Posted December 22, 2009
Education | Immigration | Media | Multiculturalism/Multicultural Society | Religion | U.S. Society
Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation
Center for American Progress, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, November 9, 2009, online edition, 113p
"The second in the 'Leaders and Laggards' series, this report examines the 50 states and the District of Columbia in eight categories including school management, finance, technology, and staffing. Overall, the states posted mediocre results, and across the categories, not a single state earned top grades in more than one or two areas. Based on the group’s research and analysis, a detailed list of recommendations was developed to suggest the most effective approach to reforming the nation’s education system." Frederick M. Hess is the Director of Public Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Fulltext E1/05-09
Don't Forget Curriculum
Brookings Institute, October 14, 2009, online edition, 11p
"President Obama has committed himself to “reform America’s public schools,” and his administration is focused on making early childhood programs, common standards, charter schools and teachers more effective. However, writes Russ Whitehurst, the administration should also undertake actions to better integrate curriculum innovation and reform into its policy framework. 'Don't Forget Curriculum' compares the size of the effects on student achievement brought about by curriculum with the size of the effects of popular reform strategies favored by the Obama administration."
Grover Whitehurst is the Former Director of the Institute of Education Sciences within the U.S. Department of Education. Fulltext E2/05-09
The Persuadable Public
Howell, William; West, Martin, Peterson, Paul
Education Next, Fall 2009, v9, #4, online edition, 10p
"What do Americans think about their schools? More important, perhaps, what would it take to change their minds? Can a president at the peak of his popularity convince people to rethink their positions on specific education reforms? [...] In a series of survey experiments, we find a substantial share of the public
willing to reconsider its policy prescriptions for public schools. But this
responsiveness is not uniform: presidential appeals are more persuasive to
fellow partisans than to those who identify with the opposition party,
research findings have the greatest impact when an issue remains unsettled,
and learning basic facts has the biggest impact when those facts are
not well known. None of this comes as a surprise, until one considers how stable aggregate public opinion has been over time."
William G. Howell is Sydney Stein Professor of American Politics at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Paul E. Peterson is Professor of government at Harvard University, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Editor-in-Chief of Education Next. Martin R. West is Assistant Professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Executive Editor of Education Next. Fulltext E3/05-09
The PreSchool Picture: Focus Fun on Kids in Need
Finn, Chester E. Jr.
Education Next, Fall 2009, v9, #4, online edition, 8p
"The campaign for universal preschool education in the United States
has gained great momentum. Precisely as strategists intended,many Americans have come to believe
that pre-kindergarten is a good and necessary thing for government to provide, even that not providing
it will cruelly deprive our youngest residents of their birthrights, blight their educational futures,
and dim their life prospects.Yet a troubling contradiction bordering on dishonesty casts a shadow over
today’smighty push for universal pre-Keducation inAmerica."
Chester E. Finn Jr. is President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Senior Editor at Education Next. Fulltext E4/05-09
DEHUMANIZED: When Math and Science Rule the School
Harper's, September 2009, v319, #1912, pp32-40
"Why is every Crisis in American Education cast as an economic threat and never a civic one?" Mark Slouka argues the emphasis on mathscience and the devaluing of the humanities by those who control education and write and talk about education in the general media have framed the discussion within the context of economic success and competition.
Mark Slouka is a Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine. Order article E5/05-09
Steady as She Goes: Three Generations of Students through the Science and Engineering Pipeline
Lowell, B. Lindsay et al.
Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University and Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University, October 27, 2009, online edition, 57p
"A decline in both the quantity and quality of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is widely noted in policy reports, the popular press, and by policymakers. Fears of increasing global competition compound the perception that there has been a drop in the supply of high-quality students moving up through the STEM pipeline in the United States. Yet, is there evidence of a long-term decline in the proportion of American students with the relevant training and qualifications to pursue STEM jobs?"
Dr. Lowell is Director of Policy Studies for the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. Fulltext E6/05-09
Assessment for Improvement: Tracking Student Engagement Over Time — Annual Results 2009
National Survey of Student Engagement, November 2009, 52p (PDF)
"A national survey released today shows that a variety of colleges and universities have shown steady improvement in the quality of undergraduate education, as measured by students’ exposure to and involvement in effective educational practices. The 2009 report [...] details results from a 2009 survey of 360,000 students attending 617 U.S. colleges and universities, and it includes a special look at trends in student engagement at more than 200 of those schools that had four to six year’s worth of data going back to 2004." Fulltext E7/05-09
Essential to the Fight: Immigrants in the Military Eight Years after 9/11
Stock, Margaret D.
Immigration Policy Center, November 2009, online edition, 11p
"From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants voluntarily serve in all branches of the U.S. military and are a vital asset to the Department of Defense. To recognize their unique contribution, immigrants serving honorably in the military who are not yet U.S. citizens are granted significant advantages in the naturalization process. Over the past eight years, Congress has amended military-related enlistment and naturalization rules to allow expanded benefits for immigrants and their families and encourage recruitment of immigrants into the U.S. Armed Forces. Without the contributions of immigrants, the military could not meet its recruiting goals and could not fill its need for foreign-language translators, interpreters, and cultural experts. This latest Special Report reflects on the vital role immigrants have and continue to play in keeping our nation safe."
Margaret D. Stock has been appointed as a Visiting Fellow at the Border Policy
Research Institute (BPRI) at Western Washington University for fall quarter,
2009. Fulltext E8/05-09
Breaking the Immigration Stalemate
Galston, William; Pickus, Noah; Skerry, Peter et al.
Report from the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable, October 2009, online edition, 36p (PDF)
"Immigration is a daunting issue even in normal times.
And these are hardly normal times. The recent financial
and economic crisis has exacerbated previously high
levels of distrust between Americans and their leaders.
Immigration policy has both contributed to that distrust
and suffered from it. Confounding the task facing policy-makers is the way
immigration pervades so many aspects of American society and implicates so many other policy areas, including labor
markets, education, and health care. The hard policy questions
here are consequently even harder to address. For
the same reason, it is all the more critical that we do so.
The members of the Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable focused on a few critical parts of this hellishly complicated policy domain."
William Galston is Senior Fellow and Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution. Noah Pickus is Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University. Peter Skerry is Professor of Political Science, Boston College. Fulltext E9/05-09
Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States
Vidgor, Jacob L.
Manhattan Institute, Civic Report #59, October 2009, 52p (PDF)
"This report, the second in an ongoing series, takes advantage of newly released U.S. Census Bureau data from 2007 to measure changes in an index describing the state of economic, civic, and cultural assimilation of immigrants to the United States. It also explores in detail two of the factors used to compute the index: immigrants’ English-language ability and naturalization rates, both of which have been affected by the reduced inflow and increased outflow of recent immigrants. Because legal adult immigrants who have been here less than five years cannot become citizens and are unlikely to have mastered English in so short a period, the economic downturn is having an effect on all three assimilation indexes: economic, of course; but also cultural assimilation, of which English skills are an important component; and civic assimilation, of which citizenship is an important component."
Jacob Vigdor is Associate Professor of Public Policy Studies and Economics at Duke University, where he has taught since 1999, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Fulltext E10/05-09
Children of Immigrants: Immigration Trends
Fortuny, Karina; Chaudry, Ajay
Urban Institute, Fact Sheet #1, October 2009, online edition, 6p
The current fact sheet examines immigration trends and finds that "[c]hildren of immigrants are the fastest growing segment of the nation's children population. While the number of children of natives increased by 2.1 million between 1990 and 2007, children of immigrants grew by 8.1 million accounting for 77 percent of the growth of the U.S. children population during this time."
Karina Fortuny and Ajay Chaudry are Senior Fellows at the Urban Institute.
Which American Dream Do You Mean?
Society, September/October 2009, v46, #5, pp398-402
"According to the latest U.S. Census projection, the arrival of immigrants and
their higher birthrates, projected forward at current rates, will turn the U.S.
into a "minority-majority" society in 2042, 8 years earlier than the Census used to predict. Liberals tend to view immigration to the U.S. as a human right, but many employers prefer to hire immigrants because they can be paid less than the cost of reproducing their labor--that is, the cost of keeping an American family above the poverty line. One way of looking at the resulting debates over U.S. immigration policy is in terms of moral economy, that is, how different factions compete for moral authority in order to gain control over a desired good. In this case, the desired good is American citizenship, including access to the highest consumption rates on the planet, and national definitions of citizenship are competing with transnational or globalist definitions of citizenship."
David Stoll teaches Anthropology at Middlebury College. Order article E12/05-09
Immigration Benefits America
Gold, Steven J.
Society, September/October 2009, v46, #5, pp408-411
"The previous article suggests that because contemporary immigrants are non-European, uneducated, poor, and uninterested in joining the moral community of American society, their presence threatens national unity, obscures citizens' obligations to one another and will shortly change the US into a minority-majority society. Drawing from historical accounts and statistical evidence, this article asserts that immigrants provide American society with social, economic and demographic benefits. Moreover, while pundits have long predicted that immigrants with national origins distinct from those of natives will transform American life to its detriment, the record reveals the US has been able to incorporate diverse nationalities to the benefit of immigrants and the native-born alike."
Steven J. Gold
is Professor, Associate Chair and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State College. Order article E13/05-09
How U.S. Adults Use Radio and Other Forms of Audio
Council for Research Excellence supported by Nielsen, October 29, 2009, online edition, 38p (PDF)
"A Nielsen analysis of a media use study conducted by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) found that 77% of adults are reached by broadcast radio on a daily basis, second only to television at 95%. This study, in which consumers were physically observed consuming media throughout the day, found that Web/Internet (excluding email) reached 64%, newspaper 35%, and magazines 27%. In a deeper analysis of audio media titled “How U.S. Adults Use Radio and Other Forms of Audio,” Nielsen found that that 90% of consumers listen to some form of audio media per day. The 77% who listen to broadcast radio surpass the 37% who listen to CDs and tapes and the 12% who listen to portable audio devices. Broadcast radio also continues to play a major role to all ages, with almost 80 percent of those aged 18 to 34 listening to broadcast radio in an average day." Fulltext E14/05-09
The Story Behind the Story
Atlantic Monthly, October 2009, online edition
"With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the “reporting” that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. [This is] a case-study of our post-journalistic age."
Mark Bowden is an Atlantic Monthly National Correspondent. Fulltext E15/-5-09
The Reconstruction of American Journalism
Downie Jr., Leonard; Schudson, Michael
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, October 20, 2009
"As the news business continues to confront fundamental economic challenges, a report, released on Oct. 19, 2009 by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, proposes new steps for maintaining a vibrant, independent press, with special emphasis on local “accountability journalism” that is essential to civic life."
The report was written by Leonard Downie, Jr., Former Executive Editor of The Washington Post, and Michael Schudson, a Journalism School professor. Fulltext E16/05-09
FOX News Viewed as most Ideological Network
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, October 29, 2009, online edition, 15p
"The Fox News Channel is viewed by Americans in more ideological terms than other television news networks. And while the public is evenly divided in its view of hosts of cable news programs having strong political opinions, more Fox News viewers see this as a good thing than as a bad thing." Fulltext E17/05-09
Twitter and Status Updating, Fall 2009
Fox, Susannah et al.
Pew Internet and American Life Project, October 21, 2009, online edition,
"Some 19% of internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others--up from 11% in April. Three groups of internet users are mainly responsible for driving the growth of this activity: social network website users, those who connect to the internet via mobile devices, and younger internet users – those under age 44."
Susannah Fox is Associate Director, Digital Strategy, at Pew Internet and American Life Project. Fulltext E18/05-09
The Decline of Bigotry in America
Society, November/December 2009, v46, #6, pp517-521
"Though prejudice and discrimination exist in America, it has been steadily declining and measurably so. From our very beginnings, there has been a diversity, accretion, succession, and simultaneity of racial, religious, ethnic, and gender victims and victimizers. Fortunately, there has also been a process of meliorism, epitomized by the presidential election of a black American of mixed racial parents—Barack Hussein Obama. Regardless of their group identity, today’s generation of Americans has less victims or victimizers and has more social, political, and economic opportunities than their parents, grandparents, and predecessors had."
Philip Perlmutter is the Former Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and the author of Divided We Fall: A History of Ethnic, Religious, and Racial Prejudice in America (1992). Order article E19/05-09
Equity and Empathy: Toward Racial and Educational Achievement in the Obama Era
Carter, Prudence L.
Harvard Educational Review, Summer 2009, v79, #2, pp287-309
"Reflecting on the 2008 election, Prudence Carter challenges the popular notion that President Obama's victory is symbolic of a postracial society in the United States. Citing statistics about the opportunity gap that still exists in our nation's schools-as well as the recent Supreme Court cases that served to halt racial desegregation-Carter argues that we must continue to push for truly integrated schools, where black and Latino students are provided with the resources, high standards, and care to meet their full potential. Although she sees President Obama's victory as a symbol of national potential, Carter calls on all of us to work toward ending the "empathy gap" that exists both in and out of our nation's schools."
Prudence L. Carter is a sociologist with expertise in education, race and ethnic relations, and culture. She is Co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. Fulltext E20/05-09
Religion as a Form of Hope
Dissent, Fall 2009, v56, #4, pp92-97
"It is a difficult time for a rational defense of religion. Because for most of my life I thought of myself as an atheist (and in certain moods still do), I never imagined that I would find myself a defender. The prevalence of fundamentalism in various forms, particularly in its fanatical and murderous manifestations both in the developed and the developing worlds, would seem to be a caution against the embrace of religion. What has provoked me as an agnostic to defend the existence of religion (without embracing it)? First is its legacy in literature and the arts and, second, the tone deafness of neoDarwinians who see nothing in the religious life except superstition and fanaticism. They are of course incapable of seeing the fanatical motes in their own eyes."
Eugene Goodheart is Edytha Macy Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Brandeis University. Fulltext E21/05-09
2009 Report on International Religious Freedom
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, October 26, 2009, online edition
"The International Religious Freedom report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. The report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide." Fulltext F23/05-09
Women: The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything
Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, edited by Heather Boushey, October 16, 2009, online edition
"This report describes how a woman’s nation changes everything about how we live and work today. Now for the first time in the U.S. history, women are half of all U.S. workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families. This is a dramatic shift from just a generation ago. It changes how women spend their days and has a ripple effect that reverberates throughout our nation. It fundamentally changes how we all work and live, not just women but also their families, their co-workers, their bosses, their faith institutions, and their communities." Fulltext E24/05-09
Women: The State of the American Women
Time Magazine (US edition), October 26, 2009, online edition, 15p
"If you were a woman reading this magazine 40 years ago, the odds were good that your husband provided the money to buy it. That you voted the same way he did. That if you got breast cancer, he might be asked to sign the form authorizing a mastectomy. That your son was heading to college but not your daughter. That your boss, if you had a job, could explain that he was paying you less because, after all, you were probably working just for pocket money. It's funny how things change slowly, until the day we realize they've changed completely. [...]
A quiet revolution has changed the status of American women; so what's new now?" Fulltext E25/05-09
America’s Families and Living Arrangements 2007
U.S. Census Bureau, September 2009, online edition, 21p
"This report presents basic trends in household and family composition and living arrangements. Some highlights of the are: Sixty-eight percent of households in 2007 were family households, compared with 81 percent in 1970. The proportion of one-person house­holds increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2007, from 17 percent to 27 percent. Between 1970 and 2007, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6." Fulltext E26/05-09
America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009
Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Childstats.gov), October 29, 2009, online edition
"America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009 is a compendium of indicators illustrating both the promises and the difficulties confronting our Nation’s young people. The report presents 40 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable statistics, easily understood by broad audiences, objectively based on substantial research, balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, measured regularly so that they can be updated to show trends over time, and representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group." Fulltext E27/05-09
Poverty in the United States: 2008
Congressional Research Service (CRS), CRS Report for Congress, October 6, 2009, online edition, 21p
"In 2008, 39.8 million people were counted as poor in the United States—an increase of 2.6 million persons from 2007, and nearly the largest number of persons counted as poor since 1960. The poverty rate, or percent of the population considered poor under the official definition, was reported at 13.2%; up from 12.5% in 2007, and the highest rate since 1997. The recent increase in poverty reflects the worsened economic conditions since the onset of the economic recession in December 2007. Many expect poverty to rise further next year, and it will likely remain comparatively high even after the economy begins to recover. The incidence of poverty varies widely across the population according to age, education, labor force attachment, family living arrangements, and area of residence, among other factors. Under the official poverty definition, an average family of four was considered poor in 2008 if its pre-tax cash income for the year was below $22,025."
Thomas Gabe is a specialist in social policy at CRS. Fulltext E28/05-09
U.S. Society: Most Still Oppose Gay Marriage, but Support for Civil Unions Continues to Rise
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, October 9, 2009, online edition
"A clear majority of Americans (57%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples, a status commonly known as civil unions. This finding marks a slight uptick in support for civil unions and appears to continue a significant long-term trend since the question was first asked in Pew Research Center surveys in 2003, when support for civil unions stood at 45%." Fulltext E29/05-09