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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Sept. 17, 2010 / 9 Tishrei, 5771

D.C. Voters Betray Their Kids

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Amid all the good news from primary season — the surging grassroots rejection of leviathan government being the theme — there was one tragedy. The voters of the District of Columbia rejected Mayor Adrian Fenty, and with him the bold education reforms undertaken by schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Democrat Adrian Fenty may have been an arrogant jerk who offended his constituents in a number of ways, but on his signature issue, education reform, he was getting results.

Before the advent of Fenty/Rhee, the District of Columbia schools had been legendary for two things: high spending and utter incompetence. For decades, city governments had surveyed the near illiteracy of many public school students in the district and cried "More funding!" And they got it.

For the United States as a whole, per-pupil expenditures roughly doubled between 1969 and 1989. In the district, expenditures more than tripled, rising from $4,000 per pupil to $13,000. By 2010, D.C. was spending $16,800 per pupil, which is more than all but two states.

Yet the district's students were consistently among the worst performers on standardized tests, ranking 45th, for example, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for 1998. That year, 61 percent of the district's fourth-graders scored "below basic" in reading — meaning they could barely read. Only 8 percent of students in the eighth grade were proficient in math.

On the SAT exam — only taken by those hoping to attend college — African-American students in the district scored an average 773 on the 1600-point combined reading and math test. The national average is 1021, and the African-American national average is 863.

Year after sorry year, politicians would call for more money, more teachers, and better facilities. They got it all, and they created a system that, as June Kronholz reported in Education Next magazine, "hasn't kept records, patched windows, met budgets, delivered books, returned phone calls, followed court orders, checked teachers' credentials, or, for years on end, opened school on schedule in the fall. … Marc Borbely, a former teacher, filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2004 to find out how many work orders were outstanding at the central maintenance office. The answer: 25,000."

Rhee got and used the authority to fire incompetent teachers and principals. She brought in young, idealistic teachers from the Teach for America program, and closed 23 failing schools altogether. Convinced that good teachers and principals were the key to improving performance, she instituted a teacher evaluation program that required five observations per year of each teacher combined with a record of his or her pupils' test scores. The union hollered about all of this, but in what other line of work do employees have the luxury of being unobserved and unrated as they perform their jobs?

Since 2007, with the unflinching support of Fenty, Rhee repaired crumbling buildings, quadrupled spending on professional development, and secured art and music programs in every school. In 2009, the NAEP reported that while most states had shown no improvement in student performance, the district had demonstrated a five-point gain in fourth-grade reading. The number of fourth-grade students at or above basic proficiency in math increased from 49 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in 2009.

Additionally, the achievement gap between black and white students narrowed significantly between 2007 and 2010, declining from 70 to 51.4 points in high school math achievement. The gap in high school reading achievement closed by 15 points.

Fenty, the pundits tell us, was imperious, cold, and unresponsive to criticism. Rhee erred by politicizing her office and openly campaigning for her boss. She courted too much publicity — some of which, like the Time magazine cover picturing her in an empty classroom holding a broom — may have backfired.

So what? Those are trivialities. In a city where only one in four jobs is held by a district resident and 44 percent of the population lacks a high school diploma, education should have been the highest priority. Sure, there are many reasons beyond the schools themselves for the pupils' sad performance in D.C. But the reforms were working!

President Obama, whose two girls attend a private school, has delivered some soaring speeches about "excellence" and "accountability" in education. Yet he has declined every opportunity to actually improve the lives of the less fortunate kids who live only blocks away from his family. He declined to intervene when Congress killed the "Opportunity Scholarship" voucher program last year and he kept mum while the most successful public school reformer in America was defeated.

For most district children, who were just placing a foot on the proverbial ladder of opportunity, the election was a buzz saw — unresisted by the first black president.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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