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How can teachers teach if parents don't parent?
Joel I. Klein became New York City schools chancellor in July 2002 after serving in the highest levels of government and business. As Chancellor, he oversees more than 1,500 schools with 1.1 million students, 136,000 employees, and a $21-billion operating budget.
Mr. Klein’s comprehensive education reform program, Children First, is transforming the nation's largest public school system into a system of great schools.
Before Mr. Klein became Chancellor, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Bertelsmann, Inc., and chief U.S. liaison officer to Bertelsmann AG from January 2001 to July 2002. Bertelsmann, one of the world’s largest media companies, has annual revenues exceeding $20 billion and employs more than 76,000 people in 54 countries.
From 1997 to 2001, Mr. Klein was assistant attorney general in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Serving one of the longest tenures ever as head of the 700-lawyer division, Klein led landmark cases against Microsoft, WorldCom/Sprint, Visa/Mastercard, and General Electric, prevailing in a large majority of cases. Mr. Klein was widely credited with transforming the antitrust division into one of the Clinton Administration’s greatest successes. He also served as Acting Assistant Attorney General and as the antitrust division’s principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. His appointment to the U.S. Justice Department came after Klein served two years (1993-95) as deputy counsel to President William J. Clinton.
Question: How can teachers teach if parents don't parent?
Joel Klein: The first thing I want to say is I know it can be done, those children that you’re talking about who come from the most challenging backgrounds, I’ve seen those kids in schools succeeding in education. I’m not saying it’s easy. And I’m not saying there aren’t enormous complexities in the system.
The way you do it is a combination, in my view, of three things. And you got to get all of them right.
The first thing is you’ve got to have an environment in which you set high expectations. I’m going to come back and tell you a story about that, but if the adults in the building don’t believe that the kids, no matter what their family circumstance, that the kids are going on to do great things, the kids will internalize the message. If they believe that family circumstance is the kind of handicap that makes it impossible for them to succeed, they’ll internalize that, and they won’t succeed. So in the absence of high expectations that are felt, I don’t mean articulated, but deeply felt, it won’t happen.
Second thing is you need high quality teachers, teachers who understand math. If you don’t understand math, you cannot teach math. And we have far too many people in the system who aren’t sufficiently familiar with content. I’ve been in schools where people are teaching the Civil War and it’s superficial the level they’re teaching the Civil War. And if you don’t have people who are teaching at a sophisticated level, the kids won’t learn.
And the third thing you need is the kind of partnerships to bring in the psychosocial disciplinary supports. We have programs in New York, a program like Turn Around for Children [http://www.turnaroundusa.org/] that’s working with our schools to address at multiple levels those kind of issues that you articulated about. The fact that some kids come with lots of disciplinary issues, deprevations.
But if you can mix together expectations, excellence and support in an environment, you can make it work.
Let me give you an example because people don’t believe. A lot of my friends say, “Well it’s not going to happen” for just the reason you said. They say, “Well kids start with too many disadvantages.” There’s a school in Bedford Stuyvesant called Excellence Academy. It’s an all boy’s school and it’s overwhelmingly African American, with some Latino boys. It’s a school that you would expect would not be performing very well if you used traditional demographic analysis.
I went to the school and I happened to bump into a kid, just by happenstance, as I walked in, and the kid says to me, “Good morning Chancellor.” Now the mere fact that he knew who I was--he was in kindergarten--was surprising. And I said, “Good morning, what’s your name young man?” And he said “My name is Jamal.” And I said “Jamal, what do you do at Excellence Academy?” And he said “Chancellor, I’m in a University of Pennsylvania Program.” So right, your eyes just opened up wide right, so I had the exact same. I said, “Jamal, what are you talking about, you’re in kindergarten, what do you mean you’re in a University of Pennsylvania Program?” Jamal said, “Well you know, Chancellor, I’m going to college. It’s never too young to think about it.”
Now you see, in fact, he will soon visit colleges, they will become now-- I admit his family may have never taken him to college. When I grew up, my parents never took me to visit a college. But the school became the shoulders on which this kid can now stand to see a different world, and so from the day he arrived at Excellence, he’s thinking, “I’ve got a different vision from the vision that I once knew about.” And they’re making it happen and they’re not making excuses.
The number of kids, when they’re at Excellence, who show up every day, who when they’re sick want to go to school, which is not a common phenomenon, reflects the fact that those kids not only have high expectations set for them, but they’ve internalized it.
And then I went back and checked, because they got their first results last year, in the third grade, and you would have figured they’d maybe have 55, 60% proficiency in the third grade for a school like that. And they had a 100% proficient in math and 92% in English. That outperforms almost any school in the city, those proficiency levels. So this can be done.
Now Excellence is a school that chose very carefully, that has a very strong leader. And we have others like it. But it’s that combination, and even when you’re doing it, you constantly perfect it.
Just like when you do the work you’re doing here at Big Think, if you don’t get better and better and better, it won’t work, no matter how good you start, you got to get better. The same thing is true in a school that faces the kind of challenges we’re talking about.
Recorded on: March 30, 2008
Even kids from the most challenging backgrounds can still succeed.
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Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".