Sunday, December 29, 2013

CRISP: Exhibit to Capture Social Worker’s Contributions in Public Policy

Spreading the word about this exciting new exhibit on the contributions of social workers in public policy. Stay tune for more details in the future....

As part of an ongoing commitment to capture the historical and present-day contribution’s social workers have made to public policy, a collection of Congressional Social Work Caucus and Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy photographs and documents will be placed on display for public viewing on Capitol Hill. Dr. Angela S. Henderson, Executive Director of the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy said, “the exhibit will increase public awareness regarding the monumental, leadership efforts social workers have made in impacting and shaping public policy.” The collection will be featured for one-day as part of Social Work Month 2014. Dr. Henderson plans to open a social work gallery/museum with a public policy focus in the near future.

Written By: Angela Henderson, PhD

End-of-the-Year Cleaning: More Macro Social Work Articles

I was browsing an unpublished website when I stumbled upon these links about macro social work. I wanted to share them with the readers who have an interest in pursuing this type of work. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NYTimes: In the War on Poverty, a Dogged Adversary

The New York Times published an article that highlights the 50th annivesrary of the War on Poverty (2014). Click here for more information about the War on Poverty (link will redirect you to America Public Media).

When President Lyndon Johnson declared his war on poverty on Jan. 8, 1964, almost exactly 50 years ago, 19 percent of Americans were poor.

“The richest nation on earth can afford to win it,” he reasoned, as he proposed a clutch of initiatives from expanding food stamps to revamping unemployment insurance. “We cannot afford to lose it.”

A half-century later, our priorities have changed.

In November, food benefits were cut for approximately 48 million Americans by an average of 7 percent, costing the typical recipient about $9 a month, as the emergency expansion of the food stamp program enacted in the depths of the great recession was allowed to expire.

Next month, 1.3 million jobless workers are scheduled to stop receiving an unemployment check, after Congress’s refusal to prolong the extension of emergency jobless benefits to up to 73 weeks, from 26. Perhaps as many as five million people will lose their benefit over the next year.

But while politicians’ attention has wandered, poverty remains uncomfortably close to where it was five decades ago.

The official poverty rate today is 15 percent. But by a newly deployed, more comprehensive Census Bureau definition, which provides a more realistic tab on people’s needs and takes into account the effect of government benefits, 16 percent of Americans are poor.

This is just 3 percentage points less than in 1967, the earliest year for which the data is available. It amounts to 50 million people.

[UPDATE: January 8, 2014]: Check out this New York Times follow-up article, 50 Years Later, War on Poverty Is a Mixed Bag and Room for Debate: Does the U.S. Need Another War on Poverty?.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What Is Graduate School Via Photos

Whether you are pursuing a master's or PhD degree, this is a visual depiction of graduate school:

For those of you currently in graduate school, good luck on your final exams and papers!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Inside Higher Ed: A Semester of Racial Tensions

In this semseter alone, racial tensions on college campuses have hit the news media as specific incidents (racial harassment at San Jose State University; graduate students of color sit-in at UCLA; blackface and ghetto fraternity parties at public institutions; and Being Black at Michigan Twitter campaign at the University of Michigan) sadly revealed that we do not live in a post-racial society. While these incidents may be shocking to some Americans, it is not surprising to African American faculty and students, who often feel isolated, alienated, ostralized, and discriminated against on college campuses. Inside Higher Ed interviewed Spelman College president and race relations expert, Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. Here were some of the interview questions in the article:

Q: When authorities charged white San Jose State University students with tormenting a black student for months, many were shocked that this could have gone on for so long with no one noticing or intervening -- even when the students allegedly hung up photos of Hitler and the Confederate flag. Were you shocked that this could happen on a college campus?

Q: Also this fall, we have seen black students at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Michigan use social media to voice frustrations with their relatively low numbers and the way they are perceived. What does it say to you that these students feel the need to use social media to draw attention to their concerns -- and that they have been so successful in in fact getting attention in this way?

Q: We have also seen this fall -- as we seem to every fall -- a series of parties with offensive racially charged themes, followed by apologies in which party organizers appear surprised the the use of blackface or "ghetto" themes is offensive. Why is it possible for college students today to be unaware that such actions will offend?

President Obama's Speech on Economic Mobility

President Obama's December 6 speech on the state of economic mobility in America highlighted major themes in the history of social welfare. Consider how these policies affected the social and economic well-being of generations of Americans. In Obama's speech, social workers were at the forefront in investigating social problems and implementing these major social policies. Yet, these safety nets are slowly being dismantled by powerful forces that want society to return to serfdom (servitude). We cannot continue to live in denial -- economic mobility is a serious problem in America. Here is an excerpt of his speech:

It was Abraham Lincoln, a self-described “poor man’s son,” who started a system of land grant colleges all over this country so that any poor man’s son could go learn something new.

When farms gave way to factories, a rich man’s son named Teddy Roosevelt fought for an eight-hour workday, protections for workers, and busted monopolies that kept prices high and wages low.

When millions lived in poverty, FDR fought for Social Security, and insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage.

When millions died without health insurance, LBJ fought for Medicare and Medicaid.

Together, we forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty in a great society. We built a ladder of opportunity to climb, and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn’t be too far, and we could bounce back. And as a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known. And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity.

Now, we can’t look at the past through rose-colored glasses. The economy didn’t always work for everyone. Racial discrimination locked millions out of poverty -- or out of opportunity. Women were too often confined to a handful of often poorly paid professions. And it was only through painstaking struggle that more women, and minorities, and Americans with disabilities began to win the right to more fairly and fully participate in the economy.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Truth About Race in a Post-Racial Society

Another excellent post about race and racism in the so-called "post-racial society" on Everyday Sociology by a scholar, Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I agree with her that the United States is long overdue a real conversation about race.

One lesson we can take from this is that it is scary for many people to encounter a person of color in this country. Some people have been driven to literally shooting Black people dead, even in situations where these people are in desperate need of our collective care. We are teaching our children that they cannot ask for help, they cannot turn to their neighbor. This also has serious consequences for social mobility and educational attainment; we have known for quite a while now that students who feel alienated are less likely to go as far in education....I fear that each and every time that something like these doorstep shootings occur, it sends a signal to communities of color that they are less safe in this country. I recently had a conversation with a scholar of color who said that he was afraid to walk his dog too early in the morning for fear of getting shot. We have created an environment where peoples’ everyday freedoms are in question because of their skin color. All this is amidst a so-called “post-racial” society.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trailer: Inequality for All (2013)

A brand new film about the widening income inequality between the rich and the poor in the United States by Robert Reich. Watch the film trailer:

One of the best ways to help people understand the challenges we face, is with a movie that can grab an audience and move them to action. And this movie will do exactly that. -- Robert Reich

Robert Reich is a best-selling author of thirteen books, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at University of California-Berkeley, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, and a foremost expert on economics. In the film, Reich recommends six solutions: (1) raise the minimum wage, (2) strengthen workers' voices, (3) invest in P-16 education, (4) reform Wall Street, (5) fix the tax system and (6) get big money out of politics. Reich discusses his film project in greater detail in an interview with Moyers and Company.

Becker's "Super ZIPs and Economic Inequality" Blog Post

I read an excellent blog post on Everyday Sociology about growing income inequality and neighborhood segregation in the United States. Literally, where you live (zip code) can determine your future life outcomes. Check out the excerpt below:

Surely, affluent individuals have moved away from less affluent people in the past. The massive “white-flight” out of cities and into suburbs following World War II is a prime example of this. In larger metro areas, super ZIPs tend to be contiguous to one another, forming entire suburban regions of prosperity where one would have to travel quite some distance to see any sort of poverty.

Yet, the urban super ZIP regions found in New York City illustrate inequality far more starkly. Take for instance the cluster of super ZIPs in East Manhattan. A single neighborhood, East Harlem, separates the 10128 ZIP code in East Manhattan from the 10454 ZIP code in the South Bronx. The Manhattan ZIP code has a score of 96, while the Bronx ZIP code has a score of 3. In many places, it seems that your chances of either going to college or going to prison depend on if you live on one side of the freeway or the other.