"Progressive societies cared for their children by emphasising play and schooling; parents were expected to shelter and protect their children’s innocence by keeping them from paid work and the wrong kinds of knowledge ... adolescence soon became a vision of normal development that was applicable to all youth – its bridging character (connecting childhood and adulthood) giving young Americans a structured way to prepare for mating and work. In the 21st century, the bridge is sagging at both ends as the innocence of childhood has become more difficult to protect, and adulthood is long delayed." [more inside]
Last fall, Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School was put on the school district's closure list for poor student performance, though the decision was later reversed. In November, 17 year old senior Ananias Jolley was stabbed in the middle of science class, and died a few days before Christmas. By the end of February, two more students from the school were killed. 65 students graduated this past Friday from Renaissance; among them Ananias' brother, 20-year-old Santonio Jolley, a dropout who enrolled in Renaissance five days after his brother died. This is Renaissance.
Teaching Good Sex -- a profile of Philadelphia's Friends' Central School's Sexuality and Society course and its teacher Al Vernacchio, by Laurie Abraham, author of the book "The Husbands and Wives Club." (Descriptions in the first link may be NSFW.) [more inside]
Teenagers find the internet a frustrating experience A survey in the north east of England finds that teenagers are increasingly being alienated in their online experience because they aren't being given the skillsets to cope with finding or using the information. Seems to be the old story of schools buying computers but the kids not being engaged enough on how to use them (which has been the case since I was stuck in front of an Acorn Archimedes fifteen years go). Here is a similar article from Australia which describes how their eductation system is coping with the issue.
NY Times on female cruelty (subscription req'd) This is an insightful examination of cruelty by girls struggling for power in complex Middle School social hierarchies. Many points made about "girls" here also apply to young adult women -- at least the ones I know. In our tabloidized, materialistic culture, might adult women abandon such behavior someday? Link posted by Voyageman on a discussion page yesterday. Thank you Voyageman.
Their learnding. "American 15-year-olds rank average in reading, math and science skills among their peers in highly industrialized nations, results the U.S. education secretary says are unacceptable." The article does not speculate on the causes of the poor performance. What do you think? Underpaid, under-qualified teachers? Too much TV? Math-Class-Is-Tough Barbie?
NY Times: "..students at some of the most selective private schools in Manhattan visited a Web page this spring to vote for the students they considered to be the most promiscuous. They voted on about 150 names — girls' names outnumbered boys' 3 to 1 — before the page was shut down last month.."