Friday, November 14, 2008

What to Worry About if You're Above Attending a "Failing" School

Fascinating article on "the rise of overparenting" in The New Yorker yesterday (hat tip: Ideas Blog). I think this, as much as anything, shows the difference between the so-called haves and have-nots in our society. As I've mentioned before, the upper-class children/schools are doing fine. It's the poor urban/rural children/schools that are really lagging behind. While we worry about 6th graders who can't read and 15 year-olds that are still in 5th grade in the "failing" schools, the upper crust of society worries about things like "overparenting" (or one of the four other terms they use for it) and whether playing Mozart will help their three-month old.

Though this behavior may have some worrisome consequences, what I find most worrying is the idea that these parents are so focused on helping their children gain an advantage that knowing other children are less privileged gives them hope. I'm not sure I buy the argument that the wealthy deliberately let impoverished schools fail in order to help their children, but I can't help but wonder if some parts of society are bothered less by this than others.

A couple of interesting notes:

-If those wages are correct, I really need to start tutoring.

-Washington D.C. residents who had no time limits for their SAT (ADD/ADHD) significantly outscored those who didn't -- I wonder if that's true across the country.

Two best quotes from the article:

Regarding the degree to which children's lives are overscheduled:
“You can’t smoke pot or lose your virginity at lacrosse practice.”

Making an argument to slow down and let the child explore:
“Young people have a marvelous faculty of either dying or adapting themselves to circumstances.”

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