In Britain, students who speak English as a first language are in the minority in 13 out of London’s 33 boroughs, according to official figures released in August. Fifty-six percent of children in elementary schools in inner London do not speak English as their first language. Throughout the country, English is not the mother tongue to one in seven elementary-school-aged children.
High numbers of students unskilled in English are putting a heavy burden on Britain’s education system. Far more disturbing, however, is that these figures show how much immigration is changing Britain. They “confirm the huge impact immigration is having on our society,” said Sir Andrew Green, from the Migrationwatch think tank. The situation has gotten so bad that, as Green pointed out, “In inner London it’s hard to know who immigrant children are supposed to integrate with since they heavily outnumber local children.”
The Telegraphreported July 27 that divorce damages a person’s health: “Divorce and widowhood have a long-term negative effect on physical well-being that is only marginally ameliorated if the person finds a new partner.”
According to a University of Chicago study, the stress of divorce can affect a person’s health for decades and divorced people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions than married people. The health benefits of marriage, which are well-established, are actually significantly reduced in a second or third marriage, the new study found.
The post-feminist generation is failing abysmally at raising teenage girls, observed British author India Knight in the August 2 Sunday Times. “The number of 15-year-old girls experiencing psychological distress is rocketing; the [recent study, “ghq Increases Among Scottish 15-year-olds 1987–2006,” published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology] shows they are the most mentally ill group of people in the country, with 43 percent emotionally distressed and 27 percent suffering mental illness (severe depression or anxiety).”
Dr. Dee Dawson, medical director at Rhodes Farm clinic in London, a center for anorexic children, says teenage girls are coming under enormous pressure to achieve academically, far more than in the past, and that that competitiveness is seeping into all parts of their life. Some girls say they are made by their parents and teachers to feel that unless they get great grades and go to university, they will be a failure for life. Their peers and the glossy magazines make them feel that unless they have the “perfect” body, they are worthless. Additionally, the loss of family stability through parents’ divorce—or fear of it—leaves many girls searching elsewhere for attention.
Despite all sorts of innovative plans implemented in the American school system over the past 30 years, American education is in deep trouble. “Today, America is the only industrialized nation in the world where children are less likely to graduate from high school than their parents,” noted the Washington Times. “A student drops out of high school every 26 seconds, 1.2 million children each year. Three in 10 students fail to graduate with their class, a percentage that doubles for minority, urban and low-income students” (July 19).
How bad is this national crisis in education? “Simply put, the high school dropout and college-readiness crisis is the greatest long-term threat to our economic security and moral authority as a nation” (ibid.; emphasis ours).
Use of antidepressant drugs in America doubled between 1996 and 2005, two medical researchers revealed in the Archives of General Psychiatry in August. In 1996, roughly 13 million people—about 6 percent of the population—had been prescribed antidepressant medication, noted Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania. By 2005, 27 million Americans—more than 10 percent of the population—were found to be using antidepressants.
“Significant increases in antidepressant use were evident across all sociodemographic groups examined, except African Americans,” wrote Olfson and Marcus. The two conducted the survey by analyzing data from Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys performed by the U.S. Agency for Health-Care Research and Quality, involving more than 50,000 people in 1996 and 2005.
Being negative is bad for your heart. Not only is that a paraphrase of Proverbs, it also encapsulates a new medical study on heart disease. The analysis spanned 15 years and included 97,000 healthy senior women. Surveyors found that women who answered “yes” to questions like “If something can go wrong for me, it will” and “It is safer to trust nobody” were 16 percent more likely to die. Women who answered “yes” to questions like “In unclear times, I usually expect the best” had a 9 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 14 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
Pessimists were more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression. “We don’t know exactly why, but attitude does appear to matter when it comes to heart disease and health,” one doctor said of the impact personality has on health. The writer of Proverbs seems to have had more insight: “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”