The importance of rote memory in Asia and everywhere else

The battle over school testing continues. As I’ve said many times, I think that standards are important. I think it’s good to rate students, and I think it’s great to rate teachers so that schools can promote the good ones and fire the bad ones. My oldest is going to undergo some Common Core testing this year, and while I can understand the nervousness that testing can create, it’s the right thing to do for public schools. Every child should have age-appropriate goals. Of course there should be a reasonable amount of testing–kids shouldn’t be tested every day, and schools shouldn’t waste three weeks on a single test because they don’t have computers–but the idea is right. Kids should be able to pass tests.

Corporal punishment

The news media has been busy with the news of NFL players and domestic violence–Ray Rice and Greg Hardy are in trouble for beating their significant others, while Adrian Peterson is in trouble for beating his four-year-old son. I think it’s obvious to most that if the allegations are true, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy are in the wrong. It’s never right for a man to hit his wife or girlfriend. Most people would probably also feel that Adrian Peterson is in the wrong–he beat his son with a switch and left scars on his buttocks and scrotum. But with Adrian Peterson, the question of corporal punishment is more complicated and has raised some complicated questions in the news media.

Young Kids and MMA, Pt. 2, over five years later

I blogged about young kids in MMA over five years ago, and my views have grown even more conservative on this issue. The video above is upsetting. Knowing the kind of damage that guys like Frank Shamrock and Forrest Griffin have reported (Frank has constant headaches,and Forrest now brushes left handed), why would you put your kids into this kind of “sport?” You can see the look on the doctor’s face as he wonders what kind of insane parents allow this.

Should it be a crime to leave a child in the car? (Poll)

Art credit: Paul Hoppe

Art credit: Paul Hoppe

There’s a very interesting story today in the NY Times about a job-seeker who was arrested after leaving her children in the car because she couldn’t find childcare.

Shanesha Taylor, a former Air Force worker and mortgage loan officer, was battling poverty. With three kids and a sometimes-absent boyfriend, she was trying hard to find work. She found an excellent opportunity with an insurance company, but she couldn’t arrange child care. So she left her kids in the car during her 70 minute job interview. She felt like she had the job, but when she came out of the interview, she saw police surrounding her car. She was arrested for endangering her children, who had been taken to the hospital.

Asian American kids work harder


Articles on a recent report about Asian American kids and their study habits have been going all over FB. Here is a good article by the Economist.

It rings true. I just had this conversation with my son yesterday. He was pissed off at me because I made him do his homework before going out to play with the neighborhood kids, all of whom are white (Note: The neighborhood kids are not all white, but the ones outside were. The Indian kids were in the same boat as my son–forced to study by their Asian parents). Since his friends are in the same class but seem to jump on their bikes the minute they come home from school, I asked my son when his friends do their homework. He didn’t know. I don’t know either. I do know that the teacher gives out certificates for completing milestones in math, and these kids haven’t received any certificates.

Asian grandparents vs. American grandparents


(Photo from AP)

I guess it’s an old article, but The Atlantic had an interesting article about Asian grandparenting vs. “Americanized” grandparenting (and I’m hoping I haven’t posted this before–I’m not a grandparent, but I’m noticing a bit of early senility creeping in…). According to the article, American grandparents often opt to spend little time with grandchildren, instead choosing to spend time looking in other areas for personal fulfillment. Asian grandparents, on the other hand, often opt to spend their golden years taking care of their grandkids. This has repercussions not only on family lives, but on career as well, as it affords Asian women the ability to work longer hours and to focus on their careers:

The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids by Madeline Levine (Review)


I learned about the Price of Privilege from my previous read, How Children Succeed. It is a book by a child psychologist from Marin County, CA, who writes about how affluence has hurt kids by creating a generation that is disconnected from their parents.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (Review)


Paul Tough writes an interesting book on teaching kids to succeed. How Children Succeed is based on the idea that character often determines how children cope with the world, and that there are ways adults can best teach children the character traits that will enable them to do well in the world. Tough focuses on the poorest and neediest children in his interviews, but he also talks about how wealthy kids face the same issues on a lesser scale. His thesis is that character traits are often more important than IQ, and that having the “character” to strive and work will often make a person successful

New study says tiger parenting doesn’t work

Amy Chua (from Forbes article)

Amy Chua (from Forbes article)

There was an article in Forbes by a white woman named Susan Adams whose son goes to Stuy, where most of the kids are Asian: Tiger Moms Don’t Raise Superior Kids, Says New Study. She wrote the article and read Amy Chua’s Tiger Mom book because she questioned whether her kid would lose out to the Asian students. Now, according to the article, there is evidence that ought to allay her fear. Su Yeong Kim, a professor at the University of Texas, had been working on the same topic before Amy Chua’s book came out, and she has just published her results. According to her, Tiger parenting doesn’t work. The Forbes article says:

The Power of the Family Narrative

My reading and writing burnout continues (more to come on this later…maybe). 🙁 However, the NY Times had an excellent piece on the importance of the family narrative. Read it here. According to the article, knowing one’s family narrative helps to strengthen the family and help the family make it through difficult times. The article says:

First, the ascending family narrative: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. …”