As the year draws to a close, Longreads has released its Best of 2015 picks for the best long-form journalism of the past 12 months. Categories include Science, Sports Writing, Crime Reporting, and Under-Recognized Stories – but not Parenting or Education. To remedy that, we’ve put together our own list of stories that illuminate trends or issues that beijingkids readers should know about.
My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me (Karl Taro Greenfeld, The Atlantic)
When a father tries to do his 13-year-old’s homework for a week, the experiment has him mulling the rise of homework, mandated school curricula, and standardized testing in the US.
Bringing Up Genius (Paul Voosen, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
A brilliant refresher on the nature vs. nurture debate. Paul Voosen recounts the story of Laszlo Polgár, a Hungarian educational psychologist who raised all three of his daughters to become chess prodigies; two of them became the best and second best female chess players in the world.
What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong? (Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Mother Jones)
Standard disciplinary methods – timeouts, negative consequences, reward and punishment – are more harmful than helpful, according to modern psychological studies. What would happen if instead teachers helped kids control their own emotions?
The Rise of "Mama" (Elissa Strauss, Longreads)
Elissa Strauss examines the rise of "mama" as a politicized maternal identity among white, upper-middle class women.
Can the U.S. Ever Fix Its Messed-Up Maternity Leave System? (Claire Suddath, Bloomberg Business Week)
The US and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that don’t have some kind of legally-protected paid leave for working mothers. Why does the US lag behind so badly?
Can We Adapt Sex Ed For The New LGBT-Inclusive America? (Casey Quinlan, ThinkProgress)
Though the article looks at American schools, the question of what LGBT-inclusive sex education might look like is also highly relevant for international schools. BuzzFeed has a useful roundup of sex ed books, websites, and podcasts.
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer who has covered travel, tech, culture, parenting, and the environment. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Independent, the Beijinger, Midnight Poutine, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Wellspring Community School (via Flickr)