How teachers are undervalued– chart form

This is the bottom portion of a chart at Vox highlighting a new Brookings study which shows that the top 9 life-time earning college majors are all engineering.  Followed by Computer Science in #10.  I’m totally okay with that.  What I’m not okay with is those in Elementary Education earning less than those with an Associates degree.  Is that really how little our society values those who educate our children when they are building the fundamentals of literacy and math for a life-time of learning?!  Ugh.  I’m also going to speculate that since elementary education is the most female-heavy that this just might have something to do with it.  And, OMG are health and PE teaching degree earners overpaid in comparison (coaching stipends, I’m guessing).  While math teachers are busy grading homework they’ve got nothing to do (or coach for extra pay).  So not fair.


Quick hits

I don’t know if I’ve lowered my bar for quick hits inclusion or I’m just finding more good stuff, but I’ve had a bunch lately.  As long as y’all enjoy and there’s no complaints, I’ll keep at it:

1) Why is it so hard to just die at home?  Because financial incentives for many push otherwise.  We were lucky that my mom died at home, but only because we were able to afford extensive home care at the end.  Great read of one family’s sad tale.  Goes along great with Zeke Emmanuel’s terrific essay on why he wants to die at 75 (if you follow and read one link this weekend, this should be it).

2) Jim Hunt with a nice N&O Op-Ed with how we really need to treat teachers policy-wise in this state.  And on the topic of NC schools, how about this pretty sneaky way for Republicans to cut their budgets.

3) Loved this blog post on how the ideology and smell study went from marginal finding to media catnip.

4) Ever stuck in a corn maze?  Ken’s Korny Korn Maze is huge.  Average group takes 90 minutes to get out.  But not if you use this technique (we did).

5) Seth Masket with a nice “why not Joe Biden” post:

The answer is in some ways much simpler: Biden isn’t doing well in presidential polls because almost no one of consequence in the Democratic Party, other than Biden, is talking seriously about his presidential prospects…

It seems fair to say that the party isn’t seriously considering him for the presidency in 2016 because it’s already considered him twice before and, for any number of reasons, found him wanting.

6) Democracy ain’t so great for poor people.

7) Americans say they want bipartisanship, but do they really?  Of course not.

8) So many of Rebecca Schulan’s Slate columns about Higher Ed drive me crazy.  Nice to see I am not alone.

9) Why political scientists should predict things.

10) You are probably not interested in the social science on college course evaluations.  But if you are, this is quite the impressive and interesting piece of work.

11) The sub headline refers to the “surprising” fact that religion does not make you more moral.  Color me unsurprised.

12) Somehow I just came across this great Michael Pollan essay from 2003 comparing current corn-based agribusiness to the 1800’s alcohol-soaked America.

13) I am a fast reader.  But slow for a college professor.  According to this.

14) Enjoyed this post from a friend and NCSU bio-ethics professor about the woman imprisoned for providing the abortion pill to her daughter.

15) One could do whole blogs (and I’m sure people do) keeping up with the inanity from Fox news.  But I enjoy how this story also covers the inanity of a Colorado school board.

16) John Oliver on the Miss America Pageant’s bogus scholarships.  A must watch if you haven’t seen this yet.

The decline of marriage

Nice piece in the Upshot looking at the latest data on demography and marriage.

Of all the milestones on the road to adulthood, Americans are increasingly forgoing one of the biggest: marriage.

Twenty percent of adults older than 25, about 42 million people, have never married, up from 9 percent in 1960, according to data in a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday.

The trend has been consistent for decades. Since 1970, each group of young adults has been less likely to marry than the previous generation. Although part of the trend can be attributed to the fact that people are simply marrying older, Pew projects that a quarter of today’s young adults will have never married by 2030, which would be the highest share in modern history…

Educated, high-income people are still marrying at high rates and tending to stay married, according to economists and demographers who study the issue. Remaining unmarried is more common among the less educated, blacks and the young, Pew found.

I’m sure there’s lots of reasons that marriage has increasingly become the domain of the better educated with higher incomes, but this bit just struck me wrong:

And as modern marriages have become more about love than about survival, it has become an indulgence that is easier for well-off people to take advantage of, said Justin Wolfers, an economist who writes for the Upshot and has studied marriage and divorce. The benefits of sharing passions are more likely to accrue to people who have the time and money to invest in them, he said.

Really?  For one, I’m not sure how much of a marriage about love is necessarily based on “sharing passions” that couples “invest” in.  I don’t exactly have any data here, but when I think of the happily married, high SES couples I know, it’s not about investing time and money in shared passions (other than the shared passion of child-rearing).  I would happily be disproved on this, but this is the Upshot– give me data damnit.

I might as well conclude by beating a dead horse I have before (as someone who got married three weeks after graduating from college):

Though marriage was once a steppingstone to economic stability, young adults now see financial stability as a prerequisite for marriage. More than a quarter of those who say they want to marry someday say they haven’t yet because they are not financially prepared, according to Pew.

Just get married to the right person already and make a life together.  Overcome young adulthood’s challenges together– it’s much better as a team.  Get more financially stable by sharing those financial burdens with another person.  Okay, I’m just old school on this.  Honestly, people should get married when it’s right for them, but I do think too many young people have become convinced that it is not right until they are financially independent and established despite the lack of any evidence that this is what makes the time right.

Boys, girls, and grades

Really interesting piece in the Atlantic about how girls’ superior conscientiousness (or willpower, or self-discipline, or what have you) substantially accounts for their superior school performance to boys.  I was especially intrigued as all the stereotypical boy descriptions are just like my oldest (ADHD-diagnosed) son.

This begs a sensitive question: Are schools set up to favor the way girls learn and trip up boys?

Let’s start with kindergarten. Claire Cameron from the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia has dedicated her career to studying kindergarten readiness in kids. She’s found that little ones who are destined to do well in a typical 21st century kindergarten class are those who manifest good self-regulation. This is a term that is bandied about a great deal these days by teachers and psychologists. It mostly refers to disciplined behaviors like raising one’s hand in class, waiting one’s turn, paying attention, listening to and following teachers’ instructions, and restraining oneself from blurting out answers. These skills are prerequisites for most academically oriented kindergarten classes in America—as well as basic prerequisites for success in life.

As it turns out, kindergarten-age girls have far better self-regulation than boys…

The researchers combined the results of boys’ and girls’ scores on the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders Task with parents’ and teachers’ ratings of these same kids’ capacity to pay attention, follow directions, finish schoolwork, and stay organized. The outcome was remarkable. They discovered that boys were a whole year behind girls in all areas of self-regulation. By the end of kindergarten, boys were just beginning to acquire the self-regulatory skills with which girls had started the year. [emphasis mine]

Just wow!  And it doesn’t stop there:

This self-discipline edge for girls carries into middle-school and beyond. In a 2006 landmark study, Martin Seligman and Angela Lee Duckworth found that middle-school girls edge out boys in overall self-discipline. This contributes greatly to their better grades across all subjects…

Arguably, boys’ less developed conscientiousness leaves them at a disadvantage in school settings where grades heavily weight good organizational skills alongside demonstrations of acquired knowledge…

These days, the whole school experience seems to play right into most girls’ strengths—and most boys’ weaknesses. Gone are the days when you could blow off a series of homework assignments throughout the semester but pull through with a respectable grade by cramming for and acing that all-important mid-term exam. Getting good grades today is far more about keeping up with and producing quality homework—not to mention handing it in on time.

And here is where I learn just how common David’s issues are.  I could have written this about him:

On countless occasions, I have attended school meetings for boy clients of mine who are in an ADHD red-zone. I have learned to request a grade print-out in advance. Not uncommonly, there is a checkered history of radically different grades: A, A, A, B, B, F, F, A. When F grades and a resultant zero points are given for late or missing assignments, a student’s C grade does not reflect his academic performance. Since boys tend to be less conscientious than girls—more apt to space out and leave a completed assignment at home, more likely to fail to turn the page and complete the questions on the back—a distinct fairness issue comes into play when a boy’s occasional lapse results in a low grade. Sadly though, it appears that the overwhelming trend among teachers is to assign zero points for late work. In one survey by Conni Campbell, associate dean of the School of Education at Point Loma Nazarene University, 84 percent of teachers did just that.

And what is the solution to get boys up to speed on conscientiousness?  I’ve yet to read it.  From what I can tell it just means working a heck of a lot harder with boys on various strategies to compensate for a lack of conscientiousness.

Back in my day, I was super conscientious (no more, just ask my co-authors and journal editors) and it was a huge benefit.  But I just always was that way.  What we need is more research on how to get there if you are not born that way.

Sometimes women lie about rape

Let’s make it a sexual assault two-fer today, thanks to recent Slate pieces.  Really enjoyed this Emily Bazelon article investigating the actual prevalence of lying about rape.  The preponderance of evidence suggests that a very substantial majority of rape allegations are basically truthful, but that doesn’t change the fact that, some of the time, these allegations are false.  And to admit as much does not diminish the horribleness of rape nor how seriously we should treat it as a crime.  It just means that, like everything, we should try and be as honest as possible and evaluate things on the best evidence.  Given our history with rape and the criminal justice system, it’s understandable that some would want to basically argue that women alleging rape should always be believed, but that doesn’t make it right:

Cultural unease about the issue of false accusations is understandable, given how the “crying rape” trope has been historically linked with misogynist stereotypes of women as devious, crazy, or both. The old assumptions about women’s propensity to lie about rape led to sexist laws that required women to be bruised, bloodied, and chaste to prove that they were attacked. Even now, this topic attracts woman-haters, such as the “men’s rights activist” who misidentified an Ohio University student as the accuser in the caught-on-video case last fall and suggested that even if he had the wrong woman, it was appropriate payback for calumnies against innocent males.

But “believe the victim” dogma, and the resistance to seeing false accusations as a real problem, can also create a dangerous environment. It is a climate in which a law mandating an impossibly vague “affirmative consent” standard in campus sexual assault cases can be defended on the grounds that false complaints are a nonissue. It is a climate in which an exoneration is often presumed to be a miscarriage of justice, like when, earlier this year, activists at Dartmouth were dismayed at a student’s acquittal even though his story of clumsy drunken sex was backed by substantial evidence.

And a great conclusion:

Our focus on getting justice for women who are sexually assaulted is necessary and right. We are still far from the day when every woman who makes a rape accusation gets a proper police investigation and a fair hearing. But seeking justice for female victims should make us more sensitive, not less, to justice for unfairly accused men. In practical terms, that means finding ways to show support for victims of sexual violence without equating accusation and guilt, and recognizing that the wrongly accused are real victims too. It means not assuming that only a conviction is a fair outcome for an alleged sex crime. It means, finally, rejecting laws and policies rooted in the assumption that wrongful accusations are so vanishingly rare they needn’t be a cause for concern. To put it simply, we need to stop presuming guilt.

We should be focusing on justice not vengeance.  And sometimes justice means acquittal.  Anyway, this article did particularly strike me after a recent series of alerts from NCSU:

This is an update to the Safety Notice that was sent out early this morning regarding the reported kidnapping & sexual assault from the Wolf Mart located at 2808 Hillsborough St. It has been determined that the incident did not occur and there is no ongoing threat to the University community. The description of the suspects and vehicle listed can be disregarded. Any inquiries about this incident should be directed to the Raleigh Police Department. [emphasis in original]

On alcohol and sexual consent

I presume that most people who drink alcohol (i.e., most people) and most people who have sex (i.e., most people) have, in fact, engaged in sex while under the influences of alcohol.  And I would also posit that in a substantial majority of these cases what is happening is not a crime.  Yet, we keep hearing from some quarters that you cannot consent to sex when intoxicated.  But that’s not true and this Slate article makes a strong case for why it is particularly harmful to spread this untruth:

The key is to make clear exactly when it is a crime to have sex with a person who is too intoxicated to be capable of giving meaningful consent. Here’s the proper legal framework: Sex with someone who is too drunk to consent is a crime even if the perpetrator uses no violence whatsoever to force his way. It is a crime even if the survivor does not physically resist or verbally object. It is a crime even if she is not passed out but is conscious before and during the encounter. It is a crime even if she was not drugged or forced or tricked into drinking by the perpetrator but got drunk on her own…

There’s no similar line for determining when someone is too drunk to consent to sex. Instead, the question is whether, under all the circumstances apparent to the perpetrator, a reasonable person would know that the victim was too intoxicated to give a meaningful consent. Under that standard, the prosecution may win a conviction only by proving that the victim’s intoxication was extreme and verifiable. She has to be way past buzzed or tipsy. She has to be very drunk.

The cases and the literature on rape give examples. For example, a person who is falling-down drunk, too intoxicated to walk. Or unable to talk clearly or coherently. Or too uncoordinated to undress herself. Or sick drunk, slumped over a toilet vomiting or urinating on herself. [emphasis mine]

In conditions like these, there’s just no possibility of meaningful consent…

Okay, so here’s the why it’s a bad thing part:

Perhaps because it is illegal for the vast majority of their students to drink in the first place, many colleges do a poor job of explaining the kinds of circumstances in which it is unreasonable to believe that a drunk person is consenting. Some schools tend to issue sweeping warnings, such as: “Never mix drinking with sex.”

This sort of vague preaching is worse than useless. It fails to tell potential perpetrators when they are on the verge of crossing the line. And it may falsely suggest to potential victims that the law protects them against virtually all kinds of intoxicated sex, when it does not. For now, most cases of drunken sex will be—and, probably, should be—beyond the reach of the law. Young women need to know this. They need to know that the law treats sex after drinking as assault only in extreme circumstances.

Good to see some pushback on this unhelpful and potentially harmful approach to thinking about sex and alcohol.  Nobody should ever coerce another into having sex, nor, of course, take advantage of an extremely debilitated state (caused by alcohol or anything, for that matter) to have sex with another person, but that is no reason to criminalize the every day occurrence of people under the modest influence of alcohol having sex.

It’s not my fault I can’t remember– it’s my gender

My wife is often bemused and amazed at events from our life that I have forgotten.  Her theory is that my brain is so full of (largely useless) trivia, arcane knowledge, etc., that there’s no room left for family memories and life events that I completely forget.  My theory is that she’s just good at remembering that stuff; not that I’m bad.  Anyway, it turns out that, well, science.  Women are better than men at recalling autobiographical memories.  From New York magazine:

Researchers are finding somepreliminaryevidence that women are indeed better at recalling memories, especially autobiographical ones. Girls and women tend to recall these memoriesfaster and with more specific details, and some studies have demonstrated that these memories tend to be more accurate, too, when compared to those of boys and men. And there’s an explanation for this: It could come down to the way parents talk to their daughters, as compared to their sons, when the children are developing memory skills.

To understand this apparent gender divide in recalling memories, it helps to start with early childhood — specifically, ages 2 to 6. Whether you knew it or not, during these years, you learned how to form memories, and researchers believe this happens mostly through conversations with others, primarily our parents…

But the way parents tend to talk to their sons is different from the way they talk to their daughters. Mothers tend to introduce more snippets of new information in conversations with their young daughters than they do with their young sons, research has shown. And moms tend to ask more questions about girls’ emotions; with boys, on the other hand, they spend more time talking about what they should do with those feelings.

This is at least partially a product of parents acting on gender expectations they may not even realize they have, and the results are potentially long-lasting, explained Azriel Grysman, a psychologist at Hamilton College who studies gender differences and memory.

Anyway, interesting.  (It’s not my fault, Kim!)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 533 other followers

%d bloggers like this: