There's been quite a bit of buzz around this column in the New York Sun by a mother, Lenore Skenazy, who gave her 9-year-old son a Metrocard, 20 bucks, and a fistful of quarters and left him in the middle of a New York City Bloomingdale's to find his way home on his own. Here's an excerpt: No, I did not give him a cell phone. Didn't want to lose it. And no, I didn’t trail him, like a mommy private eye. I trusted him to figure out that he should take the Lexington Avenue subway down, and the ...


This AP story about a high school senior who found multiple examples of biases in his U.S. government textbook and proceeded to make those biases public, is a great example of one student who is actively engaged in his education. No matter what your political stance, you've got to give the kid credit for both knowing enough about politics and government to be able to dispute controversial sections of his textbook and for being passionate enough about his discoveries to bring them to the attention of the public. From the last few paragraphs of the article, it sounds like ...


In following suit with yesterday's post about overcoming obstacles and doing your best with the skills that you have, here's another inspiring story about a Carnegie Mellon University professor, Randy Pausch, who gave his "last lecture" about what really matters in life after finding out he has terminal cancer. His talk focuses on achieving childhood dreams and helping others achieve their own, and was intended to provide advice and counsel for his three children--all under the age of 7--as they grow up. The lecture, which you can watch on YouTube below, has now been expanded and turned into a book. ...


This story in the Baltimore Sun is about a high school boy who excels academically despite his physical limitations resulting from spinal muscular atrophy, which makes him extremely weak and requires him to rely on the assistance of caregivers for almost everything. But the really inspiring thing about this high schooler, Ofek Cohen, is that even though his capabilities are limited, he purposely seeks out ways to make the best of the skills that he does have. For example, Cohen's disability makes it impossible for him to play sports, but he still wanted to be involved with something competitive, so ...


Education Week's Bess Keller has written a really interesting story about parental involvement. As we've talked about many, many times before, having parents involved in their childrens' schools can greatly boost motivation levels and keep them on track. However, in some cases, overly demanding parents can become more of a nuisance than a help. Bess' story explains why this is becoming more and more common. "Parents are approaching schools with much more of a contract mentality," said [Bill Simmer, a parent-relations consultant for Independent School Management]. "Expecting results [from schools, for instance] has come well within the realm of parenting."The...


This sad, but inspiring story in the Los Angeles Times talks about one Iraqi ballet and music school's struggle to stay open despite five years of war and over a decade of threats from Muslim extremists who "consider music sacrilegious and kill for much less than dancing in public in a form-revealing tutu." In that same vein, Education Week's Mary Ann Zehr has recently returned from a trip to the Middle East, and has a number of stories up about the effects of five years of war on Iraqi schoolchildren. For many of those students, finding the motivation to succeed ...


We talked last week about how stereotypes of African-American students can encourage them to play down their smarts. This week, I'd like to point your attention to this story in the Chicago Tribune that talks about the inverse of that phenomenon. The story is about how struggling Asian students are often overlooked because they are a historically high-performing group. Because of this, there aren't many resources available to help those Asian students who may be having trouble. Part of it is because in most places, Asian students are a fairly small population, and there aren't many educators fluent in their ...


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