Hello from the in-between where I am really working on being a little more comfortable...

How Social Emotional Learning became the frontline in the battle against CRT (NPR): As a former educator, I am begging everyone to make sure you understand what social emotional learning (SEL) is and how important the research based methods (implemented in 100% of schools) are. This should not be political. 

Why US childcare is so broken (The Atlantic): This article is helpful for me to understand the problems and solutions in regards to childcare. A friend also recommended the podcast Where's My Village to learn more.

Could Iran's Regime Fall? (The Economist): I know embarrassingly little about Iran and the politics - this article offers an overview of the issues and what is happening right now - and how a possible revolution led by women could change everything.

The Supreme Court will end college diversity (WaPo): The Supreme Court starts today on a case that could end affirmative action nationally. Early data from universities who have already had to drop affirmative action indicate the proportion of Black and Latinx students could drop by as much as half.

How to encourage your team to give you honest feedback (HBR): We may think we've opened the door to our teams to give us feedback, but it's likely they still aren't giving it openly. This has scripts and actions we can take to actually get that feedback.

2022.10.30 Sunday Reading List

Monday, October 31, 2022


The above is a reminder I have needed this week. Constant change has left me feeling insecure and less confident in speaking my mind. Hope everyone remembers their super powers this week and crushes it. We deserve it.

Why are plastic surgery reversals on the rise? (Refinery 29): What happens when a BBL goes out of style, how it gets reversed, and why. (TW: I read somewhere that the BBL is out because low rise pants are in, and for those of us who have to jump into our jeans...we know low rise isn't for us).

How to talk to kids about scary things they seen in the news (Psychology Today): Five rules for the generation who was left out of these conversations when we were kids.

High performing teams don't leave work relationships up to chance (HBR): People with friendships at work are more productive and more likely to retain. How we can build friendships on our teams.  s/o to my work wife turned best friend <3.

A linguistics expert explains the Latino/Latinx confusion (ABC News): The data and the history behind the words.

The part of pregnancy no one talks about (WaPo): The aforementioned work wife sent me this column with a screenshot of this quote , the whole thing resonated with me so much and I wish I had read before I was pregnant. Also Elaine is a great IG follow. 

I don’t have all the answers, but what I can say is this: Just as your body expands and contracts to accommodate the big changes to come, so does your life. Sometimes the contractions are the most painful part — and I don’t mean the labor pains we hear about all the time. There will be parts of your world that will necessarily shrink, filtering out what is no longer helpful, healthy or sustainable when growing new life inside. But it will expand again, with a newfound perspective.

China's Generation DINK is fueling a demographic time bomb (Fortune): The irreversible impact of the one child policy on China's perception of fertility + cut throat school/professional culture + consumerism = even government incentives can't encourage Dual Income No Kids populations to have kids. And it's a major threat to the economy.

2022.9.18 Sunday Reading List

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Loan forgiveness is having a moment, and while I think the most recent move is a positive step it does not address the root of the problem and is the equivalent of putting a bandaid on a severed limb. Debt, primarily student debt, is a leading cause of the racial wealth gap and if we want to see real change we have to address the root - reattach the limb if we want to stick with my metaphor.

In order to understand the solution, we have to really understand how we got here. Today we're going to talk about how college got so freaking expensive in America? Some facts:

How we compare

Americans spend 2x the amount on college tuition compared other developed countries. BUT a third of these countries cover the cost of college for students (aka keep it free for students), while one third keep the cost at or below $2,400 for students. Meaning, it doesn't have to be this bad!!

How colleges are funded

America has three types of colleges that are funded in different ways:

1. Public (i.e. state universities): 3/4 of students attend public universities. They are funded by a mix of state and local funding, tuition dollars paid by students, and federal aid. 

2. Private non-profit: Rely on endowment funds and student paid tuition for funding (not state/local funding). 

3. For-profit colleges: We don't have time for this but these are the Strayers and DeVrys of the world.

How did college tuition go up so fast?

Tuition costs have increased three-fold in the last 30 years - aka it wasn't always this bad. Over the past 30 years, faced with rising healthcare costs and requirements to balance budgets, states and local governments have been redirecting funds from education to other areas- aka defunding education (yes, when lawmakers were out here acting brand new to the idea of defunding the police they'd been doing for literal decades with education)

As their main funding source dropped, public universities did two things:

  1. Shifted costs to the students (i.e. increased tuition)
  2. Targeted out-of-state and international students who paid full tuition. 

In order to attract the wealthiest out-of-state and international students the colleges needed either 1) high rankings or 2) to pull some stunts. Both are extremely costly, let's break it down:

Rankings are helped by some costly factors:

  1. Low student:faculty ratios (very little research supports benefits of small college class sizes and this requirement is unique to American colleges) which means to be competitive colleges need more faculty members. 
  2. High amount of faculty-published research which means faculty need to focus more time on research so even more faculty are required to support the above requirement. And colleges pay a higher dollar for the all-star researchers.
  3. "Campus life" like extracurriculars and support for students which creates a whole other set of non-academic costs like directors, program managers, deans, and service providers.
Pulling stunts are costly too - these are things like national ranking sports teams (think all-star coaching staff, player facilities to attract the best athletes) and campus amenities (state of the art dining halls, fancy dorms). 

Each year as more colleges get more competitive, the ante gets upped and it gets a little costlier to keep up, adding expenses that are not covered by a system that continues defunding the colleges, and so the cost is transferred to the students.

Defunding education is uniquely American, as is entrepreneurializing (I made that word up) education, and hence we have the most expensive secondary education in the world.

The impact of rising tuition costs on the racial wealth gap

1. Lack of generational wealth and/or lack of liquid resources = Black households take out more student loans = Black households carry more student debt = Black households have lower credit = a whole host of issues contributing to the wealth gap (ex: challenges/inability to purchase a home - Black college grads are less likely to own a home than white high school dropouts). 

2. 60% of Black college students do not graduate, and while there are a host of factors that contribute to this, when researchers correct for students receiving financial support the Black graduation rate matches the white graduation rate. But again, lack of generational wealth and lack of liquidity and other systemic issues make it so Black families are less likely to be able to provide financial support at the same level as white families.

3. The majority of high achieving, low income students (in the top 4% of students) opt not to apply to highly selective colleges due to costs. This unfortunately often puts them into more debt than if they had gone to financial-aid heavy selective colleges, but this guidance is rarely available to low income students.

4. A $1,000 increase in undergrad tuition is associated with a 6% drop in campus diversity.

5. The cost of college deters many low income students from even applying to college.

College Tuition Part 1: why college is so freaking expensive

Wednesday, September 14, 2022



The Enduring Legacy of 9/11 (Pew Research Center): Two decades later, how 9/11 has shaped us. This article looks at data that explains the emotional toll, public opinion impact, military operations, how it changed our view of terrorism, and how treatment of Muslims became a partisan issue.

Nurseries are closing in American hospitals, here's why that's bad (Parents): An interesting take on the adverse affects of the "baby friendly" hospital movement (personal note: I had my baby in a baby friendly hospital and he spent his first week in the NICU. While NICU is not the way any parent wants to start, after a birth filled with complications the rest I was able to get during that week was probably the most important factor in my healing. IMO nurseries need to be an option so birthing parents can have an opportunity to sleep and heal).

Building a better restaurant bathroom (Eater): A fascinating look at what makes a restaurant bathroom good, and features to make bathrooms more inclusive and functional for all. 

A divorce trend that may reshape marriage forever (Psychology Today): The divorce rate for 50-70 year olds is at an all-time high. This article discusses what is behind the trend and steps we can take to ensure our marriages are not "on life support" by this time.

Why Mormons reacted so strongly to the racist BYU volleyball event (Slate): A look at the history of race in the LDS church, and how the Mormon community has responded to the racist BYU volleyball event.

2022.9.11 Sunday Reading List

Sunday, September 11, 2022

ICYMI the residents of Mississippi's capital city are currently without safe drinking water or the water pressure to take a shower or flush a toilet or fight a fire. Can we just take a minute to reflect on the severity of this situation? When is the last time you were somewhere without water for plumbing? Without access to water, aka the most basic human need? 

Jackson's schools have had to shut down and returned to virtual (reminder: this course of action is modern day school segregation and excludes poor students), restaurants and workplaces have had to shut down (loss of hourly wages = devastating impact on hourly workers who are disproportionately Black and Brown), only people who have resources to find and travel are able to obtain bottled water (poor people are less likely to have internet to search for locations, less likely to have access to reliable transportation, and due to hourly wages or health issues less likely to be able to wait in long lines to obtain water). 

There are a lot of important factors at play here that are important to understand. First, some details about Jackson, MS:
  • Population: 150,000
  • Black population: 83% of Jackson's residents are Black, making it the Blackest state in America only behind Washington, D.C. who can't get statehood because America loves to disenfranchise Black folks

The Timeline

This covers topics we have discussed in the past: school integration, state elections, and the dirty word "defunding" that we all like to lose our sh*t about when people associate with the police.

1969: We all know about Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, but lesser known is the 1969 decision Alexander v. Holmes County Board of Education in which the Supreme Court told Mississippi their timeline for integrating schools was unconstitutional and they needed to integrate yesterday. This decision kicked off a decades long white flight from Jackson to whiter towns/suburbs. 

1969 - 2000: Jackson's overall population continued to decline, experiencing its sharpest drops from 1990 - on. The city was 56% Black in 1990, but by 2020, more than 80% of the city's residents were Black. I will let you draw your own conclusion about how the 70% white Republican controlled state congress thinks about resourcing their capital city when it is to their advantage to claim Black and Democratic mismanagement.  If the last few years have illuminated anything for us, it's to follow the money (aka political donations), so as wealthy white constituents left Jackson, politicians diverted funding from its own capital city to whiter, wealthier locations and causes.

The population drop also led to this equation for Jackson:
Population loss = tax revenue decrease = continued infrastructure decline = people who can afford to leave move out for places with better infrastructure = low income residents are the only ones left = the cost falls mostly on low income residents 

2020: Jackson's water infrastructure failed EPA inspections, and state legislature granted only a small fraction (6%) of the funding requested by Jackson's mayor to fix the problem. Please note, while infrastructure was being defunded, the state found plenty of funding to dedicate to abortion bans and critical race theory (🥴).

2022 (30 days ago): Jackson issues a boil advisory due to concerns about parasites, viruses, and bacteria in the drinking water. State legislators do...nothing.

Monday: A flood takes out Jackson's water infrastructure, leaving schools and businesses closed and residents without drinking water or running water. 

Common Themes

There are a lot of themes we have learned about that we see in racist situations.

  1. Importance of local elections: We need to pay attention to both our city and state wide elections. People voted in these state legislators who diverted funding for their own water infrastructure. 
  2. Systematic Disenfranchisement: As we see from the timeline, the state government has put in place systems to withhold funding from communities of color to keep them down. Also let's look at how the government has systematically kept education from Jackson students for years at this point.
  3. It's not just the south: Before you get too comfortable because Mississippi is like THE Deep South, please note that things like this are happening in every state, your city could be next.
  4. Environmental racism: City planning and infrastructure like this is a key example/

#WakeUpWednesday: The Jackson, Mississippi water crisis is rooted in racism

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


Gradually easing back into this thing as I gradually find my way back to myself after a baby.

The Jackson, MS Water Crisis Stems from Decades of Racist Exploitation (MSNBC): In this edition of local elections matter and also race is at the center of absolutely everything: The water issue has been ongoing for years but MS's [70% white] state legislature voted against funding infrastructure to resolve the water issue for the state capital whose population is 83% Black. This quote says it all. 

Racist power brokers tried to destroy Black Mississippi by “withholding the financial resources necessary for the basic running and maintenance of, say, a capital city, its public schools and its water and sewer systems.”

Online Creators are De Factor Therapists & It's Complicated (WaPo): Rates of anxiety and depression are at an all time high and so are mental healthcare costs, leading people to social media.

What Comes After Ambition? (Elle): This is the sentiment of so many conversations in my circles recently. I can't tell you how many times in the last two years I have said "I want to but I am just so damn tired of..."

It's Time to Talk About Quiet Firing (Bloomberg): Shining the spotlight on ineffective manager, please and thank you!

2022.09.05 Sunday Reading List

Monday, September 5, 2022