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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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Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 3/9

Sleep Med.com reported, “Children require an average of 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night but it is estimated that 30 to 40% of children do not sleep enough.”

However, while our daughter was still in high school and resented being in bed before 10:00 PM, she often mentioned that many of her friends were still up at 2:00 AM on a school night writing e-mails or leaving comments on her Facebook page.

How much sleep were those teens getting?

The reason children require this much sleep is because recent research discovered the body and brain of a child and adolescent grows and develops while sleeping. If a child sleeps less (on average), he or she is not reaching his or her full potential.

Stanford.edu reported, “The average American teen-ager gets 6.5 hours of sleep on a school night, some lots less.… If they had adequate sleep, they would learn more.… Sleep experts consider adolescents to be between the ages of 11 and 22.”

In fact the Stanford study says, “Sleep deprivation can impair memory and inhibit creativity making it difficult for sleep deprived students to learn.”

“Teens struggle to learn to deal with stress and control emotion — sleep deprivation makes it even more difficult. Irritability, lack of self-confidence and mood swings are often common in a teen, but sleep deprivation makes it worse.

“Depression can result from chronic sleep deprivation. Not enough sleep can endanger their immune system and make them more susceptible to serious illnesses.”

This lack of sleep among “average” American teens may explain why Caucasian teens have the highest suicide and mental illness rate compared to Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Latinos.

In part four, we will see how diet may affect a child’s health, mood and ability to get an education.

Continued on May 4, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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