31 de março de 2011

Changing Policy to End Anti-Gay Bullying

Published in Print: March 30, 2011

Premium article access courtesy of Edweek.org.
Can educators prevent anti-gay bullying?
A growing body of research tells us that teachers, school administrators, and elected officials have a major influence on the way lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, youths are treated at school, as reported in “Safe Schools Policy for LGBTQ Students”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader in a recent issue of the Social Policy Report, published by the Society for Research in Child Development. Schools that take explicit action to prevent bullying based on race, gender, or sexuality go a long way toward creating a positive climate for all students. Educators can create a safe environment for those students at risk of being bullied if we lay the legal groundwork.
I recently heard the story of Kim, a principal at a culturally diverse urban middle school, who did not have gay bullying on her mind when she became a principal a few years ago. But then a mother expressed concern about her son’s stress level over being the subject of gay-related teasing at the school. Because Kim had the advantage of working in a district with a policy that explicitly forbids gender-based discrimination, she was able to be proactive.
Kim supported the expansion of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, including a hallway poster campaign with messages that took on anti-gay slang like “that’s so gay.” She organized a parent committee that ultimately created community buy-in, helping her launch inclusive after-school sports and activities, and establish teacher-mentors to provide extra support for students. Two years later, the same boy is occasionally teased for being perceived to be gay, but he now feels safe and welcome in his classrooms and the hallways. The student, who doesn’t identify as LGBT, knows his school supports him.
"A decade of research shows that the problem of discrimination and harassment in schools needs to be addressed through policy."
Today’s youths are expressing their sexual identity at younger ages, and this self-awareness is bumping up against the pressure among early adolescents to conform to gender and sexuality norms. Attitudes about same-sex sexuality remain less favorable among early adolescents, yet tend to become more favorable as youths mature. For many LGBT youths, this means facing teasing and bullying at a younger age and enduring that harassment for years. In response, many administrators in elementary and middle schools are taking action to foster a climate of respect.
Some education officials, from classroom teachers all the way up to district-level administrators, have tried to remain neutral to avoid conflict within the school community, but this strategy does not promote a welcoming school environment.
Some have argued that challenging homophobia is an infringement on religious beliefs, and yet there is good evidence that students are able to distinguish between their personal values and a shared ethic of tolerance and inclusion. In other words, students can have a personal or family moral conviction that opposes homosexuality, and still be respectful and inclusive of their LGBT peers.
Over a decade of research shows that general nondiscrimination and anti-bullying laws and policies are not as effective at curbing discriminatory bullying if they don’t specifically enumerate status characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The nation’s schools are a patchwork of approaches to dismantling school-based homophobia. Some state laws prohibit discrimination against and bullying of perceived sexual and gender identity, and yet others prohibit the discussion of homosexuality in the classroom. Some schools and districts oppose inclusive policies and may, as a result, create a dangerous atmosphere for youths who don’t conform to gender and sexuality norms. In a handful of states where positive portrayals of homosexuality are banned in schools, reports of victimization based on sexual orientation or gender expression are higher.
There are educators who are calling on Congress to pass legislation that evens the score by providing national standards to establish safer schools. Two such bills, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act, continue to languish in Congress.
Youth suicides prompted by anti-gay bulling have brought unprecedented public attention to LGBT school safety. And while we need to make sure every individual student is safe, a decade of research shows that the problem of discrimination and harassment in schools needs to be addressed through policy. It is time to focus on state laws, and school and district policies that can make our schools safer for all children.

WISE 2010: Improving Education Systems

Plenary Session: Improving Education Systems

The “Future of Education” must be built on existing foundations and therefore involves improving those systems that have served us well. Continuous improvement has become a personal and societal expectation in all fields, including education. High expectations are a critical element of success for individuals, schools, communities, colleges, universities and countries. Improvement is associated with extending the benefits of education to all, but also with enhancing the performance of institutions and individual students. At every level we need to focus on areas for improvement, the use and consequences of national and international metrics to measure performance and benchmarks that influence aspirations. We shall also consider steps to reach and support all learners, including resourcing of education, and debate how new curricula and assessment strategies can enhance the relevance and impact of learning.


The Moderator Summary, Improving Education Systems Plenary Session

"The session on Improving Education was really fascinating. What we had was several really important case studies of how you can improve education systems and how they could be scaled up to be applied elsewhere."
Mr Mike Baker, education journalist, broadcaster and author, UK

"The session on Improving Education was really fascinating. What we had was several really important case studies of how you can improve education systems and how they could be scaled up to be applied elsewhere."
Moderator: Mr Mike Baker, education journalist, broadcaster and author, UK

Executive Summary

I. Capacity Building

Dr Qian Tang
Development agencies must rethink their way of working if we are to improve national learning outcomes. Simply building schools, training teachers or distributing books do not guarantee that learning will take place as such projects do not result in wider policy reform. We need todevelop the capacity of all actors if we are serious about large-scale educational reform. Improving governmental capacity will ensure that education systems respond to the real needs of society.

UNESCO has emphasized four levels at which capacity building should take place. The first is that of individual officers, particularly in government planning and management teams. The second isorganizational, where the challenge is to improve the effectiveness of working methods and to incentivize better teamwork. The third level is that of the public service: reform must have strong national leadership and adapt to the particular circumstances of administration. Finally, external assistance from bilateral and international agencies must be long-term and lead to a genuine transfer of skills, particularly in fragile states. These four factors must be integrated within a common capacity building strategy which uses local knowledge and is based on strong national ownership.
UNESCO supports countries in developing strong, holistic and balanced educational systems, and developing the capacities of all stakeholders is essential. We have devised the UNESCO Capacity Development for Education for All program (CapEFA) for this purpose, pooling funding from different donors to help countries improve the effectiveness of their educational systems. One example of the implementation of this scheme was Côte d’Ivoire, where the challenges included insufficient links between the labor market and the training availability, outdated curricula, and lack of quality data. The development strategy prepared in collaboration with UNESCO aimed to develop capacity in five areas: leadership; institutions; organization; quality and equity; and knowledge generation. Progress has been made. Capacity development is always linked to a set of rules, norms and practices, many of which are not under the control of the Ministry of Education. UNESCO’s approach is to involve all stakeholders and identifynew tools and mechanisms.

II. Upgrading Standards in Indonesia

Prof. Fasli Jalal
The teacher is the most important contributor to education outcomes. However, only about a million out of about 2.7 million Indonesian teachers fulfill the criteria. Furthermore, there are serious inequities in teacher distribution: 66% of schools in remote areas do not have enough teachers. There is also the challenge of absenteeism. About 19% of Indonesian teachers are absent from the classroom at any one time. Teachers are also disadvantaged in terms of remuneration.
The government enacted a law in 2005 which specified that all teachers had to upgrade their qualifications to at least a four-year diploma. Secondly, they had to go through a professional certification process. Teachers assigned to remote areas are given a location incentive. The aim is to ensure continuous professional development through a performance reporting system with associated incentives and disincentives. About USD 5.5 billion will be paid in professional and location incentives by 2016.
Regarding impact, the salary for certified teachers has been doubled, and tripled in the case of teachers assigned to remote areas. Teacher absenteeism has declined to 15% from 20% in 2003. Induction programs are to be introduced from next year, and a scheme for linking salary increments to performance and promotion is being devised. One problem that still needs to be addressed is ensuring continuous professional development across 78,000 villages.

III. Improving Education in Vulnerable Small Island States

Prof. E. Nigel Harris
The University of the West Indies was established in 1948 as a college of the University of London, but became independent in 1962. The countries served are spread across one million square miles of the Caribbean Sea, are tiny and vary widely in terms of population, GDP and human development index. The largest is Jamaica with about 2.8 million inhabitants, but many of them have fewer than 200,000. The emphasis is on areas relevant to the Caribbean: tropical medicine, agriculture, crime and security, economics and finance, entrepreneurship, climate change, disaster management, renewable energy and culture.
The student population grew to about 22,000 between 1948 and 2002. The campuses tend to replicate faculties and teach their own curricula without much communication among them. One of the issues we face is that the growth of the university took place mainly in the countries where the campuses are located, but there are populations scattered across the Caribbean that do not have access to the programs provided by the three campuses. There has been considerable demand for increased access, and we have responded with a series of five-year access plans, the latest of which emphasizes learning and teaching, growing graduate programs, and extending outreach. The challenges are financing in the face of budget reductions, increasing competition from universities outside and inside the region, and the risk of fragmentation.
The solution is to create a single virtual university space thatconsolidates and integrates the distributed technologies and learning resources, enabling students, researchers and academics to become part of one learning space and connect with other institutions around the world.

IV. Transformation, System Leadership and Assessment

Michael Stevenson
Improvement is not enough; transformation will drive education and economic development. Cisco has synthesized a body of ideas known as Education 3.0. The core idea is that the development of higher order capabilities for learners around the world should be at the center of system change; everything else – from pedagogy to metrics - must be aligned to support it. Curricula, teaching and learning, and assessment need to focus on building the skills required to solve complex problems while often working with international teams and manipulating discipline-based knowledge. Building design, culture and leadership arealso important factors. Two crucial enablers in this process are connectivity and continuous professional development. Having tested this approach, Cisco has learned that effective change must be holistic,with a new focus on the learner, and that it must adopt a systemic approach.
The Global Education Leaders Program (GELP) is about testing ideas at scale for implementing change at the global and national level.The jurisdictions involved have identified several crucial propositions: the importance of leadership in supporting change; focusing not on technologies but on processes; and finding safe spaces for innovation. However, many of the approaches to issues depend on context: New York is looking at a split-screen approach, continuing improvement while growing disruptive innovations from within, while Finland amplifies radical innovations as they emerge, and Korea is diversifying the means of assessing skills. We are designing practical technology-based assessments for complex team problem solving and sociallearning in a digital environment, leading to a technical toolkit and apolicymaker’s manual.

WISE Foundation:Announcing the world's first major international prize for education

Announcing the world's first major international prize for education

Education is the foundation of human endeavour. It is a basic right and a powerful catalyst for social, cultural, political and economic development. Education is the key to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, whether they relate to child and maternal health, gender equality, or the alleviation of poverty and hunger. It is a pathway to solutions which will allow the equitable and sustainable development of our globalised world.
Our mission is centred on promoting and protecting education, as well as encouraging excellence, so that quality education becomes accessible to all.
The establishment of the WISE Prize for Education demonstrates our determination to accelerate the development and transformation of education by bringing to light the most eminent leaders and drawing the world's attention to their outstanding contributions in a spirit of competition. This new prize is a milestone in the development of international education. While other major international prizes celebrate such disciplines as physics, chemistry, economics or peace, there has until now been none for education, which is a prerequisite for achievement in all those areas.
It is our aim that this prize should raise global awareness of the crucial role of education in all societies, and create a platform for innovative and practical solutions that might help alleviate some of the challenges which education faces around the world.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser
Chairperson of Qatar Foundation

Cheating On The Hard Work of School Reform: Washington D.C.

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2011

Cheating in school became education topic number one this week, except this time it wasn't students cheating on tests — it was adults cheating for them. As part of a series, USA Today published an article strongly suggesting that teachers or administrators goosed student test score gains at an elementary and middle school in Washington, D.C. Since it was a school former D.C. chancellor Michelle Rhee had singled out for praise, the news created yet another battleground for Rhee combatants. The distraction is too bad because the focus on cheating offers — pardon the cliché — a teachable moment for parents and policymakers.
Even assuming that teachers and administrators at the school at the center of this week's controversy didn't do anything improper, too much cheating by adults does go on in too many schools around the country. When I was a state board of education member in Virginia, "testing irregularities" (a delightfully dry bureaucratic term for suspected manipulation) were not an every day occurrence but were not rare either. And before you rush to blame No Child Left Behind, the problems predate that law. (See 11 educational activists for 2011.)
Teachers and administrators can cheat in gentle ways, such as indicating an answer or encouraging a student to really look at a question again, or through more aggressive steps, such as stealing copies of tests in advance or changing student answers after they've finished their work. This kind of cheating is notoriously hard to investigate. Even when the statistical data points to some kind of fraud — for instance, test score gains that cannot be explained by actions teachers took in the classroom during the school year — it's difficult to prove that cheating occurred unless someone involved admits to it.
Critics of today's push for greater accountability are quick to argue that cheating is the inevitable byproduct of any high-stakes system. That's ridiculous. While cheaters are a fact of life there are numerous professions with high-stakes consequences for performance where cheating is not rampant. Besides, that argument insults teachers by implying that they can't achieve challenging goals without cheating. (See if Fenty's loss in D.C. is a blow to education reform.)
What various cheating scandals do tell us is that while we have many outstanding teachers and schools delivering powerful instruction, too many cannot. We know from research — as well as experience and common sense — that the best way to help students perform well on standardized tests is not to drill them (and certainly not to cheat) but rather to actually teach them. A study in Chicago, for instance, found that students who were given challenging instruction requiring critical thinking and problem solving out-performed students given lower-quality instruction on the commercially available tests the city was using at the time. Real teaching is like a well-rounded breakfast, it sustains you. Drilling and test prep is the same as eating a doughnut: Works for a bit but you're hungry again before long. After all, what most assessments are testing is the ability of students to encounter and master material that is unfamiliar in its specifics but similar to what they've been taught. So the takeaway for parents is straightforward: With good teaching, the tests take care of themselves. When teachers or schools obsess over tests, parents should be concerned — not about the test, but about the school. (Comment on this story.)
For policymakers, the takeaway is more complicated. We've increased the demands on schools and teachers over the past two decades. Given the poor outcomes from too many of our schools, it's the right thing to do. Unfortunately, while demanding more, policymakers have not taken enough steps to support teachers and school administrators in this work. Teacher training remains largely ineffective, scant attention is paid to selection and hiring decisions, and ongoing professional development for teachers is abysmal. Meanwhile, low-performing teachers and administrators are rarely helped or removed from the classroom and over-inflated teacher evaluation ratings mask the scale of the problem. (See how to fix teacher tenure without a pass-fail grade.)
Those two issues — supporting educators and holding them more accountable — are the contentious poles in the education debate today. Too many advocates, however, focus one strategy or the other. But these are not competing choices — we must do both. And until we do, expect more cheating. Not because it's inherent with an accountability system, but rather because it's what will continue to happen when some people are asked to do a job they're simply not prepared for. When students cheat we tell them that there are no shortcuts. It's an admonition the adults in charge should heed as well.
Time magazine

International Leaders Urge Nations to Raise Status of Teachers

Published in Print: March 30, 2011, 

Raise Teachers' Status, International Leaders Urge

Current U.S. actions seen as hampering efforts

Education leaders from 16 nations that have or aspire to have top-performing education systems gathered here recently to share ideas on improving teaching.
Participants spoke repeatedly of the need to “raise the status of the teaching profession”—a task that is complicated, some said, by moves in several American states to curtail unions’ collective bargaining rights.
The International Summit on the Teaching Profession was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in conjunction with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Education International, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Asia Society, and public broadcaster WNET.
Representatives from Finland, Singapore, and Canada—among the usual players when it comes to international comparisons—attended the March 16-17 gathering. Participants also came from countries that have not commonly been part of the conversation, including China, Estonia, and Slovenia.
Only the last three hours of the event were open to reporters, including a short press conference and a wrap-up session. Elizabeth Utrup, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said that the closed sessions “were organized to encourage deep and frank conversations,” and that the host groups would elaborate on the key themes in an upcoming summary document.

Top Talent

At the open sessions, participants spoke broadly about the kinds of changes that have improved education systems. Several countries echoed the need to improve leadership, make the teaching profession more attractive, and strengthen professional development.
While international comparisons have found that high-performing countries recruit their top talent to become teachers, Ben Levin, a professor at the University of Toronto, said that teaching has to be an occupation “that large numbers of people with ordinary levels of skill, talent, and commitment can do well.” He said “heightening teachers’ professional skill and knowledge is the central challenge we have.”
The Netherlands’ secretary of education for culture and science, Halbe Zijlstra, said that “every teacher should be a master, and every teacher should have a master’s degree”—a sentiment that counters efforts in the United States to stop paying teachers based on credentials, giving them less incentive to pursue graduate degrees.
Reports released prior to the meeting highlighted lessons the United States can learn from other countries.
In “What the U.S. Can Learn From the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts,”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education, and Steven L. Paine, a vice president of CTB/McGraw-Hill, say the United States should emulate top achievers by investing in the preparation of high-quality teachers, setting common standards, and developing effective leaders.
“Teacher and Leader Effectiveness: Lessons Learned From High-Performing Education Systems,”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader edited by Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond and Robert Rothman, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, says Finland, Singapore, and Ontario, Canada, get “the right people” into teaching and prepare them well, provide ongoing teacher support, and develop high-quality leadership.

Union Worries

At the press conference, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reiterated the need to elevate teachers’ status. Asked what that means in practical terms, he said that in many other countries, “teachers are revered. Only the top talent is allowed to enter the profession. And entire communities rally around teachers.”
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said “not only is it possible” to raise the profession’s status, “but it’s being done in other countries.” He pointed to China’s rapidly improving international test scores and said the United States can learn from that turnaround model.
Overall, the summit was characterized by accord, providing a foil to familiar contentious debates about tenure, evaluations, and pay. Even so, U.S. leaders took several opportunities to condemn measures aimed at curbing unions’ collective bargaining rights, such as those in Wisconsin and Idaho.
Mr. Duncan, flanked by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and aft President Randi Weingarten, said that he is “deeply troubled by that movement,” and that “teacher voice” is a necessary part of transforming an education system.
“In Finland, Singapore, and South Korea, what you see is amazing collaboration, amazing trust, ... and that unions can be a part of that,” he said.
Education Week
In an interview, Mr. Van Roekel said: “It’s obvious to the people here that high-performing countries without exception have strong unions. You have to have strong collaboration with whomever is implementing the policies.”

La prensa del siglo XXI: Carlos Fuentes

Jueves 31 de marzo de 2011 

BOGOTA.- "La eternidad, cuando se mueve, se convierte en tiempo." Quisiera que esta bella frase fuese mía. No lo es. Es de Platón. Y creo que Platón la dijo -"la eternidad, cuando se mueve, se convierte en tiempo"- para separar la "duración de las cosas sujetas a mudanza" -el tiempo humano- de la eternidad, "perpetuidad que no tiene principio ni fin".
Con Grecia, la historia se mueve de la eternidad al tiempo y el tiempo eterno -atributo de Dios- lo es también de tiranos que se quieren saber inmortales. El gobierno democrático, en cambio, se sujeta a las reglas del tiempo humano: dura, pero muda. Y muda, aunque dure. O sea, no dura para siempre. Estoy intentando responder a la pregunta ¿a dónde vamos?, relacionada con la evolución del pensamiento y el papel de la prensa en una América latina en proceso de cambio.
¡Menuda tarea! Para cumplirla, me guío por una relación fundamental entre educación, conocimiento, información y desarrollo. Sin educación no hay conocimiento, sin conocimiento no hay información y sin información no hay desarrollo. O dicho en reversa, para que haya desarrollo, hace falta información, la información requiere conocimiento y el conocimiento depende de la educación.
Entramos al siglo XXI con una evidencia: el crecimiento económico depende de la calidad de la información y ésta de la calidad de la educación. El lugar privilegiado de la modernidad económica lo ocupan los creadores y productores de información, más que de productos materiales. El cine, la televisión, las industrias de la comunicación y las productoras de los instrumentos y equipos procesadores de información están hoy en el centro de la vida económica global. Los ricos de antaño producían acero (Carnegie, Krupp, Manchester). Los ricos de hoy producen equipos electrónicos (Bill Gates, Sony, Silicon Valley).
Bill Clinton nos recuerda que al asumir la presidencia de Estados Unidos, en 1993, sólo había cincuenta websites . Al dejar la Casa Blanca, ocho años más tarde, había 350 millones. Juan Ramón de la Fuente, ex rector de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, nos recuerda, a su vez, que hoy circulan en Internet cincuenta mil millones de mensajes diarios. Primero, en 40 años, la radio logró sumar 50 millones de oyentes. La televisión, desde 1950, atrapó igual número de televidentes. Pero en sólo cinco años, Internet alcanzó la suma que a la radio le tomó cuarenta años y a la televisión otro medio siglo. En el año 2000, había 300 millones de usuarios de Internet. Hoy, hay 800 millones.
Se acusa a los medios más novedosos de aislar. Como en la excelente película de David Fincher, La red social , los usuarios de los medios modernos pueden aislarse en la relación con otros usuarios, creando redes paradójicas de ficción comunicativa: si yo estoy en relación contigo, no tengo por qué estarlo con el resto del mundo. El tú y yo de la comunicación parecería excluir al nosotros.
Túnez y Egipto y todo el Mediterráneo sur acaban de demostrar que la relación uno-a-uno no excluye la comunicación del yo con el nosotros a través de múltiples individualidades eslabonadas en una gran colectividad que, al conocerse, se da cuenta de que el mundo oficial la ignora y que, al conocerse, también se da cuenta de su poder colectivo. Internet, Facebook, Twitter reúnen a las multitudes que hemos visto en las calles de Túnez, El Cairo y Alejandría. Esas multitudes representan a una clase media y a una clase trabajadora ignoradas por el estrecho círculo del poder ejercido desde arriba y sólo para los de arriba, con algunos mendrugos arrojados a los de abajo. Sólo que los de abajo son la mayoría. Sólo que los de abajo no son sólo obreros y campesinos, sino estudiantes, profesionales, amas de casa, empresarios, comerciantes, toda una clase media formada por, a pesar de, y al lado del autoritarismo, que no la veía, y si la veía, la atomizaba en grupúsculos manipulables y minoritarios.
Gran paradoja. Un gobierno autoritario de larga duración tolera a un pueblo dividido y lejano, hasta que ese pueblo adquiere la visibilidad de su propia conciencia gracias a lo que supuestamente lo aislaba y actúa en consecuencia.
El tiempo que nos tocó nos niega la comodidad de creer que la educación concluye alguna vez, en algún grado anterior al resto de nuestras vidas.
Esto significa que, por una parte, las escuelas pierden el monopolio de la enseñanza y, por la otra, la prensa pierde el monopolio de la información, pero también, que mantenerse informado en el largo período posescolar y posuniversitario es un deber y un derecho, inseparables del ejercicio de la ciudadanía y que este derecho, esta obligación, lo son también de nuestra prensa. La información también está en crisis, pero acaso en una crisis de crecimiento, que expande los medios nuevos pero no sacrifica los anteriores.
Se suponía, en el siglo XIX, que la aparición del periodismo de masas sentenciaría a muerte al libro. Balzac aprovechó el dilema para escribir una gran novela sobre el periodismo, Las ilusiones perdidas . Se suponía que la radiotelefonía, a su vez, mandaría a la prensa escrita al gran cementerio de las antigüedades. No fue así, radio y prensa convivieron y aunque Marshall McLuhan anunció la muerte del libro y la conversión del medio en mensaje, la televisión no enterró ni a la literatura, ni a la prensa, ni a la radio.
¿La nueva edad que se anuncia, la era de la tecnoinformación, matará a las formas de comunicación anteriores? No lo creo. Quizás, hoy, el número de lectores de novelas sea menor que en épocas de Dickens. Acaso, también, la cantidad de lectores se haya desplazado al best seller en tanto que la calidad de lectores se ubique en el long seller , planteando la pregunta: ¿por qué se vende un best seller y por qué dura un long seller ?
La radio, lejos de perecer, está hoy más viva que nunca y mejor adaptada a los horarios, tempraneros o nocturnos, de la vida moderna. La televisión no hace sino aumentar y diversificar su oferta: los canales televisivos suman varios miles.
¿Es la prensa escrita la víctima propiciatoria de la nueva -o última- modernidad? Sí, hay grandes diarios que cierran o se achican, o se ofrecen por Internet. Acaso, quizá, la prensa escrita, como la literatura, sólo llegue en su forma actual a los menos aunque a los mejores, aunque yo, como escritor, tengo el gusto de mancharme diariamente las manos con la tinta fresca de un periódico y otros ciudadanos, más jóvenes, leen el mismo periódico en una pantalla.
Al cabo, sin embargo, yo no creo que lo nuevo desplace totalmente a lo anterior. Creo que las cosas acabarán por equilibrarse, coexistir, subrayar valores y eliminar defectos, aunque con la posibilidad, humana al fin, de generar nuevos defectos junto con nuevos valores.
El valor mayor es contribuir a la educación y a la información y en consecuencia al conocimiento y al desarrollo humanos. ¿Quiénes ganan? ¿Quiénes pierden?
Es difícil decirlo en una época de transición como la nuestra, como difícil era prever en el siglo XII el Renacimiento; en la altura de la pirámide azteca, la conquista española; antes de la revuelta Ludita, el advenimiento del mundo industrial y, hoy, vislumbrar como un todo, con claridad, el paso de la edad industrial al tiempo de la tecnoinformación.
¿Y qué formas políticas acompañan estos cambios? En América latina a veces nos planteamos un falso dilema. Nos decimos: desarrollo económico hoy, pero democracia sólo mañana, y justicia, quizá, pasado mañana. O nos decimos: justicia hoy, cómo no, pero desarrollo sólo mañana y democracia, ¿para qué?, si nunca la ha habido.
La demanda latinoamericana es desarrollo con democracia y justicia, ahora, y no en el sentido de instantaneidad, sino gracias a voluntades políticas que obviamente reúnan, en un haz inseparable, las tres exigencias de este clamor: desarrollo, democracia y justicia. Y desarrollo con conocimiento, con educación y con información. Todo unido.
© La Nacion

30 de março de 2011

Anonymous Bullying on Social Network Seeps Into Schools

Published Online: March 30, 2011
Premium article access courtesy of Edweek.org.
In waves throughout the school year, counselor Julia V. Taylor has found herself consoling students who have been taunted—often anonymously—on the social-networking site Formspring.me.
“We say this happens outside of school,” said Ms. Taylor, of Apex High School in Raleigh, N.C. “If they’re in my office and they’re upset about it, it’s affecting school.”
The site’s creators took the popularity of online quizzes and created an entire social network devoted to asking questions, with the premise of getting to know one’s friends better, Formspring spokeswoman Sarahjane Sacchetti said. Created in November 2009, the site has attracted 23 million users, about a third of whom are ages 13 to 17, and who generate about 10 million posts a day.
But like other social networking spaces, some teenagers have taken advantage of Formspring’s anonymous features to insult and harass people in ways they might not in person. As a result, Formspring has become the newest battleground for school administrators and guidance counselors like Ms. Taylor who already feel they are losing the war against cyberbullying—and who are under greater pressure to address situations that begin off campus but end up affecting students at school.
“It’s the online version of truth or dare—without the dare,” Ms. Taylor said.
An individual’s Formspring page is simply a string of answers to questions, which may come from a friend or from someone they’ve never met. What makes the site different from some other social networks is that users can post questions without revealing their identities.
An individual profile reads like an interview. The user can choose which questions to respond to, and those questions are private until they are answered. Users can also choose whether to accept questions from people who hide their names.
“Some of the teens were misusing the hide-my-name functionality, thinking they could say anything to each other,” Ms. Sacchetti said. Some have been labeled gay by their tormentors. Others have been called ugly, fat, stupid, or worse. They have been told not to show up at school, to die, or to kill themselves. The mother of a Canadian teenager said taunts on Formspring, including at least one that suggested the girl kill herself, contributed to her 15-year-old daughter’s suicide in January.

‘Online Crack’

Even if students have been burned, they often don’t have the willpower to disconnect from the website that was the source of the insults.
“It’s the reality TV fad: You want to be where the action is,” said Justin W. Patchin, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, whose research focuses on how adolescents use and misuse technology and one of the co-founders of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “I’ve heard other students tell me they feel it’s safer to be on these sites with their bullies. They can see what they’re saying about them and maybe win them over. From the logic of a teenager, it makes sense.”

  How much of a role should schools take in preventing and policing cyberbullying? What measures has your district taken?

Or, as Ms. Taylor put it, “It’s a drug. It’s like online crack.”
But Ms. Sacchetti said that, in practice, most of the questions asked on Formspring, about 75 percent, are done with users’ names attached. And if users get questions they don’t like, the questions are private and can be deleted, and the user can also block a person from asking any more questions.
While counselors, including Ms. Taylor, hate the anonymous options on Formspring, Sacchetti said the ability to cloak one’s identity can prove useful in some situations. For example, students can ask colleges questions about the admissions process that they might be otherwise too timid to ask.

Schools’ Role

The challenge for educators is that Formspring’s growing popularity comes as federal officials ratchet up pressure on school officials to address bullying of all kinds among students. Late last year, the U.S. Department of Education sent school districts letters that said the districts could be violating students’ civil rights if they don’t address bullying they know about, or reasonably should have known about.
The Education Department expounded on that directive last month in a letter to the National School Boards Association, which had askedRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader, among other things, how schools can address online harassment that begins off campus and discipline those responsible. In its response, the Education Department said the objective isn’t always discipline—which could violate a student’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Schools can instead counsel both the victim and the aggressor, have schoolwide discussions about appropriate behavior online, and teach students about civil rights and tolerance, the response said.
“I think that the whole confusion over whether or not schools get involved has to do with the unresolved question of when a school is able to discipline a child for off-campus speech,” said Elizabeth Englander, director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University. “There are many, many things [schools] can do besides disciplining the cyberbully. They need to be involved in the education issue. Their responsibility is to help children who are being traumatized and educate children who are engaging in risky behavior.”
She said schools can counsel victims and talk with students accused or responsible for bullying, even if the acts happened off campus.
The conversation could go something like this, she said: “Let’s have a talk. We’re not here to discipline you. We’re here to tell you that we’re concerned you could potentially be doing something that’s illegal.”
Formspring reminds Jill Joline Myers of the now-defunct website JuicyCampus, which allowed college students to post gossip anonymously. Ms. Myers is an associate professor at Western Illinois University who co-wrote Responding to Cyber Bullying: An Action Tool for School Leaders and teaches criminal procedure and civil liability for law enforcement.
In training sessions with school administrators, she emphasizes that they should limit discipline for cyberbullying to incidents that result in a “substantial disruption” at school.
For its part, Formspring is cooperative with schools and police when reports come in about threatening posts, although Ms. Sacchetti said “it’s rare that the threat is real.” The site can ban people who abuse the service. “People simply need to report it to us,” she said.

Filtering Out Bullies

But that process can be slow, in part because the size of Formspring’s staff hasn’t kept up with its popularity. The site has just three people in its complaint department, said Karthik Dinakar a research assistant in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Laboratory, which is part of a recently formed partnership with Formspring aimed at combating bullying on the site. Mr. Dinakar said the work would help filter posts the way current spam filters trap vulgar or scam emails, but the software would go further.
“We would create a computer database of about a million statements of common knowledge: You sit in a chair. You drink water from a cup,” said Henry Lieberman, a principal research scientist in the lab. This “common sense” database could help determine if a comment is derogatory. For example, a comment about someone eating six hamburgers, which would be unlikely, might be an insult implying someone is fat.
In addition, the team is working on a system that could flag or inform a user that a statement that person is posting may be perceived as mean, said Birago Jones, an MIT research assistant also working on the project. The user might be informed how many people in the network are going to see the comment and how quickly it could spread. That might trigger the person writing the post to think twice.
At the White House conference on bullying last month where the partnership between MIT and Formspring was announced, Mr. Lieberman said the discussion centered on what the rules should be for students using social networks and how to deal with cyberbullying after the fact.
“They were all treating the software as if it was some fixed thing no one could change. We were astonished” that no one was considering technological cyberbullying solutions, he said. “There’s a lot you can do that could help the problem.”

Los Angeles elementary schools to switch reading programs

The board drops Open Court, which many teachers said robbed them of independence. California Treasures 'is very supportive if you don't have the expertise and respectful of those who do,' says a review panel member.

Los Angeles school officials have scrapped the elementary school reading program that was a centerpiece of local education reform efforts for the last decade, calling it out of date and overly expensive.

The shelving of Open Court, whose adoption generated controversy, caused barely a ripple when the Board of Education voted 7 to 0 Tuesday to instead use a program called California Treasures.

"Open Court was rigid in its instructions to teachers on how to deliver the program," said Tarltonette Binion, a second-grade teacher at 156th Street Elementary School in Gardena. "This new series is very supportive if you don't have the expertise and respectful of those who do."

Scripted Open Court lessons sparked fury among many teachers for depriving them of their independence. Open Court told teachers what to teach and in what order. Coaches and supervisors made sure rules were followed; periodic tests gauged progress.

One benefit was to achieve a base of rigor at all schools, particularly for the thousands of students who moved from campus to campus. If students entered new classrooms mid-year, for example, they were supposed to be on the same page, in reading at least, as at their previous school.

The system also emphasized phonics, replacing the "whole language" approach that taught reading by exposing students to literature.

"I was getting students who could read, who could write, who could spell.... I don't know what we would have done without it as a district," said Binion, who served on the reading review panel.

Former Supt. Roy Romer made the program, which was one of his key initiatives, mandatory across the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Test scores rose notably, but gains faded in the upper grades and progress was not uniform.

The new teacher guide has the goals of the lesson on one side, and offers teaching strategies, if desired, on the other. Although all students are responsible for learning the same vocabulary, there are different approaches and different readings for students learning English, slower learners and gifted students. And readings related to science and social studies correspond, for the first time, to what students are supposed to be learning in those subjects. There's also a better use of computers and more focus on writing and understanding, proponents said.

But teachers will have to design their own lessons, which could take getting used to, said Mark Gendernalik, a fourth-grade teacher at Shirley Avenue Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley who also reviewed reading programs. And gone will be the days when "a teacher is faced with discipline because they used a worksheet that didn't have an Open Court copyright on it."

The district spent huge sums training and supervising teachers in their use of Open Court. Moving to the new program will be comparatively low-budget, paid for with some one-time economic stimulus funds and money that must be used for teacher training.

The purchase price is $40 million over six years. Custom reprinting of the discontinued Open Court series and supplemental materials would have cost about $90 million over the same period, district Chief Academic Officer Judy Elliott said.

Open Court is no longer state-approved, but districts are still allowed to use it. L.A. Unified considered four programs — two by McGraw-Hill, which publishes Treasures and formerly published Open Court. Only Treasures had a state-approved Spanish-language version. One bidder was knocked out for publishing a news release that appeared to announce that it had won the bidding before the decision had been made.


Cooperación & Competencia en los Niños: el papel de las habilidades no-cognitivas en la acumulación de capital humano y capital social desde las edades tempranas

by Juan Camilo Cárdenas on 29 marzo, 2011 
La acumulación de habilidades cognitivas y no-cognitivas a lo largo de la vida continúa recibiendo atención en la literatura sobre formación de capital humano. La evidencia continúa sugiriendo que tanto las habilidades cognitivas (particularmente medidas a través del IQ) como las habilidades no-cognitivas (e.g. preferencias inter-temporales y por el riesgo, la autoestima, el autocontrol, la perseverancia, sociabilidad), tienen un impacto duradero en salarios y otros logros de los individuos (Heckman, 2006). Más aún, la complementariedad de estos dos tipos de habilidades también hace parte de los argumentos a favor de trabajar en la promoción de unas y otras desde las etapas tempranas (Cunha et.al, 2010).
Sin embargo, el papel de las preferencias sociales en la formación de capital humano, y principalmente en niños, apenas comienza a concentrar la atención de investigadores.
El propósito de este post es abrir una discusión sobre el papel que pueda jugar la formación de habilidades no-cognitivas en las edades tempranas, en particular aquellas asociadas al comportamiento pro-social, y los desafíos para hacerlo.
Pongámoslo de esta manera: Imagine que el profesor de matemáticas de su hijo o hija de 10 años hace una actividad en la que cada niño debe resolver el número máximo posible de operaciones matemáticas en 3 minutos. El profesor le da la posibilidad a los niños de hacerlo individualmente y obtener 1 punto por respuesta correcta, o de participar en una competencia en la que va a seleccionar parejas al azar, y comparará las respuestas correctas. Quien obtenga más respuestas correctas de esa pareja ganará 2 puntos por respuesta correcta, y quien tenga menos, obtendrá 0 puntos.
En otra clase el profesor les asigna a los niños una tarea de un nivel alto de dificultad para el día siguiente y da la opción de evaluar el resultado en parejas o de manera individual. Si la tarea se entrega en parejas el profesor asignará la nota promedio de las dos respuestas. Los niños están en libertad de trabajar por su cuenta o con su pareja asignada.
En el primer caso el mecanismo de evaluación genera mayores incentivos para quienes sean mas competitivos y con mayor confianza en si mismos. En el segundo caso el sistema desincentiva el esfuerzo individual pero incentiva el esfuerzo de trabajar en grupo y complementar los conocimientos y habilidades de la pareja.
Su hijo quiere un consejo para cada caso. ¿Será mejor que entre a la competencia en la prueba de matemáticas? Este es el clásico problema de incentivos al esfuerzo y la comparación entre sistemas de “piece-rate” o de “tournament”. Usted puede sofisticar el análisis y preguntarse por la posición relativa de su hijo en la distribución y así mejorar su predicción de que va a obtener más puntos y un incentivo mayor a obtener más puntos en matemáticas.
Ahora viene la otra pregunta. ¿Le recomienda a su hijo que se reúna con el otro estudiante para trabajar juntos en la tarea? Los costos de coordinación y logística son claros y reales, y probablemente lo incluyen a Usted que tendrá que usar algún medio de transporte para cruzar la ciudad y reunir a los dos niños. Por el lado de los beneficios, hay varios incentivos de lado y lado. Si el otro estudiante es bueno, su hijo puede mejorar por dos vías. Una, a través del promedio que obtenga, la otra, por el aprendizaje adicional de trabajar juntos en la tarea. Sin embargo está el otro tipo de incentivos perversos al free-riding. El otro estudiante puede reducir el esfuerzo esperando mejorar su promedio a partir del esfuerzo de su hijo. Aún bajo el supuesto de que el otro estudiante tiene menores habilidades académicas, ¿le interesaría a su hijo compartir sus conocimientos con otro estudiante y así mejorar el rendimiento del otro, incluso a un costo personal?.
Curiosamente poco sabemos en nuestra disciplina sobre el comportamiento de los niños frente a situaciones ante incertidumbre, la competencia o frente a la cooperación o al altruismo. Hasta donde tengo entendido muy pocos estudios sobre comportamiento económico se han hecho en poblaciones infantiles en la región Latinoamericana. Incluso cabe la pregunta, es necesario y útil hacerlos?
Afortunadamente la sicología social y experimental ha contribuido enormemente a construir espacios conceptuales para enfrentar estas preguntas. Las conexiones entre los factores sicológicos de la personalidad y los resultados económicos para las personas a lo largo de su vida están surgiendo en la literatura dentro de marcos que permiten el análisis económico (Borghans et.al. 2008).
Una de las taxonomías mas usadas en esta literatura, los Cinco Grandes (o Big Five) recoge un buen paquete de habilidades no-cognitivas que se vienen estudiando para explorar sus impactos sobre varios indicadores de bienestar económico de los individuos. Estos cinco factores (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional stability, and Intelect or Openess) incluyen (subrayado) el elemento sobre el que quiero enfocar la reflexión sobre la sociabilidad humana. Allí los expertos desde la sicología han incluido factores como la naturaleza bondadosa, la disposición a cooperar, o la confiabilidad y capacidad para confiar[1] .
En estos elementos de pro-socialidad o de orientaciones inter-personales encontramos una serie de fenómenos de las preferencias de los humanos (Van Lange et.al 2007) que surgen de funciones de utilidad interdependientes que pueden ir desde la envidia, pasando por el mutualismo  o el altruismo y hasta la competencia, todas ellas sustentadas en modelos diferentes al del homo-economicus donde solo el consumo personal privado produce utilidad.
Con el ánimo de aproximarnos a estas preferencias sociales, realizamos recientemente una serie de experimentos sobre competencia y cooperación entre un grupo de mas de 1,200 niños entre 9 y 11 años en Suecia y Colombia con resultados que abren preguntas interesantes sobre el papel de la formación de estas habilidades no-cognitivas en las edades tempranas de la vida.
En un grupo de experimentos expusimos a estos niños a sistemas de competencia en actividades físicas (saltar lazo y correr) y cognitivas (matemáticas y búsqueda de palabras o sopas de letras). En una primera etapa debían saltar la mayor cantidad de veces seguidas posible, o correr una distancia de 13 metros en el menor tiempo posible. En la siguiente etapa del experimento asignábamos la misma tarea en parejas y contabilizábamos de nuevo su desempeño. Para el caso de las tareas cognitivas, los niños debían contestar de manera correcta la mayor cantidad de operaciones matemáticas o encontrar la mayor cantidad de palabras, en un tiempo determinado. A continuación les ofrecimos otra serie de estas tareas y se les anunció que se iban a asignar parejas al azar. Quien en la pareja obtuviera la mayor cantidad de puntos doblaba sus puntos ganados y quien obtuviera la menor no ganaba puntos. En una tercera ronda se les ofreció escoger una de las dos modalidades (piece-rate o tournament). Pudimos encontrar que tanto en Suecia como en Colombia apenas un tercio de los niños prefirió el sistema de torneo y los demás niños prefirieron el sistema de  puntos individuales.  En una última tarea aplicada a todos los niños realizamos una tarea, de nuevo bajo incentivos como las anteriores, sobre aversión al riesgo.
Algunas diferencias por genero comenzaron a mostrar patrones interesantes de diferencias y similitudes entre dos países con sistemas culturales bastante diferentes, y sobre niveles de equidad de género también distantes (Ver Cardenas et.al 2011). Encontramos que ambos países los niños son mas tolerantes al riesgo que las niñas. En las tareas de competitividad vimos igual tendencia a mejorar bajo los incentivos de competencia, aunque los niños fueron mas propensos a escoger la competencia de tournament frente a la de piece rate si se compara con las niñas.
Otra tarea que incluimos en estos experimentos exploraba la disposición a cooperar en estos mismos grupos. En el juego de cooperación parejas de niños debían correr la misma distancia hasta un lugar donde había 10 pelotas para cada uno, de diferente color. En cada viaje debían traer una pelota y depositarla en uno de dos recipientes. Si la depositaban en su recipiente “privado”, el niño o niña ganaba 3 puntos. Si la depositaba en un recipiente “común”, cada niño ganaba 2 puntos. Claramente tenemos un dilema de los prisioneros o de bienes públicos. Los dos niños estarían mejor si deposita cada uno sus 10 pelotas en el recipiente común obteniendo 40 puntos, pero el incentivo a depositar sus pelotas en el privado continuaba siendo una estrategia dominante.
Los datos mostraron patrones similares en la distribución bimodal, con una fracción sustancial de niños depositando todas sus pelotas en el recipiente privado y otra fracción importante en el común y menos niños distribuyendo en uno y otro, como muestra la figura. El caso Colombiano fue mas extremo en las decisiones localizadas en estas soluciones de esquina (Por ahí alguien hablaría del slogan de “Colombia es Pasión” pero es una especulación que merece ser explorada antes de ser ofrecida como explicación).
Los resultados que hemos encontrado sugieren que no hay diferencias en el promedio de cooperación, pero si encontramos una diferencia de género que vale la pena explorar en mayor profundidad y que se ilustra en la gráfica a continuación. Las niñas parecieran mas propensas a cooperar con otros del género opuesto en general, y al explorar diferencias entre países vemos que los niños en Suecia son menos propensos a cooperar que las niñas mientras que en Colombia el efecto es exactamente el contrario, después de controlar por varios factores en nuestro análisis de regresión.
Borghans .al (2008) resalta la necesidad de explorer el papel que pueden jugar estos atributos y habilidades no cognitivas: “ Both economists and psychologists estimate preference parameters such as time preference, risk aversion, altruism, and, more recently, social preferences, to explain the behaviors of individuals. The predictive power of these preference parameters, their origins and the stability of these parameters over the lifecycle, are less well understood and are actively being studied”. Dohmen et al. (2008) muestran avances sobre la relación entre elementos como la confianza y la reciprocidad y los atributos de personalidad medidos con los Cinco Grandes ( Big Five).
Cierro con una pregunta sobre el papel que puedan jugar estas habilidades no cognitivas. Un estudio reciente de Waldfogel (2011) sugiere que contrario a las predicciones de la industria musical, la oferta de producción musical no parece haber caído debido a la innovación tecnológica post-napster de compartir música. Los músicos siguen produciendo música y ésa se sigue oyendo. Las arcas de los grandes distribuidores de música si han caído. Esta oferta está basada en el uso de redes sociales, colaboración, donación de tiempo y creatividad y contratos no formales por fuera del mercado laboral tradicional.
¿Cuáles son las habilidades no cognitivas que requieren las nuevas generaciones para mantener la innovación en una economía en que los rendimientos crecientes en la producción, los costos marginales de re-producción tienden a cero y la colaboración basada en el altruismo, la producción colectiva y la confianza (Benkler, 2006)?
Es posible que su respuesta dependa también de su respuesta a la consulta de su hijo de 10 años, o de su hija! Sobre las propuesta de los profesores para evaluar las tareas.

Benkler, Yochai  (2006) “The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom”. Yale University Press, y http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/wealth_of_networks/Main_Page
Borghans, L, Angela Lee Duckworth, James J. Heckman, and Bas ter Weel. “The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits”. NBER Working Paper No. 13810. February 2008
Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Dreber, Anna & von Essen, Emma & Ranehill, Eva, 2010. “Gender Differences in Competitiveness and Risk Taking: Comparing Children in Colombia and Sweden,” Research Papers in Economics 2010:18, Stockholm University, Department of Economics. http://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/sunrpe/2010_0018.html
Cunha, F. James Heckman, and Susanne Schennach “Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation” NBER Working Paper No. 15664. February 2010.
Heckman, J. (2006) “Skill Formation and the Economics of Investing in Disadvantaged Children”. Science 30 June 2006: Vol. 312 no. 5782 pp. 1900-1902.
Waldfogel, Joel (2011) “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie? The Supply of New Recorded Music Since Napster”. NBER Working Paper No. 16882. Issued in March 2011.
Van Lange, P.A.M. and De Cremer, D. and Van Dijk, E. and Van Vugt, M. (2007) From aggression to altruism: Basic principles of social interaction. In: Kruglanski, A.W. and Higgins, E.T., eds. Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles 2nd ed. Guilford Publications, New York.

[1] Agreeableness se define “The tendency to act in a cooperative, unselfish manner, construed as one end of a dimension of individual differences (agreeableness vs. disagreeableness) in the Big Five personality model.” This
dimension includes facets such as trust and compliance. (APA Dictionary).
Foco Económico

Homicídios entre jovens


O Ministério da Justiça agiliza ações que visam combater o alto índice de morte entre os jovens, segundo o Mapa da Violência 2011 - Os jovens do Brasil, elaborado pelo Instituto Sangari, em parceria com MJ. Vale dizer, que o Estado do Espírito Santo - 120 mortes para cada 100 mil habitantes - perde apenas para Alagoas com: 125,3 homicídios em cada 100 mil habitantes. O Mapa caracteriza o número de homicídios de jovens como uma "epidemia". O Brasil é o 6º país em taxas de homicídios nessa população. Em 1º lugar está El Salvador, com 105,6. Os 34,6 milhões de jovens que o IBGE estima que existiam no Brasil em 2008, representavam 18,3% do total da população. Mas, os 18.321 homicídios, que o Datasus registra para esse ano, duplicam exatamente essa proporção: 36,6%, indicando que a vitimização juvenil alcança proporções muito sérias", alerta o estudo, que tem como objetivo subsidiar, com informações, políticas públicas de enfrentamento à violência. "Saliente-se que é na faixa "jovem", dos 15 aos 24 anos, que os homicídios atingem taxas mais cruéis: em torno de 63 homicídios por 100 mil jovens. Já entre a população não-jovem, houve uma leve queda nos índices de homicídios: de 21,2 em cem mil habitantes, no ano de 1998, para 20,5 em 2008."Isso evidencia, de forma clara, que os avanços da violência homicida no Brasil das últimas décadas tiveram como motor exclusivo e excludente a morte de jovens, mostra o Mapa." A situação piora bastante quando o jovem é negro. Enquanto o número de homicídios entre jovens brancos caiu no período de 2002 a 2008, passando de 6.592 para 4.582 (30% de redução), entre os jovens negros a taxa subiu de 11.308 para 12.749, um aumento de 13%. Para cada branco assassinado em 2008, mais de dois negros morreram nas mesmas circunstâncias. A "brecha" de mortalidade entre brancos e negros cresceu 43% no pequeno período estudado.
"Pelo balanço histórico dos últimos anos, a tendência desses níveis pesados de vitimização é crescer ainda mais", aponta ainda a pesquisa. Com relação ao sexo, acima de 90% das mortes são de pessoas do sexo masculino, um nível alarmante que, segundo o estudo, desequilibra a composição da população adulta. Anualmente, o Brasil perde 40 mil homens devido aos homicídios. As mortes causadas por acidentes de transporte também apresentam maior taxa para os jovens: 26,5% para a população total e 32,4% para a população jovem. Entretanto, segundo o Mapa, este não pode ser considerado um índice de vitimização dos jovens.
Folha de Pernambuco

29 de março de 2011

Crise, que crise?:cientistas e jornalistas

Crise, que crise?: "
Os jornalistas de ciência britânicos estão perdendo poder para as assessorias de imprensa e profissionais de relações públicas. O motivo: muito trabalho. Essa é uma das conclusões da pesquisa conduzida por Andy Williams, da Universidade de Cardiff, no Reino Unido. O professor de jornalismo apresentou na semana passada (23/3) o estudo em seminário na London School of Economics, em Londres.

Os resultados se baseiam em 42 questionários on-line respondidos por jornalistas científicos de jornais e canais de televisão do Reino Unido, 47 entrevistas com jornalistas especializados em ciência, saúde e meio ambiente e cinco entrevistas com editores da BBC News, ITN e The Times.

De acordo com a pesquisa, o número de jornalistas especializados em ciência (incluindo saúde e meio ambiente) em jornais e televisão no Reino Unido aumentou entre os anos 1990 e 2005, quando cortes nas redações fizeram o número baixar novamente – o estudo foi feito em 2009, portanto, não inclui mudanças mais recentes.

Porém, esses profissionais trabalham cada vez mais: 88% dos entrevistados acreditam que seu volume de trabalho é maior hoje do que há cinco anos. Em outras palavras, precisam escrever mais matérias por dia e também produzir conteúdo para outras plataformas, como a internet.

A pressão por uma quantidade maior de matérias leva ao “jornalismo passivo”

A pressão por uma quantidade maior de matérias leva ao que Williams chama de “jornalismo passivo”: com menos tempo para buscar pautas originais, os repórteres se apoiam cada vez mais em releases – textos produzidos por assessorias de imprensa –, na cobertura de eventos e em artigos científicos publicados nos periódicos de prestígio.

O ritmo de produção imposto também obriga os jornalistas a confiar nas informações que recebem das assessorias de imprensa. Dos jornalistas ouvidos, 46% disseram que hoje têm menos tempo para checar dados do que há cinco anos e 61% consideram que não têm disponibilidade para checar e confirmar informações da maneira adequada.

“Ou seja, mais da metade dos jornalistas acha que não tem condições de fazer seu trabalho direito”, sintetiza Williams.

Perda de controle

Ainda que as informações dos releases estejam corretas e a assessoria de imprensa seja competente e tenha credibilidade, o jornalista, ao basear sua cobertura no material que recebe, estaria transferindo para a estrutura de relações públicas o poder de definir a pauta do veículo para o qual trabalha e a informação relevante para o seu público leitor.

“O papel do jornalismo científico, de traduzir e tornar acessível os temas científicos, está saindo das mãos dos jornalistas e indo para as mãos das suas fontes – as assessorias de imprensa das universidades, ONGs, empresas e órgãos governamentais”, diz Williams. “Os veículos de comunicação estão apenas divulgando o conteúdo oferecido por essas fontes, o que enfraquece o jornalismo em geral.”

O resultado é que todos os veículos publicam as mesmas notícias, a maioria originada de releases

Ao ser contestado por parte do público do seminário, Williams replicou: “Não que as assessorias de imprensa tenham o poder de se impor sobre os jornalistas, mas elas estão se aproveitando de uma fraqueza do jornalismo atual.”

Outro ponto fraco apontado pela pesquisa é a homogeneização da cobertura de ciência nos veículos de imprensa. “Em algumas editorias, a principal preocupação é não deixar passar algo que tenha sido coberto pelos concorrentes,” explicou Williams. “O resultado é que todos os veículos publicam as mesmas notícias, a maioria originada de releases.”

Do gatekeeper ao filtro de porcarias

Uma função extra e relativamente nova que contribui para o aumento do volume de trabalho do jornalista é a de “filtro de porcarias” – como definiu Williams. De acordo com entrevistados, uma parte significativa de seu dia é dedicada a ler centenas de mensagens eletrônicas, releases e material de agências de notícias, a maioria inútil.

“Em muitos casos, essa avalanche nem é de artigos científicos, mas publicidade disfarçada de release,” observou um dos jornalistas que participou do estudo – que não teve seu nome divulgado. “Os veículos acabam funcionando como filtros e agregadores de conteúdo.”

Na avaliação de Williams, as mudanças identificadas na pesquisa não são exclusivas das editorias de ciência, mas fazem parte de um contexto mais amplo de mudanças no jornalismo mundial.

Jornalismo científico
Colagem de capa do estudo sobre jornalismo científico no Reino Unido conduzido por Andy Williams, da Universidade de Cardiff, e baseado em questionários 'on-line' e entrevistas com jornalistas e editores britânicos. (foto: reprodução)

“Apesar de tudo, a situação do jornalismo científico aqui não é de forma alguma tão ruim quanto nos Estados Unidos,” observa o pesquisador. Segundo ele, o número de jornais com seções específicas de ciência caiu de 95 para 34 entre 1989 e 2001 no país e, recentemente, o canal de notícias CNN demitiu toda a equipe de ciência e meio ambiente.

Perguntados sobre o futuro da profissão, os jornalistas britânicos se mostraram ambivalentes: 56% discordaram que jornalista de ciência seja “uma espécie em extinção”. Mas quase a mesma quantidade (53%) não acredita que o número de jornalistas científicos no Reino Unido vá aumentar nos próximos dez anos.

Um último porém: a pesquisa excluiu freelancers e jornalistas independentes. Como observou parte do público presente ao seminário, talvez esses profissionais tivessem apresentado uma visão mais otimista do futuro do jornalismo de ciência no Reino Unido.

Barbara Axt
Especial para a CH On-line/ Londres

China ya es la segunda potencia científica mundial

Brasil e India también destacan como países emergentes que se aproximan cada vez más a los que han liderado siempre la I+D

EL PAÍS - Madrid - 29/03/2011

China es ya la segunda potencial científica mundial, sólo por detrás de EEUU en la clasificación y por delante de otras superpotencias tradicionales de la ciencia (Europa Occidental y Japón). Brasil e India, están también haciéndose hueco en la I+D internacional, pero hay otros países que empiezan a destacar, al menos por su esfuerzo en este campo, como son Irán, Túnez y Turquía, según un estudio realizado por la Royal Society británica. El estudio, titulado Conocimiento, redes y países: colaboración científica global en el siglo XXI se basa en análisis de gran cantidad de datos, incluido el número de publicaciones científicas de cada país y en el número de citas de esos trabajos por otros investigadores (un parámetro que se considera válido para medir la calidad de la investigación). España aparece en el noveno lugar de la lista por número de publicaciones y en el décimo por citas.

"El mundo científico está cambiando y están apareciendo rápidamente nuevos jugadores", comenta el físico Chris Llewellyn-Smith, que ha presidido el comité que ha hecho el estudio de la Royal Society. "Más allá de la emergencia de China, apreciamos una escalada de otros países de del Sudeste Asiático, Oriente Medio y África del Norte. El incremento de la investigación científica y de las colaboraciones, que pueden ayudarnos a encontrar soluciones a los retos globales que ahora afrontamos, es bienvenido. Sin embargo, ningún país históricamente dominante se puede permitir dormirse en los laureles si quiere mantener la ventaja económica competitiva asociada al liderazgo científico".
Los dados del análisis se centran en dos períodos (1993-2003 y 2004-2008) para ver la evolución, explica la Royal Society en un comunicado. EE UU sigue manteniendo el liderazgo mundial, pero entre el primero y el segundo períodos considerados, su porcentaje de autoría de la investigación mundial ha caído del 26% al 21%., mientras que China ha pasado de ocupar el sexto lugar (un 4,4%) al segundo (10,2%). En el tercer puesto se mantiene el Reino Unido con una ligera caída de su porcentaje (del 7,1% al 6,5%). En 1993-2003, Japón ocupaba el segundo lugar mundial, seguido de Reino Unido, Alemania y Francia; España estaba en el puesto décimo con un 2,5% del total de las publicaciones científicas. En 2004-2008, tras EE UU, China y Reino Unido, van Japón y Alemania, y España ocupa ya el puesto número nueve.
En la clasificación por citas, es decir, el impacto o calidad de la investigación, Estados Unidos ocupaba y ocupa el primer puesto. La lista no han cambiado desde el puesto segundo hasta el sexto (Reino Unido, Alemania, Japón, Francia y Canadá), pero si en 1999-2003 Italia estaba en séptima posición, ahora ha pasado a la octava, cediendo el sexto puesto a China. Holanda pasa del octavo al noveno en 2004-2004 y sale Australia de la clasificación de los 10 primeros (puesto noveno en 1999-2003), mientras que entra España en el décimo lugar en 2004-2008.
El análisis destaca la trayectoria reciente de otros países en I+D. Turquía está creciendo con una tasa casi equiparable a la de China, multiplicando por seis veces su inversión en ciencia y tecnología entre 1995 y 2007 e incrementando en un 43% su número de investigadores. En 2008 los científicos turcos publicaron cuatro veces más artículos que en 1996. Irán es el país en que más ha aumentado el número de publicaciones científicas del mundo, pasando de 736, en 1996, a 13.238 en 2008. El Gobierno iraní trabaja con un plan para la ciencia que incluye impulsar la inversión en I+D hasta llegar al 4% de su PIB e 2030, partiendo de un 0,59% en 2006. Túnez es otro de los países que ha empezado a esforzarse en ciencia, pasando de una inversión del 0,03% de su PIB en 1996 al 1,25% en 2009 y reestructurando su sistema de investigación, con la creación de 139 laboratorios. Singapur ha casi duplicado su gasto en I+D entre 1996 y 2007, pasando del 1,37% de su PIB al 2,61% y triplicando sus publicaciones científicas en ese período (de 2.620 a 8.506). Por último, el informe de la Royal Society destaca Qatar, que quiere alcanzar el 2,8% de su PIB en inversión en I+D.
El análisis de los expertos británicos se ha detenido también en la tendencia a la colaboración científica internacional, señalando que actualmente el 35% de los artículos publicados en las revistas son de colaboraciones científicas de varios países, frente al 25% de hace 15 años. El deseo de los investigadores de colaborar con los mejores, independientemente del país en que trabajen, el aumento de temáticas de impacto global, el desarrollo de las tecnologías de la comunicación y el abaratamiento de los viajes serían los factores determinantes de esta tendencia.

Future Shock! educational issues

Future Shock!: "

Over the past few years a small group of researchers, policy types, and practitioners have been meeting to discuss what education might look like in the more distant future, say 2020 or 2040. Good conversations and an intellectually diverse group, I’ve enjoyed the meetings. It’s a more granular version of some of the ideas hatched by the ‘2030 principals’ that made the rounds a few years back. Now, over at Ed Week, some of the participants are blogging and writing.


Brasil está se tornando potência científica, diz relatório

Início do conteúdo

Levantamento britânico indica que São Paulo subiu da 38ª para a 17ª posição em ranking de cidades com mais publicações científicas.

29 de março de 2011 
Emergentes estão se aproximando de grandes potências científicas

Um novo grupo de países, liderados pela China, mas seguidos por outros como Brasil e Índia, estão emergindo como grandes potências científicas capazes de rivalizar com as tradicionais superpotências ocidentais, como Estados Unidos, Europa Ocidental e Japão.
De acordo com relatório feito pela Royal Society (a academia nacional de ciência britânica), o desempenho da China é ''particularmente notável'': a publicação de documentos científicos do país superou a do Japão e da Europa nos últimos anos.
O país asiático só é ultrapassado pelos EUA, mas deve superá-los antes de 2020, se os números seguirem a atual tendência. Em 1996, os EUA tinham produção científica dez vezes maior que a chinesa; hoje, sua produção, com crescimento menor, não chega a ser o dobro da do país asiático.
O relatório, chamado "Conhecimento, Redes e Nações: a colaboração científica no século 21", foi divulgado na última segunda-feira.
No caso do Brasil, a pesquisa diz que São Paulo subiu para o 17º lugar - antes ocupava o 38º - na lista de cidades com mais publicações científicas no mundo, o que "reflete o rápido crescimento da atividade científica brasileira".
A representatividade dos estudos brasileiros teve leve aumento: entre 1999 e 2003, eles equivaliam a 1,3% do total de pesquisas científicas globais. Entre 2004 e 2008, essa porcentagem subiu para 1,6.
Mas "as reduções significativas no orçamento de ciência em 2011 levantam preocupações", diz o relatório (em meio aos cortes de R$ 50 bilhões no orçamento da nação, o Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia deve perder R$ 1,7 bilhão).
No entanto, ''ainda demorará algum tempo para que a produção dessas nações emergentes esteja à altura de ser uma referência para a comunidade científica internacional'', ressalta a pesquisa.
Em contrapartida, há avanços em determinados setores de alguns países, entre eles o Brasil. ''Existe diversificação de alguns países demonstrando lideranças em setores específicos, como a China em nanotecnolgia, e o Brasil em biocombustíveis, mas as nações avançadas do ponto de vista científico continuam a dominar a contagem de citações.''
A pesquisa também identificou nações emergentes no campo da ciência que não costumam ser vistas como donas de base científica forte, como o Irã, a Tunísia e a Turquia.
As projeções feitas pelo relatório "sugerem que o sistema científico global está se desvencilhando de seu padrão anterior".
"China e Coreia do Sul cumprem com suas ambiciosas metas de investimento em pesquisa e desenvolvimento, enquanto economias como Brasil e Rússia também prometem recursos substancialmente maiores para pesquisas."
Com isso, é possível que nações emergentes - Brasil incluído - superem os investimentos de países como Japão e França no setor. BBC Brasil - Todos os direitos reservados. É proibido todo tipo de reprodução sem autorização por escrito da BBC.
Estado de São Paulo