TYO Recommends: Friday, April 20, 2012

This week TYO determines whether it pays to play, the value of liquid gold, and what role Syria's First Lady might play in quelling the ongoing violence.

Girls Going Far. This week, the World Bank reassesses the state of girls’ education around the world in 2012. As to be expected, despite strides, much PROGRESS remains to be made.There has been progress, but gender equality has not been fully or permanently achieved around the world. This is why we will continue to invest in girls and women, particularly early in life and in ways that are the most likely to benefit them, their families, and the societies in which they live.”

Play, play, even on rainy days! Education Week analyzes the benefits of recess on cognitive and emotional development. Researcher Ummuhan Yesil Dagli of Yildiz Technical University in Turkey examines data correlating RECESS and reading scores for kindergarten children who began school in 1998. Taking duration of recess, scores on standardized reading exams, and socio-economics into consideration, Dagli discovers in what ways recess “allows a child to be a child.”

All Talk, Less Pay. And the National Institute for Early Education Research releases its State of Preschool yearbook! The BOOK looks at insights on state-funded pre-K not just for 2010-2011, but for the past decade in the United States. They found that as national drives to increase access to PRESCHOOL education increased since 2000 with programs like No Child Left Behind, funding for these much-lauded influential early childhood education programs has been drastically cut, so much as to call into question the effectiveness of the programs that have been established. Researchers warn: “A decline of this magnitude should serve as a wake-up call for parents and policy leaders about how weak our commitment has become to preparing today’s preschoolers to succeed in school and later find good jobs in a competitive global economy.”

Gold in them thar fields! They call it liquid GOLD and it sells like hotcakes on the global market—olive oil!  USAID speaks on efforts to increase organic farming among Palestinian olive farmers in Jenin. “Since 65,000 people in the West Bank count on olives for at least a portion of their income, increasing the productivity of olive farming will have a significant impact.” The Canaan Fair Trade brand helps local growers raise standards, improve packaging, and market their good jointly to both reap greater profits for the farmers and create more sustainable practices in their farming.

Silence in Syria. Wives of two high-ranking European ambassadors to Syria, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, wife of the German Ambassador Peter Wittig, and Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of the British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, issued a CALL TO ACTION to Syria’s First Lady Asma al-Assad, urging her to shake her demure public image and steadfast loyalty to her husband’s agenda and instead speak out against the ongoing bloodshed in her native land. Calling on her influence as President al-Assad’s spouse and her duty as a woman, the women launched an urgent plea and petition on Facebook reaching out to Asma earlier this week.  “It is your duty to prevent the breakout of civil war as a woman, as a wife and as a mother of young children yourself. You have waited too long already.” Thus far, Syria’s First Lady remains quietly in the wings.

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