Only Brains Innocent of Sex Hormones Can Learn??

14 07 2008

“Shortening childhood means a shortening of the time before the brain’s complete re-sculpting occurs,” says [ecologist Sandra] Steingraber. “Once that happens, the brain doesn’t allow for complex learning.”
She adds that the brain can only build the connections used to learn a language, play a musical instrument or ride a bike before it gets flooded with the sex hormones that come with the onset of puberty.

Cock of the Snook to this blog for printing Steingraber’s learning science, but not for just swallowing it whole without even chewing on it a little . . .don’t see a citation though surely she got this idea somewhere, and she might even have impeccable sources that would make me think twice. Without that to go on, I can mock it freeform without qualm. 🙂

So she’s ecologist and mom but not a cognitive psychologist, right? — nor can she speak from experience (yet) as a mother of children who’ve actually arrived at puberty, early or any other way, only to be tragically rendered learning disabled due to this mind-addling sex hormone flood (??)

And if puberty really makes complex learning impossible, why don’t we just cancel school beyond age 10 or 11 (never mind college and grad school!) and save ourselves all the taxes and grief? Is she writing a book advocating that, now that her chemically protected, television-untouched tykes are in School all day learning only goddess knows what?

I guess we all ride our own hobby horses. For me it’s so obviously our Tyranny of Time — you know, SCHOOL and its associated SLEEP DEPRIVATION causing so many of our culture’s interconnected education, family, social and health pathologies. (More on sleep research messing with learning here.) Funny to read in her own words, that this oh-so-careful mother of an ecologist isn’t bothering to create an alternate ecology for her own children healthier than School.

Probably I should go back to the Teresa Heinz Kerry blog tour collection and see what we can spring forward with . . . more on that here, thinking about the “body burden” we put on women and children and also here, about educating our own “parents’ palate” to help improve the health of learning environments at home and school.

UPDATE – I just decided this would make a provocative response for this fortnight’s Thinking Parent essay: “Does Every Child Need to Go to College?”

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Even If Jesse Jackson Wins Obama Battle, Youth Wins War of Ideas

14 07 2008

FOREIGN POLICY: Your portal to global politics, economics and ideas
July 2008
“The World’s 10 Youngest Leaders”

If Barack Obama wins the U.S. presidential election in November at the age of 47, he will become one of the youngest Americans to assume the presidency.
But Barack would still be older than these guys. . .

Putin’s protege now running Russia is years younger than my kid sister?? Why didn’t I know that, I’ve gotta get out more! 🙂

Here are kings, presidents, prime ministers and Ph.Ds. This New Generation of world leadership isn’t just younger but more colorful and complex — one is an Olympic weightlifting multi-medalist and another is openly living in sin with his girlfriend, and Jesse Jackson probably resents them all too, if he’s educated enough to notice any reality beyond our petty domestic power struggles.

On a related note, Dana at Principled Discovery has been reading about the history of education this summer, and today takes a hard look at the history of homeschooling and its “pioneers.” Shall we continue to worship the veterans as larger than life leaders, as they bide their time off-camera and snarl under their breath at us like Jesse Jackson?

Or shall we learn from this next generation of young leaders, how to change history by refusing to believe that the past is the future already?