Thursday, December 11, 2014

Depression in the U.S. Household Population

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012


  • During 2009–2012, 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and over had depression (moderate or severe depressive symptoms in the past 2 weeks). Depression was more prevalent among females and persons aged 40–59.
  • About 3% of Americans aged 12 and over had severe depressive symptoms, while almost 78% had no symptoms.
  • Persons living below the poverty level were nearly 2½ times more likely to have depression than those at or above the poverty level.
  • Almost 43% of persons with severe depressive symptoms reported serious difficulties in work, home, and social activities.
  • Of those with severe symptoms, 35% reported having contact with a mental health professional in the past year.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rape and Sexual Assault Among College-age Females, 1995-2013

Description:
Compares the characteristics of rape and sexual assault victimization against females ages 18 to 24 who are enrolled and not enrolled in college. This report examines the relationship between the victim and offender, the involvement of a weapon, location of the victimization, reporting to police, perceived offender characteristics, and victim demographics. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes, reported and not reported to the police, against persons from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households. The report also discusses methodological differences between the NCVS and other surveys that measure rape and sexual assault victimization and the impact of these difference on rape and sexual assault estimates.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Download full pdf publication | Read the Press Release

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How Young Adults Today Compare With Previous Generations in Neighborhoods Nationwide

From the Press Release:
Five years of data collected between 2009 and 2013 provide statistics on more than 40 economic, housing and social topics, such as commuting, educational attainment and home value. As the nation’s largest ongoing household survey, the American Community Survey produces statistics at all levels of geography, down to the block group level. Today, for the first time users can access block group level statistics on the census.gov tool rather than via a separate FTP site.

Highlighting some of the topics available from the American Community Survey, the Census Bureau released “Young Adults: Then and Now,” a new edition of the interactive mapping tool Census Explorer. The tool illustrates characteristics of the young adult population (age 18-34) across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey. The American Community Survey, which is a part of the decennial census, replaced the “long form” questionnaire soon after the 2000 Census.
Explore Interactive Map and Tool

AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database From NLM, A New Health Reference App Available for Android and iOS

From the Description:

AIDSinfo, a collaboration of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US National Library of Medicine, announces the release a new app, the AIDSinfo Drug App. Using data from the AIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related approved and investigational drugs. The information, in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both health care providers and consumers. The app is designed to automatically refresh the content when the user is connected to a wireless or cellular data network. The auto update feature eliminates the need to manually update the app to view the most current drug information. In addition, the app works offline, ensuring that health care providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere—even in health care facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

Health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo Web site indicated that access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels for HIV-related drugs would be a useful feature of a drug app. Thus FDA drug labels pulled from DailyMed are integrated into the app in an easy-to-navigate format. This feature, coupled with the auto update feature, makes it easy for health care providers to quickly find the latest drug information when seeing patients. In addition, information from the FDA labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers. The app also includes information on HIV-related investigational drugs for both health care providers and consumers.
Available for both iOS and Android devices
Source: National Library of Medicine

"Nature" now open to non-subscribers

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Under the new policy, subscribers to 49 journals published by the Nature Publishing Group and collected on Nature’s website can create and share links to full-text versions of all of that content. About 100 media outlets also can include free links in news reports that reference articles in the group’s journals.

Nature’s new system falls short of open-access ideals in various ways, including that it restricts nonsubscribers to "read only" versions of articles. That prevents independent repositories from reformatting the articles for long-term storage, and it limits researchers’ ability to search or index the documents.
Read the full story here.


No True Bill: A Grand Jury’s Refusal to Indict, CRS Legal Sidebar

The constitutional rights of a grand jury target or potential defendant aside, the courts afford prosecutors enormous discretion over the question of when and whether to prosecute. One state Supreme Court has observed that, “[i]n our criminal justice system, the decision whether to prosecute, and if so on what charges, is a matter ordinarily within the discretion of the duly elected prosecutor. The decision whether to bring charges is at the heart of the prosecutorial function. 

Source: Congressional Research Service

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The Global Gender Gap Report 2014

Description:
The Global Gender Gap Report 2014 emphasizes persisting gender gap divides across and within regions. Based on the nine years of data available for the 111 countries that have been part of the report since its inception, the world has seen only a small improvement in equality for women in the workplace. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2014, launched today, the gender gap for economic participation and opportunity now stands at 60% worldwide, having closed by 4% from 56% in 2006.
Source: World Economic Forum

Download full pdf Report

Executive Compensation at Private Colleges

About the data:
These data show the compensation received by 537 chief executives at 497 private nonprofit colleges in the United States during the 2012 calendar year. For our analysis, we reviewed data for the private nonprofit baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral institutions with the 500 largest endowments, as reported to the U.S Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds. Some nonprofit colleges don’t report the value of their endowments to Ipeds, and those were excluded from our analysis.

Compensation data were compiled from the Internal Revenue Service’s Form 990, which is filed by most nonprofit entities. Some private nonprofit universities cite a religious exemption from filing the Form 990 and were therefore excluded from our analysis. The excluded institutions are Brigham Young University- Idaho, Brigham Young University- Provo, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii.
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

View Data Tables

Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program – Foreword, Findings and Conclusions, and Executive Summary

The Committee makes the following findings and conclusions
#1 The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
#2 The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
#3 The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
#4 The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
#5 The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#6 The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
#7 The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
#8 The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
#9 The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.
#10 The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
#11 The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
#12 The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
#13 Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
#14 CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
#15 The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced Interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
#16 The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
#17 The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.
#18 The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#19 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
#20 The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.
Source: U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

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Expert Working Group Report: Native American Traditional Justice Practices

Introduction:
In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Access to Justice Initiative (ATJ) and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Justice Services – Tribal Justice Support (TJS) jointly convened an Expert Working Group (EWG) on the use of traditional Native American justice interventions to respond to criminal and delinquent behavior.

The meeting was held in furtherance of the Tribal Law and Order Act’s mandate that both Departments work with Tribal court systems to develop a plan to address alternatives to incarceration. The meeting also evidenced the Administration’s commitment to Tribal sovereignty by recognizing and showcasing the importance of traditional Tribal custom.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice/U.S. Department of the Interior

Download full pdf report

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Revisiting the Dark Side of Political Deliberation

The Effects of Media and Political Discussion on Political Interest

Abstract:
Citizens’ deliberation and interest in politics are crucial to democracy and have always been understood as positively related. We argue here that political discussion, one of the most common mechanisms of deliberation, might lead to citizens’ political disengagement or lack of interest. Using the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP), an innovative data set of postelection national surveys, we attempt to ascertain and shed light on these apparently contradictory effects on citizen engagement. The results indicate that political discussions, specifically those involving disagreements, can produce a lower level of interest when citizens are less informed, are strongly partisan, or hold strong social ties with those they disagree with.
Source: Public Opinion Quarterly

Download full pdf publication | Read full abstract online 

Generating Vocabulary Knowledge for At-Risk Middle School Readers: Contrasting Program Effects and Growth Trajectories

Abstract:
We tested whether urban middle-school students from mostly low-income homes had improved academic vocabulary when they participated in a freely available vocabulary program, Word Generation (WG). To understand how this program may support students at risk for long-term reading difficulty, we examined treatment interactions with baseline achievement on a state standardized test and also differential effects for students with (n = 398) and without (n = 1,395) individualized education plans (IEPs). Students in this unmatched quasi-experiment (5 WG and 4 comparison schools) completed pre- and postvocabulary assessments during the intervention year. We also retested student vocabulary knowledge after summer vacation and the following spring on 11 target words to construct a longitudinally consistent scaled score across 4 waves of data. Growth models show that students experienced summer setback. Although there were no average underlying differences in growth or differences in summer setback for students by baseline achievement, better readers improved more from program participation. IEP status did not predict differential benefits of program participation, and students with IEPs maintained gains associated with participation in WG; however, participation in the program did not change underlying growth trajectories favoring students who did not have IEPs.
Source: U.C. Irvine [via eScholarship Repository]

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Committee against Torture — Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America

From the introduction:
The Committee welcomes the State party’s unequivocal commitment to abide by the universal prohibition of torture and ill-treatment everywhere, including Bagram and Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, as well as the assurances that U.S. personnel are legally prohibited under international and domestic law from engaging in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment at all times, and in all places. The Committee notes that the State party has reviewed its position concerning the extraterritorial application of the Convention, and stated that it applies to ‘certain areas beyond’ its sovereign territory, and more specifically to ‘all places that the State party controls as a governmental authority,’ noting that it currently exercises such control at ‘the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and over all proceedings conducted there, and with respect to U.S.-registered ships and aircraft.’ The Committee also values the statement made by the State party’s delegation that the reservation to article 16 of the Convention, whose intended purpose is to ensure that existing U.S. constitutional standards satisfy the State party’s obligations under article 16, ‘does not introduce any limitation to the geographic applicability of article 16,’ and that ‘the obligations in article 16 apply beyond the sovereign territory of the United States to any territory under its jurisdiction’ under the terms mentioned above.’

However, the Committee is dismayed that the State party’s reservation to article 16 of the Convention features in various declassified memoranda containing legal interpretations on the extraterritorial applicability of U.S. obligations under the Convention issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) between 2001 and 2009, as part of deeply flawed legal arguments used to advise that interrogation techniques, which amounted to torture, could be authorized and used lawfully. While noting that these memoranda were revoked by Presidential Executive Order 13491 to the extent of their inconsistency with that order, the Committee remains concerned that the State party has not withdrawn yet its reservation to article 16 which could permit interpretations incompatible with the absolute prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

More Than Six in 10 Americans Say Guns Make Homes Safer

Introduction:

The percentage of Americans who believe having a gun in the house makes it a safer place to be (63%) has nearly doubled since 2000, when about one in three agreed with this. Three in 10 Americans say having a gun in the house makes it a more dangerous place.
Source: Gallup

Download full report with raw data | Learn more and view graphs at Gallup

Americans’ Perceptions of Privacy are Varied

Introduction:
To better understand how the public thinks about privacy, a representative sample of 607 adults were asked an open-ended question in an online survey: “When you hear the word “privacy,” what comes to mind for you?” The responses that followed were striking in their variance, ranging from one-word entries to lengthier descriptions that touched on multiple concepts.
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Download full pdf report | Download topline questionnaire (pdf) | Learn more

What Lessons Did We Learn (or Re-Learn) About Military Advising After 9/11?

As military operations in Afghanistan continue to wind down in 2014, the U.S. military and international partner armed forces need to codify lessons learned on military advising from 9/11 to the present, with special emphasis on capturing insights from the two major counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A compendium of lessons should include answers to certain essential questions. What major advising lessons did the U.S. military learn since 9/11? What current advising lessons parallel previously gleaned insights from historic advising missions? How should armed forces treat the advising mission after the troops withdraw from Afghanistan?

The main purpose of this article is to provide a set of the most important military advising lessons learned from past and present. These lessons have been distilled from comparing historical and contemporary advisory experiences extracted from dozens of sources including military journal articles, doctrine, book chapters, and monographs.
Source: Military Review

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Teacher Pay Penalty

Snapshot:
There is an increased emphasis in building a quality teacher workforce but little attention paid to the pay penalty teachers face for working in their profession.

Teachers working in the public sector who are represented by a union earn 13.2 percent less than other comparable college graduates. The pay gap is largest for private sector teachers without union representation (-32.1 percent). Separate analyses by gender are also presented given that the overwhelming majority of teachers are women (around 72 percent)—here female teachers were only compared to female non-teacher college-educated workers, and male teachers were only compared to male non-teacher college-educated workers. Compared to female teachers, the teacher pay penalty is worse for male teachers for each of the four teacher groups. In general, teacher pay disadvantages are mitigated if teachers are employed in the public sector—and more so if they have union representation.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

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High Potentials in Tech- Intensive Industries: The Gender Divide in Business Roles

Description:
Technology-intensive industries including high tech, oil and gas, and energy have grown rapidly in the 21st century, far outstripping other industries. Companies in these industries need employees with both the technical and managerial leadership skills to ensure their success—but the pipeline is leaky.
Women make up a significant proportion of the talent pool, particularly in business roles,  which are often a pathway to the top. How can tech-intensive companies attract and retain high-potential talent from day one and hold on to them over time?
This report:
  • Identifies the gender gap women experience working in business roles in tech-intensive industries from day one.
  • Uncovers the barriers holding women back and provides insight into why women leave.
  • Provides recommendations on how companies can reverse these trends by attracting and retaining top female talent in business roles and becoming employers of choice for women.
Source: Catalyst

Download full pdf publication | Learn More at Catalyst

Publication Bias in the Social Sciences: Unlocking the File Drawer

We study publication bias in the social sciences by analyzing a known population of conducted studies–221 in total–where there is a full accounting of what is published and unpublished. We leverage TESS, an NSF-sponsored program where researchers propose survey-based experiments to be run on representative samples of American adults. Because TESS proposals undergo rigorous peer review, the studies in the sample all exceed a substantial quality threshold. Strong results are 40 percentage points more likely to be published than null results, and 60 percentage points more likely to be written up. We provide not only direct evidence of publication bias, but also identify the stage of research production at which publication bias occurs—authors do not write up and submit null findings.
Source: Stanford University | Author Neil Malhotra's Faculty Research Page

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Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights

The Resource Guide for Enhancing Community Relationships and Protecting Privacy and Constitutional Rights is a collaboration between BJA and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) 
 “The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms. This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times—particularly in moments of heightened community tension.” 
“The role of law enforcement is not only to enforce the law, but to preserve peace, minimize harm, and sustain community trust,” said BJA Director Denise O’Donnell. “The resources available through this guide will help police departments and sheriffs’ offices maintain order and build effective police-community relationships, while promoting the rights and protecting the civil liberties of the citizens they serve.” 
For many years, BJA and the COPS Office have developed guides, publications, webinars, checklists and tools for law enforcement agencies on community policing, building community trust, diversity training, privacy protections, and safeguarding first amendment rights. Building strong police-community relations requires a sustained effort over time, yet maintaining these relationships is exceedingly difficult during and in the aftermath of a high-profile incident or civil unrest. Professional law enforcement departments and effective operations require training and ongoing support from all partners. This guide helps law enforcement agencies locate these resources in one place, including in-person and online training opportunities, publications, reports, podcasts, and websites.
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice

Download full pdf guide

2015 Hunger Report :When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger

From the Press Release
"...identifies the empowerment of women and girls as essential in ending hunger, extreme poverty, and malnutrition around the world and in the United States."

The report also shows that women’s willingness to share men’s breadwinning responsibilities has not been matched by men’s willingness to share unpaid household work or caregiving responsibilities. Though domestic work is a public good in the same way that education, clean water, clean air, and the food supply are, it is not recognized as such. Women constitute half the global population.

Source: Bread for the World Institute

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Criminalization of Food-Sharing Practices

Description:
The new report, "Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need," documents the recent known cases of food-sharing restrictions throughout the country. Since January 2013, 21 cities have restricted the practice of sharing food with people who are experiencing homelessness while at least ten others have introduced ordinances that are pending approval.
 Source: National Coalition for the Homeless

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Premiums and Stability in the Individual Health Insurance Market

Key Findings
  1. Eliminating the Affordable Care Act's premium tax credits would substantially increase premiums and reduce overall enrollment in the individual market.
  2. Reduced enrollment of young adults in the individual health insurance market would lead to modest premium increases.
  3. Alternative types of subsidies — such as vouchers — could cause premiums to become more sensitive to the age mix of enrollees.
  4. Eliminating the individual mandate would cause small increases in premiums but large declines in enrollment.
Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Read online at RAND Corporation

Obama’s Internet Neutrality Stance: Net Positive or Negative?

Introduction:
President Obama recently came out strongly in favor of net neutrality, sometimes referred to as an open Internet. It is an idea that would, notably, prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from giving preferential high-speed lanes —fast-tracking for those willing to pay the extra toll costs —to some companies or groups over others. His support is likely to strongly influence a looming FCC decision on the matter.

Is it the right call?

Reed Hundt, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 1993 until 1997 under President Clinton, thinks it is. Hundt, who also was on Obama’s transition team, advising him on telecommunications, called the President’s statement “a game-changer moment,”because if Obama’s view is adopted by the FCC, it would offer the market needed certainty.
Source Knowledge @ Wharton

Read online interview with Reed Hundt [video option also available]

America's Youngest Outcasts.

Description:
America's Youngest Outcasts documents the number of homeless children in every state, their well-being, their risk for child homelessness, and state level planning and policy efforts. Using findings from numerous sources that include well-established national data sets as well as our own research, we rank the states in four domains, and then develop a composite of these domains to rank the states from 1 (best) to 50 (worst). A page about the District of Columbia is also available. 

Download full pdf report | View interactive map


Drones and Aerial Surveillance: Considerations for Lawmakers

Introduction:
The looming prospect of expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially known as drones, has raised understandable concerns for lawmakers. Those concerns have led some to call for legislation mandating that nearly all uses of drones be prohibited unless the government has first obtained a warrant. Privacy advocates have mounted a lobbying campaign that has succeeded in convincing thirteen states to enact laws regulating the use of drones by law enforcement, with eleven of those thirteen states requiring a warrant before the government may use a drone. The campaigns mounted by privacy advocates oftentimes make a compelling case about the threat of pervasive surveillance, but the legislation is rarely tailored in such a way to prevent the harm that advocates fear. In fact, in every state where legislation was passed, the new laws are focused on the technology (drones) not the harm (pervasive surveillance). In many cases, this technology centric approach creates perverse results, allowing the use of extremely sophisticated pervasive surveillance technologies from manned aircraft, while disallowing benign uses of drones for mundane tasks like accident and crime scene documentation, or monitoring of industrial pollution and other environmental harms.
 Source: Brookings Institution

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Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape

From the abstract:
In this monograph, we undertake extensive life-course analyses comparing the trajectories of women and men in math-intensive fields with those of their counterparts in non-math-intensive fields in which women are close to parity with or even exceed the number of men. We begin by examining early-childhood differences in spatial processing and follow this through quantitative performance in middle childhood and adolescence, including high school coursework. We then focus on the transition of the sexes from high school to college major, then to graduate school, and, finally, to careers in academic science.
Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest

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Is academic science sexist?

There has never been a better time for women to enter academic careers in math-intensive science fields. That’s the message Cornell University psychologist Stephen Ceci says he was hoping to get across in last Sunday’s controversial op-ed inThe New York Times, “Academic Science Isn’t Sexist,” co-authored by Wendy Williams, also a psychologist at Cornell. But that’s not how the article, which attempts to summarize a 67-pagepaper they co-authored with economists Donna Ginther of the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and Shulamit Kahnof Boston University, came across to some readers.

In addition to the provocative headline, statements such as “the experiences of young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields are, for the most part, similar to those of their male counterparts” and that female underrepresentation in some fields is “rooted in women’s earlier educational choices, and in women’s occupational and lifestyle preferences” sparked outcry from the blogosphere and on Twitter and prompted heated discussion within the scientific community. Those discussions have focused on whether the findings are valid, the potential implications, and the best way to move forward.
Source: Science

Read the whole story on Sciencemag.org

Will MOOCs be Flukes? : Why MOOCs are failing the people they are supposed to help

From the introduction:
On July 23rd, 1969, Geoffrey Crowther addressed the inaugural meeting of the Open University, a British institution that had just been created to provide an alternative to traditional higher education. Courses would be conducted by mail and live radio. The basic mission, Crowther declared, was a simple one: to be open to people from all walks of life. “The first, and most urgent task before us is to cater for the many thousands of people, fully capable of a higher education, who, for one reason or another, do not get it, or do not get as much of it as they can turn to advantage, or as they discover, sometimes too late, that they need,” he told his audience. “Men and women drop out through failures in the system,” he continued, “through disadvantages of their environment, through mistakes of their own judgment, through sheer bad luck. These are our primary material.” He then invoked the message emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty: Open University wanted the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. To them, most of all, it opened its doors.

The mission Crowther described is the same one that has driven the proliferation of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, during the past few years. (Open University has often served as a sort of inspirational model forsuch ventures, which Nathan Heller wrote about last year in the magazine.) The premise of the MOOC movement is as commendable as it is democratic: quality education should not be a luxury good. MOOCs are flexible and they can be free; if people want an education, MOOCs can give it to them.
Source: New Yorker

Read the whole story

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure

 Introducation
The Standards of Conduct Office of the Department of Defense General Counsel’s Office has assembled the following selection of cases of ethical failure for use as a training tool. Our goal is to provide DoD personnel with real examples of Federal employees who have intentionally or unwittingly violated the standards of conduct. Some cases are humorous, some sad, and all are real. Some will anger you as a Federal employee and some will anger you as an American taxpayer.
Please pay particular attention to the multiple jail and probation sentences, fines, employment terminations and other sanctions that were taken as a result of these ethical failures. Violations of many ethical standards involve criminal statutes. Protect yourself and your employees by learning what you need to know and accessing your Agency ethics counselor if you become unsure of the proper course of conduct. Be sure to access them before you take action regarding the issue in question. Many of the cases displayed in this collection could have been avoided completely if the offender had taken this simple precaution.
The cases have been arranged according to offense for ease of access. Feel free to reproduce and use them as you like in your ethics training program. For example – you may be conducting a training session regarding political activities. Feel free to copy and paste a case or two into your slideshow or handout – or use them as examples or discussion problems. If you have a case you would like to make available for inclusion in a future update of this collection, please email it to OSD.SOCO@MAIL.MIL or you may fax it to (703) 695-4970.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel

Download encyclopedia (word document)

Federal Taxation of Marijuana Sellers, CRS Legal Sidebar

From the introduction:

As several states have permitted the use of marijuana for medical and recreational uses, one question that arises is what are the federal income tax consequences for businesses that sell marijuana?

There is no question that income from selling marijuana is taxable to the seller, regardless of whether such sale is legal or not under federal or state law. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) uses a very broad definition of income, and income is taxable whether it comes from legal or illegal activities. Further, it can be taxed even if the proceeds are forfeited to the government.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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Online tool created by UCLA provides health information by ZIP code, city and legislative district

From the press release
For the first time, anyone can easily access comprehensive California health statistics by ZIP code, city and legislative district thanks to a new web tool created by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The easy-to-use AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition, or AskCHIS NE, enables users to customize searches, compare and “pool” small geographic areas, and map and chart their results.
AskCHIS NE covers a wide range of health topics, including rates of health insurance, chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, and behaviors like smoking and physical activity; quality of children’s health; and access to health care and mental health care; and much more.
Source:  UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Visit AskCHIS NE (free registration required)

UNESCO has launched World Library of Science free university-level resource.

The World Library of Science is a free online resource for a global community. Developed as a partnership between UNESCO and Macmillan Science and Education, this online Library offers quality Nature Education content in short eBooks and articles, serving a mission to equalize access to high quality resources for science education for all communities across the globe. All offerings are digital, allowing easy access to online tools and networks. The content of the World Library of Science is meant to inspire more learning and curiosity, and help train students and teachers alike, both in the content and cultural impacts of scientific discovery. Future plans involve expansion of life and physical science subjects, as well as translation of resources into multiple languages. 

Source UNESCO

Visit World Library of Science

Unauthorized Immigrant Totals Rise in 7 States, Fall in 14

From the overview:
The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population has leveled off nationally after the Great Recession, but state trends have been more volatile. From 2009 to 2012, according to new Pew Research Center estimates, the population of unauthorized immigrants rose in seven states and fell in 14.

 Five East Coast states were among those where the number of unauthorized immigrants grew from 2009 to 2012—Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Numbers also rose in Idaho and Nebraska, according to the center’s estimates.
Source: Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project

Download full pdf publication  | View Map

New College Board Trends in Higher Education Reports: College Prices Increase at a Slower Pace While Student Borrowing Declines for the Third Consecutive Year

From the press release:
While published tuition and fees at colleges and universities continue to rise more rapidly than the rate of inflation, the rate of increase has slowed. Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the percentage increases in published tuition and fees (in all sectors) were smaller than the average annual increases over the previous five, 10, and 30 years, according to the College Board’s 2014 Trends in Higher Education reports — Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing — released today. Total education borrowing fell by 8% between 2012-13 and 2013-14, and by 13% over three years. Borrowing per student declined by 6% in one year and by 9% between 2010-11 and 2013-14.
Source: College Board

Download the full report, data or presentation from Trends in College Pricing 2014.
Download the full report, data or presentation from Trends in Student Aid 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education

Introduction:
This report identifies the best and worst performing states—the leaders and laggards— in public postsecondary education. It focuses on the performance of the institutions over which state governments have the most influence: public colleges and universities. In an effort to systematically measure the most important factors being watched by policymakers, business leaders, and concerned citizens, we graded state performance and policy in the following six areas:
  1. Student Access & Success
    • Do state institutions retain and graduate a high percentage of their students within a reasonable amount of time?
    • Do they ensure access for low-income students?
  2. Efficiency & Cost-Effectiveness
    • How much money do public institutions spend on education and related expenses per degree produced?
    • How much does it cost, in state and local spending, to produce degrees?
  3. Meeting Labor Market Demand
    • How much better do college graduates fare than their less-educated peers in terms of employment and wages?
  4. Transparency & Accountability
    • Do states measure learning and labor market outcomes? Do they routinely make information on the performance of the higher education system available to the public?
  5. Policy Environment
    • Do states have policies in place that provide incentives to promote degree completion and allow students to transfer course credits freely within the system?
  6. Innovation
    • Have states made efforts to embrace innovative ways of delivering college instruction?
    • Do states encourage innovative providers to serve nontraditional students who may be underserved by the existing system?

Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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Improving Strategic Competence: Lessons from 13 Years of War

Abstract:
This report contributes to the ongoing debate about the lessons from the past 13 years of war and the requirements for addressing future conflicts. It addresses a particular disconnect in the current debate on the future of national security strategy and the role of landpower caused by an inadequate examination of the national level of strategy made by the U.S. government. The disconnect exists because there has been no systematic effort to collect and analyze insights from those who have been actively engaged in making policy and strategy from 2001 to 2014. A RAND Arroyo Center workshop provided a mechanism for eliciting insights from policymakers and academic experts involved in the formation of national-level strategy and its implementation over the past 13 years. This study analyzes and develops those insights in the context of the debate on future national security strategy. It applies those insights to the future operating environment, which will include irregular and hybrid threats, and identifies critical requirements for land forces and special operations forces to operate successfully in conjunction with other joint, interagency, and multinational partners.
Source: RAND Corporation

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U.S. Workers’ Diverging Locations: Policy and Inequality Implications

From the introduction:
Over the past three decades, the earnings of workers with a college education have substantially increased relative to those with less education. In 1980, the average college graduate earned 38% more than the average high school graduate. By 2000, the college-high school graduate wage gap increased to 57%, and by 2011 it rose to 73%.1 At the same time, workers have become increasingly spatially segregated by education. Cities that initially had a large share of college graduates in 1980 increasingly attracted larger shares of college educated workers from 1980 to 2000, while cities with relatively less educated populations in 1980 gained few college grads over the following 20 years. The increasingly “highly educated cities” also experienced higher wage growth for both low- and high-skill workers and substantially larger increases in housing costs. The economic trajectories of these increasing high skill cities are diverging from those with fewer college graduates (Moretti, 2013).
Source: Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

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Lots of Sizzle, Not Enough Steak in U.S. News Media

Introduction:
One might expect that today’s 24-hour news cycle should have room for everything. When the news never stops coming, it stands to reason that there’s sufficient bandwidth to leave no topical stone unturned… in theory. But of course, that doesn’t mean that every sort of story gets the same level of coverage. When provided with several types of news stories and asked which are under-, over-, or appropriately covered, three-fourths of U.S. adults (76%) say celebrity gossip/scandal stories are over-covered, while half (49%) say the same about general entertainment news and 44% believe sports news gets too much coverage. And perhaps the midterms are to blame, but a third of Americans (33%) feel U.S. elections are over-covered in U.S. news media. 
Source: Harris Interactive

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Use of Selected Nonmedication Mental Health Services by Adolescent Boys and Girls With Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties: United States, 2010–2012

Key findings

Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2010–2012
  • About 4% of adolescents aged 12–17 had a serious emotional or behavioral difficulty and received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Nearly 71% of adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties received nonmedication mental health services in the past 6 months.
  • Among adolescents with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties, boys were more likely than girls to receive nonmedication mental health services.
  • Boys with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties were more likely than girls to receive services in school settings.
  • The percentage of boys and girls with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties receiving nonschool services was similar for all settings except for the emergency department.
Mental health is a key component of a child’s overall wellbeing. Previous research using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that about 6% of adolescents have serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Both medication and nonmedication services have been found to be effective for treatment. Two recent reports from the National Center for Health Statistics have presented estimates of medication use among U.S. adolescents ). The use of prescription medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties was higher among boys than girls. This report describes differences between boys and girls in the use of nonmedication mental health services in various school and nonschool settings among adolescents aged 12–17 with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties.

Source: Center for Disease Control.

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Trafficking in human beings 2010-2014: eradicating the slave trade

Introduction:
During the years 2010-2012, EU Member States registered 30 146 victims of trafficking in human beings. Behind this number are human tragedies, broken hopes and destroyed plans for a better life. During the same period, 8 551 prosecutions against traffickers were reported across the EU. 80 percent of victims of trafficking were female, and over 1 000 child victims were registered as trafficked for sexual exploitation. This data is part of a statistical report on victims and perpetrators of trafficking released today by the European Commission. A report also shows that many concrete measures against this severe human rights violation have been undertaken during 2010-2014, such as better cooperation with civil society, and guidelines issued to border authorities and other stakeholders on how to better identify victims.
Source: European Commission

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Legislative Procedure in Congress: Basic Sources for Congressional Staff

From the description:
Written for congressional staff, this report identifies and provides details on how to obtain official government sources of information on the legislative process and the rules and procedure of the House and Senate. The report provides references to selected CRS products and offers information on the CRS legislative institutes. A listing of selected supplementary materials is also provided.
Source: Congressional Research Service

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How Does Government Borrowing Affect Corporate Financing and Investment?

Abstract:
Using a novel dataset of accounting and market information that spans most publicly traded nonfinancial firms over the last century, we show that U.S. federal government debt issuance significantly affects corporate financial policies and balance sheets through its impact on investors’ portfolio allocations and the relative pricing of different assets. Government debt is strongly negatively correlated with corporate debt and investment, but strongly positively correlated with corporate liquidity. These relations are more pronounced in larger, less risky firms whose debt is a closer substitute for Treasuries. Indeed, we find a strong negative relation between the BAA-AAA yield spread and government debt, highlighting the greater sensitivity of more highly rated credit to variation in the supply of Treasuries. The channel through which this effect operates is investors’ portfolio decisions: domestic intermediaries actively substitute between lending to the federal government and the nonfinancial corporate sector. The relations between government debt and corporate policies, as well as the substitution between government and corporate debt by intermediaries, are stronger after 1970 when foreign demand increased competition for Treasury securities. In concert, our results suggest that large, financially healthy corporations act as liquidity providers by supplying relatively safe securities to investors when alternatives are in short supply, and that this financial strategy influences firms’ capital structures and investment policies.
Source:National Bureau of Economic Research via Social Science Research Network

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