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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Not Getting In

January 29, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Decisions won’t be announced until mid to late February, but Emma feels certain that her daughter won’t get into any of the schools to which they’ve applied. There are more than four times as many applicants as there are slots; she doesn’t “know anyone”; and she hasn’t waged a letter writing campaign of persuasion. So Emma is thinking about next fall and what her daughter might do if she is not in school. Her daughter is two. Emma, who asked not to be identified by her real name, lives in West LA. In speaking with her on the phone this week, this LA mother said that a few months ago she thought, “You find a nice… Read More

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Learn a Poem: Own Great Art

January 22, 2013

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff “To know a poem by heart is to own a great work of art forever.” That’s what England’s Education Secretary Michael Gove said last month when promoting his country’s new competition, “Poetry by Heart,” according to a story in England’s Telegraph. The country is investing a half million pounds in the program run by the Poetry Archive. We Americans aren’t eligible, but the site’s timeline and collection of poems is worth taking a look at, especially if your brain is abuzz with the un-poetic noise the rest of the internet sends our way. Poetry. Memorization. Are these words or art forms we give much thought to in 2013? It’s true the gadgets at our fingertips… Read More

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CHEATING in the Internet Age

January 15, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff I didn’t go to Harvard, so I don’t often spend my afternoons perusing Harvard Magazine, but it’s sometimes nice to have a friend or colleague share the news of her esteemed alumni publication. In this case, it was a story “Investigating Academic Misconduct” that caught my interest. We’d all heard some of the details of the recent episode, but this story had an inside perspective. The world could hardly conceal its schadenfreude at the scandal that involved more than half of a large Government class last spring. More than a hundred students, it seemed, had cheated on a take-home exam, their written answers so similar they were suspected of collaborating on their compositions. But the article… Read More

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When to Start School: That is the Question

January 8, 2013

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Several weeks ago, well before Sandy and the holidays took over our thoughts and conversations here in New Jersey, I attended an evening lecture given by Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University and co-author of the 2011 book, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College. The room was full of parents, whose children, one imagined, spanned the time frame mentioned in the title of his book. Wang told us, as both a professor and father of a five-year-old, “For nearly everything, don’t worry.” Young kids not sleeping through the night, not talking properly, these issues usually resolve, he said. The brain is a… Read More

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