A Dismal Report Card

How bad are eighth graders' math skills? So bad that half are scoring just above the proficiency level expected of fifth-grade students. Even the best students did miserably; at the top-scoring schools, the average was well below grade level. Hardly any students have the background to go beyond simple computation; most of these kids can add but they have serious trouble thinking through simple problems. These grim statistics, released last week in the first large-scale state-by-state study of...

Special Issue: How Kids Grow The Breath Of Life

Four children would be a handful for anyone, but Lonnie and Amy Crawford of Los Angeles have the extra burden of three sons with asthma. Lonnie, 10, Richard, 5, and Mikhail, 4, have all spent time in the local emergency room; fortunately, their sister, Maya, 6, has no respiratory trouble at all. As a baby, Lonnie was almost continually sick with sinus infections, bronchitis or ear infections. Richard and Mikhail started wheezing and coughing as toddlers. When Richard was 4, a violent coughing...

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