Saturday, February 17, 2007

Heavy discrimination against males in British education

We are now seeing the results of the feminized education that British schools offer: Many boys are turned right off

The gap between the number of men and women applying to university has grown fivefold under Labour as evermore women opt to take a degree. While the Government trumpeted record numbers of teenagers wanting to continue with further education yesterday, academics voiced concerns about the widening rift between the sexes. Between 1998 and 2007, 14,305 more men applied for university places, compared to 51,214 more women. This gap has increased every year for six years.

Malcolm Grant, Provost of University College London, gave warning that unless the trend slowed, colleges could become male-free zones. He said: "We are concerned because you'd think that if we had an equality of genders in society, it would be reflected in their performance at A level and university. "We need to understand what it is that's causing young men not to thrive in the A-level culture and not to choose to apply to university. The male participation rate is sufficiently divergent that we'd expect it to continue."

Professor Grant's comments echo widely-held fears, already expressed to ministers, that young men face being locked out of university and marginalised in the jobs market. Last year, 57 per cent of first degree graduates were women. In 1980, 60 per cent of university entrants were men. In 2005, 30 per cent of boys took A levels compared to 40 per cent of girls.

More here

Fish-diet mothers `have brighter children'

Official American mercury-scare advice is dead wrong. The Greenie-inspired American advice is actually harmful. How surprising!

Women who eat fish during pregnancy have brighter children, according to a study. The evidence suggests that advice to expectant American mothers to limit fish consumption for fear of mercury poisoning is misguided. The study supports the contrary advice, given by the Food Standards Agency in the UK, which backs fish as a healthy food. The FSA simply advises mothers to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin, and restrict their intake of tuna.

The new research into children's behaviour and intelligence suggests that women who follow the US "advisory" issued in 2004 to limit consumption, or cut fish out of their diet altogether, may miss nutrients that the developing brain needs - and so harm their children.

The findings come from a study of almost 9,000 British families taking part in the Children Of The 90s project at the University of Bristol. The lead researcher, Joseph Hibbeln of the US National Institutes of Health, and the Bristol scientists, including Professor Jean Golding, compared the amount of fish eaten by pregnant mothers with the development of their children up to the age of eight.

Seafood - fish and shellfish - is the predominant dietary source of long-chain omega3 fatty acids, which are essential for development of the nervous system. Middle-class women are more likely to eat fish, but even after adjusting for social class [Rare good sense] and 27 other factors, including breast-feeding, the link between fish and children's development held true. This suggests that fish-eating is not simply a marker for social class.

Mothers who ate more seafood than the US guidelines (340 grams, or three portions a week) had children who were more advanced in development tests measuring fine motor, communication and social skills as toddlers, had more positive social behaviours and were less likely to have low verbal IQ scores at the age of eight. Those children whose mothers had eaten no fish were 28 per cent more likely to have poor communication skills at 18 months, 35 per cent more likely to have poor fine motor coordination at age three and a half, 44 per cent more likely to have poor social behaviour at age seven and 48 per cent more likely to have a relatively low verbal IQ at age eight, when compared with children of women who ate more than the US guidelines advised.

Dr Hibbeln said: "We have found that when women had low levels of seafood consumption, the outcome is exactly the opposite of what was assumed by the United States advisory. Unfortunately, the advice appears to have had the unintended consequence of causing harm in a specific developmental domain - verbal development - where protection was intended. We recorded no evidence to lend support to the warnings of the US advisory that pregnant women should limit their seafood consumption. "In contrast, we noted that children of mothers who ate small amounts, 340g per week, of seafood were more likely to have sub-optimum neuro-developmental outcomes than children of mothers who ate more seafood than the recommended amounts." The findings are published in this week's issue of The Lancet....

Harvest of the sea brings health benefits on a large scale

- Evidence that fish - especially oily fish - is good for health has come from many sources

- Long-term studies in the Netherlands have shown that people who eat fish are less likely to develop heart disease

- The Japanese, for whom fish [particularly that wicked Tuna] form a significant part of the diet, have the greatest life expectancy in the world

- Omega 3 fatty acids in fish have been linked to lowered risks of asthma, dementia, depression and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis

- The only concern has been the presence of low levels of methyl mercury in some kinds of fish. But the only known cases of mercury poisoning from fish come from Japan, where in the 1950s and 1960s [Huge] industrial pollution of the sea caused problems for people living in Minamata and Niigata


Britain: Polish road signs `help to keep drivers on straight and narrow'

There are probably more speakers of Gujurati, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu than Polish in Britain so why not signs for them? Fair's fair!

Council chiefs defended a decision to erect road signs in Polish after being accused of political correctness gone mad. Eight temporary diversion signs in English and Polish were placed around country roads on the Cheshire-Shropshire border at the request of Cheshire County Council. The signs, which explain how to reach the market town of Whitchurch while road works are underway on the A49, were condemned by some residents as a waste of money.

But Steve Kent, highway engineer for the council, said the decision was motivated by safety concerns. Thousands of Poles have settled in Whitchurch and Crewe, and many are employed as drivers. Police have been repeatedly called out to deal with congestion caused by lorries taking wrong turnings. Mr Kent said: "It is a practical and commonsense approach to a problem which we encountered on two similar schemes at the end of last year. "We found that Polish-speaking drivers were failing to understand diversion signs and were arriving at sections of roads that we had closed off. That caused congestion as we had to reverse them out. "In other cases, they would drive on a footpath and thunder past a work gang, which has safety implications. "We thought that creating the signs, which are just eight out of around 200 for the scheme, could prevent similar problems. They probably cost a couple of hundred pounds, which was footed by the contractor at no cost to the council."

Philip Davies, a Tory MP who campaigns against political correctness, said: "It's absolutely bonkers but what worries me is that once one council starts, others follow." A driver, who asked not be named, added: "You could be forgiven for wondering whether you were driving deep into Polish countryside, not the middle of Cheshire." Two months ago one of the biggest bus companies in Manchester was ordered to suspend its fleet amid concerns over whether its Polish drivers had a good enough command of English to understand road signs. About 100 of the 130 drivers at UK North and GM Buses Ltd are Polish.


Britain Bottom of Children's League

When the only standards inculcated are that you must not speak ill of blacks, Muslims and homosexuals, no matter how offensive and dangerous they may be, can we wonder at an alienated, aimless and frustrated youth? Post below by Iain Dale

So Britain is a shameful bottom of the UNICEF league table in virtually every category listed in their survey of children's well-being. And you know, guess whose fault it is? Yup, Margaret Thatcher's. You couldn't make it up. Apparently, according to left wing commentators on the radio and television child poverty only really started in 1979 (bit of a coincidence, that).

I think it is more than a coincidence that British children have become more obese, ill-educated, sexually active, drunk and impolite under a government which purports to put children at the top of their agenda. We even have a Minister for Children? But when the two most memorable holders of that post have been Margaret 'Islington Childcare' Hodge and Beverley Hughes, perhaps it is becoming all the more understandable.

The truth is that Government can set an agenda on issues like child obesity and improve the education system, but the focus here should be on parents rather than government. It is parents who guide a child and set the parameters for acceptable behaviour - or at least it should be. Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean.

A friend of mine had a handbag stolen by a group of schoolkids. In the handbag there was a quantity of jewellery. My friend knew the children were from a particular school so she contacted the Head Teacher who managed to identify the five kids involved. He contacted their parents and asked them to return my friend's jewellery. Of the five sets of parents only two agreed to do so. The other three verbally abused the Head Teacher. Is there any hope for children when their parents act like that?

And we also hear today that children with step-parents are about to outnumber those with two married parents for the first time ever.

The facts of Britain's [banned] gun culture: "In 2004-2005, 34 per cent of recorded gun crime occurred in London, at a rate of 50 offences per 100,000 people. Between April 2001 and October 2005, 63 per cent of victims of murder and attempted murder involving firearms in London were black. "Gun crime is mainly committed by young men aged 16-25. Offenders and victims are getting younger and a disproportionate number are African Caribbeans," according to the Metropolitan Police. Shotguns can cost as little as 50 to 200 pounds. There is an emergence of "disorganised" as opposed to organised criminals using firearms to settle relatively trivial disputes, especially in "the street level economy". The illegal drug market remains the single most important theme in relation to the use of illegal firearms, but gang membership and the need to emulate successful criminals are also important factors. Gangs or "crews" are formed typically from close friendship groups based around a school or neighbourhood and offer members safety in numbers. In south London, crews in key areas such as Brixton, Peckham and New Cross have territories that include housing estates and shopping centres. Internal rivalries, notions of "dis" (disrespect), and drug raids by the police all destabilise gang structures and can inflame violence. Even quite trivial disputes can result in shootings because the presence of guns aggravates threats and makes pre-emptive attacks more likely: the so-called "shoot or be shot" scenario".

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