- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

Helicopter parents?

“Tales of meddlesome moms and dads are irresistible. Take the one about the mother who asked the dean to make sure her son was wearing his sweater. Don’t forget the parent who told the professor his tests were too hard. Then there’s the one about the administrator who received a phone call when someone’s kids needed a light bulb replaced.

“These and many other true stories have shaped the popular image of modern parents as high-strung nuisances who torment college administrators day and night. Only that description doesn’t match reality, according to Marjorie Savage, director of the parent-liaison program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

“ ’Helicopter parents?’ Ms. Savage says. ‘Truly, there aren’t that many of them.’ Several longtime student-affairs officials agree that while helicopter parents are real, their numbers — and behaviors — have been exaggerated. … For better or worse, many students want more parental involvement. In 2007, for instance, nearly a quarter of college freshmen said their parents had ‘too little’ involvement in choosing their college courses and activities.”

Eric Hoover, writing on “Surveys of Students Challenge ‘Helicopter Parent’ Stereotypes,” in the Feb. 1 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education

Berkeley bombast

“ ’I guess they’ve never heard of free speech,’ Berkeley City Councilwoman Dona Spring told the Chronicle as she defended the council’s 8-1 vote to tell Marine recruiters that they are not welcome in Berkeley — and that if the Marines stay, they will ‘do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.’

“The council also voted 6-3 to give the antiwar Code Pink organization a designated parking space directly in front of the U.S. Marine Corps’ 64 Shattuck Ave. recruiting office and encouraged Code Pink to ‘impede’ Marine recruitment. It’s pretty clear that [Ms.] Spring has heard of free speech, but she has no idea what it is.

“It’s one thing for Berkeley to pronounce U.S. troops, who put their lives on the line every day to defend America, as unwelcome. That’s protected speech. … It’s also the sort of rude, we’re-better-than-the-rest-of-America action that invites outsiders to wonder if a city that tries to divorce itself from military recruitment deserves the benefits that the federal government bestows.”

Debra J. Saunders, writing on “The Power of Free Speech in Berkeley,” Feb. 5 at Townhall.com

Lettin’ the dogs out

“Front-runners have had a rough time, lately. The unbeaten Tom Brady. The shoo-in Rudolph Giuliani. The inevitable Hillary Clinton. It seems the most dangerous place to be, nowadays, is at the front of the pack.

“On the flipside, it’s been a heck of a year for underdogs. The Giants over the Patriots. Mike Huckabee coming out of nowhere — with no money or name recognition — to trounce his opponents in the Iowa caucuses. John McCain, down-and-out and hemorrhaging staff mere months ago, now with the Big Mo coming out of Super Tuesday.

“Underdogs. It seems we can’t get enough of them.”

Michael Scroccaro, writing on “America’s Enduring Love for Underdogs.” on Feb. 6 on AmericanThinker.com

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