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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Time Lapse Politics / Christine Doyle

If you’re a fan of photography, you know the time lapse technique involves setting up a camera, often to record something like a sunset, minute by minute.  Once edited, these shots show a magical progression of light and color but shooting one is excruciating. That nuanced change can only be seen when sped up. It isn’t perceptible to the naked eye as it us unfolding.

There is a wave of post-1970’s feminism percolating in this country right now.  From the “Lean In” movement to the fact that Hillary Clinton will likely run for President, a modern woman’s movement is impacting the workplace, our social mores and if the Democrats get lucky, our politics.

In terms of public opinion, there is no doubt that the dial has moved on gay marriage and assault weapons. I think most Americans would prefer to keep abortion personal and not political. But, when you look at who is running and who is serving, and the issues that still divide us, it’s clear we are only at the very beginning of an excruciatingly slow time lapse in women’s politics.

What you can’t see in this time lapse moment in politics is the Republican women doing their part behind the scenes to “Lean In in their own communities. They’re starting PACs, websites and schools as a way to impact their communities in positive ways. But these Republican women are waiting for their party and the system to catch up with them. Until that happens, Moderate and Independent women who vote for Republican men, will continue to be accused of  supporting a party that doesn’t get them. 

Do the Democrats still have a lock on women’s votes? And is it because of social issues? According to the Center for American Women and Politics, of the 20 women in the U.S. Senate, only 4 are Republicans. Of the 78 women in the House of Representatives, only 19 are Republicans. The prospects of getting elected a Governor are better for female Republican candidates. Right now 4 out of five female Governors are Republican. Of the state legislatures, of the 1,788 women serving, female Democrat legislators outnumber Republican women legislators nearly 2 to 1.

I am not going to criticize Hillary Clinton or Claire McCaskill who is her front woman, not only here in Missouri, but in key states like Iowa where the Clintons have never been very popular. According to the New York Times, a battalion of women is now forming in Iowa and encouraging Hillary to run. Senator Claire McCaskill, who I voted for once because of her support of stem cell research but couldn’t vote for a second time because I disagreed with her on Obamacare, is Hillary Clinton’s biggest supporter. Again, I am not going to criticize her. Because McCaskill can see women are engaging.

The question I would ask is what is the most effective way to speed up this painfully slow moment in politics? Is it for more Republican women to run as Non-Partisans? Only 10 of the 1,788 state legislators currently serving are NPs. Is it too late or too early in this progression to build up a moderate Republican female voice? It might have been too late for Olympia Snowe to run for President and unfortunately, it might be too soon for the Republicans to fast track the other moderate from Maine, Susan Collins, who is in favor of universal access on healthcare, but is also green, for school choice, pro-choice on abortion and pro-gay?

One thing I have to agree with Sen. McCaskill on is that she is right that this is a historic moment. Or at least the beginning of one.


Sex Ed for Toddlers?

What They Need to Know at 5, and at 15

Debra Hauser

Debra Hauser is the president of Advocates for Youth.

MAY 7, 2013


Sadly, real or perceived controversy keeps schools from providing young people with the information and skills they need to become sexually healthy adults. Just like other topics taught in school, sexuality education should be developmentally appropriate, sequential and complete.



Irrational fear – the cultural belief that teaching young people about sex will cause them to have sex – keeps administrators and educators from doing what they know is best: providing young people with developmentally appropriate, sequential and honest sex education. Never mind that 30 years of public health research clearly demonstrates that when young people receive such education, they are more likely to delay sexual initiation, and to use protection when they do eventually become sexually active, than those who receive no sex education or learn only about abstinence. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant.


Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant.


Ninety-five percent of all Americans have sex before marriage. About half of all young people begin having sex by age 17. Providing a foundation of quality sex education is the only way to ensure that young people will grow into sexually healthy adults. It can augment what children learn at home and combat misinformation learned from peers or found on the Internet. Porn is not the best way for teenagers to learn about sex, but it will fill the vacuum when sex education is politicized and withheld from our classrooms.



Quality sex education should start in kindergarten. Early elementary school students need to learn the proper names for their body parts, the difference between good touch and bad touch, and ways in which they can be a good friend (the foundation for healthy intimate relationships later in life). Fourth- and fifth-graders need information about puberty and their changing bodies, Internet safety, and the harmful impact of bullying. And seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders are ready for information about body image, reproduction, abstinence, contraception, H.I.V. and disease prevention, communication, and the topic they most want to learn about: healthy relationships.



Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. Honest, sequential and comprehensive sex education is the foundation for helping them to become sexually healthy adults.




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Topics: EducationHealthchildrenparentingsex

The New York Times asks,

The New York Times asks, “Should schools help “catch” illegal immigrants?”

Photo courtesy:

One of the key promises then candidate Barack Obama made in 2008 was to open up pathways for illegal immigrants to gain U.S. citizenship.  There is no doubt that the Hispanic voting bloc in this country is gaining in size and power.  And that Hispanics could swing either way in 2012.  Latinos helped turn Colorado into a blue state for Obama.  And now immigration is creating a lot of friction between the Republican Presidential candidates.  Click here to see Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry duke it out at the Republican Presidential debates in Las Vegas the other night.  Polls show Perry’s numbers had already started to spiral downward after it was reported earlier that he had approved of in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants.  Michelle Bachmann doesn’t just want to build one 1200 mile wall, she wants to build two.  In the meantime, Alabama was stopped from trying to get schools to investigate the status of students’ parents but the states can begin deportation efforts if the students families are suspected of being here illegally.   Click here to learn more about  a tough new stance on immigration that encourages schools to ask children what their parents status is .  In Arizona and Alabama, the thinking is that if you can just quietly get “them” to leave, and presumably go back to Mexico, it will open up jobs for U.S. citizens.  The tricky part is the jobs that the illegals are low-pay, come without benefits, offer substandard housing and can involve shifts spent working in fields for 12 hours, 7 days a week.  And some of them aren’t heading home, they’re leaning on already cash strapped social services in surrounding states like Florida. Something has to be done.  And this is a core vote getter with conservative Republicans who recognize that the US cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the issue.  The question is this “let’s make them a little less comfortable” approach better than building a wall?  Isn’t asking a school to help deport a student who wants to learn like asking a doctor not to treat a sick patient?  And do Americans need jobs badly enough that they will step up and apply for the jobs immigrants may be vacating?