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Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement
Source: Urban Institute

Boys and young men of color are overrepresented in all aspects of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, at considerable cost to those involved, their families, and their communities. This overrepresentation is most acute for African Americans, although other communities of color are also affected. This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.

Single black female BA seeks educated husband: Race, assortative mating and inequality

April 17, 2015 Comments off

Single black female BA seeks educated husband: Race, assortative mating and inequality
Source: Brookings Institution

There is a growing trend in the United States towards assortative mating — a clunky phrase that refers to people’s tendency to choose spouses with similar educational attainment. Rising numbers of college-educated women play a key role in this change. It is much easier for college graduates to find and marry each other when there are more equal numbers of each gender within an educational bracket.

Race is a factor in patterns of assortative mating. Black women face more difficult “marriage markets” than white women, given current rates of intermarriage according to work from University of Maryland sociologist Philip N. Cohen. Black women have the lowest rates of “marrying out” across race lines, in part because of racist attitudes to inter-marriage. Just 49 percent of college-educated black women marry a well-educated man (i.e., with at least some post-secondary education), compared to 84 percent of college-educated white women, according to an analysis of PSID data by Yale sociologist Vida Maralani.

Sleep in the Military: Promoting Healthy Sleep Among U.S. Servicemembers

April 14, 2015 Comments off

Sleep in the Military: Promoting Healthy Sleep Among U.S. Servicemembers
Source: RAND Corporation

Sleep disturbances are a common reaction to stress and are linked to a host of physical and mental health problems. Given the unprecedented demands placed on U.S. military forces since 2001, there has been growing concern about the prevalence and consequences of sleep problems for servicemembers. Sleep problems often follow a chronic course, persisting long after servicemembers return home from combat deployments, with consequences for their reintegration and the readiness and resiliency of the force. Therefore, it is critical to understand the role of sleep problems in servicemembers’ health and functioning and the policies and programs available to promote healthy sleep. This report provides the first comprehensive review of sleep-related policies and programs across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), along with a set of actionable recommendations for DoD, commanders, researchers, and medical professionals who treat U.S. servicemembers. The two-year multimethod study also examined the rates and correlates of sleep problems among post-deployed servicemembers, finding negative effects on mental health, daytime impairment, and perceived operational readiness. The research reviewed evidence-based interventions to treat sleep disturbances among servicemembers and veterans and exposed several individual- and system-level barriers to achieving healthy sleep. Implementing evidence-based treatments is just one step toward improving sleep across the force; as the research recommendations highlight, it is equally important that policies and programs also focus on preventing sleep problems and their consequences.

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army

April 13, 2015 Comments off

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army
Source: RAND Corporation

Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine have sparked widespread concern among Western policymakers that Russia has embarked on a confrontational national security policy that could have far-reaching implications for Russia’s relations with the United States and for European stability. The annexation of Crimea challenges two basic assumptions underlying U.S. policy toward Europe in the post–Cold War era: (1) that Europe is essentially stable and secure, thereby freeing the United States to focus greater attention on other areas, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and (2) that Russia had become more of a partner than an adversary. The annexation of Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine suggests that both these assumptions need to be revisited because Russia can hardly be viewed as a partner. The requirement that NATO may now have to build a much more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe would require the Army and the Air Force to revisit their planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to the region since the end of the Cold War.

Supreme Court decisions creating economic uncertainty for First Nations, for Canada

April 13, 2015 Comments off

Supreme Court decisions creating economic uncertainty for First Nations, for Canada
Source: Fraser Institute

Recent Supreme Court decisions on aboriginal rights and title are impeding, rather than helping, the economic prosperity of First Nation communities, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank.

“The positive aspect of the new jurisprudence is the Court’s recognition that aboriginal peoples did possess and continue to possess ownership of land. Unfortunately, these decisions have conveyed new property rights that First Nations will find difficult to use in Canada’s market economy,” said Tom Flanagan, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of Clarity and confusion? The new jurisprudence of aboriginal title.

For example, the Tsilhqot’in decision—which granted title of more than 1,700 square kilometres of land in B.C.’s interior to the Tsilhqot’in Nation—is potentially of enormous economic benefit to First Nations. That benefit, however, is reduced because the aboriginal title is restricted to “communal” ownership, meaning that the lands cannot be sold privately. Research demonstrates that on-reserve property rights (ie: individual ownership) encourages economic growth and higher standards of living.
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Antibiotics on the Farm: Agriculture’s Role in Drug Resistance

April 10, 2015 Comments off

Antibiotics on the Farm: Agriculture’s Role in Drug Resistance
Source: Center for Global Development

The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th Century was a major breakthrough for human health, markedly reducing the infection threat from minor cuts, surgery, and cancer treatment. The more antibiotics are used, however, the faster bacteria adapt and become resistant to them. Antibiotic resistance is now spreading so rapidly, and the development of new antibiotics has slowed so much, that there is talk of a nightmarish post-antibiotic future where even minor injuries could once again become deadly if infection sets in. The threat is growing worldwide, but it is a particular problem in poor countries where respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases remain leading causes of death, especially among children.

While the misuse of antibiotics in human health is a key factor in accelerating the emergence of drug resistance, farmers also use large amounts of antibiotics in livestock. Moreover, many administer these drugs in feed and water at low doses for extended periods to promote growth and prevent disease in their animals. Those are ideal conditions allowing drug resistant bacteria to thrive. Many industrialized countries are taking steps to address this risk, but there are often loopholes. And livestock production is growing rapidly in developing countries where antibiotic use is lightly regulated. Policymakers desperately need more information about antibiotic use and resistance in humans and animals so they can assess the risks of this behavior for human health, and determine how aggressive they need to be with policies to change it. At the same time, there is growing evidence that the economic benefit to livestock producers of using antibiotics may be less than thought. Given what is at stake in keeping antibiotics effective, it is prudent to couple improved data collection with steps to reduce the use of medically important antibiotics in farm animals.

Long-Run Effects of Free School Choice: College Attainment, Employment, Earnings, and Social Outcomes at Adulthood

April 10, 2015 Comments off

Long-Run Effects of Free School Choice: College Attainment, Employment, Earnings, and Social Outcomes at Adulthood
Source: Cato Institute

search on the effectiveness of educational programs has centered on evaluating shortterm outcomes, such as standardized test scores. Education aims ultimately to improve lifetime well-being, however, so attention has shifted recently to long-term consequences. Outcomes examined in the literature include post-secondary educational attainment, early adult earnings, years of completed schooling, labor market outcomes, young adult crime, and college entry, choice and completion.

My research examines the long-term consequences of free school choice programs offered to primary school students at the transition to secondary school. The main question is whether the effects of free school choice persist beyond high school and lead to long-term enhancements in human capital and well-being.

To address this issue, I examine a school-choice experiment conducted two decades ago in Tel Aviv, Israel. In Lavy (2010) I analyzed the short- and medium-term effects on cognitive outcomes and schooling attainment during middle and high school. With the passage of time, I can now evaluate whether school choice among public schools has a long-term impact on social and economic outcomes. This research provides the first evidence of links between school choice and students’ employment, earnings, and social outcomes at adulthood. I examine the impact on various types of post-secondary schooling that vary by quality, along with the impact on employment, earnings, and welfare-dependency at about age 30. This work thus presents a wide characterization of school choice’s impact at adulthood.

My results show that the school-choice experiment increased a wide range of post-secondary schooling measures. Two decades after students made their school choice at the end of primary school, treated students are 4.7 percentage points more likely to enroll in postsecondary schooling and to complete almost an additional quarter-year of college schooling, in comparison to students in the control group. These gains reflect a 15 percent increase relative to pre-program averages, and they are similar to the program-induced gains in highschool matricualtion outcomes (Lavy 2010).

Categories: Cato Institute, education, K-12
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