Category Archives: Education

Headline of the day: Crying foul at UC Berkeley


From the Guardian:

‘Honey bear’: Berkeley student details alleged sexual advances by professor

Exclusive: Nicole Hemenway describes how repeated harassment by her thesis adviser derailed her studies – and how the school system failed to protect her

Alcohol treatment doesn’t work for frat members


Google the words university Berkeley fraternity party alcohol complaints and you get 185,000 hits.

During our six years reporting for the Berkeley Daily Planet, we fielded quite a few calls from angry neighbors, complaining about parties getting out of hand, and the callers weren’t always the grumpy “get off my lawn” senior types, either.

It’s hard to imagine fraternities and sororities without thinking of the word party, and when you think of party, you also think booze, and at least two Cal frat house members have died as a result of drinking in the last two years, one from alcohol poisoning, the other from a fall.

Here’s the University’s official position statement on alcohol:

The University of California Berkeley was established as a public institution and is intrinsically devoted to the health, safety, and well-being of every individual in the campus community. Every member of the UC Berkeley community has a role in sustaining a safe, caring, and humane environment. Students, faculty, and staff are therefore responsible for fostering a healthy environment free of alcohol misuse. Toward that end, the campus provides education, prevention, and support services to minimize alcohol misuse; encourages treatment for members of the campus community who misuse alcohol; and sets expectations for conduct with respect to the use and misuse of alcohol in accordance with applicable laws, University policies, and campus regulations.

Note that word treatment.

Sounds like a good thing, right?

You have a problem, you get treatment?

But there’s a dirty little secret here.

Alcohol treatment programs don’t work, at least when it comes to the denizens of frat houses.

From the American Psychological Association:

Interventions designed to reduce alcohol use among fraternity members are no more effective than no intervention at all, according to an analysis of 25 years of research involving over 6,000 university students published by the American Psychological Association.

“Current intervention methods appear to have limited effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among fraternity and possibly sorority members,” said lead researcher Lori Scott-Sheldon, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital and Brown University. “Stronger interventions may need to be developed for student members of Greek letter organizations.”

The study [open access, PDF] appears in the journal Health Psychology, which is published by APA.

The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 15 studies looking at 21 different interventions involving 6,026 total participants (18 percent women) who were members of fraternities and sororities. They found no significant difference between students who received an intervention and those who did not for alcohol consumption per week or month, frequency of heavy drinking, frequency of drinking days or alcohol-related problems. In some cases, alcohol consumption even increased after an intervention.

Lots more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

A runoff election and Texas gets a little less crazy


The dinosaur lady lost.

From the Guardian:

When Texas takes up always-contentions revisions of science and social studies coursework in 2017, a former schoolteacher who believes dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark and Democrats killed John F Kennedy won’t have a vote.

Mary Lou Bruner lost her Republican primary runoff for a seat on the powerful Texas state board of education on Tuesday night, just two months after a near-outright victory that would have put her on the brink of having a say in what more than five million schoolchildren learn in classrooms and read in textbooks.

The 69-year-old Bruner has posted on Facebook claims that Barack Obama is a gay prostitute, climate change is a hoax concocted by Karl Marx and that Obama’s healthcare overhaul was an orchestrated plot to wipe 200 million people from the US population. She also wrote that the flood from the biblical story of Noah’s Ark is what destroyed the dinosaurs, not a meteor as “concocted” by atheists.

In March, Bruner came within two percentage points of avoiding a runoff altogether. But Republican voters flocked this time to Keven Ellis, a local school board president in Lufkin who ran a mainstream campaign.

Getting roofied: College drink-spiking documented


From the study, "Just a Dare or Unaware? Outcomes and Motives of Drugging (“Drink Spiking”) Among Students at Three College Campuses."

From the study, “Just a Dare or Unaware? Outcomes and Motives of Drugging (“Drink Spiking”) Among Students at Three College Campuses.”

A pioneering study provides evidence that college students are unwittingly drugged by drinking spiking, what was known in esnl‘s day as “getting slipped a mickey finn” and today known as “getting roofied.”

From the American Psychological Association:

Google the term “spiked drink,” and you’ll get more than 11 million hits, directing you to pages that describe being slipped a mickey, tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and even kits to test drinks for illicit drugs. So is drink spiking a growing problem or are these tales of people who just drank too much? Or is this phenomenon merely an urban legend?

A research team led by Suzanne C. Swan, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, sought to answer some of those questions. Their study [open access, PDF], published by the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Violence, sought to determine the prevalence of drink spiking by looking at survey data from 6,064 students at three universities.

What the researchers found was 462 students (7.8 percent) reported 539 incidents in which they said they had been drugged, and 83 (1.4 percent) said either they had drugged someone, or they knew someone who had drugged another person.

“These data indicate that drugging is more than simply an urban legend,” Swan said.

The study found significant gender differences. Women were more likely to be the victims of spiking and reported more negative consequences than men, the study found, although men comprised 21 percent of the victims. Women were also more likely to report sexual assault as a motive while men more often said the purpose was “to have fun.” Other, less common reported motives included to calm someone down or make someone go to sleep.

“Even if a person is drugging someone else simply ‘for fun’ with no intent of taking advantage of the drugged person, the drugger is still putting a drug in someone else’s body without their consent — and this is coercive and controlling behavior,” Swan said.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Bigoted Hispanic studies book pushed in Texas


With all the anti-immigrant hysteria in the air, it should come as no surprise that Texas has proposed the adoption of a new Hispanic studies textbook perfectly in tune with these Trumpian times.

From NBC News in Dallas-Fort Worth:

A textbook proposed to help teach the cultural history of Mexican-Americans in Texas public schools is under scrutiny by scholars, some of whom decry the effort as racist and not a reflection of serious academic study.

The textbook, titled “Mexican American Heritage,” describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” It also links Mexican-Americans to undocumented immigrants, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation”

The State Board of Education voted to include textbooks on Mexican-American studies after activists last year demanded the subject be formally included in state curriculum. “Mexican American Heritage” is the first textbook on the subject included in a list of proposed instructional materials.

“Paradoxically, we pressed for the board to include texts on Mexican-American studies, and we achieved it, but not in the way we were expecting,” Tony Diaz, host of Nuestra Palabra (Our Word) radio program in Houston and director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-North Harris, told the Houston Chronicle. “Instead of a text that is respectful of the Mexican-American history, we have a book poorly written, racist, and prepared by non-experts.”

More from the Associated Press:

Texans have until September to submit comments on the proposed instructional materials, said TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson. She also said the proposed textbooks will undergo review by a committee that includes teachers and administrators and that committee will make recommendations to the board.

Ultimately, books adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education in November become part of the recommended instructional materials for statewide curriculums, but school districts aren’t required to embrace them. Individual districts can use their state money to buy whatever textbooks they wish.

The book “is not a text that we have recommended nor we will be recommending,” says Douglas Torres-Edwards, coordinator of a TEA-approved Mexican-American studies course that has been implemented in some Houston Independent School District schools. “Frankly, that author is not recognized as someone who is part of the Mexican-American studies scholarship and most individuals engaged in scholarship will not recognize her as an author.”

Patrick Michels of the Texas Observer broke the story earlier this month, though it was largely ignored by most media until this week.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Image of the day: Be ture to yuor shcool!


A tweet from Yaya, 2016 graduate of Ontario High School i Southern California:

BLOG OntarioThe story from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

On Thursday night, the school sent its 550 or so graduates home with diplomas wrapped in a red leatherette cover reading “Ontario High Shcool.”

>snip<

The Chaffey Joint Union High School District has acknowledged the error:

“The misspelling was a printing error made by the grad products company,” Superintendent Mat Holton said in an emailed statement on Friday. “The principal has informed all Ontario graduates that the company has been contacted and will mail a corrected diploma cover to each graduate along with an apology letter. Aside from this error, the Ontario Class of 2016 was the first to graduate on their campus in their new stadium and the commencement ceremony was an enjoyable event attended by over 5,000 family members and friends. We are proud of the Ontario Class of 2016 and wish them the very best in their future.”

Graduation graphic: The mortarboard says it all


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