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Todays’ WSJ in a review of NurtureShock:

The benefits of teaching tolerance and promoting ­diversity look equally unimpressive in the current ­research. According to “NurtureShock,” a lot of well-meaning adult nostrums-“we’re all friends,” “we’re all equal”-pass right over the heads of young children. Attempts to increase racial sensitivity in older students can even lead to unintended consequences. One ­researcher found that “more diversity translates into more divisions between students.” Another warns that too much discussion of past discrimination can make minority children over-reactive to perceived future slights. As for trying to increase emotional intelligence, the education fad of the 1990s, it doesn’t seem to ­promote “pro-social values” either. It turns out that bullies use their considerable EQ, as it is called, to ­control their peers.

Education policy makers will find more cause for embarrassment in “NurtureShock.” Drop-out programs don’t work. Neither do anti-drug programs. The most popular of them, D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance ­Education), developed in 1983 by the Los Angeles ­Police Department, has become a more familiar sight in ­American schools than algebra class. By 2000, 80% of American school districts were using D.A.R.E. materials in some form. Now, after extensive study, comes the news: The program has no long-term, and only mild short-term, effects. Oh, and those tests that school ­districts use to determine giftedness in young ­children? They’re just about useless. According to Mr. Bronson and Ms. Merryman, early IQ tests predict later ­achievement less than half the time. Between ages 3 and 10, about two-thirds of children will experience a rise or drop of 15 points or more.

In a famous 1994 study described by the authors, ­researchers discovered that babies of professional ­parents were exposed to almost three times the ­number of words as the babies of welfare parents. ­Parents took to buying $699 “verbal pedometers,” a gadget that counts the number of words their baby is hearing per hour. Now experts are modifying the ­earlier findings. Turns out that it’s not so much the number of words kids hear that matters but the responsiveness of adults to a child’s words and explorations.

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