The Role of Teachers
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: Has the perception of teachers in the U.S. changed for the worse?
Joel Klein:I think it's an accurate perception, and I think it's a tragic fact, which is I think teachers should be the most revered people in our society. As you say, they and parents are the transformative people in all of our lives. And I, just today, talking at a meeting about there is going to be a world science festival here in New York, and I was talking about my high school physics teacher, a guy named Sidney Harris, who transformed my life.
So we all know that. Why do I think it's happened? I think a combination of the perception that K to 12 education is not rising in America. There's a sense that we're not on a successful trajectory.
And second of all, I think the system really hasn't encouraged the kind of dynamism and innovation that would attract the excitement. So when I see the kind of work that's starting to take place in various cities throughout the country, I think what you'll see is more and more people getting excited about it.
And what you want to build is an arc towards success. If people really thought that the cure for poverty was education, and believe that would happen, then it would be an excitement, it would attract people into the field. And that's one of the things that's happening now. And if you look throughout the world, in those countries that do really well in educating their kids, those countries attract the greatest talent from their colleges, from the top of their college classes. And there's a real sense of those people are respected, they're revered. People are passionate about the work.
And I think that's part of the transformation that we need to have so that young folks throughout this country say to themselves, "You know, being a teacher is something that really is one of life's great achievements."
And I think we can do that, but it's going to take changing. And part of what we got to change is low expectations. If people come into the school system saying these kids are poor; and what I always like to say, so many people have told me, you'll never fix education til you fix poverty. If you believe that, you'll never fix education. I believe just the opposite. I believe we'll never fix poverty until we fix education in America. And I believe we can fix education.
I don't, again, say how difficult it is to educate kids who come from very challenged backgrounds. Many of my kids come with families that are not fully engaged in their education and in their lives. So the challenges are enormous. But this is doable.
The question is, do we have the political will and the leadership, the kind of people like the Mayor of the city of New York who are willing to do the tough transformative work? And if you do that, you will build what in the world--you're familiar with a positive feedback loop--and when you get in a positive feedback loop, then success breeds success. People want to be a part of it, be excited about it.
Why has David Levin been able to attract so many talented people to KIPP? Because they think they're part of a successful operation. Dacia Toll, why has she brought people to Achievement First? Why has Norm Atkins brought people to Uncommon Schools? And I could go on and on and on.
I've got a principal up in the Bronx, Teach for America principal, came to us after he graduated from Princeton, taught for America, went to Harvard, he got a degree, a joint degree in business and education, just the two things I told you had to meld, he melded them together himself.
He's a principal in a school called Bronx Lab, his name's Mark Sternberg, he's doing extraordinary work, over a 90% graduation rate with a school that's overwhelmingly African American, Latino and high poverty.
Right next door to him in a similar situation, I have a former Army Colonel, an Air Force Colonel who Barbara Kirkwick, who's got an Air Force ROTC program, again high poverty, all minority kids, getting entirely different results. You go to those schools, those teachers are revered. And that's part of the positive feedback loop we need to create.
Recorded on: March 30, 2008
It's a tragic fact that the role of teachers has changed.
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Beards and perceptions of masculinity<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg0MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzkxMjM3N30.cH-GqNwP5GVqvstgJWAhBPn1B_lYpVEAI0I7iax7EQw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C1900%2C0%2C849&height=700" id="caae6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="cb0a355a4e8e1899789bc45f3f7aef56" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Credit: Wikimedia<p>The study used 919 American (mostly white) women ages 18-70 who rated 30 pictures of men they were shown with various stages of facial hair growth. The photographs depicted men with faces that had been digitally altered to look more feminine or more masculine, with a beard and without a beard. The women rated the men according to perceived attractiveness for long-term and short-term relationships. The study found that the more facial hair the men had, the higher the men were rated on their attractiveness, particularly for their suitability for a long-term relationship.</p><p>Part of this might be attributed to facial masculinity — i.e. protruding brow ridge, wide cheekbones, thick jawline, and deeply set narrow eyes — which conveys information to a woman about a man's underlying health and formidability. Women tend to associate more masculine faces with physical strength and social assertiveness. It can also indicate a man with a superior immune response. The researchers suggested that their findings favoring bearded men could be due to the fact that facial hair enhances the masculine facial features on a man's face, like creating the illusion of a thicker jaw line. This could communicate direct benefits to women like resources and protection that would enhance survival among mothers and their infants. In other words, while a beard doesn't mean superior genetics in and of itself, it might be a primitive, ornamental way of saying, "Hey girl, I'm a testosterone-fueled lean, mean, pathogen fighting machine." <br></p><p>It could also be that a beard becomes its own destiny. The researchers in this study cite prior research that found that by growing a beard, men felt more masculine and had higher levels of serum testosterone, which was linked to a higher level of social dominance. They also tended to subscribe to more old-school beliefs about gender roles in their relationships with women as compared to men with clean-shaven faces.<span></span><br></p>
What does disgust have to do with beard preference?<p>Obviously, not all women dig beards. The researchers were particularly interested in what traits make a women prefer bearded men over clean-shaven faces. They looked into several factors including a woman's disgust levels on various concepts, her desire to become pregnant, and her exposure to facial hair in her personal life. </p><p>According to the study, women who were not into facial hair were turned-off by potential parasites or other critters they imagined could be in the hair or skin. Women ranking high on this "ectoparasite disgust" scale might have viewed beards as a sign of poor grooming habits. However, women who ranked higher in levels of "pathogen" did find the bearded men to be desirable, possibly because they perceived beards as a signal of good health and immune function. An intriguing discovery in the study was links to morality. Women who displayed higher levels of "moral disgust," or feelings of repugnance toward taboo behaviors, were more likely to prefer hairy faces. The authors opined that this could reflect a link between beardedness, politically conservative outlooks, and traditional views regarding performances of masculinity in heterosexual relationships.</p>
Additional findings<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjU5OTg1My9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDI1NjUyOX0.P9B8WbmJR0q4nfzYZKbuNSA-2SAigVWJgrQE-_Gxlds/img.gif?width=980" id="49143" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2ed3b1d6f20fc170bf2974646e565e8d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Giphy<p>The correlations that existed between married and single women's rating on the attractiveness of beards were not particularly clear, although the researchers noted that single and married women who wanted children tended to find beards more attractive than the women who didn't want children. They also found that women with bearded husbands found beards to be more attractive, which might indicate that social exposure to beards influences how desirable they are perceived of as being. Or it could be that men with wives who like beards grow beards.</p><p>It's important to note that culture plays a huge role in how attractive women perceive certain male characteristics as being. This study looked at a small, culturally specific group of American women, so no big, universal claims should be made about masculinity, facial hair, and male desirability to women. However, research like this is important in highlighting how human grooming decisions are driven by much more than fashion trends. Sociobiological, economic, and ecological factors all play a part in the way we choose to present ourselves.</p>
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