Is your daughter a self-loathing ‘body bully’?

What are we doing to our daughters? When is all this consumerism and the hypnosis of social conditioning going to end?

Is your daughter a self-loathing ‘body bully’?
Good Girls Don’t Get Fat’ spells out how to help girls break free from weight obsession

A 2009 poll revealed that an alarming 95 percent of females between the ages of 16 and 21 want to change their bodies in some way. Low self-esteem, eating disorders, extreme dieting and unnecessary plastic surgery are all too common, even among very young girls.
To help combat this trend, child and adolescent development specialist Robyn J. A. Silverman has written “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Screwing Up Our Girls and What We Can Do to Help Them Thrive Despite It.” Here is an excerpt:
The body bully within: Her own worst enemy
It’s nearly 2 p.m. on a hot Wednesday in July, and my Sassy Sisterhood Girls Circle is winding down for the day. The girls hand in their “Real Me” diaries, which contain the answer to today’s question: “What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
From one to the next, I see the same responses:
“I think I look fat.”
“My belly is too big.”
“I can’t stand my legs.” Continue reading

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Latest research on Happiness

It seems the mystics may have just been proven right all along. Living in the present moment leads to a happier life.

Daydreaming Is a Downer

By Lauren Schenkman

Snap out of it! That daydream you’re having about eloping to the Bahamas with Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie is leaching away your happiness. In a new global study, researchers used iPhones to gauge the mental state of more than 2000 volunteers several times a day—even when they were having sex. The results indicate that, if you want to stay cheerful, you’re better off focusing on the present, no matter how unpleasant it is.

The human mind is remarkably good at straying from the moment. That ability allows us to remember the past, plan for the future, and “even imagine things that never occur at all,” says Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard University. “As a scientist, it’s something I do all the time.”

But is daydreaming good for us? Continue reading

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Middle School or the TV Show Survivor- Which is More Cutthroat?

Middle School or the TV Show Survivor- Which is More Cutthroat?

According to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, adolescence is a time in which teens are faced with identity issues and are constantly trying to figure out who they are.  During their teen years, adolescents begin to rely more heavily on their peers for acceptance.

Not only do peer groups provide teens with a sense of belonging, but peer groups also help answer questions relating to teens’ developing identities.  Due to the significant influence that friends have in each other’s lives, it is quite understandable how rifts between friends can be so catastrophic!

With constantly changing friend groups, alliances seem to shift more times in one school day than they do on one episode of the hit reality TV show Survivor.  In fact, when I work with teens I sometimes liken transitioning into middle school (or a new school) to starring in Survivor. Continue reading

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Homework Helpers – $100 an hour

 The proliferation of tutors and homework helpers is another reason for the achievement gap between the haves and the have-nots.  In many cases, parents are shelling out $100 per hour because they don’t want to be bothered helping their children with their assignments.  As a matter of fact, the students being tutored are not D and F students hoping to get a passing grade, rather, the vast majority of these tutoring services are paid for by parents of students who are getting a B+ and want to get an A. 

Like a Monitor More Than a Tutor


Sitting at a dining room table festooned with papers, colored folders and laptop and iPad screens in his Upper West Side apartment, Benji Sternberg, 13, rattled off correct answers to a slew of homework questions, peppering them with wisecracks and occasional bursts of song.

Benji can do his eighth-grade math in his head and is as quick-witted and glib as Conan O’Brien, but he still had some assistance. Next to him sat Susana Kraglievich — as she has on many school nights for the past two years — in a role that is a riff on a traditional tutor: she is his homework helper.

If a student finds French grammar or algebra incomprehensible, a tutor in those subjects can help. But if the problem is a child who will not budge from the Xbox, or pens doodles instead of topic sentences, some harried parents with cash to spare have been turning to homework helpers who teach organizational skills and time management, or who sometimes just sit there until the work is finished. Continue reading

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Bullying is Bullying

The "to-do list" of the Gay, Lesbian...

Image by Steph L. via Flickr

If we rationalize our political prejudices and allow in-groups to bully out-groups, or the “strong” to bully the weak, we tacitly encourage the reproduction of hatred, violence, ethnocentrism, ignorance, misogyny,intolerance, and malignant narcissism.

In Efforts to End Bullying, Some See Agenda
HELENA, Mont. — Alarmed by evidence that gay and lesbian students are common victims of schoolyard bullies, many school districts are bolstering their antiharassment rules with early lessons in tolerance, explaining that some children have “two moms” or will grow up to love members of the same sex.

But such efforts to teach acceptance of homosexuality, which have gained urgency after several well-publicized suicides by gay teenagers, are provoking new culture wars in some communities.

Continue reading

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College Application Fraud

Too many high schools across this country are teaching our children to exaggerate, embellish, and outright lie about their extracurricular activities in order to gain a perceived advantage over other students competing for a limited number of spots at our nation’s selective colleges.  The truth however, is that colleges have repeatedly stated a preference for depth over breadth.   They prefer applicants who have dedicated themselves to an activity or cause over students who join numerous clubs and dedicate themselves to nothing.  The irony is that high schools continue to allow, in some cases even encourage, students to join numerous clubs and activities in order to pad their applications. Students often sign up for a club for the sole purpose of making their college applications “look good”.  The crime here is that we tacitly teach our children that this is the way the world works.  We should not be surprised that our country’s moral fiber is so thin as to be translucent.  It’s time for colleges and high schools to hold applicants and the high schools they are graduating from accountable for misrepresentation and hyperbole.  By allowing this practice to continue, we are contributing to the creation of a  nation of young workers who feel that unsubstantiated self promotion,  superficial committment, and cutting corners  are the way to get ahead in the “real world”. 


Fill in the Blanks


FOR college applicants who haven’t engaged in many extracurricular activities, turning to the section of the Common Application where they are encouraged to list such pursuits can cause a bit of a flutter in the stomach.

This year’s application includes 12 blank fields set aside for “Extracurricular Activities & Work Experience.” What of the applicant who has done only a few things, however intensively?

“The perception is that you have to fill in all the blanks,” Jennifer Delahunty, the dean of admissions at Kenyon College in Ohio, told me recently. “What we hate to see,” she said, “is when students do things like check ‘9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades’ and then write ‘personal reading.’ Yes, we’re glad you’re a reader. But it looks decidedly like filler.”

Continue reading

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If Doctors were treated like teachers

This piece was written by Joel Shatzky in the Huffington Post.

Bloomberg’s plan to publish the “ratings” of teachers in the press — on the basis of test scores — is one more example of the public humiliation many of the best New York City teachers have to endure in the interest of “educational reform. ” Perhaps the following article can put this absurd situation into perspective.

If doctors were treated like teachers:

1. “Charter hospitals” could certify “smart people” as qualified to begin practicing medicine without any prior experience in the field if they had had “some business background.”
2. Since a “doctor” can “doctor” anything, a cardiologist would be on staff at a hospital in place of a urologist when there was a shortage of urologists. The cardiologist could “learn on the job.” Of course, a general practitioner could be used in the place of any specialist since such a doctor would have “general knowledge” of anything involving medicine. Continue reading

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Is Teaching REALLY a profession?

If teachers are ever going to be considered a profession in the same way that accountants, lawyers, and doctors are professions, they are going to have to have an active voice in changing their evaluation system.  If unions are going to cling to the status quo and resist any changes to their profession other than annual pay raises, teaching will never rise to the level of respect and compensation afforded other professions.
Christie names panel tasked with evaluating ways to assess N.J. teachers
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Last updated: Thursday October 28, 2010, 7:11 PM

The Record

Governor Christie appointed nine members Thursday to a task force charged with the controversial mission of recommending ways to use student achievement and other measures to evaluate all teachers and principals.

Nobody was appointed to represent the state’s largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, which has been locked in conflict with the governor. The task force has one official of the much smaller American Federation of Teachers New Jersey, which has 30,000 members, including teachers in Garfield.

Christie asked the task force for recommendations, due March 1, for a statewide evaluation system. Now districts have their own methods and almost everybody is deemed satisfactory or better. Christie wants teachers’ tenure, job retention and compensation to be based on their results in the classroom rather than on seniority, and wants at least half of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student achievement.

Continue reading

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Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach

Alfie Kohn is on the money again!

Alfie KohnEducation expert
Posted: November 1, 2010 02:29 PM
Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach

Education “reformers” have discovered the source of our schools’ problems. It’s not poverty or social inequities. It’s not enforced student passivity or a standardized curriculum that consists of lists of facts and skills likely to appear on standardized tests. No — it’s… teachers.

Fortunately, there’s a two-pronged solution: First, identify the really bad teachers (on the basis of their students’ test scores, naturally) and pluck them out like weeds. Second, as a safeguard against the possibility of more widespread incompetence than can be solved by step number one, remove as much authority as possible — about what’s to be taught and how — from all teachers.

Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship in Schools

NFTE: Injecting Entrepreneurship into Inner City Education

While Americans focus on the results of the midterm election, something far more important is at stake. A large segment of America is in the midst of an economic and education crisis that threatens to relegate a vast majority of our future generations to the front seat of the bus: the driver’s seat.

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