Postings for February 2012

Go Red For WomenWorkin’ 9 to 5 — for less
Think that women are finally earning what their male counterparts earn?

Think again. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2010, women in Washington state had median weekly earnings of $748, which is 76.5 percent of the $978 median weekly earnings of men. Nationwide, women earned $669 per week, which is 81.2 percent of the $824 median for men.

While both women’s and men’s weekly earnings in Washington state ranked in the top 10 in pay nationwide, the ratio of female-to-male earnings in the state place us 41st in the nation.

Think heart-healthy
Macy’s, in partnership with the American Heart Association and ParentMap, will sponsor Go Red For Women, a special event that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 4, at Macy’s in Bellevue Square. Highlighting the day will be a passport program with “heart-healthy” stops designed to educate participants on their risk factors for heart disease and ways to live a healthier lifestyle. Stations will include CPR training, chair massages and nutrition and fitness information. Everyone who completes the passport program will be eligible to win a grand prize from Macy’s.

Power to the arts!
According to the nonprofit organization ArtsEd Washington, the level of K–12 arts education in Washington state schools is often inadequate. ArtsEd’s mission is to make sure all students in the state have access to an arts education.

In 2010, the Washington State Arts Commission released a publication, K–12 Arts Education: Every Student, Every School, Every Year.

The Every Student booklet is based on a survey of K–12 principals conducted in 2008–2009. Principals responded from across the state — from 37 out of 39 Washington counties, and from schools representing 25 percent of the state’s student population. Some of the survey findings include:

  • 63 percent of principals are dissatisfied with the quantity of arts education in their schools
  • 33 percent of elementary school students receive less than one hour per week of arts instruction
  • 34 percent of eighth-graders attend a school where there is no instruction in visual art

K–12 Arts Education: Every Student, Every School, Every Year is available as a PDF online at

Video games foster creativity? Really?
Here’s one that takes us by surprise: A Michigan State University study of nearly 500 12-year-olds found that the more that kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories. But the study also found that the use of cell phones and computers (other than for video games) was not related to creativity.

Linda Jackson, lead researcher on the project, said the study is the first that connects technology use and creativity. The findings should motivate game designers to identify the aspects of video game activity that are responsible for the creative effects, she says. “Once they do that, video games can be designed to optimize the development of creativity while retaining their entertainment values, such that a new generation of video games will blur the distinction between education and entertainment.”

The study also found that boys played video games more than girls, and that boys favored games of violence and sports (surprise!), while girls favored games involving interaction with others.

Desperately seeking Ritalin
The medicines needed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are in short supply, reports The New York Times. Many patients can’t find pharmacies that have enough pills to fill their prescriptions.

According to reports, federal regulators limit the availability of ADHD drugs, because they worry these drugs will be abused. ADHD drugs such as Adderall are sometimes used by students who want to improve school performance — or get high.

There’s a growing demand for these drugs. In 2010, more than 18 million prescriptions were written for Adderall, up 13.4 percent from 2009, according to a Reuters report.

The number of kids diagnosed with ADHD is increasing. Between 2003 and 2007, the percentage of children diagnosed with it increased by 22 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

             —Linda Morgan

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