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Holding its own as No. 2 public in the nation
U.Va. adjusts to new federal labor regulations
Faculty Opinions now online
Headlines @ U.Va.
Kenneth Thompson: A passionate belief in public education about government
Holland’s Legacy: Winning with class
Good Medicine: U.Va. Volunteers make a difference in Southwest Virginia
Bridge phenom Noble Shore mastering game
Be on the look-out: Public urged after latest attack
Poet Rita Dove to read from new book
Jefferson In and Out: The World That Shaped His Cultural Interests
Aunspaugh art fellows show work
Doing the shuffle: Departments move to accommodate construction


Headlines @ U.Va.

Hays: Welfare reform’s promise doesn’t match reality
When welfare reform became law in 1996, many recipients agreed the system was in need of overhaul and were eager to pull their own weight, said Sharon Hays, professor of sociology and women’s studies and author of “Flat Broke With Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform.” The optimism soon faded, especially for single mothers, she says. “The trouble is that the more idealistic principles behind reform — independence, citizenship, a commitment to the common good — don’t match the reality of low-wage work, child care and transportation issues, not to mention the plethora of family problems and, in some cases, mental and physical disabilities these women face,” she said. “Given the economic realities of our times and the lack of support for raising children, it just isn’t possible for the majority of these mothers to achieve the ideal.”
The Sun, Aug. 2004

News from the ranks
For highly motivated high school students, missing a point or two on a test in their sophomore year may keep them out of the top five in their graduating class. That kind of competition can be unhealthy, some schools have decided, and they have taken steps to lessen the burden — in some cases, abolishing class rank altogether. But such measures are valuable, said Dean of Admission John Blackburn. In the case of a student ranked in the 12th percentile of her class, “It says that in a school with 400 seniors, 11 percent have better grades,” he said. “That student is not off to a good start with us, and we’re going to look very carefully at the rest of the application.”
Washington Post, Aug. 1

Computer data keep public outrage at bay
The overall health of the Chesapeake Bay is improving — or not. It depends on the measure you use. The computer modeling used by The Chesapeake Bay Program says the flow of major pollutants into the bay has declined nearly 40 percent since 1985. But actual water samples tell a much different story — that pollution levels have remained more or less constant. Politically speaking, the upbeat computer data may erode support for more effective environmental measures, says Howard Ernst, a senior scholar at U.Va.’s Center for Politics and author of “Chesapeake Bay Blues.” “It’s sucked the public outrage out of the system. If you are told year after year that things are getting better, what’s the incentive to make the necessary changes?”
Washington Post, July 18

He’ll believe it when he sees it
Voter turnout among youth has declined steadily since 1971, when the 26th Amendment extended the franchise to 18- to 20-years olds. This year, there are a multitude of efforts urging youngsters to vote, and optimism that the trend may be reversed. “Promises, promises,” replies Ken Stroupe of U.Va.’s Center for Politics. “This is not the first year young people promised to vote.” Voting by itself is meaningless, he adds, unless it is part of a pattern of civic involvement — following the news, attending governmental meetings and writing to politicians, he said.
USA Today, Aug. 19

Older coasters still have appeal
Amusement parks are engaged in an arms race of sorts, as they seek to build the fastest, twistiest, sleekest new roller coasters in all the land. But older coasters, often overlooked in the rush to the new attractions, can be just as thrilling, says physics professor Louis Bloomfield. “They thrill you with vibrations, whipping around corners and their seemingly rickety structure, which is just as gut-wrenching as a newer coaster, if not more so.” So if you’re headed to King’s Dominion for one last summer fling, you might want to give the ol’ Rebel Yell another look.
Toronto Globe and Mail, Aug. 14


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