Patrick Hauf: The NEA is the largest teachers’ union in the U.S. with more than 3 million members. It collected nearly $400 million from American educators in 2018, according to federal labor filings. The union is also one of the most politically active in the country, spending $70 million on politics and lobbying in 2017 … Continue reading NEA passes resolution defending the ‘fundamental right to abortion’
Harriett Sherwood: On Friday, the court of protection in London decided an abortion was in the best interests of the woman, who is in her 20s, and is 22 weeks pregnant. She has the mental capacity of a six- to nine-year-old child. Justice Nathalie Lieven, who made the original ruling, described it as “heartbreaking”, saying: … Continue reading Appeal court overturns forced abortion ruling
Ross Douthat: The Thomas argument, common inside the pro-life movement but startling to many, is that the present “reproductive rights” regime may effectively extend older eugenic efforts to reduce populations deemed unfit. His dissent cited the eugenic inclinations of progressive icons like Margaret Sanger, while pointing out that today’s abortion rates are highest among populations … Continue reading Civics: Does anything link the eugenics of the past to abortion today?
Carly Cassella : While no country has a perfectly even sex ratio, normally researchers would expect roughly 105 male births to every 100 female births. Compiling data from over 200 nations – including 10,835 observations, and 16,602 years of information – the authors noticed a shocking number of countries have strayed from this mark. “The … Continue reading There Are 23 Million ‘Missing’ Girls in The World Due to Sex-Selective Abortions
What’s on Weibo: A recent article, in which two Chinese academics propose the implementation of some sort of ‘tax’ for people under 40 who have no second child, has sparked outrage on social media. “The same woman who had to undergo a forced abortion before, is now pressured to get pregnant,” some say. A controversial … Continue reading Choose Life: the ongoing battle – China’s Proposed ‘No Child Tax’ Stirs Controversy: “First Forced Abortions, Now Pressured Into Pregnancy”
Lemor Abrams: This week, Rocklin High School students are using social media to organize a pro-life walkout using the hashtag #life. “To honor all the lives of aborted babies pretty much. All the millions of aborted babies every year,” said organizer Brandon Gillespie. He says his history teacher inspired the idea. As thousands of students … Continue reading Student Planning Abortion Protest After School Shooting Walkout
Snopes: The report does not suggest that, however. It suggests that nearly 100 percent of the 80 to 85 percent of people who take the test choose to abort their pregnancy. There are similar termination rates after fetal diagnoses of Down syndrome in other European countries. In Denmark, for example, the rate is about 98 … Continue reading Has Iceland Eliminated Down Syndrome Through Abortion?
Wang Lianzhang: After spending more than 10 years away from his hometown of Luokan, in the southwestern province of Yunnan, a 42-year-old man was forced by local authorities to undergo a vasectomy upon returning for the lunar new year holiday. He was taken away by family planning officials on Feb. 8, and the operation was … Continue reading Chinese Father of Four Forced to Undergo Vasectomy: Case sheds light on forced sterilization, abortion quotas, and other dubious family planning practices.
Chinese doctors have performed more than 330m abortions since the government implemented a controversial family planning policy 40 years ago, according to official data from the health ministry.
China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its economic consequences as the population ages. Forced abortions and sterilisations have also been criticised by human rights campaigners such as Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing last year.
China first introduced measures to limit the size of the population in 1971, encouraging couples to have fewer children. The one-child rule, with exceptions for ethnic minorities and some rural families, was implemented at the end of the decade.
Since 1971, doctors have performed 336m abortions and 196m sterilisations, the data reveal. They have also inserted 403m intrauterine devices, a normal birth control procedure in the west but one that local officials often force on women in China.
Veterinary and medical professionals in Wisconsin said Friday that they have been warned about a potentially alarming practice among the state’s rural youth: teenage girls ingesting livestock drugs to cheaply and discreetly end their unwanted pregnancies.
So far, the professionals in animal and human health and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction are treating the reports of girls inducing their own abortions with prostaglandins – drugs commonly used by cow breeders to regulate animals’ heat cycles – as rumors, because no cases have been officially confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
But Anna Anderson, the executive director of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Green County in Monroe, maintains that she has identified at least 10 girls ages 14 to 18 in a three-county area who admitted to taking some form of cow abortifacient in the past year.
Anderson said the girls told her they took it because they found it to be a cheap and easy way to end their pregnancies without their parents finding out.
At the American Veterinary Medical Association, Assistant Director Kimberly May said Friday that her organization first heard the rumor about the teenagers in mid-February from the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association. Since then, the American Animal Hospital Association has also posted an advisory about the issue on its Web site.
Injected properly in livestock, prostaglandins shorten a heat cycle so a female animal can be bred again, May said.
Sabrina Tavernise: How the declining birthrate could profoundly shape the nation’s future. michael barbaroFrom The New York Times, I’m Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily. [music]A few days ago, the U.S. government revealed that the country’s population is growing at the slowest rate in nearly a century. Today, Astead Herndon spoke with our colleague Sabrina … Continue reading The birthrate in the United States has fallen by about 19 percent since its recent peak in 2007
Ann Althouse: There was some concern expressed yesterday over the “remarkable slackening” in population growth seen in the 2020 census. What will it do to the economy going forward if Americans don’t maintain the long human tradition of robust reproduction? I was inclined to say, don’t worry about it, less population growth is good for … Continue reading “It’s probably true that these children of Americans who are not getting born would probably be dull slackers compared to the plucky, effervescent immigrants.”
Tara Bahrampour, Harry Stevens and Adrian Blanco: The birthrate has also dropped, and life expectancy has dipped in the past couple of years — a reversal that has been driven by factors such as drug overdoses, obesity, suicide and liver disease and that sharply accelerated last year during the pandemic. The extent to which the … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: 2020 Census shows U.S. population grew at slowest pace since the 1930s
The Economist: DAUGHTERS HAVE long been linked with divorce. Several studies conducted in America since the 1980s provide strong evidence that a couple’s first-born being a girl increases the likelihood of their subsequently splitting up. At the time, the researchers involved speculated that this was an expression of “son preference”, a phenomenon which, in its … Continue reading Parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than those with sons
Axios: As the U.S. fertility rate falls to a 35-year-low, new technologies promise to radically change how we have babies. Why it matters: The demand for assisted reproductive technology like IVF is likely to grow as people delay the decision to have children. But newer advances in gene editing and diagnostic testing could open the … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: the U.S. fertility rate falls to a 35-year-low
Rahil Sheikh: Born in an Indian village with cerebral palsy, Kuli Kohli was lucky to survive. Neighbours told her parents they should throw her in the river, instead they brought her to the UK. As she grew up here, writing became her means of escape – and transformed her life in ways she never expected. … Continue reading They wanted to drown me at birth – now I’m a poet’
Kara Zupkus: An English professor at Iowa State University has threatened to dismiss students who voice opposition to abortion or the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization from her upcoming class this fall. She falsely claims students who resist leftist orthodoxy hold a viewpoint “that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same … Continue reading Civics: Iowa State Professor Threatens to “Dismiss” Pro-Life, Conservative Students From Her Class
Chrissy Clark: Activists plan to sue the mayor of Washington, D.C., after police arrested two students for chalking a pro-life message outside of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Students for Life will file a lawsuit against D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser (D.) following the arrest of a student activist and staffer for writing “Black Preborn Lives … Continue reading Civics: D.C. cops arrest pair for ‘Black Preborn Lives Matter’ chalk message
Charles Lipson: Don’t be fooled by universities’ incessant chatter about “diversity.” Most are poster children for ideological conformity and proud of it. The faculty, students, and administrators know it. Indeed, many welcome it since their views are so obviously right and other views so obviously wrong. They believe discordant views are so objectionable that no … Continue reading Woke Colleges Are Assembly Lines for Conformity
Kelly Meyerhofer: Yet many of the branch campuses have fewer students enrolled than at any point during the past 45 years. What effect would closing one or more of them have on access to higher education? The Wisconsin State Journal turned to UW-Madison higher education professor Nicholas Hillman, who leads the university’s Student Success Through … Continue reading Small UW campuses provide access to education. What would happen if they disappeared?
Ronald Bailey: The U.S. total fertility rate has dropped to below 1.73 births per woman, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. This record low edges out the previous U.S. fertility nadir of 1.74 births per woman back in 1976. U.S. rates appear to be following the downward trend seen … Continue reading U.S. Fertility Reaches All-Time Low as People Choose Things Other Than Children
Mitchell Schmidt: The former educator’s first year in office came with its share of partisan battles, including disagreements over his appointed cabinet heads and efforts by Republicans to limit the governor’s power. Divided government stalled attempts to appease constituents on both sides of the aisle: Republicans refused to take up gun control measures and marijuana … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin Governance, including K-12 (no mention of Mr. Evers teacher mulligans)
Wall Street Journal: The infection of speech restrictions on campus has spread nationwide, but some are fighting back. The latest defense of the First Amendment is a lawsuit filed Thursday against Iowa State University. The Ames, Iowa, school has “created a series of rules and regulations designed to restrain, deter, suppress, and punish speech concerning … Continue reading Campus Bias Blowback
Simon Rabinovitch: Some, er, original thinking about how China might boost its fertility rate: Peking U prof suggests that any family which has five children should be given one guaranteed entry to the prestigious university, to recognize their contribution to the country. US and global abortion data.
Kirsten Grind, Sam Schechner, Robert McMillan and John West: More than 100 interviews and the Journal’s own testing of Google’s search results reveal: Google made algorithmic changes to its search results that favor big businesses over smaller ones, and in at least one case made changes on behalf of a major advertiser, eBay Inc., contrary … Continue reading How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms and Changes Your Results
Andre Tartar, Hannah Recht, and Yue Qiu: While the global average fertility rate was still above the rate of replacement—technically 2.1 children per woman—in 2017, about half of all countries had already fallen below it, up from 1 in 20 just half a century ago. For places such as the U.S. and parts of Western … Continue reading The global fertility crash
Riley Vetterkind: That comes as the fertility rate for women in their childbearing years has fallen to the lowest level since 2002, prompting concerns Wisconsin within the next decade could see an unprecedented natural population decline, in which the number of deaths in the state exceeds births. It’s unclear whether a natural population decline is … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: More deaths than births in Wisconsin? It could happen within 15 years
Sheila Liming: I live in a land of austerity, and I’m not just talking about the scenery. When most people think about North Dakota — if, indeed, they ever do — they probably imagine bare, ice-crusted prairies swept clean by wind. They see the clichés, in other words, not the reality — the towns that … Continue reading My University Is Dying; Soon Yours Will Be, Too
Chris Baynes: An investigation into suspected sex-selective abortions has been launched by magistrates in a district of northern India after government data showed none of the 216 children born across 132 villages over three months were girls. Authorities in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand state, said the official birth rate was “alarming” and pointed towards widespread female foeticide, … Continue reading Choose Life: ‘No girls born’ for past three months in area of India covering 132 villages
Benjamin Herold: But in an age of heightened fear about mass school shootings, it tripped invisible alarms. The local Brazosport Independent School District had recently hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. The company’s algorithms flagged Lafrenais’s tweet as … Continue reading Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming
Noelle Mering: The promise of the sexual revolution was that sex can be meaningless. Indeed, it has to be meaningless to preserve our autonomy. If it has intrinsic meaning, independent of whatever we desire it to mean, then that might signify that we have duties that affect our autonomy. This revolution has thrown human relationships … Continue reading Is Sexual Autonomy Worth The Cost To Human Lives?
Kyle Sammin: The race to the far left in the Democratic primaries has been a sight to behold. Socialized health care, higher taxes on the rich, reparations for the descendants of slaves, abortion on demand, packing the Supreme Court, and more: all were once fringe issues. But once one candidate raises them, the rest fall … Continue reading Commentary on politics, Facebook and K-12 spending
Jacqueline Howard: The birth rate rose 1% among women aged 35 to 39 and 2% among women 40 to 44. The rate for women 45 to 49, which also includes births to women 50 and older, did not change from 2017 to 2018. Overall, the provisional number of births in 2018 for the United States … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: America just had its lowest number of births in 32 years, report finds
Rob O’Dell and Nick Penzenstadler: The investigation reveals that fill-in-the-blank bills have in some states supplanted the traditional approach of writing legislation from scratch. They have become so intertwined with the lawmaking process that the nation’s top sponsor of copycat legislation, a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, claimed to have signed on to 72 … Continue reading Civics: A look at legislative sausage making
Helen Christophi: After two years of legal wrangling, a California judge will soon decide if there is enough evidence to try two anti-abortion activists who surreptitiously recorded Planned Parenthood staff supposedly arranging the sale of aborted fetal tissue, in a case some fear will hamstring journalists who go undercover to expose wrongdoing. In 2017, state … Continue reading Civics: Invasion-of-Privacy Case Tests Limits to Investigative Reporting in California
David Bernstein: As readers may recall, Judge Neomi Rao’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hit a snag when Senator Josh Hawley questioned her commitment to opposing “substantive due process” and whether her personal political views leaned toward being pro-choice. After significant pressure from conservative activists, the Trump administration, and, according to reports, … Continue reading Civics: Republican Senators are Skating Awfully Close to White Christian Identity Politics
Joy Pullman: With six weeks left until election day in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race, several far-left organizations are using media outlets to amplify a smear campaign against a judge based on his Christianity. Brian Hagedorn, a current Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge and former Scott Walker legal counsel, is being publicly trashed for being on … Continue reading Civics: You Can’t Be A Good Judge If You’re A Christian
Austin Bay: It’s highly probable China will face the same “geriatric” economic conditions that already threaten Japan and several Western European countries: too few workers paying the pensions of retirees as well as shouldering their medical costs. By 2030, the median age in China will rise to 43. In 1980, the median was 23. In … Continue reading On Point: The Population Threat to China’s Prosperity
Cathy Free: “Can you help me?” he pleaded, explaining that his wife, Molli, was 22 weeks pregnant, and her life was at risk. Their baby was probably in danger, as well. His son needed to be born — soon. Again, the answer was no, so he kept dialing, calling 16 hospitals in three states, he … Continue reading This preemie was born at less than a pound. He just ‘graduated’ from intensive care in a cap and gown.
Mandy Zuo: A proposal to tax all working adults aged under 40 – with the money going to a “reproduction fund” to reward families who have more than one child – has caused uproar in China. The idea was the most controversial among a series of measures floated by two academics from prestigious Nanjing University … Continue reading Uproar over ‘wacky’ plan to start baby boom in China by taxing adults under 40
Bloomberg: China’s parliament struck “family planning” policies from the latest draft of a sweeping civil code slated for adoption in 2020, the clearest signal yet that the leadership is moving to end limits on the number of children families can have. A new draft of the Civil Code submitted Monday to the Standing Committee of … Continue reading China Signals End to Child Birth Limits by 2020 at Latest
The Economist: THE one-child-per-couple policy was horrific for women in China. Many were subjected to forced sterilisations or abortions. Newborn girls were killed, removed by family-planning officials or abandoned by parents desperate that their one permitted baby be a boy. Women from neighbouring countries suffered, too, as victims of human trafficking; a skewed sex-ratio made … Continue reading China’s two-child policy is having unintended consequences
Laurel Rosenhall: Cops have a lot of pull in the California Capitol, and over the decades, that’s added up to this startling reality: The Golden State now goes further than many states in terms of protecting police from public scrutiny. It’s a stark contrast to the state’s “left coast” image. On abortion rights, gun control … Continue reading Progressive Democrats run California—yet it does more than many states to shield police from scrutiny
Robby Soave: CBS Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California, placed a teacher on paid administrative leave after she let students discuss the politics of the National School Walkout, which took place around the country yesterday morning. Julianne Benzel told CBS13 that she suspects she got in trouble for suggesting that schools administrators who condoned the … Continue reading Teacher on Leave After Questioning Whether School Would Let Pro-Life Students Walk Out, Too
Greg Stor: To get the U.S. Supreme Court’s attention these days, try saying your speech rights are being violated. Whether the underlying topic is abortion, elections, labor unions or wedding cakes, the First Amendment is starting to dominate the Supreme Court’s agenda. The court on Monday granted three new speech cases, including a challenge to … Continue reading Free Speech Is Starting to Dominate the U.S. Supreme Court’s Agenda
Scott Jaschik: The news is full of recent incidents in which students have blocked or attempted to block campus speakers. Students have shouted down or shut down appearances of controversial speakers at Middlebury College, Claremont McKenna College and the University of California, Los Angeles, among other campuses. While the students involved there are on the … Continue reading Students for Free Speech
Bill Bishop: Sustained collective action has also become more difficult. Institutions are turning to behavioral “nudges,” hoping to move an increasingly suspicious public to do what once could be accomplished by command or law. As groups based on tradition and consistent association dwindle, they are being replaced by “event communities,” temporary gatherings that come and … Continue reading Americans have lost faith in institutions. That’s not because of Trump or ‘fake news.’
Ashe Schow: Across the country, colleges and universities have been setting up “bias response teams” that allow students to report, often anonymously, incidents of alleged bias on campus. As one might expect, incidents of “bias” typically only refer to conservative viewpoints. For example, two professors at the University of Northern Colorado were reported for relaying … Continue reading Survey: College ‘bias response teams’ threaten free speech
Kenneth Johnson: Nor do new data just released show any evidence of an upturn in births. National Center for Health Statistics data for 2015 show the lowest general fertility rate on record and only 3,978,000 births last year. There were 338,000 (8 percent) fewer births in 2015 than in 2007, just before the Recession began … Continue reading U.S. Births Remain Low as the Great Recession Wanes: More Than Three Million Fewer Births and Still Counting
Lawrence Summers: It has seemed to me that a vast double standard regarding what constitutes prejudice exists on American college campuses. There is hypersensitivity regarding prejudice against most minority groups but what might be called hyper-insensitivity with respect to anti-Semitism. At Bowdoin College, holding parties with sombreros and tequila is deemed to be an act … Continue reading Double standard on American college campuses
Possible de-regulation of Wisconsin charter school authorizations has lead to a bit of rhetoric on the state of Madison’s schools, their ability to compete and whether the District’s long term, disastrous reading results are being addressed. We begin with Chris Rickert: Madison school officials not eager to cede control of ‘progress’: Still, Department of Public … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s long term Reading “Tax” & Monolithic K-12 System
John Judis: Jerry is in his late 50s. He is a sales representative in Southern Maryland for a multinational corporation. He has a college degree and makes about $80,000 a year. He considers himself a “moderate Democrat.” He voted for Obama in 2008 and O’Malley in 2010. He says of Obama in 2008, “He was … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate
Brendan O’Neil: Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to … Continue reading Free speech is so last century. Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’
It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.
At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation’s intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. Within a couple of generations, competing with the Chinese on an intellectual level will be like challenging Lena Dunham to a getting-naked-on-TV contest.
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at NYU, is one of the 2,000 braniacs who contributed their DNA. I spoke to him about what this creepy-ass program might mean for the future of Chinese kids.
In its scientific work, BGI often acts as the enabler of other people’s ideas. That is the case in a major project conceived by Steve Hsu, vice president for research at Michigan State University, to search for genes that influence intelligence. Under the guidance of Zhao Bowen, BGI is now sequencing the DNA of more than 2,000 people–mostly Americans–who have IQ scores of at least 160, or four standard deviations above the mean.
The DNA comes primarily from a collection of blood samples amassed by Robert Plomin, a psychologist at King’s College, London. The plan, to compare the genomes of geniuses and people of ordinary intelligence, is scientifically risky (it’s likely that thousands of genes are involved) and somewhat controversial. For those reasons it would be very hard to find the $15 or $20 million needed to carry out the project in the West. “Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t,” Plomin says. “But BGI is doing it basically for free.”
From Plomin’s perspective, BGI is so large that it appears to have more DNA sequencing capacity than it knows what to do with. It has “all those machines and people that have to be fed” with projects, he says. The IQ study isn’t the only mega-project under way. With a U.S. nonprofit, Autism Speaks, BGI is being paid to sequence the DNA of up to 10,000 people from families with autistic children. For researchers in Denmark, BGI is decoding the genomes of 3,000 obese people and 3,000 lean ones.
Girls are hot. Reproductive rights are not. This is the strange and yet unspoken contradiction endemic in the current development discourse about gender equality. From the boardrooms of Exxon Mobil, to the World Bank, to the offices of the Nike Foundation and the overflowing halls at Davos and the Clinton Global Initiative, you can hear people talking about the importance of investing in girls. Women are often added as an afterthought–their inclusion is often phrased as “girls and women” rather than as “women and girls.” Most often you hear that “educating girls” is the magic bullet of the 21st century.
The last time I heard something being prescribed as often as the solution to everything from low GDP rates and malnutrition in infants to endemic poverty, it was the early 1990s and the buzz was about something started by a Bangladeshi man named Muhammad Yunus. Girls’ education is the new microfinance. Yet educating girls about their sexuality and providing funding for access to contraception, safe and legal abortion, and broad education about their reproductive health and rights–which was a significant emphasis of global philanthropy in the 1980s and 1990s–has now dwindled in popularity. Although a few dedicated foundations and the European bilateral aid donors continue their commitment to organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund, the new global actors are focused on girls’ access to schools and learning.
The Concord Review: A Process
“I really hope it’s worth it, Ayana.” I can still hear my dad, exasperated, as I sat hunched over the family computer typing frantically at two a.m. one Sunday morning. I’d been writing for hours, determined to finish this paper, and now even he’d grown weary watching me work. I couldn’t explain to him that, for me, writing this paper to be submitted for possible entry into The Concord Review was worth it for more than one reason. I couldn’t explain, to him nor anyone else, that while this paper was the chance for me to delve more thoroughly into a research project than I ever had before, it was also a chance for me to prove to myself that I could do it, that at seventeen years old, I could write a twenty-page paper.
Interest in the main topic of my research paper, female infanticide, began as a sophomore in the previous school year. It was my first opportunity in my academic career to write about anything I wanted. There were no boundaries, no specifics, and few requirements; I was free to ask the unanswered questions probing my mind, and determine my own answers and conclusions accordingly. That feeling of liberation and freedom in the writing process proved crucial to the success of my paper.
It is significantly easier to break a research paper writing project into stages. Alongside my peers, I believe the most common difficulty we all faced was finding the academic support to affirm and corroborate the claims and statements we made. Thus, I learned to break the process into two simpler stages: reading and then writing. Never mind trying to write and read alternately; know your topic absolutely. Read as much as possible–highlighting and marking frequently–and note important facts. When beginning to write, write your own opinions, and then use the facts you’ve accumulated to further affirm what you have to say. Not only is this process less tedious and consuming than sifting back and forth from your research to your paper, it allows room for your own “voice” as you write.
Finally, the power of drafting and continuous editing can never be overstated. By the end of writing, my entire paper had probably been edited six times, and each sub-section of the paper innumerably. It is crucial to edit your work not only grammatically, but conceptually throughout its entire production.
At the close of my junior year, one faithful Monday morning, I submitted my paper for possible submission to The Concord Review with more than a feeling of gratification. In writing and researching over the course of two months, not only had I phenomenally expanded my knowledge on a global issue I felt justified my concern, I’d expanded my skill as a writer. I learned, most essentially, that what you write about must be what most impassions you. There will, inevitably, be periods of doubt as you write, and certainly times when you’d like nothing more than to rid yourself of all things relevant to your topic and even start anew. But if you choose to research something you truly care about, hopefully you feel the same way I did, as if it’s your duty to write about it so that others may read and learn and desire to change something.
With a consistency comparable only to the world’s abil- ity to change daily, humanity undergoes evolution. Politically, economically, and particularly socially, changes throughout the contemporar y world are unavoidable and, at best, only understood in part. Yet amidst many changes that threaten the global com- munity’s future, demographic changes have caused increasing concern of late. As author Thomas Homer-Dixon notes in his The Upside of Down: “to understand the destiny of our global society… it is good to start with global demographics.”1 Populations, most notably in impoverished areas of the world, are expected to grow astronomically in subsequent decades, resulting in an unprec- edented youth bulge2 in many developing countries. China and India–presently two of the world’s most densely populated coun- tries–are especially affected by this rapid population increase. Yet despite impending threats of mass starvation and economic
downfall resulting from widespread poverty and overpopulation, sex-selective abortion and female infanticide are undoubtedly most threatening to populations in China and India.
Yet there was another noteworthy bill on an entirely different subject circulating in Richmond in recent weeks; and, with the spotlight focusing so squarely on the state’s approach to reproductive rights, it was perhaps no surprise that this measure didn’t attract much attention from the national press. Like the abortion measures, this bill was also pushed by Republicans–but here’s the strange part: It was actually a halfway decent idea. The subject of the bill was an important one: tenure for public school teachers. And, while the proposal wasn’t perfect, it was at least an attempt to rectify what is perhaps the least sane element of our country’s approach to education.
Over the past three decades the world has come to witness an ominous and entirely new form of gender discrimination: sex-selective feticide, implemented through the practice of surgical abortion with the assistance of information gained through prenatal gender determination technology. All around the world, the victims of this new practice are overwhelmingly female — in fact, almost universally female. The practice has become so ruthlessly routine in many contemporary societies that it has impacted their very population structures, warping the balance between male and female births and consequently skewing the sex ratios for the rising generation toward a biologically unnatural excess of males. This still-growing international predilection for sex-selective abortion is by now evident in the demographic contours of dozens of countries around the globe — and it is sufficiently severe that it has come to alter the overall sex ratio at birth of the entire planet, resulting in millions upon millions of new “missing baby girls” each year. In terms of its sheer toll in human numbers, sex-selective abortion has assumed a scale tantamount to a global war against baby girls.
A decade ago, a neuroscientist named Charles Nelson traveled to Bucharest to visit Romania’s infamous orphanages. There, he saw a child whose brain had swelled to the size of a basketball because of an untreated infection and a malnourished one-year-old no bigger than a newborn. But what has stayed with him ever since was the eerie quiet of the infant wards. “It would be dead silent, all of [the babies] sitting on their backs and staring at the ceiling,” says Nelson, who is now at Harvard. “Why cry when nobody is going to pay attention to you?”
Nelson had traveled to Romania to take part in a cutting-edge experiment. It was ten years after the fall of the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose scheme for increasing the country’s population through bans on birth control and abortion had filled state-run institutions with children their parents couldn’t support. Images from the orphanages had prompted an outpouring of international aid and a rush from parents around the world to adopt the children. But ten years later, the new government remained convinced that the institutions were a good idea–and was still warehousing at least 60,000 kids, some of them born after the old regime’s fall, in facilities where many received almost no meaningful human interaction. With backing from the MacArthur Foundation, and help from a sympathetic Romanian official, Nelson and colleagues from Harvard, Tulane, and the University of Maryland prevailed upon the government to allow them to remove some of the children from the orphanages and place them with foster families. Then, the researchers would observe how they fared over time in comparison with the children still in the orphanages. They would also track a third set of children, who were with their original parents, as a control group.
School officials could use standardized tests to help decide whether to discipline or fire a teacher, under a bill passed by the state Senate Thursday.
The bill passed 17-16 on a party-line vote, with Republicans supporting it and Democrats in opposition.
Current law allows school administrators to use standardized tests as one of multiple criteria to evaluate teachers’ performance but prohibits school districts from using the test results to fire or suspend a teacher. The bill would allow such actions as long as the test results weren’t the sole reason for removing, suspending or disciplining a teacher.
Democrats urged senators to hold off on the bill and wait for an effort by GOP Gov. Scott Walker and state schools Superintendent Tony Evers to finish its work developing a system to better evaluate student learning.
“This is a very unfair position that we’re putting teachers in,” Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) said.
How did more than 160 million women go missing from Asia? The simple answer is sex selection — typically, an ultrasound scan followed by an abortion if the fetus turns out to be female — but beyond that, the reasons for a gap half the size of the U.S. population are not widely understood. And when I started researching a book on the topic, I didn’t understand them myself.
I thought I would focus on how gender discrimination has persisted as countries develop. The reasons couples gave for wanting boys varies: Sons stayed in the family and took care of their parents in old age, or they performed ancestor and funeral rites important in some cultures. Or it was that daughters were a burden, made expensive by skyrocketing dowries.
But that didn’t account for why sex selection was spreading across cultural and religious lines. Once found only in East and South Asia, imbalanced sex ratios at birth have recently reached countries as varied as Vietnam, Albania, and Azerbaijan. The problem has fanned out across these countries, moreover, at a time when women are driving many developing economies. In India, where women have achieved political firsts still not reached in the United States, sex selection has become so intense that by 2020 an estimated 15 to 20 percent of men in northwest India will lack female counterparts. I could only explain that epidemic as the cruel sum of technological advances and lingering sexism. I did not think the story of sex selection’s spread would lead, in part, to the United States.
My seventh-grade English teacher exhorted us to study vocabulary with the following: “We think in words. The more words you know, the more thoughts you can have.” This compound notion that language allows you to have ideas otherwise un-haveable, and that by extension people who own different words live in different conceptual worlds — called “Whorfianism” after its academic evangelist, Benjamin Lee Whorf — is so pervasive in modern thought as to be unremarkable.
Eskimos, as is commonly reported, have myriads of words for snow, affecting how they perceive frozen percipitation. A popular book on English notes that, unlike English, “French and German can distinguish between knowledge that results from recognition … and knowledge that results from understanding.” Politicians try to win the rhetorical battle (“pro-life” vs. “anti-abortion”; “estate tax” vs. “death tax”) in order to gain the political advantage.
High property prices and economic development have begun to erode China’s traditional preference for sons, leading to a rise in the number of Chinese parents who say they would prefer a daughter.
The centuries-old cultural preference for boys was exacerbated in recent decades by China’s “one child” policy, which led to the abandonment, abortion or infanticide of millions of girls.
But the conventional wisdom – that China is a land of unwanted girls, many of them sent overseas for adoption – is being turned on its head as urbanisation increases the cost of raising male heirs and erodes the advantage of having sons to work the fields and support parents in their dotage.
Teenagers in the San Diego Unified School District will no longer need parental consent to leave campus for private medical appointments, including pregnancy, abortion, drug and suicide counseling.
The school board unanimously adopted the revised policy Tuesday night to comply with state law.
Killed, aborted or neglected, at least 100m girls have disappeared–and the number is rising
IMAGINE you are one half of a young couple expecting your first child in a fast-growing, poor country. You are part of the new middle class; your income is rising; you want a small family. But traditional mores hold sway around you, most important in the preference for sons over daughters. Perhaps hard physical labour is still needed for the family to make its living. Perhaps only sons may inherit land. Perhaps a daughter is deemed to join another family on marriage and you want someone to care for you when you are old. Perhaps she needs a dowry.
Now imagine that you have had an ultrasound scan; it costs $12, but you can afford that. The scan says the unborn child is a girl. You yourself would prefer a boy; the rest of your family clamours for one. You would never dream of killing a baby daughter, as they do out in the villages. But an abortion seems different. What do you do?
Sunday, yet another long-form essay on the Texas State Board of Education will hit the newsstands, this one in The New York Times Magazine.
“How Christian Were the Founders?” discusses the philosophy of “members of what is the most influential state board of education in the country, and one of the most politically conservative,” focusing the debate on whether the authors of the Constitution intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation.
The one thing that underlies the entire program of the nation’s Christian conservative activists is, naturally, religion. But it isn’t merely the case that their Christian orientation shapes their opinions on gay marriage, abortion and government spending. More elementally, they hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions. When they proclaim that the United States is a “Christian nation,” they are not referring to the percentage of the population that ticks a certain box in a survey or census but to the country’s roots and the intent of the founders.
The mainland’s one-child policy has helped prevent a population explosion. This has been crucial amid the nation’s poverty relief efforts, rapid urbanisation and phenomenal economic growth. But it is a social policy soaked in blood.
By creating a gender imbalance that has produced an estimated 38 million more males since 1980, Nankai University population researcher Yuan Xin has observed that statistically, this must translate into a comparable loss in the number of females. The females are believed to have been lost either through abortion or killing after birth. The heavy price China will pay for this draconian policy will become increasingly apparent in coming years.
News headlines often focus on the dangers a male-heavy population pose to China. Experience from around the world has shown how frustrated young men are more prone to radical politics; they also contribute to higher crime rates. With no family to rely on in their old age, they become a heavy burden on social security.
But the toll on females is even heavier. A meticulous demographic study produced on the mainland in 1990 estimated that about 39,000 baby girls died annually because parents did not give them the same medical care and attention that boys received. And that was only in the first year of life. There is scant evidence that the situation has improved in the intervening two decades. A male-dominated culture has long favoured boys over girls, but the one-child policy has simply exacerbated the gender imbalance.
If you went to my high school and weren’t in attendance on the first day back from summer break — say, you had been on vacation with your parents an extra day, or you had come down with the flu — a rumor that you were pregnant and out getting an abortion went hastily through the locker-lined halls. In 10th grade, it happened to me (I had been sick), and, from then on, I wanted to write about a popular girl who is mistaken for pregnant by her schoolmates. The girl must hand in her homecoming crown, withdraw from student government, where she is president, and give up her football-captain/quarterback boyfriend.
Years went by, and I did become a writer — a screenwriter, not a novelist. I wrote this story to mixed reviews. “Interesting premise,” said one agent. “But not much story there.” I chalked it up to the particular necessities of those who buy and produce screenplays: They need shocking, cinematic events. They need things to blow up.
I decided to write the story as a young adult novel. I have always loved and admired YA novels, as much for their alternate themes of devastation and lightheartedness as for how influential they can be in their readers’ lives. I sat down to write the story and finished it in a couple of months. But before I sent it to an agent who was interested, I did something I never thought I could do: I deleted it.
There is the usual and predictable outrage in the British papers and on the radio today about the latest figures for teenage pregnancy–which has become a bit more common at the last count, and which, despite the government’s best and lavish efforts, remains much more prevalent in Britain than in most of continental Europe (though less so than in America). The idea of wildly libidinous adolescents feeds usefully into a general tabloid narrative of rampant teenage delinquency, parental fecklessness and a country that is going to the dogs.
So here’s an inconvenient fact for the moral declinists: teenage pregnancy and births to teenage mothers were very much more common fifty years ago, before the invention of the pill and the legalisation of abortion, than they are today. Teenagers are rutting no more now than they ever have. What has changed is that teen pregnancies used frequently to result in shotgun marriages, and so the eventual infants were less of a burden on the state than those born to unwed mothers are today. In other words, the deterioration is fiscal rather than moral.
Those who can, do, according to the old saying, and those who can’t, teach. That has always seemed to me unfair. However, I have come to think that those who can’t teach, teach sex education.
Judged by its results – not a bad way of judging – sex education has been an utter failure. The increase in sex education here in recent years has coincided with an explosion of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease (STD) far worse than anywhere else in Europe. Since the government’s teenage pregnancy strategy was introduced in 1999, the number of girls having abortions has soared. You might well be tempted to argue that sex education causes sexual delinquency.
Only two months ago the Health Protection Agency reported that a culture of promiscuity among the young had driven the rate of STDs to a record. Almost 400,000 people – half of them under 25 – were newly diagnosed, 6% more than in 2006.
When something fails, the usual procedure is to drop it and try something else. With sex education, the worse it gets, the more people cry out for more of it and earlier. Ministers are considering whether to make schools offer more sex education, offer it earlier and deny parents the right to withdraw their children from it.
New Hampshire and Iowa have historically been the first states to make their choice in the state-by-state battle to pick presidential candidates in November’s election. Iowa voters decide today and New Hampshire next Tuesday. Kids may not be able to vote but every politician knows the value of a picture with a cute baby. And in New Hampshire, many parents seem determined to get their children involved in the election process. Some children are already veterans of the candidate meet-and-greet. “I used to hate it when I was little but not any more, I like going now,” said 14-year-old Bjarna O’Brien after meeting Republican presidential hopeful John McCain at a diner in the town of Derry. By now, Bjarna has developed opinions which she says are only partly shaped by her mother, who home schools the sisters. She says McCain is not tough enough on illegal immigration and that abortion is “worse than murder.” John Kelly, an 11-year-old who met McCain by chance at another New Hampshire diner on Tuesday, talks fluently about the need to do more for the middle class and about Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s record of raising taxes.
Patrick Welsh (A high school english teacher): One of the biggest concerns of parents for the new school year is this: What kind of kids are in my child’s classroom? The answer to this question is particularly difficult for parents of average students, the most forgotten group today. All parents want their children to be … Continue reading Students Aren’t Interchangeable