More Articles

  • Technology: Facebook vs. College Reunions

    Before he graduated from Tulane in 2003, Ardalen Minokadeh spent most of his waking hours in one of two places: P.J.'s Coffee on Maple Street and the late-night carrels at the University Center. But he didn't revisit any of his old New Orleans haunts during his five-year college reunion last month, because he didn't go. He already sees plenty of his closest Tulane pals, and as for the dozens of more distant friends from school, why does he need a reunion when he's got Facebook? Social networking has largely been a force for good, reconnecting grade-school classmates, creating a whole new approach to dating and enabling employers to check up on new hires. But it might just kill the college reunion.Historically, reunions have used voyeurism as a lure. Who lives where, who got hitched, who got fat—you had to show up to find out. But now the answers are all online. "Facebook has turned the idea of college reunions from an expensive necessity to just expensive," says Kevin Pang, who...
  • Starr: Blame Stern for Mayo Mess

    You can't blame the NBA if former USC basketball star O. J. Mayo proves to be a bad apple. But the league does bear some responsibility for the scandal surrounding him.
  • Trying to Modernize the GI Bill

    More than half a century after the GI Bill was first enacted to help send vets to college, politicians and advocates are touting a new proposed bill to expand these benefits. The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act was introduced by a number of Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate. Among them is Virginia Senator (and Vietnam vet) Jim Webb whose posted this statement on his Website:The Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act is designed to offer...
  • Work it out

    1. After you've read the story, review the full-page graphic "Race, the Race and Relatability" (page 34). What information does the graphic deliver? On what is the information based? In pairs or small groups, create a list of statements that communicates the major revelations of the poll. Now, compare those statements to the concerns expressed in the story. Does this information confirm the validity of those concerns, or does it counter them? What conclusions can you draw? Communicate those conclusions in a class discussion or in a classroom blog posting.2. Based on questions asked in the Newsweek poll, design and conduct your own poll of fellow students on the issues of race and class in this year's presidential election. Make sure that the poll is confidential. Organize and communicate results of the poll. How do the results compare with those compiled by Newsweek? What might account for similarities or differences? Communicate what you've learned in a graphic or in a print or...
  • Fact or Fiction: Is the freshman 15 real?

    Most high school seniors have been warned about the "freshman 15"--the extra pounds they'll allegedly pack on after a year in the dorms, eating mostly buffet-style on a meal plan. But scientists at Texas A&M International University in Laredo found that although first-year dorm residents consumed significantly more calories and sugar than students who lived off campus, neither they nor their counterparts gained weight over the course of the year. The researchers studied 43 first-year female students at their university during the 2006-7 school year, monitoring their subjects' food consumption, physical activity levels, BMI and weight for year. Despite consuming more calories and sugar than off-campus students who weren't on the school's meal plan, the dorm residents also exercised more, perhaps because they were closer to campus facilities, and walked from the dorms to class instead of commuting by car, researchers said.
  • Work it out

    1. In her "My Turn" essay, Lisa Kerschner points out that many farmers once held "regular" jobs but began farming out of a need to serve the greater good. This underscores the importance of not only choosing a career based on your interests and skills, but also values and lifestyle choices that drive other parts of your life. Develop and design an "inventory" of your interests and skills, or a list of both the things you enjoy and the skills at which you excel. Now, add values and lifestyle choices to your personal inventory. Is it important for you to make money? To be of service to the public? In what environment are you most productive? Do you like to travel? Are you willing to relocate for the right career? What education or training are you willing to undertake? What does your inventory tell you about yourself?2. Now, write your own "My Turn" essay that describes your personal inventory and what you might have learned about yourself in compiling it. Based on what you've...
  • Are Modern Kids Coddled?

    A New York columnist lets her grade-schooler ride the subway alone, provoking a wave of criticism. But do kids really need more supervision than in generations past?
  • Talk about it

    What personal story does the David J. Jefferson tell? Why does he tell it?What made divorce more possible in the1970s than it had been before?What do studies show about children of divorce?What did Jefferson set out to do?What did many kids with divorced parents say they felt? What kinds of experiences did they have as children?How did some of Jefferson's classmates deal with going back and forth between their parents' homes?What did Jefferson say in his graduation speech?What does Jefferson conclude about how his generation has reacted to the culture of divorce?
  • MTV Delivers 'The Paper'

    The kids on 'The Paper' aren't as glam as the ones on 'The Hills,' but that doesn't mean they're less vicious.
  • Color Blind at Schools That Aren’t

    Like most university recruiters who target Hispanic students, Christina Diaz crisscrosses the country, attending college fairs and chatting up potential applicants. Except in her case, there's a twist: she represents Grambling State University, a 107-year-old historically black college in Louisiana. And she's no anomaly. Other traditionally black institutions such as North Carolina A&T and Central State University in Ohio have also ramped up their Latino outreach. According to National Hispanic College Fairs, which organizes events at 50 locations nationwide, historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, now represent about 13 percent of participants, compared with virtually zero 10 years ago. Though Latinos account for only 2 percent of students at HBCUs, they're the fastest-growing group at some institutions.What explains the increase? HBCUs are increasingly losing African-American students to mainstream universities. And outside the top tier of black higher...
  • The Editor’s Desk

    Many months ago, my boss, Jon Meacham, came into the morning meeting with a project in mind. He asked us to launch a cover story on the legacy of divorce in America. Divorce has been one of the more potent social forces in our postwar history, one that's rippled through our culture in ways that are both important and not always fully appreciated. Jon didn't know precisely how the story would turn out, but, as he likes to say, he knew there was a pony in there somewhere. So he asked us to find a compelling storytelling device that would help illuminate the larger story. We gave the assignment to David J. Jefferson, who found the perfect vehicle. David decided to return to his alma mater, Ulysses S. Grant High School in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley, to find out how his class ('82) had been affected by divorce. The individual stories are mostly wrenching and occasionally heartwarming. But they all shed light on a generation that was reared on divorce and learned to cope with it. Here's...
  • Spellings Defends Educ. Policy

    Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has had the thankless task of being the primary spokesman for No Child Left Behind. But her commitment has never wavered.
  • Is Flavored Milk Healthy?

    Some parents limit the amount of sweetened chocolate or strawberry milk they give their children because it doesn't seem all that healthy—especially compared to the plain stuff. But it turns out that kids who consumed regular or flavored milk had comparable or lower body-mass-index measures compared to nonmilk drinkers, according to a new study in the current issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. "The take-home message is that limiting children and teens' access to flavored milk due to its slightly higher sugar and calorie content may only lead to the undesirable effect of reducing intakes of important nutrients while having no impact on obesity," says study coauthor Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont."Milk seems to be a marker for a better diet. Over and over again, children who are regular milk consumers have overall better diets," says Johnson. Nonmilk drinkers "chose high-sugar beverages that are devoid of nutrients, like...
  • Today: On the Trail with Obama in Pennsylvania

    MALVERN, Penn.--I'm posting from the gymnasium of Great Valley High School in Malvern, Penn., where Barack Obama is set to speak any moment to a full house of students and local voters. There's the usual ruckus: chants of "Ba-RACK O-BAM-a" and "Yes, We Can" interrupted by half-hearted attempts at the wave and the occasional cry of "Woo!" from an impatient teenage girl. I'll be back with a report after the event, and then it's off to Levittown on the New Jersey border, where the Illinois senator is scheduled to address another high school later this afternoon. Stay tuned for more... 
  • Health: Phys. Ed. Is Not Dead

    As a kid, I hated P.E. class so much that the word "kick-ball" still gives me shudders. It was embarrassing (gym shorts) and, worse, it seemed useless, at least to my 12-year-old self. I was already in decent shape, and although some of my classmates didn't get much exercise outside P.E., the class was no remedy—they didn't get much inside it, either. They were always picked last for teams; theyslouched through the motions; on "fun" Fridays, when you could choose to play ball or sit out, they sat. The only kids who liked P.E. were the jocks, who didn't need it. Why, I wondered, didn't we just get rid of the class?Someone must have heard my adolescent prayers, because in the early '90s schools starting cutting back on P.E., and many now fail to offer their students any physical activity at all. Just 3.8 percent of elementary schools and 2.1 percent of high schools had daily gym class in 2006, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. By comparison, in 1991, 42 percent of kids...
  • Colleges: The Waiting Game

    High-school students just survived what experts say was the most brutal college-admissions season ever—but now it's the colleges' turn to sweat. A record number of applications, a wobbly economy and changes to financial-aid and early-decision programs have made it difficult for many of the most selective colleges to gauge how many of their accepted students will actually enroll. To hedge their bets, some schools accepted more students than usual and also assembled longer wait lists (graphic).Institutions rely on historical models to determine their acceptance totals, says Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and "most of the time [the models] are amazingly good. But we run into problems during periods of turmoil." This year's dilemma was generated by a record number of high-school seniors—the classes of 2008 and 2009 represent the tip of the baby boom's baby boomlet—who are all competing for...
  • 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....