Archive | May, 2014

University of California San Francisco study: E-Cigarettes are gateway to smoking

14 May

According to Tobacco Facts most teenage smoking starts early. Among the statistics cited at Tobacco Facts are the following:

Each day 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette.
Tobacco use primarily begins in early adolescence, typically by age 16.
At least 3 million adolescents are smokers.
20 percent of American teens smoke.
Almost all first use occurs before high school graduation.
Roughly 6 million teens in the US today smoke despite the knowledge that it is addictive and leads to disease.
Of the 3,000 teens who started smoking today, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result from smoking.
Of every 100,000 15 year old smokers, tobacco will prematurely kill at least 20,000 before the age of 70.
Adolescent girls who smoke and take oral birth control pills greatly increase their chances of having blood clots and strokes.
According to the Surgeon’s General, Teenagers who smoke were:
* Three times more likely to use alcohol.
* Eight times are likely to smoke marijuana.
* And 22 times more likely to use Cocaine.
Although only 5 percent of high school smokers said that they would definitely be smoking five years later, close to 75 percent were still smoking 7 to 9 years later.
Kids who smoke experience changes in the lungs and reduced lung growth, and they risk not achieving normal lung function as an adult.
A person who starts smoking at age 13 will have a more difficult time quitting, has more health-related problems and probably will die earlier than a person who begins to smoke at age 21.
Kids who smoke have significant health problems, including cough and phlegm production, decreased physical fitness and unfavorable lipid profile.
If your child’s best friends smoke, then your youngster is 13 times more likely to smoke than if his or her friends did not smoke.
Adolescents who have two parents who smoke are more than twice as likely as youth without smoking parents to become smokers.
More than 90 percent of adult smokers started when they were teens.

It is important to prevent teens from beginning to smoke because of health issues and the difficulty many smokers have in quitting the habit. See, E-Cigarette Teen Popularity Prompts Concerns

Anna Almendrala reported in the Huffington Post article, 5 Important Lessons From The Biggest E-Cigarette Study:

E-cigarettes as we know them today were invented by a Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik in the early 2000s as a smoking cessation aid. They are handheld nicotine vaporizers that deliver an aerosol made up of nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals to users. It’s the chemicals in those vapors that are moving municipalities like Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston to restrict “vaping” in some way.
Formaldehyde, for instance, is a carcinogen that also irritates the eyes, nose and throat. Propylene glycol can also cause eye and respiratory irritation, and prolonged exposure can affect the nervous system and the spleen. Acetaldehyde, also known as the “hangover chemical,” is also a possible carcinogen.
The secondhand vapor finding is just one of several that UCSF researchers highlighted in the broadest review to date of peer-reviewed e-cigarette studies. The findings, which were published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, include:
1. Some youth have their first taste of nicotine via e-cigarettes. Twenty percent of middle schoolers and 7.2 percent of high schooler e-cigarette users in the U.S. report never smoking cigarettes.
2. Nicotine absorption varies too much between brands. Early 2010 studies found that users got much lower levels of nicotine from e-cigarettes than from conventional cigarettes, but more recent studies show that experienced e-cigarette users can draw levels of nicotine from an e-cigarette that are similar to conventional cigarettes….
3. Just because particulate matter from e-cigarettes isn’t well studied, doesn’t mean it’s safe. To deliver nicotine, e-cigarettes create a spray of very fine particles that have yet to be studied in depth. “It is not clear whether the ultra-fine particles delivered by e-cigarettes have health effects and toxicity similar to the ambient fine particles generated by conventional cigarette smoke or secondhand smoke,” wrote the researchers….
4. So far, e-cigarette use is not associated with the successful quitting of conventional cigarettes. One clinical trial found that e-cigarettes was no more effective than the nicotine patch at helping people quit, and both cessation methods “produced very modest quit rates without counseling.”
5. Major tobacco companies have acquired or produced their own e-cigarette products. They’re promoting the products as “harm reduction” for smokers, which allows them to protect their cigarette market while promoting a new product. Companies also using “grassroots” tactics to form seemingly independent smokers’ rights groups, just like they did for cigarettes in the 1980s.
Based on the weight of the combined research, UCSF researchers end with several policy recommendations, which include banning e-cigarettes wherever cigarettes are banned, subjecting e-cigarettes to the same advertising restrictions that constrict cigarette marketing and banning fruit, candy and alcohol flavors, which are attractive to younger customers.


A Scientific Review
1. Rachel Grana, PhD, MPH;
2. Neal Benowitz, MD;
3. Stanton A. Glantz, PhD
+ Author Affiliations
1. From the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (R.G., N.B., S.A.G.) and Department of Medicine and Cardiovascular Research Institute (N.B., S.A.G.), University of California, San Francisco.
1. Correspondence to Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, 530 Parnassus Ave, No. 366, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390. E-mail
Key Words:
particulate matter
public policy
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are products that deliver a nicotine-containing aerosol (commonly called vapor) to users by heating a solution typically made up of propylene glycol or glycerol (glycerin), nicotine, and flavoring agents (Figure 1) invented in their current form by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in the early 2000s.1 The US patent application describes the e-cigarette device as “an electronic atomization cigarette that functions as substitutes [sic] for quitting smoking and cigarette substitutes” (patent No. 8,490,628 B2). By 2013, the major multinational tobacco companies had entered the e-cigarette market. E-cigarettes are marketed via television, the Internet, and print advertisements (that often feature celebrities)2 as healthier alternatives to tobacco smoking, as useful for quitting smoking and reducing cigarette consumption, and as a way to circumvent smoke-free laws by enabling users to “smoke anywhere.”3
Figure 1.
Examples of different electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products. Reproduced from Grana et al.1
There has been rapid market penetration of e-cigarettes despite many unanswered questions about their safety, efficacy for harm reduction and cessation, and total impact on public health. E-cigarette products are changing quickly, and many of the findings from studies of older products may not be relevant to the assessment of newer products that could be safer and more effective as nicotine delivery devices. In addition, marketing and other environmental influences may vary from country to country, so patterns of use and the ultimate impact on public health may differ. The individual risks and benefits and the total impact of these products occur …
[Full Text of this Article]

Here is the press release from the UCSF:

E-Cigarettes Expose People to More than ‘Harmless’ Water Vapor and Should be Regulated, UCSF Scientists Find
First Comprehensive Analysis Shows that Industry Health Claims are Unsupported by Data
Share this story:
By Elizabeth Fernandez on May 13, 2014
In a major scientific review of research on e-cigarettes, UC San Francisco scientists found that industry claims about the devices are unsupported by the evidence to date, including claims that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
The review marks the first comprehensive assessment of peer-reviewed published research into the relatively new phenomenon of electronic cigarettes.
The devices, which are rapidly gaining a foothold in popular culture particularly among youth, are marketed as a healthier alternative to tobacco smoking, as an effective tool to stop smoking, and as a way to circumvent smoke-free laws by allowing users to “smoke anywhere.” Often the ads stress that e-cigarettes produce only “harmless water vapor.”
But in their analysis of the marketing, health and behavioral effects of the products, which are unregulated, the UCSF scientists found that e-cigarette use is associated with significantly lower odds of quitting cigarettes. They also found that while the data are still limited, e-cigarette emissions “are not merely ‘harmless water vapor,’ as is frequently claimed, and can be a source of indoor air pollution.
The long-term biological effects of use are still unknown, the authors said.
In tackling the question of whether e-cigarette use is helping or harming the nation’s tobacco control efforts, the authors analyzed 84 research studies on e-cigarettes and other related scientific materials.
They concluded that e-cigarettes should be prohibited wherever tobacco cigarettes are prohibited and should be subject to the same marketing restrictions as conventional cigarettes.
The paper is published May 12, 2014 in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
E-cigarettes deliver a nicotine-containing aerosol popularly called “vapor” to users by heating a solution commonly consisting of glycerin, nicotine and flavoring agents. E-liquids are flavored, including tobacco, menthol, coffee, candy, fruit and alcohol flavorings.
Despite many unanswered questions about e-cigarette safety, the impact on public health, and whether the products are effective at reducing tobacco smoking, e-cigarettes have swiftly penetrated the marketplace in the United States and abroad in both awareness and use. Sold by the major multinational tobacco and other companies, the devices are aggressively marketed in print, television and the Internet with messages similar to cigarette marketing in the 1950s and 1960s, even in the U.S. and other countries that have long banned advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products.
In one indication of the swiftness by which the devices have been embraced, in the U.S. youth “ever use” of the devices rose from 3.3 percent in 2011 to 6.8 percent the following year; in Korea, youth “ever use” of e-cigarettes rose from .5 percent in 2008 to 9.4 percent in 2011. “Ever use” means whether one has smoked the product even just once.
Furthermore, most adults and youths who use e-cigarettes are engaging in “dual use” – smoking both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes.
While most youth using e-cigarettes are dual users, up to a third of adolescent e-cigarette users have never smoked a conventional cigarette, indicating that some youth are starting use of the addictive drug nicotine with e-cigarettes.
The report also tackles secondhand exposure.
“E-cigarettes do not burn or smolder the way conventional cigarettes do, so they do not emit side-stream smoke; however, bystanders are exposed to aerosol exhaled by the user,” said the authors. Toxins and nicotine have been measured in that aerosol, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetic acid and other toxins emitted into the air, though at lower levels compared to conventional cigarette emissions.
One study of e-cigarettes was conducted to resemble a smoky bar: the researchers found that markers of nicotine in nonsmokers who sat nearby was similar for both cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosol exposure. Short-term exposure studies of e-cigarette use show a negative impact on lung function and bystanders absorb nicotine from passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol, the authors report.
While early research found that e-cigarettes resulted in lower levels of plasma nicotine than conventional cigarettes, more recent research demonstrated that experienced users can attain nicotine absorption similar to that with conventional cigarettes.
When UCSF scientists pooled the results of five population-based studies of smokers, they found that smokers who used e-cigarettes were about a third less likely to quit smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Whether e-cigarette use prevents attempts to quit or whether people who choose to use e-cigarettes are more highly dependent and therefore have a harder time quitting remains to be determined.
The scientists said their research illustrates the need for product regulation.
“While it is reasonable to assume that, if existing smokers switched completely from conventional cigarettes (with no other changes in use patterns) to e-cigarettes, there would be a lower disease burden caused by nicotine addiction, the evidence available at this time, although limited, points to high levels of dual use of e-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, no proven cessation benefits, and rapidly increasing youth initiation with e-cigarettes,” the authors wrote.
“Furthermore, high rates of dual use may result in greater total public health burden and possibly increased individual risk if a smoker maintains an even low-level tobacco cigarette addiction for many years instead of quitting.”
The authors are Rachel Grana, PhD, MPH, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE); Neal Benowitz, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences and chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; and Stanton Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at UCSF, director of the CTCRE and the American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control.
The same authors have previously published general information on e-cigarettes.
The paper is a condensed and updated version of a longer report by Grana, Benowitz and Glantz with the support of the World Health Organization. Additional support came from the University of California Tobacco Related Disease Research Program and the National Cancer Institute and Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products.
Benowitz is a consultant to several pharmaceutical companies that market smoking cessation medications and has been a paid expert witness in litigation against tobacco companies.
UC San Francisco (UCSF), now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding, is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences, as well as a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

Science Daily reported about a Swedish Study which showed that parents are influential in their child’s decision whether to smoke.

Teenagers are more positive today towards their parents’ attempts to discourage them from smoking, regardless of whether or not they smoked, than in the past. The most effective actions parents could take include dissuading their children from smoking, not smoking themselves and not allowing their children to smoke at home. Younger children were more positive about these approaches than older children. Levels of smoking amongst participants were stable at 8% in 1987 and 1994, but halved in 2003. The decrease in the proportion of teenagers smoking is thought to result from a number of factors, including changes in legislation and the decreasing social acceptability of smoking….

Another study reported by Reuters came to a similar conclusion that parents influence the decision whether to smoke The Mayo Clinic has some excellent tips on preventing your teen from smoking

As with a lot of issues adolescents face, it is important for parents and guardians to know what is going on in their children’s lives. You should know who your children’s friends are and how these friends feel about smoking, drugs, and issues like sex. You should also know how the parents of your children’s friends feel about these issues. Do they smoke, for example, or are they permissive in allowing their children to use alcohol and/or other drugs. Are these values in accord with your values?

Smokeless Tobacco

A Tool to Quit Smoking Has Some Unlikely Critics

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The ‘Common Application’ evolves

13 May

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’:
Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools.
In addition to U.S. colleges, colleges in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland use the “Common Application.” For a good synopsis of the pros and cons of using the application, go to Should I Use The Common Application?
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010.

It has been a year of challenges for the Common Application. Kimberly Hefling, AP Education Writer reported in the article, Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year:

“Given the year we just had, we can’t be complacent about any of this,” Eric Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a media briefing. Furda is president-elect of the board of the not-for-profit Common Application membership organization.
The most common problems experienced by students were related to essay formatting, difficulty submitting an application and the inability to determine if they had paid application fees, Furda said. Higher education institutions complained about not being able to pull up documents that had been submitted.
Because of the problems, many colleges and universities extended application deadlines, and some began accepting applications from competing programs.
Furda said most of the problems were corrected by the end of 2013, but challenges persisted.
A review conducted by an outside firm determined that the technology had been rolled out without first being properly tested…

See, Fixing the Common App
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010.
Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful
In addition to technical problems, the application is facing a law suit.

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”
The complaint was brought by CollegeNet Inc., a technology company in Portland, Ore., that builds customized application-processing systems for colleges. CollegeNet argues that the Common Application, which has more than 500 member colleges, has violated federal antitrust laws.
“As colleges are increasingly compelled to join the Common Application,” the lawsuit says, it “is poised to eliminate competition in the broader market within a few short years.”
Over the last decade or so, CollegeNet has lost many customers to the Common Application, whose fee structure rewards member colleges that use its application exclusively. While reporting on the Common App’s growth last year, I talked to Jim Wolfston, CollegeNet’s chief executive, who described his concerns about his competitor….
The Common Application’s leaders have long asserted that increased applications are a side effect of membership—not the organization’s raison d’être. That question aside, the Common App has great influence over the application process at most of the nation’s high-profile colleges.
Whether or not CollegeNet’s legal arguments have merit, some passages in the complaint reflect concerns that admissions officials share. Namely, that the Common App has become too—pick your word—big, dominant, powerful within the realm of selective admissions. (Read all about that here.)
Although the Common App is the biggest fish in the pond, it’s worth noting that plenty of its member colleges use at least one other application, too. Last week, for instance, six colleges announced that they would also accept the Universal College Application, joining 12 institutions that have signed on since last fall. Following months of technical problems with the Common App, some colleges that had used it exclusively have decided not to keep all their eggs in one basket.
After a tumultuous fall, the Common Application’s leaders are doing some soul-searching. Recently, the group’s Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the organization. One finding was that the Common App’s pricing structure “may be at odds with the mission….

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

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn wrote the article, With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs.


College Preparation Checklist Brochure

Federal Student Aid At A Glance


The digital divide affects the college application process

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Common Sense Media report: Raising more ‘useful idiots,’ children don’t read enough and well

12 May

Moi wrote in High – low books: Custom reading texts may help challenged readers:
This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live.

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read….

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in the article, Reading Report Shows American Children Lack Proficiency, Interest:

Although American children still spend part of their days reading, they are spending less time doing it for pleasure than decades ago, with significant gaps in proficiency, according to a report released on Monday.

The San Francisco-based nonprofit Common Sense Media, which focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, published the report, which brings together information from several national studies and databases.

“It raises an alarm,” said Vicky Rideout, the lead author of the report. “We’re witnessing a really large drop in reading among teenagers and the pace of that drop is getting faster and faster.”

The report found that the percentage of nine-year-old children reading for pleasure once or more per week had dropped from 81 percent in 1984 to 76 percent in 2013, based on government studies. There were even larger decreases among older children.

A large portion rarely read for pleasure. About a third of 13-year-olds and almost half of 17-year-olds reported in one study that they read for pleasure less than twice a year.

Of those who read or are read to, children tend to spend on average between 30 minutes and an hour daily with that activity, the report found. Older children and teenagers tend to read for pleasure for an equally long time each day.

Rideout cautioned that there may be difference in how people encounter text and the included studies may not take into account stories read online or on social media.

The report also found that many young children are struggling with literacy. Only about one-third of fourth grade students are “proficient” in reading and another one-third scored below “basic” reading skills.

Despite the large percentage of children with below-basic reading skills, reading scores among young children have improved since the 1970s, according to one test that measures reading ability.

The reading scores among 17-year-olds, however, remained relatively unchanged since the 1970s.

About 46 percent of white children are considered “proficient” in reading, compared with 18 percent of black children and 20 percent of Hispanic kids.

Those gaps remained relatively unchanged over the past 20 years, according to the report.

“To go 20 years with no progress in that area is shameful,” Rideout said….


Children, Teens, and Reading
A Common Sense Media Research Brief
May 12, 2014
Download the full report (1.02 MB)
This research review charts trends in reading rates and reading achievement over time among kids and teens in the U.S. We focus on national surveys and databases for data on children’s reading habits and reading scores, looking at differences across time, and between demographic groups. We also examine the growing literature on ereading among young people, which has largely studied attitudes toward ebooks and ereading. We conclude with a discussion of key future areas of research on reading and ereading.

Here is the Common Sense Media press release:

Press room
New Report from Common Sense Media Reveals Dramatic Drop in Reading Among Teens
Report highlights how the nature of reading is changing; addresses a critical need for more research to understand new media platforms’ impact on reading
For immediate release
Monday, May 12, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Common Sense Media today announced the release of “Children, Teens, and Reading,” a research brief that offers a unique, big-picture perspective on children’s reading habits in the United States and how they may have changed during the technological revolution of recent decades. The report brings together many disparate studies on children’s reading rates and achievement for the first time, summarizing key findings and highlighting where research is scarce, incomplete, or outdated, as well as offering suggestions for new areas of study.
Society has reached a major transition point in the history of reading. From children’s earliest ages, “reading” used to mean sitting down with a book and turning pages as a story unfolded. Today it may mean sitting down with a device that offers multimedia experiences and blurs the line between books and toys. At the same time, for older children, much daily communication is now handled in short bursts of written text, such as text messages, emails, Facebook posts, and tweets. All of this has led to a major disruption in how, what, when, and where children and teens read, and there is much we don’t yet know.
Though the report finds that reading is still a big part of many children’s lives — and reading scores among young children have improved steadily — achievement among older teens has stagnated, and many children don’t read well or often.
Among the key findings:
o Reading rates have dropped precipitously among adolescents.
The proportion of children who are daily readers drops markedly from childhood to the tween and teenage years. One study documents a drop from 48% of 6- to 8-year-olds down to 24% of 15- to 17-year-olds who are daily readers; another shows a drop from 53% of 9-year-olds to 19% of 17-year-olds. According to government studies, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.
o A significant reading achievement gap persists between white, black, and Hispanic children.
Government test scores indicate that white students continue to score 21 or more points higher, on average, than black or Hispanic students. Only 18% of black and 20% of Hispanic fourth graders are rated as “proficient” in reading, compared with 46% of whites. The size of this “proficiency gap” has been largely unchanged over the past two decades.
o There is also a gender gap in reading time and achievement.
Girls read for pleasure for an average of 10 minutes more per day than boys, a gap that starts with young children and persists in the teenage years. It’s also reflected in achievement scores, with a gap of 12 percentage points in the proportion of girls vs. boys scoring “proficient” in reading in the eighth grade in 1992 and 11 points in 2012.
“Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in kids’ lives, and it’s changing the nature of how kids read and our definition of what is considered reading,” said Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media. “Used wisely, technology such as ereaders could help support ongoing efforts to reduce disparities, promote reading achievement, and fuel a passion for reading among all young people, but we need more research to better understand the impact of technology on kids’ reading.”
“Children, Teens, and Reading” is part of a research effort directed by Vicky Rideout, a senior advisor to Common Sense Media, head of VJR Consulting, and director of more than 30 previous studies on children, media, and health.
“This review brings together many different government, academic, and nonprofit data sets to reveal some very clear trends,” said Rideout. “There has been a huge drop in reading among teenagers over the past 30 years, and we’ve made virtually no progress reducing the achievement gaps between girls and boys or between whites and children of color. The bottom line is there are far too many young people in this country who don’t read well enough or often enough.”
This research brief reviews national surveys and databases for trends in children’s and teens’ reading and reading achievement. Studies covered include the National Assessment of Educational Progress by the National Center for Education Statistics, The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report (4th Edition), Northwestern University’s Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology, Common Sense Media’s Zero to Eight: Children’s Media Use in America 2013, and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America. For the full white paper with details on studies reviewed, the methodology of the review, and other findings, visit:
About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:
Press Contact:
Amber Whiteside
Alexis Vanni
Research/Survey Kids & Teens Media

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.


National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)

Illiteracy: An Incurable Disease or Education Malpractice?

Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn

General Tips for Preparing for Kindergarten

Classroom Strategies to Get Boys Reading

Me Read? A Practical Guide to Improving Boys Literacy Skills

Understanding Gender Differences: Strategies To Support Girls and Boys

Helping Underachieving Boys Read Well and Often

Boys and Reading Strategies for Success


More research about the importance of reading
The slow reading movement

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum

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Children with autism and special needs are often targets of bullying

11 May

Moi has posted quite a bit about autism. Studies indicate that the incidence of autism is growing in the population. In order for children with autism to reach their full potential there must be early diagnosis and treatment. Alice Park of Time reported in the article, U.S. Autism Rates Jump 30% From 2012 In Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study: Kids with autism more likely to be bullied moi wrote:
Science Daily reported in the article, Study Details Bullying Involvement for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder:

A study based on information collected from 920 parents suggests an estimated 46.3 percent of adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder were the victims of bullying, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA Network publication….

There are signs that a particular child may be vulnerable to bullying.

In School bullying: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency report, moi wrote:
The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency has issued the report, Bullying in Schools: An Overview by Ken Seeley, Martin L. Tombari, Laurie J. Bennett, and Jason B. Dunkle. Among the study’s findings are:

• Bullying is a complex social and emotional phenomenon that plays out differently on an individual level.
• Bullying does not directly cause truancy.
• School engagement protects victims from truancy and low academic achievement.
• When schools provide a safe learning environment in which adults model positive behavior, they can mitigate the negative effects of bullying.
• Any interventions to address bullying or victimization should be intentional, student-focused engagement strategies that fit the context of the school where they are used.
The report makes the following recommendations:
• Increase student engagement.
• Model caring behavior for students.
• Offer mentoring programs.
• Provide students with opportunities for service learning as a means of improving school engagement.
• Address the difficult transition between elementary and middle school (from a single classroom teacher to teams of teachers with periods and class changes in a large school) (Lohaus et al., 2004).
• Start prevention programs early.
• Resist the temptation to use prefabricated curriculums that are not aligned to local conditions.
Increase Student Engagement
Bullied children who remain engaged in school attend class more frequently and achieve more. Challenging academics, extracurricular activities, understanding teachers and coaches, and a focus on the future help keep victimized children engaged in their education (Bausell, 2011). Schools, administrations, and districts that wish to stave off the negative effects of bullying must redouble their efforts to engage each student in school. Typical school engagement strategies include (Karcher, 2005):
• Providing a caring adult for every student through an advisory program or similar arrangement.
• Carefully monitoring attendance, calling home each time a student is absent, and allowing students the ability to make up missed work with support from a teacher.
• Adopting and implementing the National School Climate Standards from the National School Climate Council (2010).
• Promoting and fostering parent and community engagement, including afterschool and summer programs.
• Providing school-based mentorship options for students.

See, School Bullying Report Makes Recommendations To Address Issue, Support Victims

Christina A. Samuels reported in the Education Week article, Autism Issues Complicate Anti-Bullying Task:

A widely publicized case of two Maryland teenagers charged with assault for bullying a classmate with autism—a classmate who later strongly defended them—illustrates the complexities that schools face with youth whose disabilities are based in social interactions.
Autism spectrum disorder, characterized by social impairment and communication difficulties, leaves some youths less able to recognize teasing or bullying when it occurs, said Ellen F. Murray, a clinical manager at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Alexandria, Va.
“They may not even understand teasing if it’s happening right in front of them, much less if it’s behind their back,” said Ms. Murray. “A lot of our kids would definitely not pick up on those social cues and understand the perspective of another student.”
With those challenges in mind, experts say that one way for schools to address bullying of students with autism is to take a step back and examine the entire school environment. And, while social-skills training is commonly a part of the individualized education program, or IEP, for students with autism, such instruction should not be limited just to them, experts say….
Fostering Connections
Schools are using a variety of approaches and individual programs to improve social interactions between students with developmental disabilities such as autism and their typically developing peers.
Peer Adovcacy
The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights Center, or PACER, based in Bloomington, Minn., has several bullying-prevention resources for schools, including a toolkit to help start a peer-advocacy program. Such programs use the power of peer influence, and students can often spot problem behavior before adults do.
Positive Behavioral Supports
This schoolwide intervention framework supported by the U.S. Department of Education, offers schools a way to organize and monitor behavioral expectations for students and adults.
Second Step
This program, used in more than 30,000 schools and aimed at students ages 4 to 14, includes in-school lessons on empathy, emotion management, and problem-solving. It also includes lessons for all students in how to recognize, respond to, and report bullying.
Remaking Success
Currently being studied in several schools, this program enlists paraprofessionals who often “shadow” students with disabilities as active coaches on the playground, bringing children together and creating opportunities for joint play. The program has shown some success in expanding the social networks of students.
SOURCES: The National Bullying Prevention Center;; Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health

The American Psychological Association (APA) has information about bullying.

The APA has the following suggestions for teachers and administrators:

Be knowledgeable and observant
Teachers and administrators need to be aware that although bullying generally happens in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways, and school buses as well as via cell phones and computers (where supervision is limited or absent), it must be taken seriously. Teachers and administrators should emphasize that telling is not tattling. If a teacher observes bullying in a classroom, he/she needs to immediately intervene to stop it, record the incident and inform the appropriate school administrators so the incident can be investigated. Having a joint meeting with the bullied student and the student who is bullying is not recommended — it is embarrassing and very intimidating for the student that is being bullied.
Involve students and parents
Students and parents need to be a part of the solution and involved in safety teams and antibullying task forces. Students can inform adults about what is really going on and also teach adults about new technologies that kids are using to bully. Parents, teachers, and school administrators can help students engage in positive behavior and teach them skills so that they know how to intervene when bullying occurs. Older students can serve as mentors and inform younger students about safe practices on the Internet.
Set positive expectations about behavior for students and adults
Schools and classrooms must offer students a safe learning environment. Teachers and coaches need to explicitly remind students that bullying is not accepted in school and such behaviors will have consequences. Creating an anti-bullying document and having both the student and the parents/guardians sign and return it to the school office helps students understand the seriousness of bullying. Also, for students who have a hard time adjusting or finding friends, teachers and administrators can facilitate friendships or provide “jobs” for the student to do during lunch and recess so that children do not feel isolated or in danger of becoming targets for bullying.

Stop has some great advice about bullying.

According to the Stop article, What You Can Do:

What to Do If You’re Bullied
There are things you can do if you are being bullied:
• Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard.
• If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
There are things you can do to stay safe in the future, too.
• Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.
• Stay away from places where bullying happens.
• Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.

Even though children are encouraged to report bullying, they often don’t. We must encourage children to report bullying.


For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at:
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
(800) 352 9424

Association for Science in Autism Treatment
P.O. Box 188
Crosswicks, NJ 08515-0188

Autism National Committee (AUTCOM)
P.O. Box 429
Forest Knolls, CA 94933

Autism Network International (ANI)
P.O. Box 35448
Syracuse, NY 13235-5448

Autism Research Institute (ARI)
4182 Adams Avenue
San Diego, CA 92116
Tel: 866-366-3361
Fax: 619-563-6840
Autism Science Foundation
419 Lafayette Street
2nd floor
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 646-723-3978
Fax: 212-228-3557

Autism Society of America
4340 East-West Highway
Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: 301-657-0881 800-3AUTISM (328-8476)
Fax: 301-657-0869

Autism Speaks, Inc.
2 Park Avenue
11th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Tel: 212-252-8584 California: 310-230-3568
Fax: 212-252-8676 Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc.
976 Lake Baldwin Lane
Suite 104
Orlando, FL 32814
Tel: 407-895-0802

MAAP Services for Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD
P.O. Box 524
Crown Point, IN 46308
Tel: 219-662-1311
Fax: 219-662-1315

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 800-695-0285 202-884-8200
Fax: 202-884-8441

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Tel: 301-496-5133
Fax: 301-496-7101 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Information Clearinghouse
1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Tel: 800-241-1044 800-241-1055 (TTD/TTY)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
111 T.W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Tel: 919-541-3345

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: 301-443-4513/866-415-8051 301-443-8431 (TTY)
Fax: 301-

Father’s age may be linked to Autism and Schizophrenia

Autism and children of color

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine study: Kids with autism more likely to be bullied

Chelation treatment for autism might be harmful

University of Connecticut study: Some children with autism may be ‘cured’ with intense early therapy

Children of older fathers can have genetic issues: Study reports mental illness risk higher

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University of Pennsylvania study: Parents’ education affects child’s working memory

8 May

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.
Parent involvement is crucial to the success of children.

Daniel S. Dinsmoor, Ph. D. wrote the article, Why is Working Memory Important?

Working memory is usually classified as having two forms. The first is verbal working memory and the second is visual-spatial working memory. Verbal working memory involves being able to remember things that are said to us and the manipulation of language based cognitive material. Visual-spatial working memory is used to remember anything that is seen. So this could include sequences of events, visual patterns and images. Visual-spatial working memory is often involved in mathematical skills. Children vary in terms of the size of their working memory capacity. Research into working memory gives us factual information about how this cognitive process develops. We know for example, that working memory gradually increases through childhood into early adulthood. Generally speaking, a child at five years of age can hold one item in mind, a seven years old child can hold two items in mind, a 10 -year-old can hold three items, and a 14 year old can hold four items in mind. A child who has a working memory capacity that’s much greater than other children in his class, may find class boring and unmotivating. A child whose working memory capacity is much smaller relative to other members in the class may experience the academic work as being such a struggle that they no longer can continue to be motivated to do it.
Contrary to what one might expect, how many years in preschool a child has does not affect working memory. That is, starting preschool at an early age does not increase working memory capacity. Similarly, parent’s social economic level or their number of years of education does not correlate well with the working memory capacity of their child.
Without intervention, difficulties with working memory do not improve over time (we will discuss interventions that help later in this article). So if a child in the third grade is seen to have a significant problem with working memory, that child will also have a significant problem with working memory in high school.
Recent research indicates that working memory is even more important than IQ in terms of determining educational outcome. It is possible to understand in this context why there are some very bright children who are not succeeding in the classroom. There is a correlation between working memory and Attention Deficit Disorder. The correlation is not perfect, but there is a fairly substantial overlap between those two types of problems. It is interesting to see that some researchers in the study of ADD, inattentive type suggest that working memory challenges are an essential element in the disorder…. defines working memory in the article, Definition of Working memory:

Working memory is a system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Working memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of information-processing functions such as encoding, storing, and retrieving data.
One test of working memory is memory span, the number of items, usually words or numbers, that a person can hold onto and recall. In a typical test of memory span, an examiner reads a list of random numbers aloud at about the rate of one number per second. At the end of a sequence, the person being tested is asked to recall the items in order. The average memory span for normal adults is 7 items.

The University of Pennsylvania researchers studied working memory in a longitudinal study. See, Penn and CHOP Researchers Track Working Memory From Childhood Through Adolescence

Science Daily reported in the article, Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence:

Working memory — the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior — develops through childhood and adolescence, and is key for successful performance at school and work. Previous research with young children has documented socioeconomic disparities in performance on tasks of working memory. Now a new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education — one common measure of socioeconomic status — is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory, and that neighborhood characteristics — another common measure of socioeconomic status — are not. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, West Chester University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in the journal Child Development….


Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence

Date: April 30, 2014

Source: Society for Research in Child Development
A new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory — the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior — that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education — one common measure of socioeconomic status — is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory. The researchers studied more than 300 10- through 13-year-olds over four years.
Journal Reference:
1. Daniel A. Hackman, Laura M. Betancourt, Robert Gallop, Daniel Romer, Nancy L. Brodsky, Hallam Hurt, Martha J. Farah. Mapping the Trajectory of Socioeconomic Disparity in Working Memory: Parental and Neighborhood Factors. Child Development, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12242

Here is the press release from the Society for Research in Child Development:

Contact: Hannah Klein
Society for Research in Child Development
Working memory differs by parents’ education; effects persist into adolescence
Working memory—the ability to hold information in your mind, think about it, and use it to guide behavior—develops through childhood and adolescence, and is key for successful performance at school and work. Previous research with young children has documented socioeconomic disparities in performance on tasks of working memory. Now a new longitudinal study has found that differences in working memory that exist at age 10 persist through the end of adolescence. The study also found that parents’ education—one common measure of socioeconomic status—is related to children’s performance on tasks of working memory, and that neighborhood characteristics—another common measure of socioeconomic status—are not.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, West Chester University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in the journal Child Development.
“Understanding the development of disparities in working memory has implications for education,” according to Daniel A. Hackman, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Pittsburgh who led the study when he was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. “Persistent disparities are a potential source of differences in academic achievement as students age and as the demands of both school work and the social environment increase.
“Our findings highlight the potential value of programs that promote developing working memory early as a way to prevent disparities in achievement,” Hackman continues. “The fact that parents’ education predicts working memory suggests that parenting practices and home environments may be important for this aspect of cognitive development and as a fruitful area for intervention and prevention.”
To look at the rate of change in working memory in relation to different measures of socioeconomic status, the researchers studied more than three hundred 10- through 13-year-olds from urban public and parochial schools over four years. The sample of children was racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. Each child completed a number of tasks of working memory across the four-year period. The researchers gathered information on how many years of education the parents of each child had completed, as well as on neighborhood characteristics, looking—for example—at the degree to which people in a child’s neighborhood lived below the poverty line, were unemployed, or received public assistance.
Neither parents’ education nor living in a disadvantaged neighborhood was found to be associated with the rate of growth in working memory across the four-year period. Lower parental education was found to be tied to differences in working memory that emerged by age 10 and continued through adolescence. However, neighborhood characteristics were not related to working memory performance.
The study suggests that disparities seen in adolescence and adulthood start earlier in childhood and that school doesn’t close the gap in working memory for children ages 10 and above. Generally, children whose parents had fewer years of education don’t catch up or fall further behind by the end of adolescence, when working memory performance reaches mature levels.
That said, the findings of this study do not suggest that working memory is not malleable. Interventions that strengthen working memory in children, such as training games, may help children with lower levels of working memory improve and reduce disparities.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Summarized from Child Development, Mapping the Trajectory of Socioeconomic Disparity in Working Memory: Parental and Neighborhood Factors by Hackman, DA (currently at University of Pittsburgh, formerly at University of Pennsylvania), Betancourt, LM (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Gallop, R (West Chester University), Romer, D (University of Pennsylvania), Brodsky, NL (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Hurt, H (The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine), and Farah, MJ (University of Pennsylvania). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.

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


Tips for parent and teacher conferences

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

Parents can use tax deductions to pay for special education needs

Intervening in the lives of truant children by jailing parents

Making time for family dinner

Embracing parents as education leaders

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Queens College of New York study: Asians outperform white Americans because of motivation

7 May

Moi has written quite a bit about motivation in education. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform:
Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

The article, Asians outperform white students because they try harder, study finds, reported:

Asian-American schoolchildren tend to outperform their white counterparts in school because they try harder, according to a US study out Monday.
The findings were based on an analysis of records from two separate surveys tracking several thousand whites and Asians in the United States from kindergarten through high school.
Scientists at Queens College of New York, the University of Michigan and Peking University in Beijing looked at grades, test scores, teacher ratings, family income and education level, immigration status and other factors.
“Asian-Americans enter school with no discernible academic advantage over whites,” said the study, noting that “advantage grows over time.”
By fifth grade, or age 10-11, Asian-Americans “significantly outperform whites,” and the peak difference is reached by grade 10, or age 15-16.
“Overall, these results suggest that the growing achievement gap can be attributed to a widening gap in academic effort rather than to differences in cognitive ability.”
Asian-Americans tend to be motivated by cultural teachings that instill the notion that effort is more important than inborn ability, researchers said.
They also endure “greater parental pressures to succeed than in the case of comparable white peers.”
The notion of a hard-working Asian student who is destined to succeed may be a stereotype, but it may actually work to the benefit of Asian-American youths, the researchers said.
“These positive stereotypes may help bolster Asian-American achievement just as negative stereotypes have been shown to hinder the achievement of African-American youth,” said the article…


Explaining Asian Americans’ academic advantage over whites
1. Amy Hsina and
2. Yu Xieb,c,1
Author Affiliations
1. aDepartment of Sociology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, NY 11367;
2. bInstitute for Social Research and Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; and
3. cCenter for Social Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
1. Contributed by Yu Xie, April 8, 2014 (sent for review December 13, 2013; reviewed by Arthur Sakamoto and Jennifer Lee)
1. Abstract
2. Authors & Info
3. SI
4. Metrics
5. PDF
6. PDF + SI
We find that the Asian-American educational advantage over whites is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics. We test explanations for the Asian–white gap in academic effort and find that the gap can be further attributed to (i) cultural differences in beliefs regarding the connection between effort and achievement and (ii) immigration status. Finally, we highlight the potential psychological and social costs associated with Asian-American achievement success.
The superior academic achievement of Asian Americans is a well-documented phenomenon that lacks a widely accepted explanation. Asian Americans’ advantage in this respect has been attributed to three groups of factors: (i) socio-demographic characteristics, (ii) cognitive ability, and (iii) academic effort as measured by characteristics such as attentiveness and work ethic. We combine data from two nationally representative cohort longitudinal surveys to compare Asian-American and white students in their educational trajectories from kindergarten through high school. We find that the Asian-American educational advantage is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics. We test explanations for the Asian–white gap in academic effort and find that the gap can be further attributed to (i) cultural differences in beliefs regarding the connection between effort and achievement and (ii) immigration status. Finally, we highlight the potential psychological and social costs associated with Asian-American achievement success.
noncognitive skills
model minority
Asian advantage
↵1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
A.H. and Y.X. designed research, performed research, and wrote the paper.
Reviewers: A.S., Texas A&M University; and J.L., University of California, Irvine.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article contains supporting information online at

Moi wrote about “success cultures in HARD QUESTION: Do Black folk REALLY want to succeed in America?

All moi can say is really. One has a Constitutional right to be a MORON. One must ask what are these parents thinking and where do they want their children to go in THIS society and not some mythical Africa which most will never see and which probably does not exist. Remember, their children must live in THIS society, at THIS time and in THIS place.
Moi wrote in Black people MUST develop a culture of success: Michigan State revokes a football scholarship because of raunchy rap video:

The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture.
See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values and Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink?

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

One of the most central features of a culture are its values. Values are the standards by which one may judge the difference between good and bad, and the right and wrong things to do. Though some values are universally shared among all cultures, it is the contrast and differences in values of different cultures that can account for the interactions and perceptions that occur between different cultures.
Traditional values are a common thread among individuals in a culture. Stereotyping comes about because of common behavior patterns that are based on common values, and distortion and misperception can come about as a result of misunderstandings of those values. Stereotyping can also be dangerous because people are individuals with their own values which may vary a great deal from the traditional ideal. Values can vary quite a bit depending upon one’s generation, class, education, origin, among other factors. For example, there is considerable difference in what might be called “traditional” and “modern” American values.
Although each distinct Asian culture actually has its own set of values, they all share a common core, which is probably best documented in the Japanese and Chinese traditions, and by philosophers such as Confucius, whose writings had considerable influence throughout Asia. In the Asian American experience, these values interact with what might be called simply “western” or “Caucasian” values, but if one contrasts the values of America with those of Europe, it can be seen that these are really “Modern American” values that provide the best contrasts.
Asian values are very much inter-related. They all support the view of the individual as being a part of a much larger group or family, and place great importance on the well-being of the group, even at the expense of the individual. American values, on the other hand emphasize the importance of the well-being of the individual, and stresses independence and individual initiative. Although it may seem that values such as education, family, and hard work are shared between cultures, these values manifest themselves quite differently in the two cultures.
Some Asian values are so important that some of the cultures, especially the Japanese have given them names of their own, and are used commonly. Here is a list of some of the most outstanding values:
Ie (japanese) – The family as a basic unit of social organization, and as a pattern for the structure of society as a whole.
Education – The whole process of child rearing and education as a means of perpetuating society, and of attaining position within society.
Enyo (japanese) – The conscious use of silence, reserve in manner.
Han (chinese) Conformity, and the suppression of individual attriputes such as talen, anger, or wealth which might disrupt group harmony. (Chinese)
Amae (japanese) – To depend and presume upon the benevolence of others. A deep bonding in human relationships between one who is responsible for another, and one who must depend on another.
Giri (japanese) – Indebtedness, obligation and duty to others, reciprocity.
Gaman (japanese) – Endurance, sticking it out at all costs. Self-sacrifice for the sake of others.
Tui Lien (chinese) – Loss face, shame. The final standard as to how well one lives up to these values.
Family and Education
Probaly the most notable aspect of the modern “Asian Model Minority”¬stereotype is that of the academic overachiever. A number of asian students have done conspicuously well in terms of test scores, gifted student programs, admissions to prestigious schools, academic awards, and in classical music. Though obviously not all Asians fit this pattern, this trend can be attributed primarily to the basic notion of the family, and the central role that education plays in the family.
Great importance is placed on child rearing, and education is a funda¬mental aspect of this. Asian parents are more likely to spend much more time with their children, and drive them harder, sometimes even at the expense of their personal time and ambitions of the parents themselves. Though Americans might consider Asian parents to be dominating, parents in turn are expected to give children all the support they can.
While it would no be unusual for an American parent to hire a babysitter to watch the kids while they go out, or expect their children to put them¬selves through college lest the parents sacrifice their own stand of living, this is much less likely in an Asian family. Living in an extended family is not unusual, and filial piety, respect for parents is a very important principle.
Unlike the youth orientation in American culture, age and position are most highly respected. The Asian family has within it a heirarchy which is a mirror of the structure of society as whole. For example, the parent child relationship is carried further on to ruler and ruled, employer and employee. Education is the most valued way of achieving position, an success in education is viewed as an act of filial piety. In imperial times, examinations were the only way to achieve position in China. Even in America, education is seen as a key to social mobility, and economic opportunity. Education for their children was a major reason why many immigrants came to America from Asia.

There is no such thing as a “model minority” and getting rid of this myth will allow educators to focus on the needs of the individual student. Still, the choice of many parents to allow their children to make choices which may impact their success should have folk asking the question of what values are being transmitted and absorbed by Black children.


Culture of Success

How Do Asian Students Get to the Top of the Class?


Is there a model minority?

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Center for American Progress report: Teaching force lacks diversity and student achievement threatened

5 May

Moi believes that good and gifted teachers come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and both genders. Teachers are often role models and mentors which is why a diverse teaching profession is desirable. Huffington Post has the interesting article, Few Minority Teachers In Classrooms, Gap Attributed To Bias And Low Graduation Rates which discusses why there are fewer teachers of color in the profession.

Minority students will likely outnumber white students in the next decade or two, but the failure of the national teacher demographic to keep up with that trend is hurting minority students who tend to benefit from teachers with similar backgrounds.
Minority students make up more than 40 percent of the national public school population, while only 17 percent of the country’s teachers are minorities, according to a report released this week by the Center for American Progress.
“This is a problem for students, schools, and the public at large. Teachers of color serve as role models for students, giving them a clear and concrete sense of what diversity in education–and in our society–looks like,” the report’s authors write. “A recent review of empirical studies also shows that students of color do better on a variety of academic outcomes if they’re taught by teachers of color.”
Using data from the 2008 Schools and Staffing Survey, the most recent data available, researchers found that more than 20 states have gaps of 25 percentage points or more between the diversity of their teachers and students.
California yielded the largest discrepancy of 43 percentage points, with 72 percent minority students compared with 29 percent minority teachers. Nevada and Illinois had the second and third largest gaps, of 41 and 35 percentage points, respectively.
In a second report, the CAP notes that in more than 40 percent of the nation’s public schools, there are no minority teachers at all. The dearth of diversity in the teaching force could show that fewer minorities are interested in teaching or that there are fewer minorities qualified to teach.

The lack of diversity in the teaching profession has been a subject of comment for years.

In 2004, the Council for Exceptional Children wrote in the article,New Report Says More Diverse Teachers Reduces the Achievement Gap for Students of Color:

Representation of Diverse Teachers in the Workforce
The number of diverse teachers does not represent the number of diverse students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2003):
• In 2001-2002, 60 percent of public school students were White, 17 percent Black, 17 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native.
• According to 2001 data, 90 percent of public school teachers were White, 6 percent Black, and fewer than 5 percent of other races.
• Approximately 40 percent of schools had no teachers of color on staff.
Additional trends reflecting the dispersion of diverse teachers include:
• The percentage of diverse teachers does not approximate the percentage of diverse students in any state with a large population of diverse residents except Hawaii. The District of Columbia is also an exception.
• The larger the percentage of diverse students, the greater the disparity with the percentage of diverse teachers.
• Proportional representation of diverse teachers is closest in large urban school districts.
• Diverse teachers tend to teach in schools that have large numbers of students from their own ethnic groups.
• Diverse teachers are about equally represented in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, statistical projections show that while the percentage of diverse students in public schools is expected to increase, the percentage of diverse teachers is not expected to rise unless the nation and states take action.
The Impact of Diverse Teachers on Student Achievement
Increasing the percentage of diverse teachers not only impacts the social development of diverse students, it also is directly connected to closing the achievement gap of these students. Research shows that a number of significant school achievement markers are positively affected when diverse students are taught by diverse teachers, including attendance, disciplinary referrals, dropout rates, overall satisfaction with school, self-concept, cultural competence, and the students’ sense of the relevance of school. In addition, studies show that
o Diverse students tend to have higher academic, personal, and social performance when taught by teachers from their own ethnic group.
o Diverse teachers have demonstrated that when diverse students are taught with culturally responsive techniques and with content-specific approaches usually reserved for students with gifts and talents, their academic performance improves significantly.
o Diverse teachers have higher performance expectations for students from their own ethnic group.
Other advantages of increasing the number of diverse teachers are: more diverse teachers would increase the number of role models for diverse students; provide opportunities for all students to learn about ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; enrich diverse students learning; and serve as cultural brokers for students, other educators, and parents.

A diverse teaching corps is needed not only to mirror the society, but because the continuing family meltdown has broadened the duties of schools.

Niraj Chokshi reported in the Washington Post article, Map: The student-teacher diversity gap is huge—and widening:
Teachers and students are increasingly looking less like each other.

The divide between the share of teachers of color and the share of students of color grew by 3 percentage points over as many years, according to a new report from the liberal Center for American Progress.
Students of color make up almost half of the public school population, but teachers of color make up just 18 percent of that population nationwide. And the disparity is even larger in 36 states. It’s largest in California where 73 percent of students are nonwhite while just 29 percent of teachers are nonwhite….

Here is the press release from the Center for American Progress:

RELEASE: U.S. Teacher Workforce Lacks Diversity, Puts Student Achievement at Risk
Contact: Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Washington, D.C. — While America’s public schools are becoming increasingly more diverse, a new report released by the Center for American Progress finds that nearly every state is experiencing a large and growing teacher diversity gap, or a significant difference between the number of students of color and teachers of color.
The report released today revisits a similar Center for American Progress study from 2011. When the original report was released, students of color made up more than 40 percent of the school age-population, while teachers of color were only 17 percent of the teaching force. The report released today shows that since 2011, the gap between teachers and students of color has continued to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population.
“The student population of America’s schools may look like a melting pot, but our teacher workforce looks like it wandered out of the 1950s. It’s overwhelmingly white,” said
Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and author of the report ”We know from research that students of color do better academically if they are taught by teachers of color. We also know that all students need role models in their schools that represent our diverse society. Parents, teachers, and policymakers should be alarmed by the findings and demand that states and districts take action to address this growing problem.
The report, “Teacher Diversity Revisited,” includes state-by-state data documenting the teacher diversity gap across the nation. An analysis of the data reveals the following key findings:
 Almost every state has a significant diversity gap. In California, 73 percent of students are kids of color, but only about 29 percent are teachers of color. Maryland has the same problem, although the numbers are a bit better: In the Old Line State, more than 55 percent of students are kids of color, while just around 17 percent are teachers of color.
 The Hispanic teacher population has larger demographic gaps relative to students. In Nevada, for instance, just 9 percent of teachers were Hispanic. In contrast, the state’s student body was 39 percent Hispanic.
 Diversity gaps are large within districts. For the first time, we examined district-level data in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. These three states account for 20 percent of all students in the United States, and it turns out that the gaps within districts are often larger than those within states.
A companion report also released today by CAP and Progress 2050 describes how the shortcomings of today’s education system and the underachievement of many of today’s students of color shrink the future supply of the teachers of color. The report, “America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color,” finds that fundamental constraints limit the potential supply of highly effective teachers of color. Students of color have significantly lower college enrollment rates than do white students. In addition, a relatively small number of students of color enroll in teacher education programs each year. Finally, teacher trainees who are members of communities of color often score lower on licensure exams that serve as passports to teaching careers.
Furthermore, the report reveals that teachers of color leave the profession at a much higher rate than their non-Hispanic white peers. Those who leave mention a perceived lack of respect for teaching as a profession, lagging salary levels, and difficult working conditions.
Despite the barriers in the educator pipeline, there is great opportunity ahead to make improvements. The report includes a set of policy recommendations for the federal government and for states and local school districts. Enlarging the pool of talented, well-educated teachers of color who are effective in improving student achievement in our schools will require aggressive and targeted recruitment and appropriate support. It will demand a steadfast determination to remove the barriers in the educator pipeline that limit and discourage strong candidates for the teaching profession. At the same time, policies must be in place to offer clear and meaningful monetary incentives, support, and professional development to ensure that the best and brightest students of color enter into teaching and succeed once in the profession.
Read the reports:
Teacher Diversity Revisited: A New State-by-State Analysis, by Ulrich Boser
America’s Leaky Pipeline for Teachers of Color, by Farah Z. Ahmad and Ulrich Boser

Which brings us back to diversity in the teacher corps. The Center for American Progress report, Teacher Diversity Matters A State-by-State Analysis of Teachers of Color, which was highlighted in the Huffington Post article makes the following recommendations:

There have been some successful initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce over the years. The successful characteristics of these programs are detailed in an accompanying study released with this paper by Saba Bireda and Robin Chait titled “Increasing Teacher Diversity: Strategies to Improve the Teacher Workforce.”10
Briefly, though, those recommendations include:
• Increasing federal oversight of and increased accountability for teacher preparation programs
• Creating statewide initiatives to fund teacher preparation programs aimed at low-income and minority teachers
• Strengthening federal financial aid programs for low-income students entering the teaching field
• Reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by creating more avenues to enter the field and increasing the number of qualified credentialing organizations
• Strengthening state-sponsored and nonprofit teacher recruitment and training organizations by increasing standards for admission, using best practices to recruit high-achieving minority students, and forming strong relationships with districts to ensure recruitment needs are met

The mantra is the system is broke and we, as a society, cannot afford the cost of implementing these recommendations. The reality is, we as a society, cannot afford the long-term cost of not implementing these recommendations.

Is there a ‘model minority’ ??

Urban Teacher Residencies: A Space for Hybrid Roles for Teachers

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