(CNN Student News) -- December 10, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A lot of good info coming at you in today's edition of CNN Student News. Thank you for taking ten to join us.
First Up: Health Care
AZUZ: Here's what's up: You know how we've talked about the "public option"; a possible, government-run health care plan. Well, it probably won't be in the Senate bill. That is what came out of a closed-door meeting on Tuesday night. Instead, a compromise involving a new, private plan is in the works. But guess what? That's already stirring up arguments. Senators are having trouble agreeing on things like how coverage should be changed, and who should get it. So while the White House supports the Senate's work, it is anything but finished.
AZUZ: A recent CNN poll found that the economy, not health care, is the biggest issue on the minds of Americans. The government's made a couple major moves to deal with the economy: One, the $787 billion stimulus package that President Obama signed into law earlier this year. But there was another, separate package last fall -- one under President Bush, that gave banks and U.S. car makers loans to keep them in business. That package was called "TARP." And President Obama wants to take some of the unused money from it to try to create jobs. But Ines Ferre explains why President Obama's ideas for these funds and the ideas of Republican lawmakers don't exactly overlap.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just over a year ago Treasury Secretary Paulson and President Bush announced the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP. Created to save the banking industry from collapse, there's been nothing but controversy over the $700 billion program, designed to buy up toxic assets from failing banks.
OBAMA: There's rarely been a less loved or more necessary emergency program than TARP, which as galling as the assistance to banks may have been, indisputably helped prevent a collapse of the entire financial system.
FERRE: More than two million families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the start of this crisis. A new CNN poll shows 84 percent of Americans think the economy is in a recession. Treasury Secretary Geithner says there will be $200 billion unspent when the TARP program expires at the end of this month. Democrats are pushing to use at least some of that money for job creation programs. But acting on voters' anger over the bailouts and sky high deficits, some Republican senators are saying not so fast.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: They shouldn't be recycled, re-spent, reused and allowing TARP to become what is essentially a political slush fund to be used for whatever the administration decides to use it for.
FERRE: TARP money not spent would automatically go towards reducing the deficit at the end of the year, unless Congress changes that. Where the money ends up going is likely to generate a political fist fight in Washington. Ines Ferre, CNN, Washington.
AZUZ: Wisconsin is used to scenes like this. But not this severe, this early. Residents from east to west are recovering -- and digging out -- from a major winter storm that coated states nationwide. To make matters colder, this mass of Canadian, arctic air blew in Wednesday, dropping thermometers to a record 12 degrees in Portland, Oregon -- nine degrees in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- negative two degrees in Denver!
AZUZ: Last night, President Obama heading to Oslo, Norway to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize today. He is the fourth president to be awarded the prestigious prize. The Nobel committee says they awarded the president "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." But, according to a recent CNN poll, most Americans think that this award has come too soon. Only 19 percent of Americans think President Obama deserves the prize. But a majority thinks that he will eventually accomplish enough to deserve it.
CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Ms. Walz's social studies classes at Augsburg Fairview Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota! Which chromosome is present in males but absent in females? Is it: R, T, X or Y? You've got three seconds -- GO! Females have two X chromosomes, but males have an X and a Y chromosome... which means Y is your answer, and your Shoutout!
AZUZ: So, the next question is, do males and females learn differently? That has been discussed and debated for decades -- countless studies made on the subject. But one school is putting it into practice, the guys in one class, the girls in another. And the environments, according to Kiran Chetry, are cooperative for one group, and competitive for the other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's up over here? Three, two, one, Go. There you go. Tap it. Oh, that isn't correct.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: For these seventh grade boys, math is a competitive sport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!
ALLAN MICHAELS, MATH TEACHER: I like to call it controlled chaos.
CHETRY: The chaos is part of a program at Woodbridge Middle School in Virginia. Faced with a gender gap in test scores, the school formed single-gender classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies, take a look.
CHETRY: Testing the growing school of thought that boys and girls are hard-wired to learn differently.
DR. LEONARD SAX, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR SINGLE SEX PUBLIC EDUCATION: The best way for the boys is not the best way for the girls. The best way for the girls is not the best way for the boys.
CHETRY: Dr. Leonard Sax, author of "Why Gender Matters" says the solution? Split them up.
Why does gender matter when it comes to learning?
SAX: The brain research is showing us quite clearly that the brains of girls and boys develop along different trajectories.
CHETRY: Sax says math skills develop earlier in boys, language skills faster in girls.
SAX: The surprising finding is that the coed classroom ends up disadvantaging both girls and boys, ends up reinforcing gender stereotypes. The girls end up thinking that abstract number three is for boys, and the boys thinking creative writing is for girls.
CHETRY: Proponents of single-sex education say boys learn best with competition and movement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Set yourselves up over here.
CHETRY: What is it about movement and boys that seem to somehow go together when it comes to teaching?
MEAGAN KENNEDY, BOYS LANGUAGE ARTS TEACHER: The boys in general just, if they're in their desk and seated and expected to sit and do their work there, they're more apt to become unfocused, you know, be disturbed by others, start the tapping, start making the noise.
CHETRY: Meagan Kennedy says since the program began three years ago, reading scores in the all-boy classrooms are up and discipline problems are down.
KRISTEN WILLIAMS, GIRLS MATH TEACHER: This is the math process.
CHETRY: In Kristen Williams' all-girl math class, warm lamp light and desks grouped together reflect the thinking that girls learn best working in a cooperative environment.
WILLIAMS: Give them a lot of social time, a lot of time and opportunity to be verbal, to work in partners, to work in groups.
CHETRY: Williams says she's seen dramatic improvements, particularly among girls that struggled in co-ed math classes.
WILLIAMS: These are just sort of guidelines.
CHETRY: But even with some signs of success, single-sex education has its critics.
DAVID SADKER, AUTHOR, "FAILING AT FAIRNESS": If you assume that boys behave one way and you teach to that stereotype and you assume that girls learn another way and you teach to that stereotype, what you're doing is limiting the option of kids. You're reinforcing stereotypes.
CHETRY: Professor David Sadker, who's written extensively about gender bias in schools, says rather than separating students by gender, schools should work to make co-ed classrooms better.
SADKER: Creating single-sex schools to improve test grades is a cheap solution to a much much deeper problem.
CHETRY: Kiran Chetry, CNN, Woodbridge, Virginia.
AZUZ: Fascinating story. You heard both sides of it in that report. Now we want to hear from you! Go to our blog at CNNStudentNews.com, click on From A to Z. Tell us what you think of this; we're looking forward to your comments. We do read them -- only want to see your first names on them, though. And tell us while you're at it whether you think being split up by gender would help you learn better.
AZUZ: The results are in on our last blog and more than 80 percent of you say football shouldn't be a sport only for guys. Abigail says "it doesn't matter what gender you are if you can take down a player, run with the ball and pass." Alexa argues that "guys think football is just a guys' sport and that girls are not as tough as they are, but they would be surprised." And in Payton's opinion, "if guys can be cheerleaders, then girls can be football players." But Gavino says "football is just a guy sport because you have to take a lot of hits." And Rajko believes that "having a woman on the field would make the game less competitive because the other players may be hesitant to tackle her for fear of injuring her."
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go today, this is no place for an eagle. But thanks to the Georgia officials who nursed him back to health after he was found injured on the ground... Well, you can see for yourself here: He hops out, looks around for a second and spreads his wings to do what eagles do best! They think he might've been hurt after flying into power lines and it was a priority to get him healed up pronto.
AZUZ: Because his mate was wondering why he hadn't called her beak. We'll be beak tomorrow, though, so don't miss out on our Friday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.