Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Holiday Poverty Estimates from the Census Bureau: Johnstown SD Ranks 84th Nationally.

The Census Bureau has come out with its annual Small Income and Poverty Estimates for each county and school District in the US for 2018.  The above graph shows the 20 year trend in estimates of the percentage of students in poverty for the US, Pennsylvania, Greater Johnstown (GJSD), Ferndale, Richland, and Westmont school districts.  These districts are chosen as they are adjacent to GJSD.  The top 10 school districts in terms of poverty rate in Pennsylvania are listed below.

Greater Johnstown once again has the highest poverty rate for children ages 5-17 in the state out of 500 school districts at 46.7%.  Nationally it ranks 84th out of 13,207 school districts or in the 99th percentile in poverty.  The above graph shows that this trend has been increasing for GJSD.  The rates for the US, Pennsylvania, and the other school districts have remained relatively stable over the last 10 years by comparison.  

The Ferndale SD is also above the state (15.9%) and national (17.0%) rates for 2018 at 26.2%.  Richland and Westmont were virtually identical at 10.7% and 11.0% respectively.  Next I will comment on overall poverty trends for Cambria County and the City of Johnstown.  The 2020 census is coming soon and they are looking to hire census takers.  Whether or not you want to work on it you should participate to ensure that they will have the best possible estimates of the US, state and local populations.

District Name
Grade range of responsibility
Total Population
Relevant Ages 5 to 17 Population
Relevant Ages 5 to 17 in Families in Poverty
Relevant age 5 to 17 Ratio %
Greater Johnstown School District (PA)
Aliquippa School District (PA)
Farrell Area School District (PA)
Harrisburg City School District (PA)
Clairton City School District (PA)
Salisbury-Elk Lick School District (PA)
New Castle Area School District (PA)
Sharon City School District (PA)
Duquesne City School District (PA)
Steelton-Highspire School District (PA)
**Related Posts**


Saturday, August 4, 2018

Wuthering Depths

Emily Bronte 1818-1848
I write here when I am inspired by something and when life does not get in the way.  This past Monday was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Bronte, the author of the novel Wuthering Heights.  For this blog I considered the title Wuthering Depths as a tongue in cheek pun on the novel but went with CSI without Dead Bodies as the TV show was still popular when the blog began.  

The details of Bronte's early life can be seen in the image above.  She had a younger sister Charlotte who wrote Jane Eyre and Anne who wrote Agnes Grey.  She had a brother Branwell who struggled with alcoholism and his image was removed from the portrait above with his sisters.
Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Catherine in the most famous movie adaptation of Wuthering Heights from 1939

Emily was reserved and quiet but she knew the people around her well.  In Wuthering Heights (her only novel written shortly before she died in 1848) the main characters are Heathcliff, an orphan from Liverpool brought to the Moors by the father of Catherine Earnshaw, the other main character.  After the father dies Catherine's brother Linton shuns him and treats him like an indentured servant.  Heathcliff and Catherine have a complicated love affair where she marries a rich man and he becomes cruel and vindictive as a result.  The next generation on the Moors is able to overcome their hatred and be happy and the protagonists are finally reunited in death.

I first read the novel in high school.  It didn't grab me until a few years later as I sympathized with Heathcliff's struggles in a harsh landscape.  Yes he was a product of his environment where the right guidance might have produced a very different outcome.  We all struggle with these issues in life and we all need the right guidance to overcome.  The depths that this blog searches are the patterns that others might miss.  

**Related Posts**

Ambiguous Symbols in 2001:A Space Odyssey

Thursday, April 26, 2018

How we see the world when we're young and old

I have an Op Ed posted in yesterday's Johnstown Tribune-Democrat on how the number of hate groups in Pennsylvania have decreased in 2016 and how the numbers look even better for the state if you adjust them for population.  The response on Facebook has been generally positive with a few negative comments that basically state that "Why are only right wing groups listed as hate groups."  The image below from Facebook shows that of the 1,526 people who saw the post: 31 either liked or loved it, 166 clicked on it, 6 people commented (myself included, some more than once), two hid the post from their timeline, and one shared it on their timeline. I don't know the age breakdown of those who responded.

I remember when I was a substitute teacher in third grade, one girl held out a card to me and said "FBI!"  Watching James Comey be interviewed by George Stephanopoulos made me think of that girl.  She's too young to hear about J. Edgar Hoover, Stormy Daniels, or the Trump pee tape.  What would it be like for her to conduct her first investigation?  I wonder what it would have been like for her to interview James Comey. What would she think of Trump's tweets about him?  Would her thoughts be different from the responses to my article?

We have our beliefs and it can be uncomfortable when they are challenged.  My mom would have been crushed to hear about the crimes that Bill Cosby has been accused and now convicted of.  It can be sobering to see people's reaction to information that may challenge what they believe these beliefs.  Sometimes the responses are sobering when childlike.  Other times they can be an indication that you are on to something.  The positive feedback can be reassuring.  One must evaluate all the responses to get a clear picture.


Thinking about the Cosby verdict I'm reminded of this interview that Groucho Marx gave to Bill Cosby in the 70's when I was a kid.  Looking at it now I wonder if Marx knew something we didn't.
**Related Posts**

Hate Groups and Trump's Vote%: Predictive effect present when education and poverty are considered

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Psychopathology and Incidence of Bullying

Here is the second guest post from guest post U for CSI Without Dead Bodies.
Bullying is any form of aggressive behavior that seeks to force or coerce others, usually by force. Typically bullying presents itself in the context of an imbalance of power and as a habitual behavior by the aggressor. Bullies, especially young ones, may target the religion, sexuality, ability, or race of the recipient of their bullying aggression. There are many types and formats of bullying, and just as many ways to combat bullying from persisting or arising in the first place.

Types of Bullying
Social scientists have identified three main forms of bullying - emotional bullying, verbal bullying, and physical bullying. Emotional and verbal bullying usually come saddled with attempts at coercion and intimidation. Coercion almost explains intimidation in that coercion is defined as forcing another party to behave in an involuntary way via use of bellicose threats and intimidation. Intimidation is defined as an aggressor party presenting injury or harm to another person for some type of benefit, usually social or financial.

Emotional bullying, also known as psychological abuse, may involve coercion and intimidation as well as subjecting another party to any event or treatment that will result in the other party experiencing psychology trauma, such as anxiety or depression. Emotionally bullying is predictably associated with an exploitation of a power imbalance. For this reason, emotional bullying and psychological abuse is prevalent on the schoolyard, the home, and in the workplace.

One form of emotional bullying is verbal aggression. Verbal aggression is colloquially defined as something that intentionally upsets, annoys, or disturbs another person. There are other forms of emotional bullying like dominant and jealous behaviors but those forms of emotionally bullying are unimportant for this conversation. At any rate, the US Department of Justice recently concluded that emotionally abusive characteristics are those which cause fear by intimidation or threaten the physical harm of one's family members, classmates, or fellow employers. Another interesting finding coming out of Health Canada found that emotional abuse is motivated by power and facilitated within social arenas in which power was imbalanced and exploited by the aggressor.

Conventional Yet Harmful
Perhaps the most well-known form of bullying is physical bullying. Physical bullying is defined as an aggressor party deliberately seeking to instill bodily harm or injury onto another party. Popular forms of physical abuse or physical bullying are: striking, kicking, kneeing, drowning, cutting, slapping, and burning. Partly because physical bullying is so openly and inclusively defined, physical bullying is also prevalent in the home, schools, and workplaces all around the United States. Physical abuse is even popular on college campuses in the form of sorority hazing. In the home, physical abuse presents itself as child abuse, sometimes negligence, or domestic violence.

Standup and Fight! 
There has been an increasingly large swell of celebrities and activities seeking to combat bullying. Considering some of the dire outcomes of bullying, like suicide, bullying in the classroom is no laughing matter. Canada actually conceived the National Bullying Prevention Week in 2000. In the United States, the It Gets Better campaign was created in 2010 to tell young, gay teens that bullying doesn't usually persist into later life and that they are apt to feel better in the future. Lady Gaga, in fact, started the Born This Way campaign soon after the unveiling of the It Gets Better campaign, which both directly combat homosexual bullying and indirectly fight teen suicides.

Needs to Stop
After understanding more about the three main types of bullying and the severity of its outcomes, bullying is clearly a problem endemic to many social institutions and peoples that needs to sputter to a stop soon.

Becki Alvarez writes about parenting, education & family finance at
Guest Post U
The University of Great Content

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Kinder, Gentler Looney Tunes

We all remember the short films with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang from Warner Brothers which were voiced by Mel Blanc and June Foray and directed by Chuck Jones for over 50 years. Those cartoons had lots of funny slapstick. Now Warner Brothers has come out with new cartoons in a sitcom format on the Cartoon Network for grownups and kids.

Bugs Bunny no longer lives in a hole in the ground. He lives in a normal house as the inventor of the carrot peeler. He plays more the wisecracking straight man in this series.

Daffy Duck is basically the same as a freeloading housemate of Bugs. The twist for him this time is that his character has the potential to grow and mature. Him and Bugs have romantic interests, street smart Tina (a Duck) and a fun loving Lola (a bunny voiced by SNL's Kristin Wiig nominated for an Emmy for this) as can be seen in the YouTube clip below. It must be hard for them to kiss with those beaks and buck teeth. The content doesn’t get inappropriate for children.

Other changes to the characters include Porky Pig being a boring accountant. Yosemite Sam, rather than being Bugs mortal enemy, is his annoying neighbor. The Tasmanian Devil is now Bugs’ house pet. Speedy Gonzalez now runs a pizza shop. Marvin the Martian was an exchange student from Mars while in high school with Daffy and Porky and no longer wants to destroy the Earth. Sylvester, Tweety, and Granny are basically the same but their pasts are more complicated. Foghorn Leghorn is now an overblown business tycoon. Elmer Fudd is a TV newsman. Mac and Tosh are two gophers (like Chip and Dale from Disney) who are extremely close.

These changes do work in this format where the characters have more room to move. This show is not totally divorced from it’s slapstick roots but so far without explosions. Road Runner/Coyote shorts are included with a modern twist.

Warner Brothers reasons for doing these changes now with a very established formula can be open to speculation. Are they trying to mature the characters as the audience matures? If that were the case they might have tried maturing the characters a long time ago. Another reason could be that audiences want more complex/less violent cartoons that adults as well as children can enjoy. 

The Cartoon Network has undertaken a stop bullying campaign. There is scientific research showing that exposure to violence in the media is a causal factor (meaning that it makes it more likely) violent behavior in children and adults. While one can find lots of violence in the network’s other programs, including the old Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry cartoons which are still popular, it seems that this retooling may partly be in conjunction with the stop bullying campaign.

**Related Posts**

Bullying & Society

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Child Wellness State By State and the Uninsured

The Huffington Post posted a summary of the Annie E. Casey foundation's report of Child Wellness State By State.  It lists New Hampshire as the best state for child wellness and Mississippi as the worst.  The rankings are based on ten indicators which are:

1. Percentage of low-birthweight babies
2. Infant mortality rate
3. Child death rate
4. Teen death rate
5. Teen birth rate
6. Percent of teens not in school and not high school graduates
7. Percent of teens not attending school or working
8. Percent of children living in homes where no parent has full-time employment
9. Percent of children in poverty
10. Percent of children in single-parent families
The overall rankings might be interesting for lay people who are considering where to live but for health researchers the specific health variables used are more interesting because they provide specific information.  Information is lost when it is summed across different measures to create a summary score.  Of course which measures are appropriate to use is often subject to debate and highly dependent on what is available.  One measure which is not considered is the per cent uninsured in each state.  The chart at the left indicates that the state's ranking correlates very well with the percent uninsured (Census Bureau estimate) in that state accounting for 44% of the variance (The District of Columbia was not included in the Casey Foundation's overall wellness rankings).  This high correlation suggests that there is some validity to their ranking method.  This makes sense as many of the measures listed above relate to parent as well as child wellness.  This suggests that the higher the percent uninsured in that state, the lower its wellness ranking is.

The data for each each state and sometimes DC and Puerto Rico are available from the Annie E Casey Foundation to compart to the data I have for each state.  Of particular interest is the % of low birthweight babies and the infant mortality rates because they tell about the health of the child and the mother. The graph at the left (the District of Columbia was included in this graph) suggests a weaker relationship between % low birthweight babies and the uninsured which, while still statistically significant with p=.037, accounts for only 9% of the variability.  For this specific measure the states of Mississippi and Louisiana exert considerable positive influence on the best fit regression line with the top two highest % low birthweight rates and the 7th and 4th highest rates of uninsured in the US.  The three states with the highest rates of uninsured were near the national low birthweight rate.

There are many other measures that can be looked at and it's best to look at them one at a time. Adults as well as children being uninsured, whether they have children or not, has negative consequences for children and everyone else by draining resources which could be used for more productive activities when seeking treatment is put off until a health problem becomes too serious.

**Relevant Posts**

A Statistical Profile of the Uninsured in Washington, DC, New Mexico, and Texas


Income and Life Expectancy. What does it Tell Us About US?


Correlating Pennsylvania’s Uninsured with Other Health Measures | Healthcare 4 All PA Education Fund

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Health insurers force children into the ranks of the uninsured | Seema Jilani | Comment is free |

This is just another example of how the current health care law is a reform that will have to be reformed. A new survey released this week indicates that those who want the law to do more for patients outnumber those who want it repealed by 2 to 1. A Census Bureau report released last week shows that the number of uninsured in the US has reached 50 million last year. This article shows what the law may do to children in the name of maximizing profits.

Health insurers force children into the ranks of the uninsured | Seema Jilani | Comment is free |