Kiersten Marek:

Worth noting: in case you thought charter school takeovers were a done deal, Fitch says their view is “generally negative” for charter schools.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Well, we are into big-time business talk about education.

For-profit colleges are losing market share.

K12 Inc.’s stock price drops after Wells Fargo downgraded its rating in response to the poor performance of K12’s Colorado Virtual Academy, where the graduation rate is 22 percent.

Now a rating agency finds that despite the passage of an ALEC-style amendment in Georgia, allowing a gubernatorial commission to open charters over the objections of local school boards, and despite a likely charter victory in Washington State, the charter sector as a whole is a risky investment. Read the analysis here.

Hey, is any of this about education or just about increasing market share and profits and return-on-investment?

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The Importance of Learning to Quiet Yourself

In my book, Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes, I recommend children learn to practice mindfulness and meditation. In essence, one of the most important skills you can learn in life is how to quiet yourself — how to quiet your mind, how to calm your body, and how, when the two are coordinated, you feel more whole and capable. This article from Greater Good Magazine describes how an elementary school in California is teaching meditation. The results are clear — less conflict, less test anxiety, and standardized test scores improved.

Presenting the Evidence for Archetypes-Based Therapy

There is a tremendous amount of evidence to support the practices and suggestions in my book, “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes.” With regard to expressing your Innocent, I advise children to play outdoors every day. Here is a piece of research that shows that outdoor play is one of the most effective antidotes for ADHD.

Over the next few weeks, I will be compiling and publishing links to research that supports the treatment recommendations I offer in my book, as well as research on therapeutic practices with children and families that I teach about in my CEU Course, “Know Thyself: Using Archetypes to Understand and Heal Children.”

New Normal in Japan After Fukushima

Just Keep Smiling

Common Dreams

Fukushima’s disaster task force has started issuing leaflets with a bird character called Kibitan telling children to stay away from pools and ditches where radioactive cesium from the damaged nuclear power plant might have accumulated.

The smiling, round Kibitan explains why radiation is dangerous, urging children to make a habit of washing their hands and gargling their mouths after coming in from the outdoors.

Radiation can make people sick if allowed to get inside their body, says the cartoon bird, which is a variant of the local narcissus flycatcher.

The bird is definitely well-informed on the dangers of radiation, and the autoradiographs of a dead Fukushima flycatcher posted in April by a Japanese photojournalist confirm that.

Below are the photos, from the blog Fukushima Diary.

‘hot’ enough to develop photo paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Ghostly Outline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cute public safety cartoons in this century are as sinister as Duck and Cover was in the last. But it’s not all bad. You can send away for a pocket geiger on your cell phone.

From here in Rhode Island, it’s hard to vet internet content of blogs from Japan. On American news sites Fukushima is completely off the radar. On Japanese sites like Japan Times and Daily Yomiuri the nuclear crisis is off the front page but continues to develop. Japanese citizen journalists say their government is not giving them the whole truth. The news stream at Uhohjapan2 blog is deeply frightening.

The people of Japan have suffered enough in the wake of the disasters of 2011. They should not be further harmed by panic and despair. But the people of Japan are owed the truth. The world, also, needs to know the true extent of the nuclear contamination from the Fukushima disaster. Nations are rushing to build more nuclear plants, for energy and for war.

During the last presidential debate, when the topic was energy, I noticed an interesting omission from President Obama. He did not say the ‘N’ word. He did not mention nuclear power. Mitt Romney did, at least twice.

President Obama did support nuclear power as part of the mix, but I wonder if the global picture is looking different now. The economic costs and ongoing environmental effects will slow the rush to nuclear.

The Fukushima disaster is not over, but if we are lucky the damage will be limited, and if we are wise we will learn that dangerous, expensive and centralized power is not the way.

Kiersten Marek:

This one looks really good — will try soon!

Originally posted on The Verdant Home:

I absolutely freakin’ love Indian food. Unfortunately, I have not had a great amount of success in replicating the deliciousness found at my favorite Indian food restaurant. ….until this recipe. This dish is simply omg-yum-drool-amazing and even better, it’s the easiest thing ever! Inspired, I knocked out a quick batch of naan. Don’t let the yeast intimidate you. Making naan is only slightly more work than this recipe, which is to say, easy-peasy! Serve with plain yogurt and cilantro for a bright and clean contrast (a common theme in Indian food).

Curried Eggplant with Garbanzos and Spinach

3 large cloves, minced
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/4 cup EVOO

1 medium eggplant, cut into about 1″ chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 1″ wedges
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ chunks
2 red jalapenos, cleaned out and minced
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup peeled and…

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Kiersten Marek:

Important new research on how poverty and stress impact children — often these two factors can result in a child presenting as having ADHD…we have to work on the environmental stuff that drives a child’s inattentive behavior.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The latest research studies from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child demonstrate how “toxic stress” can severely damage children’s minds.

Everyone needs to learn to deal with adversity, says Dr. Jack Shonkoff of the Harvard Center, and some stress is a good learning experience.

But the conditions associated with living in poverty harms children’s development.

“The same brain flexibility, called plasticity, that makes children open to learning in their early years also makes them particularly vulnerable to damage from the toxic stressors that often accompany poverty: high mobility and homelessness; hunger and food instability; parents who are in jail or absent; domestic violence; drug abuse; and other problems, according to Pat Levitt, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Southern California and the director of the Keck School of Medicine Center on the Developing Child in Los Angeles.

“Good experiences, like nurturing parents and rich early-child-care environments, help build…

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Churches and Occupy to the Rescue after Sandy

Brita Rose at Common Dreams reports on the community response to Hurricane Sandy.

Light After the Storm – Local Churches Partner with Occupy Sandy in Grass Roots Relief Efforts
by Brita Rose

It was a beautiful sight — throngs of volunteers lining up outside a local church on Sunday, Day Five of the local recovery initiative spearheaded by Occupy Sandy. The number of willing helpers had tripled over the last three days alone, a response as dizzying as it was encouraging for the coordinators at the relief hub in St. Jacobi Lutheran Church in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, New York.

Occupy Sandy is an offshoot of the Occupy Movement, which, until now was by some pundits given up for dead. In collaboration with Occupy Sunset Park, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net, it emerged to meet the essential needs of storm victims while larger charities were already turning away willing volunteers, just a few days after the storm. It began organizing local relief efforts so that supplies could be immediately sent to the most devastated areas — beginning with Red Hook and The Rockaways. To their own surprise the Occupy activists found themselves doing so with an efficiency and speed that was sometimes outpacing government relief organizations. While the latter focused on essential infrastructure — pumping out subway stations and restoring transportation and power — independent groups were able to reach isolated areas by building community solidarity and mutual aid on the local level. Both entities were needed, as was becoming ever more apparent.

Read the rest here.