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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 3, 2013/ 23 Nissan, 5773

Securing poverty's shackles with nary a peep of protest

By Jack Kelly




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Chicago announced plans to close 54 elementary schools, mostly in minority neighborhoods. A lot of poor black kids now will have to travel considerable distances to be maleducated.

Chicago's public schools were the worst in the nation, the U.S. Secretary of Education declared in 1987. Ever since, they've ranked at or near the bottom in most measures of student achievement.

But Chicago teachers are the highest paid, despite having the shortest school year of any major metropolitan area.

CPS plans to close the schools -- 13 percent of the city's total -- because it is a billion dollars in the red, and because enrollment has plunged. Many families have moved from the city to the suburbs, in part because parents are desperate to get their kids out of schools where violence is high, test scores low.

"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war," declared the President's Commission on Excellence in Education in 1983.

In the three decades since publication of the "Nation at Risk" report, we've spent a great deal more on education, but students in public schools are now less likely to learn the things they need to know to compete in the global economy, and to fulfill their civic responsibilities.

After noting that in an earlier column, I said: "We face a national emergency so grave and so urgent only a Gordian Knot solution will do...If our children, and our country, are to have a future, the entire politicized system must go. Now."

Which prompted this response from a reader: "No (stuff), Sherlock. How?"

Other readers asked the same question, though not quite so succinctly. They deserve an answer.

Our experience of the last 30 years makes it plain those who've been running our schools (into the ground) are -- at best -- utterly incompetent. More likely, many are engaged in a conspiracy to defraud.

I doubt those who decide how our education dollars are spent -- Democrat politicians, educrats, teacher unions -- have anything against either children or knowledge (though schools of education say it isn't important actually to know stuff). But student learning isn't their top priority.

Educrats and teacher unions want higher pay and benefits and more job security for less work. Democrat politicians want votes and campaign contributions from educrats and teacher unions. The politicians get what they want by showering ever more taxpayer dollars on the educrats and teacher unions, without asking awkward questions about what they're doing with them. This is why spending for "education" rises, but student performance doesn't.

The only way to get the schools we need is to remove control over how our education dollars are spent from this unholy trinity, and bestow it on parents.

Parents vary widely in their wisdom and knowledge, and in how much time they can (or will) devote to their childrens' education. They'll make mistakes. But the top priority in education for the overwhelming majority of parents is to have their children learn the things they need to know to succeed in life. This makes them vastly superior to the so-called "experts," who relentlessly pursue their self interest at the expense of children.

The method of transfer of control over spending should be the universal voucher. Every parent should receive a voucher for what the state spends per student on education, which could be cashed at (essentially) any school, public or private.

Three decades of "reform" proposed by the powers that be have produced little in the way of student achievement because the primary purpose of those "reforms" was to feather the nests of the powers that be.

If control of the purse strings were removed from the unholy trinity, I think Americans would be astonished by how rapidly schools improve. Children who flounder in urban public schools can make dramatic improvement quickly if taught real subjects by good teachers who expect them to learn, Marva Collins, Jaime Escalante and others have demonstrated.

The schools where children learn the most promptly would spark imitators, because that's what parents care about most. The key to student learning is to put control of funding their education in the hands of those for whom this is the top priority. It really is that simple.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2013, Jack Kelly

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