Resources and reporting for mothers and others who think about social change.
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September 2005

good stuff:

mamazine.com: alive and kicking

oh no, not again:

Opt-out revolution redux
Once again, the New York Times stirs the pot of controversy over what women want

new reports:

IWPR reports on wage gap, improving family child care

Other recent reports on work-life issues, child care and wages from the Center for Law and Social Policy, National Women's Law Center, and Economic Policy Institute

CEPR offers seminar series on "Economics You Can Use"

media spin:

Advocacy group blasts media reporting on "meth babies"

paid work:

New business enterprise caters to "back-to-work" mothers

Other news and commentary on employment and work-life issues

elsewhere on the web:

Other news and commentary of note on:

Reproductive health and rights


Caregiving, child care and education

Mothering & fathering

Social issues & public policy

past editions of mmo noteworthy ...
good stuff

mamazine.com: alive and kicking

mamazine.com, a new "feminist publication for mamas and people who love them" joins LiteraryMama, Brain, Child Magazine, HipMama, and the MMO in the making of a full-fledged alternative media by and for mothers. Launched in mid-August, mamazine.com is the handiwork of Amy Anderson and Sheri Reed, two northern California mothers/writers who plan to offer readers something different -- very different -- from the vapid lifestyle features and parenting tips found in mainstream motherhood publications.

The site has a slick, stripped-down design and the new 'zine is already brimming with quality content, including interviews with Miriam Peskowitz, Faulkner Fox, Jennifer James, Ayun Halliday, and MMO editor Judith Stadtman Tucker. There are also columns by Anderson, Reed and others -- including Laura Tuley, who is writing a series on her family's displacement by Hurricane Katrina. Poetry is here, including works by Faulkner Fox, Kim Addonizio, Denise Duhamel, and you will also find mama likes, a page of links to selected news and commentary of interest. The editors add new content each week, and you can sign up for a free subscription to receive email updates.

You want this. You need this. Visit real soon.


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new reports

IWPR reports on wage gap, improving family child care

The Institute for Women's Policy Research, a leading resource for research on the status of women in the U.S., has launched new, user-friendly web site. IWPR also has new reports on the wage gap and improving the quality of family child care, as well a full listing of current and past publications available for download or purchase from the site.

Institute for Women's Policy Research

The Gender Wage Ratio: Women’s and Men’s Earnings
Institute for Women's Policy Research Fact Sheet, Aug 2005
Women’s annual earnings, relative to men’s, have moved up more slowly since the early 1990s than previously, and still remain substantially below parity. Women who work full-time throughout the year (the usual group used for measuring the gender wage ratio) earned 76.5 percent as much as men in 2004. If part-time and part-year workers were included, the ratio would be much lower, as women are more likely than men to work these reduced schedules in order to manage child-rearing and other caregiving work. In 2004, median annual earnings for women working full-time year-round were $31,223. Men with similar work effort earned $40,798.

In Our Own Backyards:
Local and State Strategies to Improve the Quality of Family Child Care

Katie Hamm, Barbara Gault, Ph.D. and Avis Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D.
Institute for Women's Policy Research, Aug 2005
In Our Own Backyards highlights a number of methods for improving the quality of family child care, including home visits, accreditation programs, family child care networks, tiered reimbursement systems, and training scholarships. The report identifies a dozen effective programmatic strategies for serving family child care providers such as providing a single entry point for family child care services, improving access to training, and including unlicensed providers in outreach efforts. The report also profiles 14 programs around the country that are utilizing innovative approaches to improve the quality of care.

Full report, 84 pages in .pdf

New Report Outlines Strategies to Improve Quality of Family Child Care
Press release, 2 pages in .pdf

Other recent releases from IWPR:

Persistent Inequalities: Poverty, Lack of Health Coverage, and Wage Gaps Plague Economic Recovery
Institute for Women's Policy Research News Release, 30 Aug 05
2004 marked another year of high poverty among female-headed families, with 28.4 percent, or nearly 3 in 10, of these households living in poverty according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Poverty has increased for the fourth year in a row, with 5 million additional people falling below the poverty line since 2000. 2 pages in .pdf

Assessing the Family and Medical Leave Act:
An Analysis of an Employment Policy Foundation Paper on Costs

Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 29 Jun 05
A recent Employment Policy Foundation paper, The Cost and Characteristics of Family and Medical Leave, purports to evaluate the costs to employers of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The paper provides none of the standard information about the methods used in conducting the survey, such as the sample size or characteristics of the employers who participated in the survey. Personal communication with the author revealed that the sample was quite small (110 employers) and that the survey participants were not randomly selected. Despite this, the paper generalizes its findings as if the study represents all U.S. employers.

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Other recent reports on
work-life issues, child care and wages

Center for Law and Social Policy

How to Exercise Flexible Work:
Take Steps with a "Soft Touch" Law

Jodie Levin-Epstein, CLASP, July 2005
A new law in the U.K. gives some parents the right to request reduced work hours. This brief describes how U.K. employers partnered with government on work-life balance, highlights findings about flexible work, and identifies issues to explore in any U.S. adaptation. 8 pages in .pdf

In Everybody’s Best Interests:
Why Reforming Child Support Distribution Makes Sense for Government and Families

Vicki Turetsky, CLASP, 16 Sept 05
More than 17 million children are served by the public child support program -- but many never see the funds collected on their behalf. This brief describes the regulations governing assignment and distribution of funds, and how families and government alike stand to benefit from the direct pass-through of child support payments to children. 8 pages in .pdf

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National Women's Law Center

In Their Own Voices:
Parents and Providers Struggling with Child Care Cuts

Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, NWLC, Aug 2005
Over the past several years, federal funding for child care assistance has declined, and many states have taken steps backward in their child care policies. These cuts have strained an already-fragile child care system. In Their Own Voices dramatically illustrates the real-world impact of child care cuts and policy changes. The report is based on 200 in-depth interviews by NWLC with parents, child care providers and state child care experts across the country. The report reveals that cuts to child care programs have left many low-income parents without the help they need to work, children without the early education experience they need to do well in school, and providers without the resources they need to offer quality child care. 80 pages in .pdf

Child Care Assistance Policies 2005
States Fail to Make up Lost Ground, Families Continue to Lack Critical Supports

Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, NWLC, Aug 2005
The report finds that thirty-four states lowered their income-eligibility cutoffs for child care assistance, making it more difficult for low-income families to qualify for help. Twelve states lowered their income eligibility cutoff both absolutely and as a percentage of the federal poverty level between 2001 and 2005. The additional 22 states either did not increase their income-eligibility cutoff or increased it so little that it was lower as a percent of the federal poverty level in 2005 than it had been in 2001. Three-quarters of the states (37) set their child care reimbursement rates below the level recommended in federal regulations, an increase of eight states between 2001 and 2005. 24 Pages in .pdf

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Economic Policy Institute

Losing Ground in Early Childhood Education
Declining Workforce Qualifications in an Expanding Industry, 1979-2004

Stephen Herzenberg, Mark Price, and David Bradley, EPI, Sept 2005
Since the early 1980s, there has been a large and unsettling dip in the qualifications of the center-based early childhood workforce nationwide, with 30 percent of teachers and administrators now having just a high school diploma or less, according to a comprehensive new report published today by the Economic Policy Institute, the Keystone Research Center, and the Foundation for Child Development. The report finds that declining qualifications have resulted, in part, from persistent low wages and benefits. As more educated women have enjoyed expanding opportunities in other fields, low pay has made it hard for the early childhood education (ECE) field to hold onto experienced teachers with proper training and educational background. As a result, more teachers are entering ECE without a college degree. Homebased early childhood educators (for which consistent data exist only since 2000) have even lower education levels than those who are center-based. (From the EPI press release, 15 Sept 05).

Summary, 13 pages in .pdf

Full study, 36 pages in .pdf

Basic family budgets:
Working families' incomes often fail to meet living expenses around the U.S.

Sylvia A. Allegretto, EPI, 1 Sept 05
"The ability of families to meet their most basic needs is an important measure of economic stability and well-being. While poverty thresholds are used to evaluate the extent of serious economic deprivation in our society, family budgets that is, the income a family needs to secure safe and decent-yet-modest living standards in the community in which it resides offer a broader measure of economic welfare."
The latest analysis find that over three times more working families fall below the basic family budget levels as fall below the official poverty line, and over 14 million Americans (28 percent) live in families with incomes below the basic family budget thresholds. Briefing Paper, 10 pages in .pdf

Unhappy Anniversary:
Federal Minimum Wage Remains Unchanged for Eighth Straight Year, Falls to 56-Year Low Relative to the Average Wage

Jared Bernstein and Isaac Shapiro
EPI and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 1 Sept 05
"The minimum wage now equals only 32 percent of the average wage for private sector, nonsupervisory workers. This is the lowest share since 1949. …Since the inception of the minimum wage, there has been only one other period (from 1981 to 1990) in which the minimum wage has remained unchanged for more than eight years." 5 page in .pdf

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Economics You Can Use:
A Seminar Series from the Center for Economics and Policy Research

This free series, designed to inform non-economist citizens, advocates and activists, offers an overview of how economics are used and misused in policy debates and the media. The live seminars are held in Washington, DC, but CEPR is posting the audio files as they become available. In October, Heather Boushey will give presentations on women's workforce participation and the myth of economic mobility in the U.S.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

2005 CEPR Economics You Can Use Seminar Schedule

Economics You Can Use Seminar Page
Audio files, podcasts and power point files from completed seminars.

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media spin

Advocacy group blasts media reporting
on "meth babies"

More than 90 leading medical doctors, scientists, psychological researchers and treatment specialists released an open letter ("Meth Science, Not Stigma", 25 Jul 05) asking the media to suspend the use of such terms as 'ice babies' and 'meth babies.' The letter and a petition were published Join Together, an internet portal for organizations advocating effective drug and alcohol policy, prevention and treatment

The letter states, "Despite the lack of a medical or scientific basis for the use of such terms …these pejorative and stigmatizing labels are increasingly being used in the popular media, in a wide variety of contexts across the country. Even when articles themselves acknowledge that the effects of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine are still unknown, headlines across the country are using alarmist and unjustified labels such as 'meth babies.'"

In utero physiologic dependence on opiates (not addiction), known as Neonatal Narcotic Abstinence Syndrome, is readily diagnosable and treatable, but no such symptoms have been found to occur following prenatal cocaine or methamphetamine exposure.

Similarly, claims that methamphetamine users are virtually untreatable with small recovery rates lack foundation in medical research. Analysis of dropout, retention in treatment and re-incarceration rates and other measures of outcome, in several recent studies indicate that methamphetamine users respond in an equivalent manner as individuals admitted for other drug abuse problems. Research also suggests the need to improve and expand treatment offered to methamphetamine users.

The flurry of national reporting on mothers' methamphetamine abuse and it's effect on their babies has the eerie echo of biased (and, as it turned out, scientifically unsound) reporting on the "epidemic" of "crack babies" in the 1980s, which Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels artfully deconstruct in "The Mommy Myth." And isn't telling on the state of our time-starved society that "speed" is has been proclaimed the illicit drug of choice?

Meth Science, Not Stigma, 25 Jul 05

The Media's Meth Baby Mania
By Maia Szalavitz, AlterNet, 1 Sept 05
Being labeled a 'meth baby' by the media can do more harm to children than the methamphetamine itself.

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paid work

New business enterprise caters
to "back-to-work" mothers

You Can Do It Corporation (www.youcandoit.com) is a new for-profit organization providing seminars, job fairs and recruiting conferences for at-home mothers planning to re-enter the workforce. According to information on the organization's web site, You Can Do It Corp. "was created with a dedicated focus on the unique challenges and opportunities facing stay-at-home mothers returning to work and working mothers changing careers" and "works closely with corporations and organizations of all types helping them better understand this evolving segment of the workforce, and how to most effectively attract and tap into the powerful and talented market of stay-at-home and working mothers."

Many experts concede that back-to-work mothers and those seeking family-friendly work schedules should expect to make significant concessions in pay and job responsibility to get the kind of work they want -- or any job, for that matter. It's not surprising that employers are interested in mining this skilled, highly motivated, low-cost talent pool, especially for contingent work -- and organizations like You Can Do It Corp. see an opportunity to make a profit.

For more information about the company's events, including an October 26 job fair in New York City, visit the You Can Do It Corp. events page.

Related articles:

Women Who Step Out of the Corporate World
Find It Hard to Step Back In

From Knowledge@Wharton newsletter, no date
Women executives who leave the corporate world when they hit a glass ceiling, want to raise a family fulltime or decide to focus on other interests, encounter frustrating roadblocks in their attempts to re-enter the workforce, according to new Wharton research.

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Other news and commentary
on employment and work-life issues

The conundrum of the glass ceiling:
Why are women so persistently absent from top corporate jobs?

The Economist, 21 Jun 05
"Women account for 46.5% of America's workforce and for less than 8% of its top managers, although at big Fortune 500 companies the figure is a bit higher. Female managers' earnings now average 72% of their male colleagues'. …In other countries the picture is similar. Not a single woman featured in Fortune magazine's list this June of the 25 highest-paid CEOs in Europe."

A few words on expressing yourself at work
Amy Lynwander, BostonWorks, 14 Aug 05
"Breast-feeding mothers face a tough decision when they return to work. Wean or make the commitment to strap yourself into a pump several times a day. For all the mothers I've heard wax enthusiastically about breast-feeding — the bonding, the feeling of empowerment — I've never heard one 'Ode to Pumping.'"

For the new generation, dreaded midlife crisis starts at 30
Penelope Trunk, BostonWorks, 4 Sept 05
"It used to be fashionable to tell women, 'Don't worry about babies. You have time. Concentrate on your career.' But now that the statistics on late motherhood are clearer, fears have set in."

Work-life issues can test managers
Maggie Jackson, BostonWorks, 28 Aug 05
"Some managers still don't 'get it,' but many want to do the right thing. They just aren't sure how."

Money, marriage are big factors in job satisfaction, poll says
Diane E. Lewis, BostonWorks, 28 Aug 05
"Workers ages 40 to 49 seemed to have the toughest challenges, with only 55 percent agreeing that their boss has done a lot to promote work-life balance. …The survey also found that married workers were happier with their work-life balance than unmarried workers, and married employees had more fun at work than unmarried workers."

The Ten Worst Jobs in America
Liza Featherstone, AlterNet, 13 Sept 05
Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be poultry processors -- or any of the other dangerous, difficult, smelly, low-paying jobs on this list.

American Labor's Rebirth
Madeline Janis-Aparicio, AlterNet, 6 Sept 05
In Los Angeles, as well as other cities across the country, a powerful new labor movement is emerging -- one that has already claimed a number of victories for working families.

Operating Instructions
Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com, 29 Aug 05
"The idea that corporations should have total discretion in how to treat their workers is a growing and retrograde trend in America."

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elsewhere on the web:

Reproductive health and rights

As C-Section Rate Grows, So Does Resistance
Molly M. Ginty, Women's eNews, 2 Sept 05
Caesarean section, in which a baby is delivered by abdominal surgery, has increased fivefold in the past 30 years, prompting concern among health advocates who say vaginal delivery is in many cases a healthier option.

FDA Official Resigns Over Plan B
Allison Stevens, Women's eNews, 1 Sept 05
Critics are calling the FDA's decision to hold a public comment period on easing access to emergency contraception a stalling tactic. Yesterday the director of the FDA's women's health office resigned in protest.

Feminists for (Fetal) Life
Katha Pollitt, The Nation, 11 Aug 05
How can you argue with FFL's contention that America does not give pregnant women and mothers the support they need? Feminists, the prochoice kind, have been saying this for years. So far as I can tell, FFL is the only "prolife" organization that talks about women's rights to work and education and the need to make both more compatible with motherhood. …The problem is that FFL doesn't just oppose abortion. FFL wants abortion to be illegal. All abortions, period, including those for rape, incest, health, major fetal defects and, although Foster resisted admitting this, even some abortions most doctors would say were necessary to save the woman's life."

On Abortion, We Are All Relativists
John E. Schwarz and David Callahan, TomPaine.com, 26 Aug 05
"An implicit assumption …has crept to the center of debates over abortion and the courts—which is that the pro-life position flows from a set of absolutist principles, while pro-choice legal thinking is a muddle of moral relativism, political pragmatism or judicial activism. This is nonsense. When it comes to abortion and the law, we’re all relativists. The only question—especially with public opinion so divided—is which relativists can acquire more power."

Abortion Wars and the Poor
Ruth Conniff, The Progressive Online, 19 Sept 05
"The overall abortion rate has been going down since 1990, the Times reports, particularly for teenagers--thanks to better pregnancy prevention. The rate is lowest for affluent, educated women. For African American women at all income levels, however, the rate is higher. And for low-income women--thanks to welfare reform's "get tough" policies--the rate is going up."

It's Not About The Ad
Lynn M. Paltrow and Terry McGovern, TomPaine.com, 19 Aug 05
"The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) has been roundly criticized for running a television ad that portrayed U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as supporting violence at abortion clinics. In response to the outcry, NARAL withdrew the ad. But instead of debating the wisdom of one group’s TV ads, we need to go back to basics… It is only by listening to, supporting and organizing a true grassroots base that we will be able to build an electorate that will ultimately protect not just Roe v. Wade, but the humanity and dignity of all pregnant women and mothers."

Tell It To The Judge
Louise Melling and Karen Pearl, TomPaine.com, 12 Aug 05
"Women in medical emergencies forced to seek out judges instead of doctors: Does this sound like an administration that values women’s health and lives? Is this the kind of world you want your daughters, sisters, mothers or wives to live in?"

Bedroom Politics Are Not Presidential
Caryl Rivers, Women's eNews, 9 Aug o5
When the governors of Massachusetts and New York both vetoed emergency-contraception bills, Caryl Rivers saw an inept play at national vote-getting. Most Americans, she says, want the government to keep out of the bedroom.

Egg Donation and the Free Market (audio)
Michele Norris , NPR, All Things Considered, 28 Jul 05
Human egg donation has become a regular business, thanks to decades of developments in reproductive technology. But some say donation is a misnomer, since women are paid for giving up their eggs -- sometimes as much as $50,000, if desirable traits are in evidence. But some are calling for egg donation to be regulated -- and they question the effects of financial incentives. Plus: links to related broadcasts.

In Praise of Female Sexuality
Paul Sheehan, Common Dreams, 14 Aug 05
originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald
"A healthier society would allow women to have children earlier than they do now. At 32, no matter what people want to believe, the reproductive system is far less robust than it was 10 years earlier. Our aim should be to have children born into a culture where there is plenty of support for child care in addition to the mother, thus liberating mothers to more fully exploit the possibilities that advanced society can offer them."

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New Centers Offer Battered Women Dozens of Services
Rebecca Vesely, Women's eNews, 16 Sept 05
Latarya Coleman is just one of many women who has survived domestic violence only to face a bureaucratic maze of social services. Now, a federal pilot project is attempting to streamline the process by funding new "family justice centers."

Congress Considering New Abuse Prevention Funds
By Allison Stevens, Women's eNews, 18 Aug 05
Lobbyists are fighting to get new funding for victims of domestic and sexual abuse passed by Congress. Millions of dollars in funds for health programs, housing, rape prevention and education are at stake.

Women's Rights Don't Stop at Jailhouse
Rachel Roth, Women's eNews, 31 Aug 05
An incarcerated woman had her right to have an abortion vindicated last week when an Arizona judge overruled a local sheriff. But as Rachel Roth writes, that right is far too tenuous for too many jailed women.

List of Top Women Spotlights Power Shortage
Sheila Gibbons, Women's eNews, 24 Aug 05
Forbes' latest roster of the world's most powerful women reads like a list of who's not making news. China's Wu Yi and Sara Lee Corporation's Brenda Barnes may be influential, says Sheila Gibbons, but how often do we hear about them?

Women's Bookstores Dwindle to Stalwart Few
By Rachel Corbett, Women's eNews, 15 Aug 05
New York's Bluestockings bookstore reopened a few years ago and Minneapolis' famous Amazon Bookstore is still going after 35 years. But overall, the number of women's bookstores has dropped dramatically. As bookstores disappear, so do the intellectual community centers they once provided for browsing and attending talks and readings.

Women's Studies Hunted for Liberal Bias
Rachel Corbett, Women's eNews, 30 Aug 05
Women's studies departments face growing pressure as school starts this year. A legal push by conservative students against what they see as liberal bias takes particular aim at these programs.

85 Years Later, Women Look for More Ballots
Allison Stevens, Women's eNews, 26 Aug 05
Today, on Women's Equality Day, observing the 85th anniversary of U.S. women gaining the right to vote, some think women in the next congressional elections may see their numbers rise for the first substantial increase since 1992.

Animal Comment Triggers Equality Debate in Sweden
Jerome Socolovsky, Women's eNews, 19 Aug 05
Sweden was recently ranked the most gender-equal country in the world. But feminists there say there's been a backlash. They're forming a new political party to put women's issues high on the agenda.

Happy Useless Designation Day
Laura Donnelly, TomPaine.com, 26 Aug 05
It's Women's Equality Day! What, you didn't know? …Since there's now an "awareness day" for pretty much everything, designating a day has lost its power to call attention to an important cause. And it's hard to think of a cause that's still more vital than women's equality.

A Feminist’s Dilemma
Aviva Ariel, AlterNet, 31 Aug 05
Does allowing a man to open a car door or to slide out a chair at a restaurant perpetuate sexism?

Sen. Santorum Sounds Very Good; Remains Very Wrong
Suzanne Kahn and Vilas Rao, AlterNet,29 Aug 05
His new book, 'It Takes a Family,' is downright scary. Progressives need to learn to effectively tackle him.

I'm a Hopeaholic. There's Nothing George Bush Can Do About It
Gloria Steinem, Common Dreams, 13 Sept 05
Originally published in the Guardian/UK
"Terminal hopefulness is an occupational hazard. None the less, I've come to feel that hope is natural, a necessity of human evolution - and hopelessness has to be carefully taught by those who benefit from the status quo."

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Caregiving, child care and education

Childcare choices impact kids’ achievement
Study finds being at home with mom or at pre-school are best options

Reuters, MSNBC, 23 Aug 05
"Working single mothers who rely on their family, friends, or other informal child care providers to look after their children during work hours may, in doing so, negatively influence their child’s mental development, new study findings suggest." The lead author of the report comments: "We do not advocate for women to stay at home, but rather for policies to be designed in such a way that we can provide women with the types of daycare that can benefit children, with subsidies or with on-site daycare centers."

1 million U.S. children are caregivers
Janet Kornblum, USA Today, 13 Sept 05
More than 1 million children in the USA take care of sick or disabled relatives, shopping, feeding, dressing, medicating and even changing adult diapers, a government-financed study finds. It is the first to document what advocacy groups call a hidden national problem.

More kindergartners in for a full day
Associated Press, CNN, 31 Aug 05
Almost two in three kindergartners nationwide, or 65 percent of them, are in school five to six hours a day. That percentage of full-day students has doubled since the early 1980s.

Teaching In America: The Impossible Dream
Zack Pelta-Heller, AlterNet, 15 Sept 05
Many public school teachers today must work two jobs to survive, and can't afford to buy homes or raise families. A new book asks why we treat our teachers so poorly.

Closing The Achievement Gap
Roger Wilkins, TomPaine.com, 23 Aug 05
"More than 40 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s declaration of a war on poverty, minority and poor students—in rural areas and cities alike—continue to consistently fall behind in basic math and reading skills. It would be wrong and unfair to assume that the reason for these students’ poor achievement lies largely within them. The children on the wrong side of the achievement gap often come from devastated neighborhoods where unemployment, poor health care and crowded sub-standard housing are common." A discussion of a new report on the American education system that recommends universal pre-school, full-day kindergarten, and expanding public after school programs.

The Chronicles of Nanny-a
Sex, class, age, power and Jude Law -- two melodramas about parents and their domestic help have it all, and leave us feeling a little dirty, too.
Rebecca Traister, Salon, 24 Jul 05

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Mothering & fathering

Mind your own kids
Sanctimonious parents, who preach "breast is best" and tell you that sleep training is cruel and unusual punishment, should keep their ideology to themselves.
Ayelet Waldman, Salon, 15 Aug 05

Salon readers respond to Ayelet Waldman's critique of busybody parents.

Four Years Later, U.S. Begins to Heed Mothers' Voices
Rachel Corbett, Women's eNews, 11 Sept 05
Four years after Sept. 11, mothers' strong influence over their children's career decisions makes them both a high-priority target for flagging U.S. military recruitment efforts and a potent political force against the war in Iraq.

It's a Jerk!
Should men want to watch their wives give birth?

Meghan O'Rourke, Slate, 29 Aug 05
"A man who doesn't want to watch his wife give birth is a jerk. This was the overwhelming consensus reached by a host of respected blogs after the publication last Tuesday in the New York Times of a piece by a therapist noting an unhappy trend: A number of his male patients have reported that after witnessing their wives have babies they no longer feel attracted to them."

Stealth Parenting: Why good dads sneak out
Kent Steinriede, HermanMiller Jugglezine, 10 Aug 05
"The idea of a father needing flexibility at work to help out with childcare hasn't really caught on in the workplace. It has become acceptable for mothers to take time off to drive kids to the doctor, go on the school field trip, or pick them up at soccer practice. A father can publicly say that he needs to skip out of work for a couple of hours to catch his daughter in a school play, but that's about it."

The Jugglezine article includes a link to an article by Katherine Reynolds Lewis (When Family-Friendly Doesn't Mean Dad-Friendly, available from Newhouse News Service), which notes that "as more men try to tap family-friendly workplace policies, many discover the arrangements aren't as available to dads as to moms."

Only Fun For Stay-At-Home Dad
Tracy Smith, CBS News, 3 Aug 05
"Mike Paranzino's definition of full-time fatherhood doesn't include cooking or cleaning. His entire day is spent with the kids."

He notes, "There's a Yellow Pages filled with companies that want to clean your house, cut your grass. They want to cook your food. I signed on to raise the kids, not to clean the house."

No sweeping? No laundry?

"Where can I sign up?" asks Jen Singer and her crew of stay-at-home moms. They applaud Mike Paranzino's choice. But isn't housework part of the gig?

"If I didn't have to think about the housework, this would be like a big vacation," Singer says. Paranzino says, "Maybe it's a giant ruse or hoax that the men over the centuries have foisted upon woman. But I don't buy it. I don't see any inherent reason, any natural reason why, because you're focused on raising the children during the day that also means you have to clean the toilets."

The Making of a Modern Dad
Douglas Carlton Abrams, Psychology Today, March 2002
"It takes a lot more than testosterone to make a father out of a man. Research shows that hormonal changes in both sexes help shape men into devoted dads. If testosterone is the defining hormone of masculinity, it's time to redefine manhood." An older article, but well worth reading.

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Social issues

White People's Burden
Robert Jensen, AlterNet, 31 Aug 05
"We can pretend that we have reached 'the end of racism' and continue to ignore the question. But that's just plain stupid. We can acknowledge that racism still exists and celebrate diversity, but avoid the political, economic, and social consequences of white supremacy. But, frankly, that's just as stupid."

Alone In America
Amanda Levinson, AlterNet, 23 Aug 05
Thousands of unaccompanied children head to the United States each year seeking the American Dream, but they're increasingly at the mercy of an uncaring immigration system.

A Kinder, Gentler Way To Divorce
Collaborative divorce gains popularity as way to ease pain and suffering

Lynn O’Shaughnessy, Financial Advisor Magazine, Jul 2005
"An increasing number of attorneys, therapists and financial experts who work with divorcing couples are advocating that their clients choose a more productive and less hostile way to dissolve a marriage. The path less traveled is called the collaborative divorce process, which is growing in popularity across the country among professionals and their feuding clients."

The Young and the Debtless
Rob Kuttner, The American Prospect, 1 Sept 05
Seldom in our history were the economic prospects of the young more determined by their parents' status. Children of the elite have always had a head start, but in the past young people without affluent parents could also afford the two big tickets to the middle class -- a college degree and a home.

Gunning for College
Beth Shulman, TomPaine.com, 13 Aug 05
"What should you have to sacrifice to get a college education in the United States? …A growing number of parents and high schools are taking steps to limit military recruiters’ access to students."

Public policy

States Shred the Safety Net
Dan Hawkins, TomPaine.com, 15 Aug 05
Cutting the safety net strings for thousands of low-income people may produce short-term savings, but the long-term consequences are far-reaching for the entire health care delivery system—and signal serious trouble for America’s community, migrant, and homeless health centers.

Why Can't We Be Like the Finns?
Robert G. Kaiser, TomPaine.com, 29 Aug 05
If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can't we treat our citizens as well as the Finns do?

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September 2005

previously in mmo noteworthy ...

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