Archive for January 23rd, 2013

January 23, 2013

Quick Links – Women tend to overthink things; high school graduation rates go up; employers want basic skills

by Grace

◊◊◊ Women tend to overthink things

The late Susan Nolen-Hoeksema was a psychologist and professor at Yale University:

Her studies, first in children and later in adults, exposed one of the most deceptively upsetting of these patterns: rumination, the natural instinct to dwell on the sources of problems rather than their possible solutions. Women were more prone to ruminate than men, the studies found, and in a landmark 1987 paper she argued that this difference accounted for the two-to-one ratio of depressed women to depressed men….

“The way I think she’d put it is that, when bad things happen, women brood — they’re cerebral, which can feed into the depression,” said Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, who oversaw her doctoral work. “Men are more inclined to act, to do something, plan, beat someone up, play basketball.”

◊◊◊  High-school graduation rates go up, but reasons are unknown

America’s high school graduation rate, which stagnated for the last three decades of the 20th century, is now climbing, according to a new, comprehensive look at the key education gauge by Harvard University economist Richard Murnane.


Using various data sources, Mr. Murnane, who teaches at Harvard’s education school, estimates that 77.6% of Americans between 20 and 24 in 2000 had high school diplomas.

Among those born 10 years later — that is, those who were between 20 and 24 in 2010 — 83.7% had diplomas.

The improvement was particularly sharp among blacks and Hispanics. For instance, in 2000, 61.2% of black men between 20 and 24 had finished high school; in 2010, 72.0% of black men in that age bracket had….

Mr. Murnane says he and other academics can’t fully explain the fall and rise of high school graduation rates. The economic reward for getting a diploma — higher wages — is substantial and grew during the years when dropout rates were rising, confounding economists who would have expected that to encourage people to finish high school.

There is some speculation that lower lead levels may be a factor.

◊◊◊  Most employers value basic skills over digital expertise

The Millenial Branding and Experience Inc. study, released May 14, shows an overwhelming majority  of employers surveyed (as in, more than 92 percent) cite basic communication skills, a positive attitude and teamwork skills as absolutely essential to landing entry-level positions.

Education Speaks editorial board member Christine Geraci:

A few months ago, I moderated a discussion between residents at a school budget community conversation hosted by one of the school districts in our region. When asked to provide feedback on the district’s overall curriculum, a significant number said they wanted to see more emphasis on building soft skills such as writing and oral communication.

One local business owner sitting at my table said he wanted to hire local high school students, but often refrained because they didn’t look customers in the eye when speaking to them, and wrote in abbreviated ‘text speak.’ In his opinion, this was a direct result of too much exposure to tech gadgets and social media. Although he agreed digital tools have their place in education, basic writing and speaking skills – you know, with regular pencils and actual voices — shouldn’t take a backseat as a result.

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