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The Home Front

Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

HHS Gives Advice to Married Women: ‘Calm Down’



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For real. I wonder if this was a study that included binders full of women?

Via @GabrielMalor

What’s So Bad about Being a Princess?



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It’s been tough walking the princess line with my daughters. I didn’t mind if some of them choose to dress up — even with a tiara — and dream of someday finding their handsome prince. But of course, I always made an effort to point out that princesses don’t need to be mere damsels in distress needing to be saved. 

Well, those days are pretty much in the past for my teenagers, in the literal sense. Now I  have to guide them as they make their own way and decide how a potential husband fits in. With that in mind, I have mixed feelings about an ad campaign put out by — of all places — a Catholic all-girls high school in Louisville, KY.

A new advertising campaign for Louisville’s Mercy Academy has been generating national attention for the Catholic all-girls school.

The eye-catching ads, made by Louisville agency Doe-Anderson, use fairy tale imagery like glass slippers and tiaras with messages like “Life’s Not a Fairy Tale,” “You’re Not a Princess” and “Don’t Wait for a Prince.”

princess

                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Adweek

Another ad reads: 

You’re not a princess. But you can still rule the world. At Mercy Academy, we train girls in the art of critical thinking through a performance task-based curriculum. . . . When women graduate from Mercy Academy, they’re better equipped to overcome any obstacles the world sends their way.

While the campaign has been cheered for its message of empowerment, part of me wants to say — what’s wrong with being a princess? Even in the Disney movies, the heroines aren’t helpless or entitled. Cinderella essentially rose above her circumstances by keeping a good attitude and work ethic (with some assistance from her fairy godmother). And does anyone think the plucky Ariel who stood up to her father, followed her outlandish dream, and fought an enemy side by side with her man went on to be dominated by Prince Eric? Or that bookish Belle suddenly became all about ball gowns and castle living?

And in the real world, Kate Middleton is proving that a princess can be a true partner in a marriage that inspires citizens to do great things for those in need. And here at home, we can teach our daughters to expect to be treated like princesses, while forging their own paths. No need to forego the glass slippers, if you like.

See a photo gallery of all the ads here.

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Two New Kids’ Movies Have Interesting -- and Sometimes Troubling -- Subtexts



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By now, conservative parents know they have to be on guard when their children graduate from high school and go to colleges full of hedonism and liberal professors eager to indoctrinate students with leftist ideology. But, judging from two recent children’s movies, parents would be wise to start guarding their kids’ worldviews at a younger age. Much younger.

This weekend, I found myself with a free Saturday, so I packed my three kids up and headed to our local movie theater to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.  It was a cute movie, full of fun food puns and adorable characters. However, it got me thinking about the subtle — and not-so-subtle — messages that are being delivered to our children in these films. (Spoiler alert.)

In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the enemy that seemed to be a danger to liberty was actually just misunderstood. (Plus, the person leading the charge was really just a money-hungry capitalist with a stake in the war.)

In Free Birds, an oh-so-cool turkey invents a deity because he realizes the rest of his dumb flock needs a fictitious god to give them confidence.

Parents trying to raise kids in a world frequently at odds with their values don’t have to stay home and watch old VeggieTales DVDs. However, it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the subtext of what’s being directed at our children. 

Tags: Movie , parenting

Hospitals Use New Methods to Soothe Little Patients



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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed some of the new ways of easing the pain and trauma that children undergo during hospital stays. 

More children are facing painful and invasive procedures, as medical advances have made survival possible for more premature infants and children with diagnoses including cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and congenital heart defects. Some three million children are considered “medically complex” at present, and their ranks are growing by about 5% a year. . . . Ongoing health problems have made many of these children frequent fliers in the hospital system. More than just temporary discomforts, fear and pain can lead to long-term trauma for children, studies show.

 Hospitals are using creative ways to help children endure the discomforts.

Hospitals take children on pre-surgery tours of operating rooms so they know what to expect. . . . Some hospitals are experimenting with distractions during tests, such as iPads or special goggles that kids can wear to watch a movie while undergoing an MRI.

. . . When inserting an intravenous tube, staffers use a device called a J-Tip, which uses pressurized gas to send numbing medication into the tissue beneath the skin so the IV needle can be inserted into the vein painlessly. Children can go into the operating room ahead of time with an anesthesiologist and try on the mask that will be used to sedate them.

Read about other methods hospitals are employing here.

New Studies on Delaying Gratification Reveal Interesting Results



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Perhaps you heard of the simple study that a Stanford researcher performed in 1972 testing the ability of children to delay gratification. Test subjects had a marshmallow (or other treat) placed in from of them, and they were told they could have two treats if they waited for the researcher to return. Follow-up studies on the test subjects seemed to indicate that the children who could wait longer went on to lead better lives in many ways, from having higher SAT scores and getting a better education to having a lower body-mass index.

But new studies suggest that it’s not always about self-control. Sometimes an individual will make an impulsive move based on strategic reasoning.

The ability to delay gratification has traditionally been seen in large part as an issue of willpower: Do you have what it takes to wait it out, to choose a later — and, presumably, better — reward over an immediate, though not quite as good one? Can you forgo a brownie in service of the larger reward of losing weight, give up ready cash in favor of a later investment payoff? 

When we set a self-control goal for ourselves, we often have specific time frames in mind: I’ll lose a pound a week; a month from now, I’ll no longer get cravings for that cigarette; the bus or train will come in 10 minutes . . . But what happens if our initial estimate is off? The more time passes without the expected reward — it’s been 20 minutes and still nothing; I’ve been dieting for a week and a half now and still weigh the same — the more uncertain the end becomes. Will I ever get my reward? . . . In this situation, giving up can be a natural — indeed, a rational — response to a time frame that wasn’t properly framed to begin with.

In new testing, with added parameters, researchers found that people often think that the longer they wait, the longer they will have to continue to wait for their reward — which seems the opposite of the logical conclusion that the longer you wait, the closer you are to getting it. So some children might not simply have bad impulse control, but a poor ability to gauge the passage of time.

The article goes on to describe other facets of the studies, and then offers this advice. 

For those of us battling with goals we just can’t seem to reach, the knowledge that our perception of time — and not some inherent shortcoming — is partly to blame may enable us to be more successful in the future. Instead of beating ourselves up for a failure of willpower, we can instead focus on learning to better calibrate our time expectations from the get-go, setting realistic, concretely framed time goals that capture the reality of the task we’ve set for ourselves.

This has made me see my children’s (and my own) ability to set goals and delay gratification in a new light. Read more here

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Do We Need Anti-Bullying Programs?



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The bad news is that anti-bullying campaigns do not seem to have much effect and may even cause more bullying.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Criminology suggests that the anti-bullying programs that have become popular in many schools may not be as useful as previously thought. The authors examined 7000 kids at 195 different schools to try to determine child and school influences on bullying. Surprisingly, the authors found that children who attended schools with anti-bullying programs were more likely to experience bullying than children who attended schools without such programs. In fairness, the data is correlational, so it’s not possible to say that anti-bullying programs necessarily led to more bullying. One could argue that, perhaps, schools with bigger bullying problems were more likely to implement anti-bullying programs. Nonetheless, this data suggests such programs may not be terribly effective.

But the good news is that bullying is declining. Contrary to what it may seem, children are exposed to less violence in general, and statistics on teen smoking, drinking, pregnancy, and suicide are all improving — though the reasons are unclear

And in light of the recent NFL bullying incident, Charles Murray at AEI followed up with a piece suggesting a bit of bullying might not be so bad.

As someone who was a nerdy weakling in my youth and ran into my share of bullying, part of me is sympathetic. However, I’m also a parent of four who wanted my children to have happy childhoods but wanted them to become happy adults even more. Those two goals are in tension. In particular, we want our children to be able to cope with the adversity that is part of every adult life, which means being resilient. But how does one learn resilience while growing up? How much adversity is needed in our children’s lives so that they can exercise their resilience muscle? We don’t want to send our six-year-olds into the streets to fend for themselves, but do we really want them to grow up without experiencing any tough times?

And the parental balancing act continues . . .

Who Loses with Minimum-Wage Increase? Our Teenagers



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. . . and those under the age of 25, who comprise half of those who earn minimum wage. And we can imagine that many of those are young people living at home, trying to earn some extra money as they go to school. (Only 3 percent of workers over the age of 25 earn minimum wage.) We can draw this conclusion based on these facts from a piece at AEI-Ideas: 

The 2010 study “Will a $9.50 Federal Minimum Wage Really Help the Working Poor?” by researchers Joseph Sabia and Richard Burkhauser found that a federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $9.50 per hour — higher than the $9 that President Obama has proposed — would raise incomes of only 11% of workers who live in poor households.

 In a 2012 study, Sabia and Robert Nielsen found ”no statistically significant evidence that a higher minimum wage has helped reduce financial, housing, health, or food insecurity among the poor.” Why? You have to earn a wage to benefit and 55% of poor, less-educated individuals between ages 16 and 64 don’t work. Indeed, nearly 90% of the wage earners who benefited from the 40% increase in the federal minimum wage between 2007 and 2009 were not poor. They lived in households with an income two or three times the poverty level.

A 2013 literature review by David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas, and William Wascher concluded “that the evidence still shows that  minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others, and that policymakers need to bear this tradeoff in mind when making decisions about increasing the minimum wage.”

Research Texas A&M economists Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West find raising minimum wage levels may discourage firms over the long-term from hiring new workers. And that may be particularly true thanks to continuing — even accelerating — advances in automation.

The emphasis in the third point is mine. There will be higher wages for some — probably older, more established workers working more hours — and job losses for others — the younger, less experienced, part-time workers. Raising the minimum wage may sound like a good idea, but in the end it more than likely has a negative impact on young people’s prospects for employment.

No Choice for the Children of D.C.



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The Daily Caller presented just one heart-breaking story from amongst the hundreds of a D.C. family who will be losing their scholarships to attend private schools. Even thought the District will spend $10,000 more per child to educate these children than the cost of the scholarships, President Obama has moved to eliminate the funding — an infinitesimal fraction of the federal education budget.

School choice is working… for families around the district. Students who receive scholarships have a graduation rate of over 90 percent — 35 points higher than those who don’t. These students also posted significant gains in reading, in many cases escaping schools where fewer than 20 percent of children test at grade level. It’s no wonder that 74 percent of D.C. residents support this program.

Read more here — and watch the video of one family’s story of success and how it is being taken from them.

 

 

Watch a Homeless Veteran’s Time-Lapse Transformation



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On Veterans Day, this will touch you.

From HuffPo:

A simply incredible time-lapse video, released just in time for Veteran’s Day, has captured the transformation of a homeless United States Army veteran. Jim Wolf struggles with homelessness and alcoholism, but thanks to a unique initiative by Dégagé Ministries, he was recently given the opportunity for a complete makeover. Wolf’s transformation is utterly beautiful, and according to the video, the physical change has also inspired him to turn his life around.

Dégagé Ministries describes itself as offering:

… help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in our community. Responsive programming is designed to address immediate and long-term needs such as overnight respite for women in crisis, food, referral services and hygiene facilities. While many of our services may seem “simple,” those who receive our services take nothing for granted. Often, it is the simplest of gestures that brings the most powerful results. What sets Dégagé apart from other organizations is the attention given to each individual and each success.

The part that really chokes me up is when he sees himself in the mirror for the first time after the transformation. Watch it here:

 

Barbie Reboot in China -- Appealing to Tiger Moms



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Barbie flopped when Mattel introduced a flagship store in Shanghai in 2009, closing up shop after only two years. But now Mattel is trying again after reexamining the market.

Mattel Inc. is making a new effort to sell Chinese on the impossibly proportioned all-American doll, with an appeal to Tiger moms who would rather have their children reading books than plugging body parts into Mr. Potato Head. New, low-price offerings include “Violin Soloist” Barbie, complete with bow and sheet music.

Mattel is targeting education-minded parents such as Luo Chongzong, who watched her 9-year-old daughter, Yang Siqi, gaze at a 369 yuan (about $61) “Fashion Design” Barbie playset during a recent visit to a Beijing Wal-Mart. “She loves those dolls, but I had to stop buying them because they distract her from her studies,” said Ms. Luo, 33 years old. “She’ll spend hours braiding her hair, dressing and undressing her,” she said.

The world’s largest toy maker by sales has even gone to the government. This week it paired leaders of China’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture with educational experts who presented research on the benefits of play in effort to boost play time in schools.

Other companies are also making readjustments, mostly by catering to the desire for educational toys. Read more here.

 


Associated Press

A Closer Look at the Pay-Gap Myth



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Last week I wrote about an article in Verily magazine that pointed to the main reason women are earning less than men: Women are choosing a more fulfilling life over a larger paycheck. I found two articles that take a closer look at the nuts and bolts of the notion that women earn less purely because of discrimination.

The first from Mark J. Perry at AEI challenged a line from an election ad that President Obama used during last year’s campaign: ”President Obama knows that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men isn’t just unfair, it hurts families.” The National Committee on Pay Equity supported the claim in this way.

The wage gap exists, in part, because many women and people of color are still segregated into a few low-paying occupations. Part of the wage gap results from differences in education, experience or time in the workforce. But a significant portion cannot be explained by any of those factors; it is attributable to discrimination. In other words, certain jobs pay less because they are held by women and people of color.

But, of course, the data just doesn’t support that. Perry picks apart each part of this claim with specific data, but if the numbers get a little hard to follow, the summation is crystal clear.

To claim that a significant portion of the raw wage gap can only be explained by discrimination is intellectually dishonest and completely unsupported by the empirical evidence. And yet we hear all the time from groups like the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and President Obama, President Jimmy Carter and Terry McAuliffe that “women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” And in most cases when that claim is made, there is almost no attention paid to the reality that almost all of the raw, unadjusted pay differentials can be explained by everything except discrimination – hours worked, age, marital status, children, years of continuous experience, workplace conditions, etc. In other words, once you impose the important condition of “all other things being equal or held constant,” the gender pay gap that we hear so much about doesn’t really exist at all.

The other article by Alison Griswold at Business Insider points out that women are making far more than men when it comes to part-time jobs. 

Female part-time workers earned $10 more in median weekly salaries than their male counterparts did in 2012, according to a new study from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS defines part-time work as less than 35 hours per week spent on a sole or principal job.

Griswold then offers this quote from Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic:

Women, including highly educated professionals, tend to cut their hours once they have families, especially if their husband has a higher salary. Men, meanwhile, are more likely to keep working a full week. And so part-time women, as a group, are somewhat more likely to have gone to college, and far less likely to have dropped out of high school, than part-time men, who may well be working shorter shifts for lack of better options.

Griswold then lists other reasons why it appears women earn more in part-time jobs and offers the chart below.

chart_1 (1)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

 

Changing Who Waits in the Foster-Care System



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Perhaps, like me, you attended a church service this past weekend that was called “Orphan Sunday.” Our church had speakers who told their personal adoption stories, the pastor reminded everyone they could sponsor a child in the South Sudan, and there were representatives from several organizations — public and private — available after the service.

It is all part of a growing movement across the country. A pastor in our nation’s capital has grand plans.

Adoption can be seen as a math riddle, and Aaron Graham aims to solve it.

Washington, DC, has more than 1,300 children in the foster care system, and 300 children waiting for adoption. But the nation’s capital also has something else, says Graham, pastor of District Church: 600 churches. “We thought, wow, if one in two churches helped support a family, there wouldn’t be any children on a wait list to be fostered or adopted but rather there would be families who are waiting to foster or adopt,” Graham explains. “We want to change who waits.”

It’s an interesting proposition, and on Saturday afternoon—the day before churches across the country celebrate Orphan Sunday—Graham had his first real chance to put the proposal into action. His church helped sponsor a citywide event, “Foster the City,” a special initiative of the National Council for Adoption and DC127, District Church’s new organization that recruits and supports foster and adoptive parents.

Pastor Graham’s program is just one of many that are helping to find homes for children through church outreach, cooperating with government and independent agencies. Read more about the various programs here.

 

In a family photo, Aaron and Amy Graham pose with their children Natalie and Elijah.

Why I Cried When Reagan Replaced Carter



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Chris Cillizza of WaPo’s The Fix asked his readers a question about our first memories of election days. Well, this isn’t an election-day story per se, but it is about the first time I “felt” the ramifications of an election.

It was January 20, 1981, and I had walked home from kindergarten at Longfellow Elementary in Mayfield, Ky, with my older sister.

 

 

On the television, news anchors were covering Inauguration Day activities.

“What’s happening?” I asked my sister.

“We have a new president,” she said.

At the time I was immersed in the world of storybooks – with knights and kings and princesses.  There were no democratically elected leaders in the books my parents read to me before bed, only kindly kings who ruled beneficently over their kingdoms and threw the occasional ball for the purposes of royal matchmaking.

All I’d ever known was Jimmy Carter, and I assumed he would always be our leader.

“Who’s taking his place?” I asked.

“A guy named Ronald Reagan.”

I burst into tears.

Isn’t it ironic that I grew up to to write for National Review Online even though my first political memory was lamenting Ronald Reagan’s victory over Carter?

Tags: Ronald Reagan , Jimmy Carter

On the Education Front



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While The New York Times declares that college tuition costs have been stable over the past decade . . .

. . . the Wall Street Journal cites experts who say costs are bloated and suggest ways to cut them.

The new state systems that give schools a letter grade on their achievements are being questioned for their efficacy.

A look back at the study released last year that points out the lasting gains that great teachers bring to their students.

A librarian gives great suggestions on how to motivate your child to read.

At AEI, Frederick M. Hess believes there are lessons to be learned from the launch of Healthcare.gov that can be applied to Common Core.

Using eleven categories, Business Insider rates the 20 best college campuses

From Wired — how The Simpsons has been teaching us math for decades.

For Many Women, Less Pay is More



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Erika Rudzis at Verily points out that the wage gap between men and women is smaller than is usually reported. Many women choose to work fewer hours in lower-paying jobs and so bring home less pay. But does that mean women are worth less?

Women may choose lower-income professions based on how they have prioritized their commitments, not necessarily because of outside discrimination. This perspective concerning the wage gap is often overlooked and suggests that perhaps we need a more holistic method of measuring success than income.

We all have to make choices about how we balance out lives and many high-powered careers are so demanding that those who want to excel are forced to sacrifice in other areas of their lives. But treating income as the primary measure of women’s achievement perpetuates a narrow and superficial definition of success.

After all, studies have shown that earnings beyond a comfortable middle-class standard have diminishing returns on happiness. Rudzis points out that a choosing a career is not just choosing a pay level; it’s choosing a lifestyle.

Some women may choose a less demanding and monetarily rewarding career path for the sake of the freedom to invest time in their relationships with family, serve their community, or pursue other passions, even less lucrative ones.

A woman who makes a rational decision to prioritize a fulfilling life over achieving a certain income level is not undermining women’s advancement; she is exercising her freedom to determine what is right for her circumstances. Our society, men included, could learn from her choice.

Author Admits He Dated the ‘Obamacare Girl’



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Zeke Pipher has a great rundown of a date he recently had:

I dated the Obamacare girl.

And why wouldn’t I . . . she was so optimistic and promising when we first met. Big brown eyes and a warm smile. She even wore those long, dangly earrings – those get me every time. She told me, “If you take me out, you’ll find that I’m more than a date. Much more!”

Wowsers! That’s a hard promise to pass up. So, we went out. Well, sort of. O-girl told me to pick her up, but when I reached her front door I found a note that read, “I can’t go out at our scheduled time, but please keep standing at the door until I’m able.”

An odd way to begin, I thought. But, what could I do? There was no getting out of the date at this point – promises were made. So, I stood on her stoop . . . for several days. One day, long after the flowers in my hand had wilted, I could hear her shuffling around inside. “Are you there,” I asked. “Is this date going to happen?”

She replied from behind the closed door, “I AM here . . . and you’re being impatient. Nobody is more frustrated than I am that our date hasn’t begun.” She stomped away from the door, and I went back to waiting.

What’s that? You shouldn’t date girls you meet on the Internet?  Well, he didn’t get the memo. Read how his date went, if you’d like a little humor injected into this whole mess.

Tags: Obamacare , humor

Are We Focusing Too Much on Common Core?



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Eric Hanushek at U.S. News & World Report thinks we are.

The continuing emphasis on Common Core is often interpreted as indicating that these standards are a really big deal in school reform. The data suggest otherwise. Indeed, moving to these new, untested tests may make it impossible to continue to hold schools accountable for the results. At the very least, it will lead to a halting of state accountability programs even though these programs have had a consistently positive impact on student performance.

One might interpret the emphasis on developing the Common Core curriculum as an effort to divert debate away from more intractable fights over bigger reform ideas like improved teacher evaluations, expanded school choice or enhanced accountability systems. While I support better learning standards, we cannot be distracted from more fundamental reform of our schools. The future economic well-being of the United States is entirely dependent on improving the academic achievement and skills of today’s students, but Common Core will do little to ensure this.

Hanushek has really good points here. But then again, we shouldn’t take our eye off what is being pushed by Common Core. An example of what Common Core is including in our kids’ homework was brought to light on Twitter. This is a third-grade grammar assignment! 

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Halloween Humbug



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In the “terribly misguided” department: A woman in North Dakota (who seems to have maintained her anonymity so far) was planning to pass out letters about obesity to children she felt needed a warning more than a piece of candy.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” says the author in a Y-94 morning radio interview.

While of course we all want to see kids have healthy diets, how can anyone judge a child’s well-being just by looking at them? And whose business is it to decide which kids should be rewarded for being within a subjective evaluation of thinness — and which  should be shamed? Perhaps this do-gooder will find a better way to fight childhood obesity.

TODAY

Photo from Valley News Live

Everyone is a “Math Person”



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An article has been making the rounds that explains that there is one main difference between those who excel at math (and other subjects) and those that don’t. 

We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Worse, you may be helping to perpetuate a pernicious myth that is harming underprivileged children—the myth of inborn genetic math ability.

Is math ability genetic? Sure, to some degree. Terence Tao, UCLA’s famous virtuoso mathematician, publishes dozens of papers in top journals every year, and is sought out by researchers around the world to help with the hardest parts of their theories. Essentially none of us could ever be as good at math as Terence Tao, no matter how hard we tried or how well we were taught. But here’s the thing: We don’t have to! For high school math, inborn talent is just much less important than hard work, preparation, and self-confidence.

The authors go on to point out that studies have shown that students who perform well believe that their success comes from their own actions, while those who don’t perform as well operate under the notion that they just don’t have what it takes — that they are born dumb. It is hard to believe that this is hot news. Don’t we all remember the movie To Sir, with Love  from 1967? Or how about Stand and Deliver from 1988? Lean on Me from 1989? Dangerous Minds from 1995? Etc., etc., etc. So many movies have been made, either fictitious or based on just a handful of the myriad real-life success stories, in which teachers or administrators refuse to allow their students to accept that they are not capable of greatness. Why is this still a problem in our schools?

My daughter’s math teacher seems to have read this same article, and he pounced on an opportunity. He had every student in the class write down the answers to questions about their current percentage in the class, their study habits, and why they think they have their current grade in the class. Each child had to bring home the assignment, have their parents read and sign the paper, and return it the next day. I imagine he will be making more than a few follow-up phone calls. 

Read more here.

 

Halloween Headaches



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There are many conservatives who shun Halloween altogether — and they have valid reasons. Then there are those of us who still like to embrace the good aspects — recalling that its origins were from Christians who dressed up as saints — and not let the bad aspects ruin the fun. It seems to get harder and harder every year, as the gore and smut factors are ramped up. That doesn’t mean we should disengage.

There have been more than a few articles decrying the overly sexual costumes for not just women, but girls, too. Part of the problem may be busy parents who wait until the last minute and go ahead and buy the questionable costumes off nearly empty shelves. (And, of course, some moms and dads believe that little girls dressing up in “sexy” attire is no big deal — or worse, that it’s “cool” and that being “provocative” gets you attention.) But in this day and age of great last-minute ideas, there is no excuse. Even if you aren’t able to find the time this year for the alternative suggestions at the website Take Back Halloween  (which promotes dressing up as laudable women of legend and history), don’t buy into the indecency. While we should bring home the message year round, Halloween is a time when we especially shouldn’t be afraid to say, “Nope, you are not leaving the house dressed like that.”

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