The oil spill in the Gulf has been all over the news lately, and, frustrating though the lack of progress has been, there have been many efforts to stem the oil geyser. What about oil spills that don’t have a large impact on Americans? The Times looks at the Niger River Delta, which has seen the equivalent of the Exxon-Valdez spill a year every year for fifty years, with little attempt at cleanup or attention to the disastrous effect on the area’s ecosystem or economic future.
Children become aware of gender, race, ethnicity, and disabilities before entering kindergarten. They form views at a young age, absorbing any bias or judgments from the adults in their life. It is important for parents to teach their children how to respect and appreciate others, creating a positive habit to take throughout their life.
Creating an environment for children to interact with kids from other backgrounds and cultures is important to their healthy development. It allows them to see the differences among each other and value them, instead of judging or turning away.
It’s starting to feel like summer, and that means summer movies! We start this week’s diversity linkup with a post from Feministing pointing out the whitewashing of Jennifer Lopez in The Back-Up Plan.
Speaking of beautiful women of color, the newly-crowned Miss USA is a Lebanese American immigrant, Rima Fakih! It’s not clear if she’s the first Arab American or the first immigrant to win, but it is a movement toward a society in which all little girls can dream of being crowned for their beauty. Of course, we’re not there yet.
Before we launch into this week’s roundup of race and diversity links, I’d like to make a plea: help your local library. Many around the country are facing massive budget cuts, so let your elected officials know that your library is important. New Yorkers, NYPL has a handy form to help you contact your City Council member and the mayor, in the hopes of preventing massive service cuts, including closing ten branches and limiting the library to four open days per week.
Now, to diversity!
White people adopting children of color is discussed relatively often, but Charles Mudede looks at the other side: what it says when a black person adopts a white child.
Last Friday haiku
Thirty days of poetry
Ending with a verse.
Let’s start the week’s links with some history! It turns out that there have been biracial people for a long time, and we’re not just talking homo sapiens of European descent with those of African descent: a recent genetic study found evidence of interbreeding between early humans and Neanderthals. Pretty cool!
Well, barring any more volcanic interruptions, come this weekend we’ll be heading off to Chicago for the annual International Reading Association convention. If you’ll be there, we’d love to see you! It makes me super happy to meet people face to face in this age of twitter-email-voicemail-3G-4G-whatever.
Anyway, we’ll be hanging out at booth 2122 so be sure to come by and say hello. And if the L&L staff alone is not enough of an attraction for you, come for our authors who will be stopping by:
MONDAY, APRIL 26:
Many of our books, including this season’s The Can Man deal with economic concepts. We asked Yana V. Rodgers, a professor at Rutgers and head of the Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children, to talk about why and how to teach economics in today’s busy classrooms.
Building Blocks for the Future
Decades of research in economics, education, and early-childhood development have shown that young children enter the primary grades with an experience-based knowledge of economics and that they are quite capable of learning basic economics during the primary grades. The economic lessons that young students learn in their early education form the building blocks toward achieving a solid understanding of economics at higher levels of educational attainment. Students in the primary grades are already gaining a rich exposure to a wide variety of ideas in economics, and they are gaining the skills to apply this new knowledge. The principles taught at a level appropriate for primary-grade students are crucial for a basic understanding of the economic world around them.
Educational reforms since the 1960s have led to the development of formal content standards in economics and the infusion of economics as a central component of social studies curricula in every grade level. Because of the standards movement, even elementary school teachers face considerable pressure to teach economic content that is based on state requirements and is often linked to school accreditation and funding. Increasingly crowded curricula are a common issue, and many teachers feel they are too busy to teach economics. As almost all states have added economics to their state-mandated curricula in the primary grades, teaching strategies have needed to change.
In response to a growing interest in foreign language books from parents and kids alike, Amazon.com announced an update to their digital reader—the Kindle—that would allow three new languages into their growing digital library. In a February 19th announcement, Amazon unveiled an update to the Kindle text platform, allowing Spanish, Portuguese and Italian authors to upload and sell digital versions of their books over the internet.
A CNN report looks at the success of Asian American students in high school:
There are a few good things it brings up, in addition to looking at nurture (culture, parental influence) instead of just nature (genetics, biology), like the fact that test-taking and intelligence aren’t perfectly correlated. Perhaps most importantly, it points out the vast diversity with the group we call “Asian American”; Asia is huge, and Asian Americans come from a variety of cultures with their own expectations, priorities, and assumptions. It’s a helpful reminder that labels tell part of the story but never the whole story.
I know, I know, salad isn’t a food we usually associate with Thanksgiving. (Stuffing is not salad. Nor is green bean casserole.) But in my reading this week, I came across a quote disagreeing with the concept of America as a melting pot. Instead, “Everyone keeps their different shapes and forms but still contributes something to the salad.” I like that; it’s both more accurate and a better ideal.
I’m still not going to eat salad on Thanksgiving, but we can give thanks for the great Salad Bowl of America, imperfect though it is.
And whence comes that great quote, you ask? From this great City Room post on a unique new college education program in a Connecticut prison. Selected for their essays and academic potential, these incarcerated students take classes from Wesleyan University professors, using the same syllabi and the same standards of grading as are used on Wesleyan’s campus. The classes are the same, but the students bring a much different perspective: a view from inside a justice system with, among other things, much higher rates of incarceration for Blacks and Latinos than for whites.