children’s vocabulary and language processing speed,Anne Fernald, a Stanford associate professor of psychology, enrolled 20 children, 18 months old, who lived near the Stanford campus, and tested how quickly and accurately they identified objects based on simple verbal cues. Follow-up tests six months later measured how these skills developed.
Research conducted in university laboratories commonly relies on a “convenience sample” of local participants who are usually affluent and highly educated. Since children in these higher SES families have many other advantages as well, the results of such research do not represent the majority of children living in less privileged circumstances in the United States.
To include a broader range of children in her research, Fernald took her lab on the road. She duplicated the experimental setup of her Stanford-based lab in a 30-feet-long RV and drove to a city a few hours north of campus, where the median household income and education levels are much lower on average than in the Bay Area.
The researchers recruited another 28 toddlers, aged roughly 18 months, from this lower SES population and performed the same experiments as they had on campus. Then they retested the children six months later when they turned 2 years old to see how they had progressed.
The beginning of the language gap
Fernald has devised an elegant test for measuring toddlers’ language processing speed. Sitting on their mother’s lap, the kids are shown two images; for example, a dog and a ball. A recorded voice then instructs the toddler to “look at the ball” while a high-definition video camera records the child’s reaction.
Trained “coders” then review the video frame by frame and note the exact moment that a child’s gaze begins to shift toward the target object. In this way, toddlers’ efficiency in language understanding can be measured with millisecond-level precision.
At 18 months, toddlers in the higher SES group could identify the correct object in about 750 milliseconds, while the lower SES toddlers were 200 milliseconds slower to respond.
“A 200-millisecond difference in response time at 18 months may not sound like much, but it’s huge in terms of mental processing speed,” Fernald said.
Both groups of children got faster with age, but at 24 months the lower SES children just barely reached the level of processing efficiency that the higher SES children had achieved at 18 months.
The researchers also asked parents to report on their children’s vocabularies at these age points. Between 18 and 24 months, the higher SES children added more than 260 new words to their vocabulary, while the lower SES children learned 30 percent fewer new words over this period.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
Kids learn from context
Fernald suggests that slower processing rates are partly responsible for slower vocabulary growth in the early years. Toddlers learn new vocabulary from context, and the faster a child can get at the words she knows, the more able she is to attend to the next word in the sentence and to learn any new words that follow.
“If you say ‘the dog is on the sofa,’ and the baby at 18 months is slow to process ‘dog,’ they’re not open for business when ‘sofa’ comes along,” Fernald said. “If they’re quick on ‘dog’ and understand that the dog is on something, but don’t know what it is, the faster kids are more likely to learn ‘sofa’ from the context.”
This link between early processing speed and language learning is supported by other results from Fernald’s research group. In studies following both English- and Spanish-learning toddlers over several years, they found that children who are faster at recognizing familiar words at 18 months have larger vocabularies at age 2 years and score higher on standardized tests of language and cognition in kindergarten and elementary school.
Seeking a solution
Where do such early differences among children come from? One critical factor is that parents differ in the amount of language stimulation they provide to their infants. Several studies show that parents who talk more with their children in an engaging and supportive way have kids who are more likely to develop their full intellectual potential than kids who hear very little child-directed speech.
“For lots of reasons, there is generally less supportive talk to children in families living in poverty, which could partially explain the SES differences we found in children’s early processing skill and vocabulary learning,” Fernald said.
In previous research on caregivers’ speech to Spanish-learning children, Fernald’s group found big differences in levels of parental engagement even within a disadvantaged group of families. Those lower SES kids who heard more child-directed talk got faster in processing and learned language more rapidly.
“It’s clear that SES is not destiny,” Fernald said. “The good news is that regardless of economic circumstances, parents who use more and richer language with their infants can help their child to learn more quickly.”

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.


Baby sign language

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum

The slow reading movement

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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The 10/21/13 Joy Jar

21 Oct

It has been foggy the last few days in Seattle and this pattern is likely to continue. Still, moi is noticing solar panels popping up all over Seattle. Moi wondered whether solar works when it is cloudy. Sun Farmers posted Do Solar Panels Work When

It’s Cloudy?
If asked the question, Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy?, the average person would no doubt guess that, well, no, how can they when there’s no sunshine for them to work with?
Actually, that answer is partially true, in that solar panels aren’t as efficient in cloudy conditions as during bright, sunny days. In fact, the production of solar panels is reduced by at least 50 percent on cloudy days, and may even by down to just 5 to 10 percent of what they can produce on sunny days.
But, the point is that they do still actually do their job, even if at a reduced rate. That’s a great testament to the amazing technology that solar panels are, so let’s look a bit deeper into this.
How Can Solar Panels Possibly Work When It’s Cloudy?
You may be wondering how it’s even possible for solar panels to produce any electricity at all on cloudy days. The answer lies in the incredible technology used by a single solar cell, which takes the light from the sun, or photons (particles of light), and converts that to electricity thanks to silicon in the cells which reacts with the sunlight to generate an electrical charge. Thanks to French scientist Edmund Becquerel for his discovery of what came to be known as the “photovoltaic effect” in the 19th century!
A number of solar cells are combined to form a solar panel, so that small charge created by a single solar cell is multiplied many times over to produce a significant amount of wattage from a whole panel. Solar panels perform best in sunny, unshaded conditions, so any type of shading or cloud cover can seriously affect a panel’s performance to the extent that, in extremely cloudy conditions, a panel may only operate at 50 percent efficiency. Multiply that by however many panels are in an array (an array of panels is basically a group of panels, which is what you normally need to supply enough power to run household appliances, electronics, etc.), and the fall-off in performance can be pretty dramatic…..

Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar is solar and renewable energy.

The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.
Ralph Nader

Scientists will eventually stop flailing around with solar power and focus their efforts on harnessing the only truly unlimited source of energy on the planet: stupidity. I predict that in the future, scientists will learn how to convert stupidity into clean fuel.
Scott Adams

When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.
Kalpana Chawla

I’ve had experiences in my life that leave no doubt in my mind about the fact that God exists. I’m quite willing to debate people who don’t think so because I want them to explain to me how did our solar system get so organized and how is the universe so complex and yet well-organized that we can predict 70 years hence when a comet is coming?
Benjamin Carson

An enormous amount of scientific language is metaphorical. We talk about a genetic code, where code originally meant a cipher; we talk about the solar system model of the atom as though the atom were like a sun and moon and planets.
Steven Pinker

The Venus transit is not a spectacle the way a total solar eclipse is a spectacle.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wind and solar power are land-intensive, a green sin, but not energy-dense, and affordable only when heavily subsidized. And wind power must be supplemented with hydrocarbons for reliability.
Mark McKinnon

There’s a limit to how much you can deploy renewables, like wind or solar. People will talk about getting up to 30 percent of America’s power from renewables, but you can’t get to 100 percent because of their unreliability.
Nathan Myhrvold

I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy. If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.
George Porter

I hope climate science becomes the big thing. And then what I want is electrical engineers to solve the world’s energy problems, energy distribution problems. I want mechanical engineers to make better transportation systems. I want chemical engineers to develop better solar panels, and so on.
Bill Nye
Hope, Science, World

Compared to coal, which generates almost half the electricity in the United States, natural gas is indeed a cleaner, less polluting fuel. But compared to, say, solar, it’s filthy. And of course there is nothing renewable about natural gas.
Jeff Goodell

It’s important to understand that oil and renewables do different things. Wind and solar are for power generation, so they don’t replace oil. About 70% of all oil produced is used for transportation fuel. Renewables are good projects, but they don’t get us off of foreign oil.
T. Boone Pickens

Stanford University study: Sexualization of women in the tech world

21 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Eliana Dockterman reported in the Time article, How Using Sexy Female Avatars in Video Games Changes Women:

It’s not “just a game.”

The debate over whether we should worry about little boys playing violent video games never seems to die down. But maybe we should be fretting just as much about little girls playing those same games. Women who used sexy avatars to represent themselves in video games were more likely to objectify themselves in real life. Not only that, they were more likely to accept what’s called rape myth — i.e., the idea that a woman is in some way to blame for her rape — according to a Stanford study published on Oct. 11 in Computers and Human Behavior.

We’ve known for a long time that the oversexualization of women has a negative impact on the female psyche: one experiment asked women to try on either a bikini or a sweater; those who tried on a bikini reported feeling shame about their bodies and performed more poorly on a math test than their sweater-wearing counterparts. And studies have shown that sexualization of women in the media can negatively impact young girls’ body image. It’s for that very reason that moms worry about their daughters watching the Video Music Awards.

But playing Lara Croft — the wasp-waisted, impossibly large-breasted protagonist in the Tomb Raider video-game series who fights bad guys in an ever-so-practical tight tank top and short shorts — might be worse than watching Miley Cyrus twerking in a bikini. Researchers have demonstrated that embodying characters in virtual worlds has a stronger effect on gamers than just passively watching a character; game play can influence off-line beliefs, attitudes and action thanks to a phenomenon called the Proteus effect in which an individual’s behavior conforms to their digital identity.

And if your avatar resembles you (i.e., you’re playing with a dopplegänger), the game can make an even greater impression. Previous studies have shown playing with a dopplegänger can lead the user to replicate the dopplegänger’s eating patterns, experience physiological arousal or prefer a brand of product endorsed by the dopplegänger. Given that connection, this new study looked at whether embodying sexualized female avatars online changed women’s behavior.

The Stanford researchers asked 86 women ages 18 to 40 to play using either a sexualized (sexily dressed) avatar or a nonsexualized (conservatively dressed) avatar. Then, researchers designed some of those avatars to look like the player embodying them.

Those women who played using sexualized avatars who looked like them were more accepting of the rape myth, according to the study. After playing the game, women responded to many questions with answers along a five-point scale (from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”), including, “In the majority or rapes, the victim is promiscuous or has a bad reputation.” Those who played sexy avatars who looked like themselves were more likely to answer “agree” or “strongly agree” than those women who had nonsexy avatars who did not look like them.

Participants were also asked to freewrite their thoughts after the study. Those with sexualized avatars were more likely to self-objectify in their essays after play.

Here is the citation for the study:

Computers in Human Behavior The embodiment of sexualized virtual selves: The Proteus effect

and experiences of self-objectification via avatars

Jesse Fox⇑

, Jeremy N. Bailenson1

, Liz Tricase 2

Department of Communication, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94040, USA

Moi wrote in Sexualization of girls: A generation looking much too old for their maturity level:

Just ride the bus, go to the mall or just walk down a city street and one will encounter young girls who look like they are ten going on thirty. What’s going on with that? Moi wrote about the sexualization of girls in Study: Girls as young as six think of themselves as sex objects:

In Children too sexy for their years, moi said:

Maybe, because some parents may not know what is age appropriate for their attire, they haven’t got a clue about what is appropriate for children. There is nothing sadder than a 40 something, 50 something trying to look like they are twenty. What wasn’t sagging when you are 20, is more than likely than not, sagging now.

Kristen Russell Dobson, the managing editor of Parent Map, has a great article in Parent Map. In Are Girls Acting Sexy Too Young?

The culture seems to be sexualizing children at an ever younger age and it becomes more difficult for parents and guardians to allow children to just remain, well children, for a bit longer. Still, parents and guardians must do their part to make sure children are in safe and secure environments. A pole dancing fourth grader is simply unacceptable.

Moi loves fashion and adores seeing adult looks on adults. Many 20 and 30 somethings prefer what I would charitably call the “slut chic” look. This look is questionable fashion taste, in my opinion, but at least the look involves questionable taste on the part of adults as to how they present themselves to the public.

Steve Biddulph wrote in the Daily Mail article, The corruption of a generation: In a major Mail series, a renowned psychologist argues that our daughters are facing an unprecedented crisis… sexualisiation from primary school age:

Over the past few years, I’ve discussed the issue of modern girlhood with numerous friends and colleagues, and everyone has observed the same phenomenon: girls are simply growing up too fast.

To put it bluntly, our 18 is their 14. Our 14 is their 10. Never before has girlhood been under such a sustained assault — from ads, alcohol marketing, girls’ magazines, sexually explicit TV programmes and the hard pornography that’s regularly accessed in so many teenagers’ bedrooms.

The result is that many girls effectively lose four years of crucial development, which may take years in therapy to retrieve. Meanwhile, these girls are filling our mental clinics, police stations and hospitals in unprecedented numbers. Not only that, but having sex with lots of different boys is not good for their bodies. Levels of sexual infections are soaring — including chlamydia, which may affect their fertility.

Less well-known is the fact that the rapid surge in the numbers of girls who perform oral sex is leading to a far greater incidence of mouth and throat cancers.

So why are so many girls succumbing to sexual pressures? And what can we, as parents, do to protect our daughters from the very real perils of our modern world?

The first thing to be said is that the current generation is, at least in one unenviable sense, utterly unique: it’s the first to grow up exposed to hard-core pornography.

Sexting: Girls as young as ten years old are now sending sexual images of themselves on their phones (picture posed by models)

In a recent survey, 53 per cent of girls under 13 reported that they had watched or seen porn. By the age of 16, that figure rose to 97 per cent.

‘My child wouldn’t go looking for porn,’ you may say. But your child doesn’t have to be looking: porn will find them….


Remove all digital media from your daughter’s bedroom, including the TV. Have a rule that all members of the family charge and leave their phones in the kitchen each night.

Make sure she’s using the maximum privacy settings online. Some parents make it a condition that for a child to have an account on social media, she must have you as a ‘friend’.

Know the rules. Children aren’t supposed to have a Facebook account until they’re 13. They may feel left out, but you need to be firm.

Either download or have devices installed on your home computers that filter out porn. Ask your daughter to use her computer only in the kitchen, study or living room.

Set limits on time allowed for social networking.

Keep the channels of communication open, so that if your daughter sees something online which distresses her, she won’t be ashamed to tell you about it. If you suspect that your daughter is visiting sites that are harmful, raise it with her. Intervene.

Know the law. If an 18-year-old posts sexualised images of younger people, he or she is at risk of criminal charges.

Never snoop around in your daughter’s bedroom — but do check her phone if you suspect she’s being sent sexual texts or images. Sexting is public behaviour, because anyone can view images or texts and pass them on. And parents have a better understanding of the possible consequences.

Here is the press release from Stanford about the study;

Stanford Report, October 10, 2013

Sexualized avatars affect the real world, Stanford researchers find

A Stanford study shows that after women wear sexualized avatars in a virtual reality world, they feel objectified and are more likely to accept rape myths in the real world. The research could have implications for the role of female characters in video games.


Researchers at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab are delving into questions posed by sexualized depictions of women in video games.

Specifically, do female players who use provocatively dressed avatars begin to see themselves more as objects and less as human beings? Jeremy Bailenson, the director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford, has found a way to use virtual reality to answer that question.

This and other issues take on real-world significance as the numbers of female video game players rise despite the industry’s general lack of relatable female characters and as notoriously violent video games (such as the popular Rockstar Games series, Grand Theft Auto V) continue their rise in popularity.

“We often talk about video game violence and how it affects people who play violent video games,” Bailenson said. “I think it’s equally important to think about sexualization.”

Bailenson is particularly interested in the Proteus Effect: how the experience of acting in a virtual body, known as an avatar, changes people’s behavior in both the virtual and real worlds. For example, when someone wears an avatar that is taller than his actual self, he will act more confidently. People who see the effects of exercise on their bodies in the virtual world will exercise more in the real world.

Proteus Effect and sexualization

Bailenson and co-author Jesse Fox published a research paper in the journal Computers in Human Behavior that examined how becoming a sexualized avatar affected women’s perceptions of themselves. Participants donned helmets that blocked out the real world, immersing them in a virtual world of 3-D sight and sound. Motion sensors on their wrists and ankles allowed for the lab’s many infrared cameras to record their motions as they moved identically in both worlds.

Once in the new world, each participant looked in a virtual mirror and saw herself or another woman, dressed provocatively or conservatively. The avatar’s movements in the mirror perfectly copied the participant’s actual physical movements, allowing her to truly feel as if she occupied that body.

The researchers then introduced a male accomplice into the virtual world to talk to the participant. What seemed like a normal, get-to-know-you conversation was actually an assessment of how much the women viewed themselves as objects. Women “wearing” the sexualized avatars bearing their likenesses talked about their bodies, hair and dress more than women in the other avatars, suggesting that they were thinking of themselves more as objects than as people.

After their time in the virtual world, the participants filled out a questionnaire rating how much they agreed with various statements. Bailenson and Fox folded rape myths such as “in the majority of rapes, the victim is promiscuous or has a bad reputation” into the questionnaire. Participants rated how much they agreed or disagreed with the statements.

The participants who had worn the sexualized avatars tended to agree with rape myths more than the women who had worn the non-sexualized avatars. Women in sexualized avatars whose faces resembled their own agreed with the myths more than anyone else in the study.

Becoming the protagonist

The Entertainment Software Association estimates that across mobile, PC and console platforms, 45 percent of American gamers are female. But few game titles feature female protagonists. In many popular games in this fast-growing industry, female characters are in the minority; more often than not, they are sexualized.

Many female gamers assert that gaming culture is not welcoming to women. The collects user-submitted accounts of sexual harassment women experience in online platforms such as Xbox Live. When women critique sexism in games and gamer culture, they are often dismissed or even bullied. Pop-culture critic Anita Sarkeesian faced a barrage of cyber-bullying – including threats of rape and death – for announcing a project examining common tropes of female characters in video games.

Some gamers maintain that virtual worlds and the real world remain mutually exclusive, but the research by Bailenson and Fox suggests differently. “It changes the way you think about yourself online and offline,” Bailenson said. “It used to be passive and you watched the characters. You now enter the media and become the protagonist. You become the characters.”

Cynthia McKelvey is an intern at the Stanford News Service

Media Contact

Dan Stober, Stanford News Service: (650) 721-6965,

Dr. Wilda has been just saying for quite a while.


Popwatch’s Miley Cyrus Pole Dance Video

Baby Center Blog Comments About Miley Cyrus Pole Dance

The Sexualization of Children


Let’s speak the truth: Values and character training are needed in schools

Do ‘grown-ups’ have to be reminded to keep their clothes on in public? Apparently so

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Prince Georges County recognizes that fathers matter

20 Oct

Moi wrote in Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?
Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, Blacks Struggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate which was posted at NBC News Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected
Brian M. Rosenthal’s Seattle Times article reports about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools,Rosenthal reports:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.
District officials, who presented the finding at a recent community meeting at Rainier Beach High School, noted the results come with caveats, but called the potential trend troubling and pledged to study what might be causing it.
Michael Tolley, an executive director overseeing Southeast Seattle schools, said at the meeting that the data exposed a new achievement gap that is “extremely, extremely alarming.”
The administration has for years analyzed test scores by race. It has never before broken down student-achievement data by specific home language or country of origin — it is rare for school districts to examine test scores at that level — but it is unlikely that the phenomenon the data suggest is actually new.
In fact, some national experts said the trend represented by the Seattle data is not surprising. They pointed to some studies about college attendance and achievement indicating that immigrant families from all backgrounds tend to put a larger emphasis on education than those families that have been in the country longer.
Traditional factors in low performance, such as poverty and single-parent homes, are generally shared by black immigrants and nonimmigrants alike….
The results, although preliminary, were eye-opening:
• Only 36 percent of black students who speak English at home passed their grade’s math test, while 47 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Other black ethnic groups did even better, although still lower than the district average of 70 percent.
• In reading, 56 percent of black students who speak English passed, while 67 percent of Somali-speaking students passed. Again, other black ethnic groups did better, though still lower than the district average of 78 percent.
The numbers do have significant limitations, Teoh said. That’s because they are based on home-language information that is entirely self-reported, and the data exclude English Language Learners — an optional program for students who score poorly on an English proficiency test.
Most of all, Teoh said, because the English-speaking category includes students of many black ethnic groups, it’s impossible to compare specific ethnic groups.
At the recent community meeting, much of that distinction was lost on the parents in the audience.
“It’s very alarming that students that were born right here are at the bottom of the barrel,” said Vallerie Fisher, whose daughter is a senior at Rainier Beach. “How is that possible?”
Immigrant experience
The answer to that question may lie in the culture of immigrant families, national education experts said.
Many of those families, who often were relatively wealthy and well-educated in their home countries, have strong social-support systems that emphasize education, said Mike Petrilli, the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank based in Washington, D.C.
Pamela Bennett, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, agreed. She conducted a study in 2009 that found that immigrant black high-school graduates attend college at a much higher rate than black or white students born in the U.S. The reason was that the immigrants had a higher socioeconomic background, she said.
But that explanation may falter when Seattle’s Somali population is considered.
Many of the Somalis, after all, did not follow a normal pattern of immigration. Their families came to the U.S. to escape their war-torn country, many by way of refugee camps. But they still did better than English-speaking African Americans on the tests.
Veronica Gallardo, the director of international programs for Seattle Public Schools, speculated that the trauma experienced by Somali families causes them to value the opportunity education provides. In addition, Somali community groups tend to prioritize education, said Alexandra Blum, who works with the Somali Community Services Coalition, a nonprofit that works to empower families in King County.
Seattle School Board member Betty Patu, who has worked for decades with community groups serving students of color, said she has noticed that all immigrant families, regardless of socioeconomic status, place high value on education.

Ovetta Wiggins reported in the Washington Post article, ‘Men Making a Difference Day’ brings Prince George’s County fathers to school:

Learning how to knot a necktie was one of many activities that more than 2,000 men shared with their children during Prince George’s County’s annual “Men Making a Difference Day,” which brings the county’s fathers into classrooms to promote parental involvement in the public schools.
On Monday, 100 schools across the county scheduled fun and educational activities for the men, with officials hoping that the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and other male role models would see the importance of being engaged in a child’s education and how such involvement could change a child’s life.
“It does my heart good to see these fathers, uncles, grandfathers, all these men,” Kevin Maxwell, the school system’s chief executive, told the men as they assembled in the lunchroom with students at their sides. “The difference that men make is tremendously important.”
Researchers have found that students with involved parents are more likely to earn higher grades, attend school regularly and have better social skills.
Some schools brought in motivational speakers for the day Monday. Some hosted basketball games between fathers and sons, while others simply opened their classrooms for the men to observe while the children learned.
Michael Robinson, the school system’s former director of parental engagement and community outreach, said some fathers are unable to make weekly visits to their child’s school, for a variety of reasons. But he said meaningful engagement could include buying supplies for the school, helping with homework or attending a school board meeting.
“The goal I have for this is for the fathers to be involved and to see that manifest in student performance and student behavior,” said Robinson, who started the program five years ago and continues to partner with the schools to help organize the event. “I want it to become normal for men to come into a school and ask about their children….”

If you are a young unmarried woman of any color, you probably do not have the resources either emotional or financial to parent a child(ren). If you don’t care about your future, care about the future of your child. If you want to sleep with everything that has a pulse, that is your choice. BUT, you have no right to choose a life of poverty and misery for a child. As for those so called “progressives?” Just shut-up.
There are some very uncomfortable conversations ahead for the African-American community about the high rate of unwed mothers, about the care of women during pregnancy, and about early childhood education in the homes of children.Most important, about the lack the active involvement of fathers of some children.

Time to start talking. The conversation is not going to get any less difficult.


We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

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The 10/20/13 Joy Jar

20 Oct

Moi is being stalked. This is the latest missive from the stalker:

boopbopbeep commented on The 10/17/13 Joy Jar
Awww….are you so insecure that you block negative comments about your blog? Tsk tsk “DOKTOR”….notsomuch as Yale has no record of your time at university.

Here is the IP address as forwarded by WordPress:

information about boopbopbeep

Now this is moi’s profile which stands by:

Dr. Wilda V. Heard, or “Dr. Wilda,” has a J.D. from Yale Law School and a doctorate in education leadership from Seattle University. She has been a volunteer at Legal Voice, formerly the Northwest Women’s Law Center. Currently, she volunteers at the Open Door Legal Clinic of the Union Gospel Mission. Dr. Wilda writes about schools, education reform, and the effect the culture has on education, children, and families. Her comments are of three types: opinion (these comments reflect her opinion on a subject), commentary (her assessment of another’s opinion or comment), and pot stirrer (these comments are written to arouse passion in the reader and to provoke discussion).

All moi can say to the stalker is it is too bad that you have such a miserable life and instead of contributing in positive ways to the world, feel the need to be destructive. Get help. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is forgiveness

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
Bruce Lee

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
John F. Kennedy

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.
Oscar Wilde

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
Mark Twain

Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.
Indira Gandhi

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.
Bernard Meltzer

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.
Thomas Fuller

Forgiveness is the final form of love.
Reinhold Niebuhr

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The 10/19/19 Joy Jar

19 Oct

The TEMPORARY end of the U.S. government shut-down has got moi thinking about the LACK OF LEADERSHIP in national government. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy jar’ is LEADERSHIP.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
Nelson Mandela

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
Lao Tzu

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
Mahatma Gandhi

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
Colin Powell

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.
Peter Drucker

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

Don’t find fault, find a remedy.
Henry Ford

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’
Lao Tzu

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.
John C. Maxwell

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker

People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
Theodore Roosevelt

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
Henry Ward Beecher

Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
John D. Rockefeller

A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
Max Lucado

The 10/18/19 Joy Jar

19 Oct

The weather in Seattle is foggy in the mornings with maybe the prospect of clearing. The best defense in the fog is a smile. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is a smile.

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
Ashley Smith

You, Man, Just It takes a lot of energy to be negative. You have to work at it. But smiling is painless. I’d rather spend my energy smiling.
Eric Davis

Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you.
Anna Lee

Your wrinkles either show that you’re nasty, cranky, and senile, or that you’re always smiling.
Carlos Santana

The greatest self is a peaceful smile, that always sees the world smiling back.
Bryant H. McGill

Smiling always with a never fading serenity of countenance, and flourishing in an immortal youth.
Isaac Barrow

“Peace begins with a smile..”
Mother Teresa

“If you’re reading this…
Congratulations, you’re alive.
If that’s not something to smile about,
then I don’t know what is.”
Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

“I was smiling yesterday,I am smiling today and I will smile tomorrow.Simply because life is too short to cry for anything.”
Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday

Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.
Nhat Hanh

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh

USC study: Adjunct faculty pay disparity can be fixed at reasonable cost

19 Oct

Moi wrote in Northwestern University study: Adjunct faculty better teachers at one school:
A good basic description of teacher tenure as found at teacher tenure. James gives the following definition:
Tenure is a form of job security for teachers who have successfully completed a probationary period. Its primary purpose is to protect competent teachers from arbitrary nonrenewal of contract for reasons unrelated to the educational process — personal beliefs, personality conflicts with administrators or school board members, and the like.
The type and amount of protection vary from state to state and — depending on agreements with teachers’ unions — may even vary from school district to school district. In general, a tenured teacher is entitled to due process when he or she is threatened with dismissal or nonrenewal of contract for cause: that is, for failure to maintain some clearly defined standard that serves an educational purpose.
Time has a good summary of the history of teacher tenure at A Brief History of Tenure,8599,1859505,00.html

Joanne Jacobs posted Adjuncts v. Fulltime Faculty at Community College Spotlight:

Retired State Sen. Ken Jacobsen once called Washington state’s community colleges “a chain of academic sweatshops,” Longmate writes.
At Olympic College, full-time faculty average $55,797 a year, while an adjunct who taught full-time would average $27,833.
“The same tension has arisen elsewhere — at Wisconsin’s Madison Area Technical College, for instance, adjuncts filed suit to stop overloads,” notes Inside Higher Ed.
In New Hampshire, community college adjuncts have joined a state employees union.
At Chicago’s Columbia College, experienced, top-scale adjuncts charge they’ve lost class assignments to newly hired part-timers who cost less.

The question is whether colleges can afford to fix the disparity.

Colleen Flaherty reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Not Too Expensive to Fix:

Or so argues a new paper from the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a partnership between the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and the Association of American Colleges and Universities to examine and develop the role of adjunct faculty.
“[Although] leaders in higher education do face budgetary constraints and uncertainty over future funding sources, it is a myth that resources are the sole reason that prevents us from ensuring that all our faculty members are adequately supported so they can provide the highest quality of instruction to their students,” reads Delphi’s “Dispelling the Myths: Locating the Resources Needed to Support Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.”
The paper, written by Adrianna Kezar, director of the Delphi Project and professor of higher education at the University of Southern California, and Dan Maxey, Kezar’s research assistant, outlines a variety of practices institutions may adopt to better support all faculty – not just adjuncts – rated on a scale from “$” (free to marginal in cost) to “$$$$” (indicating a “more substantial” expense).
Some obvious means of supporting adjunct instructors, who make up nearly three-fourths of the higher education work force — better pay, benefits — are costly. But others — such as enhancing data collection efforts to better track adjunct employment on campus, ensuring protections for academic freedom in faculty handbooks, and inviting adjuncts to participate in curricular discussions and governance – aren’t.
That’s the paper’s biggest takeaway, Kezar said, given the many “myths and stereotypes,” coupled with the lack of national data, about the costs of rethinking adjunct employment conditions. It’s based on previous case studies of different campuses’ costs and strategies related to adjunct faculty members.
“This new resource on how to understand the actual costs to support [adjuncts] should be paradigm-shifting for campus leaders,” she said via e-mail. “So many changes cost little or marginal amounts of money. But they do require priority-setting and making this a goal for departments or institutions.”
Inexpensive Ways Institutions Can Support Adjunct Faculty
Cost Practice
$ (marginal) Enhance data collection efforts on adjunct employment on campus
$ Ensure or clarify protections for academic freedom
$ Provide access to instructional materials, resources and support services (library, photocopies, etc.)
$-$$ (some additional expense) Provide access to on-campus professional development opportunities
$-$$ Extend opportunity to participate in departmental meetings, curriculum design and campus life (inclusive in e-mail distribution lists, etc.)
$-$$ Participation in governance
$-$$ Facilitate opportunities for faculty mentoring
$-$$ Ensure access to orientation for new hires
$-$$ Access to administrative staff for support
Maxey said that once institutions begin to make meaningful but inexpensive changes to adjunct working conditions, they can become convinced of the value of such investments.
“Non-tenure-track faculty are committed educators and should be provided proper support and fair compensation,” he said via e-mail. “We see all of the recommendations as important, but by offering this range of choices, campuses can target a few to start with that are within reach. In our experience working with campuses, those that start out with just a few low-cost changes often quickly realize that these changes to better-support the faculty are worth any added expense….”

Here is the press release from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP):

Change Requires Discipline
Disciplinary societies can lead the battle for the rights of non-tenure-track faculty members, say two leaders of the University of Southern California’s Delphi Project.
By Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Maxey
Today, approximately seven out of every ten instructional faculty members at nonprofit institutions of higher learning are employed off the tenure track; nearly half of all faculty members providing instruction in nonprofit higher education hold part-time appointments. The characteristics that distinguish tenure-track from non-tenure-track faculty members are not limited to the latter’s lack of eligibility for tenure. Rather, most non-tenure-track faculty members, particularly those teaching part time, experience poor working conditions (no job security, low salaries, and little or no access to office space) and are denied many types of support that are provided to their tenure-eligible colleagues (professional development opportunities, access to resources for instruction and administrative personnel, and sometimes even e-mail accounts and library privileges). While many faculty members, administrators, and other higher education stakeholders surely know that large numbers of non-tenure-track faculty members are employed on some campuses or within particular disciplines, the implications for teaching and learning are often not considered or discussed. Yet recent research has documented how greater exposure of students to these faculty members, whose performance is often constrained by poor working conditions and a lack of support, is negatively affecting retention, graduation, and transfer rates as well as other indicators of student success such as GPA.
This is a systemic problem, but one that presents disciplinary societies with various opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to the overall solution. One of the reasons that contingent faculty issues have not been adequately addressed is that responding requires the attention, support, and action of many different groups across higher education. No single group or coalition representing only a few stakeholder groups has the ability to act unilaterally to make the changes needed. Academic leaders control budgets and make many of the decisions that affect faculty work, boards and policy makers determine the priorities of institutions and systems, accreditation agencies hold institutions accountable to standards, unions decide who will be included in collective bargaining intended to improve conditions, and disciplinary societies influence how faculty members are socialized and which work is valued and rewarded. Although these groups and others often cannot act alone, there is sometimes little or no communication among them to align their efforts and goals. To address complex, systemic problems, a wide range of stakeholders need to participate and powerful levers such as disciplinary societies and accreditation must be used.
Collective Action
Although there has long been a paucity of attention to the growing reliance on non-tenure-track faculty members, individual researchers and activists and organizations such as the New Faculty Majority and the AAUP have recently been advocating for change. Now that teachers off the tenure track have come to represent nearly 70 percent of the faculty—and with some evidence of the adverse effects for students—this issue should be handled with urgency. One of the main reasons we started the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success was to work with a broad range of stakeholder groups. This national project engages disciplinary societies, organizations representing presidents and boards, unions, academic leaders, policy makers, accreditation agencies, faculty advocacy organizations, and other groups in discussion about how the faculty has changed and what the implications are for student success. We have also asked what the implications are for institutional missions, governance, curriculum development, academic freedom, and equitable employment among the full professoriate. The AAUP joined the project at its inception and has been a voice for the faculty in our work.
Two main questions are the basis for the Delphi Project’s core strategies: What steps can be taken to increase awareness about and improve the working conditions of non-tenure-track faculty members and thus create a better environment for teaching and learning? And how should the faculty model be reconsidered to ensure that we have the best faculty members in place to support the needs of students, institutions, and communities, now and in the future? Faculty members must also ask these questions, and disciplinary associations can have an important leadership role in raising awareness of contingent faculty issues.
An important early step for stakeholders (including disciplinary societies) seeking to change policies and practices is to recognize their roles as part of a collective effort, acknowledging and complementing others’ work toward achieving shared objectives. Faculty leaders should seek to identify who is already working to address contingent faculty issues, begin communicating with them, and align their efforts when possible. The Delphi Project is one such group that can provide resources and tool kits, data, and a well formed statement on the reasons for change that is based on research. Our tools provide campus leaders a clear explanation of the problem, the rationale for change, and step-by-step inquiry processes to rethink existing policies.
Several other groups have been involved in efforts to advocate for non-tenure-track faculty members nationwide. For example, academic unions have collected data and developed statements about advisable policies for campuses. New Faculty Majority, a membership organization serving non-tenure-track faculty members, has a strong advocacy mission but also conducts research and promotes policy change, often by collaborating with other groups. A few disciplinary societies, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Historical Association (AHA), have taken steps to increase the participation of non-tenure-track faculty members. And the work of educational researchers who are studying contingent faculty issues can be used to help frame an evidence-based argument for change.
Identifying the work of active or potential change agents on individual campuses is important as well. Several examples of administrators, faculty members, accreditors, media outlets, students, and unions collaborating at the campus level can be found in Adrianna Kezar’s book Embracing Non-Tenure-Track Faculty as well as the Delphi Project’s Path to Change series. By working with other groups at the national and campus levels, rather than in isolation, faculty leaders and disciplinary societies can be more successful in their efforts.
Disciplinary Society Leadership
In the past, professors mobilized through their disciplinary societies to support broader efforts to create systemic change by taking actions that helped to remove barriers and facilitate reform. For example, in the 1990s, efforts to promote the adoption of service learning, an important innovation in teaching, appeared to have stalled after nearly twenty years of slow progress. Close to a hundred departments, mostly sociology programs, had integrated service learning into the curriculum, but a common obstacle was the belief that service-learning strategies could not be applied in meaningful ways in fields such as chemistry or physics. Proponents sought help from disciplinary societies; they called upon prominent scholars to produce monographs describing how service learning could be used in each field. The leaders of the disciplinary societies also helped to build a base of support for service learning by extolling its benefits and creating opportunities at conferences to share knowledge about its processes and strategies. The work of faculty members through disciplinary societies was only a part of a larger movement that included interconnected and interlocking strategies among different stakeholder groups. Still, these important contributions have helped service learning be adopted and integrated by more than three thousand campuses.
Learning the lessons of past efforts to support change, we offer some advice and strategies to address the non-tenure-track faculty issue: actively reaching out to non-tenure-track faculty members to include them in disciplinary societies; eliminating barriers that hinder participation of non-tenure-track faculty members; creating task forces to call attention to the issues; highlighting data and solutions in journals, websites, and other publications and at conferences; distributing data to raise awareness and enhance discussion; developing policy statements; and creating coalitions with other disciplinary societies.
Active outreach: One of the first steps disciplinary societies can take is to encourage participation of non-tenure-track faculty members in their activities. Greater involvement can help to make these faculty members more visible in the field and allow them to share not only their concerns but also their knowledge and ideas. Including them helps to create a culture of respect for all faculty members within the society that can spread as members carry the spirit of mutual appreciation back to their home institutions. Since many disciplinary societies tend to attract mostly tenure-track faculty members, a conscious and planned outreach effort may be needed.
Elimination of barriers: Inviting non-tenure-track faculty members to join disciplinary societies may not be enough to encourage their participation. Often, high membership fees and the cost of attending conferences is a barrier, particularly since non-tenure-track faculty members usually do not have access to discretionary or travel funds to help cover these expenses. Disciplinary societies such as the MLA and the AHA have thus created membership fee scales that reduce the cost of membership based on a salary scale. The MLA has also created a fund to provide grants for non-tenure-track faculty members to travel to and participate in major conferences. Societies can encourage departments to seek sources of travel funding as well.
Inclusion and engagement: As steps are taken to reduce or eliminate barriers to participation, disciplinary societies have to ensure that non-tenure-track faculty members are included and more fully engaged. Societies can seek out contributions from non-tenure-track faculty members for their publications and consider them for awards and honors given to members for outstanding contributions to their field of study and service. Conferences offer opportunities to invite non-tenure-track scholars to present their research on these issues and host panel discussions and workshops, and they are occasions for tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members to meet and engage one another in a conversation about the future of their field of study. Treating all members the same fosters a culture of respect, increases the visibility of non-tenure-track faculty members and of the issues they face, enhances the vitality of the disciplines, and generates new ideas and approaches to solving problems.
Use of publications and conferences: Disciplinary societies can also commit to expanding their efforts to advance dialogue about non-tenure-track faculty member issues through conference sessions, journal articles, commissioned reports, and other forums. These are important resources for building greater awareness among a disciplinary society’s membership. Faculty members can share their findings about conditions on their campuses with one another as well as the obstacles they face at home or efforts that have been successful. Panel discussions can highlight best practices or efforts to institutionalize the disciplinary society’s professional standards.
Use of task forces: Often, a lack of discussion about contingent faculty issues is related to a lack of data to demonstrate the nature and scope of the problem. Task forces are a good way to begin to collect data, identify trends, and examine the implications of findings for the future of the discipline. For example, a task force could lead an effort to collect data from departments in the field about the numbers of non-tenure-track and tenure-track faculty members employed, compensation and benefits, policies and practices such as programs for professional development, or access to office space and other forms of support. A few disciplinary societies have planned to conduct additional studies to follow up on their earlier efforts in order to examine how trends might be changing over time.
Dissemination of data: The efforts of task forces and similar entities often lead to reports that document current conditions, which can be widely circulated and used to make recommendations for leadership. They might also suggest actions that can be taken by members’ departments to improve faculty support and lessen inequities. Data and reports can provide a snapshot of conditions, which can help deans, department chairs, and faculty members better understand the nature of the problem. These academic leaders should consider the implications of policies and practices for student learning, equity, and risk management. Many of these concerns are summarized in the Delphi Project’s recent publication, The Imperative for Change.
Development of policy statements: Efforts originating from task forces sometimes lead to the development of policy statements and professional standards to inform the creation or revision of policies, such as those related to faculty working conditions. In 1982, for example, the MLA executive council adopted a statement regarding the use of part-time faculty members, which was expanded in 1994 to include full-time nontenure- track faculty members. The MLA Statement on the Use of Part-Time and Full-Time Adjunct Faculty Members called for an evaluation of non-tenure-track hiring practices, support and resources, compensation and benefits, professional development, and departmental and institutional governance. The 2003 Statement on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members addressed the implications of converting increasing numbers of full-time positions to part-time ones and reiterated the importance of improving standards for professional practice. There have also been efforts to address inequitable compensation. Recommendations for full-time non-tenure-track faculty compensation emerged from the MLA’s delegate assembly and were adopted in 2002, followed by the addition of similar guidance on the salaries of their part-time colleagues. Both sets of recommendations have been maintained and are updated to reflect current levels of compensation. Another policy statement, the MLA’s 2011 Professional Employment Practices for Non-Tenure- Track Faculty Members, provides guidelines for evaluating the role of non-tenure-track faculty members in individual departments.
Formation of coalitions: Disciplinary societies can (and in some cases already do) make important contributions by forming or working with existing coalitions. The Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW) has been one of the more active coalition groups. Its membership is composed of higher education associations, including the AAUP; disciplinary associations; and faculty organizations that are committed to addressing deteriorating faculty working conditions and their effect on students. The group has grown over the years, and today more than seventeen disciplinary societies are participating. Recently, CAW has garnered attention for its research efforts, notably the creation of a large data set on non-tenure-track faculty members’ experiences and working conditions that contains information collected from approximately twentynine thousand respondents. The group has conducted other research using national faculty databases and has compiled a list of policy statements from member disciplinary societies and organizations.
The Future of the Faculty
Disciplinary societies have long shaped norms for research, teaching, and service and for faculty roles and rewards. They can play an important role in future discussions about the changing nature of the faculty. Accepted methods and theories in research, approaches to teaching, and the type and intensity of service that is valued vary from one discipline to another. Yet, more recently, disciplinary societies seem to have had much less influence over shaping the roles and expectations of faculty members. Criticism of tenure and claims about publishing at the expense of teaching and about inattention to undergraduate education have grown throughout the past thirty years, yet the disciplines have typically had little part, if any, in rethinking expectations. Rather, some argue that we are failing future faculty members by training them for roles and expectations that no longer exist or have been—and likely will continue to be—dramatically changed. Faculty leaders and disciplinary societies must foster discussions about the future of faculty work and how faculty roles could be reconceived not only to address the concerns raised repeatedly by the public, policy makers, academic leaders, and students but also to ensure the future vitality and health of their profession.
Many might think that what we propose sounds too ambitious. Some will suggest that the issue is not really complex at all, retreating to the explanation that the problems related to our changing faculty are simply the result of constrained budgets in an era of economic uncertainty for educational institutions. But this is much more than a budget problem; the trends began long before the current decline in appropriations and other revenues, although today’s budgetary shortfalls have certainly exacerbated the problem. We are never fully constrained by budget issues, and with so much on the line, we should all be working together to address these problems collectively. Still, the evidence that suggests growing reliance on nontenure- track appointments has serious implications for students as well as for the individuals employed in those positions. We need to work within our disciplinary societies and collectively throughout higher education to achieve systemic change. Too many students—and too many faculty members—are being let down by the current system.
The Delphi Project has made a wide range of data and other resources available through its website, We encourage you to visit the site periodically, since we are continuing to work with our partners to improve our understanding of the problem.
Adrianna Kezar is professor of higher education at the University of Southern California and director of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success. She has written several books and articles on the issue of the changing faculty and served on the non-tenure-track faculty committee at USC. Daniel Maxey is dean’s fellow in urban education policy at USC’s Rossier School of Education and Pullias Center for Higher Education. His research focuses on faculty, governance, and politics and change in higher education.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education has written several articles about the plight of adjunct teaching faculty:

o ‘Chronicle’ Survey Yields a Rare Look Into Adjuncts’ Work Lives

o Love of Teaching Draws Adjuncts to the Classroom Despite Low Pay

o Full-Time Instructors Shoulder the Same Burdens That Part-Timers Do

o At One 2-Year College, Adjuncts Feel Like Outsiders

o Video: Voices of Adjuncts


Report: Declining college teaching loads can raise the cost of college

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