Produced by Gary Drevitch
Chronically late or truant students in Dallas are wearing electronic monitors so school officials can make sure they're on the way to class when they're supposed to be. According to the Times, the experimental program has been a big success, at least at Bryan Adams High School.
This just in: Fellow and the rest of his school chess team were crowned as champions at last weekend's National Elementary chess tournament in Pittsburgh. Admittedly, their title came in the Grades K-3 Under-800 division, a relatively low level of competition. And, we confess, the three points Fellow earned in his seven games (two wins, plus one more by forfeit) didn't technically count toward the squad's victory, as only the top four scores on a team count toward their official standings. But don't think for a second that any of that diminishes our pride.
The WWE is launching a new magazine for its tragically credulous young fans, called WWE for Kids! and readers can expect to find more than pictures of their favorite wrestlers to put inside their school lockers.
In fact, according to WWE vice president and publishing director Bob Lee, the magazine's content will range from "fitness to nutrition to geography to esteem building." While we can only shudder to think of the nutrition advice the group's artificially bulked-up stars might offer — maybe sprinkle some Creatine on your Cocoa Puffs? — we're truly fascinated to discover what lessons in geography the Undertaker and Triple H have to share.
WE'LL STICK WITH DAME JUDI DENCH'S RECORDING OF WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
We recently received a review copy of the least necessary children's CD we've heard in a long while: Gwynneth Paltrow's recording of Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle's classic picture book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
To answer your questions, in order:
- Yes, it is quite short.
- They fill it out by having her read three of the sequels as well (Polar Bear, Polar Bear; Panda Bear, Panda Bear; Baby Bear, Baby Bear — everything but Burly Bear, Burly Bear . . .)
- She does Spanish versions, too. It's still pretty thin for a CD.
- Yes, audiobooks of classic picture books do lose a lot in the translation, seeing as how, you know, the pictures are all gone.
- Her readings are infused with a heavy note of self-satisfaction.
- Sure, if you like that kind of thing.
AWKWARD QUESTIONS OUR DAUGHTER ASKS AS WE SHOP IN THE DRUG STORE
"Daddy, isn't that she shampoo you use? So why is there a girl's picture on it?"*
* [Hey, we've been using Finesse since high school and we ain't changing now . . . ]
NEW YORK CITY: WHERE EVERY CHILD IS IN THE 98th PERCENTILE — NO MATTER WHAT THE TESTS SAY
The results are in for New York City kids applying to Gifted and Talented public-school programs for 2008-09. Tiny's scores on the OLSAT and BSRA tests administered to kids this spring landed her in the top percentile range, virtually guaranteeing her acceptance into a program somewhere in the neighborhood. A year ago, however, when we applied for a kindergarten spot, her surprisingly low score kept her out of the running. Disappointed as we were, we accepted the score and moved on, grateful that her local, or "catchment" school offered her an outstanding kindergarten program. But apparently we're pikers, because many parents whose children land below the golden 95th percentile refuse to take their results sitting down, as per this e-mail from one school's parent coordinator, recently forwarded to us:
Many parents received results from the G&T testing that seem very far off from what they had expected. I have been speaking to parent coordinators at several schools and they report the same thing. I have spoken to our family advocate, DJ Sheppard and Director of Placement, Marty Barr, to find out how parents can have their child's score report reviewed. DJ Sheppard is referring parents to ... InsideSchools for that information.
InsideSchools, a site that is getting better all the time, does indeed have a G&T Q&A, featuring this eminently diplomatic advice about how to handle unexpectedly low test results:
My child's score doesn't make any sense. How can I review his test?
There are many reasons your child might not have done as well as you expected or hoped. First, the two tests assess different skills. A kid who does well recognizing shapes and numbers on the BSRA may not do as well on the OLSAT, which tests comprehension and reasoning, and vice versa. Also, your son or daughter might just have had a lousy day or been confused by the testing conditions. Remember, he's only 4 or 5! You can request to review your child's test. Mail your request, explaining the reason you want to see your child's test, to the Office of Accountability, G&T Test Administration, 52 Chambers St. Room 309, New York, NY 10007.
THEIR CUSTOMERS HOPE ALL THAT TALK ABOUT THE UNEXAMINED LIFE NOT BEING WORTH LIVING IS JUST A RUMOR
Flexpetz, which rents dogs on a per-diem or longer basis to people paying membership fees of $279.95 or more a month, is doing a booming business in New York and LA.
APPARENTLY, FREELANCE DAD'S FAVORITE DATING STRATEGY WOULDN'T CUT IT IN THE MODERN WORLD
A recent Sunday Times "Modern Love" piece told how a indie rock band member (some searching reveals that he's in Nada Surf,
not surprisingly a band we've always liked) courted a single writer by
inviting her over to watch 1970s kid TV like "The Electric Company" and
"Free to Be ... You and Me." Enticing as this offbeat, youthful
approach was initially, though, the gal began to wonder, as she asks in
her headline, "Was I on a Date or Baby-Sitting?" Things soon ended,
badly, putting a chill in our spine and causing us to hold Freelance Mom even closer to us than before.
THANK YOU, ADULT ED!
Freelance Dad, aka Gary Drevitch, had a great time speaking at the May edition of Adult Education
at Union Hall in Brooklyn the other day. The crowd was fantastic, our
drink was free, and we credit hosts Charles Star and Carrie McLaren for
both. We also enjoyed hearing the other speakers on the bill, and
urge you to visit them on the Web as well: Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc., who recently debunked the baby-sign language movement over on Babble; Daniel Radosh, author of Rapture Ready!, who has been blogging about the underworld of Christian culture on his own site; and Susan Gregory Thomas, who often speaks about the issues raised in her book, Buy, Buy Baby.