Fathers Day and School Shootings

141 Dads will not be getting a fathers day card this year. That’s  the number of children that have died as a result of classroom violence since the beginning of 2018. I am also the father of a six year old. The violence seen in todays culture and society is shocking and unprecedented. I don’t know, nor do I hope anyone will ever know, the emotional trauma a parent goes through when dealing with the death of their child. We can only try to prevent this from happening.

The latest school shooting occurred  May 25, 2018 at the Noblesville West Middle School. The latest victim, Ella Whistler was shot 7 times. She lived through it, in spite of her  wounds.

According to  business insider.com  and the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive,

This incident marked the 101st mass shooting in 2018. To put this another way, the US has a mass shooting for almost every day this year.

CNN  reports as of  11:05 AM ET, Fri May 25, 2018

We’re 21 weeks into 2018, and there have already been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than a shooting a week.

The Washington Post says

The current number of children affected by school shootings since Columbine is 215,000, and the number of Schools is 217. The Post says 141 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 287 have been injured due to violence in our classroom.

This is an acute problematic trend that must stop. Our society seems to be at a crossroads finding the solution. Some have said it began when we lost our moral compass.

If it is true, I don’t suppose we will ever know when our society lost its moral compass. Maybe our moral compass was never lost to begin with. It just simply exploded into pieces when the first child died as a result of gun violence in the class room. Since then we have wasted time trying to figure out why and how this is happening. We should be spending our time looking at how it could have been prevented in the first place.

Unfortunately the bell curve of human behavior tells us it will happen again. The model shows us the percentage of the population, 0.1%, will engage in some form of heinous, abnormal behavior. According to the U.S. Census bureau as of April 23, 2018 our current population is at 327,589,916. Multiply that number by 0.001, and we get the product of 327,590. This is the average number of people in the US who can be labeled with abnormal behavior. This number can also be used to label the number of saints in our society, the rest of us are in the middle, or average.

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Understanding human behavior is only the beginning. Understanding how the mind tells the body what do to is where we should begin. Looking at the model on the far left we know there is a 0.1% of probability our population will do something abnormally bad, and the right side, a +0.1% of probability our population will do something abnormally good. I hope this post is something to be counted as good.

Our hearts and prayers go out to those who are grieving this fathers day. This post is dedicated to the 141 fathers who wont get a fathers day card this year and their families. Please accept this post from fathers everywhere, we grieve with you for your loss, and your tragedy is not forgotten.

 

 

Flynn Effect and Children’s Intelligence

Are kids getting smarter? This guy believes they are!

Have you ever wondered what a standardized tests are?  Why do we have a funny term like ‘standardized testing’? The proof doesn’t lye in the pudding, its how we eat it.

Since the beginning of the controversial IQ Test  in the early 1900’s humans have debated on what defines intelligence.  It shouldn’t be a big surprise after 100 years of debate we still don’t really know.

Two Factors that Influence Performance on IQ test

These factors are not my personal beliefs but facts that have been agreed upon by most mental health professionals. They are thought provoking and should not be underestimated.

  • Racial and Ethnic groups differ on their average scores on intelligence test
  • Individuals and groups who score higher on IQ test, seem to achieve higher levels of education and income.

While the debate raged on about how to explain these differences and how they can be defined as hereditary, one researcher, James R. Flynn, (Flynn, 1994) (Flynn and Wicherts, 1999, 2004) took a different approach.

He looked at the timeline when the IQ test was first introduced. He fully documented changes in children’s IQ scores over the same time. One of the most interesting facts he  uncovered is the improvement of children’s IQ ‘s given everything else being the same.

Flynn was able to show if nature and nature remained the same ( how we are brought up by our parents and how we are brought up in our environment ) IQ scores steadily improved with an average gain of about 3  to 25 points every 10 years in modern societies, or about one standard deviation for every generation. This phenomena was given the researchers name who first brought this to the attention of the mental health community, hence the name Flynn Effect.

Because of this phenomena, test scores must continue to be re-standardized every 10 years. Using this data its easy to say if children today took an IQ test that was given to the same age group in 1970, they would most likely break the bell curve.

Its safe to say, because of the Flynn Effect,  my 6 year old son is more intelligent than I was 40 years ago at the same age.

There are many reasons why we should forget IQ TestingSelf-Fulfilling Prophecy,  Wealth And Intelligence, and   Gifted Intelligence are just a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Teachers and the Power of Suggestion

Two studies were done decades apart with the same results. The first one was in the 1970’s and the second one was in the late 1990’s.

It started out as a hypothesis that need to be tested. A dozen elementary school districts were picked at random by a dozen researchers.  They told the elementary schools they were from Princeton University, and they have created a new formula to find kids who are gifted. Everyone in the third grade was given an identical test. When they were done  the school was given the names of the ‘gifted’ kids along with doctored test scores.

The study ran for 3 years. The researchers came back and retested the same kids, only this time they were in the 6th grade. The results showed every ‘gifted’ student above and beyond the class average.

The same study was performed in (Brophy, 1998)  by different researchers achieving the  the same results.

The reason the students were ahead of their class mates was because of teacher expectations.

Teachers were giving  extra time to the students they thought were gifted. The students were shown to be praised more and criticized less, and given the benefit of the doubt when grading  was a close call.

Even a teachers attitude towards a student at the beginning of the year can have a dramatic effect on the students performance at the end of the year. If a student receives a negative view by his teacher they may start to believe or adopt that view and live up to it, carrying emotional baggage to the next grade.

The challenge for todays teacher is how to treat everyone the same. Teachers and caregivers must recognize that is isn’t just their attitudes that matter they must also set a good example in their actions towards others.

The original test scores in both studies showed most of the ‘gifted’ students in the third grade were under the class average.

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump and Mental Disorders

What are Psychological Disorders?

A mental disorder isn’t defined by a single word or definition. Most entry level Psychology text books define a mental disorder as behavior exhibiting a pattern of events. These events are gathered  into three categories as event factors. Most mental health professionals will look at the persons pattern of behavior and how its associated with one or more of the three event factors:

  1. The persons behavior shows some level of impairment or disability that interferes with the function of emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral areas.
  2. The person shows a degree of distress like, hopelessness, fear, and sadness
  3. The person shows a risk of hurting themselves or someone else.

When a person looks at President Trumps history of behavior since he was elected it is easy to see why some in the media say he defiantly falls under multiple categories in text book mental disorders. But that isn’t fair, and it isn’t how its done.

If we are going to look at text book assessments then we also have to look at the caveat.

We are all human,  so when unusual things happen to us, they are overlooked. For example, like the loss of a beloved dog, or a dictator saying he has a button to begin a thermonuclear war and in the process kill every living thing on the planet.

Whatever the case, these three event factors only describe what a person does.

The following is taken straight from a text book.

To the contrary, the understanding of particular impairments should be balanced with recognition of individual and situational circumstances. Ex: a child’s behavior, thinking, and physical status are all important considerations in determining the degree of success or failure in adapting to the demands of the environment.

It should help us understand the stress President Donald Trump is under.

When President Trump decides to cancel a meeting to discuss the denuclearization with one of the most tyrannical and ruthless dictators in our modern world, because they used mean and scary words, at least we will be able to understand why.

Textbooks tell us when a person responds to unnatural events, or unforeseen circumstances with calm and clarity it is a sign of maturity.

Unfortunately, textbooks say nothing about a President who responds to an unnatural event with a poem.

 

 

 

Wealth And Intelligence

Two Words with Nothing in Common

Most people will agree the average American child between the ages of 5 and 18 ( or 17, depending when they were born) spends around 15,000 hours in school. We think of it as a place for creative thinking, learning how to socialize with their peers, and conditioning their muscles on the playground. A time when children’s energy can be compared to rocket fuel. But when we start to look at the individual child, that’s when things can get very complicated depending on who you talk to.

Some researchers believe they have found overwhelming evidence between the number of years spent in school and the level of success the child will achieve. A High School graduate will have a longer life than one who drops out. Less time spent in school means they will be unemployed more often than those students who graduate.( Wonacott, 2003; Dillon, Liem, and Gore, 2003 )

I think its safe to say ‘success’ is a relative word with credibility lying with the speaker. Regardless of what we might hear in the media, social media, and Western European philosophy. Having a lot of money is not directly proportionate to a persons level of intelligence.

Thousands of studies have been done trying to find similarities, something in common, between the two. Evidence does not exist. I agree, I have worked for more dumb asses than I can count. A person driving a nice expensive car means, at that moment in time a person is driving a nice expensive car. How ironic some universities cost a few thousands of dollars per semester to attend and some cost hundreds of thousands. All evidence seems to point to one basic component. If the student isn’t motivated to learn or if their mind simply hasn’t matured past kindergarten it will be self evident. My son who is six years old knows repeating a word over and over again in the same sentence doesn’t add strength to the word. He knows putting an exclamation point at the end of a sentence doesn’t convey anger. It means the person is excited. Putting more then one exclamation doesn’t mean the person is super mega happy.

 

“Its gonna be  really, really, really Big!! Just wait and see Rocket Man!!!!”

I think this is a good time to end this post.  I just now realized I compared the intelligence of my six year old to the intelligence of our current President of the United States. As objective as I try to be, I don’t think I was far off. The President also went to one of the most expensive private business collages in the state of New York.

My son and his classmates have almost completed the first grade. Public education, funded with public dollars.

IQ Testing…..Fer Getta ’bout it!

IQ tests are unreliable

Measuring Intelligence 

In 1905 two Frenchman, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon were recruited by authorities in the Paris school to develop a test that could be given to children who were having difficulty in school. The scope of work was simple. Identify those who were not intelligent enough to cope with the regular curriculum. Then they would be placed in so called beneficial classes. This type of tracking based solely on a fixed score has been discredited by multiple researchers over the coarse of many years. Most will agree, this first intelligent test had genuine humanitarian purpose. (Slavin 1990; Dornbusch, Glasgow, & Lin, 1996; Stipek,2002)

Stanford-Binet   The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (Roid, 2003) is the modern version and  a direct descendent from the original Binet-Simon test. This test can be given to adults,  it is pimaraly used to measure childhood intelligence. It is accepted and used world wide in every age group except infancy. It stresses academic and verbal skills associated with school. The last sentence cannot be overstated. School, and school only. But if a person would like to download the free app., test and judge everyone they know, please be my quest. It even works on my Rottweiler Lily, although the verbal part was a bit tricky.

The Formula   IQ= (mental age/actual age) * 100,  The belief is measuring a child’s intellectual ability relative to their age.  The medium score of 100 is center normal.

EX: A 6 year old can perform the same work as other 6 year olds, the equation would look like this. (6 divided by 6) x 100,  yields an IQ of 100, 100 is spot on middle of the road normal.

The problem lies in its reliability, one of the many problems is, it assumes the age of the children as being on the same exact day for everyone. Meaning if the children are 11 months apart, the older child has almost a year on the youngest. These scores also are assumed to be normally distributed across the general population. This is only an average, and not to be taken as a fixed, static intelligence. We never stop developing , Our IQ can and will change aver time directly proportionate to the academic work load of the individual. If a person wants to become gifted simply pick a person out of the  population that is 4 or 5 years older then they are and have them perform a task you know how to do.  EX a 4 year old performs work that a 6 year old does. (6/4) x 100 = an IQ of 150, reference the model, and now the child’s intelligence is beyond genius.

All intelligence test are an average of performance. They all use different concepts, items and definitions of what is  intelligence. Science has yet to come up with an absolute standard  to asses and measure intelligence.

For obvious reasons we should leave the intelligence measuring, labels, and stereotypes for the health professionals to argue over. Let the child be a child, I know of no test that can measure a child missing out on their childhood. The mind will remember, so let them remember love and security, instead of charts, graphs and antiquated lifeless models.

Gifted Intelligence? or Living in Denial

 

Some things in life need to be left alone. Especially if we don’t know what we are doing. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to the Psychology of a child’s cognitive development. I have no problem with peoples personal beliefs. After all its personal, and its none of my business.

Its the adults who call themselves mature, stand on the proverbial soapbox and crow to the world (usually without being asked)

I am gifted!

ok cool, nothing wrong with that. Except they cant keep it to themselves. The people they gravitate towards are children. They know children are highly impressionable.  The self proclaimed gifted adult will start using vocabulary words they never used before, taken completely out of context. Just because it has six or seven syllables , ex : Ethnocentricity    or Endomorphism.  The abnormal behavior a person (on average) will go through playing make believe is almost comical. My problem starts when mature adults start passing judgement on other child’s development, giving extra time for some kids and not others.  Its just disgusting. Its a industry that isn’t regulated.

If I go online and give legal advise I’m breaking the law, I’m not a lawyer.

If I go online and give medical advice on anything I’m breaking the law, I’m not a doctor.

If I go online and give advise to unsuspecting families about the intelligence lvl of their kid, nothing will happen,, in fact If A person put up the right adds the jazzy site, they could start making money off of it and as long as they are not physically hurting anyone it isn’t against the law.

Warning Signs of a Fraudster 

If we are given a reference of their information and its dated more then five years old, run.

If they have no idea what a Tabula Rasa is, run.

Don’t be afraid to ask how, when and who declared them to have such superior wisdom. If they can only give you one name, run. Especially if they tell you it was a psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical Doctor, run like hades. Most professionals will not tell you a diagnosis, good or bad, because you might start to think of your self as having superior intellect to the point you start to volunteering information, even to those who didn’t want it.

 

When the fraudster is typing  something up in word, ask them if they can tell you what MLA, CMA, APA stand for. if they look somewhat puzzled, run.

If they are unable to give any kind of a reference they learned it in a college level Statistical Analysis class, run. this is when they would have learn about the’ standard deviation’. I have had educators in grades K through 5 talk about the ‘SD’ in the most bazaar ways. In Pennsylvania it isn’t even required for a degree in secondary education to have any math classes at all. Most ‘Stat 200’ classes have a prerequisite of at least passing algebra 1 with a c or better, just to get in. Engineering students need a c or better in stat 200 to receive credit for the coarse. Public school teachers, especially those in K-5, have no training in mathematics what so ever. They shouldn’t deceive parents into thinking they have.

We are always developing, it has been proven, overwhelmingly, a person has the power to raise their intelligence. They also hold the opposite, we can make ourselves less intelligent as well. Children develop at different times. Give them plenty of love and understanding. If and when the youngster asked about things such as ‘smart and stupid’ tell them those are words we don’t use. Those are for the self proclaimed gifted community. They need those words, Its the only way they know how to describe their superior level of understanding to each other.