Posts tagged ‘gender issues’

June 26, 2013

Quick Links – Contranyms; affirmative action drama continues; boys problems

by Grace

TIL a word that can be its own antonym is called a contranym.

Also referred to as an auto-antonym or Janus word

Some examples from Daily Writing Tips:

  • Bolt: To secure, or to flee
  • Dust: To add fine particles, or to remove them
  • Flog: To promote persistently, or to criticize or beat
  • Sanction: To approve, or to boycott
  • Trim: To decorate, or to remove excess from

Here’s an example from contemporary slang:  …”bitch” can refer to someone who’s domineering or submissive.

* * * * *

‘So the drama over affirmative action continues’.

From the WSJ:

The Supreme Court, in an anticlimax, sidestepped a sweeping ruling on affirmative action Monday, directing lower courts to re-examine whether a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin should survive constitutional scrutiny.

Summed up in a Chronicle of Higher Ed headline:

Supreme Court Puts New Pressure on Colleges to Justify Affirmative Action

* * * * *

This might be an iconic photo, emblematic of the “boys problem” in our schools.

20130622.COCEHSAllGirlsLeaders1

These young women are the senior class officers at a local public high school* that held graduation last week.  They look like a fine group of accomplished, motivated students.

* No, this is not an all-girls school.

May 1, 2013

Quick Links – Best and worst areas for job growth; women have a duty to keep working; Cooper Union will charge tuition

by Grace

Best and worst metropolitan areas for 2012 job growth

The South seems to be enjoying better job growth.

Top five metro areas for job growth, showing number of jobs:

20130428.COCMetroJobs4

Bottom five:

20130428.COCMetroJobs5

Check out the complete list.

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Female Ivy League graduates have a duty to stay in the workforce

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a full-time mother, but you don’t need an elite degree to do it

I am not someone who believes that every woman should be made to feel as though they must choose between being committed to their children or committed to the sisterhood of women’s advancement. But I do consider any Harvard Law School degree obtained by a woman who then chooses not to use it in any sort of professional capacity throughout most of her life a wasted opportunity. That degree could have gone to a woman who does want to spend her entire life using it to advance the cause of women – or others in need of advancement – not simply advancing the lives of her own family at home, which is a noble cause, but not one requiring an elite degree….

… There’s nothing wrong with someone saying that her dream is to become a full-time mother by 30. That is an admirable goal. What is not admirable is for her to take a slot at Yale Law School that could have gone to a young woman whose dream is to be in the Senate by age 40 and in the White House by age 50.

The author of this commentary is Keli Goff, a 33-year-old political commentator and former Democratic strategist.

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Cooper Union to Start Charging Tuition in Fall 2014

Cooper Union only admits 7% of applicants, but that low admission rate may rise after it starts charging tuition.

Cooper Union said Tuesday it could no longer afford to foot the tuition bills for its entire student body, closing a wrenching year-and-a-half-long debate about how to balance economic woes against the school’s core mission to provide a top-notch higher education to talented students, no matter the cost.

The entering class of 2014 will be offered half scholarships to enroll in its prestigious program, putting the price of attendance at just under $20,000 a year….

Cooper Union — named after founder and industrialist Peter Cooper — was established in 1859 as a school for low-income students, offering access to the higher education necessary to participate in shaping public life. Since then, the promise of free education has been as central to the school’s identity as its rigorous programs in architecture, engineering, and the arts, as well as its motley collection of academic buildings — architectural marvels suggestive of the talent of the students inside.

But, like colleges and universities across the country, the college has hit hard financial times in recent years. While the school has relied largely on rent income from land beneath the Chrysler Building to fund its scholarships, that source has not kept pace with inflation rates, Epstein said in his statement.

February 20, 2013

Quick Links – Obama on education; stereotyping boys; chimps have better working memories than those of humans

by Grace

◊◊◊  Obama on education in State of Union address (Washington Post)

Universal ‘high-quality’ preschool

Tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.  In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.  So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.  Let’s give our kids that chance.

High-tech curriculum for high schools

…  Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future.

Link higher education federal aid with ‘affordability and value’

Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid….

College Scorecard

…  And tomorrow, my Administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.


◊◊◊  “..the study found that stereotypes seemed to be holding boys back.” (Dr. Helen at PJ Media)

Boys may be suffering from stereotype threat.

The belief that girls are brainier and better behaved is holding boys back at school, research suggests.

A study of British pupils found that, from a young age, children think girls are academically superior.

And, what’s more, they believe that adults think so too….

And by the age of seven, boys shared the belief that they were naughtier and did less well at school. Follow-up questions showed the children thought that adults had similar expectations.

The second part of the study found that stereotypes seemed to be holding boys back…

Study co-author Dr Robbie Sutton said: ‘Our study suggests that by counteracting the stereotypes in the classroom – wherever they might have come from originally – we can help boys do better.’

Noncognitive skills come into play in boys’ poor school performance.

This reminds me of the study I found on girls taking over at college. In it the researchers state:

One source of the persistent female advantage in K–12 school performance and the new female lead in college attainment is the higher incidence of behavioral problems (or lower level of noncognitive skills) among boys. Boys have a much higher incidence than do girls of school disciplinary and behavior problems, and spend far fewer hours doing homework (Jacob, 2002).

Are boys’ poor behavior and low academic performance partly due to low expectations?  Dr. Helen wonders if teachers tend to use grades to punish boys since other discipline options are more limited.  A related aspect is that much of early academic success may hinge on noncognitive and literacy skills, which boys tend to develop later than girls.


◊◊◊
  Working memory of chimpanzees is ‘far better’ than that of humans

Chimpanzees can far outperform humans in some mental tasks, including rapidly memorising and recalling numbers, Japanese scientists have shown.

A good working memory is needed to survive in the wild.

Prof Matsuzawa, who combines the study of wild chimpanzees in west Africa with research using the captive colony in Kyoto, said such a good working memory – the ability to take in an accurate, detailed image of a complex scene or pattern – was an important survival tool in the wild.

For example, the apes can quickly assess and remember the distribution of edible fruit in a forest canopy. Or, when two rival bands of chimpanzees encounter one another, they can assess the strength of the rival group and decide whether to fight or flee.

Memory of chimps ‘far better than human’ (Financial Times)

December 5, 2012

Quick Links – fewer men want to marry; record average net worth

by Grace

»»»  Women finding scarcity of men who want to get married

The battle of the sexes is alive and well. According to Pew Research Center, the share of women ages eighteen to thirty-four that say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose nine percentage points since 1997 – from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men, the opposite occurred. The share voicing this opinion dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.

Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.

Women are the losers.

It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek.

Suzanne Venker says women are to blame

So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.

The war on men (Fox News)

»»»  ‘American Households Hit 43-Year Low In Net Worth’

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969.

According to a recent study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff, median net worth is at the decades-low figure of $57,000 (in 2010 dollars). And as the numbers in his study reflect, the situation only appears worse when all the statistics are taken as a whole.

Who’s to blame?

An August Pew Research Center study found that many in the middle-class are divided on how they believe this gap widened.

Fully 85 percent of self-described middle-class adults say it is more difficult now than it was a decade ago for middle-class people to maintain their standard of living. Of those who feel this way, 62 percent say “a lot” of the blame lies with Congress, while 54 percent say the same about banks and financial institutions, 47 percent about large corporations, 44 percent about the Bush administration, 39 percent about foreign competition and 34 percent about the Obama administration.

Just 8 percent put “a lot” of blame on the middle class itself.

An ominous sign for future prosperity

Wolff’s focus on total wealth not only measures how much money a household brings in, but also the amount it accumulates. This latter number is very significant — economically secure households are generally more comfortable spending their disposable income, and are less likely to become a drag on the social safety net.

November 7, 2012

Quick links – soaring staff increases at public schools; educated women and unhealthy children; increase in college-educated Americans; and more

by Grace

——  ‘American schools go on utterly insane hiring spree since 1950. Kids shrug, continue to do poorly on tests’ (Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence)

new study from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice finds that America’s public schools saw a 96 percent increase in students but increased administrators and other non-teaching staff a staggering 702 percent since 1950. Teaching staff, in comparison, increased 252 percent, Reason reports.

If non-teaching personnel had grown at the same rate as student population, American public schools would have an additional $24.3 billion annually. Scafidi’s report concluded that $24.3 billion is equivalent to an annual $7,500 raise per teacher nationwide or a $1,700 school voucher for each child in poverty.


——  ‘Western women are obtaining more educational credentials, albeit increasingly at the cost of motherhood and healthy children.’ (Alpha Game)

… But experts warned last night that the growing trend for late motherhood could be putting the health of babies at risk. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said that women who waited longer to give birth needed to be informed of the potential problems, such as the risk of Down’s syndrome and complications during delivery….

What is the point of encouraging more women to obtain academic credentials if that means they are going to be producing a smaller number of unhealthier, less cognitively capable children in the next generation?  Even if more female credentials were materially beneficial to society, (and Roissy’s post on the latest Baumeister paper casts a great deal of doubt upon that idea), the benefit would be short-term and last only a single generation.  Are the much smaller number of women in the next generation, a statistically significant minority of whom are retarded, born out of wedlock, and otherwise handicapped, going to be able to maintain and continue the societal benefits established by their mothers?

That is highly improbable.  Once more, we see that the structural inconsistences of a feminist society are even more powerful than those that caused the Communist societies to collapse.

With such dire predictions, is it better to keep women barefoot and pregnant?


——  Record numbers of young Americans earn bachelors degrees (New York Times)

This year, for the first time, a third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have earned at least a bachelor’s degree. That share has been slowly edging up for decades, from fewer than one-fifth of young adults in the early 1970s to 33 percent this year.

The share of high school graduates in that age group, along with the share of those with some college, have also reached record levels. This year, 90 percent were high school graduates, up from 78 percent in 1971. And 63 percent have completed some college work, up from 34 percent in 1971.

The study attributed the increase both to the recession and a sluggish jobs recovery, which led many young people to see higher education as their best option, and to changed attitudes about the importance of a college education. In a 2010 Gallup survey, about three-quarters of Americans agreed that a college education is very important, up from only 36 percent in 1978.


——  ‘Study: Teens With Lesbian Mothers Do Better In School, Happier In Life’ (CBS News)

Engaged parents are important.

A new study has found that 17-year-olds with lesbian mothers had high school GPAs ranging between A-minus to B-plus, while having strong family bonds with their mothers, whom the teens consider good role models. The Williams Institute at UCLA, which conducted “Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives,” tracked 78 adolescents over a 26-year period.

“These kids were planned and their lesbian mothers were very engaged in parenting,” said Nanette Gartrell, principal investigator of the study for the Williams Institute. “At the end of high school, the teens tell us that they have excellent grades, feel connected to their families and friends, and admire their parents.”

My quick check indicated that study participants may not have been randomly selected.

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