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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  October 23, 2011 9:30am-10:00am EDT

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>> this week on to the contrary, up first, does single sex education reenforce sexist stereotypes? then, a woman's zip code
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could affect her health. behind the headlines what moms choose when it comes to career and family life. [♪] >> hello i'm bonnie erbe welcome to to the contrary, a discussion of news and social trends. up first, is single sex ed sexist? as more schools embrace single sex classrooms, a new report says single sex education is counterproductive. the report in science magazine, calls evidence in favor of single sex schooling sued dough science and claims classrooms segregated by gender reenforce gender
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stereotypes. research shows separating children along gender lines develops and reenforces biases and doesn't teach boys and girls to work together. the national association for single sex public education disputes the report. it claims students will succeed academically in same sex classrooms because cultural assumptions do not come into play. it argues co-ed classrooms promote sexist culture and boys in single sex classrooms are more open to a diverse range of topics compared to boys in co-ed classrooms. the u.s. department of education rewrote the rules for title 9 in 2006 making single sex classrooms possible. more than 500 public schools now have single sex classrooms. so tara setmayer, is single sex education the best thing for children? >> i think offering options for both parents and school district to the design classroom structure that works best for those districts, keeping those options open is the best for
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students. >> i don't know. i mean i think the jury is out on this and i think we need more evidence based research. we've heard a lot of anecdotes about what works and doesn't and what works for one child may not work for another. >> there is no one size fits all in terms of education but this does give parents choices for what is best for their own child's educational needs. >> well, i generally agree that it promotes stereotypes. however, i think it can be beneficial for women in the areas of leadership and self-esteem. >> but we've had single sex ed now in public schools and private schools for many, many years. i actually went to a all-female college barner college and part of co-ed university. and i had a lot more fun in the male -- integrated if you want to use that word classrooms. than i did in the all female classes that i took. so i've never gotten it.
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but all the women's groups say what you're saying. that women you know they get shutout if they are in co-ed classes. what is this about? >> i don't know, i mean i remember hillary clinton talking about this years ago. and that she went to wellesley. and really valued that. that you are not in competition with the men. you don't have to deal with some of the stereotypes that go on that the men should be the leaders and the men should be elected and it helps you feel strong and powerful as a woman. >> and it depends on age group at what point you know, some studies show that for everything that i read on this, the research is all over the place but it seems that girls do succeed more in single sex classrooms or schools more so than boys. and the reason for just what we said because it builds a certain amount of camaraderie and theyhe feel comfortable in areas of math and science there's no competition with the boys. but i think it depends on the age group that you do
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this. i mean it might be valuable classrooms maybe necessarily over entire schools but certain classrooms during elementary school to get the foundation so kids start learning what they need to learn. and as they develop the social skills then the integration aspect and the cultural aspects can come into valuable but it should be an option because one size doesn't fit all and what works in one district may not work in another. >> wait a second. if it's not one-size-fits-all, then each district is going to have people in it each school district are going to is going to need choices for the kids within that district. so do you still think we should have single sex public schools in every district in the country? >> well, i think that again it's the demand as well. that is for the local authorities to work with the parents and see what would fit. what we've seen is in terms of the research that was done and that is why the
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rules why changed in 2006 was the fact that time and time again, this is not this does not hurt the kids and secondly they were outperforming the single sex girls were out performing the peers. and we saw this in research. and the cambridge university research that said that girls math and sighents were out performing the co-eds. so, again, i think especially when it comes to minorities in the minority communities and i spent time dealing with this particular issue, i got to sit down with the principal and we would go to the single sex classrooms and it took off the pressure off the girls, especially in the middle age middle school area. that they did not have to worry about you know, dressing up for the boys. and trying to get their attention and could focus on school and they found there was less discipline problems. >> i do think we have gone to things like uniforms in schools and other ways that we actually reduce the
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dynamic of competition and impressing that goes on with students. and we have to recognize the image tip of our students are educated in co-ed classrooms our workplaces are co-ed and most of the verse industries co-ed and more women are going to university than have gone to college before and more women in the workplace. so i think that we have to examine what is going on in schools. and for some schools and for some systems and some student it is may work to have them have an advantage by having single sex classrooms. and the rest of the world is owe co-ed world and they have to learn to live in it. >> and there's examples where this is successful particularly in minority urban areas where the school systems are you know, awful oftentimes in new york, they have the excellence academy for boys that has been harlem that has been tremendously successful. because they are able to figure out ways to teach these kids to make them to get the best out of them and it is in a single sex environment. that is why i use the example it depends on the
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district. in georgia outside of atlanta they decided they were going to have an all public school district is going to be single sex and the parents revolted because they were not consulted on it and they ended up retracting that because it was not well thought out. that is an example where when you have people involved the community involved and parents involved along with the school districts and properly training teachers to do this as well. can you not separate them out and not have teachers trained in understanding the differences between the way boys and girls learn because there is a scientific physical difference the way they learn things. >> i always think it's appropriate like, i raised a son that it was important for him to be in an environment with girls and with women because i wanted him growing up to be a healthy young man able to deal with women in the workplace and women as a boss. and women in communities. and i don't want us to lose that aspect of the fact that as i said, we live in a co-ed world. >> and this is the reason we raised this report this is the first time i've seen
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this kind of evidence-based survey showing that the opposite. because everybody has been saying how great it is. >> right. >> and in the back of my mind, i always thought really? that wasn't my experience. but anyway. from education to location. location, location, location. not only dictates real estate value it is can also affect women's health. a new study finds low income women who move to higher income neighborhoods are less likely to become obese or have diabetes. the u.s. department of housing and urban development tested the long-term health impacts of more than 4,000 poor women with children living in housing projects or low income neighborhoods. in five cities, hud offered housing vouchers to random groups of women and only if they relocated to better neighborhoods. the women who did, were 20% less likely to be extremely obese, or to have diabetes. researchers can't pinpoint the reasons why.
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but they believe women in nicer neighborhoods have more access to healthier foods, doctors, and to safe areas to exercise or to get out of the house and move. they also believe the long-term stress of living in dangerous neighborhoods may alter the hormones that control weight. and i'm thinking that may be the most important factor congressman edwards what do you think? the stress that comes with living in a neighborhood where you may be jumped or raped. more likely than in another neighborhood where that is not the case. could really affect your health. >> well, i think. so it's about safety and security but it's also about finding fresh fruits and vegetables in a corner market that you can buy. i think what the research does is confirm what many of us as policymakers have understood that environment really does matter tonight does contribute to the health or ill health of women and particularly in poor communities. >> what is the policy would you come up with to address this?
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how can we make can we upgrade our poorer neighborhoods and make them like middle class suburbs? >> right. well the policy solution is not what the research says you are not going to move all poor women out of their neighborhoods. we have to rehabilitate the neighborhoods. provide opportunities for healthy living and healthy eating in those neighborhoods. opportunities for exercise and of course, a job where you can afford the time and the luxury to be able to think about your own health as a woman in addition to your family. >> and this seems common sense to me, that if you move out of an area where you don't have access to healthy fruits and venl vegetables and there's liquor stores on every corner in detroit there is not a major grocery chain there you have to travel to the suburbs to go other than the bow diegas and that is the economic redevelopment that we need to have to change those environments so that you have those they have access to that.
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when you move out --. >> a lot of low income people i've talked to about this very issue say yeah they are vegetables and fruits in my grocery store. and i cannot afford them. what do you do about that? >> the food stamp program and you can there's plenty of money. it's about choices and it's also about teaching folks about healthy living and eating in those environments as well. bus you are not exposed to it as much. if you don't have a whole foods or someone in your environment teaching you that this about nutrition then you are not going to make the choices. it's about individual choices when you are put in an individual environment where the access is available then you are going to okay, it seems like common sense to me. >> you have to be able to afford it. >> i don't think many people go with vouchers to whole foods. but if they could we all it whole paycheck it's expensive great food but it's expensive. also, --. >> there was a study that
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came out that said fast food everybody thinks you get more nutrition cheaper from fast food but in fact, the opposite is true. >> you don't. but it's cheaper with a family of four to feed them macaroni and cheese and that is going to the grocery store. it's easier to feed them potatoes. we know this from history and our own personal histories within our families. so you know, steak night is a rarity. potatoes are not. it's important that we invest and invest means dollars and it means putting money into these areas as the congresswoman said. giving them incentives to grocery stores to relocate in the areas where the same problem in st. louis very difficult. we recently got a downtown grocery store. those are things that have to be done but it does take money. it does take policy and incentives. >> and the housing vouchers is something that conservatives and liberals can agree on. and especially when you see studies like this.
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not only is this about nutrition and health this is about providing them we know they have gritter access to employment. they are less likely to be on welfare. this is better for their children. now, of course it doesn't --. >> even with housing vouchers how do they afford the rent in more expensive neighborhoods? >> it's subsidized by the housing voucher. >> they get more money in the housing vouchers. >> right. but it is, i think there is like one thing that i think there is a requirement which is that they are required to go to school or get job training as well. and try to get them out of that cycle. it is about breaking the cycle of poverty if we can help the women to move into that direction. and they are motivated to do it because they know their kids will be in a better school it is a good policy. >> there are huge gaps between the vouchers that we provide and the cost of rent. in this country, there are 46 million people who are living in poverty. 23 million of them are children. and their in moms are living in poverty that is 22513 a
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year and that is just not enough to do all the things it takes to feed your family. >> the at risk of digressing isn't the real issue here to get people out of poverty, tell them to stop having children, before they are educated and can get a decent job. and raise those kids in a middle class way as oppose to a low income way. there's none of that message out there ever. plus the fact that immigration is very high. and 80% of immigrants who come into the country are totally impoverished have no money and no education. >> those things are true but it's true when you get job training and education you do make those decisions about your body how many children you will have and the way that are you going to live. soy don't think --. >> that comes too late if you are 16 and have two kids. it's a little late to pull yourself out of poverty. >> the failures of great society and of our welfare
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system since the 60s and how the urban policies have not worked. and they have failed our communities. and so in 96 when republicans worked with bill clinton to get welfare reform changed part of these programs requiring work, and requiring job training in order to get the public benefits to help break the cycles and stop rewarding people for having kids and rewarding them for not having fathers in the homes that type of cycle of poverty needed to be broken. >> and in the 20 years, the poverty numbers in this country are greater than they have ever been in the country since the depression that is the reality. >> and the other thing i want to bring up when you talk about prevention which is a good pointk i mean look at our policies. under president bush we had at global gag rule and we are saying to other developing countries, you cannot have birth control. you have to teach abstinence in the schools. when you say that and people slam planned pattern hood is work on birth control issues and prevention is number one
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where are our policies in the country to educate people to stop them from having unwanted pregnancies instead of just saying, you shouldn't have kids? >> all right. behind the headlines. what moms choose. a new survey reveals surprising insights about how and why mothers make certain choices. carol evans of working mother media conducted the survey and explains the findings. >> we could separate moms into career oriented women whether they were working or staying home. and those who are working just for a paycheck or not thinking about working. >> the survey of nearly 4,000 working and stay-at-home moms dispels stereotypes about how stay-at-home moms view having a career. >> we found that about 50% of the stay-at-home moms who were career oriented would rather be working than staying at home. and i find that very fascinating because we always assume that
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stay-at-home moms are entrenched in that lifestyle. >> but the survey revealed there were real issues holding moms back from working outside the home. >> the number one issue was that they felt really pulled by the needs of their children and the number two issue, is that they felt that the child care options were really not appropriate in terms of pricing. they felt that child-care was too expensive and so the equation for them to work or stay home, was equalized. >> not surprisingly. working moms still want flexibility. but now they want flexibility in their day, week, year and career. >> what working mothers wanted was to flex their careers and work less intensely when their children are preschool age. so they would be happy to work full-time, full out until they had their children. and then come back to a very
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full-time schedule when their children are in school. but they wanted that time when the school are preschool to be more flexible. they are not saying they want to stay home during that time necessarily. but they want flexibility of hours and intensity of their career during the preschool ages. and this is a new idea. >> one topic sends both working and stay-at-home moms on a gill guilt trip and it's not how much time they spend with their children. >> they both feel guilty about the cleanliness of their houses. working moms especially feel that their houses are not clean enough. but stay-at-home moms feel that their houses are not clean enough non-truth there is a statistic out there that says that moms in general are spending 12 hours less a week on housework. a lot of that time is going to child-care. because being with your children whether are you working or staying at home we are spending more time with our children than ever before. and less time on our
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housework. >> you might think the fact fathers are doing more domestic work would help. but not always. >> men are doing more housework. but still moms feel like it's their responsibility. this is the thing about women we don't give up the real responsibility even if we give up the tasks. >> and moms aren't happy unless they are doing everything perfectly. >> women feel they have to do everything perfectly. this is one of the reasons why they are such good employees because they really want to be the best moms they can be, they want to be the best at their careers and also feel a lot of pressure of being a good wife spending enough time with their husbands and feel a lot of pressure about being good to themselves and taking care of themselves physically, becoming physically fit is becoming a higher priority than it used to be. anything that we can do to ease the pressure and the guilt and the feelings that we put on ourselves as women, will lead to more productive females in this country and
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every type of task that we do. >> so is this guilt that women experience in the stress that it causes a good thing? because it makes them more productive or should they say to heck with it and get rid of it? >> i think the women have to get rid of the guilt. it was funny the study the word guilt popped up 50 times. we do our best as mothers, work, dealing with our husbands. and i think we have to give ourselves credit this is the power of women that we can multitask and be good employees and be efficient when we go into the workplace because we know what has to get done and you know forget dust and mopping. hangout with the kids be with your husband. and realize that the kids grow up at some point and that you can always get back into that career if you want to or change your career. >> were you surprised by the finding that full-time stay-at-home moms would rather be working. >> no. not at all. i stayed home for three
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years. once without working at all. and it was the most difficult time of my life. i was dying to get back to my office and to my desk and where i can put people on hold or take a message. and made the courtroom look very relaxing. but i think also, too, your point, it's important to have the support. i'm sure the congresswoman has in her office, too, i know my husband does in áubñ office in congress flex hours and that has been utilized by a lot of the employees when they had children and he is written up as one of the top guys on the congress for the policies and women, too. get written up, too. but you need that support. i mean to not feel the guilt to be able to relax to have the flex hours. the thing that got me the most is are we really talking about flex hours? this has been going on since i can remember in the 70s. >> not so much flex hours but what has not been going on but what came out in the survey is federally
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subsidized daycare is that ever going to happen? or is it ever going to go away as a desire on the part of working moms? >> i think federally subsidized daycare you know more more and more government program where is the money going to come from. there should be insensitives through tax brains or credits or something to encourage that to make it more affordable for families. absolutely. that is very, very important. especially since you need two parent work, households now to make ends meet. you don't want the children to suffer because of that. so i think there's ways you can figure that out but it makes sense that mothers would want to stay home with the kids until they are of school age. because that is where those important social bonds -- i can understand why they would want to do that. that would make sense to me and then that depends on the person. if you were a career woman before you will be itching to go back to work because that is who you are.
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and you want to be able to balance it all. i think you may be feel for men it would be like an emass coupslation but women you feel like oh, is this who i am? no i'm still this career person as well. how can i manage both? >> i think it is a tough balance to strike. there is a reason my cat is named cobweb. it's tough to make a decision about whether you want to stay at home and stay with your children. my mother made that choice and she had a long career well after we were all grown. at the same time, i don't know that i could have done that. because i had to work. i wasn't just about a choice, i had to work because i had to take care of my son. and i think you always wrestle with the guilt as a mother did i go to this event. my son is blaming me for missing his grand slam home run when he was 8 years old because i had to travel to wisconsin. even though i went to every other game. >> tell him he needs to hang it up already. >> exactly. [laughter]
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>> something that that men don't go through only women go through the feeling of guilt. men can have their careers and they think nothing of it. they can play in their games. >> and they have the opportunity teaching our children in different ways with the new generation, the boys and the girls learning how to do the housework and the laundry and the ironing. which i think for this next generation the choices that they are going to make will be radically different from the ones that we had. >> i do think men go through some of the guilt. i've seen my husband go through it. and he has been supportive when woe practiced law together and i was was nursing but i think they go through guilt. >> that is it for this edition of to the carry contrary. next week, seven billion people, the impact of this global population milestone. check us out on our website for to the contrary extra we discuss whether men are funnier than women and whether your views arein agreement or to the contrary please join us next time. uj
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