Friday, July 30, 2010

DID YOU BELIEVE IN JAVITS? The Senate committee charged with appropriating funds for its continuation didn't, according to their vote on July 29th -- but the battle may move now to the US House of Representatives. Find more information at the CEC website.

THE EFFECT OF GOOD TEACHERS, QUANTIFIED. Try $320,000 -- that's the estimated value of a stand-out kindergarten teacher, as measured by the increased earnings of a full class or his or her students. The New York Times reported on a longitudinal study of 12,000 children, in which some teachers were identified as being able to help their students learn much more than other teachers. The results? "Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more." Read the article and give a raise to a standout teacher you know.

ON BULLYING. Also from The New York Times: An op-ed piece "There's Only One Way to Stop a Bully" (training teachers and staff how to recognize bullying and intervene), along with quite a few thoughtful responses to the article by readers. If bullying is an issue that you're concerned with, find the article and find the responses.

AD/HD AND DIET. An Australian study suggests that adolescents eating a "Western" diet have twice the risk of AD/HD than those eating a "Healthy" diet, one high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fish. The Western diet? It's heavy in takeaway foods, confectionery, processed, fried and refined foods, and higher in total fat, saturated fat, refined sugar, and sodium. The researchers speculate the difference in the levels of omega-3 fatty acids might be the culprit. Read more, then go harass your teenager.

INTELLIGENCE AND THE BRAIN is a new book by Dennis Garlick, Ph.D., who answers questions about it in an interview with Michael Shaughnessy. Topics covered include the nature of intelligence, IQ, and IQ testing. Find it.

TEACHING MICROBIOLOGY WITH A VIDEO GAME. It can be done successfully, according to a press release from Wake Forest University. CellCraft, a game developed there and available on popular gaming sites, was played more than a million times within 10 days of its release. Gamers made comments such as, "I wish this game would've come out earlier; maybe I wouldn't have received a D in Biology." The game is available for free download at For the school year, it will include a free, downloadable teacher's packet and a printable lab worksheet. Read more.

STUCK AT PROM CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED. One of our favorite contests, where high-school prom-goers make their outfits out of Duck brand duct tape, has announced this year's winners. You can see the winners here. (You've got to admit, winning this contest takes creativity, discipline, and artistic talent. It's not every kid that would spend up to 300 hours to craft, say, a Victorian-inspired gown -- even if the kids did get to spend the time in the company of their prom dates.)

BACK TO SCHOOL? It's not even August. But anyway, the American Optometric Association has issued its back-to-school recommendation for eye exams. The press release includes indicators of vision problems, for example performing below potential or struggling to complete homework. Find the release. Along those lines, the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD), members of which have been featured in 2e Newsletter, note that August is National Children's Vision and Learning Month. Find the COVD website.

DSM-V -- CONTINUING SAGA. An editorial in the Journal of Mental Health expresses concerns among experts that proposed guidelines in the new DSM would qualify almost everyone as having some sort of disorder. You can actually read the full editorial online, or you can read others' interpretations here or here.

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