Sunday, September 9, 2012

News Bits

This is being published early today so I may add to it as the day goes by.

Oklahoma Specialty Foods is trying to bring to the market in the United States a genetically modified (GM) apple called the arctic apple.  This apple has been modified to resist browning causing by bruising or cutting of the apple.  In theory this sounds like it might be an advancement but there just has not been enough testing to make sure the slicing and dicing we are doing with our food supply is safe.  This makes me worried.  We are consuming more and more GM crop products and we are becoming sicker and sicker as a society.

You can read there report here that Oklahoma Specialty Foods submitted to the USDA.

I found an interesting article. Macon, Ga and parts of Bibb County are teaching Mandarin Chinese to school children.  They start the language classes as young as Kindergarten and continue teaching it until 12th grade.  This and other changes to the school district began when Haitian-born Romain Dallemand took over as superintendent.  Other changes he has made to the struggling school district include longer school days and  year-around instruction.

When asked about these changes Dallemand stated, "Students who are in elementary school today, by 2050 they'll be at the pinnacle of their career. They will live in a world where China and India will have 50 percent of the world GDP. They will live in a world where, if they cannot function successfully in the Asian culture, they will pay a heavy price."  I cannot say I completely disagree with the thought behind Dallemand's decision but if the school district is struggling where most of the student receive free/reduced lunch and about half of the students don't graduate wouldn't Spanish be a more practical language to learn?  Better yet, make sure they have an excellent command of the English language and can read and write well so there is a chance they could get into college and succeed.  I think Dallemand's heart is in the right place but I believe he missed the mark on this one.


Watching my oldest two children grow up I often wondered why they were so different when it came to their attitudes towards school.  My son hated school and would NOT do his homework.  I tried rewards, punishment, grounding, talking to him and everything else I could think of.  He just would not work in school.  He graduated not long ago and barely made it.  Now he is struggling to get a job because he only has a high school diploma.  My daughter on the other hand participated in school and seemed to enjoy the academic challenge.  She is now in college.  I had often wondered if there was a way to teach the qualities my daughter possessed to my son.

Paul  Tough, author of How Children Succeed, believes he has figured out how to help parents teach grit, curiosity and character to a child.  Here is an introduction to the book.  I think I will have to pick up a copy!  : )

Why do some children succeed while others fail?

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs.

But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.

Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, not only affects the conditions of children's lives, it can also alter the physical development of their brains. But innovative thinkers around the country are now using this knowledge to help children overcome the constraints of poverty. With the right support, as Tough's extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.

This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself. 


Here is a great blog to read!  Parenting stories are told in a hilarious pictorial manner.  After reading the first three blog posts I was cracking up because I could  Please stop by Amber's blog, Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures!


That's all the news bits for now.  Have a GREAT Sunday!

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