Tag Archives: Education Next

Yale University study: Class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech

24 Oct

Roland G. Fryer wrote in the Education Next article, “Acting White”:

“Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach kids to learn.They know that parents have to parent, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white.”
—Barack Obama, Keynote Address, Democratic National Convention, 2004

Acting white was once a label used by scholars, writing in obscure journals, to characterize academically inclined, but allegedly snobbish, minority students who were shunned by their peers.
Now that it has entered the national consciousness—perhaps even its conscience—the term has become a slippery, contentious phrase that is used to refer to a variety of unsavory social practices and attitudes and whose meaning is open to many interpretations, especially as to who is the perpetrator, who the victim.
I cannot, in the research presented here, disentangle all the elements in the dispute, but I can sort out some of its thicker threads. I can also be precise about what I mean by acting white: a set of social interactions in which minority adolescents who get good grades in school enjoy less social popularity than white students who do well academically.
My analysis confirms that acting white is a vexing reality within a subset of American schools. It does not allow me to say whose fault this is, the studious youngster or others in his peer group. But I do find that the way schools are structured affects the incidence of the acting-white phenomenon. The evidence indicates that the social disease, whatever its cause, is most prevalent in racially integrated public schools. It’s less of a problem in the private sector and in predominantly black public schools.
With findings as potentially controversial as these, one wants to be sure that they rest on a solid base. In this regard, I am fortunate that the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Adhealth) provides information on the friendship patterns of a nationally representative sample of more than 90,000 students, from 175 schools in 80 communities, who entered grades 7 through 12 in the 1994 school year. With this database, it is possible to move beyond both the more narrowly focused ethnographic studies and the potentially misleading national studies based on self-reported indicators of popularity that have so far guided the discussion of acting white.
The Meaning of the Phrase
Though not all scholars define acting white in precisely the same way, most definitions include a reference to situations where some minority adolescents ridicule their minority peers for engaging in behaviors perceived to be characteristic of whites. For example, when psychologist Angela Neal-Barnett in 1999 asked some focus-group students to identify acting-white behavior, they listed actions that ranged from speaking standard English and enrolling in an Advanced Placement or honors class to wearing clothes from the Gap or Abercrombie & Fitch (instead of Tommy Hilfiger or FUBU) and wearing shorts in winter!
Only some of these behaviors have a direct connection to academic engagement. However, as the remarks of Barack Obama, who would later win a seat in the United States Senate, suggest, it is the fact that reading a book or getting good grades might be perceived as acting white that makes the topic a matter of national concern. Indeed, negative peer-group pressure has emerged as a common explanation for the black-white achievement gap, a gap that cannot be explained away by differences in demographic characteristics alone. If minority students today deliberately underachieve in order to avoid social sanctions, that by itself could explain why the aca¬demic performance of 17-year-old African Americans, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), has deteriorated since the late 1980s, even while that of nine-year-olds has been improving. It may also help us understand the shortage of minority students in most elite colleges and universities… https://www.educationnext.org/actingwhite/

See, A Study in Blackness: What is ‘Acting Black’? https://atlantablackstar.com/2016/07/01/a-study-in-blackness-what-is-acting-black/

PHYS ORG reported in Study shows class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech:

Candidates at job interviews expect to be evaluated on their experience, conduct, and ideas, but a new study by Yale researchers provides evidence that interviewees are judged based on their social status seconds after they start to speak.
The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that people can accurately assess a stranger’s socioeconomic position—defined by their income, education, and occupation status—based on brief speech patterns and shows that these snap perceptions influence hiring managers in ways that favor job applicants from higher social classes.
“Our study shows that even during the briefest interactions, a person’s speech patterns shape the way people perceive them, including assessing their competence and fitness for a job,” said Michael Kraus, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. “While most hiring managers would deny that a job candidate’s social class matters, in reality, the socioeconomic position of an applicant or their parents is being assessed within the first seconds they speak—a circumstance that limits economic mobility and perpetuates inequality.”
The researchers based their findings on five separate studies. The first four examined the extent that people accurately perceive social class based on a few seconds of speech. They found that reciting seven random words is sufficient to allow people to discern the speaker’s social class with above-chance accuracy. They discovered that speech adhering to subjective standards for English as well as digital standards—i.e. the voices used in tech products like the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant—is associated with both actual and perceived higher social class. The researchers also showed that pronunciation cues in an individual’s speech communicate their social status more accurately than the content of their speech.
The fifth study examined how these speech cues influence hiring. Twenty prospective job candidates from varied current and childhood socioeconomic backgrounds were recruited from the New Haven community to interview for an entry-level lab manager position at Yale. Prior to sitting for a formal job interview, the candidates each recorded a conversation in which they were asked to briefly describe themselves. A sample of 274 individuals with hiring experience either listened to the audio or read transcripts of the recordings. The hiring managers were asked to assess the candidates’ professional qualities, starting salary, signing bonus, and perceived social class based solely on the brief pre-interview discussion without reviewing the applicants’ job interview responses or resumes.
The hiring managers who listened to the audio recordings were more likely to accurately assess socioeconomic status than those who read transcripts, according to the study. Devoid of any information about the candidates’ actual qualifications, the hiring managers judged the candidates from higher social classes as more likely to be competent for the job, and a better fit for it than the applicants from lower social classes. Moreover, they assigned the applicants from higher social classes more lucrative salaries and signing bonuses than the candidates with lower social status…. https://phys.org/news/2019-10-class-bias-hiring-based-seconds.html

Citation:

Class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech
Date: October 21, 2019
Source: Yale University
Summary:
Candidates at job interviews expect to be evaluated on their experience, conduct, and ideas, but a new study provides evidence that interviewees are judged based on their social status seconds after they start to speak.

Journal Reference:
Michael W. Kraus et al. Evidence for the reproduction of social class in brief speech. PNAS, 2019 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1900500116

Here is the press release from Yale:

Yale study shows class bias in hiring based on few seconds of speech

YALE UNIVERSITY
New Haven, Conn. — Candidates at job interviews expect to be evaluated on their experience, conduct, and ideas, but a new study by Yale researchers provides evidence that interviewees are judged based on their social status seconds after they start to speak.
The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that people can accurately assess a stranger’s socioeconomic position — defined by their income, education, and occupation status — based on brief speech patterns and shows that these snap perceptions influence hiring managers in ways that favor job applicants from higher social classes.
“Our study shows that even during the briefest interactions, a person’s speech patterns shape the way people perceive them, including assessing their competence and fitness for a job,” said Michael Kraus, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. “While most hiring managers would deny that a job candidate’s social class matters, in reality, the socioeconomic position of an applicant or their parents is being assessed within the first seconds they speak — a circumstance that limits economic mobility and perpetuates inequality.”
The researchers based their findings on five separate studies. The first four examined the extent that people accurately perceive social class based on a few seconds of speech. They found that reciting seven random words is sufficient to allow people to discern the speaker’s social class with above-chance accuracy. They discovered that speech adhering to subjective standards for English as well as digital standards — i.e. the voices used in tech products like the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant — is associated with both actual and perceived higher social class. The researchers also showed that pronunciation cues in an individual’s speech communicate their social status more accurately than the content of their speech.
The fifth study examined how these speech cues influence hiring. Twenty prospective job candidates from varied current and childhood socioeconomic backgrounds were recruited from the New Haven community to interview for an entry-level lab manager position at Yale. Prior to sitting for a formal job interview, the candidates each recorded a conversation in which they were asked to briefly describe themselves. A sample of 274 individuals with hiring experience either listened to the audio or read transcripts of the recordings. The hiring managers were asked to assess the candidates’ professional qualities, starting salary, signing bonus, and perceived social class based solely on the brief pre-interview discussion without reviewing the applicants’ job interview responses or resumes.
The hiring managers who listened to the audio recordings were more likely to accurately assess socioeconomic status than those who read transcripts, according to the study. Devoid of any information about the candidates’ actual qualifications, the hiring managers judged the candidates from higher social classes as more likely to be competent for the job, and a better fit for it than the applicants from lower social classes. Moreover, they assigned the applicants from higher social classes more lucrative salaries and signing bonuses than the candidates with lower social status.
“We rarely talk explicitly about social class, and yet, people with hiring experience infer competence and fitness based on socioeconomic position estimated from a few second of an applicant’s speech,” Kraus said. “If we want to move to a more equitable society, then we must contend with these ingrained psychological processes that drive our early impressions of others. Despite what these hiring tendencies may suggest, talent is not found solely among those born to rich or well-educated families. Policies that actively recruit candidates from all levels of status in society are best positioned to match opportunities to the people best suited for them.”
###
Kraus co-authored the paper with graduate students Brittany Torrez and Jun Won Park, and research associate Fariba Ghayebi.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

William Julius Wilson wrote in The Declining Significance of Race:

One of the basic arguments of The Declining Signi½cance of Race is that there has been a deepening economic schism as reflected in a widening gap between lower-income and higher-income black families. In light of more recent data, not only has the family income gap between poorer and better-off African Americans continued to widen, but the situation of the bottom ½fth of black families has deteriorated since 1975 (see Table 1). In 2007, 45.6 percent of all poor blacks had incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line.28Overall, poor black families fell below the poverty line by an average of $9,266 in 2007, a depth of poverty exceeding that of all other racial/ ethnic groups in the United States.29 Regardless of the reversal of the relative income gains of younger educated blacks reported in the previous section, the gap between the haves and have-nots in the African American population continues to grow…. https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/8052151/Wilson-DecliningSignificanceRevised.pdf?sequence=1

It is politically expedient from certain elites to emphasize race because it relieves them of their class bias.

“I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.”
George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion

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University of Texas Arlington study: Who knew, children do best with two parents

11 Sep

Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children, after all, you and your child should not be raising each other.

Moi said this in Hard truths: The failure of the family:
This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of Katrina, the real genocide is self-inflicted. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/ It is interesting that the ruling elites do not want to touch the issue of unwed births with a ten thousand foot pole. After all, that would violate some one’s right to _____. Let moi fill in the blank, the right to be stupid, probably live in poverty, and not be able to give your child the advantages that a more prepared parent can give a child because to tell you to your face that you are an idiot for not using birth control is not P.C.

Paul E. Peterson wrote a real engine starter for Education Next, Neither Broad Nor Bold: A narrow-minded approach to school reform:

The central thesis of the Ladd presidential address is certainly sweeping and bold: The income of a child’s family determines his or her educational achievement. Those who come from low-income families learn little because they are poor. Those who come from prosperous families learn a lot because they are rich. Her solution to the nation’s education woes is almost biblical. According to St. Matthew, Jesus advised the rich man to “Sell what you possess and give to the poor.” Not quite as willing as St. Matthew to rely on the charitable instinct, Ladd modifies the biblical injunction by asking for government intervention to make sure the good deed happens. But she is no less confident than Matthew that wonderful things will happen when the transfer of wealth takes place. Once income redistribution occurs, student achievement will reach a new, higher, and more egalitarian level. Meanwhile, any attempt to fix the schools that ignores this imperative is as doomed to failure as the camel that struggles to pass through the eye of a needle.
Of course, Ladd does not put it quite that bluntly. But her meaning is clear enough from what she does say: education reform policies “are not likely to contribute much in the future—to raising overall student achievement or to reducing [gaps in] achievement….”
Drawing on a study by Stanford education professor Sean Reardon, Ladd says that the gap in reading achievement between students from families in the lowest and highest income deciles is larger for those born in 2001 than for those born in the early 1940s. She suspects it is because those living in poor families today have “poor health, limited access to home environments with rich language and experiences, low birth weight, limited access to high-quality pre-school opportunities, less participation in many activities in the summer and after school that middle class families take for granted, and more movement in and out of schools because of the way that the housing market operates.”
But her trend data hardly support that conclusion. Those born to poor families in 2000 had much better access to medical and preschool facilities than those born in 1940. Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start, summer programs, housing subsidies, and the other components of Johnson’s War on Poverty did not become available until 1965. Why didn’t those broad, bold strokes reduce the achievement gap?
What has changed for the worse during the intervening period is not access to food and medical services for the poor but the increment in the percentage of children living in single-parent households. In 1969, 85 percent of children under the age of 18 were living with two married parents; by 2010, that percentage had declined to 65 percent. According to sociologist Sara McLanahan, income levels in single-parent households are one-half those in two-parent households. The median income level of a single-parent family is just over $27,000 (in 1992 dollars), compared to more than $61,000 for a two-parent family. Meanwhile, the risk of dropping out of high school doubles. The risk increases from 11 percent to 28 percent if a white student comes from a single-parent instead of a two-parent family. For blacks, the increment is from 17 percent to 30 percent, and for Hispanics, the risk rises from 25 percent to 49 percent. In other words, a parent who has to both earn money and raise a child has to perform at a heroic level to succeed.
A better case can be made that the growing achievement gap is more the result of changing family structure than of inadequate medical services or preschool education. If the Broader, Bolder group really wanted to address the social problems that complicate the education of children, they would explore ways in which public policy could help sustain two-parent families, a subject well explored in a recent book by Mitch Pearlstein (Shortchanging Student Achievement: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation) but one that goes virtually unmentioned in the Ladd report. http://educationnext.org/neither-broad-nor-bold/

Even though Peterson may piss off some folks, he makes some good points.

Science Daily wrote in the article, Teens living with two college-educated parents less likely to use alcohol, marijuana:

A high school senior who lives with two college-educated parents is significantly less likely to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana than a teenager who lives with one parent, a new University of Texas at Arlington study has found.
For example, teens living with their mother only are 54 percent more likely to use alcohol, and 58 percent more likely to smoke if they live only with their father.
Eusebius Small, an assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Social Work, analyzed data on 14,268 teenagers to determine the impact of family structure and parental education on adolescents’ substance use. He concluded that family structure and parental education had a more substantial influence on the teen’s well-being than other factors such as gender, age or where the teen lived.
In terms of race, researchers found the presence of both parents is an especially strong protective factor for African-American adolescents. When both groups live in two parent homes, white teenagers are 69 percent more likely to engage in substance abuse than black teens. Hispanic teens who live with both parents are 74 percent more likely to use alcohol than their African-American peers who live with both parents.
“We know from previous research that early drinking and drug use is linked to social, economic, emotional and behavioral problems including violence, depression and precarious sexual activity,” said Small, whose work focuses on reducing incidents of sexually transmitted infections among adolescents. “Addressing these environmental concerns in concert with related individual problems could reduce substance use occurrences among our young people.”
Small co-authored the research with Arati Maleku, a doctoral student and adjunct assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Social Work, and Rie Suzuki, an assistant professor of public health and health sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint.
The study, called “The Impact of Family and Parental Education on Adolescents’ Substance Use: A Study of U.S. High School Seniors,” is published online in the journal, Social Work in Public Health.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140908152932.htm

Citation:

Teens living with two college-educated parents less likely to use alcohol, marijuana
Date: September 8, 2014

Source: University of Texas at Arlington
Summary:
A high school senior who lives with 2 college-educated parents is significantly less likely to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana than a teenager who lives with one parent, a new study has found. In terms of race, the presence of both parents is an especially strong protective factor for African-American adolescents.

Here is the press release from UTA:

NEWS CENTER
Teens living with two, college-educated parents less likely to use alcohol and marijuana, UT Arlington study finds
Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu
News Topics: faculty, research, social work
A high school senior who lives with two college-educated parents is significantly less likely to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana than a teenager who lives with one parent, a new University of Texas at Arlington study has found.
For example, teens living with their mother only are 54 percent more likely to use alcohol, and 58 percent more likely to smoke if they live only with their father.

Eusebius Small, an assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Social Work, analyzed data on 14,268 teenagers to determine the impact of family structure and parental education on adolescents’ substance use. He concluded that family structure and parental education had a more substantial influence on the teen’s well-being than other factors such as gender, age or where the teen lived.
In terms of race, researchers found the presence of both parents is an especially strong protective factor for African-American adolescents. When both groups live in two parent homes, white teenagers are 69 percent more likely to engage in substance abuse than black teens. Hispanic teens who live with both parents are 74 percent more likely to use alcohol than their African-American peers who live with both parents.

“We know from previous research that early drinking and drug use is linked to social, economic, emotional and behavioral problems including violence, depression and precarious sexual activity,” said Small, whose work focuses on reducing incidents of sexually transmitted infections among adolescents. “Addressing these environmental concerns in concert with related individual problems could reduce substance use occurrences among our young people.”

Small co-authored the research with Arati Maleku, a doctoral student and adjunct assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Social Work, and Rie Suzuki, an assistant professor of public health and health sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint.

The study, called “The Impact of Family and Parental Education on Adolescents’ Substance Use: A Study of U.S. High School Seniors,” is published online in the journal, Social Work in Public Health.
Scott Ryan, dean of the UT Arlington School of Social Work, said Small’s work enhances the conversation about teen substance use and furthers understanding of research to combat the problem.
”Addressing high-risk behaviors means understanding the underlying mechanisms and contextual factors that influence our youths,” Ryan said. “Dr. Small’s research accomplishes that goal and contributes greatly to ongoing efforts to help families make healthier choices.”

The team reviewed data from the ongoing Monitoring the Future study, which is conducted each year by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Approximately 50,000 eighth, 10th and 12th grade students are surveyed across the nation. Small and his team used only 12th grade samples addressing demographic variables, beliefs concerning personal lifestyle, school performance and satisfaction, intergroup and interpersonal attitudes and behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs related to alcohol and other substance use, such as tobacco and marijuana.

Previous studies have affirmed that youths who use drugs and alcohol early often reside in families with poor family structure, lower parental education and are from ethnic minority families. But studies focusing on teen substance abuse and family factors, especially among minority ethnic populations, are sparse and fragmented, the researchers said.

Previous studies have recommended the exploration of family structure, parental education and ethnicity to address key risk factors that involve adolescents’ substance use, and as a first step in unlocking the complexities of health disparities among diverse populations.

“Our study should re-emphasize the direction for practice and policy, for example, examining the elements in the family structure that are deemed protective and can enhance the well-being of children,” Small said.

About the UT Arlington School of Social Work
UT Arlington’s School of Social Work is nationally and internationally recognized for its expertise in social work and social welfare, as well as equipping students with the education and skills to transform society through service since 1967. With 1,700 students enrolled in its academic programs, the School of Social Work offers three main academic programs: the Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work. Visit http://www.uta.edu/ssw/ to learn more.
About UT Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit http://www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.
###
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of “Katrina,” the real genocide is self-inflicted.

So, a behavior that statistically is more damaging than consuming sugary drinks is never condemned. The child born to a single poor mother is usually condemned to follow her into a life of poverty. Yet, the same rigor of dissuasion is not applied to young impressionable women who are becoming single mothers in large numbers as is applied to regular Coke or Pepsi addicts. Personal choice is involved, some of the snarky could categorize the personal choice as moronic in both cases. Government intervention is seen as the antidote in the case of sugary drinks, but not single motherhood. Why? Because we like to pick the morons we want government to control. The fact of the matter is that government control is just as bad in the case of sugary drinks as it would be in regulating a individual’s reproductive choice. The folks like Mayor Bloomberg who want government to control some behavior really don’t want to confront the difficult, for them, political choice of promoting individual personal values and responsibility. It is much easier to legislate a illusory solution. So, the ruling elite will continue to focus on obesity, which is a major health issue, while a disaster bigger than “Katrina” and “Sandy “ sweeps across the country with disastrous results.

The Washington Post article, Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/03/AR2009070302498.html?referrer=emailarticle made moi think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero, Will Thomas.
The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Related:

Baby sign language https://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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New teachers have higher SAT scores than in past years

20 Nov

Moi wrote in Is it true that the dumbest become teachers?

There is a quote attributed to H.L. Mencken:
Those who can — do. Those who can’t — teach.

People often assume that if a person could do anything else, they probably wouldn’t teach. Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, located in Washington, D.C. has an interesting article in the Washington Post.

In Do teachers really come from the ‘bottom third’ of college graduates? Di Carlo writes:

The conventional wisdom among many education commentators is that U.S. public school teachers “come from the bottom third” of their classes. Most recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg took this talking point a step further, and asserted at a press conference last week that teachers are drawn from the bottom 20 percent of graduates.
All of this is supposed to imply that the U.S. has a serious problem with the “quality” of applicants to the profession.
Despite the ubiquity of the “bottom third” and similar arguments (which are sometimes phrased as massive generalizations, with no reference to actual proportions), it’s unclear how many of those who offer them know what specifically they refer to (e.g., GPA, SAT/ACT, college rank, etc.). This is especially important since so many of these measurable characteristics are not associated with future test-based effectiveness in the classroom, while those that are are only modestly so.
Still, given how often it is used, as well as the fact that it is always useful to understand and examine the characteristics of the teacher labor supply, it’s worth taking a quick look at where the “bottom third” claim comes from and what it might or might not mean.
Most people who put forth this assertion cite one of two sources, both from the McKinsey & Company consulting organization. The first is an influential 2007 report , which simply notes that “we are now recruiting our teachers from the bottom third of high school students going to college.” The authors fail to specify how “bottom third” is defined, or whether their data refer to graduates who planned to teach versus those who actually got a job (the latter method is, of course, far preferable).
The citation for this claim is a 2007 report from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, which was issued by the National Center on Education and Economy (NCEE). The full report is not freely available online, but it turns out (thanks to the work of California teacher Larry Ferlazzo) that its source is the National Center for Education Statistics’ annual “Condition of Education” (CoE) report (2002 edition).
There don’t seem to be any breakdowns in the cited report that permit one to examine precisely how many teachers come from the “bottom third,” but the CoE does include a few tables on the SAT/ACT scores of teachers who received a bachelor’s degree in 1992-93 and had actually taught by the time 1997 rolled around (and for whom such data were available).
Tne table lists directly the percent of teachers who scored in the top half – 40.9 percent. Using figures in a different table to very roughly ballpark the proportion of 1992-93 graduates-turned-teachers in the bottom quartile (lowest 25 percent), it would be a little under 30 percent.*
Overall, then, 1992-93 graduates who chose teaching were somewhat overrepresented in the bottom of the distribution, and underrepresented in the top. The blanket characterization of these results by McKinsey (via NCEE) – that we are “recruiting our teachers from the bottom third” – seems more than a little misleading.
The second standard source for the “bottom third” claims is more clear and well-documented. It is a subsequent McKinsey report (2010), one which doesn’t rely on questionable interpretations from indirect sources, but rather its own analysis. That report claims, “The U.S. attracts most of its teachers from the bottom two-thirds of college classes, with nearly half coming from the bottom third.”
According to a footnote, these data are “derived from the U.S. Department of Education, NCES, 2001 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Survey.” The appendix to the report confirms that the “top-“ and “bottom” third figures are also based on SAT/ACT scores, specifically those of 1999 graduates whose first job (at least by 2001) was teaching. The breakdown for these graduates is as follows: 23 percent came from the “top third;” 47 percent from the “bottom third;” and 29 percent from the “middle third.” This presents a somewhat more negative picture than the CoE data discussed above.
Why the differences? Because these studies are looking at different groups of teachers. In the CoE data, it’s 1993 graduates who had taught by 1997 (four years later), while the data used in the second McKinsey include 1999 graduates who, in 2001 (two years later), said their first job was (or is) teaching. In other words, each set of results is based on two different cohorts of college graduates, who are also identified in different ways, at different points after graduation….
Neither sample is necessarily representative of the teacher workforce as a whole, or of prior and subsequent cohorts.
Overall, then, the blanket assertion that teachers are coming from the “bottom third” of graduates is, at best, an incomplete picture. It’s certainly true that, when the terciles are defined in terms of SAT/ACT scores, there is consistent evidence that new teachers are disproportionately represented in this group (see here and here for examples from the academic literature).
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/do-teachers-really-come-from-the-bottom-third-of-college-graduates/2011/12/07/gIQAg8HPdO_blog.html

There isn’t really a definitive answer.

Joy Resmovits reported at Huffington Post about two studies which indicated the quality of new teachers may be improving.

In Starting Teacher SAT Scores Rise As Educators Face Tougher Evaluations, Resmovits reported:

American teachers may be getting smarter.
Still, scrutiny of their work and cries to overhaul the education system intensify.
The education reform group National Council on Teacher Quality, and Harvard University’s Education Next journal on Wednesday each released a paper about the state of the teaching force. The paper by National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank that has long advocated for rigorous teacher evaluations, provides an overall look at how states are evaluating teachers and using the results. The Education Next paper, authored by the University of Washington’s Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch, investigated the academic qualifications of new teachers and found that average SAT scores have increased significantly over the last decade.
Taken together, the articles show an evolving workforce that raises questions about the often extreme hand-wringing over teacher quality. “Although teachers in the U.S. are more likely to be drawn from the lower end of the academic achievement distribution than are teachers in selected high-performing countries, the picture is a bit more nuanced than the rhetoric suggests,” Goldhaber and Walch wrote.
Advocates who have supported the evaluations highlighted by National Council on Teacher Quality continue pushing states to take them further — higher SAT scores or otherwise. “The SAT data is an encouraging sign, and we should keep heading in that direction, as it seems to be an indicator of whether a teacher can actually produce gains,” said Eric Lerum, a vice president at StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based lobbying and advocacy group started by former Washington schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. “But it doesn’t tell us enough — Goldhaber says it’s not conclusive enough that the trend is reversing — and we’re still not taking enough top-shelf talent and getting them into teaching. We need to use the data we do have and take a comprehensive approach toward improving teacher quality….”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/30/teacher-sat-scores_n_4175593.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Dan Goldhaber and Joe Walch analyzed teacher quality in an article at Education Next.

Goldhaber and Walch wrote in Gains in Teacher Quality:

Conclusions
In summary, although teachers in the U.S. are more likely to be drawn from the lower end of the academic achievement distribution than are teachers in selected high-performing countries, the picture is a bit more nuanced than the rhetoric suggests, and as we illustrate, it has in fact changed over time in an encouraging direction. There was an upward shift in achievement for 2008 college graduates entering the teacher workforce the following school year. In fact, 2008 graduates both with and without STEM majors who entered the teacher workforce had higher average SAT scores than their peers who entered other occupations.
What explains the apparent rise in academic competency among new teachers? As we show, the SAT scores of those seeking and finding employment in a teaching job differ in different years. It is possible that alternative pathways into the teaching profession have become an important source of academic talent for the profession. Unfortunately, we cannot explore this issue in any depth because the way in which teachers were asked about their preparation has varied over time. Regardless, alternative routes are unlikely to be the primary explanation for the changing SAT trends given that, with a few high-profile exceptions like Teach for America, alternative certification programs are not highly selective.
Differences in the labor market context across years may help explain the rise in SAT scores. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate in 2009 was about 9 percent to about 6 and 5 percent in 1994 and 2001, respectively. The high unemployment rate in 2009 may have led more high-scoring graduates to choose to pursue comparatively stable and secure teaching jobs rather than occupations that were viewed as riskier in the economic downturn. By contrast, those graduating in 2000 were entering the labor market during the tech boom, when there was a good deal of competition for the labor of prospective teachers. Regardless of the reason for the changes in academic proficiency that we observe, however, the data are encouraging and may represent the reversal of the long-term trend of declining academic talent entering teaching….
http://educationnext.org/gains-in-teacher-quality/

Kids know good teaching when they see it. Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP wrotein the Seattle Times article, How Do You Find An Effective Teacher? Ask A Kid:

Adults may be a little surprised by some of the preliminary findings of new research on what makes a great teacher.
How do you find the most effective teachers? Ask your kids. That’s one of four main conclusions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its research partners after the first year of its Measures of Effective Teaching Project.
Preliminary results of the study were posted online Friday; a more complete report is expected in April, according to the foundation….
The first four conclusions of the study are as follows:
-The average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.
-In every grade and every subject, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.
-The teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests, which show improvement by individual students during the time they were in their classroom, are also the teachers who do the best job helping their students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.
-Valid feedback does not need to come from test scores alone. Other data can give teachers the information they need to improve, including student opinions of how organized and effective a teacher is….http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013649952_apusgatesfoundationteachers.html

See, What Works in the Classroom? Ask the Students http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/education/11education.html?emc=eta1

Bottom line, education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Students must arrive at school ready to learn. Parents must provide an environment which supports education and education achievement. Teachers must have strong subject matter knowledge and pedagogic skills. Schools must provide safe environments and discipline. Communities are also part of a successful school system and outcome for community children. Education is a partnership.

Resource:

A Comparative Study of Teacher Preparation and Qualifications in Six Nations
Consortium for Policy Research In Education
By Richard M. Ingersoll, United States With
Ding Gang and Sun Meilu, People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Kwok Chan Lai, Hong Kong
Hidenori Fujita, Japan
Ee-gyeong Kim, Republic of Korea
Steven K. S. Tan and Angela F. L. Wong, Singapore
Pruet Siribanpitak and Siriporn Boonyananta, Thailand
http://www.cpre.org/images/stories/cpre_pdfs/sixnations_final.pdf

Related:

The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

Could newest teaching strategy be made in Japan?
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/could-newest-teaching-strategy-be-made-in-japan/

New Harvard study about impact of teachers https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/new-harvard-study-about-impact-of-teachers/

Is it true that the dumbest become teachers? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/is-it-true-that-the-dumbest-become-teachers/

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Ohio study: Academics and high school sports may mix

7 Feb

It is a story about the dreams, realistic or unrealistic, of many young people who try to achieve the brass ring of a super star career. The NCAA offers some sobering statistics about how many young people actually achieve super stardom. The NCAA has compiled a probability chart. that estimates the probability of high school athletes competing in college athletics. So, count moi among the skeptics about the value placed in many high schools on athletics and athletic programs. A study of Ohio high schools find that many schools combine a strong athletic program and strong academics.

Jay P. Greene writes in the Education Next article, Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?

We found that high schools that devote more energy to athletic success also tend to produce more academic success. In particular, we looked at whether high schools with a higher winning percentage in sports also had higher test scores as well as higher rates of educational attainment. We also looked at whether high schools that offered more sports and had a larger share of their student body participating in sports also tended to have higher test scores and higher attainment.

Using several different specifications, we find that higher rates of athletic success and participation were associated with schools having higher overall test scores and higher educational attainment, controlling for observed school inputs. For example, we found:

With regard to attainment, a 10 percentage point increase in a school’s overall winning percentages associated with a 1.3 percentage point improvement in its CPI, which is an estimate of its high school graduation rate.We also looked at whether schools that offered more opportunities to participate in sports had different rates of attainment:

When we only examine winter sports, an increase of one sport improves CPI by 0.01, which would be a 1 percentage point increase in the high school graduation rate. For the winter, the addition of 10 students directly participating in sports is associated with a 0.015 improvement in CPI, or a 1.5% increase in high school graduation rate.In addition to attainment, we also looked at achievement on state tests:

We observe similar positive and statistically significant relationships between the success and participation in high school sports and student achievement as measured by the Ohio standardized test results. A 10 percentage point increase in overall winning percentage is associated with a 0.25 percentage point increase in the number of students at or above academic proficiency. (See Table 4) When we examine the effect of winning percentage in each sport separately, once again winning in football has the largest effect. Girls’ basketball also remains positive and statistically significant (at p < 0.10), but boys’ basketball is not statistically distinguishable from a null effect.Lastly, we looked at the effect of participation rates in Ohio high schools on overall student achievement:

As for participation and achievement, the addition of one sport increases the number of students at or above academic proficiency by 0.2 of a percentage point. The addition of 10 students directly participating in a sports team improves the proportion of students at or above proficient by 0.4 of a percentage point. Both of these results are statistically significant at p < 0.01. (See Table 5) When examining just the winter season, adding one winter sport increases the percentage of students performing proficiently by 0.4 of a percentage point, while an additional 10 student able to directly participate in sports during the winter season relates to a 0.6 percentage point increase in students at or above proficiency (see Table 5)It is a common refrain among advocates for education reform that athletics ”have assumed an unhealthy priority in our high schools.” But these advocates rarely offer data to support their view. Instead, they rely on stereotypes about dumb jocks, anecdotes, and painful personal memories as their proof.

Our data suggest that this claim that high school athletic success comes at the expense of academic success is mistaken. Of course, we cannot make causal claims based on our analyses about the relationship between sports and achievement. It’s possible that schools that are more effective at winning in sports and expanding participation are also the kinds of schools that can produce academic success. But the evidence we have gathered at least suggests that any trade-offs between sports and achievement would have to be subtle and small, if they exist at all. Descriptively, it is clear that high schools that devote more energy to sports also produce higher test scores and higher graduation rates. http://educationnext.org/does-athletic-success-come-at-the-expense-of-academic-success/

Citation:

Does Athletic Success Come at the Expense of Academic Success?

Daniel H. Bowen*

Jay P. Greene

University of Arkansas

Abstract

Claims are often made about the impact of high school athletics on academic achievement without reference to empirical research on the issue. In this paper we empirically examine the relationship between the extent to which high schools have winning sports teams, offer a variety of sports options, and facilitate student participation in athletics on schools’ overall student achievement and attainment. We find that high school athletics do not appear to detract from academic success. In fact, based on the data we examined from Ohio high schools, an emphasis on athletic success and participation is associated with higher scores on standardized tests and higher graduation rates.      http://www.eeraonline.org/journal/files/v22/JRE_v22n2_Article_1_Bowen.pdf

Still, most kids need to prepare for a life outside of athletics and for parents who are living out their dreams and hopes through their children, to tell them differently is reckless.

Kids health has some thoughts about What Makes A Good Coach?

 Winning Isn’t Everything

.Most of you respect coaches who put winning in perspective and teach players it’s just one part of the game. Naturally, you want to win – but you also want the enjoyment of playing well, learning, and working as a team. Kim, 13, told us, “A good coach isn’t obsessed with winning but will motivate you and your team to want to win.” l

You Want to Improve Your Skills

So what should your coach care about most? Giving everyone a chance to play received the most votes from girls. Guys voted for teaching new skills. But when girls’ and guys’ votes were combined, it was pretty much a coin toss: 45% of you think your coach should teach new skills and 46% said giving everyone a chance to play should be most important….

 Coaches Who Understand and Motivate Their Players

A coach has to understand a player’s weaknesses and strengths. “They need to know the sport and the athletes well enough to make good choices for the athlete,” said Shannon, 14….

Coaches Who Are Tough but Fair

Coaches who are realistic and honest about what a person can achieve – even when it’s hard – are the kinds of coaches you look up to. Stephanie, 13, told us a good coach has “the ability to tell you the straight truth or facts without making you feel bad….”

Coaches Who Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills

“Besides just coaching, they share wisdom and insight on life based on personal experience,” said Alex, 15, who told us about his high school wrestling coach. “It helps having someone besides a parent that’s an adult that you can talk to in some situations….”

Coaches Who Make It a Team Effort

Working toward a goal as a team is a priority for you (even if the team’s just you and your coach). And coaches who treat players with respect, as equals, win your praise. “A good coach will listen to the team’s ideas,” said Kelsey, 14.

“A good coach understands that respect is to be earned and understands that they do not control the team, they are part of the team,” said Rebecca, 13….

Coaches have a great impact on players, but parents have a great influence as well. Too many players have pressure put on them to succeed in athletics because they are living out a parent’s failed dream or the parent feels the child is a lottery ticket out of miserable circumstances. The outcome of these failed dreams is often devastating.

Most kids will never appear at the Final Four or Superbowl. For kids who possess extraordinary talent and desire to achieve at the top level of sports, of course nurture their talent and their desire. But, society and their families owe it to these kids to be honest about their chances and the fact that they need to prepare for a variety of outcomes. The best outcome for any school setting is to produce well-rounded kids.

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Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?

10 Oct

Moi wrote in Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success:

Math is important for a number of reasons.

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement

Math improves your skills:

  • Critical Thinking Skills

  • Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills

  • Problem Solving Skills

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

Business and Commerce

Actuarial Sciences

Medicine

http://oss.msu.edu/academic-assistance/why-is-math-important

In Perhaps the biggest math challenge is how to teach math, moi said:

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.

There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/perhaps-the-biggest-math-challenge-is-how-to-teach-math/

https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/

Jacob Vigdor wrote the interesting Education Next article, Solving America’s Math Problem:

American public schools have made a clear trade-off over the past few decades. With the twin goals of improving the math performance of the average student and promoting equality, it has made the curriculum more accessible. The drawback to exclusive use of this more accessible curriculum can be observed among the nation’s top-performing students, who are either less willing or less able than their predecessors or their high-achieving global peers to follow the career paths in math, science, and engineering that are the key to innovation and job creation. In the name of preparing more of the workforce to take those jobs, we have harmed the skills of those who might have created them. Although there is some evidence of a payoff from this sacrifice, in the form of marginally better performance among average students, some of the strategies used to help these students have in fact backfired.

To some extent, the nation has reduced the costs of this movement through immigration. Foreign students account for more than half of all doctorate recipients in science and engineering, two-thirds of those in engineering. Many of these degree recipients leave the country when they finish, however, limiting their potential benefit to native-born Americans. Immigration policy reform that emphasizes skills over traditional family reunification criteria, much like the policies in place in Australia, Canada, and other developed nations, could change this pattern.

A second possible policy option would be to implement a curricular reform more radical than tinkering with the timing of already existing courses. Many schools have adopted the so-called “Singapore math” model, which emphasizes in-depth coverage of a limited set of topics. There are concerns, however, regarding whether a curriculum developed in a different cultural and educational context could produce similar results here. Singapore’s public schools, for example, use a year-round calendar, obviating the need to review basic subjects after a summer spent out of the classroom. Evidence also indicates that Singapore’s teachers have a firmer grasp of math than their American counterparts.

The United States need not import its science and engineering innovators, however. It need not borrow a faddish curriculum from a foreign context. And it need not sacrifice the math achievement of the average student in order to cater to superstars. It need only recognize that equalizing the curriculum for all students cannot be accomplished without imposing significant lifelong costs on some and perhaps all students.

Curricular differentiation might, for its part, exacerbate test-score gaps between moderate and high performers, if high performers move ahead more quickly. A narrow-minded focus on the magnitude of the gap, however, can lead to scenarios where the gap is closed primarily by worsening the performance of high-achieving students—bringing the top down—without raising the performance of low-achieving students. Society’s goal should be to improve the status of low-performing students in absolute terms, not just relative to that of their higher-performing peers. A growing body of evidence suggests that this type of improvement is best achieved by sorting students, even at a young age, into relatively homogenous groups, to better enable curricular specialization. Recent results from Chicago, cited above, provide evidence that differentiating the high school mathematics curriculum can have long-run benefits, even for students assigned to remedial coursework.

Not all children are equally prepared to embark on a rigorous math curriculum on the first day of kindergarten, and there are no realistic policy alternatives to change this simple fact. Rather than wish differences among students away, a rational policy for the 21st century will respond to those variations, tailoring lessons to children’s needs. This strategy promises to provide the next generation of prospective scientists and engineers with the training they need to create jobs, and the next generation of workers with the skills they need to qualify for them. http://educationnext.org/solving-america%E2%80%99s-math-problem/#.UG25FCk_6rE.email

One way of looking at Vigdor’s conclusions is to ask whether high performance preschool programs and early intervention can affect student achievement?

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

In Early learning standards and the K-12 continuum, moi said:

Preschool is a portal to the continuum of life long learning. A good preschool stimulates the learning process and prompts the child into asking questions about their world and environment. Baby Center offers advice about how to find a good preschool and general advice to expectant parents. At the core of why education is important is the goal of equipping every child with the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR dream, whatever that dream is. Christine Armario and Dorie Turner are reporting in the AP article, AP News Break: Nearly 1 in 4 Fails Military Exam which appeared in the Seattle Times:

Nearly one-fourth of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam, painting a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science and reading questions, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Many children begin their first day of school behind their more advantaged peers. Early childhood learning is an important tool is bridging the education deficit. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/early-learning-standards-and-the-k-12-contiuum/

Jonathan Cohn’s study about the value of early learning is described in Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’:

Jonathan Cohn reports about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the Nw Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.

APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

https://drwilda.com/2012/08/08/oregon-state-university-study-ability-to-pay-attention-in-preschool-may-predict-college-success/

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