I’m an All-Around Gymnastics Fan: My events include reading, watching, commenting, and writing

US Women win Gold, London 2012, Ronald Martinez via Getty

I’m a big women’s gymnastics fan. Knowing I love dance, sports, and nearly all things feminine and strong, this should come as no surprise.  If you know me it’s also no surprise that while I took gymnastics as a kid I didn’t last long.  I was flexible, but I was also fearful (I would think […]


Tiger Teachers: The New Stage Moms Aren’t the Moms (from Huffington Post Culture)

Dance Moms promo image with girls

This originally appeared in The Huffington Post’s Culture Section. Write a bad mommy confessional and be rewarded with multiple weeks on bestseller lists, riches, and fame/infamy. (See: Chua, Amy [Tiger Mom]; Druckerman, Pamela [American mom, French parenting]; Weiss, Dara-Lynn [Diet Devil in Vogue]). And then there are the television shows. In the grand tradition of […]


Life Is an Audition: Recent Books About Young Adult Performers (from Huffington Post Books)

Take a Bow cover from Amazon

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Books. “My life has been one big audition.” This is the first line of Elizabeth Eulberg’s latest young adult novel, Take a Bow [Scholastic, April 1, 2012]. Take a Bow follows four young performers–two songwriters, one singer, and an actor–through their senior year at the fictional New […]


High Kicks: The Latest in Competitive Dance and Soccer from Choreography Theft to Poaching to Year-round Commitments (and Injuries)

Dance Moms, Topless Showgirls, Screen image from Lifetime

Lifetime’s Season 2 of Dance Moms continues to get sillier and sillier as the contrivances spin out faster than a terrible fouetté turn.  What can you say when Kendall leaves Abby’s studio and ends up at Candy Apples in Ohio besides, “Yeah, right! Producer interference!” in Episode 8, “The Runaway Mom?” And Abby’s decision to […]


The Age of the Diva: Fallbacks in Dance and Pageants

Honey Boo Boo's mom dressed up as her, picture from Jezebel article

Watching Dance Moms and Toddlers & Tiaras is always interesting for me– both because the shows are often entertaining (if only in a horrifying way, like the recent T&T episode that featured Heaven, a modern day Violet Beauregarde with her incessant gum chewing, and Honey Boo Boo child and her TLC crossover extreme couponing momma […]


Are after-school math centers really worth the money?: Parents and education experts do the math. (From The Boston Globe Magazine)

Krishna Kumurappan at Kumon, Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

A feature story I wrote on afterschool math enrichment centers appeared in today’s The Boston Globe Magazine. You can read it online (and see additional links below) by clicking here! I researched and wrote this in the last month or so of my pregnancy, so joke that now I know which math programs my son […]


Sex, Sexual Abuse, and Sports

Don Peters working with young, female gymnasts in 1996; Ana Venegas, The OC Register

Given the recent, multiple sexual abuse scandals in sports (from Penn State to Syracuse, and now even the Amateur Athletic Union) it’s not surprising that this past weekend two major newspapers published stories on the ways in which sports can provide a breeding ground for pedophiles (click here to read The New York Times’ take, […]


UPDATED! What happens when you are first-time parents who study competition and education?

BabyMath, Jenn's Web Design

ETA: On January 4th, 2012 we welcomed our son, Carston, into the world. Two days later, his daddy’s research on value-added teachers appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Coincidence?! Everyone is doing well and no one has been fired yet! I was correct (per original post below) that this work would […]


Triumph and Tragedy in Scholastic Chess

With the Bryant twins in 2009 at my dissertation defense

I have a soft spot for scholastic chess. In 2005 I started studying chess as part of my dissertation research (which is forthcoming as Playing to Win: Raising Kids in a Competitive Culture). One of the things I loved the most about the chess scene is the diversity of people who meet and engage over […]


NECN Appearance on Andover Sports Hazing and Parents’ Right to Question Coaching Credentials

NECN logo

In the aftermath of a hazing incident at a summer basketball camp, two Andover High School students have been expelled, the franchised basketball camp (Hoop Mountain) has been kicked off the college campus where the camp was held, and a legal investigation is underway as well. I appeared on NECN’s The Morning Show (NECN is […]