Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Role of Drama on Cultural Sensitivity, Motivation and Literacy in a Second Language Context

Abstract: Although drama has been used successfully in English as a second language and has been shown to have positive effects on achievement and on self-confidence and motivation in various studies, it has received little attention in French immersion context where subjects are taught in French, the second language of students. The objective of this study was to teach about Acadian culture to one French immersion class using drama (Drama group) and the other French immersion class using a more teacher-centered method (Library group). Both classes were at the intermediate level. Our central question examined the impact of drama activities in elementary early FI on language learning motivation, on cultural sensitivity, and on second language writing? The data included a motivation test, a written composition, teachers’ journals and classroom observations. Results showed a positive effect of drama on several variables. First, the Drama group evaluated the learning unit significantly higher than the Library group. Furthermore, the Drama group showed a significantly higher integrative motivation and also a significantly higher desire to learn French than the Library Group. Both groups had a high cultural sensitivity before the intervention and thus there was no difference between the two groups either at post-test time. The writing of the composition revealed that the Drama group received a significantly higher overall score, and a significantly better score on cultural content. Both groups achieved high on content, accuracy, and details. Source: ournal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 9. via eScholarship Repository

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The Media Mural Project: Empowering Youth in New Mass Media

"This article describes the pedagogy, practice and outcomes of a digital art program developed to enable high school and middle school students to become active participants in new forms of grassroots public media. Students and their teachers become producers and controllers of art-based videos and associated digital dialogue which is distributed on the Internet." Source: Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities: Vol. 3: No. 1, Article 11.[via eScholarship Repository]

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Projections of Education Statistics to 2016

"This edition of Projections of Education Statistics provides projections for key education statistics, including enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools. Included are national data on enrollment and graduates for the past 15 years and projections to the year 2016, as well as state-level data on enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools and public high school graduates to the year 2016." Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Race, Ethnicity, and the Criminal Justice System

"This research brief highlights data and research findings on racial and ethnic disparities in crime and the criminal justice system in the United States, with particular emphasis on studies that illustrate differences that can be explained by discrimination. The discussion focuses on issues relating to race/ethnicity in different stages of criminal justice processing at the beginning of the twenty-first centure; data reflecting trends over time are presented for context." Source: American Sociological Association Research Brief

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Nonresident Fathers’ Involvement Influenced by Kids’ Behavioral and Emotional Characteristics

Abstract: "Federal and state governments spend a lot of money on encouraging nonresident fathers to be involved in their children’s lives. Is this money well spent? Social scientists, politicians, and commentators widely assume that children with involved fathers have higher rates of well-being than do those with absent, uninvolved fathers. Turning this assumption on its head, Daniel Hawkins, Paul Amato, and Valarie King ask whether paternal involvement is influenced by children’s well-being. Using nationally representative data on adolescents, their findings suggest that fathers who live with their children both influence and are influenced by their kids. In other words, adolescents and resident fathers are “engaged in reciprocal patterns of influence.” That is, a well-adjusted child might encourage nonresident fathers to be more involved, while a less well-adjusted child might discourage a father from investing more time. Poorly-adjusted adolescents are likely to avoid visits with fathers or make visits uncomfortable, while well-adjusted adolescents are likely to seek out visits with fathers (and vice versa). The results for nonresident father–child relationships differ dramatically as fathers react to the behavioral and emotional characteristics of their children. According to the authors, “Our findings suggest that low levels of adolescent well-being may be a barrier to, rather than a result of, nonresident father involvement.” Source: American Sociological Review

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Celebrity Status

"Max Weber's fragmentary writings on social status suggest that differentiation on this basis should disappear as capitalism develops. However, many of Weber's examples of status refer to the United States, which Weber held to be the epitome of capitalist development. Weber hints at a second form of status, one generated by capitalism, which might reconcile this contradiction, and later theorists emphasize the continuing importance of status hierarchies. This article argues that such theories have missed one of the most important forms of contemporary status: celebrity. Celebrity is an omnipresent feature of contemporary society, blazing lasting impressions in the memories of all who cross its path. In keeping with Weber's conception of status, celebrity has come to dominate status "honor," generate enormous economic benefits, and lay claim to certain legal privileges. Compared with other types of status, however, celebrity is status on speed. It confers honor in days, not generations; it decays over time, rather than accumulating; and it demands a constant supply of new recruits, rather than erecting barriers to entry." Source: Sociological Theory

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A Global Look at Public Perceptions of Health Problems, Priorities, and Donors: The Kaiser/Pew Global Health Survey

"This survey, conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Global Attitudes Project, examines how people around the world perceive and prioritize health in their countries and gauge the efforts of donor nations. People in 47 countries were polled on a series of health questions, giving them an opportunity to share their views on health as a priority for their government and in their own lives.

Specifically, the survey looks at what people consider to be the top problem facing their country, such as HIV/AIDS, crime, pollution and political corruption. It also examines the top public health priorities in low and middle income countries, such as preventing and treating HIV, fighting hunger and malnutrition, and accessing health care." Source: Kaiser/Pew Global Health

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Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It?

"...explores research into the organization of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the effects of CSEC on victims, and what measures are being taken and can be taken in the future to prevent its occurrence. The research found that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities." Source: National Institute of Justice

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Digital Footprints: Online Identity Management and Search in the Age of Transparency

"Unlike footprints left in the sand at the beach, our online data trails often stick around long after the tide has gone out. And as more internet users have become comfortable with the idea of authoring and posting content online, they have also become more aware of the information that remains connected to their name online.

Nearly half of all internet users (47%) have searched for information about themselves online, up from just 22%, as reported by the Pew Internet Project in 2002. Younger users (under the age of 50) are more prone to self-searching than those ages 50 and older. Men and women search for information about themselves in equal numbers, but those with higher levels of education and income are considerably more likely to monitor their online identities using a search engine." Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

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2007 National Survey of Latinos: As Illegal Immigration Issue Heats Up, Hispanics Feel a Chill

"Just over half of all Hispanic adults in the U.S. worry that they, a family member or a close friend could be deported, a new nationwide survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center has found. Nearly two-thirds say the failure of Congress to enact an immigration reform bill has made life more difficult for all Latinos. Smaller numbers (ranging from about one-in-eight to one-in-four) say the heightened attention to immigration issues has had a specific negative effect on them personally. These effects include more difficulty finding work or housing; less likelihood of using government services or traveling abroad; and more likelihood of being asked to produce documents to prove their immigration status." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Brief Overview of Selected Issues

The current legislative and oversight activity with respect to electronic surveillance under FISA has drawn national attention to several overarching issues. This report briefly outlines three such issues and touches upon some of the perspectives reflected in the ongoing debate. These issues include the inherent and often dynamic tension between national security and civil liberties, particularly rights of privacy and free speech; the need identified by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Admiral Mike McConnell, for the Intelligence Community to be able to efficiently and effectively collect foreign intelligence information from the communications of foreign persons located outside the United States in a changing, fast paced, and technologically sophisticated international environment, and the differing approaches suggested to meet this need; and limitations of liability for those electronic communication service providers who furnish aid to the federal government in its foreign intelligence collection. Two constitutional provisions, in particular, are implicated in this debate -- the Fourth and First Amendments. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Judicial Salary: Current Issues and Options for Congress

Several federal judges, including the Chief Justice of the United States, have expressed concern over the level of judicial salary. Chief Justice Roberts has called the current levels of judicial salary a "constitutional crisis" that threatens the independence of the federal courts. The most common arguments for raising judicial salary claim that low judicial salaries (1) limit the ability of the federal judiciary to draw on a diverse pool of candidates for positions on the federal bench; (2) force federal judges concerned about their financial futures to resign from the bench before they become eligible for retirement; and (3) drive other federal judges, upon becoming eligible for retirement, to retire completely (to earn extra income outside the judiciary), rather than remain to assist the courts as judges on "senior status." Opponents of raising judicial salary generally question whether variations in judicial salary affect recruitment and retention of federal judges. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Marrying Marketing Science with the Front Lines: One Book Publisher's Winning Combination

The rise of the Internet has been a boon to the National Academies Press, or NAP, the book-publishing arm of the National Academy of Sciences. But by the start of this decade, the promise of the web also posed some potential pitfalls.

In 2001, the leading scientists on the board of the Academy were suggesting that NAP executive director Barbara Kline Pope take advantage of new technologies to offer its books on the web in a downloadable PDF format -- free of charge. According to Pope, the scientists told her they wanted the ability to disseminate the scientific information as widely as possible, explaining "that we could give away PDFs for free and it would build knowledge around the world. They were also saying to me, 'Don't worry about your business model because people will still buy printed books.'" Source: Knowledge@wharton

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Human Trafficking in California

"In September 2005, California enacted its first anti-trafficking law (Assembly Bill 22, Lieber) to make human trafficking a felony in this state and assist victims in rebuilding their lives. This law, as well as Senate Bill 180 (Kuehl, 2005), also established the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery (CA ACTS) Task Force to conduct a thorough review of California’s response to human trafficking and report its findings and recommendations to the Governor, Attorney General and Legislature. The law charged the Task Force with examining whether we are doing enough to identify the extent of human trafficking in this state, protect and assist
victims, prosecute traffickers and prevent this violation of human freedom. Between March 2006 and July 2007, the Task Force held nine meetings to explore these issues. It heard many presentations by representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide services to human trafficking victims; law enforcement; prosecutors; local, state and federal agencies; labor; farm workers; victim advocacy programs; academic researchers; and survivors of human trafficking. In addition, the Task Force conducted research with many local, state and national experts, including service providers and researchers in the field of human trafficking." Source: California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery Task Force

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Children Left Behind - How Metropolitan Areas Are Failing America's Children

"Our analysis focuses on two key research questions. First, how has increased foreign
competition affected the wage levels of workers in different educational classes across
the Los Angeles economy? Second, what is the influence of foreign competition on the
relative wages of low-skilled workers versus high-skilled workers (i.e. wage inequality)? In relation to these questions, we also explore how the influence of trade on wages has moved through the 1990s, and we examine the relative impacts on wages of trade and skill-biased technological change. By answering these questions we seek to re-engage the trade and wage inequality literature and present direct evidence of the impacts of global processes on local labor markets." Bonnie Lefkowitz, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies. Mapping Global Inequalities - conference papers. Paper mgi-8.

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Impacts of Trade on Wage Quality in Los Angeles: Analysis Using Matched Employer-Employee Data

Our analysis focuses on two key research questions. First, how has increased foreign competition affected the wage levels of workers in different educational classes across the Los Angeles economy? Second, what is the influence of foreign competition on the relative wages of low-skilled workers versus high-skilled workers (i.e. wage inequality)? In relation to these questions, we also explore how the influence of trade on wages has moved through the 1990s, and we examine the relative impacts on wages of trade and skill-biased technological change. By answering these questions we seek to re-engage the trade and wage inequality literature and present direct evidence of the impacts of global processes on local labor markets. D L. Rigby and Sebastien Breau. Center for Global, International and Regional Studies. Mapping Global Inequalities - conference papers. Paper mgi-13.

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Botnets, Cybercrime, and Cyberterrorism: Vulnerabilities and Policy Issues for Congress

"This report presents a working definition for the term "cyber terrorism", plus background information describing how current technology and management processesmay leave computers exposed to cyber attack, and a discussion of possible effects of a cyber attack. Potential issues for Congress are presented in the second section, including: whether appropriate guidance exists for a DOD information warfare response to a cyber attack; whether the need to detect possible cyber terrorist activity interferes with individual privacy; whether the roles and responsibilities for protecting against a possible cyber terrorist attack need more clarity for government, industry, and home users; and, whether information sharing on cyber threats and vulnerabilities must be further increased between private industry and the federal government. The final section describes possible policy options for improving protection against threats from possible cyber terrorism." Source: Congressional Research Service

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China's 17th Communist Party Congress, 2007: Leadership and Policy Implications

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 17th Congress, held from October 15 - 21, 2007, demonstrated the Party's efforts to try to adapt and redefine itself in the face of emerging economic and social challenges while still trying to maintain its authoritarian one-Party rule. The Congress validated and re-emphasized the priority on continued economic development; expanded that concept to include more balanced and sustainable development; announced that the Party would seek to broaden political participation by expanding intra-Party democracy; and selected two potential rival candidates, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, with differing philosophies (rather than one designated successor-inwaiting) as possibilities to succeed to the top Party position in five years. More will be known about the Party's future prospects and the relative influence of its two potential successors once the National People's Congress meets in early 2008 to select key government ministers. Source: Congressional Research Service

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The FCC's 10 Commissioned Economic Research Studies on Media Ownership: Policy Implications

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has released for public comment 10 economic research studies on media ownership that it had commissioned to provide data and analysis to support the policy debate on what ownership limitations are in the public interest. These studies also provide data and analysis useful to the on-going policy debates on how best to foster minority ownership of broadcast stations and on tiered vs. a la carte pricing of multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) services, such as cable and satellite television. The FCC also has released peer reviews of these studies that are required by the Office of Management and Budget. In addition, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, and Free Press (Consumer Commenters) jointly submitted to the FCC very detailed comments on the 10 FCC-commissioned studies that included statistical results from re-running the models in those studies, applying the same empirical data to models revised to correct for alleged specification errors. Source: Congressional Research Service

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Open Source Intelligence (OSINT): Issues for Congress

"Open source information (OSINT) is derived from newspapers, journals, radio and television, and the Internet. Intelligence analysts have long used such information to supplement classified data, but systematically collecting open source information has not been a priority of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). In recent years, given changes in the international environment, there have been calls, from Congress and the 9/11 Commission among others, for a more intense and focused investment in open source collection and analysis. However, some still emphasize that the primary business of intelligence continues to be obtaining and analyzing secrets. A consensus now exists that OSINT must be systematically collected and should constitute an essential component of analytical products. This has been recognized by various commissions and in statutes. Responding to legislative direction, the Intelligence Community has established the position of Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Open Source and created the National Open Source Center. The goal is to perform specialized OSINT acquisition and analysis functions and create a center of excellence that will support and encourage all intelligence agencies." Source: Congressional Research Service

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United Nations : Human Development Report 2007/2008

Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world

"With governments preparing to gather in Bali, Indonesia to discuss the future of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report has warned that the world should focus on the development impact of climate change that could bring unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education."

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Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?

"The new survey finds that a plurality of Hispanics view the Democratic Party rather than the Republican Party as the one that shows more concern for Latinos and does a better job on the issue of illegal immigration (although a substantial minority of Latinos see no difference between the parties on these matters). Also, many more Latinos say the policies of the Bush Administration have been harmful to Latinos than say they have been helpful." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Numbers and Rates of Public High School Dropouts

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is an annual universe collection of public elementary and secondary education data that is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and its data collection agent, the U.S. Census Bureau. Data for the CCD surveys are provided by state education agencies (SEAs). This report presents findings on the numbers and rates of public school students who dropped out of school in school years 2002–03, 2003–04, and 2004–05, using data from the CCD State-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts for these years. The report also used the Local Education Agency-Level Public-Use Data File on Public School Dropouts: School Year 2004–05, and the NCES Common Core of Data Local Education Agency Universe Survey Dropout and Completion Restricted-Use Data File: School Year 2004–05. Source: National Center for education statistics.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Overlooked Costs of Religious Deference

"This Article asks how women and children will fare in a system of religious deference. It maintains that the state has an important protective function to play for these traditionally vulnerable groups. Enforcing certain religious understandings of marital relationships will likely undermine a woman's ability to exit the relationship and, consequently, prevent her from policing the conduct in her own relationship and with respect to her children. Policymakers should proceed cautiously with any proposal to hand over authority for marital disputes since family violence occurs in religious communities, as it does throughout society, but is tolerated by some religious leaders and adherents. Drawing on our experience with faith-based exemptions to the duty to provide medical care for children, this Article concludes that the costs of giving greater deference to religious understandings of family relationships must seriously be considered before we are willing to rob women and children of the state's protections." Wilson, Robin Fretwell Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, 2007 [via SSRN]

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Undocumented Immigrants as Taxpayers

"As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, some pundits and policymakers are claiming that unauthorized immigrants do not pay taxes and rely heavily on government benefits. Neither of these claims is borne out by the facts. Undocumented men have work force participation rates that are higher than other workers, and all undocumented immigrants are ineligible for most government services, but pay taxes as workers, consumers, and residents." Source: Immigration Policy Center

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"The Stepford Justices": The Need for Experiential Diversity on the Roberts Court

From the Abstract: "For the first time in history every Supreme Court justice has come directly from the same job: judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals. For the first time in history no justice has ever served in a legislature at any level of government. For the first time in history no justice has ever run for political office. For the first time in history eight of the nine justices have graduated from the same three Ivy League law schools.

This narrowness of experience on the Supreme Court is unprecedented. Our current Supreme Court can indeed be called The Stepford Justices.

This article traces this homogeneity to the failure of the Robert Bork nomination in 1987. Since Bork, Presidents have tried to sell their nominees as non-ideological legal technicians. At the same time, justices are actually being selected for the same reason they always have been - the hope that their decisions will reflect the political beliefs of the President and his party." O'Neill, Timothy P. Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 4, 2007 [via SSRN]

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In the Shadow of Globalization: Changing Firm-Level Employment Practices and Shifting Employment Risks in the United States

Abstract: "Globalization generates to increased competition between firms in the product market, which in induces firms to seek flexibility in their labor relations - flexibility to hire and fire on short notice, to increase or shrink the overall size of their workforce, to adjust pay to short-term performance results, to redeploy workers within the firm and to outside production partners, and to retain workers with particular skills on an as-needed basis. These practices are in tension with the labor law regimes throughout the Western world. In the United States, employers' drive for flexibility has fueled aggressive de-unionization efforts, and has induced employers to increase their use of temporary workers and independent contractors and to restructure pension and benefit plans. A crucial question for employment regulation thus becomes how to protect workers - how to mitigate their vulnerabilities and ameliorate the shifting risks that today's workplace practices impose. The author argues that other countries are experiencing the same tension between flexibility and worker protection, and suggests that we learn from other countries' efforts to devise mechanisms to preserve worker security at the same time relaxing traditional labor protective regimes." Stone, Katherine V.W.,University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law [via SSRN]

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National Opinion Research Center: Survey of Earned Doctorates

From Introduction: "The data presented in this report are from the annual Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), a census of the 45,596 research doctorate recipients who earned their degrees between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006. Conducted since 1957, this survey is sponsored by six federal agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Records on all doctorate recipients from 1920 to 1957 were collected from universities in the early years of the SED and have been added to the cumulative survey data. All survey responses become part of the Doctorate Records File (DRF), a cumulative database on research doctorate recipients from 1920 to 2006. For the 2006 survey, 92 percent of the 45,596 new doctorate recipients completed the SED questionnaire; basic information on nonrespondents was obtained from their degree- granting institutions and public records.2 The cumulative DRF now contains a total of 1,648,744 records on individuals completing doctorates over the last 87 years at U.S. institutions." Source: NORC at the University of Chicago

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Characteristics of Minority-Serving Institutions and Minority Undergraduates Enrolled in These Institutions

"Minority-serving institutions (MSIs) are colleges and universities serving a large percentage of minority students. This study identifies six different subgroups of MSIs and analyzes them from the perspective of the institution and the student. First, using the 2004 Fall Enrollment Survey, a census survey component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the study compares all subgroups of MSIs to one another and to non-MSIs. Second, from the perspective of the students, data from the 2003-04 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:04) is used to examine how minority students differ, in demographic and enrollment characteristics, by the type of institution. Major findings are as follows: MSIs totaled 1,254 in 2004, accounting for just under one-third of all degree-granting Title IV institutions; they enrolled nearly sixty percent of the 4.7 million minority undergraduates. Hispanic-serving institutions and Black-serving (non-HBCUs) accounted for 27 percent and 16 percent, respectively of MSIs followed by Asian-serving (8 percent), HBCUs (5 percent), and American Indian-serving institutions (1 percent). The majority of students in Hispanic- and Black-serving MSIs were enrolled in public 2-year institutions. Four-year MSIs (except for Asian-serving) had a higher percentage of institutions with open admissions policy and institutions with at least half low-income enrollment compared with non-MSIs." Source: U.S. Department of Higher Education

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Report to AAA: Engagement of Anthropology with Security and Intelligence Communities

From the Chron.of Higher Ed Article: "The report emphasizes two central principles: Anthropologists should be open and transparent in their work, and they should not harm the people they study. Unsurprisingly, no one at Thursday's sessions objected to such broadly stated principles—but there was plenty of disagreement about how to put them into practice." Source: American Anthropological Association via Chronicle of Higher Ed.

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Social Science PhDs - Five+ Years Out

From Executive Summary: "This report concludes that students in social science PhD programs are well prepared for their careers in a number of ways, but they need additional training in essential professional competencies and they need support for career preparation in order to fully utilize the knowledge and analytical skills they acquired during doctoral education. For this reason, policy recommendations at the end of this report call for a paradigm shift in PhD education. Funders, policy makers, disciplinary associations, universities, and graduate faculty need to recognize that the PhD in the 21st century is preparation for employment. Social science doctoral students need better career preparation and better support for learning to manage careers. In particular, universities need to recognize that most men and women are in relationships, many with children, and this situation influences PhD careers; universities need to pay more attention to connecting research training with teaching, writing and publishing; and universities need to bring professional development competencies such as teamwork, working in interdisciplinary contexts, grant writing, and managing people and budgets, from the margins to the center of PhD education."
Source: Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education at the University of Washington

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Public Sees Progress in War Effort

"For the first time in a long time, nearly half of Americans express positive opinions about the situation in Iraq. A growing number says the U.S. war effort is going well, while greater percentages also believe the United States is making progress in reducing the number of Iraqi casualties, defeating the insurgents and preventing a civil war in Iraq." Source: Pew research center for people and the press

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English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States

"Nearly all Hispanic adults born in the United States of immigrant parents report they are fluent in English. By contrast, only a small minority of their parents describe themselves as skilled English speakers. This finding of a dramatic increase in English-language ability from one generation of Hispanics to the next emerges from a new analysis of six Pew Hispanic Center surveys conducted this decade among a total of more than 14,000 Latino adults. The surveys show that fewer than one-in-four (23%) Latino immigrants reports being able to speak English very well. However, fully 88% of their U.S.-born adult children report that they speak English very well. Among later generations of Hispanic adults, the figure rises to 94%. Reading ability in English shows a similar trend." Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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