> Thanks. Enjoyed this article about a brilliant young >woman. But suicide predictors? Is that possible?
The newspaper article is about a brilliant young woman and I am very glad you enjoyed it. The reason I posted it to mathedcc, however, is because of several details, in the story, that I think are relevant to education.
First, you may know there has developed in public education, in this country, a strong bias against "tracking", ie, sorting students by academic ability. The story of the young Radinsky begins with,
"She first developed an interest in science, she recalls, in fourth grade, when she was put into a special class for outstanding students and heard a lecture about bioinformatics."
Next, Radinsky's mother wanted to be sure the girl was "properly occupied", so
"Like many kids in the neighborhood, I did special classes in physics, chemistry and literature at a special Russian after-school," recounts Radinsky. "It was very old school in its approach but actually lots of fun."
When Radinsky says these classes were "Old School", I am reminded of an event in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church experienced a major reformation in 1666, the details of which I have long forgotten (arcane matters of catechism and liturgy). As usual, in the human experience, quite a number of Church members rejected the reforms and split from the Church. These anti-reformists came to be known as "The Old Believers".
In the matter of education theory and practice, by the standards of 21st century America the Russians are truly Old Believers. Yet, Radinsky remembers the Russian classes as "actually lots of fun".
In high school, again Radinsky was accepted into a special program that allowed students to progress at a faster than normal pace, faster than their peers.
In other words, many elements of this success story run contrary to received wisdom in American education. I offer this story as something to think about.