La Rhee en Rose

by Robert Pondiscio
July 18th, 2008

I have nothing to say about Michelle Rhee’s appearance on Charlie Rose last night. But I just had to use the headline.

Michelle’s interview starts at 25:10.

Testify!

by Robert Pondiscio
July 18th, 2008

U.S. News“I know this is hard for you to hear Chairman Miller, but we need national standards and national assessments.”

- New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, testifying in Washington this week on what it would take to fix NCLB. (Thanks, A. Russo @ This Week in Education)

More: EdWeek’s David Hoff was there.

“Carlos Is Asian At Heart”

by Robert Pondiscio
July 18th, 2008

L.A. TimesFriends of Carlos Garcia, a Latino student at with a knack for math at Lincoln High School tell him, ‘You’re more Asian than Hispanic.’” An Asian student, Julie Loc concurs. “I think Carlos is Asian at heart,” she says. And what do students at this Los Angeles high school say about their Asian peers who struggle in school? “I had an Asian friend, but he didn’t necessarily get that great a grades. We used to say, ‘He’s Mexican at heart.’”

The Los Angeles Times convened this frank discussion about race and achievement for a front page story.

Both the neighborhood and student body are about 15% Asian. And yet Asians make up 50% of students taking Advanced Placement classes. Staffers can’t remember the last time a Latino was valedictorian….According to a study of census data, 84% of the Asian and Latino families in the neighborhoods around Lincoln High have median annual household incomes below $50,000. And yet the Science Bowl team is 90% Asian, as is the Academic Decathlon team.

Asian parents are more likely to pressure their children to excel academically, the students agreed. The students talked not just about parental expectations, notes the Times, but also about those of peers. One girl drew laughter when she said of other students, “They expect me to be smart. Even if, like, I do everything wrong on purpose, they still copy off of me — as if I’m right just because I’m Asian.”

Teachers at Lincoln, meanwhile, detect a self-defeating attitude among Hispanic students. “I think the thing I always hear from the Latino kids is, ‘Oh, well, Miss, he’s Asian, she’s Asian. Of course they do well,’ ” said Alli Lauer, who teaches English. “It’s frustrating to hear them do it to each other.”

Smart Eating

by Robert Pondiscio
July 18th, 2008

Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, professor of neurosurgery and physiological science at UCLA, says that “appropriate changes to a person’s diet can enhance his cognitive abilities, protect his brain from damage and counteract the effects of aging,” reports the Economist.  And how’s this for a grabber: Some foods, Dr Gómez-Pinilla concludes, “are like pharmaceutical compounds; their effects are so profound that the mental health of entire countries may be linked to them.”