This week, we discuss the challenging moment facing Boris Johnson; potential health problems for migrant children held at the U.S. southern border; whether U.S. educators are prepared to work with diverse students; a spike in arrest rates for America's youth; helping teen girls get their start in national security; and healing after school shootings.
Boris Johnson, who became Britain's new prime minister this week, will now seek to lead the country through a period as challenging as the Suez Crisis or perhaps even World War II. While Johnson's greatest advantage is his political skill, he may find himself stuck in the same “political box” that confined his predecessor, says RAND's Charles Ries. This is one of Brexit's many ironies. Leavers argued that breaking away from the EU would let London “take back control from Brussels.” But as Johnson ascends to power, he will have much less control than he would like.
Recent reports have shed light on the troubling conditions facing migrant children detained at the U.S.–Mexico border. RAND experts wrote this week about one overlooked detail: The kids are required to sleep under glaring lights. This can have profound effects on sleep, as well as physical and mental health, for this vulnerable population. As policymakers grapple with solutions, turning down the lights should be a critical part of the discussion.
Are America's educators satisfied with the training they receive before stepping into the classroom? Do they feel prepared to teach and lead a diverse student body? We recently surveyed teachers and principals across the country to find out. Educators generally said that their training programs were effective. But they indicated that preparation is lacking in some areas. Notably, when compared with their non-white peers, white teachers and principals said they felt less prepared to support black, Latino, and low-income students.
A recent RAND study found that Americans under the age of 26 are much more likely to have been arrested than those born in previous decades. While this rise in arrest rates is affecting all races and genders, the increase has been most rapid among whites and women. What's causing the trend is still unclear. But the effects can be significant. For instance, those who were arrested at least once in their younger years earned significantly less over the course of their lifetime—an average of $180,000.
Earlier this month, RAND hosted a unique event with the nonprofit Girl Security to introduce teen girls to wargaming. In a game developed by women researchers at RAND, the girls role-played as both sides of a fictional conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Acting as generals for the day taught them about strategy, asymmetric warfare, and just how dire the scenario would be in real life. More importantly, it gave the girls confidence—and hopefully inspired some of tomorrow's national security leaders. NPR's Weekend Edition captured some of the sights and sounds.
In the past year alone, there have been shootings at more than 30 U.S. schools. These tragedies leave deep emotional scars and can lead to depression, addiction, PTSD, and suicide. But there's no blueprint for schools to follow after a shooting, say experts. To help survivors along the road to recovery, schools and communities need to be able to deliver effective, evidence-based mental health treatment. It's important that this support is available in the long term—not just in the immediate aftermath.
Listen to the Recap
Get Weekly Updates from RAND
If you enjoyed this weekly recap, consider subscribing to Policy Currents, our newsletter and podcast.