Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From the Week of November 2nd

COLLEGE AT 12. The New York Times covered the college experience so far of 12-year-old Colin Carlson, who attends the University of Connecticut full time. He had actually been attending classes at the university since age 8. Colin lives at home and commutes, but carries a full class load. The writer says of Colin that he "looks like a young Woody Allen, but with better social skills." Read the article.

ELITISM? Also in the New York Times this past Sunday was a review of the book Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America's Schools Back to Reality, by Charles Murray. Murray, according to the review, thinks that it's impossible to raise academic ability and that most children -- 80 percent -- should not go on to college. The title of the review is, "Just Leave Them Behind." Read the review.

Regular child and adolescent violent video game use early in the school year predicted later aggressive behavior in both the U.S. and Japan, according to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the AAP, researchers monitored the behavior of more than 1,200 students in Japan, ages 12 to 18, and 364 U.S. students, ages 9 to 12. The study results were similar: habitual violent video game play early in the school year predicted later aggression. The more the children played violent video games, the more physically aggressive they became. The AAP website is here.

THE FLIP SIDE OF VIDEO GAMES. The latest "Trend and 'Tudes" survey from Harris Interactive finds that four in five youth say they play sports at least once a week. (We'd bet that video game play is much more than that, both in frequency and duration.) The survey also includes data on organized sports participation. Read the survey.

MAY YOUR FAMILY'S DIAGNOSISTIC PROCESS BE QUICKER THAN THIS. ABC News published the story of 29-year-old Jason Ross, who over the decades was successively diagnosed with speech delay, AD/HD, psychosis not otherwise specified, and OCD. In a multi-year detour, he was thought to be schizophrenic; here's how is mother tells that story in the article:
"You'd say, 'Do you hear voices?' and he'd say, 'Yes' ... It took three or four years until he got that the question was, 'Is it in your mind, or is it other people on the street?'" Ross was finally diagnosed at age 25 with Asperger's. He has graduated from college and works as a cardiovascular technician. Read the article.

GOT A SMART 10TH-GRADER? Do you think he or she should be allowed to take exams to earn immediate entrance to community college or technical school? New Hampshire does -- the state, according to Time Magazine, will allow students to skip the last two years of high school should they wish, based on passing a set of state exams. Those interested in attending more challenging universities may finish the final two years and take a different, more rigorous set of tests. The exams have yet to be developed. Read the article.

NOW IT'S TV THAT CAUSES AUTISM -- at least, according to a study of rainfall records in three western states. Actually, the link is only with the number of rainy or snowy days, on which children are presumed to watch more TV. Scientists recommend further study and replication. Read the article.

BIKING TO CHILE. That's the mission of Tyson Minck, a dyslexic college student at Western Washington University, who qualified for a $15,000 Adventure Learning Grant to "
study and travel abroad for 10 months, learn from that community and bring that knowledge back to the [college] community," according to the school's website. An article in today's WWU student newspaper gives some perspective on the trip and its impact on Minck. Read it.

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