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Michael Hogan to give fourth annual Dudley Allen Sargent Distinguished Lecture, Wednesday, October 16, Sargent College, 5 p.m.
Week of 11 October 2002 · Vol. VI, No. 7

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Rocky Mountain News: Bilingual battle in Denver

On November 5, Denver voters will act on Amendment 31, which, if passed, would mandate that most of the state’s estimated 70,000 non-English-speaking students be placed in mainstream classes after one year of intensive English instruction, reports the October 7 Rocky Mountain News. Supporters argue that students are often stuck in bilingual programs for years, causing them to lose ground in other subjects, while opponents counter that the amendment assumes all students will respond to a year of intense training despite their diverse backgrounds and widely varying language skills. Christine Rossell, a CAS professor of political science, who has advised numerous school districts, including Denver, on bilingual matters, says that the backlash against bilingual education began in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s among Mexican garment workers who discovered their children were not learning English. “These garment workers were not only horrified to find their children were not learning English, but guess what? They couldn’t get them out of the program.” After Proposition 227 passed in California, the number of children in bilingual programs in the state dropped from about a third to 11 percent. While some claim the result has boosted learning, Rossell says that little about the issue is black and white: students seem to do better in English under the California law, but all the evidence isn’t in. However, she says, if bilingual education had been a clear-cut disaster, schools would have dropped it years ago, adding that it is a good choice for parents who want their children to maintain their Spanish skills.

Boston Globe: Deaths in human research prompt call for change

A panel of the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Science, an independent organization set up by Congress to advise the government, urged fundamental changes in the way medical research institutions conduct experiments on humans in response to a string of accidental deaths, says an article in the Boston Globe on October 4. The panel also recommended federal oversight of human research, including privately funded experiments, and a no-fault insurance program to compensate those harmed during the experiments. Human research is a major business in Boston, with thousands of experiments performed at teaching hospitals, Harvard, and Boston University; Boston institutions receive more federal research dollars than those in any other U.S. city. Currently, a university, hospital, or company sets up an institutional board to review experiments involving human beings. According to some critics, the report did not address a fundamental conflict of interest: that universities and hospitals review their own experiments. Responding to the panel’s recommendations, George Annas, an SPH professor of health law and chairman of the department, says, “We need a lot more reform than the IOM seems to recognize. This is but another voice crying in the wilderness. All their major recommendations have been made over and over again.”

Marketplace, National Public Radio: Elderly spending rather than saving money for heirs

Today’s elderly are tending to spend their money on cruises, luxury cars, and even poker games rather than save it for their heirs, reports NPR’s September 30 Marketplace. “The elderly today are much more likely to spend their wealth rather than transfer it,” says Laurence Kotlikoff, a CAS professor of economics and department chairman. He adds that today’s senior citizens are leaving less money to their kids than previous generations, even though they belong to the richest generation in history. Without tangible assets such as farms to pass down, but with increased longevity adding to the time to spend their money and exploding health-care costs that eat into their savings, seniors have less money to pass on. Add to this, Kotlikoff says, the fact that seniors no longer feel that spending on luxury items is taboo. “You ever see the license plate that says, ‘I’m spending my kids’ inheritance?’” he asks. With more seniors spending their money, he says, younger people will have to transfer their wealth to take care of the older folks. And with the current stock market slump, Kotlikoff suggests that the government massively increase taxes right now and for the next several decades in order for more money to be available to take care of future seniors.


11 October 2002
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