The Truth About Tweens

Last year, Maja Kahn's look was hip-hop. This year, she's gone glam. Typical outfit: a tight blue tank top, dark blue flare-legged pants, black plat-forms with silver buckles and nine necklaces of brown or silver beads to match the hoops in her ears.

Uniforms Rule

Kiara Newsome's spotless navy jumper and demure white blouse won't win raves on the runways. But to school reformers, the 6-year-old is a real trendsetter.

Children's Crusade

Nine-year-old Makenzie Snyder says she "felt really sad" when she heard that many foster kids use trash bags to move their belongings each time they're placed at a new home.

Make Summer Count

THE PULSE IN A RECENT ONLINE POLL, MORE THAN 70% OF RESPONDENTS SAID IT'S OK FOR MOTHERS TO BREAST-FEED ANYWHERE. ONLY ABOUT 4% THOUGHT NURSING BELONGS AT HOME.

How Well Do You Know Your Kid?

Jocks, preps, punks, Goths, geeks. They may sit at separate tables in the cafeteria, but they all belong to the same generation. There are now 31 million kids in the 12-to-19 age group, and demographers predict that there will be 35 million teens by 2010, a population bulge bigger than even the baby boom at its peak.

The Science Of A Good Marriage

The myth of marriage goes like this: somewhere out there is the perfect soul mate, the yin that meshes easily and effortlessly with your yang. And then there is the reality of marriage, which, as any spouse knows, is not unlike what Thomas Edison once said about genius: 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

The Science Of A Good Marriage

The myth of marriage goes like this: somewhere out there is the perfect soul mate, the yin that meshes easily and effortlessly with your yang. And then there is the reality of marriage, which, as any spouse knows, is not unlike what Thomas Edison once said about genius: 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

With Heart And Soul

Publishers have discovered that girls like "history with heart and soul," as Scholastic vice president Deborah Forte puts it. First came American Girl dolls and books, then the best-selling Dear America diary series, for slightly older girls.

Kids Who Don't Fit In

The first sign of a problem was 3-year-old William's refusal to hold hands with other children. As he moved through preschool, he made friends but didn't keep them.

Why Andy Couldn't Read

Millions of kids have been labeled learning disabled. Critics smell a scam here, but researchers say they've begun to unlock the puzzle of bright kids who can't learn.Andrew mertz was a very unhappy little boy in 1995.

Kids In The Dock

HIS ROBE FLYING OPEN BEHIND HIM, New York Supreme Court Judge Michael Corriero strides into his spare courtroom in downtown Manhattan. Packed in the spectator seats are about 30 of what the state has deemed some of the most violent 13-, 14- and 15-year-old offenders in New York City.

Teach Your Parents Well

FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS IT HAS been Dr. Benjamin Spock's mantra to new parents: "Trust your own common sense." In slightly different forms the advice is about as old as the human species: follow your instincts with your baby.

The New Preschool

LISTEN TO THE SNAP, crackle, pop of baby neurons. Teacher Martha Rodriguez crouches near the 2-year-old sand diggers at Manhattan's Bank Street Family Center, gently negotiating the rights to a suddenly special yellow rake.

Helping Families Help Themselves

TWO YEARS AGO, MICHELE Davila--poor, single, clinically depressed and expecting a baby--went to a local clinic looking for medical care. Fortunately for her, Davila lives in Hampton, Va., a midsize city that not only recognizes the classic profile of a mother whose children are at risk--for neglect, poor health and school failure--but is unwilling to stand by and let it happen.

The Sum Of Mediocrity

TIME FOR ANOTHER GLOBAL-COMPETITIVENESS alert. In the Third International Mathematics and Science Study--which last year tested a half-million students in 41 countries--American eighth graders scored below the world average in math.

If You Can Read This ...

IN 1989, WHEN GAYLE CLOUD'S TWIN boys entered first grade, her California district had just introduced the state's version of the "whole language" method of teaching reading.

A Mixed Report Card

National Math and Science scores had inched upward. This year's average Scholastic Achievement Test results reached levels not seen since the early '70s. Education Secretary Richard Riley was so pleased he recently declared that schools were "on the right track." Then last week the bubble burst.

'The New Providers'

Even with a biology degree from MIT, the last thing Cheryl Jones wanted was to be the family breadwinner. Unlike many baby boomers, driven to prove they could juggle a full-time career and motherhood, Jones, 37, made relationships her priority.

The Return Of Shame

One step on america's long road back from irresponsibility: A 16-year-old Maryland boy who is serving time in a juvenile-detention center for sexually molesting his 9-year-old sister wants to go home.

Silence In The Classroom

It's 7:45 a.m. in Snellville, GA. the clamor of 2,000 high-school students rushing to class crashes into quiet, cued by the principal's public-address announcement.

Oh, To Be A Knob!

There was, among other conten-tious issues, the question of Shannon Faulkner's hair. Shave it off, insisted The Citadel. If she was to become the first female member of the corps of cadets in the school's 152-year history, she had to be treated just the same as the other "knobs," as first-year students at the Charleston, S.C., military school are called.

A New Era Of Segregation

WHEN THE NATION TURNED TO school reform in the early 1980s, it turned its focus away from integration. The result of that policy shift is "a historic reversal" of integration gains made in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a report conducted for the National School Boards Association.

Dumber Than We Thought

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN MAKE OUT THIS sentence isn't proof that you're literate. And just because you shelled out the correct $2.95 for this issue of NEWSWEEK doesn't mean you've got satisfactory arithmetic skills.

No Longer A Sacred Cow

Not too long ago, everybody loved Head Start. Liberals cited it as evidence of the good that government could do. Conservative politicians, eager to demonstrate their concern for poor people, lined up to vote for increased funding.

The Norplant Debate

The Paquin School is a simple brick box of a building in a working-class Baltimore neighborhood. It doesn't look like the setting for a social experiment, but it is.

Nannygate Ii: A Women's Backlash?

Bad as it was for the Clinton administration, "Nannygate II" was devastating news to women's political activists inside the Beltway and elsewhere. For the second time in as many weeks, a talented woman lawyer, U.S. district court Judge Kimba Wood of New York, had been forced to withdraw from consideration as Bill Clinton's attorney general because of nagging-and in Wood's case, truly niggling-questions about her employment of an illegal alien as a domestic helper.

Different Choices on School Choice

In 1988, President Bush promised to be the "education president." Unfortunately for him, he now has to run on his record. Bill Clinton can legitimately boast of pushing hard for school reform in Arkansas, giving a badly needed boost to one of the lowest-ranked systems in the country.

Irreconcilable Differences

His name is Gregory K., he is 12 years old and all he wants is "a place to be." Gregory has few memories of his childhood, not enough of them happy. His mental photo album holds a depressing collage of fights between his parents, sheriffs with eviction notices and too many foster homes.

The Best Schools In The World

We all know the indictment: American education has fallen behind the rest of the industrialized world. And we all know the reasons: everything from the collapse of the family to the prevalence of television to the abject failure of national leadership has been blamed.

A Nation Running In Place

At first glance, it might seem like good news about the nation's public schools: American youngsters today are just as good at math, science and reading as students were in 1970.

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