Archive for October, 2009
This item was written by Savita Iyer-Ahrestani. She is a freelance financial journalist who guest blogs for Working Parents.
This is my family’s first Halloween in suburban USA (we moved here after four years living in Europe and Asia, prior to which we were in New York) and the one question everyone has for us is: “Did you celebrate Halloween in the other countries you lived in?”
“Yes,” I say, “we did,” because Halloween has been a big deal every place we have lived in or been to, including the small Spanish town of Salobrena, where we happened to be at this time last year, and where during the sacred siesta hour, the only store open was the one selling Halloween costumes.
I first celebrated Halloween 35 years ago as a second grader at the International School of Geneva, Switzerland. I remember quite clearly a class party organized by an enterprising American mother, and a rather itchy black skirt and turtleneck top my mother put on me for a witch’s costume. We bobbed for apples and I tasted candy corn for the very first time.
Parents and pregnant women around the country are rightfully disturbed about the shortage of vaccine for H1N1. The nightly news is filled with stories about people lining up to get the few supplies they can find, and panicky parents are scouring their regions for the vaccine, fearful that their child might end up hooked up to a ventilator otherwise.
Nevertheless, these fears about swine flue, or even garden-variety seasonal flu, have not kept many parents from refusing to subject themselves or their child to any vaccine containing the preservative thimerosal. This despite zero–I repeat, zero–evidence that there is any danger at all from the additive. Instead, there is extensive safety data that shows that the vaccine, even with thimerosal, is far safer than the flu itself.
Thimerosal fear is clearly widespread. A recent CBS News poll found that 51% of Americans say they are not very likely to get the swine flue vaccine, and more than a third of parents are not likely to vaccinate their children–even though three out of four respondents viewed the H1N1 virus as a serious problem. New York State recently dropped a requirement that all health workers get the H1N1 vaccine after outcry from some who feared it might be unsafe–and these are supposedly educated health care consumers.
These unfounded fears could make a bad situation much worse. The U.S. is already suffering from a refusal to use adjuvants that could double their potency of the H1N1 vaccine, thus stretching available supplies. Adjuvants are chemical compounds, usually oil and water emulsions, that boost the human body’s immune response to the vaccine’s active ingredient so more doses can be made. There is 12 years of safety data behind them, and they are widely used in Europe, where there is no vaccine shortage as a result. But the fear in the U.S. of vaccine additives, and even vaccines themselves, has kept the FDA from approving any adjuvant-laced flu vaccine, because it might make the populace even more reluctant to get their shot.
Before refusing a vaccine containing thimerosal, parents should keep in mind that 36,000 people die in the U.S. every year from seasonal flu. Since April, about 1,000 people have died from swine flu, including 96 children. Deaths from vaccines: 0. If you’re worried about the vaccine, or H1N1, take the time to educate yourself about the flu, the vaccine, and the risk factors for both.
Here’s some links, and excerpts:
From the surgeon general’s official www.flu.gov site, dispelling myths about thimerosal:
Thimerosal is a very effective preservative that has been used since the 1930s to prevent contamination in some multi-dose vials of vaccines. There is no convincing evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. The 2009-H1N1 influenza vaccines that FDA has licensed will be manufactured in several formulations, including pre-filled, single-dose syringes and nasal sprayers along with multi-dose vials. Only multi-dose vials of seasonal influenza vaccine will contain thimerosal to prevent potential contamination after the vial is opened.
From the CDC’s H1N1 information site:
Thimerosal is an important preservative that protects vaccines against potential microbial contamination, which may occur in opened multi-dose vials of vaccine. Such contamination could cause serious illness or death. Since seasonal influenza vaccine is produced in large quantities for annual immunization campaigns, some of the vaccine is produced in multi-dose vials, and contains thimerosal to safeguard against possible contamination of the vial once it is opened.
Three leading federal agencies (CDC, FDA, and NIH) have reviewed the published research on thimerosal and found it to be a safe product to use in vaccines. Three independent organizations [The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)] reviewed the published research and also found thimerosal to be a safe product to use in vaccines. The scientific community supports the use of thimerosal in influenza vaccines.
I admit to being on a bit of a crusade against the anti-vaccine forces. Here’s a link to an earlier post (some might say rant) of mine on the issue.
No wonder they call it the boob tube.
Children spend more than an entire day in front of the television each week. According to research from media tracking firm Nielsen, television viewing among children is now at an eight-year high.
Kids aged 2-5 now spend more than 32 hours a week on average in front of a TV screen. The older segment of that group (ages 6-11) spend a little less time, about 28 hours per week watching TV, due in part that they are more likely to be attending school for longer hours.
Mea culpa. As a working parent, I can attest that I have used the television as a babysitter when I need to get work done. In fact, right before I read about this study, I actually made mental note to tape (a.k.a. Tivo) a show my son has been bugging me to watch because I have an evening conference call next week. Incidentally, Nielsen says kids are watching taped shows more often.
I know I’m not alone. Many of my friends and coworkers admit that they use TV to keep their kids entertained—and, most important—quiet while they try to answer emails, talk to their customers and colleagues, write reports, and whatever else needs to be done when they are out of the office.
But I do worry about my son’s consumption of television, especially when he starts humming the theme song from Jeopardy, or suggesting vacation locations. “Call your travel agent,” he has told me several times. (Thankfully, he hasn’t recommended Viagra yet.)
Do you use the television as a babysitter to help you get the work done? Do you feel guilty about it? Also, if anyone has good ideas to keep kids engaged and quiet that do not involve a DVD when work calls, please let me know.
A bit of a brouhaha erupted recently over basketball games at the White House. Seems President Obama likes to unwind over a friendly game of basketball, and invites a rotating squad of high-level Washington power brokers to join him on the White House court. All of them, of course, are men, a growing point of contention in the feminist blogosphere.
I can already hear the groans from many readers who think this is just a bunch of angry women getting their knickers in a twist over some minor male/female divide. I might have thought the same, except for an image that stopped me short while reading a front page story in the New York Times about the contrversy, headlined “Man’s World At White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say.”
First of all, that headline is a tad misleading. It is Obama’s male aides that see “no harm, no foul.” Five women who work in the White House, all of whom asked for anonymity because of concerns of appearing “publicly critical” (i.e., not good girls?) responded with eye rolls and complaints when asked about sports at the White House. But what I found most distrubing was the mention of an off-the-record meeting that White House communicaitons director Anita Dunn recently hosted for women reporters–over chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies!!!
Well isn’t that sweet? The gals got together over cookies–homemade, I hope, by one of the attendees–while the guys solved the world’s problems on the playing field.
I’m particularly sensitive to this sports thing because I have no interest in sports. That has often left me looking on with a weak smile while the editors I’ve worked for throughout my career (virtually all men) talked about last night’s game. I despise football (the remnants of growing up in a football-mad small town), I couldn’t care less about March Madness, and though I do pay slight attention to the Red Sox, I am not all that interested in the World Series when they aren’t in it. Has that hurt my career? Who knows? I’m guessing, though, that there are plenty of work environments where it would.
Women have come a long, long way over the last 50 years, as well-documented in the new book When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 To the Present, by New York Times columnist Gail Collins:
The interviews with women who have lived through these transformative years include an advertising executive in the 60s who was not allowed to attend board meetings that took place in the all-male dining room; and an airline stewardess who remembered being required to bend over to light her passengers’ cigars on the men-only ‘Executive Flight’ from New York to Chicago. We, too, may have forgotten the enormous strides made by women since 1960–and the rare setbacks. “Hell yes, we have a quota [7%]” said a medical school dean in 1961. “We do keep women out, when we can.” At a pre-graduation party at Barnard College, “they handed corsages to the girls who were engaged and lemons to those who weren’t.” In 1960, two-thirds of women 18-60 surveyed by Gallup didn’t approve of the idea of a female president. Until 1972, no woman ran in the Boston Marathon, the year when Title IX passed, requiring parity for boys and girls in school athletic programs (and also the year after Nixon vetoed the childcare legislation passed by congress).
All of that sounds like ancient history now. It’s hard to believe that just a few decades ago women weren’t allowed to have a credit card or mortgage in their own name, much less hold an executive position or run for president. But it’s not all that ancient. Women still earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men in similar jobs, with similar levels of education and experience. In business, politics, journalism and law women occupy only 20% of leadership positions (and much lower in Fortune 500 firms), despite making up 48% of the workforce. I don’t know if playing basketball with the residents of the executive suite would change any of that. But it might be nice to be invited. Or have the men join us for cookies.
I’d love to hear from women, and men, out there in the working world: Is facility with a ball, or knowledge of last night’s scores, an important career booster in your office?
We all know times are tough. What, if anything, is Corporate America doing to support its workers—especially Working Parents—these days? I asked Donna Klein, executive chair and president at Corporate Voices for Working Families, for her thoughts.
You say that the U.S. has failed working families because public and corporate policies do not mirror their needs. What countries do a good job of promoting work and family issues?
This is a complicated question. Doing a “good job” with work and family policies is a function of the demographics, culture, traditions and forms of government in a particular country. That being said, there is some consensus around the Scandinavian countries as role models for good working family practices. Scandinavian countries encourage both men and women to pursue careers by providing programs and policies (family leave, dependent care support, and some financial support) that help families balance both jobs and parenting.
Also, some European countries have progressive programs. France, Germany, Belgium have “father friendly” programs and policies that encourage and support men to engage in careers while maintaining full engagement with their roles and responsibilities as fathers.
Unfortunately, the Untied States is far, far behind these nations.
Which companies in Corporate America today set the “gold” standard for programs to promote work and families?
Indeed, there are many U.S. corporations that are progressive in their support of working families. Many of the Corporate Voices for Working Families partner companies are among this elite group. Companies like Accenture (ACN), PNC (PNC), Merck (MRK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Baxter (BAX), JPMorgan (JPM), Ernst & Young and Allstate (ALL) are among the best of them.
Working Mother magazine annually highlights the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. And now to level the playing field between professional employee support and hourly employee support, Working Mother, in partnership with Corporate Voices, is shining the light on those companies who employ predominately hourly workers, with the same opportunity to brand their workforce supports for hourly working families.
The first edition of Best Companies for Hourly Workers will be published in Working Mother magazine in the spring 2010. The strategy is to use the competitive mentality of corporations to brand and encourage advancement of these supports for hourly workers who have been somewhat overlooked in the past.
Can you talk about any innovative/unusual/successful programs?
There are many examples of these “best-practice” programs occurring in the field of work and family balance. Flexibility continues to lead the way. Available for many years for professional employees only, flexible work opportunities are now being offered by many progressive companies to their hourly employees.
Companies like Marriott (MAR) and PNC are experimenting with flexibility for hourly employees and realizing returns on investment equal to those evidenced by flexibility offerings to their professional staffs.
Companies are even piloting workplace lactation support for hourly employees. Female labor now represents 50% of the American workforce and that represents permanent and fundamental change. We are dependent on female labor in the 21st century workplace and that will drive even greater innovation in coming years.
Corporate Voices, by the way, would be most interested in feedback from companies about their innovative, unusual and successful programs. We know from experience that these best-practice models are drivers of change involving public and corporate policy. And we would welcome the opportunity to engage those companies in concert with our current corporate partners that really are leaders in designing and implementing programs aimed at work and family balance and improving the lives of working families.
Why is the conversation about workplace flexibility focused on professional workers?
Flexibility has been focused primarily on professional/management employees to date, because of two primary reasons. First, U.S. labor law (FLSA) does not apply to professional employees, so tracking hours worked is not required. Employers can ask professionals to work as few or as many hours as they deem necessary, as well as whatever work schedule they feel appropriate.
Secondly, the cost of professional turnover, which resulted from rigid, inflexible scheduling of hours, began to increase dramatically as productivity gains began to be associated with longer hours rather than more efficient processes. Companies who demanded long hours with no flexibility began to lose their best talent.
The cost of that turnover, including recruiting, training, and on-boarding new hires, was time consuming, which means costly. In many industries, the cost of replacing a fully functioning employee was estimated to be as much as 2-6 times that employee’s annual salary. Keeping talent became a key management objective. Offering flexibility, a fairly cost neutral solution, kept professionals loyal, on the job and actually increased engagement scores.
By contrast, why aren’t there more flexible work options for hourly workers?
As I mentioned previously, labor laws require tracking and recording hours worked. A company had to employ some mechanized system to do that, like clock cards, or they verified hours worked by observation. And unfortunately, to many managers, seeing is believing. It has been perceived to be too difficult to implement flexibility for hourly employees.
Additionally, in an economy that had an overabundance of qualified workers, the replacement of an hourly worker was perceived to be easy. Hourly workers were perceived to be pretty much undifferentiated – the old industrial model.
But in today’s world, with the skills gap widening and employers in all industries agreeing that there is a shortage of qualified workers, both hourly and professional, I think we are poised to see the rapid decline of those antiquated management beliefs. Business is now more knowledgeable about what constitutes a productive employee.
Do you think the Motherhood Penalty exists in Corporate America? Why or why not?
Unfortunately, I do think the motherhood penalty exists. One popular Sunday night drama recently and dramatically brought the discussion into the forefront when one of the “desperate housewives” denied her pregnancy to retain a promotion she had been granted. But we don’t need to see evidence in the popular media to know it exists.
Many aspects of career track jobs penalize motherhood – not intentionally but because of traditional thinking about what it takes to succeed (based on the prevalence of male models in the past). Today, in the best of cases if you are lucky enough to have paid maternity leave, it is still only a few companies that will hold “your” job open until you return.
FMLA requires that “a” job be available when you return. The time it takes to develop credentials in a new position inadvertently delays the advancement of women. And there are many less obvious reasons why mothers are penalized. Perceptions of loyalty, ability to travel, reliability on the job, while not policy driven, remain unspoken and many times unrecognized barriers.
The recession is having a huge impact on the physical, mental and fiscal health of American workers. How are employers helping workers weather the storm? Can you share some best practices?
The economy has indeed taken a toll. Employees who have retained their jobs are extremely insecure and job stress is becoming unmanageable. Many times that stress is a function of work overload accompanied by guilt at being retained when close co-workers have been dismissed. Companies that recognize and solve for this aftereffect are indeed among the best places to work.
But as recently reported by the Families and Work Institute, we can point to 80% retention of flexible work practices by those firms that have them, and a 18% increase in the companies that are offering them. Additionally we are seeing more workforce support for those retained, and outplacement services for those being dismissed including career counseling, retaining in job search skills and of course EAP services which are being proactively offered to workers and their family members.
This post was written by Shari Storm, author of Motherhood is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to be a Better Boss.
This economy is throwing new challenges and new surprises at us almost daily. Our companies will have a better change at weathering this storm if we minimize unnecessary inter-office bickering, maintain a tone of control and reduce stress-causing behavior.
Here are three tips for being a better manager, plucked straight from the pages of a parenting handbook.
1. Create a sense of family:
Have you ever noticed how a parent scolds a child when they are fighting with their siblings?
“Don’t hit your sister!” or “Don’t tease your brother.”
Parents use family position instead of given names when barking these commands. Why? I think the stronger message is, “We are a family and that is not how you treat your family.”
Throughout the ages, healthy families that stick together have a better chance of survival for the individuals in the family. Good parents understand this, if even on an instinctual level, and shape their words to instill the message, “Be good to your family.”
As a manager, it’s tempting to create empires. Nothing bonds a team quicker than an “us against them” mentality. Whether it’s back office against frontline, marketing against finance, or employees against management, it’s easy to build small tribes within a bigger organization. It’s easy, but it’s not always best for your credit union.
Just like fighting with your siblings is bad for the family, interdepartmental bickering is bad for your company. It is particularly dangerous for us right now. Squabbling is time consuming, resource draining and morale dampening. If we are going to survive this economy we have to do a lot of things well and one of them, simple as it may sound, is get along.
2. Keep Up Your Game Face:
Parents understand how strongly their emotions set the tone for their children. One mother I interviewed for my book described the emotional ups and downs of her teenage daughter. “I just tell myself that it is my responsibility to stay off the emotional rollercoaster. I need to keep my feet firmly on the ground for her sake.”
So many people I have talked to on my book tour lament how crazy their jobs have gotten. One man said to me, “My boss is under so much stress and she is taking it out on all of us. It makes everything that much harder.”
One of the women I interviewed for my book, Jill Vicente of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union in Seattle, had this to say, “I look to my boss to be the emotional constant and I try to do the same with my employees. I need to stay grounded and show them how a leader acts in stressful situations.”
It’s more important than ever before to avoid the emotional rollercoaster. As managers, we need to be direct and clear with our employees on our expectations, however, we also need to steer clear of interpersonal meltdowns. They only harm moral and create chaos.
3. Hold the Line on Tantrums:
Bosses aren’t the only ones losing their cool under pressure – so are employees. As salaries are frozen or reduced, perks diminished and teams grow leaner, employees are prone to showing their frustrations through disruptive and counterproductive behavior.
If you have an employee who is throwing an adult size tantrum, deal with it immediately.
Suzie Kellett, who has worked for People and Time Magazine as well as running film offices in Chicago and Washington, sums it up nicely, “When my quadruplets were growing up, I never let them make a fuss in public places. In the film business, I held production teams to the same expectations. If someone was acting up, I would take them aside and tell them, ‘Settle down. This behavior is not acceptable.’ “
Never underestimate what a quick ‘can I see you in the hall?’ can do when an employee is being sarcastic and acting improperly in a meeting. The combination of a change of scenery plus stern words can act as quickly on an employee as it does on your kids.
There are always going to be office politics, stressful outbursts and uncooperative employees, however, it is your duty as a manager to expertly guide your staff through these landmines, particularly when times are tough.
Shari Storm is a VP and CMO for Verity Credit Union in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Motherhood is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to be a Better Boss. To find out more about Shari Storm, visit her website.
This fall I am particularly keen on exercise. My 15-daughter joined the track team, and in a few short weeks I can see the transformation—in her energy, in her strength, and in her carriage. As for me, exercise has not only eased an irksome hip, but it also has helped keep me sane. Awake before dawn and can’t get back to sleep? Go to a 6:15 Bikram yoga class.
But last week a post in The New York Times’ Well blog gave me pause. It reported on two recent experiments that measured how different exercise levels affected mice’s resistance to the flu virus. The blog said “the bulk of the new research, including the mouse studies mentioned, reinforce a theory that physiologists advanced some years ago, about what they call ‘a J-shaped curve’ involving exercise and immunity.” It quoted Mary P. Miles, an associate professor of exercise sciences at Montana State University, as saying that in this model, the risk both of catching a cold or the flu and of having a particularly severe form of the infection “drop if you exercise moderately.” But the risk both of catching an illness and of becoming especially sick when you do “jumps right back up,” she says, if you exercise intensely or for a prolonged period, surpassing the risks even among the sedentary.
And what constitutes intense exercise? Inquiring moms and dads with kids in school sports want to know, especially in this season of swine flu. Most researchers “define it as a workout or race of an hour or more during which your heart rate and respiration soar and you feel as though you’re working hard,” the post said.
That seems to cover a broad range of activities and levels of exertion—from preparing for a marathon to sweating 1 ½ hours in a room heated to 105 F doing a regimen of 26 postures (in other words, a Bikram yoga class). As I forwarded the blog to a friend who plans to run the New York Marathon in two weeks, I wondered whether my daughter—who runs more than an hour after school most days—and I are also in danger of sabotaging our immune systems with too much exercise.
When I posed the question to Professor Miles, she said most studies have focused on adults. Not much research has been done on adolescent athletes—or on Bikram yoga practitioners, for that matter—and she’s not comfortable extrapolating. “The one thing that I would say is that if a person seems to be getting sick frequently, then exercise volume might be a factor to consider,” she said. That’s one way to tell whether just doing it can be doing too much.
Calvin Trillin, one of my favorite writers, has come up with perhaps the most spot-on analysis yet of the causes behind the recession. His New York Times Op-Ed piece, Wall Street Smarts, suggests that the roots of the financial meltdown go back to when the smartest kids in class stopped choosing careers in science, math and engineering, as they did in the 1960s and 1970s, and started choosing finance instead.
The theory is related by an imaginary investor that Trillin meets in a bar, a guy who was in college in the 1960s, and watched everything change in the 1980s:
Two things happened. One is that the amount of money that could be made on Wall Street with hedge fund and private equity operations became just mind-blowing. At the same time, college was getting so expensive that people from reasonably prosperous families were graduating with huge debts. So even the smart guys went to Wall Street, maybe telling themselves that in a few years they’d have so much money they could then become professors or legal-services lawyers or whatever they’d wanted to be in the first place. That’s when you started reading stories about the percentage of the graduating class of Harvard College who planned to go into the financial industry or go to business school so they could then go into the financial industry. That’s when you started reading about these geniuses from M.I.T. and Caltech who instead of going to graduate school in physics went to Wall Street to calculate arbitrage odds.
As a result, says the guy in the bar, the smart kids started inventing things like “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” that those of average intelligence could never have come up with. Everyone got filthy rich as a result, and no one bothered to figure out how to police these instruments of easy money.
Sounds as reasonable as any other explanation out there, perhaps more so. And it makes me wonder–will the smart kids continue to enter finance, now that its reputation has been besmirched? Judging by the size of the recent Goldman Sachs bonuses ($6.7 billion, more than half a million per employee), Wall Street is still the best place to get really really rich. The nation’s manufacturing base, meanwhile, just keeps withering away. As BusinessWeek Writer Pete Engardio recently wrote in Can The Future Be Built In America?:
The good news is that the U.S. is at or near the cutting edge in most of the emerging product areas. Indeed, the new wave of high-tech devices hitting the market is the payoff from billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded research at federal and university science labs stretching back to the 1960s, when the applications were but glimmers in the eyes of futurists. Now the bad news: Unless the U.S. can magically resurrect its manufacturing base, the good-paying jobs from these breakthroughs will be offshore.
So if your kid is one of the smartest in the class, what career would you like him or her to choose? Should they follow their dreams, or follow the money? And what if their dream is to make Goldman Sachs-style bonuses? Can they land on Wall Street and still maintain some of those old-fashioned values that used to keep greed at bay? Or can they be lured back to the sciences, despite the (relatively) paltry pay, in order to make the U.S. a world leader in producing goods, not services, again? In 20 years, how will their choices shape the nation and the economy?
The New York Times recently profiled Francis Lewis High School in Queens, one of the top ranked high schools in the city, and wildly popular. Last year nearly 13,000 students applied for admission (in NYC students can apply to any school in their district). The lucky ones who get in can choose electives such as forensics, psychology, bioethics, genetics research and pre-law. The one thing the school doesn’t offer is space. Francis Lewis has more than 4,600 students enrolled, in a building designed to fit 2,000.
The cramped quarters don’t seem to harm the quality of education, or the enthusiasm of the students for their school. Which makes me wonder–why do so many of us believe small schools and small classrooms are better? Does size not matter? I know many parents struggle financially in order to send their children to small, selective private schools, in part because they fear the overcrowding and large class sizes their children might encounter in public schools. The New York City Board of Education also seems to believe smaller schools are preferable. It’s been setting up small charter schools throughout the five boroughs for several years in an effort to move kids out of gigantic schools, many of them failing.
Yet one of the top elementary schools in the city, PS 321 in Brooklyn, routinely has 30 children in many of its classes. My daughter’s middle school, MS 51, also in Brooklyn, regularly gets top rankings despite encompassing 1300 students in grades 6-8. And Stuyvesant High School, one of the best and most selective schools in the nation, has 3200 students (though they are housed in a spacious 10-story building that looks more like a college than a high school).
In the Newsweek blog NurtureShock, Po Bronson writes about a Maine study by Dr. Julie Newman Kingery that looked at whether elementary school students did better staying with their same classmates through middle school (a so-called linear model) or moving to a much larger school with students from many different elementary schools (the multifeeder model). She sampled several hundred kids from both models and the results surprised her:
Kingery fully expected the kids in the linear, single-school feeder system to be better adjusted socially and as a result to also be doing slightly better academically. Surprisingly, she found the opposite result: kids in the multifeeder middle school had adjusted better; they had improved academically and had more best friends.
I wonder why so many of us are convinced that smaller is better when it comes to schools? I’m beginning to realize, as my own daughter moves from her small elementary school to a large middle school, that it is a magical mix of great teachers, innovative administrators, involved parents and enthusiastic students that makes a school work. Getting the mix of each right is tricky, of course, and it’s probably easier to manage all the parts if the building isn’t filled to bursting.
I’d like to hear from readers: What’s been your experience with school size?