Upsetment
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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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In South Sudan, preparing young generation for young country's future

In South Sudan, preparing young generation for young country's future | Upsetment | Scoop.it
South Sudan became an independent nation only in 2011, but civil war broke out in 2013. One of NGOs' chief challenges is healing children's scars and educational deficits, whose affects may be felt for decades.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What a sad commentary on our world and our species articles like this are. Should we not be doing more to help people and less to kill and maim them? Should the adults of South Sudan not be providing not just homes but preparation for life for these young survivors? How can we help them. Recently, I co-authored a memoir by on of the "Lost Boys of South Sudan." We are still looking for a publisher. Meanwhile, his story might help us to better understand what is needed by these youngsters. 

Want to learn a bit about that memoir? Here's a trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXT7FRHInZg&t=10s
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In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video)

In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video) | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The ruling could bring major benefits to students with disabilities – especially those with 'individualized education programs,' or IEPs.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Often during my professional career as a psychologist I found myself dealing with school systems. Sometimes they wanted what was best for kids and worked diligently towards those goals. Sometimes they wanted to avoid costs and go with a one-size-fits-all special ed placement. A few wanted what was best for the child but had rather bizarre notions of what that meant, i.e. endless hours of reading instruction for the severely dyslexic depriving them of other studies and activities. Now, in a time of decreased funding for almost everything, the court says schools should in effect look to optimize the child's potential in a meaningful way. I love that but wonder how out of step the reality will be with the anti-tax sentiment of Americans and particularly the GOP and the current POTUS. What do you think, will this actually mean better education for kids with special needs?
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If Your Child Has This Doll, You Should Get Rid of It Now

If Your Child Has This Doll, You Should Get Rid of It Now | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Tech news sites like PC Mag and even the BBC are reporting that, in Germany, the My Friend Cayla dolls are basically illegal. And that they put any child at risk for have his or her privacy invaded, since hackers can use an unsecure bluetooth device that is embedded in the toy "to listen and talk to the child playing with it."

Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wonder if they also have video cameras built in. All I know, if somebody gives your kid one of these dolls, I'd be very suspicious. Just exactly did they want to say, to hear, and perhaps even to watch? Creepy? Yeah, I'd say so.
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In St. Louis schools, water fountains are symbols of inequality again

In St. Louis schools, water fountains are symbols of inequality again | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Dangerous levels of lead in dozens of public schools have made the water undrinkable — but not for white, wealthy kids.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If we do not provide the essentials of life, water, food, air, shelter, and the like to all our children, then we are necessarily moving either towards a feudal system or a revolution. I cannot imagine anything more clearly wrong than allowing those children who' come from less affluent homes to suffer the inherent penalty of drinking contaminated water. Shame on us as a country if we don't choose a better path. 
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The Supreme Court and a Life Barely Lived

The Supreme Court and a Life Barely Lived | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A 1989 Supreme Court decision continues to immunize government from the kind of accountability that common sense and justice would seem to require.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This is akin to the failure of mental health hospitals to take responsibility for children dumped in them by parents even though there was no reason to believe those children were in fact lacking in competence. There was a time when parents could simply say. "The kid is crazy," and walk away. In the end, how can the state claim to have jurisdiction over abortions on behalf of a fetus but not have responsibility for that child's protection after the moment of birth? 

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Texas May Deny Birth Certificates to Immigrants' Children, Judge Rules

Texas May Deny Birth Certificates to Immigrants' Children, Judge Rules | Upsetment | Scoop.it
He said more evidence is needed
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This seems to violate not only the Fourteenth Amendment but all rules of reason. The child is born; that is the necessary evidence of his/her birth lying in the bassinet. If you question the parents' names, then indicate the nature of the basis of their identification on the certificate and issue a temporary one, but don't deny the child's existence. Oh, wait, you say there's no room in the inn or even in the stable? Now I understand. You say they're Samaritans? Now I follow you completely.

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U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health

U.S. Ranks Worst Developed Country for Maternal Health | Upsetment | Scoop.it
But there's plenty of room for improvement
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is the U.S. slipping into the third world as the self-righteous and "christian-exclaiming" politicians yell, "We're Number One!" while ignoring the least among us?

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Some parents refuse to let their children take standardized tests

Some parents refuse to let their children take standardized tests | Upsetment | Scoop.it
They view civil disobedience as a way to end what they see as a destructive overemphasis on tests.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Are we over-testing kids? Or does national testing guarantee the improvement of low-performing schools? Are teachers so busy preparing for tests that they aren't teaching the whole kid? The debate about testing swirls through the country. My opinion, it's the wrong issue. If you stop education from being based on age but make it about achievement and reward completion of units of mastery, then the testing becomes internal to the process and kids will grow faster. It is time to pay kids for school achievement and to measure how fast each individual kids achieves. 

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Rep. Barry Loudermilk Boasts About Refusing To Vaccinate His Kids

Rep. Barry Loudermilk Boasts About Refusing To Vaccinate His Kids | Upsetment | Scoop.it
At a town hall meeting in his district in Georgia last week, Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk claimed that he and his wife decided against vaccinating their “very healthy” children and sai
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I do not wish these children any harm, but a part of me kind of does. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they went to one of those "Biblical" amusement parks and contracted a serious illness. Seems only fitting. Then they might come in contact with some of their home-schooled friends who are also un-immunized, infect them, and their parents could sue this paragon of self-righteousness. Yep, that would help convince me there is a righteous god.

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Low-income boys fare worse in wealth's shadow

Low-income boys fare worse in wealth's shadow | Upsetment | Scoop.it

I wonder how many of the guys who hang at The Dew Drop Inne grew up feeling poorer than their neighbors? An important social issue.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

If there is one thing we know about boys it is that they compare themselves to others, play a constant mental game of king of the mountain. So, if your family is poorer, if you clothes are shabbier, etc., it has got to take a toll. Here's the study that shows the effect of coming from a poorer home in an affluent neighborhood, but what about the girls?

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‘No Guns for Christmas’

‘No Guns for Christmas’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Based on two police shootings in Ohio, this short documentary questions whether toy guns can really be innocent gifts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What a condemnation of America and what our country has become. That children not be allowed to have toy guns because we have become so violent, so terroristic in our way of life and of policing, so paranoid in dealing with our citizens. As a child I played 'cowboys and Indians," "cops and robbers," and "Americans vs Japs or Germans." We went to movies and reenacted those gunfights as well. Nobody called the police to report the threat; and if they had, the police who came to investigate would not have started shooting. Who is at fault? Certainly not kids for being kids. How did we escalate to a culture so preoccupied with terrorizing ourselves? Certainly the war on terror and the war on drugs are part of this process. Certainly the encouragement of a culture of guns is part. Certainly the news media that gives such intense coverage to crime and such little coverage to normal life is part. Certainly the failure to recognize the emotional dysfunction of many, especially those who are swept into the criminal justice industry as opposed to providing them treatment is a part. And yes, the failure of our society to help its citizens to reach a sense of "life, liberty, and happiness" is part of the problem. What to do? What to do?

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Officer shoots boy holding fake gun at rec center

Officer shoots boy holding fake gun at rec center | Upsetment | Scoop.it
CLEVELAND (AP) — Police say a 12-year-old boy brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun at a Cleveland recreation center was shot and wounded by a responding officer.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What a tragic story. Note the last line. If you have a kid who likes toy guns, make sure those orange tips are in place. I feel for the family, but I also feel for the police officer who must have had one awful moment making that decision.

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Why Schools Can’t Teach Sex Ed

Why Schools Can’t Teach Sex Ed | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Here’s what kids need to know — and how parents can tell them
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Did you know we have an It Matters Radio show coming on this very topic with a well known sex educator. Yes, he teaches in a real school and he's written a book that parents will want to read. Just one of the topics that matter so we discuss them.

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When Your Child Is a Psychopath

When Your Child Is a Psychopath | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The condition has long been considered untreatable. Experts can spot it in a child as young as 3 or 4. But a new clinical approach offers hope.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Over the years I practiced as a psychologist I met a few kids who were psychopaths and lacked the capacity for real emotional connect but who could understand how to function in the world. They happily manipulated other people to get whatever they could. Then there were the few who did not seem able to find pleasure or happiness without the excitement of hurting others. Could they learn to suppress that motivation and learn that there were other, better ways to find pleasure? My guess only to a limited degree. Which raises powerful ethical and political issues: At what point does a person place themselves outside the limits of the human community? And, if they do,  what are we then to do with them? 

I had a friend years ago who recommended that we use deserted islands to house the less-than beings; something like Escape From New York except isolated rather than contained. Or do we blow them away as if they were zombies after the apocalypse? Finally, how do we decide who they are?

In a sense, we may yet have to return to the Soviet Union's notion of psychiatry, when the politically unaccepted were diagnosed. Oh, but wait; then would that include LBGT people? Would it include those who supported a particular political candidate? Which one? 

Sometimes, it is just damn difficult to be a rational and caring human. "Off with their heads," screams the queen, who is so not amused. 
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Mass grave of up to 800 children found underground at a former home for unmarried mothers and their babies in Ireland

Mass grave of up to 800 children found underground at a former home for unmarried mothers and their babies in Ireland | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A "significant" quantity of human remains has been discovered in "underground chambers" at a former home for unmarried mothers and their babies in Ireland.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I can only weep for the young women whose babies these were. Many of them are still alive and perhaps still embarrassed to speak out. Some, perhaps believed that their children had been placed for adoption. One big question is what were the causes of death. I can't imagine it was disease for all of them. So were these kids murdered? Starved to death? Was there something poisonous in the environment—the least damning possibility? Were I in Ireland, I would want this question answered not just a few of the children autopsied but enough to give a clear picture. And, I would want those children buried properly, not left as mass victims, just as I would, were I able to do so, have the victims of other mass burials reburied in a way that the world can not forget them. I can only hope that every person who preaches the Right to Life, will recognize that post baptismal infanticide is not the same as valuing life. Those mothers were forced to bear those children (and to bear them in disgrace), but nobody gave a fig for the kids. In my view, that's a far greater sin than abortion. Care to share your opinion?
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Custody in crisis: How family courts nationwide put children in danger

Custody in crisis: How family courts nationwide put children in danger | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In many cases across the country, family courts ignore evidence of sexual or physical abuse, putting kids in peril
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Reading this reminded me of some of the families with which I worked. Thankfully, after a short stint working at a family court clinic, I didn't see too much parental abuse, but there was certainly more than enough. What always bothered me and still does is that the judges, who refuse to listen to kids and those who refuse to consider that children are being used and manipulated often by monsters in parental clothing, face no consequences for their callous indifference or smug omniscience. I have from time to time wondered what would happen to a person, who having been abused as a child and returned over and again to that abuser, were to subsequently act out against not only the abuser but the officials who enabled that abuse. Would we find that person guilty of a crime, insane, or perhaps standing their own ground? Meanwhile, can a nation that wants to halt abortion continue such legalized indifference to the wellbeing of children? 
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“Are there no workhouses?”: Meet the nasty House Republican whose bill would make poor kids starve

“Are there no workhouses?”: Meet the nasty House Republican whose bill would make poor kids starve | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Todd Rokita's bill is called the "Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act." Naturally, it does neither
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again the party that talks about family values and the importance of allowing children to live shows its true colors as a party that doesn't give a damn about the quality of the lives of children. It is time for the GOP to go and for ass-holes like Todd Rosita to be taken off the public payroll where they are quick to feed themselves and the rich but never to worry about the wellbeing of the average people. 
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It’s the “clock kid” all over again: A 12-year-old Sikh boy is the latest victim of racist terrorism paranoia

It’s the “clock kid” all over again: A 12-year-old Sikh boy is the latest victim of racist terrorism paranoia | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In Dallas, Armaan Singh Sarai spent 3 days in juvenile detention after a classmate said his backpack held a bomb
Kenneth Weene's insight:

When this kid is cleared, and it sounds like that should happen quite easily, what should be done with the bully? The school authorities who acted without any consideration of reality? The police who acted without any investigation? The authorities who did not reveal the boy's whereabouts to his parents? I have no simple answers but I do know this is beyond wrong and once again from our friends in Texas. What is wrong with a country in which such anger and destructiveness lies so close to the surface. Am I the only one who weeps for America?

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Young Hands in Mexico Feed Growing U.S. Demand for Heroin

Young Hands in Mexico Feed Growing U.S. Demand for Heroin | Upsetment | Scoop.it
To meet the U.S. demand for heroin, Mexico is enlisting children to harvest opium. The money is too much to ignore for most, and the terrain is more manageable for those of slighter frame.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The collateral damage from the War on Drugs grows. The simple reality, stop the stupidity of this war and the total demand for poppy cultivation would drop dramatically; it isn't that difficult crop to grow and the amount of heroin that is destroyed and confiscated would drop. With lower price also would come less allure. Simple reality: the war on drugs causes far more pain than it helps to prevent.

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A Miserable Mystery in Congo

A Miserable Mystery in Congo | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Dozens of female infants and girls in a single town have been abducted and raped in the middle of the night. Could witchcraft be to…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

In a land that has been torn by violence and ethnic strife, an area that saw the most vicious of all colonial rules, a nation in which it often seems evil is endemic, a new horror emerges, one that seems beyond belief. Witchcraft? Belief in using/abusing the genitals of children for good fortune? What kind of madness is this? How incredibly sad.

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Undermining Children’s Insurance

Undermining Children’s Insurance | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Congressional Republicans are proposing changes to CHIP that could adversely affect over a million youngsters and end up costing the states.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Still people will say there is no difference between the two parties. How can a party that is so determined to stop abortions because of the right of innocent children to life but so consistently indifferent to the well-being of children who are alive. Meanwhile, how much money did the Republicans give to the wealthiest Americans this last year (often against Democratic opposition)? Their values just don't cut it for me.

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These School Lunches From Around The World Should Embarrass The U.S.

These School Lunches From Around The World Should Embarrass The U.S. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
I knew it wasn't good, but I wasn't prepared for this.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Hint: Sugar and starch aren't the best foundation for good nutrition. Processed food purchased from big companies makes for good corporate profits but not so good school lunches. Some countries see their children as a precious resource to be nurtured and others see them as little consumers to be sold to.

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Kayleb Forsythe's curator insight, February 5, 2015 12:57 PM

Take a look at school cafeteria food from around the globe and ask yourself, "How do United States school lunches measure up compared to the world?" It's not very good.

Italy provides local fish on a bed of arugula, pasta with tomato sauce, caprese salad, baguette, and some grapes.

When you consider how many students end up eating school-provided lunch, you realize how important it is that they get healthy and balanced meals. That's why sweetgreen, the organization behind this photo project, is committed to helping students make healthier lunch choices through its sweetgreen in schools program. Sweetgreen in schools isn't just about healthy eating; they also teach students about fitness and sustainability throughout workshops across Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and New York City.

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10 Most Dangerous Jobs For Children - ODDEE

10 Most Dangerous Jobs For Children - ODDEE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From bull fighting to drug running, check out 10 occupations we don't think children should have, but do in some parts of the world.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

This being the time of year when we in the first world most dote on our children, it seems appropriate to remember all the children in the world whose lives are filled with terror and suffering. And that includes the child migrant workers in the U.S., the Romany children of Europe taught to beg and steal, the Muslim girls over much of the world who want to go to school, and the list goes on.

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Kids' Drawings Speak Volumes About Home

Kids' Drawings Speak Volumes About Home | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A first-grader's quick doodle can tell researchers plenty about what's happening — or not happening — at home.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

My mother was so overprotective that she didn't let me use crayons; I might poke myself in the eye. Which reminds me of the kid who always came home with pictures done only in black. He sat at the back of the room. By the time he got to the crayon box, that was the only color left. Enough joking, the interesting thing about drawings by little kids is that they do reflect the child's emotions and sense of reality, which is why once an artist is well trained they often want to allow themselves to regress, for it is the child's art that tells truth.

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Report: Students read way below level that prepares them for college, careers

Report: Students read way below level that prepares them for college, careers | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Renaissance Learning, which tracks the reading habits of some 10 million US students, has released a report that not only tallies which books kids are reading, but also analyzes the complexity of the reading material.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

If our kids don't read, they aren't prepared to grow. We need children ready to go to college, ready to learn, and ready to understand the complexities of the modern world. Love your kids? Give them books. And teach them to read by reading yourself.

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