What Stanfield is Reading and Watching: Special Education News June 2016
Is Princess Culture Bad for Our Girls? Research Says Yes.
There’s no doubt that gender stereotypes have been coming into question quite a lot lately. One aspect in this line of criticism is the “Princess Culture” debate—whether or not the famous Disney princesses negatively impact the self-image of our young girls.
A new study sparked up this debate again this week, as research from Brigham Young University showed that yes, the Disney princess “obsession” can be harmful to girls. But what do they mean by harmful? The study confirmed that heightened engagement with princess culture (movies or toys) can lead to gender-stereotypical behaviour and self-critical body image. From Yahoo:
“Disney princesses represent some of the first examples of exposure to the thin ideal,” Coyne said, echoing the many princess and Barbie critics who have come before her. “As women, we get it our whole lives, and it really does start at the Disney princess level, at age 3 and 4.”
Additionally, the problem with reinforcing gender stereotypes surfaces when girls minimize their abilities. “We know that girls who strongly adhere to female gender stereotypes feel like they can’t do some things,” Coyne said. “They’re not as confident that they can do well in math and science. They don’t like getting dirty, so they’re less likely to try and experiment with things.”
To learn more about “Princess Culture” and gender stereotypes, check out Peggy Orenstein’s groundbreaking book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter.” This article by Orenstein in the New York Times delves into the history of gender stereotyped toys, and why princesses are good for business, but bad for girls.
20% of High School Students Often Don’t Show Up
Research shows that the rates of chronic absenteeism, defined as missing 15 or more school days a year, are highest in high school. The U.S. Education Department released a report that showed more than 6 million kids are missing more than 15 school days a year.
Students who miss even two days out of the month are more likely to fall behind or drop out. These numbers affect teachers too—making sure each student is caught up with a lesson is a lot harder to do when several kids are absent. “Even the best teachers can’t be successful with students who aren’t in class,” said Education Secretary John B. King Jr. King Jr. warned that these numbers are alarming, “especially in terms of the administration’s efforts to focus on the persistent achievement gap between minority and white students” (NPR).
Schools are required to gather this relatively new data under the new federal education law—previously, schools only tracked truancy or used figures for average daily attendance.
Notes: Chronic absenteeism figures include students who were absent for any reason (e.g., illness, suspension, the need to care for a family member), regardless of whether their absences were excused or unexcused.
Graph, photo, and news info brought to you by NPR’s Morning Edition and Elissa Nadworny.
How We Can Help the Victims of the Orlando Nightclub Shooting
Early Sunday morning, a deadly attack in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead and 53 more victims wounded. The attack, which marks the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, took place at Pulse, one of Orlando’s gay nightclubs.
The tragic event left many wounded, and left the LGBT community mourning for the safe haven nightclubs represented. “This tragedy has occurred as our community celebrates pride, and now more than ever we must come together as a nation to affirm that love conquers hate,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Here’s how we can help (from Time.com):
- Donate Blood: The OneBlood center put out an urgent call for blood donations for the Orlando victims on Sunday, and received an overwhelming show of support. Donors were told that blood bank had reached capacity but encouraged to return in the coming days, according to the OrlandoSentinel.
- Donate Money: Equality Florida set up a donation page on GoFundMe to support the victims. The fund has raised more than $120,000 from more than 3,000 donors since being set up.
- Attend a vigil: Vigils were planned in major cities across the country. Details are still being determined as of early Sunday afternoon. Orlando’s LGBT community postponed plans for a vigil following guidance from law enforcement, theSentinel reports.
- Provide Counseling: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida asked counselors from the Orlando area to come in and help field phone calls on a hotline, the Sentinel reports. Those who would like to speak to a counselor can call 1-407-228-1446.
- Email a Congressperson/Representative: One of the darkest details about this tragedy is that gun violence has become the new norm in America. Share your thoughts with the representative of your congressional district, and show them you are a citizen who cares about ending gun violence. To find your member of Congress, search your zip code here.
Prepare your students for a summer job!
Are your students looking for summer jobs after school ends? Make sure they know the interview tactics and social skills needed for pleasing the boss and getting a job!
Our JobSmart series uses video modeling to show students the RIGHT?? and WRONG?? ways to approach an interview. Check it out!
7 Smart Car Hacks for Summer Break
Parents know that car rides with kiddos can sometimes be… disastrous. At the very least, you start to realize how difficult it is to open up a pack of fruit snacks while still trying to keep your hands on the wheel!
The best way to keep car rides under control is to prepare easy-to-reach snacks and activities, and it will definitely make your car ride to the beach much more peaceful this summer.
We searched the web and found this awesome compilation of “car hacks” from Picky Stitch. They’re designed to minimize meltdowns, and some of them are made from super common household items! Check it out:
- Portable activity kit from Mama.Papa.Bubba.
- A pulley system to help pass things back to your child the safe way from Rachel at Kids Activities Blog
- Use a cup to prevent your wiggly ones from unbuckling their own seatbelt – From Catherine
- Tired of cheerio crumbs wedge between the seat? Here’s another tip from Rachel from Kids Activities Blog– use a sheet over the seat to prevent crumbs from sicking!
- A mini coloring set made out of an old DVD case—awesome idea from Stacy Vaughn!
- Trash bags on the back of the seats prevent little wrappers from crowding up your car! – From Jessica
- You can never be too prepared! That’s why we love this shoe-holder-turned-survival-kit from Heather
Check out the full list from Picky Stitch!
Teen Birth Rate Hits All Time Low
According to new government data out this week, the teen birth rate in the United States fell to another record low in 2015—dropping 8 percent over the last year. Birth rate among women ages 15 to 19 has been rapidly declining for decades since its peak in 1991. The number of abortions has also reached a record low.
When compared to other developed nations, however, the U.S. teen birth rate is still one of the highest—Switzerland and the Netherlands have the lowest teen birth rates.
The declining teen birth rate can be influenced by a number of factors, and sexual health advocates like Planned Parenthood have attributed the drop to broadening access to birth control.
More widely available sex education programs have been known to influence these numbers as well, so a larger presence of comprehensive human sexuality education may be positively impacting the teen birth rate. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is still a long way to go.
Recent findings from a CDC survey suggests “too few schools teach prevention of HIV, STDs, and pregnancy,” and that schools play a vital role in protecting students from serious—but avoidable—sexual health risks, like teen pregnancy:
“We need to do a better job of giving our young people the skills and knowledge they need to protect their own health,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. “It’s important to teach students about healthy relationships and how to reduce sexual risk before they start to have sex.”
We want to help:
- For tips about talking to teens about sex and an inside look at what types of questions they may have (but are afraid to ask) check out our blog What Teens Really Want to Know About Sex.
- Special education students need human sexuality education too! For more on addressing topics of sex with your SPED students, read 6 Tips for Talking About Sex to Teens with Special Needs.
Categories: Autism , Conflict & Anger Management , Developmental Disabilities , Sexuality & Sexual Health , Special Education , What Stanfield Is Reading
Tags: human sexuality, parenting teens, parenting tips, sex ed, sex education, sexuality, social skills, special education news, teens