Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Teaching and Learning across an ethnic divide

Abstract: "My fieldwork at Shiroyama1public elementary school began dramatically, as Mr. Nakamura, a Japanese teacher in his fifties, explained his views on Latino cultures. “‘Hasta mañana’ tte wakaru,” he asked me. (“Do you know ‘hasta mañana’ [until tomorrow]?”)2“Perū-jin mo burajiru-jin mo, ratenjin dakara, shigoto shinai shi, jikan mo mamoranai. Itsumo ‘hasta mañana’ da” (“Peruvians and Brazilians are Latino, so they don’t work, and they don’t value time. It’s always hasta mañana.”) “Raten-kei dakara,” he explained. (“It’s because they’re Latino.”) Amid national and local public policy discussions of developing Japan into a multicultural society, th difficulties of communicating with foreign parents who speak little to no Japanese often frustrate Japanese public school teachers. As frustrations mount, teachers also complain that these parents are not acquiring Japanese language and culture quickly enough and are remaining too foreign. In contrast, foreign parents complain about the structural constraints that limit their ability to effectively interact with the school, despite their desire to be more involved. Based on ongoing research, this case study uses examples from parent-teacher interactions, including each side’s expressed concerns about the other, to explore the often-tense relationship between Peruvian parents and Japanese teachers. This approach challenges some teachers’ “definition of the situation” (Thomas 1923), and highlights structural factors that place the parents in a disadvantageous position when interacting with the school, including poor language support, ineffective remedial language instruction, and the view that parents’ cultural difference is a source of problems at the school. This article also describes Peruvians’ settlement in Shiroyama, and examines the ways that parents’ class and immigrant status are influencing their ability to gain the social and cultural capital necessary for them to more effectively participate in their children’s education." Author: Robert Moorehead, University of California, Davis Source: Pacific Rim Research Program

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

National Intelligence Estimate: Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: Some Security Progress but Political Reconciliation Elusive

"There have been measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation since our last National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in January 2007. The steep escalation of rates of violence has been checked for now, and overall attack levels across Iraq have fallen during seven of the last nine weeks. Coalition forces, working with Iraqi forces, tribal elements, and some Sunni insurgents, have reduced al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s (AQI) capabilities, restricted its freedom of movement, and denied it grassroots support in some areas. However, the level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high; Iraq’s sectarian groups remain unreconciled; AQI retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks; and to date, Iraqi political leaders remain unable to govern effectively. There have been modest improvements in economic output, budget execution, and government finances but fundamental structural problems continue to prevent sustained progress in economic growth and living conditions. " Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

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A Study of Academic Entrepreneurs Using Venture Capital Data

"Academic entrepreneurship has become an increasingly important channel through which universities contribute to economic development. This paper studies academic entrepreneurs using a comprehensive venture capital database. I find that about two-thirds of the academic entrepreneurs locate their businesses in the same state as their universities. National academy membership and number of faculty awards, measures of a university’s research quality, are the most significant variables in explaining the number of academic entrepreneurs from a university. In contrast, the abundance of venture capital near the university has no significant effect on academic entrepreneurship." Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

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Is the Chinese Growth Miracle Built to Last?

Abstract: "Is the Chinese growth miracle – a remarkably high growth rate sustained for over two decades – likely to persist or are the seeds of its eventual demise contained in the policies that have boosted growth? For all its presumed flaws, the particular approach to macroeconomic and structural policies that has been adopted by the Chinese government has helped to deliver high productivity and output growth, along with a reasonable degree of macroeconomic stability. In tandem with a benign international environment, this approach makes it unlikely that the economy will face a collapse in growth. But there comes a point when the policy distortions needed to maintain this approach could generate imbalances, impose potentially large welfare costs, and themselves become a source of instability. The traditional risks faced by emerging market economies, especially those related to having an open capital account, do not loom large in the case of China. In the process of securing protection against external risks, however, Chinese policymakers may have increased the risks of internal instability. There are a number of factors that could trigger unfavorable economic dynamics that, even if they don’t rise to the level of a crisis, could have serious adverse repercussions on growth and welfare. The flexibility and potency of macroeconomic tools to deal with such negative shocks is constrained by the panoply of policies that has supported growth so far." Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

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Parenting and the different ways it can affect children’s lives: research evidence

Seven literature reviews of research on parenting.

Policy-makers and commentators often blame ‘bad parenting’ for children and young people’s troublesome behaviour. What can research tell us about the influence of parenting, especially the parent-child relationships in millions of ‘ordinary’ families?

These seven reports review existing research on:

* Parenting and outcomes for children (PDF, 227KB)
* Parenting and resilience (PDF, 217KB)
* Fathers and fatherhood (PDF, 143KB)
* Parenting and ethnicity (PDF, 244KB)
* Children’s views of parenting (PDF, 163KB)
* Parenting and poverty (PDF, 182KB)
* Barriers to inclusion (PDF, 140KB)

They include research based on the perspectives of mothers, fathers and children themselves. They were commissioned by the JRF to inform its own Parenting Research and Development programme. Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Link to download site

Foreign-Born Latinos Make Progress on Wages

"Foreign-born Latino workers made notable progress between 1995 and 2005 when ranked by hourly wage. The proportion of foreign-born Latino workers in the lowest quintile of the wage distribution decreased to 36% from 42% while many workers moved into the middle quintiles, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

Download full PDF Report | Link to online summary

Time for Reform: Aging Out and On Their Own

"Drawing on findings from focus groups conducted with youth who aged out or
expect to age out of foster care, research studies and interviews, this report
describes how the current foster care system fails to provide a permanent
family for every child and the difficulty children have staying connected to
family and friends while in foster care. The report also presents the latest
state-by-state data on the number of youth who have aged out of foster care,
and, in the words of former and current foster youth, describes the problems
young adults have when they have to face the future without a permanent
family to support them. The report briefly discusses the history of permanency
in child welfare policy and why one never grows too old to want and need a
permanent family. The report concludes with recommendations for public
policy reforms that could decrease the number of youth who age out of care
each year by improving the federal foster care financing system." Source: Pew charitable Trust

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Clinton and Giuliani's Contrasting Images

Views of Leading '08 Candidates

"Sen. Hillary Clinton is by far the most popular presidential candidate among her own party's voters, but has among the lowest overall favorable ratings of the leading candidates. In sharp contrast, the front-running Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, evokes relatively modest enthusiasm from the GOP base, but is as broadly popular with all voters as any candidate in either partyhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif." Source: Pew Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report | Download pdf topline questionnaire

Preliminary Thoughts on Copyright Reform

"Myriad reasons can be proffered for undertaking a copyright reform project. For one thing, the current U.S. copyright law is way too long, now weighing at approximately two hundred pages long. The statute is also far too complex, incomprehensible to a significant degree, and imbalanced in important ways. It lacks, moreover, normative heft. That is, the normative rationales for granting authors some protections for their works and for limiting the scope of that protection are difficult to extract from the turgid prose of its many exceptionally detailed provisions."

Source: Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

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New Perspectives on Marijuana and Youth

Abstainers Are Not Maladjusted, but Lone Users Face Difficulties

"A lot of adolescents experiment with marijuana — the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 46% of high school seniors have tried this drug at some time. Pushing boundaries is what young people do, and some researchers believe that trying marijuana is a normal part of growing up.

Does that mean that young people who do not indulge are somehow maladjusted?"

Source: RAND

link to online report

Boston Globe: Academia has '08 cash clout

"Professors and others in the education field have given more to federal candidates running in 2008 than those who work in the oil, pharmaceutical, and computer industries -- a sign of how academia has become a much bigger player in the political cash sweepstakes." Source: Boston Globe

Link to online article

Monday, August 20, 2007

Election Assistance Commission Issues Poll Worker Best Practices

"The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has released two best practices guidebooks to help election officials recruit, train, and retain poll workers. “Successful Practices for Poll Worker Recruitment, Training and Retention” and “A Guidebook for Recruiting College Poll Workers” are available at www.eac.gov.

“Elections are becoming more complicated because of new federal and state laws, new procedures and new technical and security requirements for voting equipment,” said EAC Chair Donetta Davidson. “The need for trained poll workers is more urgent than ever, and we hope these guidebooks will help election officials find and keep good poll workers as well as recruit a new generation of poll workers.”

The guidebooks entailed a fifteen month development process involving two working groups and dozens of interviews and focus groups with election officials, voters and veteran poll workers. Draft versions of each guidebook were field-tested at six sites during the 2006 elections. The guidebooks were reviewed by the EAC’s Standards Board and Board of Advisors during a virtual public meeting last month. The draft documents and comments are available at www.eac.gov."

Link to download site at www.eac.gov

European Library: Online access to 30 European national collections.

The European Library is a non-commercial organisation. It provides the services of a physical library and the opportunity to benefit from a virtual environment in 20 languages.

This website allows to search through the resources of 30 of the 47 national libraries involved in The European Library. Resources can be both digital or bibliographical (books, posters, maps, sound recordings, videos, etc.).

Currently The European Library gives access to 150 million entries across Europe. The amount of referenced digital collections is constantly increasing. Quality and reliability are guaranteed by the 47 collaborating national libraries of Europe.

Link to search catalog
| More about the European library

Iraq and Al Qaeda

"In building a case for invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein from power, the Administration asserted that the regime of Saddam Hussein had a working relationship with the Al Qaeda organization. The Administration stated that the relationship dated to the early 1990s, and was based on a common interest in confronting the United States. The Administration assertions were derived from U.S. intelligence showing a pattern of contacts with Al Qaeda when its founder, Osama bin Laden, was based in Sudan in the early to mid-1990s and continuing after he relocated to Afghanistan in 1996. Critics maintain that the Administration argument did not demonstrate that the relationship, if it existed, was systematic or institutionalized, and that no hard data has come to light indicating the two entities conducted any joint terrorist attacks. Some major hallmarks of a consistent relationship were absent, and several experts outside and within the U.S. government believe that contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda were sporadic, unclear, or subject to alternate explanations." Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Broad Interest in Bridge Disaster, Good Marks for Coverage

"The bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed five people and raised concerns about infrastructure safety nationwide surpassed all other news stories last week both in public interest and media coverage. Nearly half (48%) say this was the story they followed most closely last week, far exceeding interest in Iraq, the week's next most closely followed story (17% most closely)." Source: Pew Center for People and the Press

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| Download topline questionnaire | Link to online summary

Web-Style Multimedia Annotations

"Annotation of multimedia resources supports a wide range of applications, ranging from associating metadata with multimedia resources or parts of these resources, to the collaborative use of multimedia resources through the act of distributed authoring and annotation of resources. Most annotation frameworks, however, are based on a closed approach, where the annotations data is limited to the annotation framework, and cannot readily be reused in other application scenarios. We present a declarative approach to multimedia annotations, which represents the annotations in an XML format independent from the multimedia resources. Using this declarative approach, multimedia annotations can be used in an easier and more flexible way, enabling application scenarios such as third-party annotations and annotation aggregation and filtering." Source: U.C. Berkeley School of Information. Paper 2007-014.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments

"This report describes results from the third and last field investigation in the NAEP Technology-Based Assessment Project, which explores the use of new technology in administering NAEP. (The first two focused on assessments of math and writing online.) In the TRE study, two extended scenarios within the domain of physical science were created for measuring students’ ability to solve problems using technology. The TRE Search scenario required students to locate and synthesize information about scientific helium balloons from a simulated World Wide Web environment. The TRE Simulation scenario required students to conduct experiments of increasing complexity about relationships among buoyancy, mass and volume. These scenarios were delivered via school computers or on laptop computers taken into the schools. The sample was nationally representative, consisting of over 2,000 public school 8th grade students tested in 2003. Students were randomly assigned to the assessment scenarios. The TRE project was intended as an exploratory study of how NAEP can use technology to measure skills that cannot be easily measured by conventional paper-and-pencil means. TRE Search produced a total score and two subscores, scientific inquiry and computer skills. The TRE Simulation scenario produced a total score and three subscores: scientific exploration, scientific synthesis, and computer skills. The results indicate that the TRE scenarios functioned well as assessment devices." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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| View online executive summary| Link to online abstract

The Role of Heritage Language Development in the Adjustment of Adolescents from Immigrant Backgrounds

Abstract: The influence of immigrant-background adolescents’ heritage language proficiency and use of the language on parent-adolescent relationships and ethnic identity was investigated in a sample of 414 ninth-grade participants from Latin American and Asian backgrounds. Heritage language proficiency, but not language use, was found to be positively associated with the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship, especially for Asian American adolescents. Although heritage language proficiency and language use were both associated with strength of ethnic identity, when taken together, only heritage language proficiency emerges as a reliable predictor of ethnic identity. These findings indicate that it is the development of proficiency in the heritage language that influences adolescents’ successful adjustment, rather than their own choice of languages. Source: California Center for Population Research. On-Line Working Paper Series. Paper CCPR-012-07.

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Education Differences in Intended and Unintended Fertility

Abstract: Using a hazards framework and panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979-2002), we analyze the fertility patterns of a recent cohort of U.S. white and African American women. We examine how completed fertility varies by women’s education, differentiating between intended and unintended births. We find that the education gradient on fertility comes largely from unintended childbearing, and it is not explained by childbearing desires or opportunity cost. Less educated women want no more children than the more educated, so this factor explains none of their higher completed fertility. Less educated women have lower wages, but wages have little of the negative effect on fertility predicted by economic theories of opportunity cost. Our work highlights the importance of examining other mechanisms leading less educated women to have more unintended births. Source: California Center for Population Research. On-Line Working Paper Series. Paper CCPR-016-07.

Note: one of the authors, Paula England, was a CASBS fellow in the class of 2006.

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| Link to online abstract

A Survey of Web-based Collective Decision Making Systems

Abstract: "A collective decision making system uses an aggregation mechanism to combine the input of individuals to generate a decision. The decisions generated serve a variety of purposes from governance rulings to forecasts for planning. The Internet hosts a suite of collective decision making systems, some that were inconceivable before the web. In this paper, we present a taxonomy of collective decision making systems into which we place seven principal web-based tools. This taxonomy serves to elucidate the state of the art in web-based collective decision making as well as to highlight opportunities for innovation." Source: Human Complex Systems. Lake Arrowhead Conference, 2007. U.C. Irvine Paper JHW2007-1.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries

"This report describes how the education system in the United States compares with education systems in the other G-8 countries--Canada, France. Germany. Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom.
Twenty indicators are organized in five sections:
(1) population and school enrollment;
(2) academic performance;
(3) context for learning;
(4) expenditure for education; and
(5) education returns: educational attainment and income."

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Download entire report as PDF
| Link to download site with options for obtaining report in separate sections.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Final Report: An Evaluation of Selected AmeriCorps Programs

"In summary, AmeriCorps in California is not simply another social program in a relatively stable world. Rather, AmeriCorps arrives as an alternative to facilitate the positive forces of community change necessary to address substantial demographic, cultural, linguistic and economic changes over the past two decades. Whereas more traditional patterns of community service provision can become disconnected or “out-of-touch” with the changing realities of new people, new cultures, new economics and reduced state and local budgets, AmeriCorps programs possess the qualities of adaptability and flexibility necessary for relevant and timely service provision which meets local conditions and situations of need." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change. U.C. Berkeley

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How Did the Statewide Assessment and Accountibility Policies of the 1990s Affect Instructional Quality in Elementary Schools?

NCLB aims to accomplish its goals by holding public schools accountable for their
students’ achievement. Under NCLB, public schools must test all students annually in math and reading in grades 3 though 8. Schools face corrective action or complete restructuring if their students fail to meet state standards for academic progress several years in a row. NCLB also makes it easier for students in low-performing schools to attend better schools or to obtain free tutoring.

Yet the law wisely gave states several years to comply with its most critical requirements. Not until the 2005-2006 school year, for example, did states need to have a “highly qualified” teacher in every classroom and reading and math testing in grades 3 through 8. Consequently, it is still too early to assess the effects of NCLB on the nation’s educational system. Fortunately, however, the assessment and accountability provisions of NCLB build directly on assessment and accountability policies begun a decade earlier. Spurred in part by the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–382), many states increased the number of tests they required students to take and some states began imposing consequences on schools or school districts when students performed poorly on those tests. Examining the effects of these state-wide reforms of the 1990s can help us understand the likely effects of NCLB and generate ideas about how to improve NCLB when it comes up for reauthorization. Prior work has examined the impact of state accountability policies on student achievement (e.g., Carnoy and Loeb 2002; Hanushek and Raymond 2005). This paper focuses instead on how such policies influenced teachers and school administrators—especially those who work in low-income schools. Source: California Center for Population Research. On-Line Working Paper Series. Paper CCPR-017-07.

Download pdf publication | Link to eScholarship Repository

U.S.-Peru Economic Relations and the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement

On December 7, 2005, the United States and Peru concluded negotiations on the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). President Bush notified the Congress of the United States' intention to enter into the PTPA on January 6, 2006, and the agreement was signed on April 12, 2006 by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman and Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Alfredo Ferrero Diez.

The PTPA is a comprehensive trade agreement that, if approved by Congress, would eliminate tariffs and other barriers in goods and services trade between the United States and Peru. The approval and implementation of a PTPA is a high priority for the Peruvian government. Peruvian President Alan Garc�a has met with President Bush and Members of Congress on several occasions in the United States to stress the importance of the agreement for Peru. The pending PTPA would likely have a small net economic effect on the United States because U.S. trade with Peru accounts for a small percent of total U.S. trade. For Peru, the impact would be more significant because the United States is Peru's leading trade partner. In 2006, 23% of Peru's exports went to the United States, and 16% of Peru's imports were supplied by the United States. In that same year, Peru accounted for 0.5% of total U.S. trade. Peru ranks 43rd among U.S. export markets and 42nd as a source of U.S. imports. The dominant U.S. import item from Peru is gold (24% in 2006) and the leading U.S. export items to Peru are petroleum oils and related products (9% in 2006). Upon implementation, a PTPA would eliminate duties on 80% of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Peru. Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

Download pdf publiction
| Link to online Summary

NCSL 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources

"At the request of NCSL's Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps."
Source: National Conference of State Legislature

Link to online database

Gangs in Central America

"The 110th Congress maintains a strong interest in the effects of crime and gang violence in Central America, and its spillover effects on the United States. Since February 2005, more than 1,374 members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang have been arrested in cities across the United States. These arrests are raising concerns about the transnational activities of Central American gangs. Governments throughout the region are struggling to find the right combination of suppressive and preventive policies to deal with the gangs.

Some analysts assert that increasing U.S. deportations of individuals with criminal records to Central American countries may be contributing to the gang problem. Most experts argue that the repressive anti-gangs laws adopted by El Salvador and Honduras have failed to reduce violence and homicides in those countries, and that law enforcement solutions alone will not solve the gang problem. Analysts also predict that illicit gang activities may accelerate illegal immigration and trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons to the United States, although a recent United Nations report challenges those assertions. Others maintain that contact between gang members across the regions is increasing, and that this tendency may cause increased gang-related violent crime in the United States. Several U.S. agencies have been actively engaged on both the law enforcement and preventive side of dealing with Central American gangs. The National Security Council (NSC) created an inter-agency task force to develop a comprehensive, threeyear strategy to deal with international gang activity. The strategy, which is now being implemented, states that the U.S. government will pursue coordinated antigang activities through five broad areas: diplomacy, repatriation, law enforcement, capacity enhancement, and prevention.
Source: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

What Can Business Learn from Potter Mania?

"With the release of J. K. Rowling’s long-promised final installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the release of the fifth Harry Potter movie, the impact of this franchise is far reaching. As of August 3, the movie grossed $700 million in its first month and more than 11.5 million books have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Who profits becomes a larger issue. A sure winner is Rowling, who went from being an unemployed single mother, living with her sister in Edinburgh, Scotland, to becoming the world’s first billionaire author – and reportedly richer than the Queen of England." Source: Emory University [via Knowledge@Emory]

Link to online article

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Nations Report Card: Economics

"This report presents results of the first ever National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) U.S. economics assessment in 2006. National results for a representative sample of students at grade 12 are reported in terms of students’ average economics score on a 0–300 scale, and in terms of the percentage of students attaining each of three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The overall national average score was set at 150. National scores at selected percentiles on the scale (indicating the percentage of students whose scores fell at or below a particular point) are presented. This report also provides results for groups of students defined by various background characteristics (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, school location and parental education). The national results show that on average male students scored higher than female students, and White and Asian/Pacific Islander students scored higher than other racial/ethnic groups. Students from schools in large cities had lower average scores than students from schools in other locations. Students from families with higher levels of parental education scored higher, on average, than their peers from families with lower levels of parental education. Most 12th-graders reported some exposure to economics content during high school. The report also includes sample assessment questions and examples of student responses. The technical notes section provides information about sampling and weighting; participation, exclusion, and accommodation rates; and statistical significance." Source: National Assessment of Educational Progress, National Center for Education Statistics

Download pdf report | link to online site

Civics Report Card

History Report Card

From Public Housing to Regulated Public Environments: The Redevelopment of San Francisco’s Public Housing

"Contemporary approaches to concentrated poverty assume intractable ghettos and a dying urban core. In the meantime, welfare reform and gentrification have given rise to new systems of poverty management and new spatial arrangements of poverty within U.S. metropolitan areas. The public housing revitalization program known as HOPE VI (Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere) provides an opportunity to explore these developments. In the ideal, HOPE VI solves the problem of dense, isolated, crime-ridden projects that house only the most poor by replacing them with new communities that are more attractive, more integrated with their surroundings, and more mixed—both in terms of income and race. This paper argues that HOPE VI is a program of urban redevelopment and poverty management that is firmly rooted in the ideology and goals of welfare reform. Using San Francisco as a case study, it examines the institutional and spatial changes embedded in the city’s HOPE VI process. San Francisco offers a model of progressive HOPE VI, one which prioritizes resident participation, minimizes the loss of affordable housing units, and mediates public/private partnerships through the use of non-profit developers. Despite this progressive approach, the “transformation” of public housing promised by HOPE VI is not the transformation of a severely distressed property to a functional one or the transformation of an area characterized by concentrated poverty to one with a wider range of incomes. Rather, it is the transformation of public housing into a new post-welfare institution, what the author calls a regulated public environment." Source: Institute for the Study of Social Change, U.C. Berkeley [via eScholarship Repository]

Download pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women

"The current U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) policy for assigning military women was issued in 1994, and the U.S. Army’s assignment policy dates to 1992. In the ensuing years, the U.S. Army has undergone significant technological and organizational transformation, which has changed how it organizes and fights. There is concern that, in the course of operations in Iraq, the Army has not been adhering to its own assignment policy, as there are several important and potentially problematic differences between the DoD and Army policies. For example, the DoD policy prohibits the assignment of women to units whose primary mission is direct combat, whereas the Army policy prohibits the assignment of women to units with a routine mission of direct combat, and their definitions of direct combat differ. The research finds that the Army is adhering to the DoD assignment policy but may not be complying with the separate Army assignment policy for women. Assessing the Assignment Policy for Army Women serves to inform DoD decisionmaking with regard to the clarity and appropriateness of the current DoD and Army assignment policies, especially given how units are operating in Iraq." Source: RAND Corporation

Download full pdf publication | Download pdf summary only | link to online abstract

Student Retention in Higher Education Courses : International Comparison

"This study compares and contrasts retention and participation rates in international Higher Education systems. The aim of the study is to put the performance of United Kingdom higher education institutions in comparative perspective and uncover interesting practice in the countries studied to improve retention rates." Source: RAND corporation

Download full pdf report | Download pdf summary only | Link to online abstract

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Immigrant Population in the United States

"Every state, as well as Washington, D.C., has seen its immigrant population grow since 2000. That holds true for Louisiana and North Dakota, which have seen an overall drop in population since 2000 — Louisiana because of the devastation of hurricane Katrina that displaced more than one million residents.” Two states and Washington, DC have seen arriving immigrants account for more than 100 percent of their population growth. Those are New York and Massachusetts." Source: Federation for American Immigration Reform

Download pdf report | Link to online summary

Passenger Name Record Data Agreement between U.S. and Europe

"Under the new agreement, the Department of Homeland Security will collect 19 types of PNR data. The data will be maintained for seven years in an active file, and eight years thereafter in a dormant file with limited access. This ensures that we will be able to identify and investigate threats that might develop over a period of years.

The new agreement also changes how the department collects PNR data from airline reservation systems. Air carriers will now transmit PNR data directly to the department. The agreement also provides legal assurance to European air carriers that they will not be in potential violation of European privacy law when complying with U.S. law concerning PNR data." Source: United States Department of Homeland Security

Download full text of agreement
| Link to press release

More of a Bridge than a Gap: Gender Differences in Arab-American Political Engagement

"Objective. Research on immigrant women’s economic and cultural adaptation has increasingly come to the fore of immigration research, yet relatively little remains known about their engagement in the political arena. This study examines this question among Arab Muslims, a group who has been at the center of much public debate but little scholarly discourse. Methods. Using nationally representative data on Arab Muslims, this study examines gender differences in political consciousness and activity and assesses the degree to which different dimensions of religious identity contribute to differences in men’s and women’s attitudes and behaviors. Results. Both women and men have high levels of political engagement, in part reflecting their relatively affluent socioeconomic positions. Men are slightly more involved than women, and this is explained by their greater participation in religious activities and higher levels of political religiosity. In contrast, subjective dimensions of religiosity—or being a devout Muslim—have no effect on political engagement. Conclusions. Overall, there are few gender differences in Arab Muslim political engagement, suggesting that collective identity based on ethnicity and religion is more salient for the political mobilization of this group. Further, religion is not uniformly associated with political activity, varying by gender and the dimension of religious identity in question, suggesting that future research needs to focus on how different facets of religion influence U.S. political involvement." Source: Center for the Study of Democracy. U.C. Irvine

Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties

"Local case studies of minimum wages typically find no significant employment effects,while studies using national data find some negative effects for teenagers. We argue that heterogeneity in spatial employment trends generates biased estimates in national analyses and causes overstatement of precision in local and national studies. We propose two new local estimators that compare all contiguous counties or metro areas in the U.S. that straddle a state-based minimum wage gradient. We find that the negative elasticities in national fixed-effects models are generated by unobserved heterogeneities in employment trends. Our local estimators are more robust and show no employment effects." Source: Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Working Paper Series. [via eScholarship Repository]

Download pdf publication | Link to online abstract

Handbook on Continuing Statistics Education with Technology Workshop

"The 2007 joint SOCR/CAUSEway continuing education workshop demonstrates the functionality, utilization and assessment of the current SOCR (http://www.SOCR.ucla.edu) and CAUSEweb (www.CAUSEweb.org) resources. The workshop and this handbook are most value to advance placement (AP) teachers and college instructors of probability and statistics classes who have interests in exploring novel IT-based approaches for enhancing statistics education. This handbook provides the complete Workshop program (http://wiki.stat.ucla.edu/socr/index.php/SOCR_Events_Aug2007) and instructional materials presented by the Workshop instructors. New strategies for integration of computers, modern pedagogical approaches, the Internet and new student assessment techniques are presented on the handbook.

Source: UCLA Continuing Statistics Education Workshop [via eScholarship repository]

Download full pdf handbook | Link to online abstract

Friday, August 03, 2007

Public Blames Media for Too Much Celebrity Coverage

From summary: "An overwhelming majority of the public (87%) says celebrity scandals receive too much news coverage. This criticism generally holds across most major demographic and political groups. Virtually no one thinks there is too little coverage of celebrity scandals.

When asked who is most to blame for the amount of coverage these kinds of stories receive, a majority of the public points to the media. Fully 54% of those who say celebrity news is over-covered also believe news organizations are to blame for giving these stories so much coverage. Roughly a third (32%) say the public is to blame for paying so much attention to them, and another 12% say the media and the public are both equally to blame." Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Download full pdf report |Download topline questionnaire | Link to online summary

A Summer of Discontent with Washington

Clinton Widens Lead, Giuliani Slips

"As official Washington winds down for its summer holiday, all three branches of government are coming under fire from the American public. Just 29% approve of the way President Bush is handling his job, and only slightly more, 33%, approve of the job performance of the Democratic leaders of Congress. Even the U.S. Supreme Court is not immune from the current round of public disaffection: The court's favorable rating has fallen from 72% in January to 57% currently.

Opinion of all three institutions divides predictably along party lines – but even partisans offer comparatively modest support for both the President and the Democratic Congressional leadership. Bush's approval rating stands at only 69% among Republicans and the Democratic leaders can claim just a 62% approval score among Democrats. In contrast, sizable majorities of independents disapprove of the job performance of the President and of Capitol Hill's leadership. " Source: Pew Research Center for People and the Press

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