Patt Morrison for August 24, 2011

Mercer 20514
Unemployment rates are high for everyone, and there is broad agreement that job creation is the single biggest policy priority for the country, but the struggles of teenagers seem to pale in comparison to older workers who have been jobless for historically long stretches. Don’t forget about those younger workers, aged 16 – 24, who are facing the same daunting prospects for employment.
Mercer 20491
It used to be divorce that everyone was worried about. But divorce rates are down: now, according to a new report, children are more likely to have unmarried parents than divorced ones. Are unmarried parents who live together the new risk to children? The University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values say yes; their recent report states that the number of American parents who are cohabitating but not married has increased twelvefold since the 1970s. The report’s data, which comes from the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth, states that 42% of children had unmarried, cohabitating parents by age 12 while only 24% had divorced parents. The report went further to cite studies that assert that children with unmarried, cohabitating parents perform worse in school and have more psychological problems (Journal of Marriage and Family and Sociology of Education). Even further, it cites a 2010 report on child abuse that found that 57.2 of 1,000 children with an unmarried partner were abused while only 6.8 of 1,000 children with married parents were abused (federal Department of Health and Human Services). Where are we seeing cohabitating parents? W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, explains that the number of cohabitating parents began to quickly increase in poor communities in the late 1960s. Now, the phenomenon has moved to lower-middle-class families, with out-of-wedlock births among high-school-educated women up from 5% in 1982 to 34% in the 2000s. But Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, does not agree that marriage will help keep these parents together or that parents cohabitating without marrying hurts children. Coontz has researched families of the 1960s and found unhappy married couples who married because it was expected and ultimately did more damage to their children than unmarried couples do today. Does marriage help keep a couple together? Is there a reason—economic, philosophical or otherwise—to not get married? Does it make a difference to the child if her parents are married?
Mercer 20516

How should schools be measured if not by their test scores?

A new Senate bill finally seeks to steer school and teacher evaluations away from test scores and towards a more comprehensive picture that takes into account things like students’ preparedness for college of careers, drop out and graduation rates.
Mercer 20510

Is it possible to repress sexual abuse?

Are our brains hardwired to repress traumatic experiences like sexual abuse? There is a debate raging within the mental health field about the psychology around memory and sexual trauma.
Mercer 20511

Triple Crossing

Being double crossed is bad enough, but being triple crossed? Well, I guess that becomes good again, right? Triple Crossing by Sebastian Rotella is a high flying spy tale of explosive proportions. Take the driver’s seat with rookie San Diego border patrol agent, Valentine Pescatore, as he gets caught up playing games with Mexican drug cartels: dangerous games. Will he and renegade crime family informant, Isabel Puente live happily ever after? Or will Mexican Drug cartels turn this match made in heaven into a match made in hell. Bloodshed, betrayal, double-betrayal, double-crossing, TRIPLE CROSSING! Tune in to hear Sebastian Rotella give the inside scoop on this sizzling summer blockbuster.
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