Barbara Kantrowitz

Stories by Barbara Kantrowitz

  • A New Battle Over Day Care

    Are young children more aggressive when they spend a lot of time in day care? That appeared to be the disturbing conclusion of a study of more than 1,100 children in 10 U.S. cities released last week by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Researchers found that 17 percent of children who spent more than 30 hours a week in nonmaternal care had behavior problems (such as hitting, interrupting others or bullying). These findings generally held up whether families were rich or poor. Only 6 percent of children who spent less than 10 hours a week in day care had similar problems. ...
  • The Parent Trap

    RAISING CHILDREN TODAY IS LIKE COMPETING IN A TRIATHLON WITH NO FINISH LINE IN SIGHT. DAYS ARE FILLED WITH A MAD SCRAMBLE OF SPORTS, MUSIC LESSONS, PREP COURSES AND BATTLES OVER HOMEWORK. WE ONLY WANT WHAT'S BEST FOR THEM, BUT OUR KIDS MAY NOT BE BETTER OFF.
  • The Class Of 2000 At Berkeley High

    Shortly after the Columbine tragedy, California author Meredith Maran decided to spend a year at Berkeley High School because she saw it as a microcosm of all that's right and wrong with American education. It's a remarkably diverse public high school, both ethnically and economically. And it's home to an energetic community of educators, who allowed Maran to follow three seniors from September to June.The result, "Class Dismissed" (301 pages. St. Martin's Press. $23.95), is a moving and, at times, heartbreaking, account of three kids from very different backgrounds. Jordan Etra is a middle-class white kid who dreams of attending an East Coast college. Keith Stephens, who is black, represents the third generation in his family to attend Berkeley High and the first to have a shot at college. Autumn Morris looks after her two younger brothers while her mother is at work. It's a tumultuous year for all three. Jordan struggles to come to terms with his father's death. Keith has a run-in...
  • A Reason For His Rhymes

    He was not a doctor (the pen name was adopted when he wrote for the humor magazine Judge in the late 1920s). And he had no children. "You make 'em; I amuse them," he once said. But nearly a decade after his death at the age of 87, Theodor Seuss Geisel remains a legendary figure in children's literature as well as in Ameri-can popular culture. His distinctive rhyming pattern, called anapestic tetrameter, and his eccentric characters--the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton--have captivated three generations.Geisel's first attempt at writing for children barely made it into bookstores. In 1937, 27 publishers rejected "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" before Vanguard finally accepted it. The book, inspired by a street in Geisel's hometown of Springfield, Mass., was a huge success, and most of Dr. Seuss's 47 children's works have been in print ever since. At the time of his death, more than 100 million copies had been sold in 18 languages--an enviable record for an author...
  • Teachers Wanted

    Warning Bell: With A Million Veterans Ready To Retire, School Districts Are Sounding The Alarms And Calling In Emergency Recruits To Lead Our Classrooms. But Many Educators See This As An Opportunity To Improve American Schools And To Make Life Better For Teachers-- And For Kids.
  • Echoes Of The Breakup

    Can children of divorce live happily ever after? That's the provocative question psychologist Judith Wallerstein began exploring nearly three decades ago with more than 100 kids whose parents had recently split up. Her ominous results were the subject of her 1989 best seller, "Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a Decade After Divorce." Wallerstein concluded then that the effects of divorce were lifelong and traumatic for children. While their parents might feel liberated by getting out of an unhappy marriage, the kids were bereft. In interviews, many expressed a profound pessimism about their future.At the time, most of Wallerstein's interviewees were in their teens or early 20s--still young enough to reinvent themselves. To see what's happened since then, she tracked down close to 80 percent of the "kids" (now 28 to 43 years old) for her new book, "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study" (347 pages. Hyperion. $24.95). There's some good news in this update....
  • Britain's Birthday Girl

    She doesn't officially hit the century mark until Aug. 4, but Britain's Queen Mum has been kicking up her heels for a while now, beginning with the big bash her oldest daughter (a.k.a. QEII) threw June 21 at Windsor Castle. Last week, with her favorite grandson, Prince Charles, at her side, she presided over a parade in her honor that was billed as the Pageant of a Hundred Years. The goofy procession included a cardboard Berlin Wall, Jerry Hall dressed in faux-Elizabethan gear and members of the Worshipful Company of Grocers (one of the 350 charities that count her as their patron).Through it all, she waved graciously and stuck to her ever-so-photogenic trademark smile. Tough for the average centenarian, perhaps, but a piece of cake for the grande dame Hitler once described as the most dangerous woman in Europe because she was such an effective morale booster during World War II. Long before Diana became a media darling, this Scottish aristocrat mastered the art of imagery. The most...
  • A Hard Day's News

    Jon Stewart has never covered a war or uncovered a crooked pol. But that hasn't stopped him from tackling the really, really, really tough issues. Like the travails of a hero penguin in South Africa, or the need for nude weather forecasters in Moscow. Groundbreaking reports like these have given "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" the right to boast, at the start of each broadcast, that Comedy Central viewers are about to see "the most important television program... ever."Anyone who doubts that claim should tune in as Stewart, 37, and his crew hit the campaign trail over the next few weeks with Comedy Central's "Indecision 2000" coverage. The big networks may be cutting back, but this news parody will send 94 staffers to Philadelphia for the GOP convention, ready to compete with "traditional" journalists. Then they'll aim for Los Angeles and the Democrats. And they'll have high-powered help: Bob Dole and former Labor secretary Robert Reich have both signed up to appear.All of which...
  • Stop The Insanity

    Take a deep breath and spend a week with the Lee family in Minneapolis. The three oldest kids--Anna, 12, Nathan, 9, and Kristian, 7--play one sport or another practically all year round. (Baby Ilsa is only 1i so she gets a break here.) Anna's the complete jock, participating in soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball. Nathan and Kristian do it all except volleyball. In the summer, add on tennis and swim lessons. All of which means that dad, Darwin, a teacher, and mom, JoAnn, a nurse, spend an incredible amount of time making sure everyone gets where he needs to be. Family dinners? Forget about it. "I wish we had more downtime," says Darwin, somewhat wistfully. "It seems like Anna is running off almost every night... I miss seeing her. I miss talking to her."One expert calls it "scheduled hyperactivity," the profusion of required practices--baseball, ballet, band--that has virtually obliterated old-fashioned family togetherness. Now some parents in the affluent Minneapolis suburb...
  • Prince Charming

    Will's World: On The Occasion Of His 18Th Birthday, The World Is Getting A Rare Look At The Man Who Was Born To Be The King Of England. The Shattered Boy Who Marched Bravely Behind His Mother's Coffin Three Years Ago Has Emerged A Thoughtful Young Man -- A Thoroughly Modern Monarch
  • The Road Ahead: A Boomer's Guide To Happiness

    The New Middle Age: The Baby Boom Has Always Made Its Own Rules, And Now It's Redefining Growing Old. From Work To Family To Money, Here's How Boomers Are Writing The Next Chapter.
  • Is This Too Raw For Kids?

    Just a few years ago, the center of 11-year-old Anthony Arroyave's sporting universe was baseball's Ken Griffey Jr. No longer. Now it's Triple H, Jeff Hardy and Scotty Too Hotty. Home runs are boring--he's "hooked" on the drama. When he's not watching matches on TV, Anthony's playing WrestleMania 2000 on his Nintendo or practicing the Power Bomb and other submission holds on pals at his south Florida elementary school. Although his mom disapproves, Anthony dreams of a career in the ring. He's even thought up his character: a "heel" named Ice Tray who wears silver tights, black boots, red hair and a black goatee.Scottie Too Hotty as a role model? Can this be good for kids? Not really, say psychologists who study the effects of TV violence on children. In fact, most advise keeping youngsters under 8 away from wrestling shows; they're too immature to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Studies have shown that kids who are exposed to on-screen carnage at an early age are more...
  • Watching For Warning Signs

    Seth Trickey was, by almost all accounts, a model student. On the honor roll at his middle school in Ft. Gibson, Okla., the 13-year-old attended church and had lots of friends--not the kind of kid who would open fire on his classmates. And yet, police say, that is exactly what Trickey did on the morning of Dec. 8: moments after arriving at school, he pulled his father's 9mm semiautomatic handgun out of his backpack, then shot and wounded five students.The attack highlights the tremendous difficulties school officials face in identifying students most likely to join the terrible fraternity that includes Kip Kinkel, Eric Harris and now, apparently, Seth Trickey. Kinkel, who killed his parents and two schoolmates in Springfield, Ore., and Harris, the purported instigator of the Columbine killings, both fit a common profile of troubled youths. They were alienated, angry and had a history of emotional problems. But so far at least, there's no outward indication that Trickey had anything...
  • Big Surf In A Little School

    On the third day of school in Stoddard, N.H., 8-year-old Justin Holland, meteorologist for the week, makes a prediction: "It's going to rain. Guaranteed. I saw it on the news." His teacher Maggie Sergeant isn't sure. "Why don't we check out the weather map on the computer?" And so, for the first time that morning, the Information Age struggles to make its way through the woods of rural New England and into the three-room James Faulkner Elementary School (just 48 students in kindergarten through fifth grade).Step One: while her students, 17 second and third graders, write in their journals, Sergeant sits down at one of the two computers in the corner of her classroom and tries to access the Web site of a local TV station, WMUR in Manchester. A minute or so later, she gets an error message ("Netscape is unable to locate..."). She tries again. Another minute passes; another error message. Sergeant sighs. She's pretty sure the culprit is the modem attached to the school's server in the...
  • The New Age Of Anxiety

    It is indeed an anxious season--nowhere more than in Littleton, Colo., where students return this week to Columbine High School. Some, like junior Lance Kirklin, whose face was shattered by a bullet in the massacre last spring, bear physical scars of the tragedy. Others carry wounds in their hearts. Parents in Littleton say they are determined to protect their children. "We're trying very hard to make it as normal as possible," insists the mother of junior Diana Cohen. But will things ever be "normal" again, in Littleton or anywhere else?Columbine--and Paducah and Granada Hills--sounded the alarm for parents around the country. Whether they live in the inner city or the most serene suburb, they now know that their kids are not immune from the threat of guns. "The places you used to think were safe have been violated by these random acts of violence," says Kathy Thomas, a mother of three from Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I certainly don't want my kids to live in fear." Parents worry about...
  • The Last Child Of Camelot

    Her parents were two of the most famous faces of the century, and her brother's heartbreaking grin made front pages around the globe. But Caroline Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg has always steered clear of the spotlight. As the world grieved last week for John F. Kennedy Jr., his sister continued to keep her distance from the crowds. On Thursday, she hid her tears behind dark glasses as his ashes vanished into the sea. She was equally guarded the next day, when she walked into church with her husband and children to celebrate his life.People who have known Caroline for years repeatedly use the same two words to describe her: dignity and grace. Those are qualities she will surely need as she assumes a sad new role she could never have anticipated: the lone survivor of what was once the First Family of Camelot. Friends say Caroline and John were exceptionally close, talking frequently on the phone. He was the best man at her wedding; she was the matron of honor when he wed Carolyn...
  • When Sophie Weds Edward

    The June 19 marriage of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones is not an official state occasion. It's barely a royal wedding as these things go. In Britain, there's none of the hype that accompanied other such pairings. Still, there's lots to say about this ceremony. You've got the bride, a 35-year-old publicist, and the groom, also 35, who was born with a ton of titles but prefers the ever-so-humble Mr. Windsor. Both families approve. His think this union could do wonders for the tarnished image of The Firm (that's how they refer to their family enterprise). We won't talk about those topless photos. It all begins at 5 p.m. The details: ...
  • The Picture Of Health

    It's all about choices and change. In the past decade, advances in medical science have given women opportunities our great-grandmothers never dreamed of. A baby girl born today can reasonably expect to be active and vigorous well into her 80s and beyond. Her sisters, her mother--and even her grandmother--can make informed decisions that enable them to take charge of their own good health. Their choices can be as simple as setting aside time for a brisk 30-minute walk several times a week and revamping their diet to include more fruits and vegetables. Or they can be as mind-boggling as the reproductive technology that now allows once infertile women to bear healthy babies and the genetic crystal ball that enables doctors to predict which women are at highest risk for breast cancer.And this is just the beginning. In the next few decades, scientists will undoubtedly make many breakthroughs that will have a profound effect on all of us. Research into women's health--once virtually...
  • Princess Of The World

    Why did we weep? diana was not a saint; in fact, she was a sinner, as she herself admitted in a remarkably candid 1995 television interview. ("I adored him," she said of her lover and riding instructor, James Hewitt.) She ...
  • Not Much Of An Honor

    PSYCHOLOGIST DANIEL Kirschenbaum enjoys an increasingly rare distinction in the halls of academe: he is a tenured professor. That privileged position, generally bestowed after years of teaching and research, usually guarantees lifetime employment. But Kirschenbaum has been locked out of his office at Northwestern University since 1992, when he lost his job running an eating-disorders clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He no longer gets a paycheck from Northwestern and has no university benefits. The only thing he has is tenure, a status that the university claims, in a case currently making its way through the courts, is an honorary distinction that has nothing to do with a paycheck. ...
  • Keeping Your Kids Safe

    THE WOODWARD TRIAL evokes working parents' worst fear: that the person looking after their kids is cruel or incompetent. While physical abuse is rare, experts estimate thattwo thirds of child-care arrangements are substandard. And bad care has long-term consequences. Recent brain research shows thatearly experiences have a profound effect on a youngster's emotional, social and intellectual development.Despite all the scary headlines about killer nannies,relatives--including fathers, siblings and grandparents-- watch more than 40 percent of preschoolers whose mothers work. Other parents pick from an array of options,depending on their finances, their location, their children's ages and the number of hours a day they need help. Here are some pros and cons of the most common situations:Child-care centers: Institutional care is increasingly popular; about 30 percent of preschoolers with working mothers are in some kind of organized child-care facility. Prices vary widely, depending on...
  • Diamonds Are Forever

    DIAMONDS ARE THE ESSENCE OF purity in Hindu myth and a girl's best friend on Broadway. That range of symbolism is one reason George Harlow, curator of gems and minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, thought these precious stones deserved a show of their own. In the summer of 1995, he began organizing an exhibit called "The Nature of Diamonds." When it opens on Saturday, the display will highlight just about every facet of the hardest natural substance known to man--from the science of its origins to its beauty as a priceless gem.Harlow calls diamonds "space capsules from deep earth." That's because each stone, whether it's the fraction of a carat in an engagement ring or the 108.93-carat Koh-i-Noor on display in the Tower of London, begins as pure carbon many miles below the surface. Heat and pressure transform it into a crystalline form. At some point, perhaps millions of years later, the crystals are thrust upward through the force of a volcano. Traces of...
  • Secrets Of The Ivy League

    THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR WHEN tens of thousands of the nation's top high-school seniors labor over applications to Ivy League and other elite colleges. They're doing their best to impress the admissions officers charged with the awesome task of selecting future leaders. But just who are these all-powerful gatekeepers?According to Michele Hernandez, author of ""A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges'' (266 pages. Warner Books. $24), they are not necessarily the best and the brightest themselves. Hernandez, who spent four years in Dartmouth's admissions office, says they tend either to be recent graduates of the school they're working for or ""lifers,'' people who pretty much fell into admissions work. In many cases, she says, the lifers went to far less prestigious schools. ""You will note the conspicuous absence of Rhodes scholars or well-known educators on admissions staffs,'' Hernandez writes. As a result, she says, they...
  • The Woman We Loved

    He was the most eligible bachelor in the world, the future King of England. She was, quite literally, the girl next door, a 20-year-old who had grown up on an estate in the shadow of the royal family's Sandringham retreat. When Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer married on July 29, 1981, three quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to a brilliantly choreographed spectacle, the Wedding of the Century. ...
  • A Murder At Harvard

    IT WAS A BRUTAL CRIME BY ANY Standard, but the setting--a Harvard dorm--made it especially shocking. On May 28, 1995, junior Sinedu Tadesse stabbed her roommate, Trang Ho, 45 times before hanging herself in the bathroom. Both students arrived at Harvard after difficult journeys that began thousands of miles away. Tadesse, an Ethiopian, grew up during a reign of terror; her father, an educator, spent two years in jail. Through hard work, she won a high-school scholarship and admission to Harvard. Ho was a Vietnamese immigrant who'd graduated at the top of her class at a Boston high school and entered Harvard on a full scholarship. ...
  • Cradles To Coffins

    LINDA CHU PREFERRED HER AC-commodations at the Century Apartments, a complex owned by the University of Southern California, to a regular dorm room because, she told the student newspaper last year, ""the residence halls are much more open-door ... you have to get to know people.'' But the privacy Chu valued so much may have been her undoing, police say, enabling the 20-year-old sophomore business major to carry a baby to term and deliver it secretly in her room. On May 7 a USC maintenance worker discovered the body of an infant girl in a Dumpster. After weeks of investigation, authorities say they traced the baby to Chu; they charge that Chu strangled her newborn, then pushed her into a trash chute. Last week Chu was arrested at her parents' home in Illinois; she's currently in a Chicago jail fighting extradition to California. ...
  • Those Cheatin' Hearts

    It's not just the military. Sex and adultery can roll any office--and raise questions about what the rules are. ...
  • A New Pet Rock For The Digital Generation

    SUMMER CAN'T COME TOO SOON FOR Steven Horvath. With school out, the 10-year-old Chicago youngster will finally have time to take care of his Tamagotchi. For weeks Steven has been defying his mother's orders and sneaking his palm-size techno-pet into his fourth-grade class. ""If you don't do something every four or five hours, it dies,'' explains Steven, who keeps the toy clipped to his jacket with a key chain. ""It kind of teaches you responsibility,'' he adds. His mother, Rosemarie Guadnolo, is dubious. ""It hasn't rubbed off that much,'' she says. ""He's still not taking care of the new cat.'' ...
  • Beating The Clock

    FAMILY-FRIENDLY EMPLOYERS AND changes in public policy can help ease the household-stress overload, but individual ingenuity is still the critical survival skill for two-career families in the 1990s. "There's no such thing as routine parenting anymore," says Bennett L. Leventhal, a child psychiatrist at the University of Chicago and the father of three young children. "We have to be very creative, very innovative and very flexible in order to account for the kids' busy schedules and our busy schedules." Here are some suggestions: ...
  • Readin', Writin', Rhythm

    TWO YEARS AGO CHARLES R. BUGG Elementary in Raleigh, N.C., was a school in trouble. Test scores were below the county average, and there was little parental involvement. But now the school sings-literally. In a science class, students grasp the vastness of space by listening to Gustav Holst's symphonic suite "The Planets." Third graders studying language arts create original poems with a writer-in-residence and learn how to choreograph a dance to go with their verses. In music class, pupils learn about fractions as they study whole, half and quarter notes. ...