Societies2016, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/soc6010005 - published 5 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study tested the effects of the principal’s professional orientation towards leadership/enabling school structure (ESS) on two mediating variables, school academic optimism (SAO) and professional teacher behavior (PTB), on the outcome variable school reading achievement (RA). Data were drawn from a sample of 54 schools (including 45 elementary schools and nine middle schools); the school was the unit of analysis. Data analysis supported a path to RA in which a structural variable, ESS was the immediate antecedent of SAO and PTB. Two control variables, school level and SES, were included in the model. SES had a significant effect on SAO but not on PTB. School level had a negative effect on both PTB and SAO suggesting that both variables were higher in elementary school and declined in middle school. SES paired with SAO in predicting RA. As expected, SAO had a greater effect on RA than SES. The significance of the findings lies in the confirmation of SAO as an important influence on RA and in demonstrating the importance of ESS in establishing a context in which AO and PTB can flourish.
Societies2016, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/soc6010003 - published 16 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Ableism is a powerful social force that causes persons with disabilities to suffer exclusion. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is based on the human rights principles of equality and freedom for all people. This Convention contains two human rights instruments: the principle of accessibility and the means of reasonable accommodation, which can be used to protect the human rights of disabled persons. The extent to which they are used depends on whether the state implements the Convention adequately and whether companies accept their responsibility with respect to employing disabled persons and making workplaces available and designing them appropriately. Civil society can demand the adequate implementation of the human rights asserted in the CRPD and, thus, in national legislation, as well. A crucial point here is that only a state that has ratified the Convention is obliged to implement the Convention. Civil society has no obligation to do this, but has the right to participate in the implementation process (Art. 4 and Art. 33 CRPD). The Convention can play its part for disabled persons participating in the labor market without discrimination. If it is not implemented or not heeded sufficiently, the state must push this and put more effort into its implementation. If the state does not do this, this violates human rights and has direct consequences for the living conditions of disabled persons. The powerful ideological force of ableism then remains dominant and hampers or prevents the participation of persons with disabilities in the labor market and, thus, in society as a whole.
Societies2016, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/soc6010002 - published 6 January 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Descriptions of legal blindness, as lived experience—involving continual movement between the world of sightedness and blindness—are largely absent within medical models of disability. In an effort to challenge depictions of blindness as pathology, researchers in this project worked with participants who are legally blind, in a co-designed exploration of built spaces in the city of Edmonton, Canada. In this article we describe a collaborative research method through which participants shared stories while recording their movement through a shopping mall, an art gallery, and a gym. Through this project, participants often took the lead, determining the content and context of urban journeys. Stories and images shared through this collaboration suggest that legal blindness is an alternative way of knowing the world, with unique perceptual experiences, navigational strategies, and complexity that is often unacknowledged within a medically constructed blindness/sightedness binary. In describing the complex relationship between participants, researchers, architecture, and technology we will combine narrative forms of writing with actor-network theory. The sharing of stories, along with lived experiences has led to a project that revolves around ability, as opposed to disability. A link to the film is provided at the end of this article.
Societies2016, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/soc6010001 - published 24 December 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Using a unique microsimulation tool, Teen FamilyScape, the present study explores how changes in the mix of contraceptive methods used by teens contributed to the decline in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate between 2002 and 2010. Results indicate that changes in contraceptive use contributed to approximately half of the decline in the teen pregnancy rate during this time period (48%) and that a little more than half of this “contraceptive effect” was due to an increase in teen condom use (58%). The remaining share of the contraceptive effect can be attributed to an increase in the use of more effective hormonal (pill, patch, ring) and long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC)/injectable methods (Intrauterine Devices (IUD), implant and injectable). Results from an additional counterfactual analysis suggest that the contraceptive effect was driven by the fact that the percentage of teens using no birth control fell during the study time period, rather than by the fact that some teens switched from less effective methods (condoms) to more effective hormonal and LARC/injectable methods. However, very high typical use failure rates for teen condom users suggest the need for a two-pronged approach for continuing reductions in teen pregnancy for sexually active teens: first, targeting the youth most at risk of not using contraception and helping them choose contraception, and second, increasing the effectiveness of method use among existing contraceptors.
Societies2015, 5(4), 855-871; doi:10.3390/soc5040855 - published 15 December 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Black families in the United States are usually studied from a deficit perspective that primarily considers single parents in poverty. There is, however, considerable diversity among American Black families in terms of social class, immigration status, marital status, and parenting values and practices. Using data from the Contemporary Black Marriage Study, a study of young married couples who are native-born Black, African immigrants, or Caribbean immigrants, this research examines childbearing and parenting values from an intersectional perspective. A sample of whites is included for comparison purposes. The research considers impacts of social class, immigration, gender, and race as well as structural influences. Diversity exists both within and among social and demographic groups.