Barbara Kantrowitz

Snap Judgment: Books

Grace and Power by Sally Bedell Smith Smith has made a career out of turning the lives of bold-faced names into meticulously researched biographies. This time she targets the most glamorous couple to inhabit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Parenting For Dummies

Researchers have been studying parenting for decades, and they know a lot about what it takes to raise a happy, independent child. Unfortunately, few of those findings reach the people who need help most: the mother of a toddler throwing a tantrum on the supermarket checkout line or the father of a teenager repeatedly breaking curfew.


Kevin and Katie Amos waited two years to start a family so they could save for their three-bedroom colonial in Willowick, Ohio, and they deliberately put only two years between Nicholas, 3, and Ryan, 1. "I think that as they grow," says Katie, 33, "they'll have a lot in common." For most families, the picture would be complete--the average American mother has two kids--but the Amoses recently decided to try again before Katie turns 35.

Education: The Gettin' In Game

For high-school seniors, 2003 was to be the year that restored sanity to college admissions. Three elites--Stanford, Harvard and Yale--reformed their early-application rules in response to growing criticism over binding Early Decision (ED), which lets students learn their fate in December, not April.

College, Free Of Charge

Jennifer Elmore's hometown--Tornado, W.Va.--is so small that it doesn't even have a stoplight. In high school, she boarded a bus at 6:30 for the ride through the mountains to St.

Learning The Hard Way

Rome's La Sapienza university has endured seven centuries of war and political upheaval. But as school begins this fall, students at Europe's largest university face a hardship of a different kind: nowhere to sit.

A 'Disaster' At Berkeley

For many high-school seniors, the University of California, Berkeley, is the holy grail, a chance to study with the best minds from around the world. But as prospective students and their parents toured the campus last week, the school had to work hard to put on a good face for them.

A Writer Who Beat The Odds

Laura Hillenbrand greets you at the door of her yellow brick house in northwest Washington. This would hardly be worth noting, except that Hillenbrand, 36, has spent the past 16 years so debilitated by chronic fatigue syndrome that at times she can move only her eyelids.

Juggling Kids, Career And History

Her father was the leader of the free world; her mother, the style icon of the century, and her brother, the sexiest man alive. But Caroline Kennedy seems genuinely uncomfortable when she's asked to come up with a description of her own defining role.

College: Seniors Get Revenge

Dan Lundquist, the dean of admissions at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., calls the next few weeks "seniors' revenge." After agonizing over getting in, the class of 2003 now gets to sort through acceptances and decide whom they will reject.

The Ghost Of Diana

Amid the tsunami unleashed by Fleet Street last week, one tidbit is worth pondering: apparently, there is someone whose job includes squeezing Prince Charles's toothpaste onto the royal toothbrush.

Philly's Tough Lessons

Roy McKinney, principal of Philadelphia's Barratt Middle School, pushes his teachers to look past their crumbling inner-city building, ripped textbooks and nearly empty art rooms.

The Gatekeepers' Secrets

In the fall of 1999, New York Times education reporter Jacques Steinberg attempted to demystify the admissions process at the nation's most selective colleges by chronicling a year at Wesleyan University.

In Search Of Sleep

Millions Of Americans Are Plagued By Insomnia. It's A Serious Public-Health Risk That Too Many Doctors Ignore. But New Brain Science Offers Hope That We May Someday Stop All That Tossing And Turning.

The Latest On Being Early

Here's a tip for high-school kids who want to avoid the college-admissions frenzy: add the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to your list. UNC is the first major university to drop "early decision" admissions.

The New College Game

On a brisk afternoon in late march, I follow several dozen nervous parents and teenagers into a lecture room in the basement of Byerly Hall at Harvard University.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Gets R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As the country's divorce rate soared in the 1970s, social scientists began trying to understand the long-term effects on parents and children. Now, a new book about one of the most comprehensive studies indicates that the majority of people do just fine--and a significant number even thrive.

Ruth Simmons

Throughout her nearly three decades in higher education, Ruth Simmons has always found people eager to advise her on how to succeed in academia. Work your way up through the faculty ranks, they said.

The Kids Who Saw It All

What Michael Mascetti wants to remember now is another September day three years ago, during his first week as a freshman at Stuyvesant High School. He was a skinny kid back then, who just wanted to hang out on the corner with his buddies in Queens.

Answering Questions

When another teacher told Patrick Welsh about the attack on the World Trade Center, he immediately turned on the TV in his classroom at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va.

What To Tell Your Children

As parents recover from their own shock over the tragic events in New York and Washington, their next task is to deal with the inevitable questions from their children-particularly after youngsters have seen horrific images on television.The first rule is any traumatic situation is to assure children that everyone in their family is OK and that they are safe at home with you.

A Year In The Life

The statistics should scare every parent. The nation's public schools will need 2 million new teachers in the next decade, according to a recent government report.