A Second-Generation American Is Something to Be
February 8, 2013

Five links that made us think this week.

The Super Bowl may be over, but teachers are still using the big game to reinforce grammar skills for their students. A group of 2nd graders in Buffalo, N.Y. had no shame in correcting several tweets from NFL players. One of the offenders was San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver who tweeted: “I pray to God I’m never dieing broke.” Culliver might be great on the field, but his grammar skills are in need of urgent improvement. It’s refreshing to see that in this age of tweet-speak some kids still know their GUMS.   

In other news, a Pew study released on Thursday described by The NY Times as “the most detailed study of adult children of immigrants in the modern era of American immigration,” revealed that Americans who were born to immigrants arriving in the 1960s have outperformed their foreign-born contemporaries as well as the general population in the the area of education attainment. Thirty-six percent of these second-generation Americans have attained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to only 29 percent of foreign-born Americans, and 31 percent of the general population.

Photo by Mando vzl via WikiCommons

With parent-teacher conference season starting next week, some teachers are bringing to the table a quiet, shy, yet powerful subject: introverted students.  In an article for The Atlantic Professor Jessica Lahey argued that parents of shy students shouldn't complain that some teachers cause “serious emotional trauma” when they ask their introverted students to speak up. While social anxiety is a real issue many people have, interpersonal communication is essential for every student to develop inside and outside the classroom.

Introverted students aren’t the only ones who feel anxiety before a big day at school. Many students across the nation can’t fall asleep at all for weeks before a big test. Some get physically sick and even suffer from panic attacks. Is this pressure to achieve healthy? Is the misery really worth it?  On the flipside, there are others who actually perform better under the stress and pressure. This weekThe NY Times presented a look into what causes some students to be more vulnerable than others to suffering from anxiety when dealing with standardized tests.

According to the New York Health Department, teen pregnancy rates in the state have  plummeted by 27 percent over the last decade. Health Commissioner Tom Farley attributes this drastic plunge to better and safer exposure to birth control and contraceptives: “[W]hen you make condoms and contraception available to teens, they don’t increase their likelihood of being sexually active. But they get the message that sex is risky.” The latest stats on sexual activity among teens in public high schools seem to support Farley’s point: 37.8 percent admitted to being sexually active, a 26 percent drop from 50.9 percent in 2001. Considering the correlation between teen pregnancy and school completion ratesonly a third of teen mothers earn their high school diploma—it's a wonder to me that there are still some people out there who don’t support teen pregnancy prevention.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, everyone! Pura Vida.

Want to share your thoughts with me? Email me at carolina.cromeyer@teachforamerica.org

Category: The Friday Five

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