Blog

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans [TheAtlantic.com]

Since 2013, the federal reserve board has conducted a survey to “monitor the financial and economic status of American consumers.” Most of the data in the latest survey, frankly, are less than earth-shattering: 49 percent of part-time workers would prefer to work more hours at their current wage; 29 percent of Americans expect to earn a higher income in the coming year; 43 percent of homeowners who have owned their home for at least a year believe its value has increased. But the answer to...

How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm [TheAtlantic.com]

A mother leaves her son in the car while popping into a store at a strip mall. She is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A high school senior complains to her Facebook friends about a teacher and is suspended for “cyberbullying.” Students at Wellesley start a petition calling for the removal of a statue of a man in his underwear, claiming that the art piece caused them emotional trauma. So many residents of Santa Monica, California, claim to need emotional support...

With Depression, Nothing Is Permanent [PsychCentral.com]

Robert J. Wicks, psychologist and bestselling author ofRiding the Dragon, recently told me a story about impermanence. A psychiatrist (Epstein) went to Thailand with some colleagues to meet a well-known Buddhist sage. As they were about to leave they asked if he had a final message for them. He was drinking a glass of water at the time so he held it up and said, “You see this glass. I love this glass. It holds water so I can drink from it.” He then held it up to the light and said, “When the...

Five Evils: Multidimensional Poverty And Race In America [Brookings.edu]

In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, the British academic and former civil servant William Beveridge issued a report titled Social Insurance and Allied Services (1942). Already preparing for peace, Beveridge identified “Five Giant Evils” that needed to be confronted and defeated once the war was won. These five evils were “squalor, ignorance, want, idleness, and disease.” Beveridge believed that all five had to be addressed through concerted government action, with improved...

#InsideOut Blog Carnival: Focus on Social & Emotional Learning [MomsRising.org]

It’s not news to moms that kids who are struggling socially or who feel unsafe are unlikely to enjoy and thrive in school. But there is increasing evidence that children who lack social and emotional skills are less likely to thrive as adults too. A recent 20-year study found that children who were more likely to “share” or “be helpful” in kindergarten were also more likely to obtain higher education and hold full-time jobs nearly two decades later. In contrast, students who lacked these...

Kazakhstan's mental health crisis: 'as men we can't seek help' [TheGuardian.com]

Mental health professionals in Kazakhstan are reporting a surge in the number of male clients seeking help as a result of the country’s financial crisis . Psychologists say the economic downturn has proven particularly traumatic for men who are under significant pressure to provide for their families in what is still a heavily patriarchal society. After the government agreed a free-floating exchange rate last August the tenge has fallen 45% against the dollar , with savings in the currency...

A Son In Chains. A Depressed Mom. Here's What Helped [NPR.org]

It was a hospital — but to psychologist Inka Weissbecker it looked more like a prison. She had come to South Sudan to check out the country's only health facility for treating patients with mental illness. "There was a hallway leading past these cells with bars on them," she recalls. "Behind one set of bars I saw a mattress covered in plastic. And on it was urine and feces — and this woman lying with her face to the wall. I don't know if she was dead or just sleeping. Nobody seemed to care."...

Why America's Schools Have A Money Problem [NPR.org]

Let's begin with a choice. Say there's a check in the mail. It's meant to help you run your household. You can use it to keep the lights on, the water running and food on the table. Would you rather that check be for $9,794 or $28,639? It's not a trick question. It's the story of America's schools in two numbers. That $9,794 is how much money the Chicago Ridge School District in Illinois spent per child in 2013 (the number has been adjusted by Education Week to account for regional cost...

California is Failing Our Kids [SacBee.com]

California’s economy is the seventh-largest in the world, and home to global industries that have revolutionized our way of life. Yet when it comes to caring for our children, we are failing to provide the essential services they need to thrive and succeed. The facts are disturbing and unacceptable. California ranks 49th among the states for standard of living for kids; roughly half of children are in families in or near poverty; nearly three-fourths of our youngest kids don’t receive health...

Poverty, Compounded [TheAtlantic.com]

It’s true that poverty affects people of all races, genders, and nationalities, but it’s also true that poverty—especially deep, persistent, intergenerational poverty—plagues some groups more than others. That’s because poverty isn’t just a matter of making too little money to pay the bills or living in a bad neighborhood—it’s about a series of circumstances and challenges that build upon each other, making it difficult to create stability and build wealth. My colleague Derek Thompson wrote...

The Promise of Teacher-Residency Programs [TheAtlantic.com]

In her large, bright, pre-K classroom, the teacher turned to the group of 4-year-olds learning how to give a baby a bath. She sat on the carpet and cradled a doll carefully as eager students strained their necks to watch. “How am I holding the baby?” the teacher, Alina Kaye, asked, and then answered her own question: “Nice and calm.” She held up a small, empty plastic bottle and mimed squirting shampoo onto the baby’s head. The kids edged closer. Meghan Sanchez, a 23-year-old teacher in...

What Follows the Fight for $15? [TheAtlantic.com]

In recent years, low-wage workers and labor groups have agitated for higher wages, paid sick days, and other rights and protections that typically aren’t afforded to those working in industries such as fast food, big-box retail, and janitorial services. In Seattle particularly, this labor movement has had a great deal of success in generating not just public support, but legislation. In 2012, the city enacted an ordinance mandating sick leave for all workers. More controversially, the city...

Fewer Teens Are Carrying Guns Than Ever [PSMag.com]

Firearm homicide rates are nearly 20 times higher in the United States than other high-income countries, and the annual costs of gun violence top $100 billion by some estimates. But in one of the largest studies of gun carrying behavior in the U.S. to date, researchers have found that historically low numbers of adolescents are carrying weapons today. Rates of handgun carrying among white Americans, however, are rising. In the new study , researchers used data collected between 2002 and 2013...

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