Po Bronson

Stories by Po Bronson

  • Does Being Older Help Your Child Win a Gifted Slot?

    Last week, The New York Times noticed that we’d singled out New York City’s gifted-and-talented testing and placement process for flouting the science and being the No. 1 worst offender. We’d surveyed the 20 largest school districts in the country; all of them anoint kids as gifted before third grade, but New York fills the vast majority of its slots in kindergarten, allowing scant room for late bloomers. And once in the gifted system, children never have their intelligence retested. As we noted in NurtureShock, late bloomers are extremely common─fully one third of the highest-achieving third graders scored below average on kindergarten entrance tests. It’s important to note we’re not the only ones singling out New York. At the American Psychological Association’s annual conference in Toronto last month, a special panel was convened to discuss the problems with testing for giftedness so young. City University of New York’s Frances Horowitz, editor of a handbook on giftedness, took...
  • Why Bike Helmets Require Us to Use Our Heads

    It seemed like a sweet, innocuous vacation photograph: President Obama and several others out for a bike ride. However, while the children pictured were wearing bike helmets, only one of the adults was helmeted, and it wasn't the president. Bike-safety groups immediately sent up alarms─enough that White House press secretary Bill Burton was asked about it during his daily briefing. Burton's reply: "I know he generally wears bicycle helmets. He supports the wearing of bicycle helmets."  Granted, it seemed like proof of the August slow-news period. There are, of course, many more things in the world to worry about. However, there was some reason for the safety groups to be up in arms. Whether a kid wears a helmet is often...