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Tag Archives: parenting in the US

The Reality of American Education — Part 1/3

Tired of reading endless criticisms of just about everything global, I dropped my weekly subscription to The Economist magazine (TE).

To me, it seemed that most of TE’s staff does not have the intellectual ability or knowledge to write with depth, which might explain why they hide behind anonymity. Over several months, I only remember reading one piece that was well researched.

Instead, I shifted to Foreign Policy (FP) magazine, which comes once every two months, and from what I’ve read so far in a few issues, the writing and ability of its staff is on a much higher level than The Economist.

Maybe that’s because FP has more lead-time to research, think, write, revise and edit before the next issue comes out.

The idea for this post came after reading FP’s Think Again: Education. The writer was Ben Wildavsky, a senior scholar in Research and Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the author of several scholarly books.

Knowing who wrote what you are reading is a big leap from TE, which is probably wise since what TE publishes is often insulting, biased and flawed.  In fact, writing in anonymity often leads to lazy, biased and sloppy writing littered with inaccuracies.

What Wildavsky does in FP magazine is debunk the myths about the American educational system, and he does an excellent job.

MYTH: “American Kids are Falling Behind”

ANSWER: Wildavsky says, “Not Really”, and explains, “the U.S. education system … doesn’t look to be failing so spectacularly.

“The performance of American students in science and math has actually improved modestly since the last round of the (PISA) international test in 2006 … and reading scores … are more or less unchanged since … 2003.

Continued on July 4, 2011 in The Reality of American Education – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 4/4

Lori Gottlieb follows Amy Chua with Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University that has written extensively about narcissism and self-esteem.  Twenge is also the co-author of Epidemic. Twenge says, when ego-boosting parents exclaim “Great Job!”, the child learned to feel that everything he does is special … he never gets negative feedback on his performance … They grew up in a bubble, so they get out into the real world and they start to feel lost and helpless.


“Season 2 – Episode 9 – Does anyone let their kids play outside anymore? Cross the street? Do their own homework? Tie their own shoe? How do we prepare our kids for the real world while keeping them in a protective bubble? Jen and Barb talk to Dr. Wendy Mogel, nationally known clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times best selling parenting book, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” about need to empower ourselves as Mothers to loosen the leash and let our kids fall, so they learn how to get up and are prepared for the future.”

Wendy Mogel told Gottlieb over the phone, “Please let them (kids) be devastated at age 6 and not have their first devastation be in college!” and “parents who protect their kids from accurate feedback teach them that they deserve special treatment.”

In fact, Twenge says, “Research shows that much better predictors of live fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency, and reality-testing—qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day,” and many kids aren’t learning these skills anymore.

Near the conclusion of the Atlantic piece, Gottlieb said, “by trying  so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up.”

Return to Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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