Posts Tagged ‘education’
Fewer U.S. Republicans believe in evolution now than five years ago, with a Pew Research poll finding an 11 percentage point drop…43 percent of Republican respondents said they believe humans have evolved over time, a drop from 54 percent in 2009, a Pew release said Monday.
Sixty-seven percent of Democratic respondents said they believe in evolution, a rise of 3 percent from 2009.
Not a surprise. Why would anyone – even a conservative – with a bit of science education and understanding stay in a political party dominated nowadays by religious nutballs and economic ostriches?
Party differences remained even when factors such as the racial and ethnic composition, and religious and educational background of the political groups were taken into account, the Pew researchers said.
“It’s an intriguing finding that is suggestive of greater polarization,” Cary Funk of the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project and Social & Demographic Trends project told NBC News.
Fits the standard one-liner among coneheads I know who work at a nearby national laboratory, e.g., 94% of scientists are atheists. The other 6% are Republicans.
Three-quarters of U.S. adults say they believe in God, down from 82 percent in 2005, 2007 and 2009, a Harris Poll indicates.
The Harris Poll found 57 percent of U.S. adult say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, down from 60 percent in 2005, and 72 percent say they believe in miracles, down from 79 percent in 2005, while 68 percent say they believe in heaven, down from 75 percent. Sixty-eight percent say they believe Jesus is God or the son of God, down from 72 percent; and 65 percent say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, down from 70 percent.
Forty-seven percent say they believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution, compared to 42 percent in 2005.
The survey found 42 percent of adults say they believe in ghosts, 36 percent say they believe in creationism, 36 percent say they believe in UFOs, 29 percent say they believe in astrology, 26 percent say they believe in witches and 24 percent say they believe in reincarnation, or that they were once another person.
Just under 2-in-10 U.S. adults described themselves as very religious, with an additional 4-in-10 describing themselves as somewhat religious down from 49 percent in 2007. Twenty-three percent of Americans identified themselves as not at all religious, nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2007.
Cripes. If we keep this up we may catch up with the rest of the civilized Western World in a couple of decades or so. Too bad they left out who believes the Earth is flat.
US pregnancy rates continue to decline, with only 102 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 2009, a 12-year low.
According to the report released by the National Center for Health Statistics, a steady decline in pregnancy rates has been observed from 1990, when the rate was 116 per 1,000 women. The lowest pregnancy rate in the last 30 years was in 1997 when the rate was 101.6 per 1,000 women.
Since 1990, the rate of pregnancy has fallen for women in their 20s, the largest group of pregnant women, and teens, while the pregnancy rate among women over 30 has increased steadily with every passing year.
“What happened was a postponement of births among younger women with a longer time horizon,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University. “Women over 30 couldn’t wait that much longer.”
According to Sally Curtin, one of the report’s authors, part of the drop can be attributed to fewer teenagers having sex, and greater contraceptive use among those who do have sex.
The birth rate for married women was higher than the rate for unmarried women, while the abortion rate for unmarried women was almost five times higher than the rate for married women.
The 2009 abortion rate among teenagers, around 16 percent, has dropped to less than half the rate in 1990, which was 40.3 percent.
The original detailed study is over here.
American neo-cons fear informed, educated decisions. So much of the economics and ideology they believe can’t stand any sort of thorough examination much less the test of time. Ideology intertwined with religious beliefs that haven’t strayed far from the 14th Century. They really fear American women making those decisions.
But, women with education and understanding of their reproductive rights, constitutionally-guaranteed equal opportunity, the same rights to a career, family and individual achievement – throughout the industrial world – women often opt first and foremost to limit the time and circumstances of their life dedicated to child-bearing, child-rearing.
Nothing new about that. Though soft-minded journalists – usually male – can waste reams of newsprint and electrons in wonderment. Self-concern, self-guidance, occurs to women as readily as it does to men. It’s only a dazzling new phenomenon in a society which has bumbled along for millennia guided by only half the population. The half that doesn’t get pregnant.
Why, yes – I have a master’s degree in education
The fastest-growing jobs in the United States through 2017 are expected to be those requiring an advanced education, a study released Thursday found.
The report compiled by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International, says job creation will accelerate from 2013 to 2017 compared with 2009 to 2013, gaining 4.4 percent compared with 3.5 percent.
Jobs requiring an associate degree or a master’s degree are expected to grow 8 percent, the report says, while jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree — which generally takes four years and falls between associates and master’s degrees — are expected to grow 6 percent.
Jobs that require “short-term, on-the-job training trail at 4 percent,” the study projects.
In a list of jobs expected to grow 8 percent or more through 2017, personal care and home health aides top the list with growth expected at 21 percent.
Jobs for market research analyst and marketing specialists are expected to grow 14 percent, as are jobs for medical secretaries.
Jobs for emergency medical technicians and paramedics are projected to grow 13 percent, while jobs for software developers are projected to rise 11 percent.
The final job with double-digit growth expected is medical assistants, with growth of 10 percent predicted, CareerBuilder said…
The top 18 include, in descending order, registered nurses, network and computer systems administrators, pharmacy technicians, landscapers, and social and human services assistants, all expected to grow 9 percent, and computer systems analysts, management analysts, cooks, insurance agents, nursing assistants, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses and food preparation workers and servers, including fast-food, the report said.
Middle-aged? Stick to figuring out ways to survive. Sooner or later the cost of living will begin to accelerate to match the increases of those with growing income. If you want longer-term worries consider your kids and grandkids. The quality of K-12 education ain’t especially getting better inside the United States. Compared to other literate nations and competing with them for jobs, we’re in a deeper hole that’s on the way to becoming downright subterranean.
While there’s no shortage of pundits who finished their college years before malaise and a matching decline set in – they continue to praise the value of our advanced education. That will continue to sort out with underfunded public schools getting more and more of the student base and giving back less in return. Or so it seems.
Educators are worried raising academic standards in the U.S. education system may discourage some people from taking high school equivalency exams.
The G.E.D. test will be changed in January to bring it in line with the Common Core — a set of standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students that have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, The New York Times reported.
“There is a lot of fear of it becoming too challenging,” said John Galli, assistant director at the Community Learning Center, an adult education center run by the City of Cambridge, near Boston.
So, maybe kids will be better off staying in school? What a concept.
The changes have caused concern for instructors and students as they try to prepare for the unknown, the newspaper said.
“The information we have is still very much up in the air,” said Catherine Pautsch, education and career pathways coordinator at Youth Build Just-a-Start, a non-profit group that helps young adults prepare for high school equivalency exams. “We haven’t had anyone take the test yet, so we’re not sure what it’s all going to look like.”
The cost of the test will also increase come January. Test-takers currently pay $60 in New York, but that will increase to $80 in January.
Yes, another pet peeve. We have an education system that fails every generation, seemingly getting worse as time passes. We experience boatloads of talk and very few efforts to raise standards. Standards that affect testing as well as teaching. Meanwhile the rest of the educated industrial world strolls by leaving young Americans in the dust.
If the agreed purpose of the Common Core is to raise the abilities of students what possibly is the aim of retaining an alternative that retains the lesser standards of the recent past? I don’t see very many worriers offer a convincing case that today’s students confront studies as demanding as those in vogue rolling back to the period immediately after World War 2. Yet, graduation rates, the number of students capable of entering college was much higher than today. The limiting factors were generally opportunity and economics.
I don’t see any benefit to fighting for lower standards.
American adults lag the world in literacy, math and computer skills – just not quite as bad as our kids
Policymakers and politicians who wring their hands about the mediocre performance of U.S. students on international math and reading tests have another worry: The nation’s grown-ups aren’t doing much better.
A first-ever comparison of adults in the United States and those in other democracies found that Americans were below average when it comes to skills needed to compete in the global economy.
The survey…measured the literacy, math and computer skills of about 5,000 U.S. adults between ages 16 and 65, and compared them with similar samples of adults from 21 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The Americans are “decidedly weaker in numeracy and problem-solving skills than in literacy, and average U.S. scores for all three are below the international average and far behind the scores of top performers like Japan or Finland,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the data collection arm of the U.S. Department of Education.
The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions
but nothing changed in my life, except this:
weakness, fear and hopelessness died.
Strength, power and courage was born
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for advocating education for girls, marked her 16th birthday with an impressive speech at the United Nations, where she said education could change the world.
Wearing a pink head scarf, Malala told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students from around the world attending a Youth Assembly at UN headquarters in New York that education was the only way to improve lives.
“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution,” she said.
“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”
The Pakistani teenager, who first came to public attention at the age of 11 for speaking out against a ban on girls’ education, was shot in the neck and head by Taliban gunmen last October on her way home from school in Pakistan.
She left a Birmingham hospital in February after she recovered from surgery during which doctors mended parts of her skull with a titanium plate and inserted a cochlear implant in her left ear to help restore hearing.
Malala used her speech at the UN to ask the UN secretary-general and any listening world leaders on the need to keep a promise to provide universal primary education by the end of 2015…
Bravo! A young woman whose courage sets a standard for the world.
All the political hacks who represent supposedly educated democratic nations at the UN will probably commit to the programs she stands for – for universal education. Liars and reactionaries back home – in the United States and elsewhere – will do their level best to stop that funding. We know the range of excuses they will raise. And those will be lies as are the other excuses they roll out to impede equal opportunity for all.
From Goldman Sachs to Microsoft – corporate support for gay civil rights puts pressure on backwards politicians
Support for gay marriage by companies as varied as Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Starbucks is gathering steam to change policies in states that bar same-sex couples from tying the knot.
Two U.S. Supreme Court decisions on June 26 heartened supporters of the cause while showing an increased willingness of business to back the effort. In one case, more than 200 companies signed a brief against a federal law that denied benefits to same-sex couples. Five years ago, only a handful had lobbied against California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages, the target of the high court’s other decision…
State legislators stand to feel the heat as more businesses speak out against laws in states including Texas, Florida and Michigan that recognize only heterosexual marriage. While fewer than half the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 are based in states that allow gays to wed, most already have policies that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Companies do have the choice where they locate, where they set up shop,” said Kellie McElhaney, founding faculty director of the Center for Responsible Business at the University of California Berkeley. Local policies on sexual orientation “will eventually become part of the choice process…”
Goldman Sachs and Expedia are among businesses gearing up to support a federal bill to prevent workforce discrimination based on sexual orientation. Of Fortune 500 companies, 88 percent include orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and more than 60 percent offer domestic partner health benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Companies moved ahead on providing health benefits for same-sex couples and adopting nondiscrimination rules since the 1990s just as Congress went in the opposite direction to approve the federal government’s rejection of gay marriage in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Now, corporate America is pushing for uniform laws that protect against workplace discrimination, said Edith Hunt, Goldman Sachs’s chief diversity officer…
My kind of hero
Despite a life of adversity, poverty, and even homelessness, 18-year-old Chelesa Fearce is blazing a trail of academic success. Growing up in Clayton County, Georgia, Chelesa, along with her mother and three siblings, frequently moved from shelter to shelter, even living in her family’s car in times of need.
Regardless of the obstacles in the way, Chelesa stayed focused on her goals: scoring high marks in high school and attending a good college.
Thursday Chelesa graduated with a 4.529 GPA from Charles Drew High School in Clayton County, making her class valedictorian. Thanks to taking college courses for the past two years, Chelesa will enter Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia later this year as a junior.
During Chelesa’s high school years, her mother, Reenita Shepard, was laid off from her job more than once, resulting in the family losing their home. But Chelesa stayed focused on her studies even when bouncing from shelter to shelter, or on those most difficult nights spent in the car.
“At night I just had to open my book in the dark and use my cellphone light, just do what I had to do,” she said…
Chelesa admitted that she faced many struggles and at times found it difficult to maintain a positive spirit. “It was hard sometimes. I kept my situation a secret because I didn’t want anyone to know my business; I just went to school and did what I had to do.” Still, there were times it could all be overwhelming. “Senior year was a lot, you know with applying for schools, scholarships and standardized tests and I’d want to sit back and just kick it and relax but I knew I had things to accomplish.”
Part of what kept Chelesa going was her mother. “She works very very hard and I made sure I was doing the same, if not more. She was always helping me out and was such a great support so I had to do it for her,” she said. Shepard often read to Chelesa and her siblings at a young age. “I remember her reading Mrs. Nelson Went Missing, Are You My Mother, a lot of Dr. Seuss. She developed my love for reading at a very early age,” Chelesa said.
Another example of what someone might accomplish in spite of the reactionary old farts in charge of American politics. Neither the federal government nor the hacks in the Georgia State House do the young folks of our nation any great amount of good. Whether it’s education or opportunity the kids who are the future of the United States have to battle past the handicaps generously provided by politicians loyal only to the corporate barons who own their sorry hide.
Special congratulations to young Miss Chelesa Fearce. She proved the strength of a real American in the face of obstacles created by the worst of our culture.