Archive | February, 2014

University of Pennsylvania study: Disadvantaged kids affect performance of peers

19 Feb

Moi wrote in Race, class, and education in America:
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 Social Class

Sam Dillion wrote an insightful New York Times article, Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges:

When thousands of white students abandoned the Memphis schools 38 years ago rather than attend classes with blacks under a desegregation plan fueled by busing, Joseph A. Clayton went with them. He quit his job as a public school principal to head an all-white private school and later won election to the board of the mostly white suburban district next door.
Now, as the overwhelmingly black Memphis school district is being dissolved into the majority-white Shelby County schools, Mr. Clayton is on the new combined 23-member school board overseeing the marriage. And he warns that the pattern of white flight could repeat itself, with the suburban towns trying to secede and start their own districts.
“There’s the same element of fear,” said Mr. Clayton, 79. “In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.”
“As far as racial trust goes,” Mr. Clayton, who is white, added, “I don’t think we’ve improved much since the 1970s….”
Toughest of all may be bridging the chasms of race and class. Median family income in Memphis is $32,000 a year, compared with the suburban average of $92,000; 85 percent of students in Memphis are black, compared with 38 percent in Shelby County….

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

Lyndsey Layton reported in the Washington Post article, Disadvantaged children can hurt achievement of others in their classrooms, study finds:

Large numbers of low-income children who begin formal schooling with many disadvantages – poor medical care, homelessness, an uneducated mother, for example – not only struggle with schoolwork but hurt the achievement of other children in their classrooms, according to a new study.
A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania studied more than 10,000 children who were enrolled in public schools in Philadelphia from kindergarten through third grade. They found that in schools with a high concentration of children with “risk factors,” the academic performance of all children – not just those with disadvantages – was negatively affected.
For example, researchers found that children who were homeless or mistreated disrupted their classrooms, pulling down reading achievement and attendance rates among children who were not homeless or mistreated. Along the same lines, schools filled with many students who did not receive adequate prenatal care had overall poor reading achievement, even among those children who did get prenatal care.
Led by John Fantuzzo, the peer-reviewed study was published last week in Educational Researcher…..

Here is the press release from the University of Pennsylvania:

Contact the Penn GSE Press Office
Kat Stein, Executive Director
Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 | Welcome to the Penn GSE Press Room!
February 10, 2014
Contact: Kat Stein, Exec. Director of Communications / (215) 898-9642

Study Mines “Big Data” Across Philadelphia Social Agencies and Public Schools to Examine Impact
Philadelphia, PA, February 10, 2014 – If big-city school systems had a clear picture of the risks that put their students most in danger of falling behind academically, educators and policy makers could build locally targeted solutions for the achievement gap. Last week, Educational Researcher published a University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) study that moves that idea closer to reality. Led by Dr. John Fantuzzo, the research team focused on using integrated administrative data to more fully understand complicating factors for children at risk – and the impact of multiple risks on the broader educational environment.

In schools with high concentrations of students with risk factors, such as homelessness and low maternal education, the performance of all students—not just those experiencing these risks—was negatively impacted. The study, which looked at third grade students in Philadelphia, demonstrates that race and poverty are not telling the whole story in examining educational well-being, and that problem-solving focused on certain children can benefit the entire school.

In the study, Fantuzzo and his co-authors used an integrated data system, which they helped to develop. This system, while protecting student privacy, combined records stored by the schools and social service agencies for thousands of third-graders from across Philadelphia to study the relations between risks and educational outcomes.

Third graders were chosen because third grade is the first time that children take state-mandated achievement tests, giving the researchers a consistent measure of academic performance. The data, which had been collected by public agencies over the children’s lifetimes and even extended back before their births to the time of their mothers’ pregnancies, enabled the researchers to use sophisticated analytic techniques to find the association between academic performance and various risks and protective factors over time. Here is a summary of the peer-reviewed article:

“An Investigation of the Relations Between School Concentrations of Student Risk Factors and Student Educational Well-Being,” by John W. Fantuzzo, Whitney A. LeBoeuf, and Heather L. Rouse, investigates the relationship between school concentrations of student risk factors such as homelessness, maltreatment, and low maternal education, and measures of reading, mathematics, and attendance. The authors, examining an entire cohort of third-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia, document the negative impact of high concentrations of students with risk factors on the other children who attend school with these peers but are, themselves, not experiencing these risk factors. Large concentrations of students with low maternal education, homelessness, and child maltreatment were found to be among the most harmful to overall student performance, after accounting for student-level risks and demographics. The findings show that poverty and race do
not tell the whole story when it comes to educational well-being.

The integrated data system in Philadelphia, which began in 2002, is part of Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP), an initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through a grant to Penn professors Dennis Culhane, School of Social Policy and Practice, and John Fantuzzo, Graduate School of Education.While harnessing the power of large amounts of public data to find solutions to civic problems is a recent trend, AISP has been in the big data field for many years. AISP was ahead of the curve, using research and relationship-building to tackle the complicated challenges of integrating disparate data systems in order to reveal previously unseen patterns, patterns that can teach us about the impact of homelessness on reading skills, send emergency services to those most in need during a crisis, or help medical professionals care for rural patients more effectively. AISP is building a nationwide network of agencies that use
integrated data systems to answer big questions; create efficiencies; and solve the conundrums of technical disparities, legal roadblocks, and privacy challenges along the way – essentially to use data for the common good.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit

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

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

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


Study: race determines how one views meritocracy

Michael Petrilli’s decision: An ed reformer confronts race and class when choosing a school for his kids

The role economic class plays in college success

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.
Dr. Wilda says this about that
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
Dr. Wilda ©

Faculty free speech: Demers v. Austin

13 Feb

The U.S. Constitution should be cherished by every American. Here is information about the First Amendment from the Legal Information Institute:

first amendment: an overview
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. amend. I. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV.
Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the “separation of church and state.” Some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of “blue laws” is not prohibited. The free exercise clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person’s practice of their religion.
The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message. The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.
Despite popular misunderstanding the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination. It is part of the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. It does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.
The right to assemble allows people to gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. Implicit within this right is the right to association and belief. The Supreme Court has expressly recognized that a right to freedom of association and belief is implicit in the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. This implicit right is limited to the right to associate for First Amendment purposes. It does not include a right of social association. The government may prohibit people from knowingly associating in groups that engage and promote illegal activities. The right to associate also prohibits the government from requiring a group to register or disclose its members or from denying government benefits on the basis of an individual’s current or past membership in a particular group. There are exceptions to this rule where the Court finds that governmental interests in disclosure/registration outweigh interference with first amendment rights. The government may also, generally, not compel individuals to express themselves, hold certain beliefs, or belong to particular associations or groups.
The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government.

Peter Bonilla explains why free speech rights on college campuses are important in a PolicyMic article.
See, Censorship of Free Speech on College Campuses Grows

Scott Jaschik reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Protecting Academic Freedom:

A federal appeals court has given a strong endorsement to the idea that faculty speech rights at public colleges and universities were not constrained by a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that limited the rights of some public employees.
The 2006 ruling, Garcetti v. Ceballos, concerned the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Despite that, some courts have been applying the ruling to faculty disputes at public universities — while others have not. The new ruling – by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – comes in a three-judge panel’s revised opinion on the case of David Demers, a tenured professor at Washington State University who says he was retaliated against with negative performance reviews for writings that criticized the administration.
The appeals court did not rule on the merits of the case, and as it did in its first look at the Demers suit, it said that his free speech wasn’t limited by the Garcetti ruling. But the language in the new ruling was quite strong – the kind of language many faculty advocates have been looking for.
The appeals court acknowledged that Garcetti set limits for public employees, but said there was no question that those limits should not apply in higher education.
“Garcetti left open the possibility of an exception,” the appeals court said. “In response to a concern expressed by Justice Souter in dissent, the court reserved the question whether its holding applied to ‘speech related to scholarship or teaching.’ Justice Souter had expressed concern about the potential breadth of the court’s rationale, writing, ‘I have to hope that today’s majority does not mean to imperil First Amendment protection of academic freedom in public colleges and universities.’ ”
The appeals court added that “Demers presents the kind of case that worried Justice Souter. Under Garcetti, statements made by public employees ‘pursuant to their official duties’ are not protected by the First Amendment. But teaching and academic writing are at the core of official duties of teachers and professors. Such teaching and writing are a special concern of the First Amendment. We conclude that if applied to teaching and academic writing, Garcetti would directly conflict with the important First Amendment values previously articulated by the Supreme Court.”
Further the court noted that the First Amendment, as interpreted in other Supreme Court decisions, applies to faculty speech that may not be strictly scholarship or teaching, but may relate to discussions of college policy. “[P]rotected academic writing is not confined to scholarship,” the appeals court said. “Much academic writing is, of course, scholarship. But academics, in the course of their academic duties, also write memoranda, reports, and other documents addressed to such things as a budget, curriculum, departmental structure and faculty hiring.”
Robert O’Neil, former president of and professor of law at the University of Virginia, and an expert on faculty free speech issues, said via email that the latest decision from the appeals court added to the view he shares that Garcetti should not be applied to higher education.

Here is the case summary by Breanna Thompson of Willamette College of law:

Demers v. Austin
Summarized by: Breanna Thompson
Date Filed: 09-04-2013
Case #: 11-35558
Circuit Judge Fletcher for the Court; Circuit Judge Fisher and Senior District Judge Quist
Full Text Opinion:
Civil Rights § 1983: Garcetti does not apply to teaching and academic writing. Instead, the Pickering test should be applied which requires the employee to show that his or her speech addressed matters of public concern and that interest in voicing those concerns outweigh the State’s interest in promoting efficient public services.
David Demers was a tenured associate professor at Washington State University. He brought suit alleging that after distributing a short pamphlet and drafts of an in-progress book, the university retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants by applying Garcetti v. Ceballos, and found that the drafts were distributed pursuant to Demers’s employment duties and therefore not protected under the First Amendment. Demers contended that the retaliation consisted of negative annual performance reviews with false information, conducting two internal affair audits, serving formal notice of discipline, preventing him from serving on committees. Demers argued that writing and distributing of the Plan was not done as an official duty, and even if it was, Garcetti does not extend to activity by a public teacher. The Ninth Circuit disagreed with the first argument, but agreed that Garcetti does not apply to this case. Garcetti held that “when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” If this holding applied to academic writing, then it would directly conflict with First Amendment values which include academic freedom. Instead, teaching and academic writing is governed by Pickering v. Board of Education, requiring the employee to show that his or her speech addressed matters of public concern and that interest in voicing those concerns outweighed the State’s interest in promoting efficient public services. The panel concluded that the pamphlet did address a matter of public concern under Pickering, but that there was insufficient evidence to prove retaliation. Additionally, defendants were entitled to qualified immunity because of the uncertainty of Garcetti. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED.

Ben Franklin states it best:

Benjamin Franklin (1706–90)

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”“A Republic, if you can keep it.”


Center for Campus Free Speech

Free Speech Off Campus Must Be Protected

Column: Free speech sacks ban on college-athlete tweets

Student Press Law Center

Free Speech, Social Media and Community Colleges: Let the Clash Begin

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

American Psychological Association: Kids too stressed out to be healthy

12 Feb

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8.

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Anna M. Phillips wrote the New York Times article, Calming Schools by Focusing on Well-Being of Troubled Students which describes how one New York school is dealing with its troubled children.

Mark Ossenheimer, principal of the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, threw out a name to add to the list of teenagers in trouble.
Several teachers and a social worker seated around a table in the school’s cramped administrative offices nodded in agreement. They had watched the student, who had a housebound parent who was seriously ill, sink into heavy depression. Another child seemed to be moving from apartment to apartment, showing up at school only sporadically. And then there was the one grappling with gender-identity issues. Soon the list had a dozen names of students who could shatter a classroom’s composure or a school windowpane in a second.
Convening the meeting was Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that the young-but-faltering school in an impoverished neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo had brought in this year to try to change things.
“This is the condition our organization was created to solve,” said Dr. Pamela Cantor, Turnaround’s founder and president. “A teacher who works in a community like this and thinks that these children can leave their issues at the door and come in and perform is dreaming.”
In focusing on students’ psychological and emotional well-being, in addition to academics, Turnaround occupies a middle ground between the educators and politicians who believe schools should be more like community centers, and the education-reform movement, with its no-excuses mantra. Over the past decade, the movement has argued that schools should concentrate on what high-quality, well-trained teachers can achieve in classrooms, rather than on the sociological challenges beyond their doors.

One strategy in helping children to succeed is to recognize and treat depression.

Carolyne Gregoire reported in the Huffington Post article, American Teens Are Even More Stressed Than Adults:

Last year, the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey found that Millennials, aged 18-33, were the country’s most-stressed generation. Now, the title belongs to an even younger demographic: American teenagers.
Even before the pressures of work and adulthood set in, for most young Americans, stress has already become a fact of daily life. And this sets the stage early for unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices that may increase the risk of developing stress-related health problems down the road.
American teenagers are now the most stressed-out age group in the U.S., according to APA’s 2013 Stress In America survey. While adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8.
This year’s report, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of APA, consisted of 1,950 adults and 1,018 teens in the U.S. in August 2013. Here are some of the survey’s biggest findings about teens and stress:
• Teens report that their stress level during the school year (5.8/10) far exceeds what they believe to be a healthy level of stress (3.9/10).
• 31 percent of teens report feeling overwhelmed as a result of stress, 30 percent say that they feel sad or depressed as a result of stress, and 36 percent report feeling tired or fatigued because of stress.
• Only 16 percent of teens say their stress levels have declined in the past year, while 31 percent say their stress has increased in the past year.
• Yet teens are more likely than adults to report that stress has no effect on their physical health (54 percent) or their mental health (52 percent).
• 42 percent of teens say that they’re either not doing enough to manage their stress or they’re not sure if they’re doing enough.
“It is alarming that the teen stress experience is so similar to that of adults. It is even more concerning that they seem to underestimate the potential impact that stress has on their physical and mental health,” APA CEO and Executive Vice President Norman B. Anderson, PhD, said in a statement. “In order to break this cycle of stress and unhealthy behaviors as a nation, we need to provide teens with better support and health education at school and home, at the community level and in their interactions with health care professionals.”
Teens’ habits around sleep, exercise and technology (the average teen consumes an average of 7.5 hours of media per day) may play a role in contributing to higher stress levels. More than one in three teens says that stress has kept him up at night in the past month. But most teens aren’t sleeping enough to begin with: The average teen sleeps 7.4 hours on a school night (far less than the 9-10 hours recommended by the CDC), the APA survey found. The survey also found that one in five teens reports exercising less than once a week or not at all, despite the proven stress-relieving benefits of physical activity.
The negative health effects of lack of sleep and too much screen time for teens could be significant. Teens who don’t get enough sleep are four times as likely as well-rested teens to develop major depressive disorder, according to a recent University of Texas study, while teens who are already depressed are more likely to lose sleep. Teens who spend a lot of time on the Internet are also as likely to exhibit depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts as teens who misuse drugs and skip school, according to a recent Swedish study……

Here is the press release from the American Psychological Association:

Stress in America™ 2013 Highlights: Are Teens Adopting Adults’ Stress Habits?
While no one can avoid all stressful situations, this year’s Stress in America™ survey portrays a picture of high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms that appear to be ingrained in our culture, perpetuating unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors for future generations. While the news about American stress levels is not new, what’s troubling is the stress outlook for teens in the United States. In many cases, American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern to those of adults.
Teens and Stress
They report stress at levels far higher than what they believe is healthy and their average reported stress level is higher during the school year. Meanwhile, teens report that stress is having an impact on their life.
• Teens report that their stress level during the school year far exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 vs. 3.9 on a 10-point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress level in the past month (5.8 for teens vs. 5.1 for adults).
• Thirty-one percent of teens say that their stress level has increased in the past year and 34 percent believe their stress levels will increase in the coming year.
• Eighty-three percent report that school is a somewhat or significant source of stress, and 10 percent of teens report receiving lowers grades than they are capable of because of stress.
• Teens are more likely than adults to report that their stress level has a slight or no impact on their body or physical health (54 percent of teens vs. 39 percent of adults) or their mental health (52 percent of teens vs. 43 percent of adults). Yet teens report experiencing both emotional and physical symptoms of stress in similar proportions to adults, including feeling irritable or angry, nervous, anxious or and tired.
• Forty-two percent of teens say they either are not doing enough to manage their stress or they are not sure if they are doing enough to manage it.
• Thirty-seven percent of teen girls report feeling depressed or sad in the past month due to stress compared to 23 percent of teen boys.
• Although teens do not appear to recognize the potential impact of stress on their physical and mental health, they often struggle to cope. Only 50 percent report feeling confident about their ability to handle their personal problems, and 46 percent say they feel that they are on top of things fairly or very often.
More on teens and stress
Stress and Sleep
This year’s Stress in America survey shows that stress may be interfering with Americans’ sleep, keeping many adults and teens from getting the sleep they need to be healthy.
• Forty-three percent of American adults report that stress has caused them to lie awake at night in the past month.
• Forty-five percent of adults with higher reported stress levels (eight, nine or 10 on a 10-point scale) feel even more stressed if they do not get enough sleep.
• Thirty-five percent of teens report that stress caused them to lie awake at night in the past month. And for teens who sleep fewer than eight hours per school night, 42 percent say their stress level has increased over the past year.
More on stress and sleep
Stress and Exercise
Although many respondents to the Stress in America survey report that they experience positive benefits from exercise, few say they make the time to exercise every day. In fact, the survey found that 37 percent of adults report exercising less than once a week or not at all.
• Forty-three percent of adults say they exercise to manage stress, and 39 percent say they have skipped exercise or physical activity in the past month when they were feeling stressed.
• Fifty percent say that being physically active or fit is extremely or very important to them, yet only 27 percent report doing an excellent or very good job of achieving this.
• Fifty-three percent of teens say they feel good about themselves after exercising, 40 percent say it puts them in a good mood and 32 percent say they feel less stressed after exercising. Regardless, 20 percent of teens report exercising less than once a week or not at all.
More on stress and exercise
Stress and Eating
While many factors contribute to the nation’s weight challenges, the Stress in America survey suggests that stress influences our eating habits. Many adults report engaging in unhealthy eating behaviors as a result of stress.
• Thirty-eight percent of adults say they have overeaten or eaten unhealthy foods in the past month because of stress. Half of these adults (49 percent) report engaging in these behaviors weekly or more.
• Twenty-seven percent of adults say they eat to manage stress, and 34 percent of those who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress say this behavior is a habit.
• Among teens who report overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress (26 percent), 33 percent say they did so because it helps distract them from what was causing them stress.
• Sixty-seven percent of teens who report skipping meals due to stress say it was because of a lack of appetite, and 25 percent say it was because they did not have time to eat.
More on stress and eating
A Stress Snapshot
Survey results show that adults are living with stress that is higher than what they believe to be healthy and that they are not having much success at managing or reducing their stress.
• Forty-two percent of adults report that their stress level has increased, and 36 percent say their stress level has stayed the same over the past five years.
• Sixty-one percent of adults say that managing stress is extremely or very important, but only 35 percent say they are doing an excellent or very good job at it.
• Forty-four percent of adults say they are not doing enough or are not sure whether they are doing enough to manage their stress, but 19 percent say they never engage in stress management activities.
• Money (71 percent), work (69 percent) and the economy (59 percent) continue to be the most commonly reported sources of stress.
More on stress survey highlights

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.


Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools’

1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children

2. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children

3. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression

4. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression?

5. WebMD’s Depression In Children

6. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?

7. Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

Rumble in academia about study of ‘undermatching’ of ethnic groups and elite colleges

11 Feb

Mary Beth Markein wrote in the 2009 USA Today article, Q&A: Minority, low-income students need to aim higher:

GRADUATION RATES: If graduation is assumed, students don’t want to fall behind
HIGHER ED: More on grad rates at public universities
Q: You use the term “undermatch” to describe a student who appears to be eligible for a more selective college than the one where they enrolled. Why is undermatching a problem?
Bowen: It is sort of counterintuitive. You would think a student with reasonable qualifications would be more likely to graduate by going to a school where they’re not up against super-prepared kids, where there’s less competition. One argument against affirmative action has been that African-American students get discouraged at places that are too tough for them and drop out. But we found no evidence to support that. Going to a place where you’re challenged increases outcomes. Now, there may be good reasons for undermatching, but this should not be the norm. Yet data in North Carolina suggest that 40% of students undermatch by going to a less selective four-year university, to a two-year college, or to no college.
Q: You argue for better advising for high school students. What about cost? Selective schools tend to have higher sticker prices.
McPherson: If you look at the net price, after allowing for loans and grants, it turns out that in many cases the flagships, for example, may be cheaper for low-income students than less selective institutions in the state. But financing has to be in place and unambiguous. Some relatively vague promise that families will be able to afford a particular school is probably not a message that most lower- and moderate-income families are going to believe. One answer is to make the financial aid system simpler and more reliable. Another is making sure you get the money to the right people. If this country wants to have more college graduates, we have to do better for low- and moderate-income students…..

Not much has changed since 2009.

Scott Jaschik reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, Is ‘Undermatching’ Overrated?

Few educational theories have taken off as quickly in recent years as that of “undermatching.” The idea is that many academically talented, low-income students who could succeed at top colleges are not applying to, enrolling in or graduating from them. Research on the topic has attracted widespread attention not only from colleges but from the White House, where administration officials have urged higher education leaders to do more on the issue.
But an analysis published Friday in Educational Researcher (abstract available here) argues that some key assumptions behind much undermatching research are flawed — and that new studies are needed to determine how much of the theory holds. The authors are Michael N. Bastedo, director of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, and Allyson Flaster, a doctoral student at Michigan.
A key part of undermatching theory is that the disadvantaged students who enroll at less competitive colleges are missing the chance at institutions with greater resources, higher graduation rates and more prestige. But Bastedo and Flaster question whether the researchers have in fact identified the “margins that matter” to student success.
They argue that the much increased opportunity that comes from attending a “top” institution is truly evident only at the very top, the wealthiest institutions that don’t require students to borrow. But much of the undermatching research isn’t looking at the top 50 colleges, but the top 200 or so, a group so wide that it doesn’t focus on the institutions that really have exceptional resources compared to all others.
Further, the new article says that undermatching studies largely ignore a match that truly matters: whether a student enrolls at a community college or four-year institution. This choice, the authors write, is a crucial one (and perhaps far more important than whether a student attends a more or less competitive four-year institution) if the goal is to have more disadvantaged students earn bachelor’s degrees because of the relatively low rates at which community college students go on to do so.
More on ‘Undermatching’
• Study finds that a majority of low-income, high academic ability students fail to apply to a single competitive college.
• Study finds that certain interventions have an impact on whether low-income, high ability students will apply to competitive colleges.
• Obama administration talks to colleges about undermatching.

There is of course, a contra view regarding what this study means.

Jaschik got an e-mail reply from Professor Caroline Hoxby:

Caroline M. Hoxby, a professor of economics at Stanford University, and the co-author of several of the leading studies on undermatching, was highly critical of the Bastedo-Flaster analysis. Via email, Hoxby said: “Our studies are definitive. We not only study 100 percent (I said 100 percent and I am not kidding) of low-income high achievers, but we also have causal impacts (we have studies that rely on randomized controlled trials in which students are induced by our interventions to apply to more selective colleges).”
She suggested that Inside Higher Ed “simply ignore this low quality study,” which she characterized as “a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10,” noting that “one of the great faults of the media is to give similar weight to studies” without being able to evaluate their quality. (Hoxby is a highly respected researcher on higher education, as are some of the others who work on undermatching, but so is Bastedo, and it may be relevant that this new analysis is being published in the flagship journal of the American Educational Research Association.)
Christopher Avery, a professor of public policy at Harvard University who has written pieces with Hoxby about undermatching, said via email that the “ultimate test” of the theory would be whether interventions have an impact. If the Educational Researcher analysis is accurate, he said, then interventions wouldn’t have much of an impact. But, he noted, a study by Hoxby and another co-author found that interventions do appear to work, and that evidence is “pretty compelling,” he said.


Conceptual and Methodological Problems in Research on College Undermatch
1. Michael N. Bastedo1
2. Allyson Flaster1
1. 1University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Access to the nation’s most selective colleges remains starkly unequal, with students in the lowest income quartile constituting less than 4% of enrollment. A popular explanation for this phenomenon is that low-income students undermatch by attending less selective colleges when their credentials predict admission to more highly selective colleges. We identify three problematic assumptions in research on undermatching: (a) that researchers can differentiate colleges at the “margin that matters” for student outcomes; (b) that researchers can accurately predict who will be admitted at colleges that use holistic admission processes; and (c) that using achievement measures like SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores to match students to colleges will reduce postsecondary inequality. We discuss the implications of these assumptions for future research on college choice and stratification.
• admissions
• higher education
• research methodology
• social class
• social stratification
Article Notes
• Received April 25, 2013.
• Revision received October 9, 2013.
• Revision received January 7, 2014.
• Accepted January 14, 2014.
• © 2014 AERA
1. Published online before print February 7, 2014, doi: 10.3102/0013189X14523039 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER February 7, 2014 0013189X14523039
1. » Abstract
2. Full Text
3. Full Text (PDF)


Can We Fix Undermatching in Higher Ed? Would it Matter if We Did?

Smart, Poor Kids Are Applying to the Wrong Colleges

The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between Education and Poverty For a good article about education and poverty which has a good bibliography, go to Poverty and Education, Overview There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education, we are the next third world country.

Choosing the right college for you

Producing employable liberal arts grads

Remedial education in college

Why go to college?

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

Even when food comes to food deserts, lifestyle reigns

10 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART which is actually an update. Moi wrote in ‘Food deserts’: Just how much does personal choice have to do with it?
The Seattle Times published an opinion piece, Op-ed: Bringing relief to food deserts in King County by Anne Vernez Moudon and Adam Drewnowski:

City and county leaders should take more aggressive action to bring relief to food deserts with aggressive development policies and incentives, according to guest columnists Anne Vernez Moudon and Adam Drewnowski.

Here is the definition of a “food desert”:

Definition for food desert:Web definitions: A food desert is a district with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast food…

That got moi thinking whether the issue isn’t as much personal choice as “food dessert.”

First, there is the New York Times article, Studies Question the Pairing of Food Deserts and Obesity by Gina Kolata:

It has become an article of faith among some policy makers and advocates, including Michelle Obama, that poor urban neighborhoods are food deserts, bereft of fresh fruits and vegetables.
But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too. And there is no relationship between the type of food being sold in a neighborhood and obesity among its children and adolescents.
Within a couple of miles of almost any urban neighborhood, “you can get basically any type of food,” said Roland Sturm of the RAND Corporation, lead author of one of the studies. “Maybe we should call it a food swamp rather than a desert,” he said.
Some experts say these new findings raise questions about the effectiveness of efforts to combat the obesity epidemic simply by improving access to healthy foods. Despite campaigns to get Americans to exercise more and eat healthier foods, obesity rates have not budged over the past decade, according to recently released federal data.
“It is always easy to advocate for more grocery stores,” said Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, who was not involved in the studies. “But if you are looking for what you hope will change obesity, healthy food access is probably just wishful thinking.”
Advocates have long called for more supermarkets in poor neighborhoods and questioned the quality of the food that is available. And Mrs. Obama has made elimination of food deserts an element of her broader campaign against childhood obesity, Let’s Move, winning praise from Democrats and even some Republicans, and denunciations from conservative commentators and bloggers who have cited it as yet another example of the nanny state….
Some researchers and advocates say that further investigation is still needed on whether grocery stores and chain supermarkets in poor neighborhoods are selling produce that is too costly and of poor quality. “Not all grocery stores are equal,” said John Weidman, deputy executive director of the Food Trust, an advocacy group in Philadelphia.
Well duh, it appears that lifestyle choice has a great deal to do with good food choices.

Patti Neighmond reported in the NPR story, It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert:

In inner cities and poor rural areas across the country, public health advocates have been working hard to turn around food deserts — neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce, and greasy fast food abounds. In many cases, they’re converting dingy, cramped corner markets into lighter, brighter venues that offer fresh fruits and vegetables. In some cases, they’re building brand new stores.
“The presumption is, if you build a store, people are going to come,” says Stephen Matthews, professor in the departments of sociology, anthropology and demography at Penn State University. To check that notion, he and colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently surveyed residents of one low-income community in Philadelphia before and after the opening of a glistening new supermarket brimming with fresh produce.
What they’re finding, Matthews says, is a bit surprising: “We don’t find any difference at all. … We see no effect of the store on fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Now, to be fair, the time was short. The store was only open for six months before residents were surveyed. Matthews says most residents knew that the store was there and that it offered healthy food. But only 26 percent said it was their regular “go to” market. And, as might be expected, those who lived close to the store shopped there most regularly.
Matthews says the findings dovetail with other work, and simply point to the obvious: Lots more intervention is needed to change behavior. For one thing, we’re all used to routine, and many of us will just keep shopping where we’ve been shopping, even if a newer, more convenient and bountiful store moves in.
But more than that, he says, many people, particularly in low-income food deserts, just aren’t used to buying or preparing healthy meals — they haven’t had the opportunity, until now.
Alex Ortega, a public health researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, agrees that providing access to nutritious food is only the first step.
“The next part of the intervention is to create demand,” he says, “so the community wants to come to the store and buy healthy fruits and vegetables and go home and prepare those foods in a healthy way, without lots of fat, salt or sugar.”
Ortega directs a UCLA project that converts corner stores into hubs of healthy fare in low-income neighborhoods of East Los Angeles. He and colleagues work with community leaders and local high school students to help create that demand for nutritious food. Posters and signs promoting fresh fruits and vegetables hang in corner stores, such as the Euclid Market in Boyle Heights, and at bus stops. There are nutrition education classes in local schools, and cooking classes in the stores themselves….
The jury’s still out on whether these conversions of corner stores are actually changing people’s diets and health. The evidence is still being collected.

In other words, much of the obesity problem is due to personal life style choices and the question is whether government can or should regulate those choices.

Personal Responsibility:
There is only one person responsible for your life and the vocation you have chosen. That person is the one you see in the mirror in the morning when you wake up. Don’t blame God, your boss, your parents, your former teachers, your coach, your co-workers or your dog. You and only you are responsible for your work life and what you have achieved. The sooner you accept this notion, the sooner you will begin to make changes that lead to a happier and more productive life and career.

It’s all about ME unless I have to take responsibility for ME. The same brilliant minds who think the government can substitute for family have fostered a single parenthood rate of 70% in the African-American community and about 50% for the population as a whole. Given the child abuse and foster care numbers, this plan hasn’t worked well. Sometimes folks have to be responsible for their choices.

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

Columbia University study: College rigor is a mixed bag

9 Feb

There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process.

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills.

Scott Jaschik wrote an interesting review of the University of Chicago Press book ‘Academically Adrift’ for Inside Education.

If the purpose of a college education is for students to learn, academe is failing, according to Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, a book being released today by University of Chicago Press. The book cites data from student surveys and transcript analysis to show that many college students have minimal classwork expectations — and then it tracks the academic gains (or stagnation) of 2,300 students of traditional college age enrolled at a range of four-year colleges and universities. The students took the Collegiate Learning Assessment (which is designed to measure gains in critical thinking, analytic reasoning and other “higher level” skills taught at college) at various points before and during their college educations, and the results are not encouraging:
• 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during the first two years of college.
• 36 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” over four years of college.
• Those students who do show improvements tend to show only modest improvements. Students improved on average only 0.18 standard deviations over the first two years of college and 0.47 over four years. What this means is that a student who entered college in the 50th percentile of students in his or her cohort would move up to the 68th percentile four years later — but that’s the 68th percentile of a new group of freshmen who haven’t experienced any college learning.
“How much are students actually learning in contemporary higher education? The answer for many undergraduates, we have concluded, is not much,” write the authors, Richard Arum, professor of sociology and education at New York University, and Josipa Roksa, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. For many undergraduates, they write, “drifting through college without a clear sense of purpose is readily apparent…”
The main culprit for lack of academic progress of students, according to the authors, is a lack of rigor. They review data from student surveys to show, for example, that 32 percent of students each semester do not take any courses with more than 40 pages of reading assigned a week, and that half don’t take a single course in which they must write more than 20 pages over the course of a semester. Further, the authors note that students spend, on average, only about 12-14 hours a week studying, and that much of this time is studying in groups.
The research then goes on to find a direct relationship between rigor and gains in learning:
• Students who study by themselves for more hours each week gain more knowledge — while those who spend more time studying in peer groups see diminishing gains.
• Students whose classes reflect high expectations (more than 40 pages of reading a week and more than 20 pages of writing a semester) gained more than other students.
• Students who spend more time in fraternities and sororities show smaller gains than other students.
• Students who engage in off-campus or extracurricular activities (including clubs and volunteer opportunities) have no notable gains or losses in learning.
• Students majoring in liberal arts fields see “significantly higher gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills over time than students in other fields of study.” Students majoring in business, education, social work and communications showed the smallest gains. (The authors note that this could be more a reflection of more-demanding reading and writing assignments, on average, in the liberal arts courses than of the substance of the material.)
In section after section of the book and the research report, the authors focus on pushing students to work harder and worrying less about students’ non-academic experiences… “Students who struggle to pay for college and emerge into a tough job market have a right to know that they have learned something, he said. “You can’t have a democratic society when the elite — the college-educated kids — don’t have these abilities to think critically,” he said….

See, A Lack Of Rigor Leaves Students ‘Adrift’ In College and Study: US College Students Advance Little Intellectually—146441905.html

Allie Grasgreen reported in the Inside Higher Ed article, It’s Not All Bad:

Students are getting a better and more demanding education than scathing accounts like Academically Adrift suggest, but they and their instructors have plenty more work to do, a new study says.
“It’s lukewarm,” Corbin Campbell, the study’s author and an assistant professor of higher education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, said of the academic rigor and teaching quality measured in the study.
While instructors were effective in teaching in-depth subject matter and the cognitive complexity of courses was about right, many students were neither expected to nor did participate in classes, most of which focused on “understanding and applying” rather than “analyzing and evaluating” course material.
The study included 150 class observations and syllabus reviews from one public and one private selective research institution, assessing academic rigor (quality of cognitive complexity, workload, standards and expectations) and teaching quality (in-depth subject matter ideas, using and transforming students’ prior knowledge, and supporting learning) in a wide range of undergraduate courses.
It’s the first pilot of Teachers College’s College Educational Quality project, which aims to ultimately create alternative, less quantifiable measures of educational quality than standardized tests, surveys and other performance metrics. After a 10-institution study this fall and a national one two years after that, the benchmarks could be put into a database and referenced by people and institutions nationwide.
While there’s a lot of talk from opposite camps – the Academically Adrift supporters who say students learn next to nothing in college, and the scholars and politicians who say the U.S. has the finest higher education system in the world – Campbell’s research suggests the reality is somewhere in between, she said. (Academically Adrift is not a perfect comparison to the study, however, as it measures learning over students’ entire time at college.)
“There are some strong educational processes happening at these institutions,” Campbell said, but she added that universities are “not maximizing their educational capacity.”

See, A New Kind of Study Seeks to Quantify Educational Quality

Here is the snapshot of the two College Education Quality reports:

College Educational Quality at two selective research institutions:
Are they pushing the boundaries of student’s capabilities?
In the first pilot of the College Educational Quality (CEQ) project, the research team measured the pulse of educational quality at two selective research institutions (one public and one private)—by getting inside the classroom (more than 150 class observations) and investigating curricula (more than 150 syllabi analyzed). At these two institutions, we studied academic rigor (in terms of the quality of cognitive complexity required1, the amount of academic work2, and the standards and expectations assigned3) and teaching quality (teaching in-depth subject matter ideas, accessing and transforming prior knowledge, supporting learning4).
1 Based on Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001)
2 Based on decades of research on the importance of time on task (Fisher et. al., 1978; Stallings, 1980) and quality of effort (Astin, 1993)
3 Based on current frameworks on standards and grade inflation in higher education (e.g. Hu, 2005)
4 Based on Neumann’s (2014) claims on teaching and learning in higher education
Results painted a picture of a college education that is certainly not in crisis (as suggested by Arum and Roksa’s (2011) Academically Adrift), but perhaps not maximizing its educational capacity.
The good news:
• Most students attended class (82% of enrolled students).
• Instructors are relatively effective in orchestrating subject matter ideas in great depth.
• The cognitive complexity of courses is about what should be expected of college level.

Room for improvement:
• Of the students who attended class, more than half (but not most) students were actively engaged in the course material.
• Only about half of students were expected to participate during class, and these expectations were often not tied to grading.
• Most classes focus on understanding and applying rather than analyzing and evaluating course material.
• Instructors were less effective at understanding students’ prior knowledge and in supporting cognitive and emotional features of students’ learning (important aspects of college teaching; Neumann, 2014).

This pilot study gives us a window into the educational quality of two research institutions. Yet, we need to know more about whether these findings would hold true at other institutions and institutional types. To answer these next questions, the College Educational Quality project will pursue a second, multi-institutional benchmarking pilot of 7-10 institutions in fall of 2014.
When testing the water of in-class academic rigor at our two pilot sites, we found the temperature to be luke-warm. Far more promising than Academically Adrift (Arum & Roksa, 2010) might suggest, we found that most students attended class (82% of enrolled students) and more than a half were actively engaged in class. The average class mostly asks students to understand and apply course materials, and occasionally analyze it – true both in class observations and in the required readings/assignments from syllabi. This is about what we would expect for college level coursework, according to Bloom. Yet, we also found that the coursework was perhaps not pushing the boundaries of students’ capabilities. In the average class, instructors expected about half of the students to be prepared and participate in class. On average, participation was set as an expectation in the syllabus, but not tied to grading. According to syllabi, in the average class, several readings were assigned and some (but not most) were long/complex; the assignments required a moderate amount of work.
Courses, on average, scored between “somewhat effective” and “effective” at orchestrating in-depth subject matter ideas (e.g. creating multiple representations of the ideas; giving students an opportunity to engage thoughtfully with the ideas; introducing students to how the ideas play out in the field). Yet, we know that in order to facilitate learning, students must connect the new course content with their prior knowledge (Neumann, 2014). Instructors scored between “ineffective” and “somewhat effective” at surfacing and understanding student’s prior knowledge. Students are more likely to learn subject matter ideas when their instructor supports and engages their learning process (Neumann, 2014). Instructors scored between “ineffective” and “somewhat effective” at supporting learning (e.g. helping students to realize the difference between old and new subject matter ideas; supporting students who are challenged by the contrast between old and new ideas).
Our findings showed that certain course characteristics had a positive influence on academic rigor and teaching quality. Classes that lasted longer than 60 minutes and classes that were smaller in size (5-25 students) were found to have a higher level of academic rigor and teaching quality. Higher levels of academic rigor and teaching quality were also found in classes that included activities and discussion and classes where students asked questions.
Most courses observed in the two selective research institutions had some of these characteristics…
• Most were longer than an hour (69%)
• In most courses, students asked questions during class (85%)

But many courses had features that did not maximize the potential for academic rigor and teaching quality:
• Many had a larger class size (68% of observed classes had more than 25 students)
• Only about half included a class activity (54%)
• Less than half included class discussion (41%)

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley Longman.
Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hu, S. (2005). Beyond Grade Inflation: Grading Problems in Higher Education. ASHE Higher Education Report, 30 (6), 1–99.
Neumann, A. (2014). Staking a Claim on Learning: What We Should Know about Learning in Higher Education and Why. Review of Higher Education, 37, 249-267.
CORBIN M. CAMPBELL, Ph.D. ~ 212-531-5182 ~ ~ http//

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Derek Bok

Trying to Find a Measure for How Well Colleges Do

Cultural literacy: Is there necessary core knowledge to be academically successful?

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©

Preventable diseases are on the rise because of fears of vaccines

8 Feb

Michaeleen Doucleff reported in the NPR story, How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases:

For most of us, measles and whooping cough are diseases of the past. You get a few shots as a kid and then hardly think about them again.
But that’s not the case in all parts of the world — not even parts of the U.S.
As an interactive map from the Council on Foreign Relations illustrates, several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. Their resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.
Since 2008 folks at the think tank CFR have been plotting all the cases of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough around the world. Each circle on the map represents a local outbreak of a particular disease, while the size of the circle indicates the number of people infected in the outbreak.
As you flip through the various maps over the years, two trends clearly emerge: Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S.
Childhood immunization rates plummeted in parts of Europe and the U.K. after a 1998 study falsely claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was linked to autism.
That study has since been found to be fraudulent. But fears about vaccine safety have stuck around in Europe and here in the U.S.
Viruses and bacteria have taken full advantage of the immunization gaps.
In 2011, France reported a massive measles outbreak with nearly 15,000 cases. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Somalia suffered larger measles outbreaks that year.
In 2012, the U.K. reported more than 2,000 measles cases, the largest number since 1994.
Here in the U.S., the prevalence of whooping cough shot up in 2012 to nearly 50,000 cases. Last year cases declined to about 24,000 — which is still more than tenfold the number reported back in the early ’80s when the bacteria infected less than 2,000 people.
So what about countries in Africa? Why are there so many big, colorful circles dotting the continent? For many parents there, the problem is getting access to vaccines, not fears of it.

There are many myths regarding vaccination of children.

Dina Fine Maron wrote in the Daily Beast article, 6 Top Vaccine Myths:

To sort through the onslaught of information and misinformation about childhood immunizations, we asked Austin, Texas-based pediatrician Ari Brown, coauthor of “Baby 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Baby’s First Year,” to debunk some of the most common vaccination myths.
Myth 1: It’s not necessary to vaccinate kids against diseases that have been largely eradicated in the United States.
Reality: Although some diseases like polio and diphtheria aren’t often seen in America (in large part because of the success of the vaccination efforts), they can be quite common in other parts of the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that travelers can unknowingly bring these diseases into the United States, and if we were not protected by vaccinations, these diseases could quickly spread throughout the population. At the same time, the relatively few cases currently in the U.S. could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases without the protection we get from vaccines. Brown warns that these diseases haven’t disappeared, “they are merely smoldering under the surface.”
Most parents do follow government recommendations: U.S. national immunization rates are high, ranging from 85 percent to 93 percent, depending on the vaccine, according to the CDC. But according to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the 20 states that allow personal-belief opt outs in addition to religious exemptions saw exemptions grow by 61 percent, to 2.54 percent between 1991 and 2004.
Brown is concerned that parents who opt out or stagger the vaccine schedule can end up having to deal with confusing follow-up care, which could produce an increase in disease outbreaks like last summer’s measles epidemic. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that when there are more exemptions, children are at an increased risk of contracting and transmitting vaccine-preventable diseases.
For more on the pros and cons of staggering or skipping vaccinations, visit MSN’s guide or read this U.S. News and World Report piece. For information on vaccine safety, check out the CDC’s information page. To search for your state’s vaccine requirements, see the National Network for Immunization Information.
Myth 2: Mercury is still in kids’ vaccines.
Reality: At the center of this issue is a preservative called thimerosal (a compound containing mercury) that once was a common component in many vaccines because it allowed manufacturers to make drugs more cheaply and in multidose formulations. But public concern, new innovations and FDA recommendations led to its removal from almost all children’s vaccines manufactured after 2001. (More thimerosal background can be found at the FDA’s Web site) Since flu vaccines are not just for children, manufacturers still put thimerosal in some flu-shot formulations. You can ask your pediatrician for the thimerosal-free version, says Brown.
If your child does not have asthma and is at least 2 years old, Brown recommends the FluMist nasal-spray vaccination over the flu shot. “It seems to have better immune protection and it could help your child avoid another shot,” she says. (Caveat: the spray does contain a live version of the virus, which can result in a slight increase in flulike symptoms).
Myth 3: Childhood vaccines cause autism.
Reality: There is no scientific evidence that this link exists. Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), agree that vaccines are not responsible for the growing number of children now recognized to have autism.
Earlier this month, the law supported scientists’ conclusions in this arena with three rulings from a section of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which stated that vaccines were not the likely cause of autism in three unrelated children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in an online statement following the ruling, “The medical and scientific communities have carefully and thoroughly reviewed the evidence concerning the vaccine-autism theory and have found no association between vaccines and autism.” Noting the volume of scientific evidence disproving this link, an executive member of one of the nation’s foremost autism advocacy groups, Autism Speaks, recently stepped down from her position because she disagrees with the group’s continued position that there is a connection between the vaccines and autism.
Get Newsweek on your Tablet
Myth 4: Getting too many vaccines can overwhelm the immune system and cause adverse reactions or even serious illness.
Reality: Children’s immune systems are capable of combating far more antigens (weak or killed viruses) than they encounter via immunizations. In fact, the jury is still out on if there’s an actual limit on how many the body can handle—though one study puts the number around a theoretical 10,000 vaccines in one day.(Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ site or the Network for Immunization Information for more information)
Currently, “There is even less of a burden on the immune system [via vaccines] today than 40 years ago,” says Edgar Marcuse, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington who works on immunization policy and vaccines. He points to the whooping-cough vaccine as an example where there are far fewer antigens in the shot than the earlier version administered decades ago. Brown says she supports following the recommended schedule for vaccinations, which outlines getting as many as five shots in one day at a couple check-ups. (The CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule can be found here.) “I have kids, and I wouldn’t recommend doing anything for my patients that I wouldn’t do for my own kids,” she says.
The CDC reports that most vaccine adverse events are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever and “so few deaths can plausibly be attributed to vaccines that it is hard to assess the risk statistically.” Of all deaths reported to the Health and Human Services’ Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting site between 1990 and 1992, only one is believed to be even possibly associated with a vaccine. The Vaccine Safety Datalink Project, an initiative of the CDC and eight health-care organizations, looks for patterns in these reports and determines if a vaccine is causing a side effect or if symptoms are largely coincidental.
If you have concerns about following the recommended vaccination, schedule don’t wait until a check-up. Set up a consultation appointment with your pediatrician, or even outline a strategy for care with your doctor during your pregnancy.
Myth 5: It’s better to let my kid get chickenpox “naturally.”
Reality: Before the chickenpox vaccine was licensed in 1995, parents sometimes brought their child to a party or playground hoping that their child might brush up against a pox-laden kid to get their dose of chickenpox over since cases were usually less severe for children than adults. But pediatricians say severe complications are possible with chickenpox—including bacterial infections that could result in a child’s hospitalization or death. (More information on the chickenpox vaccine is available at the CDC’s Web site.)
Now that there’s a vaccine for chickenpox, more than 45 states require the shots (unless your child already had the chicken pox or can prove natural immunity). Two shots usually guarantees your child a way out of being bedecked in calamine lotion for two feverish weeks, but some individuals do still come down with a milder form of the pox. Most pediatricians recommend getting the shot.
Myth 6: The flu shot causes the flu.
Reality: The flu shot does not contain a live virus, so your child can’t get the flu from this shot. But, after the shot, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit achy while the immune system mounts its response. Remember that for two weeks following the shot, your child can still get the flu, so be sure to help your child avoid that feverish kid next door.

A question in the current climate is what can be done to make parents responsible for putting other children at risk.

Jed Lipinksi wrote in the Slate article, Endangering the Herd: The case for suing:

As you’d expect, the growing anti-vaccination movement responded in fury. After Caplan wrote a related post for the Harvard Law Blog, angry comments poured in. “This article is industry propaganda at its worst,” one commenter declared. Another wrote: “Caplan would have familiar company in fascist Germany.” The blog eventually shut down the comments for violations of the site’s policies against “abusive and defamatory language” and the sharing of personal information.
Here’s why the anti-vaxxers are wrong and Caplan and his co-authors are right to raise the idea of suing or criminally charging them: Parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids for reasons of personal belief pose a serious danger to the public.
Measles vaccines are about 95 percent effective when given to children. That leaves a 5 percent chance that kids who are vaccinated will contract measles. This means that no matter what, the disease still poses a public health risk, but we rely on others to get vaccinated to hugely reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. That’s the process known as herd immunity.
Unvaccinated children threaten the herd. Take the San Diego measles outbreak of 2008. After unknowingly contracting the disease on a trip to Switzerland, an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy infected 11 other unvaccinated kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of the cases occurred in kids whose parents had requested personal belief exemptions (or PBEs) through the state of California, one of 17 states to allow them. But three of the infected were either too young or medically unable to be vaccinated. And overall, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average cost to the family of $775 per child. The CDC noted that all 11 cases were “linked epidemiologically” to the 7-year-old boy and that the outbreak response cost the public sector $10,376 per case.
Today, several states blame a rise in preventable diseases on the declining child vaccination rates. In Michigan, less than 72 percent of children have received their state-mandated measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines. In New York, as Caplan noted in his blog post, pockets of Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jewish community are experiencing a mini measles epidemic. Thirty cases have been confirmed so far. According to Dr. Yu Shia Lin of Maimonides Medical Center, some members of the community avoid the measles vaccine because they think it causes autism. The most visible proponent of this idea, former Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy, will receive a giant new platform for her viewpoints when she joins the daytime gossipfest The View on Sept. 9.
The belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism goes back to a 1998 study published in the Lancet by a British gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield. In 2010, after years of criticism, the journal finally retracted Wakefield’s study, announcing that it was “utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false.” Britain’s General Medical Council later revoked Wakefield’s medical license, noting that he’d failed to disclose his role as a paid consultant to lawyers representing parents who thought vaccines had harmed their kids. The CDC makes clear there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
Yet this dangerous idea persists. Often, it persists among people who are simply doing what they think is best for their kids. Which is why it’s necessary to take extra measures to ensure nonvaccinators understand the risk they pose to other people’s children….
There are legal obstacles to penalizing parents who don’t vaccinate their kids. Courts are generally less likely to impose liability on someone who fails to act than they are on someone who acts recklessly. Also, proving cause and effect will sometimes be difficult. Then again, to win damages, a plaintiff would only have to prove that it’s “more likely than not” that a nonvaccinated child infected another person.parents who don’t vaccinate their kids—or criminally charging them….


3rd World America: Tropical diseases in poor neighborhoods

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

Dr. Wilda ©