Most Educated States 2017: Where Does Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Pick Betsy DeVos’ Home State Rank?

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Pick For Education Department


Michigan, the state where President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy Devos, has been actively involved in education reform for decades, ranks 27th in the list of most educated states, according to analysis published Tuesday by personal finance website WalletHub.

DeVos’ nomination has come under intense scrutiny over the billionaire’s potential conflicts of interest and absence of experience in public schools. The former Republican chairwoman in Michigan has also attracted attention because of her role as the chair of pro-school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children and her pushing of charter schools and school choice in the state.

But the analysis from WalletHub ranks Michigan 37th in terms of quality of education and attainment gap, which measures factors such as the quality of the public-school system and the racial and gender gap in educational attainment. While Michigan was ranked slightly higher in terms of educational attainment, which assesses the percentage of adults in each state with different levels of qualifications, it is still labeled as a low-education and low-income state by the study.

The analysis drew its data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, The Chronicle of Higher Education and U.S. News and World Report.

At the top of the list as the most-educated state was Massachusetts, thanks largely to its leading figures in percentages of bachelor’s degree and graduate and professional degree holders. Maryland is ranked second, Colorado third, Connecticut fourth and Vermont, which scored highest in quality of education and attainment gap, is fifth.

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The Freshman 15: Does college cause students to gain weight? – Journalist’s Resource Journalist Tip Sheet

Is there such a thing as the “Freshman 15”? A new study suggests students gain about a pound during the first year of college and young adults who attend college gain less weight than those who do not.

Source: The Freshman 15: Does college cause students to gain weight? – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

Is there such a thing as the “Freshman 15”? A new study suggests students gain about a pound — not 15 — during their first year of college and young adults who attend college gain less weight than those who do not.

The issue: More than 70 percent of American adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Policymakers and public health leaders are keenly interested in helping people prevent and control weight gain, which can lead to numerous health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. To develop such programs, it’s important to understand the factors that affect an individual’s attitudes and habits related to food and exercise.

The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that healthy habits developed in childhood can last for many decades. But the transition from high school to college can prompt significant lifestyle changes as students become more independent from their parents, making their own decisions about what to eat and how to spend their time.

An academic study worth reading: “The Effects of College on Weight: Examining the ‘Freshman 15’ Myth and Other Effects of College Over the Life Cycle,” published in Demography, December 2016.

Study summary: Charles Baum, a professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University, asserts that his study is the first to rigorously examine the effects of college on a person’s weight over most of his or her lifetime. He used data from a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, an ongoing, annual survey of 8,984 people that began in 1997, when they were between the ages of 12 and 16. Baum examined data related to college attendance and weight, excluding pregnant women and new mothers, whose weight is expected to fluctuate, as well as individuals weighing less than 80 pounds or more than 400 pounds. He looked at survey respondents’ weights in high school, after each year of college and up through 2010, when respondents were between the ages of 25 and 31.

To gauge the longer-term effects of college attendance, the author also analyzed data collected from an earlier National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which began in 1979. He looked at data collected from those respondents each year through 2010, when these respondents were ages 45 to 52.

Key takeaways:

  • Individuals aged 17 to 23 who were enrolled in college weighed less than those who were not. College students in this age group weighed an average of 157.9 pounds compared to 168.4 pounds for individuals not in college.
  • Men and women who went to college gained less weight than those who did not. When Baum looked at the weights of male college students during their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of college as well as during the year immediately before college and the year immediately afterward, he found they had gained an average of 14.1 pounds over that six-year period. Their counterparts who did not attend college gained 14.8 pounds, on average. For women, the difference was much larger. Female college students gained an average of 8.3 pounds over the six years while women who did not go to college gained 14.6 pounds.
  • College students gain much less weight during their freshman year than the 15 pounds rumored to be typical. Baum estimated that freshman year college attendance causes weight to increase by about a pound.
  • Having a college degree reduces the probability of becoming obese. For individuals who were between the ages of 25 and 31 in 1992 or 2010, college completion lowered their chances of being obese by about 7.5 percentage points. For individuals who were between the ages of 45 and 52 in 2010, the probability of becoming obese was slashed by two-thirds if they had earned a college degree.

 Other resources for journalists:

Related research:


Keywords: weight gain, obesity, higher education, dining services, college meal plan, campus dining, junk food


Writer: | Last updated: January 19, 2017

Citation: Baum, Charles L. “The Effects of College on Weight: Examining the ‘Freshman 15’ Myth and Other Effects of College Over the Life Cycle,” Demography, December 2016. doi: 10.1007/s13524-016-0530-6.

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Journalists’ Tip Sheet: ‘Evidence on young adults mental health care Affordable Care Act coverage’

2014 study in Health Affairs analyzing how the implementation of the Dependant Coverage Provision of the ACA helped boost rates of young persons seeking mental health treatment.

Source: Evidence on mental health care coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

When the majority of the new coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect in 2014, Medicaid eligibility was expanded and private insurers were restricted from increasing prices or excluding individuals because of pre-existing conditions. Enrollment in 2016 hit a record, resulting in major decreases in the number of uninsured young adults in the United States.

Previous research has demonstrated that access to treatment significantly reduces mental health symptoms in the population and increases treatment utilization. This is particularly important given that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that many mental health and substance abuse disorders may be especially high during young adulthood.

A 2014 study published in Health Affairs, “An ACA Provision Increased Treatment for Young Adults With Possible Mental Illnesses Relative to Comparison Group,” sought to examine differences in mental health treatment utilization among adults aged 19 to 25 who may have mental health or substance abuse disorders following the DCP’s implementation. The researchers — Brendan Salonera of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Benjamin Lê Cook of Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance — based their work on the 2008-2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Because the data did not specify the subjects’ precise year of birth, the authors included adults aged 18 to 25 in their sample; however, this inclusion would tend to under- rather than over-estimate the provision’s effect. This cohort’s treatment utilization before and after the DCP was implemented was compared to observed rates among 26- to 35-year-olds, for whom the provision did not apply.

The paper’s findings include:

  • Among 18- to 25-year-olds with possible mental disorders, use of any mental health treatment following the implementation of the DCP increased by 2.16 percentage points. Over the same period, the usage rate among 26- to 35-year-olds decreased by 3.16 percentage points.
  • After the DCP came into force, the proportion of 18- to 25-year-olds who used private insurance during their last treatment episode increased by 3.84 percentage points. By comparison, the rate among 26- to 35-year-olds during the same period fell by 9.1 percentage points.
  • The proportion of 18- to 25-year-olds who were uninsured during their last treatment episode decreased by 2.88 percentage points. For those aged 26 to 35, the proportion of those without insurance rose 9.75 percentage points.
  • There were no significant differences in the changes in substance-abuse treatment before and after the DCP between 18- to 25-year-olds and 26- to 35-year-olds.

“The ACA dependent-coverage provision appears to be a stepping-stone toward increasing mental health treatment among young adults with possible mental health problems,” the researchers conclude. “The act may also improve the comprehensiveness of substance abuse coverage for young adults with substance use disorders.” However, they caution that the study design could not account for factors external to the DCP, including the economic downturn.

Related research: A 2012 study published in Health Services Research showed that the rate of uninsured young adults decreased substantially following the implementation of the DCP. A 2014 research brief from U.C. San Diego described how state decisions on expanding Medicaid influence the success of insurance marketplaces. A 2014 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed decreases in mortality after Massachusetts’ implementation of health care reform. A 2014 research review looks at state health care exchanges, while a 2013 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that increased access to contraceptives is associated with decreases in unwanted or ill-timed births, increases in family incomes, and increases in education of offspring.


Keywords: mental health, mental illness, substance use, substance abuse, drug use, drug abuse, Affordable Care Act, Dependence Coverage Provision, young adults, insurance, Medicaid.


Writer: | Last updated: January 3, 2017

Citation: Salonera, Brendan; Benjamin, Lê Cook. “An ACA Provision Increased Treatment for Young Adults With Possible Mental Illnesses Relative to Comparison Group,” Health Affairs, 2014, Vol. 33, No. 8, 1425–1434. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0214.

Episode 16 – Great signs are a great sign with special guest Leah Greenberg from the Indivisible Team | from Eclectablog

Eclectablog has posted a new item, ‘Episode 16 – Great signs are a great sign with special guest Leah Greenberg from the Indivisible Team’, at Eclectablog.
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From NPR: How To Make Broadcast Towers More Bird-Friendly: Turn Off Some Lights 

Rain and radio towers in Austin, Texas. Scientists found that turning off steady beam lights on towers reduced bird fatalities by 70 percent.

Cherry Bream/Flickr

It’s likely the only time you really notice one of your neighborhood broadcast and cell towers is at night when they’re lit up with conspicuous bright red lights.

Those lights help pilots see the huge metal structures that can reach 1,000 feet into the air — but they can spell disaster for birds.

In 1976 in Gun Lake, Mich., one tower killed over 2,300 birds in one night, says Caleb Putnam, who works for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says for reasons scientists still can’t quite figure out, birds kept flying headlong into towers.

“If that many are dying at one night at one tower and yet there are thousands of towers across the country and as you go across the world, the numbers are staggering,” he says.

Putnam says in North America alone it’s estimated that 7 million birds smash into towers every year. But until recently scientists didn’t know why it was happening.

Figuring that out became biologist Joelle Gehring’s mission. She helped conduct a study in 2003 to find out what could be done.

To find out what easy solution solves this problem follow this link:

From POLITICO:Trump repeats debunked voter fraud claim at meeting with Hill leaders 

In his first meeting with congressional leaders of both parties since taking office, President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated a debunked claim that he only lost the national popular vote because of widespread voter fraud.

Multiple sources described the exchange as part of a generally light-hearted meet-and-greet between Trump and the lawmakers at the White House. It’s unclear if any of the leaders responded to Trump.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) confirmed that Trump made the voter fraud claim, but added, “I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I was ready to move onto some policy issues. I didn’t anticipate that discussion.”

It’s further evidence of Trump’s fixation with his narrow victory, in which he captured an Electoral College handily despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. Nearly three weeks after his Election Day victory, as late California returns drove up Clinton’s popular vote margin, Trump tweeted incorrectly about the size of his victory.

Read the full story here: Trump repeats debunked voter fraud claim at meeting with Hill leaders – POLITICO

CURMUDGUCATION: Dem-ish Reformsters Play Both Sides

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Dem-ish Reformsters Play Both Sides

Dem-ish Reformsters Play Both Sides

You know how it is. New school year starts, lunch time rolls around, and everyone has to decide who they want to sit with for the next year.

Modern education reform has been fueled in part by folks pretending to be left-tilted Democrats while embracing right-tilted free market corporate-based policies. The sweet smoothie of neo-liberal conservatism has worked for years–it helped sell No Child Left Behind (Look! Bipartisan support For The Children!)  and it worked under the Obama neo-lib administration as well. Really, who cares about political labels and parties and tribes as long as corporate ed reform is still chugging along.

What, really, is the difference between a Democrat-flavored, left-tilted, self-identified progressive education reformster and the crew that just took over the big table in the DC cafeteria?

Remember what Democrats for Education Reform honcho Whitney Tilson had to say about putting the D in DFER:

The main obstacle to education reform was moving the Democratic party, and it had to be Democrats who did it, it had to be an inside job. So that was the thesis behind the organization. And the name – and the name was critical – we get a lot of flack for the name. You know, “Why are you Democrats for education reform? That’s very exclusionary. I mean, certainly there are Republicans in favor of education reform.” And we said, “We agree.” In fact, our natural allies, in many cases, are Republicans on this crusade, but the problem is not Republicans. We don’t need to convert the Republican party to our point of view…

Then Donald Trump won the election, and a new President means a new year in the cafeteria.

This has presented reformsters with a dilemma. They can have pretty much everything they want, but they have to throw political support to Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump to get it.

Some folks are cool with that. Jeanne Allen and the Center for Education Reform had about five seconds of misgivings last May, and they are now ready to plant a big wet kiss on any part of Trumpian flesh they can get their lips near.

But other reformsters are trying to sail between Scylla and Charybdis, maintaining their reformy credentials while keeping distance between themselves and the least-loved President ever elected along with his Secretary of Education, a woman who has no more time for Democrats than she has for public schools.

So here’s Justin Cohen at Chalkbeat, with the super-descriptive headline “I’m an education reformer, and Betsy DeVos is going to kill our coalition. Here’s a game plan.” Cohen is a Broadie and member of the board for Students for Education Reform (DFER’s little sibling), and his distinction between the wings of reformsterism matches what several others have posited:

The glue of the reform coalition has been an orientation toward results and accountability. DeVos has shown that her real commitment is to an ideological position, dominated by a faith in markets and the economic theories of conservative economists like Milton Friedman…The nomination of DeVos signals that our country’s Republican leadership will abandon the technocratic agenda in favor of an ideological one. 

This reads like a dispatch from an alternate universe. The reform coalition has been steadfast in its determination to ignore results that don’t match its determination to charterize, voucherize and privatize education. Reformsters, for instance, still pursue the idea of an Achievement School District even though the pioneer ASD in Tennessee has failed to produce results. And in states like Florida, Ohio, New York and, yes, Michigan reformsters have held the line against accountability at every step.

And if this divide is so strong and clear, where have these progressive results-oriented accountability hawks been as DeVos has torn through the Michigan education system?

Others mark the divide elsewhere. Here’s reformy press agent Richard Whitmire at the74 trying to explain the new confusion and identifying it mostly as a charters-vs-vouchers division, with a side order of pendulum fear:

One not-so-private fear is the all-too-real chance of a major pendulum swing. When the Trump era ends, chances are good that politics will swing to the progressive side. At that point, charters will be tainted by Trump, mashed up with vouchers, and will undoubtedly lose their crucial bipartisan support. Especially from any Democracts in the white middle class.

That’s a reasonable fear for reformsters. By cross-branding their policy drive, they’ve been able to swing from Clinton to Bush to Obama without ever having to lose political juice or partisan supporters from either camp. But Trump and DeVos are likely to ruin the brand simply by stamping their names on the policies that reformsters have been pushing all along.

Whitney Tilson himself has figured out another way to split the difference. DFER said they thought no Democrats should work with DeVos, but they have not exactly been blistering in their criticism of her. Now in his latest every-so-often-ly newsletter, Tilson manages to have it both ways.

He’s been quiet, he says, while weighing DeVos’s testimony and perusing the record, and now he has concluded that he can’t support her. However– he will present an entire essay from “an experienced, smart and trusted friend” who says that they’re a Democrat who has worked with DeVos since 2000, and lays out why she would be awesome (visionary, super-duper tough on accountability, works For The Children). Tilson doesn’t endorse this argument, mind you– he just wants everyone to hear it.

Tilson has concluded “somewhat reluctantly” that he can’t endorse her:

I say “somewhat reluctantly” because I think she is a smart, capable person who genuinely cares about every child in this country receiving a high-quality education, and also because I agree with her on many things, including the importance of parental choice, especially via good charter schools, and on the need to courageously do battle with the forces of the status quo (including playing political hardball, as this NYT article notes), which are so poorly serving so many millions of children.

That is one heck of a non-endorsement. With enemies like these, who needs friends?

Tilson wants his fans to know that he is absolutely not “toeing the unions’ line, perish the thought” and manages to lump the unions and Tea Party together. “The unions obviously oppose choice and, like conservative Tea Party Republicans, they oppose strong federal accountability, as they’d like to be left to their own devices locally.”

This is perhaps the dividing line that matters most but which is discussed least– some reformsters would prefer to deal with a federal bureaucracy while others prefer to work with state governments. Is it easier to get tax dollars from the feds, or do you have a better shot at chipping your paydirt off big “block grants” handed to the states? I suppose this depends upon whether your network and contacts are operating in DC or a state capital.

Tilson works his way back around to Cohen’s piece, from which he pulls some salient quotes–

Her answers also validated what left-leaning education reformers have suspected for months: DeVos embraces school choice as an education panacea, while grasping little else about federal education policy.  

In other words, because she is such a charter-choice true believer, she doesn’t really know anything about anything.

It remains to be seen how reformsters will sort themselves out, and that will undoubtedly depend on what sorts of policy and administrative screw-ups DeVos perpetrates. In the meantime, it’s a fascinating dance to watch, like watching middle school students sort themselves into cafeteria tables at the beginning of a new school year.

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