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A Press Democrat Blog

Dr. David Sortino

YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING BRAIN

Common Core Standards’ Impact on High School Drop Out Rate

We will learn in a year or so whether or not Common Core Standards is a successful program. Particularly, we will discover whether it lowers the consistent (high) school drop out rate, which can run between 45 and 55% respectively (inner city) or if the program has raised the drop out rate. The state will always have a percentage of students who will excel regardless of the educational philosophy. Another percentage of students will get by and another percentage of… Read More »

Understanding Your Child’s Leisure Brain

One of the least discussed yet critical causes for student success in school is the ability of a child to experience what brain scientist’s call the leisure brain. This condition of the brain occurs when a student’s brain can breathe in a relaxed manner, taking in impressions with no pressure. In this environment, the brain allows for a processing that brings about greater organization and reassessment of the person’s state of being. This leisure brain condition is similar to the… Read More »

Middle School Discipline – What Works

The recent suspensions of several Sonoma County middle students should be a wake up call regarding zero tolerance as a viable school discipline program.  A zero tolerance policy imposes automatic punishment for infractions of a stated rule, with the intention of eliminating undesirable conduct. The middle school students were reprimanded for what was described as taking only a sip from a soda can laced with alcohol.  Suspension was the end result for all students involved. The question that needs to… Read More »

The New DUI: Cellphone Use

The proliferation of cellphone use while driving which caused the unspeakable, recent tragedy on  Highway 12 could happen to anyone and at anytime. Someone needs to take action. What we need is for a politician to step up and identify cellphone use while driving as punishable as a DUI. A good place to begin would be a possible bill increasing punitive results for misuse of a cellphone while driving. Dangerous cellphone use while driving is a problem for all segments… Read More »

Why Student Underachieve

In order to understand why certain students underachieve in school, we need to have a basic understanding of what major brain centers are associated with achievement and your student’s learning brain. The left and right sides of a student’s brain must work together for effective learning to take place. Unfortunately, most school curricula cater to the left side or the sequential, mathematical, linear, verbal and logical areas of the student’s brain. One important reason for low achievement is because a percentage… Read More »

Stopping School Violence: Restorative Justice or Zero Tolerance

The Obama administration’s recent press release concerning the elimination of a zero tolerance discipline philosophy in American public schools is long overdue. Zero tolerance is a tool that became popular in the 1990s, supporting uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or possession of a weapon. Violators could lose classroom time and even be saddled with a criminal record. The recommendations encouraged schools to ensure that all school personnel be trained in classroom management, conflict resolution and… Read More »

Television and the Developing Brain

A good example of pioneering  TV programming for children’s brain development is the popular PBS show “Sesame Street,” particularly its role in stimulating language development. In fact, the “Sesame Street” producers smartly surmised that effective children’s TV programing that focused on the areas of the brain responsible for language development could advance children’s expressive language. Studies show that children who watch “Sesame Street” at age two score higher on school readiness tests in kindergarten than those who do not. Another… Read More »

Setting the Record Straight: Super Bowl and Beer Commercials

Watching this year’s NFL football playoffs and/or Super Bowl requires extensive viewing hours of TV commercials, which are often laced with themes representing beer, cars and/or trucks — Americana at its best. One underlying theme presides during the commercials that interrupt the entertainment of huge men bashing each other, and that is the theme of alcohol. However, it was not like this years ago, because alcohol was prohibited. But like the camel in a tent parable, beer commercials have slowly… Read More »

A Viable Alternative to Medication For ADHD Children

A recent article in the Press Democrat titled “Drug Firms Spend Big to Sell Public on ADHD” highlighted the proliferation of medication for ADHD children. The article illustrated how drug companies’ profit margins are directly connected to the overmedication of ADHD children. The overmedication begs us to question why so many parents succumb to medication for ADHD children when the risks often outweigh the benefits? In other words, the many challenges and failures could be a major reason why they… Read More »

Deceptive advertising effect on children

It was probably my fifth grade teacher who taught us how certain industries use deception to attract children to buy their products. For example, why has the tobacco industry never had a problem with candy cigarette companies replicating their cigarette packs or why has the gun industry allows close replicas of assault rifles as copycat-like toys? McDonald’s discovered long ago that if an industry gives toys to children under the guise of a side benefit of eating fast food it… Read More »