Understanding Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents and Young Adults and its Remedies

July 6th, 2010 No comments

Self-injury is defined as "A deliberate, intentional injury to one’s own body that causes tissue damage or leaves marks for more than a few minutes which is done to cope with an overwhelming or distressing situation” (Cutter, Jaffe & Segal, 2008). Methods of self-injury vary from person to person, but the most common form of self-injury is by cutting. By using a sharp object such as a razor blade, self-inflicted cuts are made on the skin. Other types of self-injury include, but are not limited to, the act of self burning , excessive picking at healing wounds, pulling out hair, and digging nails into the skin. “Although cutting is one of the most common and well documented forms, over sixteen forms have been documented”(Whitlock, Eckenrode, & Silverman, 2006 ). When most people cut themselves, there is often a ritualistic aspect involved. This can be in where they hurt themselves on their body (ie. on the underside of their arms, or their stomach) the environment in which they choose to hurt themselves (ie. a bathroom, or bedroom) or the time of day in which they most often will self-injure. The individual may choose to play certain music during the time they are hurting themselves. Many even clean their tools a certain way before and after hurting themselves. After they hurt themselves, the individual will often bandage it a specific way, write about it in a journal or possibly, just go to sleep. The act of cutting oneself can become just as ritualistic and necessary to the individual as brushing their teeth or cleaning their room. At some points, those who self-harm may need to self-harm, but is not in a safe environment to do so, or does not have their tools on hand. When this occurs, they will often find an alternative place to cut themselves, such as a bathroom stall. They will use a different object to hurt themselves, such as a safety pin or push-pin, and they will skip their ritualistic procedure all together (Alderman, 1997).

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The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 5)

June 30th, 2010 Comments off

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Burr, V. (1998), ‘An Introduction to Social Constructionism’ London: Routledge.

Hook, D. (ed), (2004), ‘Critical Psychology’ South Africa: UCT Press.

Martin, C. K. Matta, D. S. (2006), ‘Father Responsivity: Couple Processes and the Coconstruction of Fatherhood’ Family Process, Volume 45 (1): 19-37.

Pauwles, A. Winter, J. (2006), ‘Men staying at home looking after their children: feminist linguistic reform and social change’ International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Volume 16 (1): 16-36.

Skevik, A. (2006), ‘Absent fathers or reorganized families? Variations in father-child contact after parental break-up in Norway’ The Sociological Review, Volume 54 (1): 114-132.

Stainton Rogers, R. Stenner, P. Gleeson, K. and Stainton Rogers, W. (1995), ‘Social psychology. A Critical Agenda’ Cambridge: Polity Press.

Stainton Rogers, W. (2003), ‘Social Psychology. Experimental and Critical Approaches’ Berkshire: Open University Press.

Willig, C. (2001), ‘Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology:Adventures in Theory and Method’ Buckingham: Open University Press.

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The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 4)

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The first advertisement was for a new buggy from the Graco range that had been specifically designed not to scratch women’s shoes and had also been made available in a variety of colours to match women’s shoes.

“Sensible shoes…with this buggy, who needs them? ”

From ‘Junior’

“Mojo. Available in a range of frivolous colours – just like your shoes! ”

From ‘Junior’

While this advertisement may indeed be suggesting that parental responsibility falls predominantly on the female when one considers the context of the rest of the magazine one may then be swayed to consider that this advertisement represents working mothers or business women who need to look respectable regardless of their parental role and indeed may give a mother the reassurance that they can look good as mothers, working or otherwise. At the same time one may feel that this advertisement is addressing the issue that not all mothers are ‘stay at home’ mums and that it reinforces the idea that a female can be a mum and a professional.

As mentioned above, within Parenting magazine, for every reference that was made to a mother, one was also made to a father. This is illustrated excellently with an advertisement for another buggy but this time aimed at men. The advertisement entitled “Daddy Cool” is for the Diablo buggy that has been designed with fathers in mind. The Diablo buggy has a masculine design making it appeal to fathers. This advertisement seems to take note of the new role of the father within contemporary society and at the same time one might consider that it also acknowledges the importance of the inclusion of the father within the upbringing of children. This advertisement may give a male the feeling that they do have an important role as fathers and are just as entitled to contribute to the upbringing of their children as mothers are, however it was here that it may have proved more fruitful to adopt a semiotic form of investigation rather than a Foucauldian discourse analysis, simply because more analysis could have been carried out on the imagery as signs.

Discussion.

It can clearly be seen from the broader discourse as outlined above that the opinion of the father is poorly represented. Moreover it suggests that when it comes to parenting, often, fathers are pushed by the wayside within media texts with mothers being the main focus of attention. Whilst the texts are predominately aimed at women this is no reason to exclude the opinion of fathers. In addition it is unfair and extremely gender bias to construct the textual image of a man as inane when it comes to parenting. In a world where the role of the father is becoming ever more important (Matta and Martin, 2006), the image of men as inept at child rearing may serve only to cause a reversal in the emergence of the father as equal to the mother as it may cause men who read it to reconsider any attempts at pro-involvement within parenting. Significantly the use of the father’s actions as anecdotal within the text could have serious implications to the confidence of a father adapting to this role. It was certainly evident that the mother being more competent at parenting was the broadest discourse, evident over both articles. Perhaps it is magazines such as Junior that may serve to compliment gender equality in parenting and furthermore by doing so, help to get the message across that parenting is as much for fathers as it is for mothers.

By adopting the Foucauldin discourse analysis as the primary tool of examination, multiple discourses could be identified and explored further. It was also found that objectivity did not exist in any if the texts as they all seemed to influence the way in which a person may react, and dependant on their sex the subjectivity they derived from it. At the same time, the Foucauldian method has been criticised for the emphasis it places on subjectivity as it has been argued that essentially discourse cannot provide a full construction of the self as a number of other factors such as socio-economic status should be taken into account when finding a sense of identity (Willig, 2001). Furthermore arguments have been made that in order to truly construct reality further theoretical frameworks within social constructionism should be consulted other than discourse analysis in order to gain a valid insight into social realities, gender specific or otherwise.

Bibliography.

Amato, P. R. Hawkins, D. N. King, V. (2006), ‘Parent-Adolescent Involvement: The Relative Influence of Parent Gender and Residence’ Journal of Marriage and Family,
Volume 68 (1): 125-136.

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The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 3)

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However it seems that perhaps in light of this the magazine portrays mothers as superior to fathers (as shown above) but on deep analysis it also seems that Mother and Baby also seem to portray the father as inane.

“Men aren’t telepathic, so give him clear tasks like buying the drinks and, if he complains, tell him it’s only fair that he does his share”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

This piece of text seems to position the father firmly within the role of the child. The way in which the text mentions that the father may complain serves to undermine the role of fatherhood in contemporary society. Furthermore if a male were to read this, one might suggest that subjectively, this particular discourse may make a male feel as if they need not help on the more difficult tasks and that perhaps he should stick to the mundane tasks, as that is all that is expected of him. This particular discourse of the father as an additional child surfaces again;

“My husband, Daryl, was so excited about Jake’s first Christmas, he got dressed up as Santa before hanging his stocking at the end of his cot, says Jill Preston, mum to Jake 13 months. Unfortunately, Jake woke up and started screaming when he saw this bearded man in his bedroom, now we hang all our stockings off the mantle piece! ”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

The placement of this text is immediately after a piece of advice from expert Gladeana McMahon concerned with being sensible at Christmas. The placement of the above quote, immediately after the advice from McMahon seems to highlight the story and one might consider that it serves to illustrate further the position of how inane fathers may be. It would seem that the efforts of the father to make Christmas special for his child has been dismissed and the context of the story is almost an anecdote that may make a mother laugh and possibly position them to feel superior to the father. The way in which the mother tells of the baby waking up and screaming when he saw his father dressed up as Santa may bring inferences to the readers mind of what a silly thing the father did. Perhaps one would suggest that the father had acted like a child and had caused his son to become upset. Furthermore a father may pick up on this discursive construction and feel that they may be ridiculed if they try to interact with their children in a fun way. This is illustrated further;

“We’re so used to ‘the wheels on the bus’ by now that on our last trip my husband David found himself humming a verse while filling the car up with petrol! He got some strange looks”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

Again it could be argued that the father is being made to look inane for singing ‘the wheels on the bus’ in public. The selected texts seem to give the impression that when it comes to parenting; men simply aren’t able to manage without making themselves look injudicious. In fact, this is not the case as now gender neutralisation is occurring with regards to men staying at home to care for their children as an occupation (Winter and Paules, 2006). Furthermore men are now seen as equally capable of child rearing as women (Matta and Martin, 2006). Interestingly a magazine was found, quite by accident, that recognizes the importance of the role of father and the gender equality now present within parenting.

Fathers are just as important as Mothers.

When it came to selecting an article within Junior magazine that showed a discursive construction of the female as a better parent, admittedly (and perhaps refreshingly), nothing could be found. In contrast to the other magazines for every reference to a mother, there was a reference to a father. At the same time for every female expert opinion called upon, a male was called upon also. The magazines contained stories and experiences as much from fathers as it did from mothers and every opinion was considered valuable regardless of which gender it originated from. Whilst there was plenty of text available to analyse, two advertisements stood out as they were gender specific.

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The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. (Part 2)

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Analysing the text was interesting yet difficult at times due to contradictory discursive constructions and changing approaches throughout the magazines which will be explained later. Choosing a particular article was not so challenging as for the most part the tone of the content was similar however one particular magazine stood out for a variety of reasons which are explored in the analysis, and it was found that no particular article as such could be chosen.

Analysis:

All parents are women and only the female opinion of child rearing is valuable.

Interestingly, when analysing the articles it emerged that whenever a statement of parental experiences was made it was made by a mother.

“When Violet was 2, she started to have nightmares so I’d let her get into our bed, says mum Kelly”

From ‘Practical Parenting’

“Nothing will ever compare to our first Christmas with Molly, admits Amanda Langley, mum to Molly 12 months”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

The construction of the text in this way gives the impression that it is primarily aimed at women but more interestingly that the opinion of a mother has a greater value than the opinion of a father. This also positions the mother, rather than the father, as the main carer of the children. Furthermore it may make the reader feel that, if a mother, only their experiences and opinions are of any relevancy or if the reader is a father that their experiences are of no interest. This may also make the reader, if male; lose interest in any experiences that they associate with their children. While this view may seem extreme, the supposedly superior opinion of the female surfaces again when any experts are called upon, particularly within Mother and Baby magazine.

“Of course, if you’re happy to share your bed, then don’t lose sleep over it, suggest Helen Ball senior lecturer in anthropology”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

“If your child is ill, stay with her in her room if you feel you should, recommends Mandy Gurney”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

“Plan Christmas with your partner in advance, advises relationship expert Gladeana McMahon”

From ‘Practical Parenting’

The positioning of primarily female experts within this magazine is, in part, understandable due to the fact the magazine is entitled Mother and Baby however this may also suggest that females and in particular, mothers, are gender bias and would value the opinion only of another female or give a females opinion a higher value than that of a males. It would seem that these texts have an ‘all parents are women’ discourse and ‘only the female opinion is valuable’ discourse running throughout them. This is, however, a highly idealistic view of parenting. Although, historically, the male figure within the family has been seen as the breadwinner (Matta and Martin, 2006) that spends most of their time at work rather than at home contributing to the upbringing of the children, particularly within industrial society, presently the role of the male has changed dramatically. Increasingly, fathers are being rendered as involved in the upbringing of their children (Skevik, 2006). Fatherhood has become a central focus of social change and social attitudes portray expectancy for both parents to be equally involved in every aspect of their children’s lives (Hawkins and Amato and King, 2006). With this in mind perhaps the magazines should be aiming to include both parents rather than singling out the female as the main carer. Practical Parenting seems to address this issue though only on a very small scale (and somewhat contradictory to the almost constantly used female related terms) by sometimes using the term ‘parents’ or ‘mum and dad’;

“When there are two parents in a bed”

From ‘Practical Parenting’

“It might end up with mum or dad being relegated to the sofa”

From ‘Practical Parenting’

At the same time, surprisingly, and perhaps an attempt to include the male within the role of parenting, Mother and Baby includes the expert opinion of a male;

“It is vital to remember that you have new roles as parents, says life coach Peter Barnard”

From ‘Mother and Baby’

However the context in with this opinion is given is fairly ‘common sense’ as it will be obviously apparent to parents that they have become just that; parents which is clearly a role change from husband, wife or partner. It is from this that the next discourse arises.

When it comes to parents, best let the women get on with it as the men are inane.

The above title gives strong suggestion for the next identified discursive construction. Mother and Baby magazine, as its title suggests, is predominantly aimed at women.

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The representation of the father within media texts: A Foucauldian Discourse Analysis.

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Abstract.

Since the 1970’s discursive practices have been employed when analysing issues within personal identity. This study aims to do just that by analysing the discursive constructions identified within gender differences and approaches to parenting. For this purpose a number of texts were employed and a Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis was carried out on selected articles. Several discursive constructions were identified such as the primary use of female expert opinions, the textual imagery of the father as inane and refreshingly the emergence of a non-gender specific magazine aimed at both parents.

Keywords: Foucauldian discourse analysis, parenting, father, gender.

–more–>

Introduction.

Within the subject of social psychology exists two distinct yet very different approaches, that of experimental social psychology and critical psychology. It is important to note that while experimental social psychology is indeed theoretical, essentially critical psychologists refer to this area of psychology as an approach rather than a theory (Stainton Rogers et al. 1995). While experimental social psychology is concerned with the theory as a definite science (Stainton Rogers, 2003), critical psychology is concerned with various sub-disciplines and is considered to be unable to form one solid theory or practice (Hook, 2004). One of the main approaches within critical psychology is that of social constructionism as it underpins all of the approaches within critical psychology such as post-structuralism and discourse analysis, and is the main theoretical framework for the research carried out within critical psychology (Burr, 1998).

Discourse analysis is concerned with the construction of language within society (Burr, 1998). There are two types of discourse analysis; discursive resources and discursive practices. The latter is concerned with language as a system of symbols which can be used to construct social realties to make meaning of the world and the use of language to manipulate in order to achieve a particular goal (Stainton Rogers, 2003: 81). The former is most commonly referred to as Foucauldian discourse analysis and is concerned with the construction of language and its influences over a period of time such as the rise of feminism as a challenge to patriarchy (Stainton Rogers, 2003: 313).

Foucauldian discourse analysis emerged in the latter part of the 1970’s as a response to the ideas of Michael Foucault. Its main use was to analyse the use of language as a discursive resource or essentially to underpin the relationship between the interpretation of language as suited to the interpreter and the involvement it may find within critical psychological research (Willig, 2001). At the same time it makes the assumption the world is made up of many discourses that influence the way in which one sees it (Willig, 2001).

Foucauldian discourse analysis can be a very useful tool when deconstructing gender identities within text as it allows the analyst to approach the text with several different ideas in mind such as the placement of certain pieces of information in relation to others and the ways in which the reader may respond. This form of discourse analysis indeed proved to be a useful tool when analysing articles within parenting magazines as it allowed for exploration into the discourses that emerge when studying gender roles within parenting and the impact the broader discourses may have on the reader.

Background:

The area of gender chosen was that of gender representations in parenting magazines therefore several parenting and pregnancy magazines were selected such as Prima Baby, Junior, Parenting Magazine, Practical Parenting and Mother and Baby. From these, three magazines were chosen and within these magazines two articles and two advertisements were selected. As the analytic strategy to be used was that of the Foucauldian method of discourse analysis, particular attention was paid to the construction of the texts and the way in which they may be interpreted differently dependant on the gender of the person that read them. Many discursive constructions were identified and it seemed that just as they formed an identifiable construction of their own, further material would emerge that compared closely with identified material and caused a new, broader, discursive construction to arise. It was this general area of difficulty in pinpointing only one very simple area of text that gave need for the Foucauldian approach to discourse analysis. Through being able to identify not only the discursive constructions but also the subjectivity within these articles made for a much more in depth and reliable analysis.

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Summary of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Part 5)

June 28th, 2010 Comments off

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These elements of lawmaking in addition to others previously mentioned provide evidence that although the procedure implemented in the passage of H. R. 1 was that of a modern Congress, it did not fit much of the specific criteria outlined by Barbara Sinclair for her new legislative process.

Works Cited

Austin, Jan, ed. Congressional Quarterly Almanac Plus. Vol. LVII 2001. Washington, D. C. Congressional Quarterly,

Inc. 2002

Boehner, John “Is School Choice the Best Solution to Our K-12 Education Problems? We Must Close Achievement

Gap. ” Roll Call. 26 Feb. 2001. Academic Universe. Lexis-Nexis. University of North Carolina Lib. Chapel Hill. 20

Nov. 2004 <http://www. lexis-nexis. com>

Broder, David S. “Long Road to Reform; Negotiators Forge Education Legislation. ” The Washington Post 17 Dec. 2001,

(Washington, D. C. A-1. Academic Universe. Lexis-Nexis. University of North Carolina Lib. Chapel Hill. 20 Nov.

2004 <http://www. lexis-nexis. com>

Feehery, John and Pete Jeffries, “House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) Endorses President’s Education Proposal. ”

Speaker’s Press Office. 2001. 22 Nov. 2004 <http://edworkforce. house. gov/press/press107/first032201. htm>

“House-Senate Education Conference Approves President’s Reading Initiatives, Other Aggreements. ” News from the

Committee on Education and the Workforce. 2001. 22 Nov. 2004

<http://edworkforce. house. gov/press/press107th/hr1agreements92501. htm>

“H. R. 1, No Child Left Behind: Questions and Answers. ” House Education and the Workforce Committee. 22 Nov. 2004.

<http://edworkforce. house. gov>

“Issue Summary: H. R. 1 Enhances Accountability. ” House Education and the Workforce Committee. 22 Nov. 2004.

<http://edworkforce. house. gov>

“Issue Summary: H. R. 1 Helps Close the Achievement Gap. ” House Education and the Workforce Committee. 22 Nov.

2004. <http://edworkforce. house. gov>

Lara, Dan and Dave Schnittger. “Boehner Praises Education Reforms in H. R. 1 as Education Debate Begins on House

Floor. ” News from the Committee on Education and the Workforce. 2001. 22 Nov. 2004

<edworkforce. house. gov/press/press107/hr1boehnerfloor51701. htm>

Schnittger, Dave and Heather Valentine. “House Approves Landmark Education Reforms: No Child Left Behind

Measure ready for Senate Passage, Then President’s Signature. ” News from the Committee on Education and the

Workforce. 2001. 22 Nov. 2004 <http://edworkforce. house. gov/press/press107/confrepthousepass121301. htm>

Schnittger, Dave and Heather Valentine. “President Bush Signs Landmark Education Reforms into Law. ” News from the

Committee on Education and the Workforce. 2002. 22 Nov. 2004

<http://edworkforce. house. gov/press/press107/hr1signing10802. htm>

Sinclair, Barbara. Unorthodox Lawmaking: New Legislative Process in the U. S. Congress. Washington, D. C. CQ Press.

“Transforming Federal Role in Education for the 21st Century: Hearing on H. R. 1, H. R. 340, and H. R. 345. ” News from

the Committee on Education and the Workforce. 2001. 22 Nov. 2004

<http://edworkforce. house. gov/hearings/107th/fc/hr132901/w132901. htm>

United States. Cong. House of Representatives. House Rpt. 107-069: Providing for the Consideration of H. R. 1 The No

Child Left Behind Act of 2001. 16 May 2001. 107th Cong. House Bill 1. 26 Nov. 2004 <http://thomas. loc. gov/cgi-

bin/cpquery/? &db_id=cp107&r_n=hr069. 107&sel=TOC_0&>

United States. Cong. House of Representatives. To Close the Achievement Gap with Accountability, Flexibility, and

Choice, So That No Child is Left Behind. 2002. 107th Cong. House Bill 1. 22 Nov. 2004 <http://thomas. loc. gov/cgi-

bin/cpquery/? &db_id=cp107&r_n=hr069. 107&sel=TOC_0&>

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Summary of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Part 4)

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After the bill had been drafted and approved, a conference was requested with appointments of conferees Kennedy, Dodd, Harkin, Mikulski, Jeffords, Bingaman, Wellstone, Murray, Reed, Edwards, Clinton, Lieberman, Bayhn, Gregg, Frist, Enzi, Hutchison, Warner, Bond, Roberts, Collins, Sessions, DeWine, Allard and Ensign, and this message on Senate action was sent to the House on July 11, 2001.

On July 18, 2001, Sponsor and Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, moved and was later approved 424-5 that the House disagree to the amendment placed on H. R. 1 and thus, a conference was organized. The Speaker of the House appointed conferees for consideration of the house bill and Senate amendment, and modifications committed to conference who included Boehner, Petri, Roukema, McKeon, Castle, Graham, Hilleary, Isakson, Miller, George, Kildee, Owens, Mink, Andrews, and Roemer on the afternoon of July 18th. Between July 19 and December 11, a series of conference meetings were held to reconcile the different bills produced in each chamber. Neither version of the bill as passed would have worked in the current political and education situation, as according to the Congressional Research Service, the Senate passed version would have deemed every school in both North Carolina and Texas a failure and subject to reorganization (Austin). As a result of this complication and based on the fact that while the Senate had voted to significantly increase the overall number of ESEA programs from fifty-five to eighty-none, the House passed version would have streamlined the overall number to forty-seven (“House-Senate Education Conference Approves President’s Reading Initiatives”), instead of melding the two agreements, the conferees were given the task of devising a new one. This particular conference worked in subconferences consisting of a small group of both House and Senate Republican and Democrat members, as specified in Sinclair’s description, due to the unwieldingness of such a large overall conference. By November 30, both houses had worked out all the major issues in dealing with testing, accountability, and financing, but had been encumbered with a small point. Conducted behind the scenes deep within the Capitol building as means of avoiding regulations specified by the Sunshine rules, enigmatic negotiations took place between conference leaders as does often occur when a stalemate often requires leadership intervention in modern politics described by Sinclair. On December 11, 2001, the conferees finally agreed to file the conference report, and two days later, the House passed agreed with the modified bill by a recorded vote of 381-41. The conference report was next considered in the Senate by Unanimous Consent on December 17, 2001 and was agreed to by a Yea-Nay vote of 87-10 the following day.

On January 8, 2002 H. R. 1, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into Public Law No. 107-110 by President George W. Bush in a ceremony in Hamilton, Ohio, the home district of Sponsor Rep. Boehner with the four principal negotiators Boehner, Miller, Gregg, and Kennedy on hand. “I decided to sign this bill in one of the most important places in America – a public school,” stated President Bush, pen in hand, “Today beings a new era, a new time for public education in our country. Our schools will have higher expectations – we believe every child can learn. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams,” (President Bush Signs Landmark Education Reforms into Law”).

Many of the modern lawmaking principles described in Barbara Sinclair’s Unorthodox Lawmaking were evident in the amendment and passage of H. R. 1; however, I feel that my case is a poor example of the new legislative process. Because the Senate is considerably smaller in membership, its less hierarchical and less formal nature, lending individuals great power was evident in this piece of legislation, but there were no threats of hold or filibuster, common obstacles in modern congresses. A sequential committee referral in the House rather than a simple designation of primary committee also diverged from Sinclair’s explanation of current politics. In the Senate, very few amendments were made to their version of the bill, and I did not encounter any queen or king of the hill provisions, and I found no instance of self-executing rule in the House.

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Summary of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Part 3)

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In this setting, a member was recognized to speak for only five minutes with debate equally divided between the proponents and opponents of the bill and controlled by a presiding officer chosen by the Speaker. On May 17, 2001 the Speaker designated the Honorable Doc Hastings as this such presiding officer, and the majority floor manager, John A. Boehner, opened with a prepared statement detailing the purpose of the legislation. Overall throughout these proceedings, twenty-seven amendments were introduced off of the Rules Committee report, five of which failed by record vote, twelve passed by voice vote, and ten passed by record vote. Voice votes in this legislative process most often occur when a floor manager has no objections to the amendment, while a controversial vote will be conducted under recorded vote to obtain a precise ruling. The amendments as introduced to the floor were relatively narrow, contradicting the statement that more often in modern politics to obtain a particular outcome “[A] rule gives members a choice among comprehensive substitutes but bars votes on narrow amendments, to focus the debate on alternative approaches, on the big choices rather than the picky details,” (Sinclair 24). The most difficult challenge presented to the legislation occurred when Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra attempted to expunge annual testing from the bill, and although receiving heavy support from conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, the amendment was ultimately rejected as defeat was blamed on intense lobbying by White House officials in another behind-the-scenes maneuver similar to those mentioned prior (Austin). After general debate and amending have been resolved, the Committee of the Whole rises and reports back to the house, where amendments must again be voted on and approved by the House. At this stage, on May 23, 2001, Representative Owens moved to recommit the amended bill with instructions to the Education and Labor Committee in an effort to add money to renovate schools and reduce class size by hiring more teachers, but this proposal was rejected (Austin). The final version of H. R. 1 was passed by a recorded vote of 384-45 on May 23, 2001 with a total of thirty-four Republicans, ten Democrats, and one Independent voting against the package. Once the legislation was passed, a motion to reconsider was made and laid upon the table on May 23rd at 7:24pm to ensure that the issue could not be reopened, and from here, the legislation was then sent to the Senate.

On May 25, 2001 the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was received in Senate, read twice, and placed on the Senate Legislation Calendar under General Orders. The Majority leader, by motion as specified by Sinclair, removed the legislation to be considered from the calendar, and the measure was laid before the Senate floor on June 14, 2001. In this instance, legislation reported by the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions had already approved a seven year reauthorization bill (S1-S. Rept. 107-7) in committee which had included Bush’s provisions to test students in grades three through eight in reading and math, a companion to the House-passed bill H. R. 1 and thus allowed for bypass of committee referral, a frequent method of bringing legislation forward more quickly according to Sinclair’s description of the new legislative process. However, the modified measures essential to S. 1 as reported out of committee were not exactly congruent to H. R. 1 as sent out by the House, and therefore, many provisions were made to the House-born bill before full Senate approval could be accomplished. According to Austin, “despite bipartisan spirit, sharp differences emerged between Democrats and Republicans over how much leeway to give states in spending federal money and how many federal education programs should be consolidated,” (8 -3) both important discrepancies that surfaced between the Senate and House version of this bill. During the period in which the bill was being debated on the Senate floor, Senator James Vermont, Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the measure’s flood manager, quit the Republican party and thus shift control in the Senate to the Democrats and making Senator Edward Kennedy the new chairman (Austin). As a result of anticipation by Bush and congressional Republicans of a hard fought series of negotiations following this transition in majority leadership, the administration “opened a back channel” and ranking Republican Senators began meeting with centrist Democrats including Joseph Lieberman and Evan Bayh, yet another example of secretive negotiations that have increased in frequency in recent congresses (Austin). After approximately six weeks of floor debate, the Senate passed the No Child Left Behind legislation on June 14, 2001 by a vote of 91-8 after submitting the amended version for its own bill. Five days later, the measure was amended by the Senate by unanimous consent based on the principle that the Senate is not a majority-rule chamber like the House after passage. No holds as an obstacle frequently utilized by a more modern political process as described by Sinclair were enacted, and thus, the Senate was able to do this act of business as with many others by unanimous consent, “both an acknowledgement and an augmentation of the power of senators as individuals” as determined by Sinclair (45). As in this case, unanimous consent agreements have become increasingly individualized pertaining to a specific bill to accommodate individual senator’s demands in the modernized legislative process. Also according to Sinclair, major legislation is particularly likely to encounter an extended debate-related problem, such as a hold or filibuster, in recent decades; however, this did not occur with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Additionally, it is proposed in Unorthodox Lawmaking that in major legislation, a high number of amendments are introduced and voted on by the recorded method, although such actions did not occur in this bill.

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Summary of The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Part 2)

June 28th, 2010 Comments off

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In 1975 the House implemented a policy which permitted referral of legislation to more than one committee, either to be examined by two or more committees at once or in a sequential manner, as a result of increasingly complex legislation being proposed which no longer fit neatly into a single committee’s jurisdiction. However, as portrayed in Sinclair’s examination of the legislative process, sequential referrals are no longer common following a 1995 rule, providing an example where H. R. 1 reverted back to a traditional process against the new legislative process featured in Sinclair’s Unorthodox Lawmaking. The first committee in which H. R. 1 received an assignment to was the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and it consequently, had the largest legislative role over other committees of referral. Once assignment has been received, a full committee will most often hold hearings, inviting interested people to testify in person about the issue and proposals to deal with it, as did the House Committee on Education and Workforce with the consideration of H. R. 1 on March 29, 2001 entitled “Transforming the Federal Role in Education for the 21st Century” with a witness list including Mr. Keith E. Bailey, Chair, President, and CEO of Business Coalition for Excellence in Education among others (“Transforming Federal Role in Education for the 21st Century”). Once such hearings have concluded and a subcommittee decides to act on the bill at hand, this legislative body marks it up, drafting it line by line, and reports this to the full committee, which then can accept, reject, or amend the bill. H. R. 1 as approved by voice vote on May 8th as the markup opened May 2nd by subcommittee, created a division among party lines. While Republican conservatives complained of alterations in the legislation departing from the President’s original proposition, Committee Chairman and Sponsor of the legislation, John Boehner agreed to a dramatic increase in authorizing funding for education and toned down a GOP “Straight A’s” proposal that would have let states spend federal funds for nearly any educational purpose as long as these measures achieved better academic results. Frequently in the new legislative process, Sinclair suggests, that after a bill has been reported out but before it reaches the floor, major changes have been worked out through informal procedures, such as was the case of the “Straight A’s” provision in which President Bush assured DeMint, supporter of the provision, that he was “looking at a different strategy to accomplish this,” after its specifications had been removed from subcommittee markup (Austin). Subsequent to surviving markup, one of the few remaining conservative proposals which involved private school vouchers had been stripped from the measure by a 27-2 vote as sponsored by Rep. George Miller within just a few hours of approval. The full committee of House Education and Workforce accepted these modifications and others on May 9th by a reported vote of 41-7 in a delicate compromise worked out by Boehner and Miller (Austin 8-5) with major provisions including an authorization of $400 million to help states design and administer annual tests (“House Approves Landmark Education Reforms”). From here, the adapted H. R. 1 was referred sequentially to the House Committee on Judiciary on May 14, 2001 under specification that the committee must report within one day’s time or face automatic discharge, which is exactly what happened on May 15, 2001 at 4:43pm as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was placed on the Union Calendar No. 38.

As per the basic structure of lawmaking in the House, majority party leadership schedules legislation for floor debate at the bottom of the Union calendar in the instance of major legislation. Sinclair argues however that the House has developed alternate methods of getting legislation to the floor to provide needed flexibility. “The primary ways of bringing legislation to the floor are through suspension of the rules and through special rules from the Rules Committee, both procedures that the majority party leadership controls,”(Sinclair 20), an action which allowed H. R. 1 to be brought to the forefront of House legislative activity during the spring of 2001. The Rules Committee in this instance allowed the measure to be taken out of order as cited in a statement known as a House Resolution, which also set the terms for the floor’s consideration, including how much time was designated for general debate, two hours, issued May 16, 2001 at 11:33pm. Additionally the rule may restrict amendments, waive points of order against what would otherwise be violations of House rules in legislation, and outline other special provisions to govern floor consideration. A restriction on amendments in H. R. 1 in the form of a modified closed rule as implemented in the House Resolution permits only amendments enumerated in the Rules Committee report to be offered (“House Rpt. 107-069: Providing for the Consideration of H. R. 1 The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001”) and falls in line with contemporary House measures which typically are somewhat restrictive to save time, prevent obstructionism, and eliminate uncertainty.

On May 17th, a majority of the full membership of the House approved the resolution specified by the Rules Committee and, thereby, resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole, a legislative body made up of every House member, but with more streamlined rules and quorum of one hundred where debate and amendment of the legislation takes place.

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