links 8-28-11

A synopsis and listing of articles up here: Lack of unstructured play harming kids | ScienceBlog.com
"“Remarkably, over the last 50 years, opportunities for children to play freely have declined continuously and dramatically in the United States and other developed nations; and that decline continues, with serious negative consequences for children’s physical, mental, and social development,” said Guest Editor Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College. “This special issue of the American Journal of Play reviews the evidence for the crucial roles of play in children’s development and proposes ways we may create a world in which play—especially free outdoor play with other children—is once again a normative part of childhood.”"
The remarkable Dr. Peter Gray is guest editor of the current issue of American Journal of Play. There is a large variety of articles, even a book review of  a Christian book on play as well as two articles by Dr. Gray, including:
The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents
Included in this issue are two articles by Gray, one presenting research that shows a correlation between the decline of free play and the rise of depression, suicide and narcissism in children and teens, and the other highlighting the importance of age-mixed play.
Schools could acknowledge and work forward from this by allowing families to form highly flexible schedules as they pick and choose what learning services they want and need.  And in doing so, families could begin getting the time and space to help kids get more play as well as many other things that would all boost intelligence and make for happier people, smarter workers, and better citizens.

Education: Class Dismissed | Psychology Today:
It's every modern parent's worst nightmare—a school where kids can play all day. But no one takes the easy way out, and graduates seem to have a head start on the information age. Welcome to Sudbury Valley.
Hobbies That Add Up to a Career - NYTimes.com:
"IN 1986, I was a 26-year-old college dropout and world traveler who had decided that I didn’t want a job, much less a career. What I really wanted was to get paid for my hobbies: writing, gardening and politics. So I made that my goal."
School Superintendent Larry Powell Takes $800,000 Pay Cut Over Next Three Years - ABC News:
"But in Fresno County, Calif., School Superintendent Larry Powell gave himself a hefty pay cut.

On Aug. 31, Powell will retire and then be hired back to fill the remainder of his four year term, reducing his now $250,000 annual salary to $31,020. The move will add over $800,000 to county schools over the next three years."
Degrees of Speed - Jamie P. Merisotis and Stan Jones
"What the unemployed really need are public institutions that combine the best qualities of both types of schools: the low cost and public mission of community colleges, and the quicker-to-graduation curricula and job-placement focus of the best proprietary schools. A handful of education systems around the country—in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, and Washington State, for example—have attempted to build such programs. The most successful may be in Tennessee." 
Unschoolers learn what they want, when they want (cnn.com)

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