American Promise: Race & Independent Schools

October 9, 2014

Earlier this week, I went to a screening of American Promise, a documentary that follows the path of two middle class African-American boys through The Dalton School of New York. The next day, I read Otis Lawrence Graham’s article  “The Rules: making sense of race and privilege,” in my husband’s alumni magazine. And today, as I write this, I realize how little I’d really thought about race and education in independent schools. I had assumed that the abundant resources, highly educated parents, and having teachers and administrators freed of some of the bureaucracy of the public educational system was the best of all possible environments for doing things right. And in some ways, perhaps the makers of American Promise, whose… Read More

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Saboteur: Parents Who Just Have to Wave

October 3, 2014

If your child was about to walk a tightrope in a circus act that demanded great dexterity and focus, would you yell and wave and try to get her attention, or would you let her concentrate on the task at hand? Why, then, I wonder, do parents yell and wave and try to get their children’s attention when they step on stage to sing? I’m about to outline five things parents do that sabotage their children’s growth in the realm of live performance. These tacit rules are in danger of being obliterated by parents who just can’t let go. Am I fired up about this? You bettcha. But I’m not getting on a soapbox to preach etiquette. I’m getting on… Read More

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Are You (as a woman) Ready for Some Football?

September 27, 2014

I don’t have an answer to the question many women are asking about their relationship with the NFL. I cannot say, however, that I ever assumed that the NFL particularly valued women. The fact that the most prominent women on the field are cheerleaders, who are paid $500-$700 per season but reportedly generate one million dollars in revenue, has something to do with that. We can rightfully lambast the way the league disciplines its players who’ve broken the law, not only with violence against women but also other offenses. But the sport is violent, and instead of focusing on how the league handles what happens after a player has assaulted a woman, I’d like to know how they work with… Read More

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You’re Wearing That?

September 19, 2014

What adolescent girls wear to school is a subject of much consternation, judging from the parent meeting I attended at my children’s school today. The conversation was lead by a psychologist trained in the treatment of eating disorders, body image and trauma, but voices rose highest when talking about whose skirt had been measured with a ruler. The three-fold theme of the talk, Gender, Body Image and Dress had complex implications, from distinguishing our understanding of “gender” from that of “sex” to looking at the effects of negative body image on depression, low self-esteem and eating disorders. But the logistics required for a school to enforce a dress code took priority over these fundamentals, and I realized how difficult it… Read More

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Concussions: There’s an App for that

September 11, 2014

Ben Harvatine had been practicing hard before he hit the mat and couldn’t get up. He’d been dizzy for a while during wrestling practice, but that hadn’t alarmed him: it’s what happens when you’re cutting weight in a 100-degree room. The twenty-year-old MIT student wound up in the hospital and spent months recovering. It was a concussion, the first he said he’d gotten in more than a decade of wrestling. “For a week or two I struggled to carry on conversations,” he told me when I interviewed him by phone a few weeks ago. He couldn’t keep up in his mechanical engineering and architecture classes. And he was sensitive to light. “I effectively didn’t go to school for three months.”… Read More

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