Why Today’s Kids Are Over-Celebrated

This year, I’m as happy as my children are to have passed the last day of school and welcomed summer. I’m not alone: Even though summer brings new challenges, like finding childcare and paying for camps and extracurricular activities, most parents I talk to are as relieved as I am to put the rigors of … Continued

Parenting

Should Classrooms Eliminate Toys?

If you were told you were going to a second grade class party, you’d probably expect to hear the kids before you ever entered the room. There would be laughter, kids talking loudly, and a lot of horsing around. If there weren’t organized party activities, you’d expect kids to be playing. Depending on what’s around, … Continued

Culture

Let the Kids Eat Cake

My parents always took the teacher’s side. I grew up attending public schools in the Chicagoland area and I can count on two fingers the number of times (out of hundreds of opportunities) that my Mom and Dad thought a teacher had gone too far.  Today, by contrast, teachers routinely face obnoxious, know-it-all parents who … Continued

Parenting

Schooling Novelist Lucinda Rosenfeld About Public Education

Even the best satirists have blind spots. That’s the lesson from Lucinda Rosenfeld’s new novel, Class. The story of Karen Kipple, a white liberal Brooklyn mother whose principles are constantly being tested by the realities around her, the novel is a great send-up of a certain segment of New York. Kipple sends her daughter to … Continued

Books, Culture

USDA Demands Holiday Snacks (and Parents) Be Removed From Schools

Starting next year, bringing a dozen homemade cupcakes to your child’s classroom to celebrate his or her birthday will be tantamount to lighting up a cigarette on the blacktop. Candy canes and gingerbread men people will be verboten during the school’s Christmas party winter celebration. And this Spring, don’t expect any candy in the classroom; … Continued

Culture


New York State PTA’s Inane Panic Over GMOs in School Lunches

The New York State Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has proposed a measure that will require all New York state schools to serve meals free of genetically modified ingredients (or GMOs). While I applaud parents for taking more interest in their children’s nutritional development and becoming more aware of the types of meals being served at … Continued

Culture

This Year, Let’s End the School Supplies Arms Race

When did school supply shopping become an insanity-inducing enterprise? Gone, it seems, are the days of the simple bundle of sharpened pencils in a hand-me-down backpack. As parents all over the country are washing and putting away the beach towels and swimsuits and going through the piles of papers that have collected and the emails … Continued

Parenting

Stop Calling Daycare “School”

The photo is captioned “Baby’s first day of school!” She’s twelve weeks old. I cringe. I drive by a daycare center in a shopping center. It’s called “Baby Academy” or something of the sort, with a graduation cap as part of its logo. I cringe. Last week someone in my community posted a message on … Continued

Parenting

Why Are Schools Abandoning Literature?

I recently spent time with a class of fourteen-year-olds, talking about words, specifically words strung together to form speech. I started out by asking them whether they thought words could make people act in a particular way. “Can words lead to action?” I asked. There was some thinking and mulling over. We spent several weeks … Continued

Books, Culture