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.