Shooting children in the US now commonplace

Cartoon Nick Anderson Houston ChronicleAnother shooting. James Fallows (Atlantic) outlined why nothing would change after the Colorado movie theater massacre. He was sadly right. One reason I am happy to live in Japan. We had a handful of gun fatalities last year. Mostly criminals shooting each other. So those that say, “If we outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have them.” are correct. But there is another side to it. The abhorrence of violence here is wonderful to be part of. It took me years to overcome my “Rambo” tendencies and think before acting. Having kids helped.  Not having access to guns makes those tendencies less lethal.
Unfortunately, the gun culture is so ingrained in the US it will take at least one generation to change. Probably two. After the will to change turns into legislation. Which will take a long time itself. Access to mental health is another issue where public safety should be more important than politics, cuts to health care in the US are also part of the problem, making a lethal combination.
Code: *zemi3*

Homework. Does it do any good?

I don’t think so. If you consider what is traditionally considered homework (exercises to drill into memory some point taught in class), there is controversy. Andrew Sullivan over at the Daily Dish points us to Louis Menand over at the New Yorker.  In it he tells us about a prominent researcher who

According to the leading authority in the field, Harris Cooper, of Duke University, homework correlates positively—although the effect is not large—with success in school.

Homework in Holland

Of course students who do more homework are more successful. But you could also say that students who are successful tend to do more homework. It could be that the successful students are doing something else that is causing their success, and the homework just happens to be a coincidence. Thin about the kids in your class who do the homework. They do a lot of other things, like show up early for class, talk to the teacher more, ask questions more, have parents who make them do their homework, talk about homework at dinner, or just talk about other things at dinner. I could go on, but you see the point. I am not convinced that homework helps very much.

What I AM convinced of is that students who do work on their own outside of class because they are curious or want to solve a problem are headed for success, no matter what their grades show.