Teach for America, Editing our DNA, Modern Chivalry

Teach for America, Editing our DNA, Modern Chivalry

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

  • Feb 17, 2017
  • 1:45:01 mins
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Education Inequity Guest: Sean Parker, Executive Director, Teach for America, Las Vegas Valley Some schools are better than others at helping kids succeed. That’s a fact that bedevils policy experts who have long struggled to bottle the key factors of success in some schools and put them to work in others. Funding, teacher quality, administrative skills and lots of community factors such as the poverty and education levels of students’ parents play into a school success. The unfortunate truth is that not all kids have an equal chance at getting a good K-12 education. The parents you’re born to and the place where you live make all the difference. It’s simply not fair.  Oscar-Nominee “Land of Mine” Guest: Chip Oscarson, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Scandinavian Program, BYU One of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language films is a film out of Denmark titled “Land of Mine.” It recreates a devastating chapter of World War II history, when, at the end of the war, 2,000 German POWs—many of them just in their teens—were forced to clear a million and a half land mines buried in the western beaches of Denmark. Half of these prisoners were killed or injured.  Somehow this often brutal film manages a tender portrait of these young soldiers and their gruff overseer.  Evolving Ourselves Guest: Steve Gullans, PhD, Managing Director, Excel Venture Management The National Academy of Sciences just this week endorsed a highly controversial procedure that allows American scientists for the first time to edit out inherited diseases from human embryos. The disease, then, is no longer passed down through the family line. Consider this, last year, the first baby genetically related to three parents was born. American doctors did the controversial procedure in Mexico, because it was not then legal in the US. They first took the mother’s egg and cut out the genes for a devastating disease, then replaced them with healthy genes from another woman before fertilizing the egg with the father’s sperm and implanting it in the mother. So the baby – born healthy in April– has DNA from two women and one man. And the baby then passes down this altered DNA to its children. It’s a striking example of humans taking the reins of evolution from Mother Nature.  Squatters May Actually Help Neighborhoods Guest: Claire Herbert, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Drexel University The housing and foreclosure crisis that helped cause the Great Recession also plunged many neighborhoods into decline. Homes that have been abandoned by their owners and the bank quickly over grow with weeds; then they become a magnet for thieves, loiterers and worst of all, squatters. Moral Chivalry Guest: Oriel Feldman Hall, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Brown University Valentine’s Day being this week has us thinking about conventional courtship. Old ideas about chivalry say that women need their doors opened and arms held – this idea that women are somehow weaker and more in need of protecting. But some really interesting research by psychologists at Columbia, the University of Birmingham and New York University concludes two things: people generally default to protecting women over men when they have to make a choice which to save; and that urge is tied to social norms that tell us women need protecting.  Martian Crops Guest: Bruce Bugbee, PhD, Professor in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, USU Soil, water, sun. It’s a pretty simple equation for growing a plant. But that equation gets a lot more complicated when you leave Earth and look to grow food in space – or on Mars. That’s where NASA hopes to be sending humans in another 15 years or so.

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