Thursday, February 28, 2013

How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

From the overview:

A survey of teachers who instruct American middle and secondary school students finds that digital technologies have become central to their teaching and professionalization. At the same time, the internet, mobile phones, and social media have brought new challenges to teachers, and they report striking differences in access to the latest digital technologies between lower and higher income students and school districts.
Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

Download full pdf report: How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reconciling Gender Differences in the Returns to Education in Self-Employment: Does Occupation Matter?


Compared to self-employed men, self-employed women have more education but considerably lower earnings, generating differences in the returns to education by gender. This paper finds evidence that men typically benefit from a complementary relationship between education and earnings. However, women are heterogenous in their returns to education. Women who self-employ in traditionally female occupations do not benefit from this complementary relationship, and women who self-employ in traditionally male occupations earn returns that are more similar to the male experience.
Source:  The Journal of Socio-Economics

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States

From the description:
This statistical profile of the Latino population is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey (ACS). Users should exercise caution when comparing the 2011 estimates with estimates for previous years. Population estimates in the 2011 ACS are based on the latest information from the 2010 Decennial Census; the 2005 to 2009 ACS estimates are based on the latest information available for those surveys—updates of the 2000 Decennial Census.
Source: Pew Research Hispanic Center

Download full pdf report | Download excel data

Berkeley Forum on Better Health Care at Lower

From the Executive Summary:

California private and public sector leaders came together in an unprecedented collaborative effort, with academic expertise and analytic support provided by the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health, to address these challenges. Determined to avoid solutions divorced from societal, regulatory and political realities, the Forum has devised a transformational, bottoms-up approach to creating a more affordable, cost-effective healthcare system that would, at the same time, improve Californians’ health and well-being.
 Source: Berkeley Forum (U.C. Berkeley)

Download full pdf report: Berkeley Forum on Better Health Care at Lower Cost

Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century


Americans have long recognized that investments in public education contribute to the common good, enhancing national prosperity and supporting stable families, neighborhoods, and communities. Education is even more critical today, in the face of economic, environmental, and social challenges. Today's children can meet future challenges if their schooling and informal learning activities prepare them for adult roles as citizens, employees, managers, parents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs. To achieve their full potential as adults, young people need to develop a range of skills and knowledge that facilitate mastery and application of English, mathematics, and other school subjects. At the same time, business and political leaders are increasingly asking schools to develop skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and self-management - often referred to as "21st century skills."

Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century describes this important set of key skills that increase deeper learning, college and career readiness, student-centered learning, and higher order thinking. These labels include both cognitive and non-cognitive skills- such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, motivation, persistence, and learning to learn. 21st century skills also include creativity, innovation, and ethics that are important to later success and may be developed in formal or informal learning environments.

This report also describes how these skills relate to each other and to more traditional academic skills and content in the key disciplines of reading, mathematics, and science. Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century summarizes the findings of the research that investigates the importance of such skills to success in education, work, and other areas of adult responsibility and that demonstrates the importance of developing these skills in K-16 education. In this report, features related to learning these skills are identified, which include teacher professional development, curriculum, assessment, after-school and out-of-school programs, and informal learning centers such as exhibits and museums.

Source: National Academies Press

Read  Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century online. Download pdf

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Children with Special Health Care Needs in California: A Profile of Key Issues

Compared to children in other states, California’s children with special health care needs receive care that is less coordinated, less family-centered, and fails to meet many of the key quality indicators prescribed by the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, according to this new analysis of the 2009/10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.
Source:  Program for Children with Special Health Care Needs, launched by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

Download full pdf publication of  Children with Special Health Care Needs in California: A Profile of Key Issues

New Resosurce: Open States

Open States lets you find information about your state representatives and legislation: identify your representative, search and track legislation, explore bill history and votes and contact lawmakers.
Video Tutorial: is a free tool and makes both their bulk data and api available for others to use.

Mega-States: An Analysis of Student Performance in the Five Most Heavily Populated States in the Nation


California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas enroll close to 40 percent of the nation’s public school students. The importance of these “Mega-States” goes beyond the sheer size of their population. They now serve more than half of the nation’s English language learners (ELL), as well as some of the largest concentrations of children from lower-income families. As policymakers and educators look at the nation’s changing demographics and explore ways to close achievement gaps, the educational progress of children in these states is of interest far beyond their state borders. That’s why the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Assessment Governing Board focused this special report on educational outcomes in the five largest states.

 Mega-States generally do not perform higher than the nation, but they have made some gains over time.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

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Young Adults After the Recession: Fewer Homes, Fewer Cars, Less Debt

From the overview:
After running up record debt-to-income ratios during the bubble economy of the 2000s, young adults shed substantially more debt than older adults did during the Great Recession and its immediate aftermath—mainly by virtue of owning fewer houses and cars, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Federal Reserve Board and other government data.
Source: Pew Research

Download complete pdf report: Young Adults After the Recession: Fewer Homes, Fewer Cars, Less Debt

Developing the Capacity to Understand and Prevent Homicide

Excerpt from the Authors' Abstract: 
The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission (MHRC) was established in May 2004 to address the city’s persistent lethal violence problem. The MHRC is a multi-tiered intervention with four levels, each of which involves participation by a different set of agencies and stakeholders. A key assumption underlying the four levels of MHRC review, and driving its decision to include stakeholders outside of the traditional criminal justice arena, was that the development and implementation of homicide prevention strategies is a complex and multi-faceted process that can be strengthened by input and buy-in from stakeholders throughout the community. The goal of the MHRC was to foster and support innovative homicide prevention and intervention strategies using the emerging tool of strategic problem analysis.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Download full pdf: Developing the Capacity to Understand and Prevent Homicide: An Evaluation of the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Are Countries Moving Towards More Equitable Education Systems?

From EducationWeek:

Several countries that consistently top U.S. performance in the Program for International Student Assessment also have more equitable education systems, but American schools are making progress, according to a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the PISA.

The study, "Are Countries Moving Towards More Equitable Education Systems? (pdf)" found that in 2009, countries often held up as educational role models, including Finland, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, had significantly higher PISA reading performance as well as smaller socioeconomic gaps. Socioeconomic status of the 15-year-old test-takers was measured using an index of parents' education and careers, as well as educational and other resources available in the children's homes.
Source: EducationWeek Inside School Research

Download pdf report: "Are Countries Moving Towards More Equitable Education Systems?"

The Affordable Care Act: The Value of Systemic Disruption

It is important to recognize the political and policy accomplishments of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), anticipate its limitations, and use the levers it provides strategically to address the problems it does not resolve. Passage of the ACA broke the political logjam that long stymied national progress toward equitable, quality, universal, affordable health care. It extends coverage for the uninsured who are disproportionately low income and people of color, curbs health insurance abuses, and initiates improvements in the quality of care. However, challenges to affordability and cost control persist. Public health advocates should mobilize for coverage for abortion care and for immigrants, encourage public-sector involvement in negotiating health care prices, and counter disinformation by opponents on the right. 

Source: Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print February 14, 2013: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301180 via eScholarship Repository

Download pdf publication of : The Affordable Care Act: The Value of Systemic Disruption

Neuroeconomics: Eyes, Brain, Business

From the introduction:

Humans are often delighted by objects with vaguely humanoid characteristics—think Pet Rocks, toy robots, or sock puppets. But there is a point at which an object looks almost human, yet not quite human enough, and the result is disturbing. It's called the uncanny valley. And for Christine Looser, it's the starting point for a line of research aimed at discovering how our brains detect life, and how we distinguish the cognizant from the mindless.
Source: Harvard Business School : Working Knowledge

Read full paper:  Neuroeconomics: Eyes, Brain, Business online

Children with brain lesions able to use gestures important to language learning


Children with pre/perinatal unilateral brain lesions (PL) show remarkable plasticity for language development. Is this plasticity characterized by the same developmental trajectory that characterizes typically developing (TD) children, with gesture leading the way into speech? We explored this question, comparing eleven children with PL – matched to thirty TD children on expressive vocabulary – in the second year of life. Children with PL showed similarities to TD children for simple but not complex sentence types. Children with PL produced simple sentences across gesture and speech several months before producing them entirely in speech, exhibiting parallel delays in both gesture + speech and speech-alone. However, unlike TD children, children with PL produced complex sentence types first in speech-alone. Overall, the gesture–speech system appears to be a robust feature of language learning for simple – but not complex – sentence constructions, acting as a harbinger of change in language development even when that language is developing in an injured brain.

Source: Journal of Child Language / Volume 40 / Special Issue 01 / January 2013, pp 69-105 Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 DOI:

Download pdf of Gesturing with an injured brain: How gesture helps children with early brain injury learn linguistic constructions

Wednesday, February 06, 2013 : database for comparing economic indicators across 50 States


Supported by the nonprofit Next 10 foundation, [David] Neumark and [U.C. Irvine] economics graduate student Jennifer Muz compiled data on fundamental economic measures – including economic growth, job growth, layoffs and unemployment, earnings, income distribution and poverty – from 1990 to 2011 for all 50 states. Sources included the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages and Current Population Survey. is a Next 10 project. Next 10 is focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues for all Californians. We create tools and provide information that fosters a deeper understanding of the critical issues affecting all Californians. Through education and civic engagement, we hope Californians will become empowered to affect change.
Go to:

National Institute of Justice Firearms Studies

Two technical reports on firearms are made available to the public through the National Criminal Justice Reference:

Authors: Glenn Pierce, Anthony Braga, Garen Wintemute, Matthew Dolliver
This report confirms previous study results demonstrating the usefulness of trace data in policing illicit firearms. The data show that jurisdictions with gun regulations appear to recover fewer illicitly distributed weapons compared to jurisdictions without regulations. The authors present conclusions suggesting more regulation will reduce the availability and distribution of illicit firearms. 
The findings have some limitations. The unit of analysis is limited to guns recovered by law enforcement and submitted to ATF for tracing between 2003-2006, but the system of tracing has changed significantly in recent years. Also, the guns submitted in this study generally are referred to in the report as “crime guns” although the data indicate that more than 75 percent of the weapons in the study were not used directly in the commission of a crime, but were recovered in the process of law enforcement apprehension, investigation or Search & Seizure, buy backs, and other confiscations.

Strategies for Disrupting Illegal Firearms Markets: A Case Study of Los Angeles (pdf, 92 pages)
Authors: Greg Ridgeway, Glenn L. Pierce, Anthony A. Braga, George Tita, Garen Wintemute, Wendell Roberts
Authors' Abstract:

In 2001, with the support of a grant from the National Institute of Justice, RAND initiated a research and program-development effort to understand the nature of illegal gun markets operating in the city of Los Angeles, California. The primary goal of this project was to determine whether a data-driven, problem-solving approach could yield new interventions aimed at disrupting the workings of local, illegal gun markets serving criminals, gang members, and juveniles in Los Angeles.
The authors created a new software tool to help law enforcement analyze patterns in crime-gun data and identify and trace illicit pathways by which criminals acquire guns. Second, the findings were incorporated into an interagency working-group process that developed a community-based intervention designed to disrupt the illegal flow of guns to Los Angeles-area criminals; this intervention may had an impact on straw purchasing. Key participants in the working group included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Los Angeles Police Department; the U.S. Attorney's Office; state and city prosecutors; academics; and other criminal-justice agencies. Finally, they assessed the utility of retail ammunition-purchase records in identifying prohibited firearm possessors, recommending a cost-benefit analysis on this measure. 

Source: National Institute of Justice (United States)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas

From the online overview:
This report examines the importance of patents as a measure of invention to economic growth and explores why some areas are more inventive than others. Why should we expect there to be a relationship between patenting and urban economic development? As economist Paul Romer has written, the defining nature of ideas, in contrast to other economic goods, is that they are non-rival: their use by any one individual does not preclude others from using them. Although useful ideas can be freely transmitted and copied, the patent system guarantees, in principle, temporary protection from would-be competitors in the marketplace (i.e. excludability). Thus, one would expect regions to realize at least some of the value of invention, as has been shown for individual inventors and companies that patent. Yet there is no guarantee that patents generated in a specific location will generate wealth in that same location—a set of conditions (the presence of a skilled and diverse labor force, an “ecosystem” of businesses providing complementary goods and services, financing and marketing capabilities among them) have to be met for invention to be commercialized. Research has established that patents are correlated with economic growth across and within the same country over time.
Source: Brookings Institution
Authors: Jonathan Rothwell, José Lobo, Deborah Strumsky and Mark Muro

Download: Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas

Also Available: Appendix, Interactive Feature