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Are American Schools Creating a ‘Stupefied’ Generation?

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  • Could the lack of enthusiasm and encouragement for rigor and high achievement in today’s schools be by design? 
  • Related: From the Archives | When schools become dead zones of the imagination

Annie Holmquist, Intellectual Takeout

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May 18, 2017 | In recent months, it has been reported that studying and performing Shakespeare has dramatic effects on the academic performance of young students. In fact, one school in Australia found their exam scores increased more than 40 percentage points after Shakespeare lessons were incorporated into the curriculum.

Because of these dramatic effects, I took notice of a recent article written by high school English teacher Sean Davenport. In the article, Davenport tells how he began requiring his 10th grade students to memorize and recite passages of Shakespeare. The kids balked at it, but struggled ahead.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/ito/files/styles/author_header_square/public/annie.jpg?itok=-ypBfd56 Annie Holmquist is a senior writer with Intellectual Takeout.

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    Related:

    From the Archives | When schools become dead zones of the imagination, Henry A. Giroux, Philosophers for Change

     

    • Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • A critical pedagogy manifesto
    • Related: Today’s Students and Professors ‘Know Hardly Anything about Anything at All’
    • Related: How Billionaires Are Successfully Fooling Us Into Destroying Public Education—and Why Privatization Is a Terrible Idea
    Section(s): 

    Trump Administration Suddenly Pulls Plug on Teen Pregnancy Programs

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    Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, pictured at a conservative summit in 2010, has been vehemently opposed to federal programs involving contraception. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)(CC-BY-SA)

     

    “It’s kind of like building half a skyscraper and then saying, ‘Never mind,’ ” Hettema said. “And there are thousands of health care providers in this country who are winging it in terms of how to talk to teens about unintended pregnancies.”

    Jane Kay, Reveal News / Truthdig 

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    Jul 16, 2017 | The Trump administration has quietly axed $213.6 million in teen pregnancy prevention programs and research at more than 80 institutions around the country, including Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University.

    The decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will end five-year grants awarded by the Obama administration that were designed to find scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancies.

    Full story … 

    http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Dan%20Wasserman%20%7C%20Trump%20on%20Child%20Syrian%20Refugees.jpgRelated:

    Series | The War on Children: Where Have All the Children Gone? The Age of Grief, Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch / Portside <http://portside.org>

    • “This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East.
    • A Planet's Future Threatened by the Fate of Its Children

     

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    The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers

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    In a letter, (Education Secretary Betsy) DeVos laid out a far less activist philosophy for the civil rights office. | AP Photo

    • As people of faith and conscience, we have the duty to invest in educational equity and protect all our children’s futures. We hope this resource empowers your efforts to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, gender, class, or ability, are able to secure a quality education.
    • Related: The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer, Odysseus, Angry Humanist

    Claire Markham, Center for American Progress

    http://images.alternet.org/images/managed/storyimages_picture8_1268251845.jpg_310x220 Summer, 2017 | Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed a school reform policy that would provide federal funding for private school voucher systems nationwide. Although proponents of the voucher system claim that it empowers parental choice, they often leave out a troubling history in which vouchers were used to perpetuate a system of racial segregation and discrimination in the South. 

     

    A new issue brief released by the Center for American Progress elaborates on the relationship between racial and economic segregation and the rise of America’s voucher system. In the years following Brown v. Board of Education, white communities used public funds—in the form of vouchers—to relocate their children to private schools. Consequently, students of color found themselves left behind in public schools that lacked proper resources and resulted in barriers to black communities’ economic and social well-being. “Policymakers must consider the origins of vouchers and their impact on segregation and support for public education,” the brief states. “No matter how well intentioned, widespread voucher programs risk exacerbating segregation in schools and leaving the most vulnerable students and the public schools they attend behind.” You may also be interested in this column illustrating six ways Secretary DeVos is enabling discrimination and undermining civil rights. 

    Claire Markham, The Faith Team, Center for American Progress

    Full story … 

    Related:

    The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer, Odysseus, Angry Humanist

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    • So here I ask that each of us pull our heads out of those fluffy and, mostly white, clouds of privilege and see the world our choices have created. Stop supporting the status quo with silence and quick indictments of the disenfranchised. Stop changing the subject. Stop complaining about our hurt feelings. Stop listening to everyone except the people who are suffering. We either challenge the system and our long held perceptions of the people it harms or do nothing, and thus, contribute to the collapse.
    • Related: White America's Greatest Delusion: "They Do Not Know It and They Do Not Want to Know It"

     

    Where Have All the Children Gone? The Age of Grief

    http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Dan%20Wasserman%20%7C%20Trump%20on%20Child%20Syrian%20Refugees.jpg

    • “This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East.
    • A Planet's Future Threatened by the Fate of Its Children

    Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch / Portside

    July 3, 2017 | It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001, played such a role in destabilizing are indeed in crisis, and that this process isn’t just taking place at the level of failing states and bombed-out cities, but in the most personal way imaginable. It’s devastating for countless individuals -- mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers -- and above all for children.

    Ward’s words caught a reality that grows harsher by the week, and not just in Syria, but in parts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, among other places in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Death and destruction stalk whole populations in Syria and other crumbling countries and failed or failing states across the region.  In one of those statistics that should stagger the imagination, devastated Syria alone accounts for more than five million of the estimated 21 million refugees worldwide. And sadly, these numbers do not reflect an even harsher reality: you only become a “refugee” by crossing a border.  According to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2015 there were another 44 million people uprooted from their homes who were, in essence, exiles in their own lands.  Add those numbers together and you have one out of every 113 people on the planet -- and those figures, the worst since World War II, may only be growing.

    Karen J. Greenberg, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. Her latest book is Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, out in paperback this May. She is also author of The Least Worst Place: Guantánamo’s First 100 Days.  

    Rose Sheela and CNS interns Anastasia Bez, Rohini Kurup, and Andrew Reisman contributed research for this article.

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    Trauma Inflicted on Children in the War on Terror Is Clouding Global Society’s Future, Karen J. Greenberg, TomDispatch / Truthdig

    http://www.truthdig.com/images/eartothegrounduploads/UNHCRChildRefugee_590.jpg A mother carries her infant son across the border from Syria in 2013. (S. Rich / UNHCR

    • The loss of childhood, the crippling effects of trauma, the narrative of grief, and the cruel removal of any sense of hope or of a secure future have been seeping into global discourse about children for many years now. Isn’t it time to begin to see their global crisis for what it is: one of the major threats to a stable future for the planet?
    • Related: From the Archives | Chris Hedges: Pity the Children

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