Miscalculating Political Price of “Free” Speech

29 09 2007

“I’m a supporter of abortion rights, but I could be a Christian-right person and still be in favor of free speech,” Mr. Hoag said.

“If they think they can censor what’s on my phone, they’ve got another thing coming.”

So the Word “Is” Are Correct . . .

27 09 2007

At a dinner with broadcast journalists in 2001, Bush poked fun of himself for his “Is our children learning?” statement.”Let us analyze that sentence for a moment,” he said. “If you’re a stickler, you probably think the singular verb ‘is’ should have been the plural ‘are.’ But if you read it closely, you’ll see I’m using the intransitive plural subjunctive tense.

So the word ‘is’ are correct.”

So — I can has cheezburger??

Gift of Effective Education Advocacy for Thinking Parents, Kids, Homeschoolers Too

27 09 2007

Through the National Home Education Network, homeschool advocates collaborated on a handy-dandy legislative advocacy self-education project, lessons gleaned from our real efforts and experiences in the public square:

“Home Education on the Legislative Stage:
Wisdom Gleaned from the NHEN Legislative List”

It’s still great stuff imo. AND, now from “Unwrapping the Gifted” comes similarly practical, proven education advocacy advice from the schooling side of child-led education change. I’m thinking we all — schooling or not, gifted or not — 😉 — can learn a thing or two from these excerpts:

My goal today is to offer some hope and some strategies.
Wherever you are, and no matter the laws and policies that may govern your state/locale, there are little things we can each do that can add up to make a big difference.

Thus began my struggle to find ways to effectively advocate for my charges, gain appropriate accommodations for them, and do so all without rocking the boat and sinking it again.

. . . I learned the hard way that sinking it doesn’t do anyone involved any good – and the goal gets lost in the depths.

Suggested strategy #1: Observe. Rather than pound down the front door and force your way in, sneak in the back door and simply sit and observe for awhile. In the meantime, your presence will become part of the fabric, part of the scenery, part of the norm.

Observe the culture – not just the “school culture,” but also the broader culture of the community, county, state. . . search for answers to questions such as these: How does change happen here? What philosophies drive the people to do what they do, think what they think, and resist what they resist? Who is really in charge? Where do you see glimmers of hope? Which little piece can you change easily? And then go from there.

Suggested strategy #2: Subtle blitz. . . a “food for thought” campaign. About every three weeks, I put a little something into everyone’s mailboxes to gently encourage some reflection or thinking about gifted students. . . . keep in mind that not everyone may appreciate it at first. Read the rest of this entry »

Unity08 and Sam Waterston On “Colbert Report” Tonight!

26 09 2007

Sam Waterston, Emmy-winning actor and Unity08 spokesperson,

will be on The Colbert Report

Wednesday, September 26 at 11:30pm ET.



Right Thinking About Parent Rights: Polygamy and Homeschooling

26 09 2007

With the Warren Jeffs guilty verdict in the news today, you might have your synapses stimulated by the provocative discussion last summer (August 2006) at Tad the Rational Mormon Dad’s.


I ask these questions not because I support polygamy (one wife at a time is more than enough for me, thank you!) but because I want to explore where the lines are with regard to the state’s power and responsibility to protect children and the parent’s right to control the child’s upbringing. Does the same reasoning apply here that supports our right to homeschool? If not, then why not?
Here is the scenario: A fourteen-year-old girl is “married” in religion that believes in plural marriage. The girl’s parents, who are also members of this religion, consent and even encourage the arrangement.

Here are the questions:

Does the state have a right to prohibit this religious group from practicing plural marriage (polygamy), or it the practice protected by the “Free Exercise” clause of the First Amendment?

Does the state have a right to override the parental consent and intervene to prevent the child from entering into this arrangement? Is there a legitimate state interest to protect the child?

Have the parents or the “husband” committed an act of child sexual abuse?

Is the girl competent to make her own decision in this matter?

Then here’s a mash-up of my three comments, that might (or might not!) make a sort of stand-alone sense taken together:

We Talkin’ Ethics or Law?

Are we mainly talkin’ right-wrong, or right-left?
Religion, politics, or only the intersection of the two?

Or just sort of mixing and matching?

What’s been wrought against women and children historically has been in the name of almost everything. Hard to know where to jump in. . . Read the rest of this entry »

How Education Produces Health: A Hypothetical Framework

26 09 2007

Columbia University – Teachers College Record
Date Published: September 12, 2007
ID Number: 14606

by Peter Muennig — September 12, 2007

Background: High school graduates live six to nine years longer than high school dropouts. Those with less education are more likely to die prematurely of cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious disease, diabetes, lung disease, and injury than those with more education. Although there is growing evidence that the education-health relationship is causal, and some mechanisms linking education to health have been proposed, there is no gestalt for thinking about the health production function of education.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to outline the mechanisms through which education may produce health.

Design: I explore the health risk factors that are more prevalent among those with lower educational attainment to ascertain whether such risk factors plausibly cause the diseases for which the less educated are at risk. To examine these relationships, I conduct a review of the public health, economics, endocrinology, sociology, neurosciences, and other literatures.

Conclusions: A remarkably clear path can be drawn between what we now believe to be the risk factors for disease and the primary causes of death among those with lower attainment. Although hypothetical, the pathways outlined in this article can be used as a basis for thinking about the health production function of education.

These mechanisms may better allow policy makers to understand the relationship between education and health. They may also be used to guide future research on the health benefits of education.

Finally, although the proposed pathways are hypothetical, there is good overall evidence that education produces health. Therefore, health benefits should be included as core outcome measures in future education research.

Junk-Free Schools Video Contest

25 09 2007

Calling All Young Filmmakers

The first Junk-Free Schools Video Contest is underway from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This consumer advocacy group seeks short videos that will help bring healthier foods to schools.The grand prize is a $100 gift certificate for iTunes and the winning video will be showcased at the CSPI school foods Web site.
Deadline is Nov. 1.
(via WaPo food/health columns)