Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ramblings about Teen Pregnancy, STEM and Poverty

In a recent conversation with a few friends (both male and female) we noticed that some people don’t completely understand the fact that daughters of teenage mothers have an increased risk of having children as teens themselves. Nor do those people grasp the potential effect of perpetual teenage motherhood on the teen mother’s community or on the United States as a whole. I guess the opportunity to witness perpetuating inter-generational cycles of poverty and poor education up close doesn’t present itself to everyone. But, for those who have seen this cycle in action - and understand it’s ramifications - it’s hurtful to observe.

The fact that daughters of teenage mothers have an increased risk of having children as teens themselves hinders the United States’ ability to contribute additional productive and successful professionals to the global community. This is especially true in a time when the president is calling for more women to enter STEM education/professions in the United States yet; the United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the industrialized world.

If only 38% of mothers who have a child before the age of 18 obtain a high school diploma, and only 2% complete college by the age of 30[1], one could argue that there are way too many potential STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals, business leaders, and innovators being left behind because they are too busy struggling to put food on the table to complete their own education and reach their professional potential.

More specifically, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, teenage mothers typically receive less than $800 a year from absent teen fathers. Teen mothers are also less likely to finish school, more likely to be incarcerated and more likely to earn minimum wage. Which means the majority of teenage mothers are not founding lucrative startups, or becoming CEO’s of STEM-related Fortune 500 companies. They are instead often taking menial jobs and following some of the same behaviors their parent/parents did.

President Obama’s Friday Facts: Women and Girls in Stem fact sheet[2] states “increasing the number of smart, talented women who pursue STEM-related careers is key to creating jobs and keeping America on the edge of innovation.”

But, how do we get the three-quarters of a million teens between 15 and 19 that become pregnant each year to reach the status of “smart and talented”?

How many teenage mothers are there?

According to the Center for Disease control, one-third of girls get pregnant before the age of 20. As stated on a site managed by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy,, there are "750,000 teen pregnancies annually. Eight in ten of these pregnancies are unintended and 81 percent are to unmarried teens."[3]

Are there any successful Children of Teenaged Mothers[4]?

Not all children of teen mothers are doomed to live out their life in lower socio-economic status. Child entertainers like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are two examples of successful offspring of teen mothers.

Unfortunately, however, statistics show us that Bieber and Gomez are exceptions. The average income of a U.S. teenage mom is $23,000 and short of having their children discovered on You Tube or receiving a larger salary for being cast in MTV’s Teen Mom, $23,000 is pretty accurate and up to date. According to the National Women’s Law Center[5] recent poverty statistics yield sobering poverty rates and extreme poverty rates amongst women in 2010.

More specifically female poverty in the U.S. is the highest it has been in 17 years at 14.5 percent last year, up from 13.9 percent in 2009. While the “extreme poverty rate” climbed to 6.3 percent in 2010 from 5.9 percent in 2009 among women (which was the highest ever recorded).

What do folks on twitter think about pregnancy and poverty?

At 9:06 am on October 28, 2011 @TheMamaFesto (aka Avital Nathman) tweeted More from @MotherWoman centerpieces "Becoming a mother is the single leading indicator of poverty for women in the US. WHY?" #MWBrkfst”.

Now after you cut through all the twitter-ese and the hashtags you find a very interesting question, if you believe becoming a mother is the single leading indicator of poverty for women in the US, why is that true?





Friday, October 28, 2011

Abstinence-only Sex Education

To all those card-carrying abstinence-only sex education supporters out there, hopefully you're doing some major damage control at the dinner table. (That is, if you’re even having dinner as a family these days[1].)

Abstinence-only sex education in schools is an interesting idea. But…how realistic is it in today’s society where there is literally access to information and influence everywhere? For example, assume the main character in any teen’s favorite prime time television series is probably not abstinent. Add a few hundred online/tv interviews with sexy celebrities (or their pregnant siblings) and the lyrics of most any song on the radio/top 100 list and you have a pre-existing after school sex education program that you (the parents) probably pay for (meaning the cable, ipod, movie tickets, laptop and that HD flatscreen television you bought).

Yep, abstinence-only sex education or not, your kid is exposed to sexuality and the choices other people their age make about sex every minute of every day. Advocating abstinence-only sex education - when documentaries, online quizzes, made for tv movies, Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks are covering everything from vibrators and viruses to whether or not oral sex is in fact sex - is probably not the best choice.

But, not having the uncomfortable conversations with your own children on top of your kids not learning about sex at school is really nuts. Some parents are afraid to ask or just naïve about what their teenagers knowledge of sexual health and healthy sexual activity but, waiting until your teen comes home pregnant or infected seems a little hands-off.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Does the public school nearest to you have a library??

Unfortunately, there are quite a few public schools in America that have underwhelming or non-existent libraries. A recent conversation lead to this post including various programs, organizations, resources and outlets related to literacy and it's correlation to access to libraries.
Please feel free to add comments including other resources that may not be listed.

Projects and Organizations Dedicated to building/re-opening libraries:

West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC)

WePAC's mission is to promote childhood literacy by engaging volunteers in Philadelphia public schools through re-opening and staffing libraries, academic mentoring, and after-school enrichment. In our vision, every Philadelphia student will be empowered with the literacy skills vital to the success of the child and the prosperity of our community.

Room to Read

Room to Read works in collaboration with governments, organizations and communities to develop literacy skills in developing countries.

Library Build

Founded in December 2009 by Callie Hammond,
Library Build
is a new nonprofit organization dedicated to ending educational inequities in Philadelphia, PA and in other American cities.

Excerpt from an article written about Library Build in the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal:

The glaring lack of library resources, and the resulting potential effects on children’s academic achievement, resonated with Hammond. The idea for Library Build was conceived in November 2009. Since then, Hammond, Library Build’s founder and CEO, along with her husband, Jeff, who has signed on as co-founder and COO, have worked quickly and tirelessly to bring her idea to fruition.

Library Build’s mission is to bring books, computers, and librarians into Philadelphia’s public schools. According to Hammond, the inclusion of librarians is critical, as they play a pivotal role in acclimating students to computers and other media, teaching the basics of research, and engendering a holistic approach to reading and learning. She says, “Students need librarians to teach them not only how to use the library, but also how to enjoy it.” Hammond says that the organization will use the Teach for America model, recruiting college graduates with master’s degrees in Library Science to commit to two years of service as full-time librarians in city schools.

Library Build defines a library as providing 12-15 books per student. In addition, Hammond makes the point that it’s important to provide the kinds of books that students are interested in.

Library Build’s model incorporates space renovation and relies on input from students and teachers about the books, computers, and other resources they need. Hammond hopes Library Build will become a national model. The goal in Philadelphia is to start at the elementary school level, targeting those schools that have no library at all.

Complete PSIJ Article

Related Blogs/Publications:

A Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette

Academic Librarian

American Libraries Magazine

Awful Library Books

Bright Ideas

Disruptive Library Technology Jester

Everybody's Libraries

Handheld Librarian

Library Garden

Library Grants

Never Ending Search

Social Networking in Libraries

The Association for Library Service to Children Blog

The Best Of PubLib

The Daring Librarian

The Library History Buff

The 'M' Word - Marketing Libraries

The Merry Librarian

Walt at Random

What I Learned Today


American Library Association/Association for Library Service to Children

Public Library Association

Urban Libraries Council

American Association of School Librarians

Librarians for Fairness

International Association of School Librarianship

Government Data:

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic library data

Thursday, July 7, 2011

HEEDPoll: Lowest Common Denominator

HEED recently received an email from a concerned reader. After tutoring a few college-bound high school grads in his area, our reader started to wonder about the k-12 education system in the U.S.

Yes, many people are already worried about k-12 education in the U.S. However, moving from a suburb with a successful school district to a less academically effective urban area proved to be an eye-opener to our reader.

Anyway, in his email our reader stated that he wondered what the standards were for graduation. He also asked, if the high school graduates he was tutoring didn't know their multiplication tables or how to find a lowest common denominator (for example), why had they graduated?

...which led HEED to the following poll: (feel free to leave your answers as comments)

How many high school graduates have you met that could not add fractions?

What are the expectations for the students that graduate from your high school?

What other questions/comments does this post lead you to ask?

Feel free to email your observations, questions or comments to

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Is a 360 degree education a realistic goal for inner city and rural youth?

At in an article written about a year ago, Arne Duncan said "I reject the notion that the arts, history, foreign languages, geography, and civics are ornamental offerings that can or should be cut from schools during a fiscal crunch," he also said "The truth is that, in the information age, a well-rounded curriculum is not a luxury but a necessity"

Now, if shared with middle/upper-middle class parents with children learning via a suburban public school system, this statement would probably be supported as a "no-brainer". Beside the fact that some parents may suggest an offering (or two) they felt should have been added to this list, there would most likely be a general consensus.

But, what about rural or urban parents with children attending schools that are struggling to effectively educate and graduate their students. What would they say about Arne Duncan's statement?

Would they agree?

Would the reaction from urban and rural parents be divided?

If they didn't agree, what reasons would they have not to?

Some administrators of traditional public school districts seem to hold "the notion that the arts, history, foreign languages, geography, and civics are ornamental offerings" as true. There are multiple examples of these same "offerings" being categorized as "enrichment" by (public school district) administrators across the U.S.

What does enrichment really mean and does the definition depend on who's defining enrichment? For instance, would administrators and parents define enrichment in the same way?

Here are a few recent examples of plans to both fight for and cut-back on arts, "gifted and talented programs", kindergarten and at-risk programs in school districts in the U.S. by state:

New Jersey

Although these examples vary in location - some being urban examples and some not - they all depict a need to decrease local education spending as an issue and cutting teachers and/or programs as a controversial solution. You may have noticed these examples are similar to those you've read about (or experienced) in years past.

So...if the same issue (a need to decrease local education spending) is a focus every year and the same solution is proposed every year; is it working?

How are American youth (no matter where they live) supposed to close the apparent achievement gap between the U.S. and the rest of the world -and (domestically) between socio-economic classes - by employing the same tactics? Cutting spending (via terminating teachers and programs), fighting about education reform and watching more children fail doesn't seem to be working.

If Arne Duncan's statement that "a well-rounded curriculum is not a luxury but a necessity" is true, how does the current cut-fight-fail cycle help American children attain this necessary 360 degree education?

Last question, what are the literacy, high school graduation, college graduation and salary rates of those students who do receive an enriched education?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How many millionaires are illiterate?

After watching a 5-minute film on 21st Century Literacy one education enthusiast emailed HEEDblog asking a few questions relating literacy to healthcare, wealth and incarceration/recidivism.

What’s interesting is the verbiage from starts to address a lot of the following questions (received from the before mentioned enthusiast):

• Does illiteracy have an impact on healthcare and/or the general health of the lower socio-economic class in the US?
• How does illiteracy affect the economy?
• How many millionaires are illiterate?

• Should accomplished members of society be more concerned / engaged with literacy efforts in their areas?
• How are there so many illiterate people in the US? (What does that say about our school system?)

Below is the verbiage from the :

"Literacy in America and Economic Impact

Many people consider literacy issues as personal concerns that
affect the illiterate individual and not society as a whole. In reality,
literacy issues are a collective concern that affects the quality and prosperity
of our entire nation. The struggle to win the battle of literacy in America is
one which should be fought by everyone.
The wealth creation opportunities
for those who lack reading skills are severely limited. The Washington Literacy
Council conducted a study which found that more than three out of four of those
who are on welfare are illiterate. This has a disastrous effect on our economy.
Without the ability to read classified ads, fill out an application, or gather
the skills necessary to acquire employment that pays well enough to be
self-sufficient, there almost seems no choice but to turn to welfare. This
limitation affects their ability to spend which hurts the economy by limiting
demand for products and stunting job creation.

The prison population
represents another pool of lost opportunity in the fight for economic stability
in America. The Washington Literacy Council found that 68% of those arrested are
illiterate. While valuable tax dollars are spent housing and caring for inmates,
taxpayers are forced to look for additional sources of income to try to live the
American dream. Inmates, limited to non-existent reading skills and lost in a
cycle of violence and non-productivity, will rarely be able to escape a life
devoid of opportunity to make a legitimate living and contribute to the success
of our economy.

Improving the reading skills of children and adults is
key to promoting literacy in America. As we struggle to battle the
ever-increasing costs of health care in this nation, we may also consider
literacy in America as key in our fight. Literacy affects an individual’s
ability to learn about different insurance policy options, complete an
application for insurance coverage, understand diseases and disorders, and read
prescription bottles and dosage instructions. This inability to properly care
for oneself as well as the resulting lack of preventative care results in an
increased occurrence of emergency care needed. Since these individuals may also
lack proper insurance coverage, or the ability to pay for insurance coverage,
unpaid hospital bills flood the nation. This cost is passed on to other

Providing help for citizens with impaired reading skills is
integral to ensuring economic prosperity in our future. As a concerned citizen,
you can help by joining a volunteer program that provides lessons in reading
skills. In doing so, you not only serve to improve the success and well-being of
the individuals who seek assistance, you help to promote the continued economic
success of America.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

HEEDtweet : Who's TED?

...actually not a who but a what. TED is a non-profit that is committed to ideas worth spreading. They often spread these ideas through informative annual conferences. is a website featuring "worth-watching" speeches from the world's leading thinkers and doers.

Want an example?
Ok, let's look at something refreshing that relates to teaching! While looking for something completely unrelated a HEEDblog enthusiast came across this video of Salman Khan, creator of Khan Academy on TED.

Who's Salman Khan?

A former hedge fund analyst who began posting math tutorials on YouTube. Six years later, he has posted more than 2.000 tutorials, which are viewed nearly 100,000 times around the world each day. Also, he quite his job at the hedge fund to create the Khan Academy.

Full bio here.

HEEDtweet: What do YOU think about teacher layoffs?

After discussing the current debate over (almost anything to do with) education, it can be hard to formulate your own objective view. If you've spoken with friends, family or someone riding the elevator with you regarding recent education-related chatter, many folks are focused on the improper treatment and/or hire-fire practices of teachers. The conversation will often include terms like LIFO, union, unfair and lazy.

Reading the excerpt below from a Washington Post article written by Joel Klein (the complete article can be read here) seemed to give all the attention teacher layoffs (and unions) are getting some shape. Even if you don't agree with everything Klein writes, at least the article gives you a (quiet) starting place to explore your own opinion.

Who is Joel Klein?
Joel Klein is both a former chancellor of New York public schools and current chief executive of News Corp.'s educational division.

These are his words:

As the debate rages over public unions and, in particular, over their role in school reform, an unfortunate dichotomy about America's teachers has emerged. On one side, unions and many teachers say that teachers are unfairly vilified, that they work incredibly hard under difficult circumstances and that they are underpaid. Critics, meanwhile, say that our education system is broken and that to fix it we need better teachers. They say that teachers today have protections and benefits not seen in the private sector - such as life tenure, lifetime pension and health benefits, and short workdays and workyears.

Both sides are right.

Teaching is incredibly hard, especially when dealing with children in high-poverty communities who come to school with enormous challenges. Many teachers work long hours, staying at school past 6 p.m., and then working at home grading papers and preparing lessons. Some teachers get outstanding results, even with our most challenged students. These are America's heroes, and they should be recognized as such. Sadly, they aren't.

On the other hand, there are also many teachers who work by the clock - they show up a minute before 8:30 and leave a minute after 3; when in school, they do the barest minimum. They get dreadful results with students and, if you spend time in their classrooms, as I have over the past eight years, it's painfully obvious that they belong in another line of work.

The problem is that our discussion too often fails to distinguish between these very different types of teachers, treating them all the same. This "group-think" not only pollutes the current public debate - either you're for or against teachers - it is also killing our opportunity to fix our schools. Any reform worth its name must start by recognizing that teachers are our most important educational asset. That's why we need to treat teaching as a profession, by supporting excellence, striving for constant improvement and ridding the system of poor performers.

Alas, we do none of this. Whether you are good or bad, work hard or don't, teach in a shortage area (such as math) or work in a highly challenged school, you get treated precisely the same: You have life tenure and generous lifetime health and pension benefits, and you get paid more money next year simply because of seniority.

Consider the fight over teacher layoffs. In many states, you must lay teachers off solely based on reverse seniority - last in, first out. That's nuts. Do you know anyone who would say "I want the most senior surgeon" rather than "I want the best surgeon"? Sure, experience matters. That's why, in baseball, the rookie of the year is almost never the most valuable player. But the rookie of the year is better than a whole lot of 10-year veterans, and every baseball team takes this into account when deciding its roster.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are young minority women screened for Chlamydia at a higher rate than young white women? #disparitiesmatter

Lots of people, who have recently read a study done by the Regenstrief Institute at the Indiana University School of Medicine, agree that young minority women are tested for Chlamydia more often than young white women. The purpose of this post is to begin to highlight the questions that follow this statement of STD testing disparity.

How much more likely are African-American and Hispanic women to be tested for Chlamydia then white women?
"Despite a recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to annually screen all sexually active young women for this disease, only about half of sexually active women, ages 14 to 25, who receive health care, are screened appropriately. The IU and Regenstrief researchers found that black young women were 2.7 times more likely and Hispanic young women 9.7 times more likely to be screened for chlamydia, compared with white young women."
(According to

When asked if young minority women are screened for Chlamydia at a higher rate than young white women? Most providers said "Yes." When asked, "Why?", some providers thought that judgments are made about a woman's likelihood of infection based on her race or ethnicity and some did not. Those that did not think judgments are made based on race or ethnicity cited statistical probability as a possible motivation for (seemingly) biased Chlamydia screening, which seemed like circular reasoning to their opposition...

Does type of insurance factor into screening probability?
In addition to race or ethnicity, the researchers found screening likelihood varied by insurance status and also by age. Women with public insurance had greater odds of chlamydia testing, compared with women with private insurance.
(According to
Does medical history factor into screening probability?
A medical history of STDs was more important than race or ethnicity or insurance status in terms of differences in chlamydia screening. Young women who had a previous STD were more likely to be screened for chlamydia, no matter their race or ethnicity, and differences by race or ethnicity in testing decreased substantially in this subgroup.
(According to
What about pregnancy?
The same was not true for young women who had been pregnant in the past. After a pregnancy, young minority women were much more likely (24 times for Hispanic women and 4 times for black women) to be screened than young white women.
(According to
What if any impact does this disparate chlamydia screening practice have on the Chlamydia infection rates of minority women?

What do you think?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Are teens using the web for sex-ed/sexual health info? Should they be? #disparitiesmatter

It almost seemed that Dr. Fulbright was against teens using the web as a resource for sex-ed/sexual health info. But, if you read the article all the way through it seems to highlight the fact that - although a recent study (done by Guttmacher Institute and United Nations Population Division) shows teens are more likely to get sex-ed info from friends, family, doctors or teachers - previous studies on web users build a case for the internet being the ideal arena for sex info exploration. Moreover, the Doc actually cites some useful websites and valid reasons to seek sex-ed/sexual health info (from reputable resources) online.

Recapping Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright's insights:

“...previous studies have found that web users, in general, see the anonymity and openness offered by the Internet as attractive for finding answers to their questions. Other positive features are that a person can do so with minimal embarrassment and judgment when it comes to one's physical appearance, gender, age, or health status, especially if dealing with private, sensitive issues like sex. Users are further able to explore the information on their own, working at their own pace and without the fears that a more public setting for sexuality information may invite.”

Re-posting sex-ed/sexual health resources here ...just in case you didn’t get to check them out the first time.

What do you think?

Should teens be using the web for sex ed?

Friday, January 28, 2011

HEEDtweet : Education by any means necessary?

So, you may have heard about (Kelley Williams-Bolar) the mother in Ohio that falsified the addresses of her children in order to get them enrolled into a quality school without paying tuition. It seems the Copley-Fairlawn school district (in which Williams-Bolar enrolled her two daughters) became suspicious that some malfeasance was afoot and hired a private investigator to find the children's residential records. (Find the full story at )

What does American society think of this incident?
There has actually been vast media coverage surrounding Williams-Bolar and her actions. One blog posits that "What this woman chose to do was wrong by cheating the system and getting caught then lying about it and not wanting to pay back the taxes because of her crime." On the other hand some articles/essays have likened Kelly Williams-Bolar to Rosa.

But, how do ed-choice groups, parents, teachers and you respond to Williams-Bolar's actions?

Below is the response the Black Alliance of Educational Options' (BAEO) posted to the incident.

BAEO Responds to Imprisonment of Ohio Mother
BAEO Communication Office | News Release Jan 26, 2011

We are writing to express outrage at the circumstances that led to the prosecution and conviction of Kelley Williams-Bolar. As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal, Williams-Bolar was found guilty and sentenced severely for an act that defied the strict letter of the law but does not defy reason.

She sent her daughters to schools outside her district of residence. Ohio law says that if you live in Akron, you must send your children to your neighborhood school, even if it is a failing school and regardless of whether you feel your child would get a better education and stand a better chance of success elsewhere.

The law says you’re stuck—unless you’re wealthy enough to opt out or fortunate enough to get into a high-performing charter school or to get selected for one of only 14,000 EdChoice scholarships available state-wide. Williams-Bolar is not wealthy, so paying private school tuition for her two children was not an option, nor could she afford to move out of public housing and into a district with better schools.

To be fair, Ohio has done more than most states in terms providing options for parents whose children need better educational opportunities. But clearly, more could and should be done. In far too many states, however, these parents have no choice at all. It is high time we change the laws that force low-income and working-class families to choose between playing by the rules and doing what’s best for their children.

Earlier this month, our nation honored the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and this week, BAEO joins families, educators, and advocacy groups coast to coast in celebrating National School Choice Week. The Williams-Bolar case is a sober reminder that Dr. King’s dream remains unrealized, and parental choice is the most pressing civil rights issue of our time. Every child deserves access to a quality education, and as Dr. King said, we must act with the fierce urgency of now.

Today, Kelley Williams-Bolar is serving a jail sentence for pursuing a better educational option for her daughters. Meanwhile, her children must—like thousands of other low-income students of color—endure a sentence of their own: consignment to unsafe, underperforming schools in close proximity to their homes, year after year. There is no justice here.

But, what do you think?
Was Williams-Bolar's choice unique?
Would the right move have been for Williams-Bolar to move to the district where her children attended school?
Should she have contacted ed-choice organizations for legal options?

Last question, how many children at Copley-Fairlawn school district are being investigated today?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

HE:EDtweet: What would it take to end us-versus-them? #charter #public

After reading many tweets, updates, posts, and articles about the us-versus-them climate of traditional public school districts and charter schools (around the country) it seemed odd to find an article highlighting the fact that at least nine (9) districts in larger cities have signed agreements with intent to work with local charter schools.

It would seem logical for traditional public school districts and public charter schools to work together but every other comment you read displays one bashing the crap out of the other.

Is it impossible to believe traditional public school districts and public charter schools can work together?

What are some of the barriers keeping collaboration from happening?

Is there nothing to be gained from collaboration?

What happens to the status/quality of education if traditional public school districts and public charter schools (that do not currently work together) cannot learn to partner?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

HE:EDtweet : Chinese mothers. Not “Are they superior?” but, "Why...

Amy Chua’s essay asks “Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?”

But, let’s take a step back to the title “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”, not “Are they superior?” but, why.

Now, if you’re not Chinese and you’re a mother, please note that Chua gives her respects to Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who “qualify too”. She also points out that she uses the terms “Chinese mother” and “Western parents” loosely. So, with that being said lets get to the point of this post.

Not only does Chua compare Western American mothers to immigrant Chinese mothers statistically in her essay, she also gives examples of her own personal application of the “motivation” many Chinese mothers utilize to make their children the “stereotypically successful kids” we have heard of/discussed.

Before moving on let’s define two things…

What statistics does Chua cite on perception?

Excerpt - ‘ In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that "stressing academic success is not good for children" or that "parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun." By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be "the best" students, that "academic achievement reflects successful parenting," and that if children did not excel at school then there was "a problem" and parents "were not doing their job." ‘

What does “motivation” mean?

After working on a piece of music (for piano) for a week Chua’s daughter was not performing the piece successfully. After yelling at the child, the child throwing a tantrum, threatening the child with the withholding of food and holiday gifts, the child still could not play the piece well. Even after talking with her husband about the way her daughter was being insulted Chua stated that she was just “motivating” her daughter. She also then called the child “lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic”.

Now, it should be mentioned that Chua’s daughter eventually plays the piece her mother wanted her to play. But, at what cost?

Are western parents not doing the best job?

Are Chinese mothers that insult/motivate their children superior?

How do the children that grow up in western homes and are academically successful without being insulted factor in?

If parents of Blacks and Hispanics/Latinos insulted their children more would the gaps between their children's math and reading scores and those of Whites and Asians be lessened?

What do you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

HE:EDtweet : Less #HOPE in Georgia?/ Where else can you get #HOPE?

After reading a multiple tweets, retweets, and a few articles about Georgia’s potential loss of HOPE; it seems the recession has forced Georgia’s legislature and it’s governor to cut back the spending associated with the program through which $5.6 billion in educational support has been granted to 1.3 million Georgia students statewide.

A few possible ways to reduce program spending are: decreasing the tuition percentage granted (currently 100%), raising the GPA cut-off (currently a B average), and/or introducing an economic need threshold.

Does this make sense? Seem unfair?

What ideas do you have?

Never heard of HOPE?

Cliff Notes:

- Started in 1993

- Originally funded by the Georgia State Lottery

- Copied by other states

- Improved SAT scores in Georgia (per New York Times writer Kim Severson)

- As many as two-thirds of Hope students grades slip so much that they no longer qualify

Is the HOPE scholarship program (or a hope-like program) available in your area?

Here are some states that offer similar programs:

  • Alaska Scholars Award
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
  • Georgia HOPE Scholarship Program
  • Kentucky Educational Excellence
  • Louisiana Tuition Opportunity Program for Students
  • Maryland HOPE Scholarship
  • Michigan Merit Award Scholarship
  • Mississippi Eminent Scholars Program
  • Missouri Higher Education Academic Scholarship Program
  • Nevada Millennium Scholarship Program
  • New Mexico Lottery Success Scholarship
  • Oklahoma Higher Access Learning Program
  • South Carolina HOPE Scholarship Program
  • Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship (TELS)
  • West Virginia Promise Program

There are also higher-ed related tax credits that help to offset the costs of higher education by reducing income tax. So, basically the Hope Credit, American opportunity credit and the lifetime learning credit are different than those scholarship programs listed above.

Please feel free to tag on anything I missed and as always COMMENTS WELCOMED…

Thursday, January 6, 2011

HE:EDtweet : Thanks for the follow! Now, SPEAK YOUR MIND!!!

THANK YOU to all those who have sent emails, followed us on twitter (@HEEDblog) and made suggestions! Now all we need are MORE COMMENTS! You know how we feel about the SAVAGE INEQUALITIES throughout America in the areas of education and health (if you don't, please feel free to read more HE:ED). But, that's not the end. You need to have a say! So, what do you think?

How do things you know/have learned about the state of education and health in America make you feel?

If your not American, how does American education/health compare to education/health in your country?

Where do you think we go from here?

What are some worthwhile/effective programs in your area?

Agreed, disagree, whatever, just speak your mind!!!

When's the last time someone asked you what you think and really meant it?

SAY SOMETHING, you've got the mic!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HE:EDtweet : Do some kids really feel they'd have to be #SuperRich to make a difference in health and education today?

If you're on twitter it's kinda hard not to notice when a hashtag is trending. It's even harder not to notice when it's trending with a certain group...So, after reading a few #SuperRich posts it seems they're not all about the usual materialistic if "I was rich I'd buy..." stuff. Instead a group of the posts made reference to education, health(care) and quality of life.

It makes you wonder "Do some kids really feel they'd have to be #SuperRich to make a difference in health and education today?"

And after further consideration...depending on where they live and, what their socio-economic situation is the answer could very well be a resounding/turn your radio down, "YES".

What's this mean? Well it could mean that while public schools fail, uneducated minority males end up in jail, single parents work multiple menial jobs to make ends (sometimes) meet and uninsured families don't get better, kids are watching. And these same kids believe that money will solve their problems...

Not to pitch to my own post but, sounds like some of these #SuperRich tweeters may be aware of and experiencing the Great Divergence...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

HE:ED Highlight : Define High Quality Teacher.

Parents want to make sure the food they feed their children will nourish and strengthen their bodies. Mothers and Fathers want the clothes their kids wear to fit well and keep their children warm. But what about the lessons they learn?

Are parents as aware about the contents of the education their children receive as they are with the food they eat and the clothes they wear? Parents make everyone that comes into contact with their little ones aware that allergies can cause a huge issue if their child mistakenly eats a peanut or wears clothes washed in a harsh detergent. But, do parents take that same level of care with the "highly qualified teachers" in their children's lives daily?

Are the teachers instructing your children in core subjects like math and reading even certified? And if they're not certified, does that mean they're not qualified?

That's a question that Congress has been wrestling with since 2004. However many parents still don't know that some teachers (which may be the ones teaching their children core subjects) are not actually certified and therefore are not actually "highly qualified teachers".

An allowance has been made for uncertified candidates in worthwhile alternative programs (like Teach for America) to teach for up to three years while pursuing certification. Does that make all uncertified teachers unfit to instruct your children?


But, it makes you wonder where the uncertified teachers are teaching...