Thursday, March 29, 2007

Democrats Fail to Impress in First 100 Days

Government Faulted on Vets' Care, Military Ratings Slip Post-Walter Reed

Also covered:
Reps see McCain, Giuliani and Romney as more moderate than "self"
Hillary and Obama Backers differ little on Iraq
Few Can Cite Congress's Accomplishments
Dems not seen as over-investigating

As the Democratic-led Congress approaches the 100-day mark, pluralities of Americans approve of the way that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are handling their leadership roles. However, the public gives Democrats mixed reviews for delivering on their campaign promises and for their policies and proposals. Slightly more disapprove of the Democrats' policies than approve (42% disapprove vs. 37% approve).

Today's Democratic congressional leaders are far less visible – but also less controversial – than former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was at a similar point early in the 104th Congress. In April 1995, Republicans were seen as keeping their promises by 59% of the public – far more than the 40% who currently say that about the Democrats. However, Americans were then evenly split in their views of the GOP's proposals.
Source: Pew Center for People and the Press

Download full PDF Report | Link to online summary | Download topline Questionnaire

Census Bureau Report :Single-Parent Households Showed Little Variation Since 1994

From Press Release:
The percentage of households headed by single parents showed little variation from 1994 through 2006, at about 9 percent, up from 5 percent in 1970, according to the latest data on America’s families and households released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to Families and Living Arrangements: 2006, there were 12.9 million one-parent families in 2006 — 10.4 million single-mother families and 2.5 million single-father families.

Just over two-thirds (67 percent) of the nation’s 73.7 million children younger than 18 lived with two married parents in 2006. Also in 2006, there were an estimated 5.8 million stay-at-home parents: 5.6 million mothers and 159,000 fathers.

Other highlights:

* Average household size in 2006 was 2.57 people, down from 3.14 in 1970.
* Slightly more than one in four households (26 percent) consisted of a person living alone in 2006, up from 17 percent in 1970.
* About 5.7 million children, or 8 percent of the total, lived in a household that included a grandparent in 2006. The majority of these children (3.7 million) lived in the grandparent’s home, and of these, about 60 percent had a parent present.
* Among the 13 million children 15 to 17, about 2.3 million were working, and of these, 2.2 million worked part time.
* In 2006, 33 percent of males and 26 percent of females 15 and older had never married, up from 28 and 22 percent in 1970.
* The majority of men and women in 2006 had been married by the time they were 30 to 34 (71 percent), and among men and women 65 and older, 96 percent had been married.

Data are from the 2006 Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), conducted in February, March and April at about 100,000 addresses nationwide.

Downloadable data files and tables available from Census Bureau: Link to download site

Solid Majority Favors Congressional Troop Deadline

36% Think Surge Will Work

A solid majority of Americans say they want their congressional representative to support a bill calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by August 2008. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they would like to see their representative vote for such legislation, compared with just 33% who want their representative to oppose it.

Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization

"The proportion of all legal foreign-born residents who have become naturalized U.S. citizens rose to 52% in 2005, the highest level in a quarter of a century and a 14 percentage point increase since 1990, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The population of naturalized citizens reached 12.8 million in 2005, a historic high that reflects both a rise in the number of legal migrants and an increased likelihood that those who are eligible apply for citizenship. As a result of these combined trends, the average number of naturalizations annually has increased from fewer than 150,000 in the 1970s to more than 650,000 since the mid-1990s." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Students Entering and Leaving Postsecondary Occupational Education: 1995-2001

"This report uses data from the 1995–96 to 2001 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study to examine three questions concerning students pursuing postsecondary certificates or associate’s degrees in career related fields (referred to here as occupational students): (1) who enters postsecondary occupational education, (2) to what extent do occupational students persist in postsecondary education and attain their credential goals, and (3) what are the labor market outcomes for occupational students who earn credentials? Occupational students were found to be more likely than academic subbaccalaureate students to be female, Black, older, have lower educational backgrounds, and self-identify as “enrolled employees” rather than “working students.” Most of these differences were due to differences between occupational certificate students and the two groups of occupational and academic associate’s degree-seeking students. No differences were found in the rates at which occupational and academic subbaccalaureate students persist in postsecondary education and attain a credential, although occupational students were more likely to “downgrade” to a postsecondary certificate. Finally, no differences were found in the rates at which occupational completers (those who earned a credential) and noncompleters were employed or in their average salary; however, among students who entered a job related to their field of study, average salary increased with the years of education completed." Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

The New Militarism, Global Terrorism, and the American University: Making Sense of the Assault on Democracy “Here, There, Somewhere”

"This paper examines the ways in which the Bush administration and its allies have targeted the American university as part of a broad assault on democracy. The author maintains that the administration has used the tragic events of September 11 to strike fear in the American people for the purposes of formulating a more aggressive militarization both home and abroad. This “New Militarism” justifies two particular positions with regard to the relationship between the Bush administration and the nation’s universities. First, and because of the potential for criticism to arise from within the walls of the university, the Bush administration and its allies have sought to limit such critiques through a variety of actions and policies. Second, the Bush administration and its supporters have been intent on strengthening the already strong ties between the American university and the U.S. military industrial complex, including the Department of Defense. These two broad assaults have resulted in further deterioration to the American university’s democratic potential and its ability to advance a more just world." Source: InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies.

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White House Spins Iraqi Polling

"Results of an ABC News survey of public opinion in Iraq found much pessimism as the fourth anniversary of the war approached. When asked for comment, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow cited a British poll which he said offered a "different conclusion." The British poll's summary did sound less gloomy, but a close look at the numbers showed that the actual results of the two polls are similar." Source:, Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

Link to online analysis with further links to poll sources

What do friends and media tell us? How different information channels affect women’s risk perceptions of age-related female infertility

Abstract: "Based on a survey of a random sample of Swedish 20-40 year old females this paper investigates how different channels of information affect women’s perceptions of the general and the personal risks of age-related female infertility. We find that information from both media and friends and relatives matters for women’s risk perceptions. Just before the original survey was sent out, several Swedish newspapers reported that university students in Sweden tend to overestimate women’s chances of becoming pregnant. Therefore, we sent out another survey to a new sample of women two months later. Comparing responses immediately after the large media report with responses two months later, we cannot find any significant differences. Furthermore, women are most likely to want information from the health care system although, interestingly, women who highly underestimate the general risks for all age groups are less likely to want information from this source." Source: Göteborg University, School of Business, Economics and Law

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| Link to online Abstract

Earnings Gap Highlighted by Census Bureau Data

"Adults with advanced degrees earn four times more than those with less than a high school diploma, according to tabulations released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The series of tables, Educational Attainment in the United States: 2006, showed adults 18 and older with a master’s, professional or doctoral degree earned an average of $79,946, while those with less than a high school diploma earned about $19,915.

The tables also showed adults with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $54,689 in 2005, while those with a high school diploma earned $29,448."

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Link to detailed tables for download | Link to Press Release

This year's NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship have a better history of graduating student athletes than previous years' contenders

"The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, at the University of Central Florida released its annual study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates for 2007 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Teams” which is a comprehensive analysis of the graduation rates of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament-bound team. The study takes a look at Federal Graduation Rates (FGR), Graduation Success Rates (GSR), and the Academic Progress Rates (APR) for the tournament teams, as reported by the NCAA. The
study compares graduation rates for all student-athletes to basketball student-athletes as well as African-American basketball student-athletes to white basketball student-athletes. Source: University of Central Florida

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| Link to report gateway

Related Reports:
2007 APR & Grad. Rate Study of Div. I NCAA Women's Tournament Teams
2007 Division IA Demographic Study

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007

Political Landscape More Favorable To Democrats
"Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway.

At the same time, many of the key trends that nurtured the Republican resurgence in the mid-1990s have moderated, according to Pew's longitudinal measures of the public's basic political, social and economic values. The proportion of Americans who support traditional social values has edged downward since 1994, while the proportion of Americans expressing strong personal religious commitment also has declined modestly." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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U.S. Foreign Aid to Lebanon: Issues for Congress

"In Lebanon today, there is a battle for political primacy between the anti-Syrian, pro-Western government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the opposition, led by the Hezbollah and former General Michel Aoun. Each camp has its external patrons; the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia support Siniora, while Syria and Iran back the opposition. The 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war and Hezbollah's subsequent campaign to obstruct the government through street protests and general strikes have placed enormous strains on the Sini government. In order to prevent Lebanon's fragile sectarian political system from imploding and to strengthen proWestern and anti-Syrian elements, the United States has pledged to significantly increase its assistance to Lebanon. For FY2007, the Administration is requesting an estimated $770 million in supplemental aid from Congress. This report analyzes this request, highlighting potential issues of concern for Members." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Congressional Research Service Report : Who Are the "Middle Class"?

There is no consensus definition of "middle class," neither is there an official government definition. What constitutes the middle class is relative, subjective, and not easily defined. The mid-point in the distribution is the median and in 2005 median household income was $46,326. How far above and below that amount the middle stretches remains the question. The Census Bureau publishes figures breaking the income distribution into quintiles, or fifths. The narrowest view of who might be considered middle class would include those in the middle quintile, those households with income between $36,000 and $57,660. A more generous definition might be based on the three middle quintiles, those households with incomes between $19,178 and $91,705. Surveys suggest that 1% to 3.3% of the population consider themselves to be upper class. Comparing those figures with the income distribution would put the dividing line between middle and upper class close to if not above $250,000. Similarly, survey responses suggest that the lower end of the middle class might be close to $40,000. Much of the legislation considered by Congress is in the name of the so-called "middle class." But there is no consensus definition of middle class. Neither is there an official government definition, and it is not the aim of this report to establish one. What constitutes the middle class is relative, subjective, and not easily defined. Most people likely have decided views as to whether they are middle class. At the same time, those who refer to the middle class have a rough idea whom they have in mind. How closely these two definitions correspond is another matter. In some contexts, the term middle class may refer to a group with shared values or views, but much of the time it is intended to refer to those who fall within a particular range of incomes.Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download PDF Report | Link to online Summary

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stateline Report: Executions halted as doctors balk

"After 897 executions by lethal injection over the past 25 years, the role of doctors in carrying out the death penalty is surfacing as the latest ethical issue to force a re-examination of capital punishment in the United States.

A conflict between medical ethics and court orders that a doctor participate in lethal injections has halted executions in California, Missouri and North Carolina. But the ethical issue raised by doctors in the death chamber lurks beneath the surface in most of the 37 capital-punishment states that sanction chemical execution, a mode of death also facing separate constitutional challenges over whether it unduly inflicts pain on prisoners." Source:

Link to online article

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Transformation of Academic Work: Facts and Analysis

Abstract: "This paper outlines the main changes that have effected a transformation in the nature of academic work: on the one hand, the increasing diversification and specialisation of academic tasks, and on the other, new forms of control over academic work. An analysis of these trends leads to a discussion of the relationships between the evolution of academic work and non-academic work." Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-4-07 U.C. Berkeley

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Department of Justice documents released regarding firings of U.S. Attorneys

From DOJ Press Release:

"The latest round of disclosures from the Department of Justice raise new and troubling questions about the firing of six United States Attorneys.

We have just received documents from the Justice Department in the last hour and are in the process of reviewing them. At a minimum, we believe these documents show a coordinated effort, initiated by the White House, to purge every United States Attorney in the country. "

Link to documents (pdf):
DOJ documents regarding firings - part 1
DOJ documents regarding firings - part 2
DOJ documents regarding firings - part 3
DOJ documents regarding firings - part 4

The Characteristics of Unauthorized Immigrants in California, Los Angeles County, and the United States

"This report hopes to fill some of the knowledge gaps in the current immigration debate by describing the unauthorized population nationally and in California and Los Angeles—the state and urban area with the largest numbers of these immigrants. Unauthorized immigrants numbered 2.45 million in California in 2004, representing almost one-quarter (24 percent) of the nation's total (10.3 million). There are about 1 million unauthorized immigrants in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, almost twice the number of any other metro area; the unauthorized are one-tenth of the area's population (10 million). The report presents findings about these populations, including their socio-economic characteristics, such as national origin, education, employment, and poverty." Source: Urban Institute

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tudy Shows Uninsured Receive Less Care and Experience Worse Outcomes

"A new study commissioned by the Kaiser Family Foundation and authored by Dr. Jack Hadley of The Urban Institute and featured in the March 14, 2007, Journal of the American Medical Association theme issue on Access to Care documents that people who are uninsured receive less care and have worse outcomes following an accident or the onset of a new chronic condition than those with insurance.

The study -- based on analysis of eight years of data and over 30,000 observations -- finds that following an accidental injury, the uninsured were less likely than the insured to receive any medical care (78.8% vs. 88.7%). Similarly, the uninsured with a new chronic condition were also less likely to receive care (81.7% vs. 91.5%). In addition, the uninsured with an injury were also twice as likely as those with insurance to have received none of the recommended follow-up care (19.3% vs 9.2%), and a similar pattern held for those with a new chronic condition (9.4% vs 4.4%). In addition, the uninsured with an injury were about twice as likely not to have received any recommended follow-up care (19.3% vs. 9.2%), as was also the case with new chronic conditions. Ultimately, the study indicates that the uninsured were more likely to report not fully recovering and no longer being treated following an accident and roughly seven months after the initial health shock, the uninsured with new chronic conditions reported worse health status than the insured with similar conditions."

Link directly to JAMA Article (free access) | Link to Kaiser Family Foundation

Trends in Public Opinion about the War in Iraq, 2003-2007

Four years after the launch of the U.S. led invasion on March 19, 2003, public opinion about the war in Iraq has turned decidedly negative. Most Americans regret the decision to use military force. Majorities believe the war is not going well, and most say that the United States should bring its troops home as soon as possible. In contrast, when the war began in March 2003 and for quite some time thereafter, the U.S.-led invasion had strong backing from most Americans, and was seen as succeeding quite well. Source: Pew Research Center

Link to online report w/graphs

Pew Report : Latinos Online

"More than one-in-two Latinos (56%) goes online, a lower rate than among non-Hispanic whites (71%) and non-Hispanic blacks (60%). Several socio-economic characteristics that are often intertwined, including low levels of education and limited English ability, largely explain the gap in internet use between Hispanics and non-Hispanics." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Public Tunes In to Walter Reed Story

"News about problems with the medical care of wounded Iraq war veterans drew the public's attention last week. More than three-in-ten Americans (31%) paid very close attention to news about conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and more general reports about how soldiers returning from Iraq are being cared for. And 20% said this was the story they followed most closely, making it the second most closely followed news story of the week. The situation in Iraq continued to be the dominant news story both in terms of interest and coverage. Even the announcement of a verdict in the Scooter Libby trial failed to generate much public interest, in spite of the news media's intense focus on the story." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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Health Care Spending and the Aging of the Population

Health care spending has been growing as a share of national income, as a share of federal spending, and as a share of many consumers' income. Because people tend to use more health care as they age, many observers are concerned that an aging population will accelerate growth in health care spending, and that such growth will lead to economic and fiscal crisis. Over the next several decades, both national and federal spending on health care are expected to grow rapidly for two basic reasons. The first is changing demographics. As the share of older people in the population grows, health spending also will grow to reflect generally higher per capita health care costs for this population, compared with younger people. The second and more important reason is the rising cost of health care for all age groups. In the past, growing demand for health care products and services has been significantly more important than population aging in driving health spending upward. This trend is expected to continue with both older and younger people using more health care in the future than they do today. Growth in spending for health care is of particular concern to policymakers because Medicare and Medicaid already account for about 21% of federal spending.1 As the population ages, a growing share of Americans will receive health care under these programs, putting increasing pressure on the federal budget.2 Unchecked, this pressure is likely to affect public spending for other priorities, and also may affect economic growth. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Iraq: Tribal Structure, Social, and Political Activities

"For centuries the social and political organization of many Iraqi Arabs has centered on the tribe. Socially, tribes were divided into related sub-tribes, which further divided into clans, and then into extended families. Seventy-five percent of Iraq's estimated 26 million people are a member of a tribe. They are more strongly bound by these tribal ties and a strict honor code than by ethnic background or religion. This report describes the political orientation of several Iraqi Arab tribes, including the Shammar, Dulaym, and Jibur tribes." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.

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The Regulation of E-learning: New National and International Policy Perspectives

The universe of postsecondary education is expanding. It is an era of rapid demographic and labor market changes, increased competition and shifts in institutional form (e.g., the rise of for profit degree granters, the hybrid form of nonprofit/for profit partnerships, corporate universities), and new forms of delivery driven by emerging technologies. In nearly all of these cases, the pace of innovation and establishment of new institutional forms outstrips the ability of regulators or policy makers to stay ahead of the curve.

To better understand the complex interplay of public policy drivers regulating e-learning, the Center for Studies in Higher Education convened a meeting of experts in February 2006 for a preliminary examination of existing and emerging public policies that will shape its regulation both domestically and internationally. Three white papers were used as a point of departure for the discussions, which focused on the following areas: The Changing Regulatory Environment: Who, What, Why, and Where?; Finance, Investment, and the Flow of Capital; Student Access and Equity; Social Costs and Benefits from an International Perspective; and Consumer Protection and Cross-border Education. This report summarizes our conversations and recommendations for future research. Authors: Diane Harley and Shannon Lawrence, Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-1-07. U.C. Berkeley

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Medicine and Public Health Partnerships: Predictors of Success


Objective: Empirically examine medicine and public health partnership factors that are associated with partnership success.

Methods: 329 medicine and public health partnership informants were interviewed to assess factors associated with success in achieving partnership goals.

Results: Partnership formation; partner recruitment; barriers to collaboration; and leadership/governance variables were not predictive of partnership success. Partnership duration was significant in predicting success in achieving outcomes.

Conclusions: Factors identified in the literature are not as salient as believed in insuring the success of medicine and public health partnerships. The longer a partnership can remain intact (i.e., minimally longer than one year), irrespective of the particularities of the formation and structure of the partnership, the greater the probability that the partnership will achieve its desired outcomes. Source: Institute for Health & Aging.UCSF

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Policies and Issues

"Unaccompanied alien children (UAC) are aliens under the age of 18 who come to the United States without authorization or overstay their visa, and are without a parent or legal guardian. Most arrive at U.S. ports of entry or are apprehended along the border with Mexico. With the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA), UAC tasking was split between the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Removal (ORR). DHS was delegated the task of apprehension, transfer and repatriation of UAC, while ORR was tasked to provide long-term detention and foster placement. The issue for Congress concerns whether the current system provides adequate protections for unaccompanied alien children. The debate over UAC policy has polarized in recent years between two camps: child welfare advocates arguing that the UAC are largely akin to refugees by being victims of abuse and economic circumstances, and immigration security advocates charging that unauthorized immigration is associated with increased community violence and illicit activities. Consequently, these two camps advocate very different policies for the treatment of UAC." Source: Congressional Research Service

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Genetic Discrimination: Overview of the Issue and Proposed Legislation

"A key policy issue before Congress is whether the potential for genetic discrimination by employers and insurers merits protections for genetic information that are more extensive than those already in place for health information. For the stated purpose of prohibiting discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 (H.R. 493) was introduced in the House on January 16, 2007. On January 22, 2007, the act was introduced in the Senate (S. 358). " Source: Congressional Research Service

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Today's Journalists Less Prominent

Fewer Widely Admired than 20 Years Ago

"The increasingly fragmented media landscape has diminished the prominence of the nation's top journalists. Two decades ago, the vast majority of Americans had a "favorite" journalist or news person, and the top picks were representatives of the big three broadcast television networks. Today, only a slim majority can name the journalist they admire most and the preferences are much more scattered. Reflecting the myriad choices news consumers have today, the top ten journalists named by the public are drawn from the networks, cable news channels, public television and even Comedy Central." Source: Pew research center for people and the press.

Download full pdf report | Link to online report | Download topline questionnaire (pdf)

Rewarding the Work of Individuals: A Counterintuitive Approach to Reducing Poverty and Strengthening Families

"In this working paper, MDRC President Gordon Berlin answers the question: If you could do one thing to reduce poverty in America, what would it be? Drawing on experimental evidence about the impact of earnings supplements, he explores the potential advantages of expanding the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to all low-wage adults who work full time — whether they have children or not and whether they marry or not." Source: MDRC

"This paper was originally prepared for the conference, “Identifying Policies That Would Reduce Poverty,” on April 17-18, 2006, co-sponsored by the Joyce Foundation and the Brookings Institution. It is scheduled to be published in the September 2007 issue of The Future of Children, a publication of The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

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Multiple Goals, Satisfaction, and Achievement in University Undergraduate Education: A Student Experience...

Multiple Goals, Satisfaction, and Achievement in University Undergraduate Education: A Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Project Research Paper

"This study examines the relationship between student goal orientation and student satisfaction, academic engagement, and achievement. A variety of studies has shown that the type of goal orientation determines students’ cognitive and behavioral reactions as well as their educational performance. Using data on 2309 college students from the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), this study analyzes the relationship between different types of goal orientations and student behavior and academic outcomes. Three questions are addressed in this paper: First, it explores how students can be classified according to their goal orientation. Second, the study examines how multiple achievement goals relate to different socio-demographic characteristics. Third, the relative influence of goal orientation on indices of satisfaction, achievement, and academic engagement among undergraduate students is assessed. The results support the notion that students pursuing both mastery and performance goals are more satisfied with their academic experience, show a higher degree of academic engagement, and achieve better grades than students who pursue a mastery orientation alone or a work-avoidance/performance orientation. One practical implication of the study of goal orientation is that student applicants could be screened on the basis of both a high mastery as well as a high performance orientation." Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-2-07. U.C. Berkeley

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On the Brink: Assessing the Status of the American Faculty

Abstract: "This paper focuses on the present condition and future of the professoriate and is part of a long-term study on how the academic profession is changing, now more rapidly than at any time in memory. These dramatic shifts have led to a deep restructuring of academic appointments, work, and careers. The question now looming is whether the forces that have triggered academic restructuring will, in time, so transform the academic profession that its role—its unique contribution—is becoming ever more vulnerable to dangerous compromise. Whether the academic profession is able to negotiate successfully its role in the new era—to preserve core values and to ensure the indispensable contributions of the academy to society—remains to be seen." Source: Center for Studies in Higher Education. Paper CSHE-3-07. U.C. Berkeley

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| Link to eScholarship Repository.

Media Freedom, Bureaucratic Incentives, and the Resource Curse

Abstract: "How can a non-democratic regime provide proper incentives for a state bureaucracy? The dictator should gather information on the bureaucrats performance. Such information can be collected either through a centralized source such as a secret service or a decentralized system such as free media. Free media aggregate information and thus constrain bureaucrats, but might also help citizens to coordinate on actions against the incumbent. Secret services do not leak information to the public but may also collude with the bureaucrats. We develop a simple dynamic model to argue that free media are less likely to emerge in resource-rich economies: the resource rents create incentives for dictators to cling to power. We then demonstrate that controlling for country …xed e¤ects, media are less free in oil-rich countries; the e¤ect is especially strong in less democratic countries. These results are robust to the choice of speci…cation and and a variety of controls including the level of economic development and democracy, literacy, Internet penetration, country and population size, size of government, and inequality." Source: Institute of Governmental Studies. U.C. Berkeley.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Latest statistics on women, minorities and persons with disabilities in science and engineering

"The National Science Foundation released the latest statistics on women, minorities and persons with disabilities in science and engineering. The report focuses on education and employment statistics for these groups.

Figures and tables detail degrees earned, occupations, age, country of birth and salary. The latest figures are from 2004, and were updated in December 2006.

A complete update of the report is issued by NSF every two years. NSF obtains the data from many sources, including NSF surveys, other federal agencies and non-federal organizations." Source: National Science Foundation

Download full PDF report | Link to online database

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

"...presents a window into the lives of American diplomats. Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel capture their experiences, motivations, critiques, personal analyses, and private thoughts. These elements are crucial to understanding the full story of how a structure of stable relationships that maintained world peace and protected U.S. interests and values was built.

The interviews in the collection are mostly with Foreign Service Officers but there also are some with political appointees and other officials. While some 1920s-, 1930s-, and World-War-II-era diplomacy is covered, most of the interviews involve post-World-War-II diplomacy, from the late 1940s to the 1990s. This collection captures the post-World-War-II period in vivid terms and intimate detail, documenting the way that U.S. diplomacy defends the United States and its interests in a challenging world. The narratives span the major diplomatic crises and issues that faced the United States during the second half of the 20th century and, as new interviews are added, will include developments in the 21st century. The 1,301 transcripts of oral history interviews were donated by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), a private, nonprofit organization." Source: Library of Congress

Collection Home | Browse by Author | Browse by Subject

Teacher Rules, Roles and Rights

"Teacher Rules, Roles and Rights" gives the public unprecedented access to the content of collective bargaining agreements and employee handbooks from all over the country. It is the only place you can find so many agreements and school policies in a single location. And we have done much of the work for you, sorting through mountains of text to create a new online interface. This tool gives users the opportunity to compare and contrast over 300 distinct provisions in agreements on a full range of topics, including:

School calendar
Class sizes
Salary and differential pay
Professional development
Safety, security and class management
Employment termination procedures
Teacher transfer procedures
Union membership

"The portal is the first of its kind-empowering anyone to analyze and compare the day-to-day operations of teachers and schools in a single district or all fifty. You can choose to download the full text of a teacher contract, just the salary schedule, and even the school calendar. Or perhaps you just have a single question and don't want to wade through lengthy documents. Most likely the answer is in our database, easily retrieved in three quick steps using our report generator. The database provides answers to over 300 questions, ranging from salary and benefits to how a teacher gets evaluated--with more getting added all the time."

Link to database

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pipelines, Pathways, and Payoffs: Economic Challenges and Returns to Changing Demographics in California

"For individuals, success and persistence in schooling has a huge economic impact on their lives. Educational attainment affects the kinds of employment job seekers can find, the amount of money they earn, the housing conditions and lifestyle they can afford, the level of savings they can accumulate for retirement, their risk for incarceration, and the likelihood that they will live in poverty or need to rely on transfer payment for basic needs. Perhaps less obviously, the state also has a strong stake in the educational attainment of its residents. One element of the state's economic stake is its financial balance, since the demand for incarceration and poverty-related state services declines with higher levels of educational attainment, while higher rates of per capita income permit the provision of a fixed set of state services at lower average rates of taxation.

Historically, California has experienced a "brain gain", as the flows of highly educated and skilled workers supplemented its own investments in developing educational opportunities for its residents. Long-running transitions toward migration flows in which lower levels of education are more heavily represented, in conjunction with projected demands for increasing numbers of well-educated and skilled labor in California, will require the state to either substantially improve educational success among its next generation of students or suffer from a shortfall of skilled workers." Source: UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, & Access.

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Exploring Terrorist Targeting Preferences

"Al Qaeda, the jihadist network personified by Osama bin laden, seeks a restored caliphate free of Western influence. It uses terror as its means. But how does terrorism serve the ends of al Qaeda? Understanding its strategic logic might suggest what U.S. targets it may seek to strike and why.

This monograph posits four hypotheses to link means and ends. The coercion hypothesis suggests that terrorists are interested in causing pain, notably casualties, to frighten the United States into pursuing favorable policies (e.g., withdrawing from the Islamic world). The damage hypothesis posits that terrorists want to damage the U.S. economy in order to weaken its ability to intervene in the Islamic world. The rally hypothesis holds that terrorism in the United States would be carried out to attract the attention of potential recruits and supporters. The franchise hypothesis argues that today’s jihadists pursue their own, often local, agendas with, at most, support and encouragement from al Qaeda itself.

Each of these four hypotheses was examined using an analysis of 14 major terrorist attacks, a structured survey given to terrorism experts, and an analysis of statements by al Qaeda." Source: Rand Corporation

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Just Updated: Federal, State, and Local Governments Public Employment and Payroll Data

"The U.S. Census Bureau conducts an annual survey of government employment as authorized by Title 13, United States Code. This survey measures the number of government civilian employees and their gross payrolls for one month. Data are for the month of October through 1995. Beginning with the 1997 survey, data are for the month of March. There was no survey between October 1995 and March 1997." Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Link to download data, tables and reports

Report validates govs' worries over Guard

A new report to Congress bolsters governors’ complaints that they’ve wrongly been left out of decisions about sending state-based National Guard units to war despite effects on emergency preparedness at home.

The report March 1 by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, appointed to advise Congress, provides further ammunition for governors and federal lawmakers pushing for legislation to fix deficiencies brought out by the U.S. military’s heavy reliance on the Guard to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Source: [via Pew Research]

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Gay marriage ripe for decision in 3 courts (updated March 1, 2007)

"...the key question is whether any states will follow the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s 4-3 ruling in November 2003. The court found that equal-protection guarantees in the state constitution made it illegal to deny full-fledged marriage to gays and lesbians.

All eyes now are on the highest courts in California, Connecticut and Maryland, where decisions on the constitutionality of gay marriage are likely this year. Maryland’s justices already have heard arguments on a lower-court ruling that found a right to same-sex marriage. Awaiting argument in California and Connecticut are appeals that will test whether even civil unions or domestic partnerships are legally inadequate substitutes for matrimony." Source: [via Pew Research]

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Strategic Use of Information Technology - Google

"Arguably the most popular search engine available today, Google is widely known for its unparalleled search engine technology, embodied in the web page ranking algorithm, PageRanki and running on an efficient distributed computer system. In fact, the verb “to Google” has ingrained itself in the vernacular as a synonym of “[performing] a web search.”1 The key to Google’s success has been its strategic use of both software and hardware information technologies. The IT infrastructure behind the search engine includes huge storage databases and numerous server farms to produce significant computational processing power. These critical IT components are distributed across multiple independent computers that provide parallel computing resources. This architecture has allowed Google’s business to reach a market capital over $100 billion and become one of the most respected and admirable companies in the world." Source: Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. I.T. in Business. U.C. Irvine.

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