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August Grant Writing Links: Abstinence and Comprehensive Sex Education, the Stimulus Bill, Charter Schools, Entitlements, and More

* Parents Just Don’t Understand: A sociologist says American moms and dads are in denial about their kids’ sexual lives. See also: Why Have Teen Pregnancy Rates Dropped? A new study shows how to reduce them even more. Both could fit in your next Competitive Abstinence Education Grant Program proposal. Notice especially this, from the first link: “You argue that both abstinence-only and comprehensive sex ed camps treat teenage sexuality in a similar way. How so?” Sinikka Elliott responds:

One side is saying, ”Well, they need to abstain. That’s a surefire way that they’re gonna be safe,” and the other side is saying, “They’re not gonna abstain and so they need contraceptive information.” They were basing their argument on the same things: the teen pregnancy rates, the STI rates.

* Along similar lines, it’s useful to remember that contemporary problems have historical roots: in The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution, Faramerz Dabhoiwala says that “by 1650 only about 1 per cent of all births were illegitimate. Thereafter it increased steadily, to unprecedented levels. By 1800, about a quarter of all women who gave birth for the first time were unmarried.” And: “by 1800, almost 40 per cent of women who did marry were also already pregnant.” In other words, many challenges you’re dealing with today, as a nonprofit or public agency services provider, go back at least a couple centuries.

* In the U.S., “Entitlements are squeezing out public investments. In 1962, spending on investments was two and a half times that of entitlements. But today, as a result of this Great Inversion, entitlement spending is three times that of investments. And this trend will only accelerate in time as the Baby Boomers retire and their benefits grow faster than inflation and wages.”

* “President Obama’s stimulus has been an astonishing, and unrecognized, success, argues Michael Grunwald” in his book The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era.

* “Charter schools raise educational standards for vulnerable children.” If you’re working in a charter school, you should be thinking about the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Seven Grant Competitions, some of which are state pass-through funds and some of which charter schools can apply for directly.

* James Fallows: “The Certainty of More Shootings.” Also, on the subject of personal technology and the news, see ‘Denver Resident Here. Reddit, I’m Doing My Best to Update This.’ The real story here is the tragedy, but the way the news spread is also a sign of the times.

* Zoe Williams: No time for novels – should we ditch fiction in times of crisis? When our daily news is apocalyptic, it’s irresponsible to read made-up stories. It’s time to start reading the serious stuff instead. Fortunately, people have been castigating fiction for as long as there has been fiction in any meaningful sense of the word.

* University of Virginia President Teresa “Sullivan has an ambitious plan to retool introductory courses as ‘hybrids,’ replacing much of the human labor with technology and freeing professors to focus on higher-level classes. Her initiative would go further than most elite universities have dared in replacing human instructors with software.” Having both listened to my students talk about what intro-level courses are like at the University of Arizona and having experienced the distinctly not useful aspects of many of the intro-level courses at Clark University, I can’t see a huge problem with trying these ideas: at the moment, such courses appear to largely be a way of collecting tuition, rather than imparting real knowledge. Many of my students say intro math and science courses at the U of A are so bad that the students prefer taking them at community colleges, if possible, and the intro humanities courses are often “taught” in lecture halls with hundreds or more than a thousand students nominally taking them at once.

(Hat tip Marginal Revolution.)

* “The Frisson of Friction: An undergraduate tries a challenging introductory programming course.” I find this especially poignant, given what I do: “Last I checked, there are just over 100 users of my extension. This is far fewer than the number of people using the most popular extension (AdBlock, with 1,626,216 users at that point), but also far more than the number of people who usually read my papers (my TF, 1).”

* Where do sentences come from? My one-line answer: from other sentences.

* “China’s New Target: Batteries” tells the story of A123 Systems, which got a bunch of federal loan guarantees and grants before going belly-up.

* No matter what changes we make to healthcare, in rural America, simply getting to the doctor is a big problem. We often use real or imagined Appalachia similarities in proposals with rural target areas (free grant tip here).

* Scott Atlas on health care; he also discusses access to care, and especially to doctors, which is widely ignored in the political debates yet absolutely essential for CHC / Section 330 providers.