Summer 2011 = Racism and Sexism in the American Classroom at New Paltz.
This is the first book on the list: Still Failing at Fairness, by David Sadker and Karen Zittleman. The follow up to their 1995 edition Failing at Fairness , offers a look at gender in the American education system. Sadker and Zittleman have done quite a bit of research on their own, mostly field observation, but they’re also well versed in the science, writing, and history of the subject. I left feeling like an expert!
The key points?
* Contrary to popular belief, women are still overshadowed in classrooms.
*Minority boys fall even further behind women. Minority women do better than minority boys, but not as well as white women.
*Boys feel they’re targeted for behavior in school.
*Both boys and girls feel pressure to be perfect but in different ways: boys want to be white, rich, smart, athletic. Women want to be white, pretty, dateable, smart (but not too smart) and rich.
*Minority women fare better in self-confidence and self-respect than white women.
*Women trail men in SAT/ACT/GRE testing despite higher grades in school. This points to inequities in the test itself.
*Women are lagging in enrollment in Math and Science despite efforts to recruit.
*Women make about 75 cents on the dollar even with higher education.
*Single-sex classrooms have proved inconclusive in helping bridge the gap.
You’ve probably heard of this guy already here or here, but if not, Daniel Suelo deserves a shout-out. He’s lived 9 years in a cave in Utah, surviving on dumpster diving, foraging and occasionally hunting, and he blogs about it here.
Just in case you weren’t convinced that our synthetic surroundings were causing you cancer and countless other illnesses, here’s an article from treehugger stating the following disturbing findings:
TreeHugger has been reporting for years about the dangers of phthalates, the endocrine disruptor that is used to make vinyl flexible. We have noted previously that it might cause “phthalate syndrome”- smaller penises, and undescended or incompletely descended testicles- in humans…
Now a new study links it to autism. Scientific American says that the Swedish study was looking for something else, a relationship between phthalates and allergies, but found that “Infants or toddlers who lived in bedrooms with vinyl, or PVC, floors were twice as likely to have autism five years later, in 2005, than those with wood or linoleum flooring.”
Obama Picks Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture CNN reports Obama’s choice for Secretary of Agriculture: Tom Vilsack, the former Governor of Iowa.
The Organic Consumers Association argues that he “originated the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, effectively blocking local communities from regulating where genetically engineered crops would be grown,” (Wikipedia) making him a dangerous choice for head of agriculture for the whole nation.
The issue of Genetically Modified Food is a hot one. For a president in precarious circumstances, like President Obama, it must be particularly difficult to pick sides on the topic. On one side is the argument that food prices are skyrocketing and people are in difficult times, so any technology that increases crop yield will be a positive component to solving the economic crisis. On the other had, it is arguable that GMO’s are completely dismantling any remaining “clean” food, by inseminating non-GMO crops. If this is the case, in the long run, this choice would have the opposite effect, causing billions of dollars in health care costs after years of VIRTUALLY EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN being exposed to high levels of genetically altered food, which has been linked to cancer.
A Yahoonews article explores the coming shift in attitudes about food from the White House.
Rick Bayless, the chef of that restaurant, Topolobampo, says Obama’s comfortable demeanor at the table — slumped contentedly in his chair, clearly there to enjoy himself — bodes well for the nation’s food policy. While former President George W. Bush rarely visited restaurants and didn’t often talk about what he ate, Obama dines out frequently and enjoys exploring different foods.
Obama, has expressed increased support for small farmers, and in interviews has been more open about his diet and values than Bush. I take this as a step in the right direction. There are so many movements springing up about local growing, personal gardening, and community gardens over the past five years that it’s becoming a force that’s hard to ignore. Hopefully this president will be a more positive role model and leader in this crucial matter.