Friday, October 27, 2017

Ideas, Actions, and Inspiration for a Better Tomorrow - October 27 Edition

Inspiration, Women, NFL, Security

Read and Watch:

“Behind a nondescript doorway there was a meeting. Men from the FBI, local police and the sheriff's department were receiving a high-level security briefing about one of the biggest terrorist targets in the world. The recently appointed head of Homeland Security was there, surrounded by men in blue uniforms, brown fatigues and black suits, many sporting translucent cords curling around their ears.

At the head of the table sat a 49-year-old woman with shoulder length blonde hair barely touching her new black suit coat. She had purchased it a few weeks earlier when, for the first time in her adult life, she actually had to go out and buy "work clothes." She never spoke at that February meeting, just listened politely to the men around the table because she knew what they were going to say before they said it. More than 4,000 officers from 40 different law enforcement agencies were about to follow her lead, even though she had been on the job for only a few months. Even though she dropped out of high school when she became pregnant at age 14. Even though many said she destroyed her career when she filed a complaint to her police department, claiming sexual harassment on the job.

As chief of security for the NFL, Cathy Lanier has one of the most coveted jobs in law enforcement. Once a headstrong teenager who drove her mother crazy, she now commands respect and admiration from men not generally accustomed to seeing a woman in charge. Her path to the top has been unorthodox, as she keeps breaking society's norms to enforce its laws.

But Lanier will tell you she didn't have any choice. She needed to make a better life for her newborn child. For Cathy Lanier, it has always been about taking care of family.”

Gun Laws

“The relationship between state gun laws and the flow of firearms between states can be measured using data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which traces guns’ origins and where law enforcement recovers them. An analysis of data from 107 pairs of bordering states2 throughout the country shows a relationship between the strictness of a state’s gun laws relative to its neighbor and the number of firearms recovered3 from that neighbor.4

Jens Ludwig, a professor at the University of Chicago and director of the University of Chicago crime lab, notes that ATF data “that has been analyzed by academics across the country regularly shows that in cities that try to control gun violence by supplementing federal regulations with additional local gun laws, those laws are regularly undermined by crime guns coming in from other states.”

For instance, an NPR fact check of the White House talking point noted that Chicago is close to the borders of two states — Wisconsin and Indiana — that have weak gun laws. A 2014 report from the city of Chicago noted that 60 percent of guns used to commit crimes in Chicago from 2009 to 2013 originated outside of Illinois, and Indiana and Wisconsin were two of the biggest sources of recovered guns.5 And Illinois is not alone.”

Cancer, Appearance

“Look Good Feel Better is one of several nonprofit programs that taps into the power of tending to personal appearance to bolster the spirits of people with cancer. Currently in its 28th year, Look Good Feel Better is a collaborative effort among the Personal Care Products Council, the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association. Licensed beauty professionals, including hair stylists, makeup artists, aestheticians and nail technicians, volunteer their time to teach participants about skin and nail care, as well as how to use cosmetics, wigs, turbans and accessories.

“We recognize that living with cancer can be overwhelming,” says Louanne Roark, executive director of the Look Good Feel Better Foundation of the Personal Care Products Council. “Our goal is to help people with cancer feel more confident about putting themselves out there, whether they’re going to work, taking their kids to school, grocery shopping or just looking in a mirror at home.”

Leadership, Movements

No More White Saviors: Let People Lead Their Own Movements

“A new book by Jordan Flaherty, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, offers insight into how the practice of “saviorism” injures our movements and provides visions for an alternative and much-needed praxis.

You’re no doubt familiar with the White savior: a person of privilege picks a cause they know little to nothing about and insists on solutions that inevitably cause more harm than good. As Flaherty explains, the savior mentality cannot exist without turning people into objects who need rescuing.

“It is as old as conquest and as enduring as colonialism,” he writes. As an activist and a journalist, Flaherty has witnessed firsthand the harms of saviorism and neatly lays out countless examples of its failure—perhaps most poignantly when he writes about Brandon Darby. Flaherty cites numerous articles and other activists for his well-researched chapter about Darby, a man he’s known for several years.”


Education, Homework

“How can we fix homework?

Cory Bennett is doing his part to answer that question. Bennett, now an assistant professor of education of Idaho State, was, for many years, an eighth-grade math teacher in Hawaii. His school was unusually diverse, both ethnically and socioeconomically. Bennett's initial approach to homework was traditional—to teach math concepts in class and assign relevant homework to drill them in. Basically, a lot of rote work. Students weren't onboard. They rejected the homework; soon, most of the class was failing. Rather than blame the students, Bennett re-examined his approach and realized, as he told me, "I didn't know what they knew." Likewise, he had no idea what their lives were like outside of class.

So one day he quashed the planned homework assignment and asked his students to write a 100-word essay about what it was like to be their age. What Bennett received from his kids changed the way he taught. Having a "lens into their mind" helped explain why the traditional homework regime failed. The kids did not have a place to study at home; they had to care for siblings after school; they were overly preoccupied with being accepted among peers to focus on homework; they were dealing with parental problems at home. Normal stuff—but it all mattered. Together, these accounts, according to Bennett, not only explained the broken homework model, but "transformed my instructional practices."

By better understanding "the lives of my students," Bennett says he was able to appreciate how they needed to be empowered while at school. Everything they wrote about, all their insecurities and ambitions, spoke to a neglected desire for some level of autonomy over classroom learning. To pursue this goal Bennett did something simple but powerful: he let the students know he wanted them to succeed. Then he asked them to provide ideas about how to master the mathematical material in the confines of the classroom. Essentially, he said, "Here is what we have to learn; do you have ideas about how to do it?”

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