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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Math Made Easy

"Let me listen to me and not to them."
– Gertrude Stein

As early as I can remember, there has been a concern about inner-city kids. They perform poorly in school, [Low graduation rates] become associated with drugs, alcohol, crime and poverty. Schools within our society, for many reasons, have not solved the problem. There have been many programs such as Head Start and different teaching curriculums that have not made enough significant differences. In fact, some economists have stated that schools should be more pragmatic in their educational approach. The objectives should help kids keep out of trouble and teach them practical skills [whatever that means] to help them enter the labor market. They added that launching programs towards 4 year college degrees on a large scale is costly and would be ineffective.

Recently, neuroscience research believes that adolescence is a period of tremendous neuroplasticity. This means that the brain has the potential to change through experience. That suggests that we perhaps should look at creative programs at the high school level.

There is a program in Chicago called Match. This program is designed to deal with the following problems: 1.The average reading and math scores of eighth grade black boys are barely higher than those in fourth grade white girls. Further, Latino boys scored only marginally better. 2. Only 57% of young black men and 62% of young Latino men graduate from high school in four years, compared to 79% of young white men. 3 . In Chicago, these 16-year-old teenagers were as many as 7 years behind in reading -10 years behind in math, compared to third graders. 4. Nearly a fifth of these students had arrest records.

Simply put, the Match program is a tutoring program. Each tutor, recent college graduate, works with two students by individualizing instruction and maybe more importantly, by becoming advocates, friends, role models, and, in a positive sense, big brother like. The results have been spectacular. Not only have the students improved significantly in math, but in their other subjects as well. Their grades have improved, their study habits improved and a love for learning has been nurtured.

These Match tutors are paid roughly $16,000 year plus benefits. The program costs about $3800 a year for each student. By comparison, New York City spends more than $20,000 per student, and even more in schools serving poor neighborhoods. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to expand the program and reportedly stated “what this shows is, never throw the towel in on the kids,” and added what’s happening in Chicago shows that without breaking the bank, the lives of adolescents can be turned around.”

There is no question in my mind that learning and education are keys to success. They are not guarantees. But they do open more doors. I know we have solutions to these problems. However, the motivation or will seems to get lost. Shame on us. Article found in the February 1, 2015 edition of  The New York Times.


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