Dec. 9, 2013
: In Windy City, religion confronts a gust of cold air
Dec. 2, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Grylak: Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith
U.S. boxes in Israel, not Iran: Surrender in Geneva
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Vanessa Bayer & Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy; Adam Levine, nickname "the Bear Jew," is People's Sexiest; Eastwoods Need to Say "Kinehora!"
The Kosher Gourmet by Kim Ode:
Fried and gone to heaven: Dense, fried Slovenian doughnut-like rolls, krofi, on Chanukah is a treat you'll want to eat all year long
: Tracking babies' eyes, scientists find signs of autism in 2-month-olds
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Hunger Games: Jewish Connections; A 'Minyan'of Jewish Celebs Recite the Gettysburg Address On-line; Walter Matthau's Reaction to JFK's Death
Nancy A. Youssef :
Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Jewish MLB managers; Past and Present; Movie News and Dancing W/the Stars Shocker; Paula Abdul's Israeli bat mitzvah and bio facts rarely reported
Jewish World Review
April 23, 2012/ 1 Iyar, 5772
Educational excellence is a game
National testing tells us that vast numbers of students are not up to snuff on what they should know. But, wait a minute, what's that signal of hope out of Brooklyn? A middle school with 60 percent poor kids just won the national high school chess championship?
It's true. This institution with a forgettable, numerical name, Intermediate School 318, just did the near impossible by engaging in right practices where so many public schools engage in wrong ones. It thereby joined a number of other superb schools over the years in providing lessons far more important than chess skills. The practices are important for educational excellence.
While many believe teachers can do little to make much of a difference for kids from such tough economic backgrounds, chess players from this middle school have been outmaneuvering more advantaged students for years. What they did this time around was especially impressive, for they were whipping high school students. Middle schools do not win national high school contests in chess. It has never happened before.
Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City's education system, has written that the poor can perform as well as the gifted at special schools if they get the right teachers to teach them. What that can mean, says this voice of experience, is taking on teachers unions over all kinds of rules that foster mediocrity by protecting jobs no matter how miserably performed.
At least one exceptional teacher in I.S. 318's case is Elizabeth Spiegel, who started as a part-time chess coach before becoming a full-time chess teacher, according to The New York Times. I like much of what she is quoted as saying, such as her recognition that intellect expresses itself in a variety of ways and that chess is more than chess. It is a way of learning to think and to cope.
To stand out in the crowd, as I.S. 318 did, requires principals who stand out in the crowd, as we've been told in books by such observers as William G. Ouchi, a Stanford management professor, and by Samuel Casey Carter, a corporate vice president and Heritage Foundation fellow. That brings us to Fortunato Rubino, who died early this month. His leadership as principal of I.S. 318 seems from all accounts to have been central to this year's accomplishments.
But, for goodness sake, let's not forget the chess players themselves, according to Chester E. Finn Jr., an education expert writing in National Review online. He says too many educators these days nurture student self-esteem when none is due. They hate the idea of students competing and maybe not winning. They do not push for students to work particularly hard.
Time to tune in to an online video of the chess players funded by an organization called Kickstarter.
One player on the video says, "We crush our opponents," apparently enjoying every minute of competition. Another one says the thing that matters most in winning is "how much work you put into it." My favorite is a teen happy to earn her self-esteem. Ranked low among chess players, she fought her way up. She reminds us of the saying that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Others point to other issues, such as an I.S. 318 money deficit that, as worrisome as it might have been, donors filled to keep the program going. Basic skills, despite their primary importance, should not be the whole show in public schools, which is not the same as saying chess is crucial to every school. But are good teaching, good leadership from principals and hard work by students crucial? Checkmate.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
• 04/18/12: Obama's interventions help a few by the most autocratic, complicated, ineffective means possible, yet hurt many more
• 04/16/12: Overregulation strikes again: The nanny state threatens to turn us into children
• 04/11/12: Obama is not bonkers
• 04/04/12: Will America vote against authoritarianism?
• 04/02/12: 'Tipping point' on federal restraint approaches
• 03/28/12: Obama truth from an open mike
• 03/21/12: The progressive campaign for voter fraud
• 03/19/12: Public pensions will get us if we don't watch out
• 03/14/12: Politics needs reporting, not speculation
• 03/12/12: Home of the free, the brave, the endangered
• 03/07/12: Obama used Limbaugh as scapegoat
• 03/05/12: Campaign substance lost in media melodrama
• 03/01/12: When Big Brother drowns
• 02/24/12: Obama goes gaseous on gas
• 02/22/12: Political tears for trust in personal empowerment --- except in the bedroom
• 02/17/12: Of cut-off ears and silenced mouths
• 02/15/12: Obama is a joke whose antics aren't funny
• 02/10/12: An energy boom looms, despite Obama
• 02/08/12: Obama's assault on faith
• 02/03/12: Can Romney get serious?
• 01/27/12: Obama is like an Italian ship captain
• 01/25/12: Newt Gingrich's first 100 days
• 01/20/12: Obama's Keystone pipeline lies
• 01/18/12: Critics worse than urinating Marines
• 01/13/12: Ron Paul is a cartoonish character
• 01/11/12: Newt Gingrich upset by Mitt Romney's brilliance
• 01/09/12: How about regulating presidents, too?
• 01/04/12: How America smothers itself
• 12/30/11: A tax break that helps break the nation
• 12/28/11: Watch out for the banana peel, Newt
• 12/21/11: A tale of two men
• 12/16/11: Strange happenings in Russia
• 12/14/11: Tim Tebow is a man of character
• 12/09/11: A populist, envy-mongering fraud divisively exacerbating resentment among different groups of Americans
• 12/07/11: Tax games threaten nation
• 12/05/11: Why Wal-Mart serves us better than Barney Frank
• 11/30/11: Not writing off Newt
• 11/28/11: Answers to the Iranian threat
• 11/23/11: Failure of the incumbency investment
• 11/18/11: Occupiers: Chop off their heads!
• 11/16/11: Obama asks jobless to sacrifice
• 11/09/11: Michael Moore's insufferable occupation
• 11/04/11: Political tipping point is coming
• 11/02/11: Idealogues versus 7 billion
• 10/28/11: Obama games on student loans
• 10/26/11: Wit and quick moves v. humanity and thoroughgoing honesty? It's no contest - or at least shouldn't be
• 10/07/11: Baptists, bootleggers and Wall Street protesters
• 10/05/11: Federal law will get you even if you watch out
• 09/28/11: Leftist bugbears on the march
• 09/23/11: Still hope for coal to help us
• 09/21/11: Obama's Madoff ploy
• 09/19/11: U.S. can't afford to wait until it happens
• 09/14/11: Defending -- and strengthening -- gung ho collectivism
• 09/12/11: A pipeline to better times
• 09/08/11: Obama just keeps destroying jobs
• 09/06/11: Ultra-feminists thwarting justice
• 08/31/11: Corporations are people? Yes, Count the ways
• 08/26/11: What an earthquake tells us about debt
• 08/25/11: The tyranny of scientific consensus
• 08/23/11: Fracking hardly a public health threat
• 08/17/11: Why Obamacare won't control births
• 08/15/11: Balanced budget amendment unbalanced idea
• 08/10/11: Kerry's war on citizen speech
• 08/05/11: Upside to the compromise leaving the door open for obnoxious maneuvers
• 08/03/11: The people who may save America
• 07/29/11: On making deals, Obama is no LBJ
• 07/27/11: The threat behind the debt
• 07/23/11: Mean opposition to means-testing
• 07/20/11: Leftist babble makes debt crisis even worse
• 07/18/11: Time to raise demagoguery ceiling
• 07/13/11: Obama treating treaties badly
• 07/08/11: Is decline of U.S. exaggerated?
• 07/05/11: Not math deficiency, but demagoguery
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K