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The Answer Sheet: October 11, 2009 - October 17, 2009

Largest Ring of Saturn Discovered, Plants Recognize Siblings and Other Things I Learned This Week

sa of Calcutta was the surprise Nobel Peace Prize winner 40 years ago today, plants recognize siblings ... and more Things I Learned This Week.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 17, 2009; 11:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  Things I Learned This Week  
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THE LIST: How NOT to Raise Kids

THE LIST: How NOT To Raise Kids. 1) When you have the chance to drag your three young children into a reality television that is, for example, called “Wife Swap, jump at it! 2) Tell your kids they’re allowed to cuss inside the house but not in public--then let them make a curse-laden rap video and post it on YouTube.....

By Valerie Strauss  | October 16, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Parents  | Tags:  balloon boy, parenting  
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“The Naked Roommate” And Other Trials of College Life

True or False: “The Naked Roommate” by Harlan Cohen is required reading at some colleges and universities. You knew the answer was going to be “yes” or The Answer Sheet would not have brought it up. The Sheet was surprised to learn this, but found that it made sense after students and school administrators persuaded her to read the advice it offers for negotiating naked, smelly, noisy, and mean roommates, as well as dealing with professors, how to read a college textbook, sex, drugs, laundry, diet, and many other issues.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 16, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Life, Higher Education  | Tags:  "The Naked Roommate, college life  
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Trachtenberg: When a College’s Reputation Trumps Its Quality

How one values a college education is very different from how one places a monetary value on a college’s prestige, a topic that relies more on the recognition of the school’s brand than it does on the quality of its educational program (although the two are often closely entwined). Two examples: Schools that routinely play in the NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament receive large numbers of undergraduate applications not always correlated to the standing of their academic programs.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 15, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Higher Education  | Tags:  stephen joel trachtenberg, university reputation, value of college education  
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THE GROUP: How Much Should You Tell Your Kids--And Should You Ever Lie FOR Them?

Today The Answer Sheet’s Group of Moms talks about how honest parents should be about their own pasts with their children. Do you tell them you were awful in school, sneaked out of the house, and drank? .... Are there circumstances under which parents should lie FOR their child? (For example, the famous “She/he is not feeling well when they don’t want to go to a party or to someone’s house."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 15, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  The Group, honesty  
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Should Kids Be Required to Get the Swine Flu Vaccine?

Is getting the swine flu vaccine something that school-age children in the United States should be forced to do? The debate is essentially the same as with many other issues over which Americans fight: Which side wins when there are competing interests between individual rights and the extent of harm to the overall society, when one person’s liberty is at stake vs. “Are you kidding me? You are ruining the common good.”

By Valerie Strauss  | October 14, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags:  health, swine flu, swine flu vaccations  
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Getting Kids To and From School Safely--Part 2

It is especially obscene that some kids who want to go to school face real danger getting there--and back home--because adults can’t ensure them a safe route.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 14, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Bullying, D.C. Schools  | Tags:  gangs preying on students, school violence  
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SPOTLIGHT: Getting Kids Home Safely From School

The story of a 5-year-old who got lost after he was mistakenly put on a school bus and left in an unfamiliar Alexandria neighborhood raises questions about how much responsibility schools should have to make sure that youngsters get home safely. The woman who reunited Gavin Salinas with his mom on Oct. 5, after he was found by two other boys walking the streets crying, said that the kindergartener is not the only youngster who gets off the bus without an adult waiting at the stop.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 14, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Tags:  Gavin Salinas, child safety, school bus drivers, school dismissal policy  
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Art Expert: The Problem With School Art Programs Are Teachers Who "Can Barely Draw"

By David C. Levy ..."There is another reason why the arts, and visual arts in particular, are an endangered species in American K – 12 education. It has been my observation that primary and secondary school art teachers rank very low on the continuum of professional respect among their peers. And I would posit as a significant cause that they have generally not achieved a sufficient level of skill in their discipline to deserve that respect. For example, while English teachers may not be able to write The Great American Novel, the chances are pretty good that they can compose a competent essay. But many art teachers can barely draw!"

By Valerie Strauss  | October 13, 2009; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Arts Education, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  art teachers, teach training  
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Checking It Out: Zero Tolerance or Zero Sense?

A 6-year-old may have to go to reform school for 45 days because he brought to class a Cub Scout utensil that can be used as a fork, spoon and knife. It is well past time to get rid of zero-tolerance policies that can't distinguish between a major problem and a minor one.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 13, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Tags:  zero-tolerance policies  
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Enough With The Lists Already

The Daily Beast blog does an "exclusive" list of the "smartest" cities in the country. So when will we stop paying attention to silly lists?

By Valerie Strauss  | October 12, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Higher Education, Intelligence  | Tags:  The Daily Beast, list of smartest cities  
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Busting a Columbus Myth

Is this what you remember learning in school: Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain in 1492 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean, disproving a common belief in those days that the Earth was flat and that he would fall off the edge if he ventured too far? Well, it’s not true. Historians say there is no doubt that educated people knew quite well in Columbus’ day that the Earth was not flat but round. In fact, it was known many, many years earlier.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 12, 2009; 11:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Tags:  Christopher Columbus, Columbus Day, flat earth  
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Every Parent's Nightmare

A 5-year-old boy named Gavin Salinas was mistakenly put on the wrong bus at his school in Alexandria and then dropped off, alone, at an unfamiliar stop. Not knowing what to do, he wandered around the streets, crying. Luckily he was returned to his parents unharmed. But Rodney and Taryn Salinas were not satisfied with last Monday’s happy ending. They want to find out who was responsible--and to make sure this never happens again to anybody's child.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 12, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Parents  | Tags:  Alexandria City Public Schools, boy put on wrong school bus  
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