Category Archives: Education

The Guardian: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer babies!

white babies picture from the guardian stop images

The Guardian’s photo of choice/Stop Images

Notice the picture that The Guardian chose to use: it’s only white babies. What are they trying to tell us?

From The Guardian: The greatest impact individuals can have in fighting climate change is to have one fewer child, according to a new study that identifies the most effective ways people can cut their carbon emissions.

The next best actions are selling your car, avoiding long flights (paging Leo), and eating a vegetarian diet. These reduce emissions many times more than common green activities, such as recycling, using low energy light bulbs or drying washing on a line. However, the high impact actions are rarely mentioned in government advice and school textbooks, researchers found.

Carbon emissions must fall to two tonnes of CO2 per person by 2050 to avoid severe global warming, but in the US and Australia emissions are currently 16 tonnes per person and in the UK seven tonnes. “That’s obviously a really big change and we wanted to show that individuals have an opportunity to be a part of that,” said Kimberly Nicholas, at Lund University in Sweden and one of the research team.

The new study, published in Environmental Research Letters, sets out the impact of different actions on a comparable basis. By far the biggest ultimate impact is having one fewer child, which the researchers calculated equated to a reduction of 58 tonnes of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life.

The figure was calculated by totting up the emissions of the child and all their descendants, then dividing this total by the parent’s lifespan. Each parent was ascribed 50% of the child’s emissions, 25% of their grandchildren’s emissions and so on.

“We recognise these are deeply personal choices. But we can’t ignore the climate effect our lifestyle actually has,” said Nicholas. “It is our job as scientists to honestly report the data. Like a doctor who sees the patient is in poor health and might not like the message ‘smoking is bad for you’, we are forced to confront the fact that current emission levels are really bad for the planet and human society.”

“In life, there are many values on which people make decisions and carbon is only one of them,” she added. “I don’t have children, but it is a choice I am considering and discussing with my fiance. Because we care so much about climate change that will certainly be one factor we consider in the decision, but it won’t be the only one.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

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Bosses say graduates can’t cope with office life

einstein

From Daily Mail: A third of companies are concerned about young people’s attitude to work, a report by business leaders says today.

With many graduates and school leavers lacking the mindset and skills required to thrive in the workplace, the CBI said teachers needed to better reflect the importance of ‘attitude and aptitude for work’.

There are also worries about the literacy and numeracy skills of young employees, with firms admitting they have had to run classes for recruits.

The CBI/Pearson survey of 344 firms found that 32 per cent were dissatisfied with graduates’ ‘attitudes and behaviours of self-management and resilience’, with 40 per cent saying they lacked customer awareness.

Some 33 per cent of business leaders were unhappy with the literacy of young applicants, while 29 per cent said their numeracy wasn’t up to scratch. Faced with a skills shortage, two in five businesses (41 per cent) have been forced to do remedial training for school or college leavers.

The CBI said stretching academic standards ‘should not be the sole focus’ for schools as ‘broader personal development aspects risk being pushed to the sidelines’.

Firms believe primary schools should focus on developing literacy and numeracy (67 per cent), self-management (41 per cent) and communication skills (34 per cent).

The report said: ‘Personal attitudes, aptitude, readiness to learn, effective communication skills and a sufficient capacity to cope with numerical data are the key enablers. It is critically important that all young people are helped to develop as fully as possible in these areas.’

Josh Hardie, the CBI’s deputy director general, said: ‘Quality of teaching, learning and careers inspiration defines the life chances of young people.’

Dr. Mary Bousted, head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: ‘With savage cuts to further education funding since 2009… it is unsurprising that businesses are struggling to find enough skilled staff.’ (Of course…/sarc)

See also:

DCG

Give us a break, plead Seattle’s maligned millennials

millenials vs other generations

Don’t blame millennials…they have it much tougher

From Seattle Times: Give it a rest, boomers and Xers. Millennials have heard plenty by now about how they’re just the worst generation ever.

If their detractors are to be believed, they’re entitled, narcissistic, selfie-taking, self-absorbed, “everyone gets a trophy” brats, and they’re to blame for the demise of everything from cereal, paper napkins and bar soap to chain restaurants, the diamond industry and even democracy.

So stop, please, say some Seattleites who were born between 1977 and 2004 — that’s the Millennial Generation, depending on which definition you’re using.

“It’s completely unfair,” said Ashley Krzeszowski, 24, of West Seattle. “We’ve been handed a broken system and we’re just doing the best we can.”

Krzeszowski just graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in cellular, molecular and developmental biology and applied mathematics. She has a job at the same lab she’s been working at for the last few years and yet she is still living with her parents.

No need to judge, she said; it makes “prudent financial sense” for her to do so at this time and with the cost of housing in Seattle as high as it is. “As a group, we work hard and try hard,” she said. “But when my parents bought their house, it was two times their annual income and now houses are 10 times most people’s annual salaries.”

“Give us a break,” she said. “All we’re really asking for is enough pay for our phones, treat ourselves to a cup of coffee every once in a while and buy a dress off the sale rack. Is that really too much?”

Cheryl Kaiser, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, admires the Millennial Generation and finds her recent crops of students a “joy to teach.”

They’re creative, unrestrained by convention and willing to take risks, she said. In addition they’ve grown up in tough times and have had to be a little more scrappy than their parents. They ought not take the criticism to heart. “Each generation tends to see the new generation as not as good as their own,” she said. “You see it all the time.”

The generation we belong to is part of who we are; we share norms, values and ideologies with our age mates, she explained. “If our generation does something in a specific way or holds specific values, we come to think of those as the right way, the good way and if one generation sees another doing something different, it can feel threatening, as if there’s something wrong with their way.”

“It’s easier to blame the other group and say they’re doing it wrong than it is to question how we’re doing it,” Kaiser said.

Tim Miller, a 52-year-old musician who plays music at Westlake Park with his friend, Paul Vegors, 24, said he knows that tendency well. “It’s silly, but it’s human nature really,” Miller said. “When you are threatened or in pain, you’re going to look around for someone to blame because someone else has to be responsible.”

In a piece written for The Center for Generational Kinetics, Curt Steinhorst writes that people in his generation do not like the phrase “millennial” as it brings with it connotations of laziness and entitlement. In downtown Seattle, a dozen or so young adults who were asked about their generation seemed to confirm that.

Many flinched when asked if they were millennials and then explained why they felt they were really a bit on the young side to be held accountable for such a litany of woes: the death of golf, vacations, the 9-5 workweek and the lowly cork.

“We’re just growing up, and it’s not all our fault,” said Sandra Quiroz, 19, who works near Westlake Center.

“Don’t they know that a lot of things that are going on are not really under our control?” said Pinkeo Phongsa, a 15-year-old visitor from California who believes she is in the much-maligned generation.

“I really think that everyone is just kind of looking for a scapegoat for a lot of things,” said Angela Olson, 24. “There are things about the way society is going that seem wrong, but it’s not all millennials’ fault. We can’t really take the blame as we were made this way.”

“They don’t want to blame themselves, so they blame us,” said 25-year-old William Co, who works at a tech firm near downtown Seattle. “Every generation blames the next one,” said Rian Ellis, 27. “Given enough time we’ll be complaining about the next generation as well.”

But maybe not. Perhaps age really does bring with it a little chance for wisdom, or at least a little charity.

“You can’t really blame them,” said 69-year-old Tim Micek. “They’ve got it much tougher than we did. They get nothing but my sympathy.”


Shortly after I scheduled this post, I came across this on the Daily Mail:

Millennials aren’t ready for the ‘reality of life’ and suffer from panic attacks and anxiety problems, research finds: Millennials aren’t ready for the ‘reality of life’ and suffer from panic attacks and anxiety problems, new research has revealed.

A study of 2,000 young people preparing to start university found that many aren’t ready for the challenges of living independently. 

The research found that more than half of prospective students don’t know how to pay a bill and that many believe that nights out cost more than paying rent. Researchers said that many would-be students have been left worried and confused by the prospect of leaving home to start higher education.

The study found 61 per cent of millennials are anxious about the prospect of starting university, while 58 per cent are having trouble sleeping and 27 per cent are having panic attacks.

Millennials…just doing the best they can.

DCG

Happy Fourth of July! Watch these students fail the US citizenship test…

Ain’t gubermint edumacajion grand?

Start around the 1:00 minute mark for the student interviews.

DCG

State laws expand concealed gun rights to college campuses, public facilities

second amendment2

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News: Laws allowing concealed guns on college campuses took effect Saturday in several states, including Georgia and Kansas. In Tennessee, concealed guns may now be carried in a broader range of public buildings and bus stations. And in Iowa, permit holders are now able to carry concealed guns in the Capitol.

Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association Institute of Legislative Action, described 2017 as another “successful year for gun rights.”

The new laws continue a pattern of the expansion of gun rights in GOP-controlled states.

The firearms policies are among scores of laws that took effect Saturday, along with the start of the new fiscal year in many states. Some of those laws continue a recent trend of states taking the initiative to fix aging roads and address the drug overdose epidemic.

The gun laws reflect divided public preferences, highlighted by a recent Pew survey that found people nearly evenly split on whether gun control or gun rights were more important.

In Kansas, college students expressed mixed feelings about the new law. “A couple of my friends decided that they were going to go somewhere else, because it kind of freaked them out,” Elena Mendoza, who will start school at Johnson County Community College in the fall, was quoted as telling the Kansas City Star. “Most of us were like, if someone has access to a weapon, they can use it either way.”

Chris Gray, a Johnson County Community College spokesman, said that some students are concerned about the impact of the law. “Generally speaking, people do feel very safe and always have here on campus,” Gray told the Star. “There is that fear of the unknown. What is going to happen?” Gray said.

Johnson County Community College student Nick Serum, 20, believes the law will make the campus more secure. “Does it make me feel safer? I’d say yes,” Serum said to the Star.

Cale Ostby, 27, a Wichita State University student, said that many people in Kansas have concealed guns, and that the concept is nothing new. “It’s insane that I can carry everywhere else except school,” Ostby said.

A voter-approved gun-control initiative prohibiting people from possessing ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets was to go into effect Saturday in California. But it was blocked by a federal judge, who said it would have made criminals out of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens who own the magazines. A similar law passed by the Democratic-dominated Legislature also is subject to the preliminary injunction.

For decades, the National Rifle Association pushed for state laws allowing people to carry concealed guns with permits. Having succeeded nationwide, gun-rights advocates now are gradually expanding where those weapons can be taken. Yet even some of the new laws contain exceptions.

Georgia’s law allows people with concealed handgun permits to take their weapons into classrooms but not dormitories, and college sports fans can pack weapons while tailgating but not inside stadiums.

A Tennessee law allowing guns in many local public buildings, bus stations and parks can be voided if authorities instead opt to install metal detectors staffed by security guards.

Concealed guns are now allowed at college campuses in Kansas as a result of a 2013 law that applies to public buildings lacking heightened security such as metal detectors and guards. A four-year exemption for universities expired Saturday. But in a setback for the NRA, a law that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is allowing to take effect without his signature will make permanent a similar exemption for public hospitals and mental health centers.

In Iowa, the new law allowing permit holders to carry concealed guns in the Capital prompted the state Supreme Court to ban weapons in all courthouses statewide.

Gun rights advocates lauded the laws expanding the circumstances in which people may carry an arm.

Advocates for greater gun regulations also are pleased with the results. On Thursday, Democratic-led Hawaii became the third state to enact a law requiring notification to law enforcement when people prohibited from owning guns try to obtain them anyway.

“This was an excellent year for killing bad gun-lobby bills,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The bills that the gun lobby did get through, in many cases, we helped to water those down.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Report claims Bernie’s wife attempted to evict disabled group home residents

Jane and Bernie Sanders

Jane and Bernie Sanders, faux socialists

Well, this is an interesting development in the “political witch hunt” against him and his wife. Apparently there was no room in one of the Sanders’ three homes to help out the disabled residents…

From Fox News: Sen. Bernie Sanders’s wife has been accused of heartlessly trying to boot disabled group home residents when she was president of a Vermont college and closed on a real estate deal now under FBI scrutiny.

The home with 16 residents was on property Jane O’Meara Sanders purchased for Burlington College in 2010 as part of an expansion project, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch claimed Thursday.

Reports this week say Sanders is under FBI investigation in connection with her role in securing financing for the project which didn’t pan out and led to the college’s closure.

Sanders and Sen. Sanders have reportedly hired defense attorneys in connection with the probe. Sen. Sanders called the accusations against his wife “pretty pathetic” and politically motivated.

Judicial Watch says Mrs. Sanders sent a letter to an attorney representing the HowardCenter group home in January 2011, saying she was having trouble evicting the 16 residents.

“It is simply not fair to expect the College to continue to carry the burden of the expenses associated with housing both you population and ours until February 2012,” she said in the letter Judicial Watch obtained under a public records request.

“The home for the disabled was being leased from the diocese and Jane was supposed to help relocate the residents, not evict them,” Judicial Watch reported. The group contended the comments showed Mrs. Sanders’ heartlessness.

The office of Sen. Sanders, I-Vt., did not return a request for comment.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont initiated eviction proceedings against HowardCenter after selling the 32-acre property to Burlington College, Vermont’s alternative weekly Seven Days reported in March, 2011. The eviction notice gave HowardCenter until November 2010 to leave.

But the diocese extended the notice after HowardCenter said it needed more time to find another home, the paper reported.

Mrs. Sanders was chagrined to be caught up in what amounted to an eviction of mentally disabled tenants, according to the paper.

“We are not trying to be the bad guys here,” she was quoted as saying.  “We have always said that we’d be helpful and we’d try to help them as they found a new home — and we have. At first, we agreed to delay for one semester, and even that was pushing it for us. Six months beyond that is not realistic.”

Sanders  told the weekly that Burlington and the diocese had made financial sacrifices to allow HowardCenter to stay past the eviction date.

“We thought a year’s time was appropriate, and it’s worrisome that they haven’t found a place yet, but there is really no choice any longer,” she was quoted as saying.

DCG

Washington students who failed state testing could get a fast-track to their diploma

oprah meme

From MyNorthwest.com: Thousands of high school students in our state didn’t graduate this year because they failed one of three state-mandated tests required to get a diploma.

Many, including Chris Reykdal, the state superintendent of public instruction, as well as members of the State Board of Education, want the state to eliminate the requirement for one or all of the tests.

Now, after years of debate, lawmakers in Olympia announced they’ve reached a compromise deal expected to come up for votes this week.

Nearly 6,000 Washington high school students didn’t graduate on time this year because they either failed the state required biology test, the math test, or English Language Arts requirements.

“Only recently are the graduating classes held to this standard. Before that, graduation requirements were the same as they’ve always been. Students just needed to pass the classes to earn the credits and pass whatever local requirements were needed for a diploma,” State Rep. Monica Stonier said.

Stonier has been spearheading efforts in the House to resolve the issue. She says that since the test requirements went into effect, students who would otherwise be able to graduate haven’t received a diploma.

The testing requirements are collateral damage from changes to the No Child Left Behind Act passed a few years ago. When the new law was implemented, states were allowed to go back and add their own level of accountability because the federal government no longer required state testing of accountability, Stonier says. “There was push back because these tests didn’t align with the curriculum taught in classrooms,” she said.

The tests have been especially tough for students of color or in poverty. And biology tests have been particularly difficult for students transferring from other states. “Because they hadn’t been in a state where biology was taught and assessed,” Stonier said.

For years, the Legislature has been trying to come up with a fix. Democrats prefer an all-out moratorium on all three tests. Senate Republicans have argued for a temporary exemption from the biology test.

Now, lawmakers on both sides say they’ve come up with a compromise.

The compromise allows students to appeal to local districts. Districts can then reach out to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and make the case that student should graduate without passing one of the tests.

Under the deal, thousands of kids who didn’t graduate this year because they failed math or English Language Arts requirements would be able to fast-track an appeal through OSPI and prove they are proficient in the subject. It also suspends biology requirement, allowing students who failed that test to graduate right away.

Another key provision would have students take the math and ELA test in 10th grade instead of 11th, giving them time to get up to speed on the subject.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week – and so far both sides say they expect it to pass — which means the roughly 2,000 students who didn’t graduate this year because they failed the biology test will graduate right away, and thousands of others who failed math or ELA, can start their appeals.

The compromise is also retroactive back to 2014 — meaning thousands of other students who didn’t graduate because they failed math or ELA tests now have a path to their diplomas.

DCG