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...