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Tiger Mom is back, teenage risk taking, Road to Reality, free teen aviation, kindergarten is the new first grade, teacher trips

Tiger Mom Amy Chua is back in the news with a new book with this thesis: “For all their diversity, the strikingly successful (cultural) groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex – a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite – insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.” The groups she cites as strikingly successful are: Indian-Americans, Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans and Mormons (she cites the fact that Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure). She also mentions that while “Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates.” Her new book is “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.”


Sonoma Skypark airport is an active part of the Sonoma community, offering monthly events and educational opportunities open to the public. Did you know that kids ages 8 to 17 can get a free airplane ride on the second Sunday of every month from 9 to 11:30 a.m.? And in its Air Explorer program, participants learn all aspects of aviation and gain knowledge and experience that could help them pursue a career in the aviation industry. Aviation Exploring is available for boys and girls ages 14 to 20. It meets on the second Sunday of every month at 12:30 p.m. sonomaskypark.com.


The Atlantic magazine tackles the subject of teenage risk-taking in a long piece that is both comforting and terrifying for those of us with teens. In a nutshell, the increased natural dopamine being released in the adolescent body “can give adolescents a powerful sense of being alive when they are engaged in life. It can also lead them to focus solely on the positive rewards they are sure are in store for them, while failing to notice or give value to the potential risks and downsides,” said the author, UCLA psychiatry professor Daniel Siegel. tinyurl.com/lfyvb3q.


Researchers have quantified what we have suspected for some time – kindergarten is the new first grade. “In less than a decade, we’ve seen the kindergarten experience essentially transformed,” said Dahna Bassok at University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. “Academic skill-building has really taken center stage in today’s kindergarten classrooms, in a way that just wasn’t the case” before the late 1990s. Today’s kindergartens now feature homework, worksheets and an emphasis on learning to read by the end of the year. phys.org/news/2014-01-kindergarten-grade.html...

There are dozens of fellowships, workshops, seminars and service trips for teachers who are interested in traveling overseas this summer (at no cost). If you know of a teacher who might be interested, forward them this link: http://tinyurl.com/m6ebjme...

It is a social media arms race out there among our schools! Just when I think one school is pulling ahead, another does something cool using Facebook or Twitter. Last week, Altimira Middle School launched a YouTube channel and loaded it with fun videos of kids talking about research projects. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUu1C-uRbQcS4UYSEXFlfog?feature=watch

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