Guinness considers family for educational record

The Waynes are a large family with relatives residing in states across the nation who have found careers in medicine, law, education, the military, business, engineering, professional sports, science, criminal justice and acting.

The Waynes also have applied for consideration by Guinness World Records, declaring to have set the record for the largest number of family members to attend the same university: Grambling State University.

Hattie Wayne, owner of Hattie Wayne Public Relations & Advertising, leads the Wayne initiative to verify the record.

“We’re talking almost seven generations,” Hattie Wayne said.

She submitted the claim in August, and Guinness responded with approval in October. She has spent her time since gathering the required evidence to prove her family’s claim.

Full story of family for an educational record at USA Today

In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to Rich

“There aren’t many things that are more important to that idea of economic mobility — the idea that you can make it if you try — than a good education,” President Obama told students at the State University of New York in Buffalo in August.

It is hardly a partisan belief. Two decades ago, on signing the No Child Left Behind Act, President George W. Bush argued that the nation’s biggest challenge was to ensure that “every single child, regardless of where they live, how they’re raised, the income level of their family, every child receive a first-class education in America.”

This consensus is comforting. It provides a solution everyone can believe in, whether the problem is income inequality, racial marginalization or the stagnation of the middle class. But it raises a perplexing question too. If education is a poor child’s best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?

The anguished and often angry national debate over how to improve American educational standards, focused intently on grading students and teachers, mostly bypasses how the inequity of resources — starting at the youngest — inevitably affects the outcome.

Full story of education and income level at The New York Times

Five stereotypes about poor families and education

Here is an excerpt from a new book called “Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap,” by Paul C. Gorski, associate professor of integrative studies at George Mason University. The book, which draws from years of research to analyze educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students,   is part of the Multicultural Education Series of books edited by James A. Banks and published by Teachers College Columbia University.

The Trouble with the ‘Culture of Poverty’ and Other Stereotypes about People in Poverty by Paul C. Gorski

A long-time colleague of mine with a penchant for road rage—I’ll call him Frederick—is fond of flinging the word “jerk” at drivers whose driving skills have offended him in some way. That is, he is fond of flinging this term at male drivers, or drivers he assumes to be men, and reserves it for them exclusively. When a driver he assumes to be a woman pulls in front of him, neglects to use a turn signal, or drives a few miles per hour under the speed limit, his response is different. Rather than calling her a jerk, he shakes his head, brow furled, and exclaims with exasperation, “Women drivers!”

I have challenged Frederick several times on what appears, to me, to be a clear case of gender stereotyping, of a biased view that looks a lot like sexism. He responds to my challenges firmly: “That’s not a stereotype. It’s my experience. Women are bad drivers.” He tends to append to this defense the common refrain, “Plus, there’s a hint of truth in stereotypes; otherwise, why would so many people believe them?”

Full story of stereotypes and education at the Washington Post

Sibling Bullying: What’s the Big Deal?

Sibling bullying is a type of violence that is prevalent in the lives of most children, but little is known about it, researchers say.

Clemson University psychology professor Robin Kowalski said the phenomenon has been overlooked.

Kowalski and and co-author Jessica Skinner explored the extent to which sibling bullying is viewed to be normal and the perceived differences between victims and perpetrators. They recently published their findings in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

The purpose of the study was to profile sibling bullying by examining prevalence rates, the extent to which siblings perceive sibling bullying to be normative and victim-perpetrator differences in perceptions of sibling bullying.

Seventy-five percent of the participants in the study reported being bullied by a sibling and 85 percent reported bullying a sibling.

Full story of sibling bullying at Science Daily

Debt May Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Drowning in debt may impact the mental, as well as the physical, health of young Americans, according to a new study.

The study from researchers at Northwestern University found that carrying a lot of debt is associated with higher diastolic blood pressure and poorer self-reported general and mental health in young adults.

“We now live in a debt-fueled economy,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and a faculty associate of Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research, and lead author of the study.

“Since the 1980s American household debt has tripled. It’s important to understand the health consequences associated with debt.”

Researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to analyze the association between debt and psychological and general health in 8,400 young adults between the ages of 24 and 32.

Full story of debt and mental health at Psych Central

Parents: sibling fights can lead to mental health problems

Sibling Fights Can Lead to Mental Health ProblemsAs a pediatrician, I haven’t made a big deal about fights between siblings. Because of a study just released, I have decided to make a bigger deal about it.

Brothers and sisters fight–it’s pretty universal. I don’t think I’ve ever met a family with more than one kid where the kids didn’t fight, sometimes a lot. So over the years, when families have told me about sibling fights, what I’ve done is a.make sure there wasn’t serious physical, verbal or emotional stuff going on, and b.make sure the kids weren’t having behavioral problems outside of the home. If neither was happening, while I always encourage intervening, I have generally let it pass.

I shouldn’t have done that.

In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers interviewed more than 3500 children and their families about aggression between siblings. They asked about physical aggression, stealing, breaking things on purpose–and also about saying things to make a sibling feel bad, scared, or not wanted around. They found that even mild aggression had a negative effect on the mental health of the victim.

Full story of sibling fights leading to mental health problems at

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City Seeking to Diversify Foster System

City Recruiting Gay and Lesbian Parents for Foster CareNew York City is launching a campaign to recruit gay and lesbian foster parents, part of a major push to expand the kinds of families who consider fostering and to find more welcoming homes for children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

The public ad campaign, set to roll out this week, features images of an interracial gay couple spending time with a young child. “Be the reason she has hope,” one of the ads reads. In another, a black woman is pictured alone with a white teenage boy. “Be the reason it gets better,” the message says.

How many of the nearly 13,000 children in New York City’s foster-care system identify as LGBTQ is unclear because the city does not keep such data. But, citing anecdotal evidence, researchers, child advocates and city officials insist that the children are disproportionately represented in the foster care system and say the need to find them supportive homes is great.

“When we decided to do this campaign we knew that LGBTQ young people are disproportionately represented in our foster care population, especially among our teens,” said Ronald Richter, commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, the city’s child welfare agency.

Full story of  diverse foster system at The Wall Street Journal

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Mother’s quest to find treatment for son highlights mental health system’s limitations

Mother's Quest to Highlight Mental Health LimitationsWhen Chris Marciano was 4 years old, he would have a blistering tantrum whenever music came on the radio. By the second grade, his teacher described him as “not with us.” At age 11, he was kicked out of school.

“The pediatrician said he was just obnoxious, which wasn’t very helpful,” said his mother, Mary Gabel, about the first assessment of her then-preschooler. “I knew something wasn’t right.”

Some 20 years after that assessment, Marciano has accumulated a long list of other adjectives in medical evaluations — excitable, fearful, grandiose, hostile, suicidal — and his mother hasn’t stopped searching for the right kind of help.

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Marciano bounced from emergency room to jail to the streets. When he believes he is Jesus Christ or Tupac Shakur or tells his mother she needs to “watch her back,” Gabel said, she double-checks the locks on her house in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood and alerts her neighbors that her son might come home. She estimates he has been hospitalized 45 times.

Full story of mental health limitations at Chicago Tribune

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Bipolar Disorder: What a Family (Or Friend) Might See and What a Family Can Do

Bipolar and Family HelpNearly 1 percent of people suffer from bipolar disorder (sometimes referred to as “manic depression”). Bipolar disorder is a mental illness major mood swings of mania (bipolar I) or hypomania (a less intense form of mania called bipolar II) and depression.

We see in the press that Catherine Zeta-Jones has admitted herself to a hospital for treatment of what has been identified as bipolar II: This form of bipolar disorder can produce considerable distress as well as difficulty meeting life’s demands — but without (yet) resulting in a full blown manic attack.

People with bipolar disorder, I or II, with good treatment, self-care and supportive family and friends can — and do — live full and productive lives. Without effective treatment, bipolar disorder can have a devastating effect on the person and their family, relationships and work.

Full story of family viewing bipolar disorder at Huffington Post

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Kids with Autism Don’t Copy ‘Silly’ Actions

Autism Kids Dont CopyWhen imitating the behavior of an adult, children with the developmental disorder autism tend to skip “silly,” unnecessary actions, while those without autism tend to copy everything they see, silly or not, a new study suggests.

The study involved 31 children with an autism spectrum disorder, and 30 typically developing kids without autism. All the children were asked to watch as an adult showed how to remove a toy (a rubber duck) from a closed Tupperware container. Some of the steps performed were necessary, such as unclipping the lid of the box and taking the lid off, while some were unnecessary, such as tapping the lid twice. The children were then given the container, and asked to get the toy out as fast as they could.

Kids without autism were much more likely to copy the unnecessary steps, even though the children were not specifically instructed to copy everything the adult did. About 43 to 57 percent of kids without autism copied the unnecessary steps, compared with 22 percent of kids with autism.

Full story of kids with autism at Yahoo News

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