« Examining the Brains of Teenage Rebels | Main | Poll Finds That Obama and the Weight of Research Can Sway the Public »

Social Science Gone Bad: Book Debunks Expert Advice on Children

| 17 Comments

"Experts" are always backtracking on the advice they give to the rest of us. Remember Scared Straight, the program that sent hardened convicts into schools and youth programs to "scare" errant teenagers into cleaning up their act? When the program was subjected to rigorous study, researchers discovered that it actually worsened kids' delinquent behaviors. The teenagers apparently thought the prisoners, with their tough demeanor and bulging muscles, were pretty cool.

When it comes to raising and teaching children, science is littered with tales of good-advice-gone-bad. Now a new book, NurtureShock, gathers up all that soured wisdom in one place and offers some new scientific evidence to take its place.

The book attempts to debunk all that focus in the 1970s and 1980s on building children's self esteem, skewers the benefits of teaching tolerance and promoting diversity in classrooms, trashes once-popular drug-prevention programs, such as DARE or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, and questions schools' use of IQ tests to predict children's achievement. Some of this debunking is not news; some appears to be based on just a few studies.

But the book and its authors, Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman, are attracting a lot of media attention this week. To find out more, check out this book review in the online version of The Wall Street Journal and this interview with Bronson on National Public Radio. Look for a column from the authors in the Aug. 31 edition of Newsweek, too.

AUG. 31 UPDATE: In case you missed today's debut of Newsweek's new NurtureShock column, you can find it here. While I'm at it, the authors of the new book also want you to know that they read over 100,000 pages of journal articles for the book, interviewed hundreds of scientists, cite over 700 sources, and list over 7000 words of footnotes in their book. This is in reply to my smart-alecky comment above that some of the findings "appear to be based on just a few studies." I got my copy of the book today so now I can assure you firsthand that it offers some engaging, cutting-edge scientific reading.

17 Comments

I hope that you will fill us in on more specifics as you read. It seems to me that some of the headliners (teaching tolerance, self-esteem, diversity) fall into the poorly-defined category with wide divergence in what has been implemented. I haven't seen yet a "self-esteem" effort that seemed to have a clue with regard to what constitutes self-esteem or how to ensure that it is sound.

Their lead-off blog seems to focus on something a bit more tangible (measures of fruit and vegetable eating following implementation of a program to teach the value of fruits and vegetables).

Thanks for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I thGood ˇV I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related info ended up being truly simple to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

Awesome write-up Chrissy! Thanks for sharing your day.

Thank you for this interesting article. I've book marked this website because I really hope you post more articles soon, I plan to share this.

Dear friend Barun,
HI,
Just want to say I read all your comments about the BIG DAY...........
LUCKY-7 MEET WITH AMITJI..... I enjoy reading it........ beautiful discription..
straight from heart.......!!!!!!!!!
love..
smita**

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

I must say that you have build such a valuable website, I stumbled across it in AOL. This is thrice now i've landed on your blog in the last 3 days looking for diet affiliates - you must get high traffic? Just thought i would tell you something..if you are into affiliate marketing I have an excellent diet affiliate programs for your consideration. By placing their weight loss ads here you can earn up-to 95% - $44.65/Sale and collect weekly cash send to you by ClickBank or PayPal. EasternSecret4FatLoss.com affiliates are earning as much as $2069 a day...

After this post - your site is now added to favorites!

I must say that you have build such a wonderful site, I stumbled across it in Bing. This is twice now i've landed on your blog in the last 2 days searching for fat loss affiliate - you must get high traffic? Just thought i would tell you something..if you are into affiliate marketing I have an excellent weight loss affiliate programs for your consideration. By placing their weight loss banner here you can earn up-to 95% - $44.65/Sale and collect weekly cash send to you by ClickBank or PayPal. Eastern Secret 4 Fat Loss affiliates are generating as high as $2069 a day...

Ohh boy - don't get me started on this topic :)

I don't intend to repeat this website, but I actually like the design. Could you comment on which theme you are using or was it custom designed?

I love the comment of your website. Obviously you have a very valid point, however I can't get over how great the site design is.

This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

I was searching through Google doing research for a blog article, when I found this blog, and while not what I was exactly looking for I found it very informative and interesting and spent alot of time reading it, instead of doing research! Thanks Isabelle xx

Ah, good point you two both, and something I should have mentioned above. It's not beer at all, but a substitute- hence no actual beer' on the packaging anywhere. It's a beer substitute, with some vague beer flavoring, to simulate drinking real beer.

Youre so cool! I dont think I've read anything like this before. So pleasant to come across somebody with original thoughts on this topic. Realy, thank you for starting this up. This site is a thing that is certainly needed on the internet, someone with some originality. Great job for bringing interesting things to the 'net!

Comments are now closed for this post.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • vegetarian weight loss: Youre so cool! I dont think I've read anything like read more
  • kids: Ah, good point you two both, and something I should read more
  • kids: I was searching through Google doing research for a blog read more
  • tworzenie stron internetowych: This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much read more
  • HostMonster Coupon: I love the comment of your website. Obviously you have read more