TIME Family

Centenarian Couple Celebrates Their 75th Wedding Anniversary

Happily ever after

(CATONSVILLE, Md.) — Two centenarians are celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary at a Maryland retirement community.

Walter and Leslie Kimmel were married on Aug. 18, 1940. They are both 100 years old.

They’ll celebrate their anniversary Tuesday afternoon at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, Maryland, where they live. SugarBakers of Catonsville is providing a personalized cake for the couple.

The Kimmels met at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore when they were 22 years old. Leslie played the organ and Walter sang in the choir.

Walter was a longtime employee of Baltimore Gas & Electric. Leslie worked as a secretary. They have two sons, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

TIME Education

Why More Urban Parents Are Choosing Homeschooling

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Frustrated with the public schools, middle-class urbanites are embracing an educational movement

Angela Wade’s children hadn’t reached school age yet, so she had given little thought to where, or how, they’d be educated. But from the moment she set foot in her local public school—to vote on Election Day—she knew that she wouldn’t be sending her kids there. It wasn’t that the academics weren’t up to snuff or that the Astoria, Queens, elementary school suffered from a bad reputation. But what she saw in the hallways and on the cafeteria walls surprised this former New York City public school teacher with an education degree from NYU. “There were licensed characters painted on the wall. You know—Dora the Explorer and all these things,” she says. “I just feel like that’s not really the place for advertising.”

For Wade and her husband, and for city dwellers with concerns ranging from classroom environment to the Common Core, public school is out of the question. And for them, as for many urban middle-class families, paying hefty private school tuition is not a realistic option, either. “It wasn’t so much a decision of what we were going to do—it was what we weren’t going to do,” she says. In the end, the Wades opted to homeschool. “Homeschooling is in some ways the easiest option. We’re driving our children’s education. We’re giving up a lot to do it, but in the end we thought it would make us most satisfied.”

At first, the Wades knew no other homeschoolers, and, like many young parents in the city, they had no family nearby, so they prepared themselves to go it alone. Before too long, however, they found a growing network of urban homeschoolers. “In a city like this, you can find your tribe,” says Wade. “You can find your homeschoolers. And there are a lot of us.”

Not so long ago, homeschooling was considered a radical educational alternative—the province of a small number of devout Iowa evangelicals and countercultural Mendocino hippies. No more. Today, as many as 2 million—or 2.5 percent—of the nation’s 77 million school-age children are educated at home, and increasing numbers of them live in cities. More urban parents are turning their backs on the compulsory-education model and embracing the interactive, online educational future that policy entrepreneurs have predicted for years would revolutionize pedagogy and transform brick-and-mortar schooling. And their kids are not only keeping pace with their traditionally schooled peers; they are also, in many cases, doing better, getting into top-ranked colleges and graduating at higher rates. In cities across the country, homeschooling is becoming just one educational option among many.

As recently as the mid-1970s, as few as 10,000 children were homeschooled in the United States. The practice was illegal in 30 states, and those who opted for home education mostly clustered in rural areas. Many of the original homeschoolers took inspiration from the writings of John Holt, a former fifth-grade teacher, whose two books, 1964’s How Children Fail and 1967’s How Children Learn, were highly critical of traditional compulsory education. The system had similar contempt for homeschoolers, tending to treat the students as truants and the parents as criminals.

Homeschooling’s expansion began in 1978, when the Internal Revenue Service under President Jimmy Carter threatened to revoke the tax-exempt status of Christian day schools that it accused of using religion-based admissions standards to circumvent federal antisegregation laws. The move to shutter these schools politicized evangelical Christians across the South, Midwest, and West. The IRS ultimately caved on its threats, but the evangelicals took a message away from the battle: the federal government—as embodied by the newly established Department of Education—was out to get them. “What galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the ERA,” Moral Majority founder Paul Weyrich told sociologist William Martin for his book With God on Our Side. “[It] was Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools. . . . [S]uddenly it dawned on them that they were not going to be left alone to teach their children as they pleased.”

Rather than wait for the next federal attack on their values, many evangelicals instead chose to educate their children where they felt the long arm of the government could never reach—in the home. By 1983, with the rise of the Religious Right and the formation of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the number of homeschooled children in the United States had ballooned to between 60,000 and 125,000. Thanks largely to the state-by-state advocacy of HSLDA lawyers, legal barriers to homeschooling began falling in the 1980s. By 1993, the practice was legal in all 50 states, though some remain suspicious (see sidebar, below).

Since then, the homeschooling population has continued to grow dramatically, while also becoming more secular. In 2002, according to a DOE survey, 72 percent of homeschooling families cited “a desire to provide religious instruction” as one of their reasons for educating in the home. By 2012, 64 percent cited religion as a motive for homeschooling; only 16 percent called it most important. “Most people assume we’re doing it for some sort of strange, creationist religious reason,” says Rachel Figueroa-Levin, a homeschooler who lives in Inwood, a middle-class neighborhood at the northernmost tip of Manhattan. “But we are stereotypical secular Jews.” Indeed, concern about “the environment of other schools” has supplanted religion as the Number One reason given for homeschooling, according to the DOE survey. Ninety-one percent of homeschooling parents cited school environment as at least a contributing factor.

Over the last few decades, the homeschooling population has also urbanized. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 28 percent of the nation’s nearly 2 million homeschoolers, or roughly 560,000 students, live in cities. That’s almost as many as live in suburbs (34 percent) or rural areas (31 percent). Boston, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles are home to swelling communities of homeschoolers. And in the nation’s largest city—New York—the number of homeschooled students has risen 47 percent, to more than 3,700 children, over the last five years.

Like other homeschoolers these days, urbanites choose homeschooling for various reasons, though dissatisfaction with the quality and content of instruction at local public schools heads the list. “I got through public school, but it was never something I thought was an option for my children,” says Figueroa-Levin. A native Staten Islander, she is a columnist for amNewYork, a free daily newspaper, and creator of the satirical Twitter account @ElBloombito, which gained 76,000 followers for its gentle skewering of former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s halting attempts at press-conference Spanish. She calls her local public school “awful,” but she’s not interested in moving to a more desirable school zone, as some New Yorkers with small children do. “We like where we live. We have a nice-size apartment. Sacrificing all that for a decent public school just doesn’t seem worth it,” she says.

But even after more than a decade of aggressive education-reform efforts, the “decent public school” remains a rarity in New York and in other American cities. With urban public schools inadequate or worse and quality private schools often financially out of reach, “homeschooling becomes an interesting study in school choice,” observes Brian Ray, founder of the National Home Education Research Institute (NEHRI) in Portland, Oregon. “You pay taxes, so the public school system in your city gets that money, then you can make the ‘choiceǒ of paying even more to send your kid to a private school, or to a Catholic school. More and more people are saying, ‘I’m going to homeschool.’ It’s not that weird anymore.”

Homeschooler Gwen Fredette lives in Philadelphia with her husband and four children. “Our school system has a lot of problems,” she says. That’s an understatement: Philadelphia public schools are in flat-out crisis. After a video of a 17-year-old student knocking a “conflict resolution specialist” unconscious at Southwest Philadelphia’s Bartram High went viral last year, a social studies teacher at the troubled school told thePhiladelphia Inquirer, “I had a better chance in Vietnam. . . . Here, you lock your door and pray no one comes in.”

Nor is violence the only concern in the city’s public schools. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that 60 percent of West Philadelphia schools had serious problems with mold or water damage. Budget shortfalls have left schools without nurses and made a collapsing public-education system “a chronic and seemingly immutable fact of life,” according to Philadelphia Magazine. Academic outcomes are horrendous. Just 10 percent of graduates from the city school district go on to get college degrees. The National Assessment of Educational Progress ranks Philadelphia near the bottom of participating cities: less than 20 percent of the city’s fourth- and eighth-graders score proficient or better in math and reading.

Fredette took one look at her local zoned school and, like Angela Wade, ruled it out. But she and her husband didn’t want to abandon a life that they enjoyed. “There are so many great things about living in the city—you kind of agree to take the good with the bad,” she says. Fredette loves that her older children use public transportation to get around. They have made friends from different cultures and backgrounds, something she’s not sure would have happened in the suburbs.

On the other side of the country, in Los Angeles, the entertainment industry has long sustained a homeschooling culture for performers. “Thousands and thousands of homeschoolers” live in the area, says Anna Smith, who runs Urban Homeschoolers, an “a la carte educational service” for about 40 homeschooling families in the Atwater Village neighborhood of northeast L.A. (See “City of Villages,” Winter 2014.) “There’s a great support network because there are tons of parents,” Smith says. At Urban Homeschoolers, younger students take courses such as “Wonder of the Alphabet” and “World of Numbers.” High school–aged kids can select from titles including “Conversational Spanish” and “The Legacy of the Cold War.” In a nod to homeschooling’s countercultural roots, there’s even a course called “Skepticism 101,” which promises to let students do their own “myth-busting.”

One myth that needs busting is that homeschoolers dream of re-creating the one-room schoolhouses of yesteryear. “Public schools were designed in a time when people were working in factories and offices and had the same job for 30 or 40 years. That’s not the way the world is anymore,” says Smith. “Nowadays you can get anything customized,” she says, including children’s educations, and modern communications technology and Internet-based curricula have enabled homeschoolers to do just that. Customization is not typically what traditional schools do well—certainly not in the sclerotic school districts of the nation’s biggest cities.

Lousy as the public schools often are, urban parochial schools don’t always measure up, either. Ottavia Egan grew up in Italy, the daughter of an American mother and an Italian father. Today, she lives on 72nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with her husband, Patrick, and their four kids. The Egans’ middle school–aged daughter had attended a local parochial school, where the books assigned tended toward “junky” literature, paranormal horror stories, and vampire-themed fiction. “These were the only kinds of books my daughter would read willingly. I had to plead with her to give the classics a try,” she says.

Ottavia admits that the thought of detaching from the traditional school model terrified her. She worried that, as a homeschooler, she would have to do everything herself. But she soon sensed that she had made the right choice. “My daughter is the type of kid who needs to ask a lot of questions. On the first day, she had 12 questions for me in the first hour. She never would have had those questions answered at school.”

Some ambitious homeschoolers craft personalized educational programs from scratch. Many others purchase off-the-shelf curriculum and supporting resources—lesson plans, reading materials, and tests for subjects ranging from American history to advanced Latin to calculus—from well-established companies, such as Sonlight and Oak Meadow. Some companies even operate as accredited distance-learning schools, providing students with what amounts to a correspondence course. According to the HSLDA, four major curriculum types predominate: the “traditional” approach, which uses textbooks and workbooks to teach reading, writing, grammar, and spelling through repetition; the “classical” model, which emphasizes grammar, logic, and rhetoric for the study of the great works of Western literature; “unit studies,” which employs a multidisciplinary approach to exploring particular themes; and “unschooling,” a student-directed approach, popular with countercultural types, that rejects formal, curriculum-based education and lets children explore subjects at their own pace.

“I knew I wasn’t going to just wing it—especially on math,” says Wade, who initially relied on library books to flesh out lesson plans that she wrote herself. Eventually, she gave in and purchased subject-matter curricula from Sonlight. It wasn’t cheap: the second-grade curriculum package with “everything you need to teach one child for one year” in history, geography, math, science, language arts, and handwriting costs $849. But Wade notes that if her children were in private school, “we’d be spending at least that much on books and materials.” Plus, she hopes to use the materials for her other children, and she notes the time she has saved by not having to write her own lessons and tests.

By contrast, Amy Millstein, a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is an unschooler. Her two children direct their own learning by following their natural inclinations and organic interests. Millstein offers support, when called for, and guidance, when asked, but she doesn’t otherwise shape—or interfere with—their education. The idea behind unschooling, which can work well with certain kids, is that people learn something only when they’re truly interested in learning it. “Of course, there will be holes in their education,” she concedes. “But I have holes in my education, and I went to school.”

The current crop of homeschoolers has one major advantage over the movement’s pioneers: modern technology has put all of history’s collected knowledge at their fingertips. No homeschooling parent need become an expert on differential equations or Newton’s Third Law of Motion. He or she can simply visit YouTube’s Khan Academy channel and find thousands of video lectures on these topics. Rosetta Stone, the well-known foreign-language software company, offers a specially tailored homeschool reading curriculum for just $99 per year. Wade’s children use a free website called Duolingo to practice Spanish. And many popular curriculum packages and distance-learning education programs provide Skype-based tutorials, online courses, and other learning supports.

Cities offer homeschoolers rich educational opportunities. The Fredettes of Philadelphia have used their storied city to supplement American history lessons. Their travels have brought them to the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, of course, but they’ve also visited a glassblower’s studio, taken archery classes, and toured the facility where the Inquirer, the nation’s third-oldest daily newspaper, is printed. “We even went to the Herr’s potato-chip factory and watched the chips coming out of the machine,” recalls Fredette. The children’s favorite trip was to the studios of FOX 29 News, where, as part of a unit on meteorology, they watched a live broadcast of the midday weather report, complete with green screen.

Boston is known as a college town. Kerry McDonald lives across the Charles River in Cambridge—“between M.I.T. and Harvard,” she says. On her City Kids Homeschooling blog, McDonald writes: “We use the city as our primary learning tool, taking advantage of all its offerings, including classes, museums, libraries, cultural events, and fascinating neighbors”—including a Tufts University biology professor who brings home snails and mollusks for the kids.

It’s no surprise that New Yorkers see their city as “the best place on the planet to homeschool a kid,” as Millstein puts it. She and her husband own a locksmith business in Manhattan and live with their two children in the neighborhood behind Lincoln Center. When her 14-year-old daughter expressed an interest in taking pictures, Millstein enrolled her at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan.

“The resources we have here in New York City are amazing,” Wade enthuses. “We study an artist and then we go to the museum and actually get to look at that artist’s paintings.” Ballet for Young Audiences, a repertory dance company that plays to public school kids on field trips, needed dancers for a production of Snow White. Wade’s nine-year-old daughter got the job—she was, after all, free during the day. Homeschooling allows kids the flexibility to pursue a passion without schedule or space constraints, whether it’s taking a morning ukulele class at the local guitar shop—as McDonald’s son does—or a midday outing to an L.A. beach.

Homeschooling has its critics. Some say it’s a choice reserved for those with the household wealth to get by on one income—a notion most homeschoolers reject. Too often, they say, the extra money that comes from having both parents work goes mostly to cover day care or after-school expenses, making the choice of one parent (typically the mother) to stay home and teach the kids a financial wash. Other critics charge that by withdrawing their children from struggling public schools, homeschoolers do a disservice to the system. But Wade and others point out that they still support the public school system with their dollars. “I pay school taxes,” she says. “But my children are not sitting in a school all day costing the city money.”

“Socialization” is by far the most frequently voiced concern. How will children learn to be well-adjusted members of society, the thinking goes, if they aren’t in school with other kids their age? Won’t they become social outcasts? Homeschoolers, particularly urban ones, view the question as ludicrous. Cities are social places.

Anyone fearing that homeschooled kids are being improperly socialized should visit the Yonkers home of Anne and Erik Tozzi. The couple met at Oxford, where Erik, a native New Yorker, spent a year studying medieval history. The Tozzis say that living on a closely packed city street has been a social asset for their five homeschooled children. Yonkers is New York State’s fourth-largest city, and the Tozzis’ backyard abuts those of other houses brimming with kids. On a sunny day recently, the neighborhood bustled with young people zooming from yard to yard, shooting baskets, playing tag, and shouting with abandon. Most of the Tozzi children’s neighborhood friends attend traditional schools, and some express jealousy of what goes on in the Tozzi house all day—not much, they imagine. “We get that a lot,” says Anne, in her plummy Birmingham accent. “ ‘Oh, I wish I was homeschooled,’ because they think it means you get to sleep all day. They don’t realize that we’re actually doing schoolwork.”

Schoolwork for the Tozzi children, who range in age from two to 14, can mean a day spent at their book-strewn dining-room table discussing Chaucer or a visit to the Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. Anne holds an M.A. in classical art history and worked as a rare-book specialist for Christie’s in London and New York (where she once handled a first edition of The Canterbury Tales). The family makes frequent visits to the New York Botanical Garden, with its 50-acre tract of old-growth forest, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, less than ten miles away on the Saw Mill River Parkway.

Last year, the older Tozzi kids worked with students from around the country to write a radio script, which they produced for an all-online course. They took online classes in Latin, religion, and math with teachers based in other cities. They used Skype for live class lectures and to communicate with other students for their projects. “They did a lot of e-mailing each other and ‘meeting’ outside class times to study and prepare, which tapped into their developing maturity and independence,” says Anne. The younger children used Skype for a weekly “Story Time” with a teacher.

Some critics claim that homeschooled kids won’t be prepared to do college-level work, but available data suggest otherwise. In 2009, NEHRI’s Ray looked at the standardized test results of 12,000 homeschoolers from all 50 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. He found that homeschoolers scored 34–39 percentile points above the norm on the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, and the Stanford Achievement Test. A recent study published in The Journal of College Admission found that homeschooled students had higher composite ACT scores than their non-homeschooled peers and graduated college at higher rates—66.7 percent, compared with 57.5 percent. “In recent years, we’ve admitted ten or 12 homeschooled students” per year, says Marlyn McGrath, admissions director at Harvard, where each class numbers about 1,600.

Other skeptics, still focused on socialization, warn that homeschoolers may have trouble in the less structured environment of college life. Not true, says Celine Cammarata, a 25-year-old graduate of the William E. Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. A native of Greenwich Village, Cammarata was unschooled. She never wrote a paper or took a test before sitting for the SATs at age 15. It was her traditionally schooled peers, she says, who found freshman year so challenging. “A lot of kids struggled with the autonomy they were given. I was already used to taking care of my own education, so it was less of a big transition for me,” she says. Despite never receiving a grade before entering college, Cammarata earned a 3.98 GPA while majoring in behavioral neuroscience. She works as a lab manager at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and is thinking about graduate school. Her brother, also unschooled, graduated from Harvard Law School.

An alumnus who does admissions interviews for another Ivy League institution confirms Cammarata’s experience. He finds the homeschooled kids he interviews more self-assured than their peers from traditional schools. “They are much better at interacting with me as an adult,” he tells me. “They know who they are—much more so than the prep school kids.”

Neither dropouts nor go-with-the-flow conformists, the new urban homeschoolers defy easy labeling. They don’t like what they see in the public schools, but they don’t necessarily want to tear them down. They want control, but mostly in the service of flexibility. They tend to reject newfangled educational theories, but they aren’t such traditionalists that they can’t see the educational value of Skype. They are religious—some of them—but their faith compels them to engage with their neighbors, not withdraw into isolation. Above all, they want a better education than their children can typically get sitting in a traditional classroom for six hours every day. Most homeschooling parents sound satisfied with their choice.

Ottavia Egan’s daughter, for instance, now in the seventh grade, is thriving. The vampire books are gone, replaced by historical fiction and classics. “She’s happy,” her mother says. “She likes to read. What more could you want for a 12-year-old girl?”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME health

Planned Parenthood Will Survive—Some Women May Not

A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York City.
Mario Tama—Getty Images A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York City.

Women will lose access to vital, sometimes life-saving, health care when states defund Planned Parenthood

Responding to five shocking videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, government officials in Louisiana, New Hampshire and Alabama have moved to defund Planned Parenthood. Now the White House has entered the fray, warning these states that defunding may break the law.

Through a network of affiliated clinics, Planned Parenthood provides health care services to millions of women across the country, especially low-income and young women who have few options for care.

The latest controversy will negatively impact these women’s access to essential services, but Planned Parenthood itself will survive the firestorm.

A political storm

The videos purport to show that Planned Parenthood profits from the unethical sale of fetal tissue. Detractors argue that the videos prove that leaders in the organization have a “cavalier” attitude toward the sale of this tissue.

Whether these videos are true – and factcheck.org raises some questions – they have tremendous political legs. Aside from state action to defund the organization, presidential candidates from Scott Walker to Hillary Clinton have weighed in on the controversy.

But, while the videos are a hot media topic, they are nothing new.

Every six months or so, for the past several years, a heavily edited video has surfaced, throwing practices at Planned Parenthood into question.

The videos always seem to shock. But, as a scholar of the social and political histories of pregnancy and birth, I can say that their presence shouldn’t surprise us.

Planned Parenthood, the organization, has long been a political lightning rod.

Controversial origins

Margaret Sanger founded what would become Planned Parenthood in 1916.

Contraceptives were then illegal nationwide, and even providing information about them could land someone in jail. Sanger spent 30 days in prison after opening a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York.

At that time, the idea of a “planned pregnancy” was revolutionary. Sanger and her contemporaries saw reproductive autonomy as an essential part of women’s liberation.

Detractors often point to Sanger’s ties to eugenicist movements as a way to discredit the organization, which was officially founded in 1952. This paints her politics with too broad a brush.

Sanger was, indeed, on the side of so-called “positive eugenics.” She believed that healthy, planned pregnancies would lead to healthier babies and children, and that birth control could reduce problems associated with overpopulation worldwide. She did use racializing and alienating language in her private correspondence. But, there is nothing in her record to indicate she desired, as some allege today, to use abortion as a means to genocide, or as a plot to disempower, coerce, or control poor women and women of color.

A decades-long fight

Anti-choice advocates have engaged in a decades-long fight to limit access to women’s right to abortion.

Planned Parenthood, one of the only national organizations ready to help women with that access, makes an obvious target.

But Planned Parenthood does far more than provide abortion services for women. In fact, only 3% of Planned Parenthood clients procure abortions from their clinics.

Many more women use Planned Parenthood for sexual health reasons other than abortion: for birth control, Pap smears, HIV testing, sexual health counseling and prenatal care.

The fact that abortion is what garners attention, when 97% of Planned Parenthood’s activities focus on something else, should make us ask why there is so much hysteria over Planned Parenthood’s presence in the states.

The answer might be that 3% of clients receiving abortion services is still too many for pro-life activists to accept. The fact is that this 3% makes Planned Parenthood the single largest provider of abortion in the United States.

But defunding Planned Parenthood also limits women’s access to birth control – access that actually reduces rates of abortion.

If you want fewer abortions, keeping Planned Parenthood open would be a better strategy.

So why might politicians want to restrict access to safe, effective birth control? Being able to plan and avoid pregnancies by using birth control empowers women to enjoy their sexuality. And why might politicians want to dissuade women from that?

A fiery defense

In a fiery speech on the Senate floor in defense of Planned Parenthood, Elizabeth Warren argued that opposition to women’s reproductive freedom is old-fashioned and regressive.

As Rickie Solinger, historian of women’s sexuality and the politics of birth control in the United States, has argued, when women’s independence is facilitated by their ability to time pregnancy and childbirth, that independence is seen as “fearsome.” It is seen as a rejection of motherhood as the pinnacle of women’s lives, Solinger persuasively argues.

By providing women access to safe and affordable birth control and abortion, Planned Parenthood enables women to be fearsomely free in determining the trajectory of their lives. Being able to plan and avoid and terminate pregnancies allows women to work for pay outside the home when they need or want to. It allows women to leave bad relationships and stay in good ones. It allows women access to education and promotions and other opportunities that, in 2015, are still constrained when women reproduce.

When legislators in Alabama, New Hampshire and Louisiana vote to defund Planned Parenthood, they are participating in a politics that would ask us to return to second-class citizenship. They are parroting a rhetoric that expresses fear of women’s sexuality. And they are engaging in actions that will deny women access to vital health care, reduce rates of abortion and improve maternal lives.

Moves to defund Planned Parenthood are disturbing for how regressive they are, and for how much they harken back to times when women had far fewer rights.

But, the organization has weathered many storms. And, ironically, these shock videos tend to motivate women (and the men who support and love them) to defend their doctors and their decisions.

Donations up

Donations to Planned Parenthood, for example, have increased since these videos were released. Some donations were even made in honor of anti-choice politicians.

But the fact is that women – especially poor women, young women and women of color – will lose access to vital, sometimes life-saving, health care when states defund Planned Parenthood.

The organization will live on. Some women may not.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY deals

The Back to School Item Every Student Needs Costs Just 1¢

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Load up for the school year soon.

When the school year starts, kids can probably get by with using old pencils, and even (the horror!) previously worn clothes. But if there’s one back-to-school staple that needs to be purchased freshly for a student to kick off the school year right, it’s the notebook. Several notebooks, ideally.

Because notebooks are such a necessary purchase around this time of year, retailers have been using them as “loss leaders”—the products that don’t pull in profits but that serve as magnets to draw in customers, who likely make other purchases while they’re shopping.

At Walgreens, for instance, basic one-subject (70-page) notebooks are on sale right now for 49¢.

That sounds like a pretty good deal until you realize that it’s twice as expensive as what a couple competitors are charging. Both Staples and Walmart are listing single-subject notebooks at a price of just 25¢ in brochures this week. Rite Aid, meanwhile, has a deal offering three single-subject notebooks for a total of 99¢.

As terrific as these promotional prices seem, a deal starting on Sunday blows them all away. As of August 16, single-subject store brand notebooks at Office Depot are knocked down to a mere 1¢ each.

Understandably enough, there is some fine print on the offer from Office Depot and the others. For the most part, these prices are only valid for in-store (not online) purchase. Supplies are limited, and, like Black Friday doorbuster deals, are prone to sell out, so act quickly. In the case of Office Depot, there is also a limit of three 1¢ notebooks per customer, and shoppers must rack up a bill of at least $5 to get the deal.

Bear in mind also that every retailer has a rotating list of insanely cheap loss-leader deals during the back-to-school season, and that there’s almost always a way to avoid paying full price. To keep your family’s school supply bill down to a minimum, play your cards right by strategically snatching up bargains as they arise—like, when glue is 50¢ and classic wooden rulers are marked down to 35¢. Both of those examples, by the way, are offered by Staples right now.


Here’s How to Get Your Kid a Free Cookie This Week

hand holding cookie
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Parents get something out of this too—kids have to promise to be good.

The jury is out on the wisdom (or foolishness) of paying children allowances and plying them with gifts and special privileges for doing basic chores and getting good grades—stuff they should be doing without expecting a reward.

Regardless, if you’re not opposed to bribing your child—or you simply love taking advantage of food freebies—you might want to consider participating in National Bribe Your Child Week.

The new event was created by the Great American Cookies chain, which is encouraging parents to make kids pledge in writing (download the form here) to do something good this week—say, brush their teeth or clean their rooms without being asked. In exchange for their promise of “pledging to help” in some which way, kids will be thanked (or bribed, as the company would have it) with a free regular chocolate chip cookie when presenting the form. The promotion runs through Saturday, August 15, so get your bribery contract in order soon.

Word to the wise: Get your kid to complete his or her end of the bargain before (not after) the free cookie has been consumed. There are roughly 300 Great American Cookies stores around the country, most located inside malls.

By the way, according to a survey of parents conducted for Great American Cookies, 94% said that they have rewarded (or bribed, if you will) kids for good behavior. And the top tasks handled by kids that have prompted rewards were getting good grades and finishing chores, named, respectively, by 60% and 66% of parents.

TIME Family

To the Husband From the Wife Who Has Depression

Please, if you notice the cloud before I tell you, just hug me tight and tell me we’ll fight it together

Dear Husband,

I love you dearly, more than anything in this whole world. I think you already know this. I know you love me too, I just forget sometimes. Depression clouds my mind and fills me with horrid thoughts about how unlovable and worthless I am. Sometimes I believe you, sometimes I believe depression.

I know you prefer the good days when I’m happy and not anxious or snappy, and I wish I could have these days every day. But I can’t. I feel the cloud approaching and it petrifies me. Sometimes I tell you and sometimes I don’t. Please, if you notice the cloud before I tell you, just hug me tight and tell me we’ll fight it together. Please don’t ask me if I’m OK — my automatic answer will be yes. In reality, it’s a big no. You see, depression can make you feel ashamed.

I know sometimes I overreact about the smallest things and get angry, but please be patient with me. Forgetting the bread will not be the real reason. It’s that I feel like I’m losing control over my mind. Depression is very clever, you see – it builds up a wall of anger piece by piece, and you never notice it until it’s so big it begins to topple over. I’m sorry you get the brunt of my anger on cloudy days. Please forgive me. Please. Just tell me you love me and leave me to calm down.

I know it’s hard to help somebody through depression if you’ve never experienced it yourself. I understand. I totally get it. Just listen to me and ask about the cloudy days. I can’t just bring it up in conversation. Depression clouds your mind. I need you to break the silence.

There will be lots of times I feel like you’d be better off without me, or that my children deserve a better momma. Sometimes I’ll tell you. Most of the time I won’t. Sometimes I can go for months without those thoughts crossing my mind, and other times I think about them every second of every day for weeks. That’s the scary truth. Depression is vile — a vile, nasty monster. Please always keep an eye on me, but know no matter how many times you tell me I’m worth it I probably won’t believe it on cloudy days – but please never stop telling me. Ever.

I love our children more than anything, but sometimes I feel like a failure. I feel like a rubbish momma. My mind nags me and tells me other mommas do things better and love better than me. I feel like I always fall short. I find it so hard being a momma on cloudy days, but I try so hard to not let them notice the clouds. I hope you know I try.

I haven’t self-harmed since February 2010, but the urge often consumes me. When the black cloud is here it consumes my mind. I fight it so hard for myself, my children and for you. I know it’s hard to understand why I crave it, I can’t explain it myself. It’s like an old addiction that comes to hurt me when it smells the dark cloud. One day I hope it won’t ever cross my mind again.

I know I don’t talk about these black clouds often, but I want to. I hate the silence it forces me to keep. There’s a certain freedom when it comes to talking openly about the monster. Help me find that freedom.

Depression makes me feel tired. Sometimes the fatigue is so bad I just want to cry. Every bone hurts. Sometimes I lay awake at night and worry about things that won’t even happen. Squeeze my hand tight if you’re awake too.

Sometimes it takes every bit of motivation to get up in the morning, but I never let you in on this. A new day often scares me. I wonder, will I cope? Will the sky be blue or black? Is the weather nice? Every single morning is hard, but seeing you makes it easier.

I want to publicly thank you for loving me and supporting me. You are the best.

Yours forever x

This article was edited and published on The Mighty with permission from Swords and Snoodles

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Education

Kids Receive 3 Times the Recommended Homework Load, Study Says

First graders are getting way too much homework

Elementary school children often receive far more homework than recommended by a leading education group, according to new research. The study, published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, found that the average first and second grader had three times the recommended homework load.

The National Education Association recommends that elementary school students receive 10-20 minutes of homework per night in first grade. That figure should grow by 10 minutes per year, the NEA recommends. The study found that teachers regularly assign homework that exceeds that recommendation.

The survey, based on an analysis of survey results from more than 500 parents in Rhode Island, suggests that the average student spends nearly 30 minutes on homework in the first grade, a number that grows steadily over the years. Time spent on homework peaks in 10th grade at 54 minutes per night, according to the study.

Researchers also found a disparity in homework patterns based on parents’ education level as well as a family’s racial background. On average, parents of Hispanic students said their children spent significantly more time on homework than their non-Hispanic counterparts in second, third and 12th grades.

For children with parents of different education levels, time spent on homework was consistent in early years. However, a sharp disparity emerges in high school, where children of parents with college degrees spent significantly more time on homework.

TIME Crime

How Our Views Have Evolved on Parents Who Kill Children

Bedlam Scene
Stock Montage / Getty Images An interior scene at Bethlem Royal Hospital, sometimes known as Bedlam, is depicted circa 1732 in an engraving after a painting by William Hogarth from ‘The Rake’s Progress.’

Even though infanticide is as shocking today as it was 200 years ago

History Today

This post is in partnership with History Today. The article below was originally published at HistoryToday.com.

The village of Lammonby in Cumberland was, The Times reported in late January 1845, a scene of great excitement aroused by the murder of a child by its drunken mother:

On Tuesday evening, the 28th ult., she made up a large fire in the kitchen of her own house, with the determination of sacrificing her child in the flames prepared by her own hands. For reasons only known to this wretched woman herself, she stripped off all the child’s clothes and hid them in a hole behind the inner door in the ashmidden, and having done so took the child by its legs and arms and literally roasted it to death.

Child murder was remarkably common in the Victorian period. The contemporary press regularly reported sensational stories of “unnatural,” villainous parents who strayed from the celebrated image of domestic bliss promoted by society’s moral doctrines. As in the extract above, the media did not hold back, presenting to the reading public the full, gruesome facts of these tragic tales.

By the late 1850s and 1860s a supposed epidemic of infanticide had spread across the country. In 1866 the Reverend Henry Humble expressed the sense of anxiety, discord and panic occurring in the heart of Britain’s capital, noting that people would not pick up unfamiliar bundles in fear that a dead child (with a woman’s garter around its throat) would be found. Everywhere, from London’s streets to its canals, was deemed unsafe; Britain was becoming “defiled by the blood of her innocents.” Humble goes on to say that the doctor Edwin Lankester believed that 12,000 child-murdering women (one in every 30 female residents) lived in London. Newspapers, such as the Pall Mall Gazette, reported that foreign countries viewed Britain as a “nation of infanticide.”

Typically, murderous mothers fell into similar categories, committing violent acts because they were disgraced, desperate or drunk, or a mixture of the three. Unquestionably, all were diagnosed as insane. How could they not be, when, as the poet Robert Browning stated, “womanliness means only motherhood: all love begins and ends there”? In many ways, imposing madness on mothers meant that the judicial system found it easier to justify the crime and could send the woman away to an asylum to be cured. Even a decade before the so-called infanticide epidemic, a report in the London Journal of Medicine noted that of the 1,091 curable female patients admitted to Bethlem over the previous six years, 131, or one eighth, were puerperal (childbirth) cases.

Treatments consisted of confinement, purging, moral rehabilitation and, in some cases, surgical intervention. During the 1860s the public began to question this lenience, especially after the murders of three children by their mother, Esther Lack. Although Lack claimed that her motives stemmed from a fear of starvation, the courts diagnosed her instead with a “debility of constitution, caused by the delivery of three infancies at a birth some seven or eight years ago.” Local and national presses voiced the public’s uncertainty, The Times emphasizing that this was one of many cases where madness has been ascribed but loosely justified. Despite this evident continuing sympathy for murderous mothers, it was not until 1922 that legislation was passed to protect mentally ill mothers from the death penalty.

If murderous mothers were caught in a social bind that saw them both as unnatural monsters and figures that deserved sympathy, what about fathers? Although few articles appeared in the national papers relating to paternal child-murder, those that did emphasized the tragedy of the case and the awfulness of the crime. The same sympathy was offered to men who had previously shown good conduct as a father. If they committed the crime out of desperation or a conflation of insanity and drunkenness, then they were more likely to be incarcerated in an asylum with intent to cure. There were some, showing no remorse, who were sent to the gallows, but most men presented themselves in the courtroom as troubled, melancholic, broken and on the path to redemption. The media, despite extending some form of commiseration, did not hold back in presenting the facts. In the cases of Henry Seyman and William Kemp, both committed in the 1860s, it was widely reported how they had slit their child’s throats with razor blades through wild, temporary derangement. Despite the wish to sensationalize the crime through emotional dramatization, there was also a prevailing need to sell a juicy, gruesome story.

In the 21st century, with headlines such as “Evil Fire Death Dad,” “Evil mum jailed for beating her baby to death,” “Cruel mother and sadistic boyfriend,” our society still revels in these scandalous headlines while showing composure and understanding towards mothers who kill while suffering from postnatal depression: “Mum who killed five-week old baby needed more support.” Although our society has come a long way in the treatment of mental illness from the casual glaze of insanity ascribed during the 19th century, child murder is still as shocking, as troubling and as sensational as it was nearly 200 years ago.

Emma Butcher is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Hull and associate editor of The History Vault. @EmmaButcher_

MONEY Amazon

Here’s Exactly How Amazon Prime Sharing Is Changing

Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Relax—it's not as bad as it sounds.

Lots of people share Amazon Prime accounts, whether through a roommate or parent (sometimes one and the same), or friend or significant other or neighbor’s orthodontist’s husband.

Now the company is tightening its rules about just how many people can officially enjoy the benefits of one $99 Amazon account, which previously allowed Prime members to share the online retailer’s two-day free shipping feature with four other adults.

Amazon is now saying that only two adults in one “household” can share an account. Profiles for up to four children can also be added, but those won’t come with distinct login credentials. Parents can create a “family library” that lets each child set up a personalized collection of books and movies, a spokeswoman said.

Still, the change isn’t actually as restrictive as it sounds. People currently registered to use friends’ accounts for two-day shipping are grandfathered in—at least until the accounts come up for renewal.

And people who already share with just one person will actually see new benefits beyond free deliveries. Unlike before, joint-account holders will now also be able to share access to Amazon Prime streaming video and Kindle books. (The catch, however, is that you’ll have to be comfortable authorizing the other person to use your saved credit and debit card information.)

Setting up a shared account is a simple process, as Business Insider explains: The biggest hurdle might be deciding whose credit card will get automatically charged for movie rentals. Instructions for how to “remove an adult from a household” are similarly easy (unlike in real life).

As for those folks who share one Prime account the unsanctioned way, by passing around a single username and password?

Nothing will change, and it will still be possible to share streaming video and two-day shipping, and add multiple shipping addresses and credit cards. Of course, you will technically be violating company policy—and it will be very hard to buy gifts for your spouse discreetly. But for now at least, Amazon is not going to hunt you down.

TIME safety

FOMO Is Making Teens Terrible Drivers

The pressure to be "always on" is leading young people to take their eyes off the road

A frightening amount of drivers will fess up to texting while driving. One recent survey found that 70% of people will admit to using their smartphones at the wheel. Now a new study goes beyond bad behaviors to investigate the motivations behind them. When it comes to teen drivers at least, it appears the culprit is an ascendant cultural plague: FOMO.

FOMO, an acronym for fear of missing out, is not just another cloying bit of slang, report Liberty Mutual Insurance and the non-profit SADD, an acronym for Students Against Destructive Decisions. In their study of 1,622 high school juniors and seniors around the country, teen drivers said they feel pressure to respond immediately to texts even while driving and that they can’t help but peek at their phones when notifications pop up in their apps. The expectations of their “always on” lifestyles, the researchers say, have “potentially deadly consequences.”

“Today’s hyper-connected teens … may be more plugged into their devices than the actual driving task,” says William Horrey, principal research scientist at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, in a statement. Teens may struggle to attend to everything they should on the road even without a smartphone, he says, because they are less experienced drivers. Once a device is thrown into the mix, messages and updates and videos and tweets become additional competitors for their attention, along with the radio, the climate controls or the hundred things happening outside the car.

In the study released Tuesday, more than half of teens said they text while driving in order to keep their parents updated and about one-fifth of them said they believe their parents expect a response within a single minute, even when they are at the wheel. (For their part, nearly 60% of 1,000 parents also surveyed for the study said they do not have a set expectation for response times.) About half of teens said they text more when they’re in the car alone than when others are in the car with them. The most popular apps they said they used while driving break down as follows:

  • Snapchat: 38%
  • Instagram: 20%
  • Twitter: 17%
  • Facebook: 12%
  • YouTube: 12%

The list highlights that, like older drivers, teenagers aren’t just texting while driving. They’re watching videos and taking selfies.

The feeling that they must like an Instagram photo or reply to a Facebook comment the moment it’s posted not only makes teenagers distracted, the researchers say, but may contribute to their general fatigue. In their survey, 58% of teens said they had either fallen asleep or nearly fallen asleep at the wheel, and about half of them said they get only three to six hours of sleep per night during the week, often because they’re up staring into their smartphone screens. The effects of driving while sleepy, the researchers point out, are similar to those of driving under the influence; 24 hours without sleep can be the equivalent of three cocktails.

SADD was founded to stop young people from drinking and driving but has expanded its mission to combat an array of things that undermine young people’s health and safety. Their experts suggest parents act on data like this by talking to their kids, making it clear that it’s fine not to respond while they’re en route somewhere and making sure they get a decent amount of shuteye each night. “Today’s parents are juggling their own busy schedules, and too often young drivers’ risky habits go unrecognized,” says SADD’s Stephen Gray Wallace in a statement.

It appears they should also continue to pound away at the message being trumpeted by everyone from trauma centers to wireless carriers: It’s dangerous to use your phone while driving, and despite how you might feel at the time, whatever it is can wait. Nearly 90% of the teens who said they use apps on the road also said they consider themselves “safe” drivers, the study found, as did 60% of those who make calls. While many said they’re texting with purpose—to coordinate an event or update a friend—nearly 20% say they text while driving “just for fun.”

“It’s critical that parents focus on pinpointing these dangerous driving habits early on,” says Wallace, “and have frequent conversations with their children about what safe driving really means.”

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