• The Working-Class Smoker

    Increases in life expectancy in recent decades have left behind those who didn't go to college.
  • Too at Home in the Stacks

    It's a core value of public libraries that their doors are open to everyone. But patience is running thin with one group: the homeless. With nowhere else to go, society's down-and-out flock to libraries for clean restrooms, comfortable chairs and a safe haven. More than 100 homeless people a day hang out in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., while librarians in Las Vegas, Detroit and Portland, Ore., estimate similar crowds. According to Loriene Roy, president of the American Library Association, it's a matter of principle versus reality—"the philosophy of serving all people," she says, "and the reality of what happens when we do." Given the prevalence of addiction and mental illness among the homeless, what happens can be unsettling: drug use in the stacks, masturbating at the computers, fouling the grounds. The strain on staff, and other visitors, has become so acute that city library leaders will meet during a conference this week in Minneapolis to...
  • Iraq: A Teacher's Tale

    Even in the sheltered walls of an upscale Baghdad preschool, tragedy and loss are everywhere. A teacher's tale.
  • Decades of Assimilation

    Social scientists rarely get more than a passing glimpse as minority groups struggle to achieve the American Dream. But a pair of UCLA experts have just published a new book that offers a unique, 35-year, time-lapse view of economic and social changes among Mexican-American families. In 2000, Edward Telles and Vilma Ortiz led a team that interviewed more than 1,500 Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles and San Antonio whose families had taken part in a novel, mid-1960s survey designed to gauge how successive generations are assimilating into mainstream America. The short answer: full integration remains a long way off.The original questionnaires that propel the book, titled "Generations of Exclusion," were lost for years before being unearthed during a library renovation project. In some ways, recent generations of Mexican-Americans follow typical patterns blazed by earlier, European immigrants. Countering critics who say Mexican-Americans don't want to learn English, the study found...
  • The Best Way to Teach Math

    A report on math education fuels the debate about the Singapore model.  What is it--and would it work here?
  • Human Nature the World Over? Not So Fast

    Let’s say you’re playing a game with three other people, with each player having 20 poker chips. Each of you decides how many chips to keep for yourself and how many to pool. You get 0.4 chip for each chip tossed into the common fund, even if you yourself kicked in zero....
  • Long-Term Effects of Spanking

    Spanking may lead to aggression and sexual problems later in life, says a new study. So why do so many parents still believe in it?
  • Try Accounting For Taste

    Savoring Cheval Blanc 1982 in your cellar is far superior to guzzling champagne in a VIP lounge.
  • Time to Put the Candidates to the Test

    In this primary season, one major issue has been all but missing in action: education. Most experts agree that No Child Left Behind, President Bush's plan for closing the achievement gap between rich and poor kids, is a noble effort. But it has serious downsides. It punishes struggling schools, turns classes into test-prep factories and has caused some states to lower, not raise, standards. How will the next president fix it? NEWSWEEK asked two experts, the Education Sector's Thomas Toch and Jeanne Allen, chief of the Center for Education Reform, to evaluate each candidate's plan. Then we assigned grades. ...
  • No Child Outside the Classroom

    When no child left behind became law in 2002, teachers suspected there'd be some casualties—they just didn't think field trips would be one of them. Since the federal government's landmark overhaul of U.S. schools, class trips have plummeted at some of the country's traditional hot spots for brown-bag learning. The new emphasis on standardized testing has resulted in "a reluctance to take kids out of the classroom," says Natalie Bortoli, head of the visual-arts program at the Chicago Children's Museum, which has lost more than a tenth of its field-trip business since 2005. At Mystic Seaport, a maritime museum on the Connecticut coast, school traffic has slowed more than a quarter since 2005, while Boston's New England Aquarium has lost nearly the same amount since 2003. Even NASA's Johnson Space Center has started to see its figures stagnate, says marketing director Roger Bornstein, "and stability is not our goal."Teachers blame the bear market in part on No Child Left Behind, which...
  • The Secret Lives Of Teens

    We meet Austin on page 77 of "Class Pictures," a new book of large-scale color portraits by Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey, culled from 15 years that Bey spent visiting high schools across the country. Austin has a blond buzz cut, beefy arms and a flat, tight-lipped expression as he leans forward on his desk. "What up?" Austin writes in his accompanying essay. "My favorite class in school is Science. I like to go out Friday nights and chill." On the next page we meet Carolyn, who rests her head on one hand, letting her dark hair drape onto her desk. Like Austin, she accepts the camera's gaze head on, but there is a wistful look in her eyes. Her father died of Lou Gehrig's disease during her sophomore year, Carolyn explains in her essay. "Your memories are engulfed with all that sadness," she writes. "And you try to get beyond that, but it's so hard."Chilling out on a Friday night, dealing with a parent's death: looking at Bey's photographs reminded me of the vast spectrum of...
  • Lost In Translation

    Does the next generation of American executives have what it takes to lead the rest of the world?
  • Antidepressants: Beware the File-Drawer Effect

    Here in science-writing land, when it comes to biomedicine we try hard to stick to rigorous, vetted evidence. That means studies published in reputable journals by, ideally, scientists with no financial or ideological stakes in what they’re investigating. Testimonials and anecdotal reports of patients who swear by some new remedy don’t count (except when we need a “real person” to liven up a dry medicine story)....
  • Go Stand in the Corner

    Disciplining kids can be tricky. Parents try the old star chart, then scolding, punishing, maybe even a swat or two. Bad news: Alan Kazdin, the new president of the American Psychological Association, says none of it will help much. His new book, "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills," in stores this week, lays out a different approach. He spoke with NEWSWEEK'S Peg Tyre. ...
  • College Admission Gets Tougher

    The children of the baby boomers are flooding colleges with applications, making the process more competitive than ever.
  • Preschool Expands Nationwide

    The states are spending more and more money to educate children before they start kindergarten. But one expert warns that not all programs are created equal.