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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 June 28, 2005 / 21 Sivan , 5765

Schools are for children but adults get in way

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Two Los Angeles-based radio talk show hosts almost put their finger on the problem with the public school system and why those who try to reform it run into brick walls. Here's how one of them put it: "It's like the only thing that matters is what's good for the adults, and not what's good for the kids."

Bingo. It always comes back to this: the competing interests of the adults who work in the school system with those of the students supposedly served by that system.

The trouble was that the radio jocks — John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou — didn't go far enough in advancing that argument. Instead, they got hung up on what got them talking about education in the first place: a newspaper story about the $250,000 annual salary of a school superintendent in Southern California. It bothered the hosts that the superintendent was pulling down this hefty salary while students were being squeezed into portable classrooms.

Here's what should have bothered them: It's not just money, it's that this habit of putting adults first spills into everything. It helps explain why educators are quick to dig in and fight off any proposed reform, from testing to merit pay to fixing special education.

You name it, and the reason that it's creating friction or meeting resistance is because it pits the interests of adults against those of children. And in the public school system, the adults run the show.

I heard the same thing about 10 years ago during a frank and honest exchange with a Mexican-American school superintendent in Central California. He told me that the way the educational system was set up, everything is done — or, in case of reform efforts, often not done — to serve the adults who depended on that system for their livelihoods.

And I heard the same thing from departing San Diego Unified School Superintendent Alan Bersin, a hard-charging reformer who resigned recently after losing a shoving match with teachers unions and their allies on the school board. The thing is, Bersin is no pushover. A former U.S. attorney, he's a tough guy who has prosecuted corporate criminals and drug dealers and organized crime figures. You would think that, in him, the unions who barter and trade on what President Bush calls "the soft bigotry of low expectations" would have finally met their match.

Think again. The more Bersin tried to hold schools accountable and set performance goals for students, the more the unions made him a target. He drafted a "blueprint" on how to raise student performance, and the unions leveled so much criticism against it — and against him — that before long, he was black and blue.

Eventually, he lost favor with a majority of the five-member school board, and then it was only a matter of time before he was forced out.

Now Bersin is headed to Sacramento, having been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as California secretary of education. Recently, Bersin met with the editorial board of The San Diego Union-Tribune and shared some lessons he picked up from locking horns with those who fight for the status quo. Americans have to decide what they want from schools, he said.

"Is public education going to be an enterprise that gives adults what they want for their jobs, or is it to be something that serves children?" he asked.

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One thing that helps tip the balance in favor of the first option is the fact that teachers unions have their fingers in school board elections.

I first heard about this insidious practice about a year ago when I spoke to a group of school board members about the federal education reform law, No Child Left Behind. After my talk, one of the members approached me and, trying to explain why the reaction had been so hostile, revealed that school board candidates often get contributions from teachers unions, which strongly oppose No Child Left Behind.

Bersin acknowledged that the unions contribute to school board elections in San Diego, though he said they were merely taking advantage of an "opportunity that the system provides them."

That is too kind. Here's the drill. The unions scratch the backs of school board members, who reciprocate by scratching the eyes out of reformers like the superintendent — thus easing the pressure on teachers.

That part of the education system isn't so complicated. In fact, it's as easy as ABC — as in Absolutely Broken & Corrupted.

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