Tag Archives: research

Study finds troubling patterns of teacher assignments within schools

From : http://phys.org/news/2013-04-patterns-teacher-assignments-schools.html#nwlt

April 23rd, 2013 in Other Sciences / Social Sciences

Even within the same school, lower-achieving students often are taught by less-experienced teachers, as well as by teachers who received their degrees from less-competitive colleges, according to a new study by researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the World Bank. The study, using data from one of the nation’s largest school districts, also shows that student class assignments vary within schools by a teacher’s gender and race.

In a paper published in the April issue of Sociology of Education, the researchers present the results of a comprehensive analysis of teacher assignments in the nation’s fourth-largest school district, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Their findings identify trends that may contribute to  and achievement gaps nationwide.

Previous research indicates that high-quality teachers can significantly improve education outcomes for . However, not all students have equal access to the best teachers.

“It is well-known that teachers systematically sort across schools, disadvantaging low-income, minority, and low-achieving students,” said Demetra Kalogrides, a research associate at the Graduate School of Education’s Center for Education Policy Analysis and one of the study’s three authors. “Our findings are novel because they address the assignment of teachers to classes within schools. We cannot assume that teacher sorting stops at the school doors.”

The authors note that more research needs to be done to see whether such patterns exist within schools across the country.

The assignment of teachers to students is the result of a complex process, involving school leaders, teachers, and parents. While principals are constrained by teachers’ qualifications—not all , for instance, can teach physics—they also may use their authority to reward certain teachers with the more desirable assignments or to appease teachers who are instrumental to school operations.

Teachers with more power, due to experience or other factors, may be able to choose their preferred classes. Parents, particularly those with more resources, also may try to intervene in the process to ensure that their children are taught by certain teachers.

“We wanted to understand which teachers are teaching which students,” said Susanna Loeb, a Stanford professor of education, the director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis, and an author of the study. “In particular, are low-achieving students more likely to be assigned to certain teachers, and if so, why?”

Using extensive data from Miami-Dade, the authors compared the average achievement of teachers’ students in the year before the students were assigned to them. They discovered that certain teachers—those with less experience, those from less-competitive colleges, female teachers, and black and Hispanic teachers—are more likely to work with lower-achieving students than are other teachers in the same school.

They found these patterns at both the elementary and middle/high school levels.

According to the researchers, teachers who have been at a school for a long time may be able to influence the assignment process in order to secure their preferred classes—for instance, classes with higher-achieving students. The study found that teachers with 10 or more years of experience, as well as teachers who have held leadership positions, are assigned higher-achieving students on average.

Assigning lower-achieving students to inexperienced teachers could have significant repercussions. According to the researchers, it could increase turnover among new teachers, since novice teachers are more likely to quit when assigned more low-achieving students.

In addition, it could exacerbate within-school —for example, the black-white gap. Since they are lower-achieving on average, minority and poor students are often assigned to less-experienced teachers than white and non-poor students. Less-experienced teachers tend to be less effective, so this pattern is likely to reinforce the relationships between race and achievement and poverty and achievement, the researchers said.

The study also found that lower-achieving students are taught by the teachers who graduated from less-competitive colleges, based on test scores for admission and acceptance rates. This trend is particularly evident at the middle school and high school levels, possibly due to the more varied demands of middle and high school courses. Teachers from more competitive colleges may have deeper subject knowledge than their colleagues from less-competitive colleges, leading principals to assign them to more advanced courses, the researchers said.

The researchers noted that assignment patterns vary across schools. Experienced teachers appear to have more power over the assignment process when there are more of them in a school; senior teachers are assigned even higher-achieving students when there is a larger contingent of experienced teachers in the school.

At the same time, schools under more accountability pressure are less likely to assign higher-achieving students to more-experienced teachers than schools that are not under accountability pressure.

Finally, according to the findings, class assignments vary depending on a teacher’s gender and race. Since female teachers are more likely to teach special education than male teachers, on average they work with lower-achieving students than their male colleagues. Also, black and Hispanic teachers, when compared with white teachers in the same schools, work with more minority and poor students, who tend to be lower-achieving.

Unlike sorting based on experience, the authors said that teacher-student matching based on race could improve student achievement because previous research suggests that minority students may learn more when taught by minority .

“Our analyses are a first step in describing within- class assignments, an important, yet often overlooked, form of teacher sorting,” said Kalogrides.

Provided by American Sociological Association

Journal reference: Sociology of Education


Federal: Bipartisan Coalition of Lawmakers Introduce ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act’

The Less Federal interference the better (E)

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Federal: Bipartisan Coalition of Lawmakers Introduce 'Respect State Marijuana Laws Act'United States Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with a bipartisan coalition of three Republicans (Reps. Rohrabacher, Rep. Justin Amash [R-MI], and Don Young [R-AK]) and three Democrats (Reps. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR], Steve Cohen [D-TN] and Jared Polis [D-CO]) are sponsoring House Bill 1523: the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act.

This measure seeks to amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to exempt from federal prosecution individuals and businesses, including marijuana dispensaries and/or retail outlets, who comply with state marijuana laws.

“This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws,” Rohrabacher said in a prepared statement, “It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”

You can write to Congress in support of HR 1523 using a pre-written letter when you visit NORML‘s ‘Take Action Center’ here:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10475

Sincerely,
The NORML Team.

 

 


Cannabis Heals-And The Government Knows It!

Jack Herer

Jack Herer

The Truth About Hemp

(regardless of what this lying government says) 

In 1974, Virginia Medical College in Richmond, Virginia did research on tumors of the lung, brain, liver and kidney using mice and rats. Incredible things were done. The cancer stopped growing and in most cases even reversed itself 100 percent. Some of the mice who were given cancer and treated with cannabis actually lived longer than some of the control mice who were not even given cancer! It was found that marijuana is the best thing to treat cancer of the lungs, brain, etc. After that they were stopped from doing any more research at all, by first Nixon and then Ford. No research with positive results could be done, only research with negative results. That’s the way it’s been since 1975 until now, even though a 1999 marijuana study turned out to be positive also.

Jack Herer, Ah-ha Publishing, Austin, Texas, June 2011, pp. 71

Thanks to my friend Henry Garcia who writes a regular heath newsletter called “Divine Life”. Let me know if you are interested and I will give you contact info.

E

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How couples recover after an argument stems from their infant relationships

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Image via Wikipedia

February 18, 2011    blog this article

When studying relationships, psychological scientists have often focused on how couples fight. But how they recover from a fight is important, too. According to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, couples’ abilities to bounce back from conflict may depend on what both partners were like as infants.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been following a cohort of people since before they were born, in the mid-1970s. When the subjects were about 20 years old, they visited the lab with their romantic partners for testing. This included a conflict discussion, when they were asked to talk about an issue they disagreed on, followed by a “cool-down” period, when the couples spent a few minutes talking about something they saw eye to eye about.

Although the cool-down period was included just to make sure the researchers weren’t sending the couples away angry, Jessica E. Salvatore, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, noticed some interesting things about the couples’ communication styles during this recovery time. “As part of another project where we looked at how couples fight, I would often catch a few minutes of this cool-down period,” she says. Salvatore noticed that some couples had intense conflicts, but made a perfectly clean transition to chatting about something they agreed on. In other couples, one or both partners seemed “stuck” on the conflict discussion and couldn’t move on.

With Sally I-Chun Kuo, Ryan D. Steele, Jeffry A. Simpson, and W. Andrew Collins, all from the University of Minnesota, Salvatore embarked on a closer look at what happens after a conflict supposedly ends. By looking back at observations of the participants and their caregivers from the 1970s, when they were between 12 and 18 months old, the researchers discovered a link between the couples’ conflict recovery behaviors and the quality of their attachment relationship with their caregivers. People who were more securely attached to their caregivers as infants were better at recovering from conflict 20 years later. This means that if your caregiver is better at regulating your negative emotions as an infant, you tend to do a better job of regulating your own negative emotions in the moments following a conflict as an adult.

The researchers also found that there is hope for people who were insecurely attached as infants. “We found that people who were insecurely attached as infants but whose adult romantic partners recover well from conflict are likely to stay together,” remarked Salvatore. “If one person can lead this process of recovering from conflict, it may buffer the other person and the relationship.” The health of a relationship can be salvaged if one person can quickly disengage from conflict and avoid dwelling on negative thoughts and emotions.

This is some of the first evidence that romantic partners play an important role in buffering the potential harmful effects from poor experiences earlier in life. “That, to us, was the most exciting finding,” Salvatore says. “There’s something about the important people later in our lives that changes the consequences of what happened earlier.”

Provided by Association for Psychological Science (news : web)

blog this article

Source: http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-couples-recover-argument-stems-infant.html

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War on Drugs exposed as failure at world AIDS conference in Vienna

From http://www.drugsense.org

DRUG POLICY IS INCONSISTENT WITH ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE

**********************************************************************

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #443 – Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Syndicated columnist Dan Gardner covers an event and provides a
historical background which has received little attention (the New
York Times did cover the story
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n583/a01.html ).

Mr. Gardner was recognized by the Drug Policy Alliance with the
Edward M. Brecher Award for Achievement in the Field of Journalism
for the series at this link  http://www.mapinc.org/gardner.htm You
may read more of his columns at http://www.mapinc.org/author/Dan+Gardner

Please read and sign The Vienna Declaration at
http://www.viennadeclaration.com/

Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jul 2010

Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)

Copyright: 2010 The Ottawa Citizen

Contact: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/letters.html

Author: Dan Gardner, The Ottawa Citizen

WHY OUR DRUG POLICY IS ‘INCONSISTENT’ WITH ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE

It’s safe to assume most people have never heard of the “Vienna
Declaration.” And that simple fact helps explain why public policies
that fail — policies that do vastly more harm than good — can live
on despite overwhelming evidence of their failure.

The Vienna Declaration, published in the medical journal The Lancet,
is an official statement of the 18th International AIDS Conference,
which wraps up today in Vienna. Drafted by an international team of
public health experts, including Evan Wood of the University of
British Columbia, the Vienna Declaration seeks to “improve community
health and safety” by, in the words of the committee, “calling for
the incorporation of scientific evidence into illicit drug policies.”

Please don’t stop reading. I promise this will not turn into another
of my rants about the catastrophic failure of drug prohibition. I’ve
been writing variations on that theme for more than a decade now and
everyone knows I am a crazed extremist whose views are not to be
trusted by decent folk. I’ll spare you.

Instead, I will merely present a few sentences from the Vienna Declaration:

.  “The criminalization of illicit drug users is fuelling the HIV
epidemic and has resulted in overwhelming health and social consequences.”

.  “There is no evidence that increasing the ferocity of law
enforcement meaningfully reduces the prevalence of drug use.”

.  “The evidence that law enforcement has failed to prevent the
availability of illegal drugs, in communities where there is demand,
is now unambiguous. Over the last several decades, (there has been) a
general pattern of falling drug prices and increasing drug purity —
despite massive investments in drug law enforcement.”

.  (Existing policies have produced) “a massive illicit market. …
These profits remain entirely outside the control of government. They
fuel crime, violence and corruption in countless urban communities
and have destabilized entire countries, such as Colombia, Mexico, and
Afghanistan.”

.  “Billions of tax dollars (have been) wasted on a ‘war on drugs’
approach …”

.  Governments should “undertake a transparent review of the
effectiveness of current drug policies.”

.  “A full policy reorientation is needed.”

Remarkable, isn’t it? It’s exactly what this crazed extremist has
been saying for more than a decade and yet the people who wrote and
signed it are anything but crazed extremists. Among them is a long
list of esteemed public health experts, including the president of
the International AIDS Society, the executive director of the Global
Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and Canada’s own Dr. James
Orbinski. There are former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and
Colombia. And there are several Nobel laureates, including the
economist Vernon Smith. (See the full list of signatories, along with
the statement, at viennadeclaration.com).

This should be big news. Drug policies affect everything from the
local street corner to the war in Afghanistan — and here is a long
list of informed and eminent people who agree what we are currently
doing is a horrifying mistake that wastes money and takes lives. The
public should be alarmed.

But this is not big news. And the public is not alarmed. In fact,
most of the public has never heard of the Vienna Declaration. Why not?

To answer that, let me take you way back to Sept. 5, 1989. That
evening, U.S. president George H.W. Bush made a televised national
address. Holding up a bag labelled “evidence,” Bush explained that
this was crack seized at the park across the street from the White
House. Crack is everywhere, he said. It’s an epidemic. Bush vowed
“victory over drugs.”

The whole thing was a fraud. Federal agents had tried to find someone
selling drugs in the park but couldn’t. Posing as customers, they
called a drug dealer and asked him to come to the park. “Where the
(expletive) is the White House?” the dealer said. So the police gave
him directions.

This chicanery was exposed not long after but it didn’t matter.
Bush’s address was a smash. The media bombarded the public with
hysterical stories about the “crack epidemic.” Popular concern
soared. And “all this occurred while nearly every index of drug use
was dropping,” noted sociologists Craig Reinarman and Harry G. Levine.

The power to throw the switch on media coverage isn’t exclusive to
the White House, of course. In 1998, the United Nations convened a
General Assembly Special Session which brought leaders from all over
the world to discuss illicit drugs. The media deluged the public with
stories about drugs — and the UN’s official goal, signed at the end
of the assembly by all member states, of “eliminating or
significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of the coca bush, the
cannabis plant and the opium poppy by the year 2008.”

Time passed. The Special Assembly was forgotten. When 2008 rolled
around, cocaine output had increased 20 per cent and opium production
had doubled. But this spectacular failure was almost completely
ignored in the media. Why? The UN stayed mum. So did national
governments. With no major institutions putting the subject on the
agenda, the media ignored it.

This is the essential problem: If governments talk about drugs,
journalists talk about drugs; if they don’t, we don’t. And since
governments are full of people whose budgets, salaries, and careers
depend on the status quo, they talk about drugs when doing so is good
for the status quo, but they are silent as mimes when it’s not. Thus
the media become the unwitting propaganda arm of the status quo.

I’m not sure what it will take to change this. It would certainly
help if the media would stop letting governments decide what is news
and what is not. Even better would be leaders with the courage to put
evidence ahead of cheap politics, entrenched thinking, and vested interests.

But that’s not happening. And so, on Monday, the government of Canada
felt free to categorically reject the Vienna Declaration because it
is “inconsistent” with its policies — policies which have never been
subjected to evidence-based evaluation and would surely be condemned
if they were.

This is how failure lives on.


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