Daily Archives:January 30th, 2017

Assuming There Remains a National Endowment for the Arts…

Every new presidential administration offers a fresh opportunity to rethink the purpose, value and budget of the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal government’s arts funding agency since its establishment in 1965. In 2016, Congress allotted the NEA $147,949,000, below its 1992 high of $175,954,680 but better than the $97,627,600 appropriation in 2000 when what were then called the “culture wars” was at its height and the agency was punished by conservative legislators for its direct and indirect support of more edgy art forms. President Ronald Reagan vowed to “abolish” the NEA but didn’t and, since its days as a punching bag for the right wing, it largely has been forgotten.
The agency’s stated goals are “supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.” More money for the agency would be good to help those efforts, and I especially would like to see much more done to make the arts a greater part of public school education: More opportunities to learn a musical instrument, the reintroduction of art and music appreciation classes, more required arts classes on the curriculum, theater and dance performances in the schools. We live at a time when symphony orchestras, opera companies, dance and theater troupes around the country are struggling financially due to diminishing attendance, the result of an aging audience. Shut down permanently over the past 15 years are the Florida Philharmonic, San Jose Symphony, Tulsa Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Symphony and the San Antonio Symphony, while bankruptcies have afflicted the New York City Opera and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Columbus, Detroit, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Miami, Milwaukee, New Mexico, Philadelphia and Syracuse. I’m certain some have been overlooked. Orchestral music, older and more contemporary, is not on the radar of young people who only hear what their pop, country, rap, rock or alt music networks are promoting.
According to a 2010 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics of elementary and secondary schools around the country, 91 percent offer music instruction and 84 percent provide visual art classes, with drama and dance far less frequently available. Those percentages do not seem so bad, but what one finds upon closer inspection is that generally there is one music instructor and one visual arts instructor in a given school, regardless of size, doing all the teaching, which results in the choral class or the art class available just once a week. Seventy percent of the surveyed secondary schools required only one credit in some music or art class for graduation, which means that students take their once-a-week chorus in ninth grade and then they are done with the arts.
More congressionally appropriated money for the National Endowment for the Arts could be used to pay conservatory students to perform and give talks at public schools. Aren’t we tired to see tributes to Misty Copeland as the first Black prima ballerina? We should be encouraging more students to try dance than just to praise the one. We could send dancers, musicians, actors and writers into schools, using federal dollars to pay for in-school and after-school programs.
If we want cultural institutions to survive and not just rely on grandparents and the richest donors on the planet, we need to make the arts a priority for the young during the years we have their attention in our public schools. As much as any one-time project grant that the National Endowment for the Arts makes to some nonprofit organization, this focus on arts education will help ensure that the totality of the arts survive and prosper.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-grant/assuming-there-remains-a_b_14490852.html

Costs and Consequences of South Korea’s Political Vacuum

People attend a protest demanding South Korean President Park Geun-hye's resignation in Seoul, South Korea, December 31, 2016. The signs read

On December 9, the South Korean National Assembly passed a motion of impeachment against Park Geun-hye. The ROK (Republic of…

The post Costs and Consequences of South Korea’s Political Vacuum appeared first on Asia Unbound.

.http://feeds.cfr.org/~r/AsiaUnbound/~3/5eiAoWz8sIQ/
div>People attend a protest demanding South Korean President Park Geun-hye's resignation in Seoul, South Korea, December 31, 2016. The signs read

On December 9, the South Korean National Assembly passed a motion of impeachment against Park Geun-hye. The ROK (Republic of…

The post Costs and Consequences of South Korea’s Political Vacuum appeared first on Asia Unbound.

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The Age You Begin Menopause Could Be Influenced By Your Reproductive History

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2017/01/30/the-age-you-begin-menopause-could-be-influenced-by-your-reproductive-history_n_14498370.html

The age at which women get their first period, along with the number of children they have, may influence when they enter menopause, a new study from Australia finds.

Women in the study who got their first period before age 12 and had no children were five times more likely to experience premature menopause, and twice as likely to experience early menopause, than were women who got their first period at age 12 or later, and who had two or more children. Women are considered to have premature menopause if they stop menstruating before age 40; they’re considered to enter early menopause if they stop menstruating between ages 40 and 44.

A woman’s age at her first period and age at menopause are both markers of reproductive health, and while it’s not clear what the link between the two may mean for women’s overall health, a better understanding of the possible link between them “will provide us with the opportunity to monitor and intervene as early as possible,” to prepare women for the possibility of things like ovarian failure or early menopause, said Gita Mishra, the lead author of the paper and an epidemiology professor at The University of Queensland. [Wonder Woman: 10 Interesting Facts About the Female Body]

In the study, the researchers looked at data that was drawn from nine previous observational studies about 51,450 menopausal women in the U.K., Scandinavia, Australia and Japan. The researchers looked at the self-reported age of a woman’s first period as well as how many children she had.

The median age of menopause was 50, the researchers found. Among all women in the study, 2 percent experienced premature menopause and 7.6 percent experienced early menopause. But among the women who got their first period before age 12 and who also had no children, 5.2 percent experienced premature menopause and 9.9 percent experienced early menopause, according to a statement about the study from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

When analyzing their data, the researchers adjusted for factors that could influence women’s age at menopause, including their education level, marital status, smoking status, body mass index (BMI) and year of birth.

The researchers noted that most women in the study self-reported their age at their first period, however, and it’s possible that the participants might have recalled the age incorrectly. In addition, they said that more studies are needed to tease apart the effects of genes and the environment on the age of a woman when she has her first period and her age at menopause. [Conception Misconceptions: 7 Fertility Myths Debunked]

“To improve health outcomes in later life, we need to be thinking of the risk factors through the whole of the woman’s life, from the early years and the time of their first period, through to their childbearing years and the menopausal transition,” Mishra told Live Science.

The researchers wrote in their findings that they hope that the study will help shape clinical guidelines for reproductive health. For instance, doctors may decide to prepare women with no children, who had their first period before age 12, for the possibility of early menopause, to help them make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

Originally published on Live Science.

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— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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