October 7, 2007

Becoming Less Separate?: School Desegregation, Justice Department, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status

Posted in Education, Social Science at 11:55 pm by AAL

Becoming Less Separate?: School Desegregation, Justice Department, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status (PDF; 2.6 MB)
Source: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
From press release (PDF; 66 KB):

The purpose of this ambitious report is to examine whether levels of integration tend to erode as court desegregation orders are lifted. The Commission finds that the increase in the number of jurisdictions obtaining unitary status has not worsened integration levels. In other words, the lifting of these orders has not led to increased “resegregation” in the seven states that the Commission examined: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Moreover, the evidence indicates that the substantial number of districts that have obtained unitary status since 2000, at least partly through the actions of the Educational Opportunities Section of the Department of Justice, exhibit higher levels of integration than those districts that obtained such status in prior decades.

Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice

Posted in Education at 11:50 pm by AAL

Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice
Source: Pacific Research Institute
From press release:

The Pacific Research Institute has released a book authored by three prominent educators which dispels the once “sacred” belief that more affluent communities provides better schools with a higher education proficiency.

The new book is “a ground-breaking book on the performance of students in middle-class public schools throughout California from the Pacific Research Institute (PRI). The authors shatter the myth that upscale communities naturally have good schools,” the Institute states.

“The study abounds with localized data. But all the data point to one broad conclusion — that many public schools, even in affluent areas, are failing to prepare California students for higher education,” The Institute states.

The Napa Valley Unified School District was included in the study but no California or St. Helena school districts.

+ Full Document (PDF; 4.1 MB)
+ Upscale Home Guide (PDF; 1.2 MB)

American’s Preparedness for Disaster or Emergency Improves

Posted in Homeland Security/FEMA at 11:43 pm by AAL

American’s Preparedness for Disaster or Emergency Improves
Source: American Red Cross and Council for Excellence in Government

The nation’s RQ (Readiness Quotient) –a barometer of the public’s preparedness for a weather emergency, natural disaster or terrorist attack–inched up nearly a point from 15 months ago, according to a report released today by the American Red Cross and the Council for Excellence in Government.

The nation’s collective level of preparedness has increased to 4.14 out of a possible 10, compared to 3.31 in June 2006. The survey found that the biggest gains were in the public’s level of preparedness awareness, but more work needs to be done to engage people in taking preparedness actions.

Among the key findings:

  • Sixty-five percent of respondents said they know how to find the emergency broadcasting channel on the radio (up from 43 percent in 2006) and 62 percent said that their local government had an emergency plan (up from 38 percent in 2006).
  • The majority of Americans remain unprepared. Only 4 percent have taken all of the preparedness actions recommended in the RQ and 23 percent have not taken a single action.
  • Preparedness among seniors improved substantially, from an average RQ score of 2.6 in 2006 to 4.0 in 2007, moving them out of the most unprepared category. Despite the fact that preparedness levels increased among those age 18 to 24 (2.7 in 2006 to 3.7 in 2007), this group of young adults is now among the least prepared age group.
  • Businesses and schools play a role in helping to increase America’s preparedness level. People had a higher RQ if their employer had an emergency response plan (4.5 compared to 3.1); and parents were better prepared if their children’s schools or daycare had emergency response plans (4.5 compared to 2.8) and provided written information about those plans (5.3 compared to 3.4).

+ Full Report (PDF; 2 MB)
+ Test Your RQ

Protecting the Public Health: The Importance of NIH Biodefense Research Infrastructure

Posted in Health, Homeland Security/FEMA at 11:42 pm by AAL

Protecting the Public Health: The Importance of NIH Biodefense Research Infrastructure
Statement of Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., Principal Deputy Director
11 pages; PDF.
Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives
Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, and
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Early school success protects against teen and young adult drug use

Posted in Education, Mental Health at 11:41 pm by AAL

Early school success protects against teen and young adult drug use (PDF; 662 KB)
Source: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan

Adolescents who do well in school are less likely to smoke, drink or do drugs. But which comes first: drug use or school failure?

A new book by researchers at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) provides an answer. Patterns of educational success or failure are well established for most adolescents by the time they reach the end of eighth grade, while drug use has only begun to emerge by that time.

When more opportunities for substance use do emerge, students already doing well in school are less likely to engage in such behaviors, whereas those doing poorly are more likely to do so, the researchers say.

Extended press release includes graphs and statistics.

BLM Issues Decision on Vegetation Treatment and Fuels Reduction StudyBLM Issues Decision on Vegetation Treatment and Fuels Reduction Study

Posted in Environment at 11:41 pm by AAL

BLM Issues Decision on Vegetation Treatment and Fuels Reduction Study
Source: Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management issued a decision today that will help improve the health of public lands by enhancing the agency’s ability to control and manage vegetation – including invasive and noxious weeds – and helping reduce fire-prone fuels, such as cheatgrass. The BLM’s decision – known as the Record of Decision for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on vegetation treatment and fuels reduction – was developed on a national level to analyze the environmental effects of herbicides for treating and managing vegetation on Western public lands.

+ Final Vegetation Treatments Using Herbicides Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue

Posted in Education, Health at 11:40 pm by AAL

Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Good education predicts good health, and disparities in health and in educational achievement are closely linked. Despite these connections, public health professionals rarely make reducing the number of students who drop out of school a priority, although nearly one-third of all students in the United States and half of black, Latino, and American Indian students do not graduate from high school on time. In this article, we summarize knowledge on the health benefits of high school graduation and discuss the pathways by which graduating from high school contributes to good health. We examine strategies for reducing school dropout rates with a focus on interventions that improve school completion rates by improving students’ health. Finally, we recommend actions health professionals can take to reframe the school dropout rate as a public health issue and to improve school completion rates in the United States.

October 6, 2007

Bad for Species, Bad for People

Posted in Environment at 11:45 pm by AAL

Bad for Species, Bad for People
Source: National Center for Policy Analysis
From press release:

The Endangered Species Act, which was created to help protect species in danger of extinction, put the very species it is supposed to protect at risk, according to a new study by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). The Act severely penalized landowners, and as a result, many fearful property owners have taken action to make their land inhospitable to endangered species.

+ Full Report (PDF; 612 KB)

Report: Pre-K Momentum Climbs to an All-Time High

Posted in Education at 11:44 pm by AAL

Report: Pre-K Momentum Climbs to an All-Time High
Source: Pre-K Now

A record-breaking 36 states increased funding for pre-kindergarten according to a report released today by Pre-K Now. “Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2008,” an annual state-by-state analysis of legislative support for pre-k, shows historic momentum for funding early education across the country, with 528 million new dollars committed to providing at least 88,000 more children access to pre-k. The number of states increasing pre-k funding breaks last year’s record of 34, and far exceeds the FY05 record of 15.

+ Full Report (PDF; 681 KB)
+ Individual state data

October 5, 2007

Securing the Bomb: 2007

Posted in Defense at 11:49 pm by AAL

Securing the Bomb: 2007
Full Text
187 pages; PDF.

See Also: Executive Summary (12 pages; PDF)

Source: Nuclear Threat Inititative and
Project On Managing The Atom
Belfer Center For Science And International Affairs
John F. Kennedy School Of Government
Harvard University

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