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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 Feb 22, 2012/ 29 Shevat, 5772

Public school principals must be evaluated, too

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Fierce battles continue around the country among school officials, teachers unions and parents about how to best evaluate teachers so that the incompetents can be terminated. Largely overlooked, however, is the vital need to evaluate principals. In many schools I've reported on over the years, it's been clear that a principal can determine the learning environment in a school beneficially, or encourage dropouts.

In several schools with a domineering but uneducable principal, I've actually witnessed a few teachers -- able to create lifelong learners -- keeping the doors of their classrooms shut as long as possible lest a clueless, destructive principal wander in and warn these creative teachers they'd be disciplined for being out of step.

I've rarely seen an education reporter so well describe an exemplary principal as The New York Times' Maria Newman did in her Feb. 14 story "On the Front Lines of School Reform."

Here is Jim Manly, principal of New York City's Harlem Success Academy 2, part of Eva Moskowitz's network of 40 charter schools that are public but not required to employ unionized teachers.

Jim Manly so believes in personalized education that at the beginning of each year, he works on getting to know the names of each of the school's students, kindergarten through fourth grade.

He tells Maria Newman: "I go down first thing every morning and I shake every scholar's hand and I say good morning by their name."

This reminded me of a fourth-grader in another New York public school who was explaining why he so liked being there. He was still surprised, he said, that his teachers "know my name," unlike in his previous school.

Principal Manly doesn't just know the students' names. He also keeps up on how each is doing. When he finds some of them faltering, he'll then tell the parents:

"Your kid is coming to school at 12:30 in the afternoon, or they're missing three days in a row for no other reason than (they) felt tired or (they) didn't feel like coming to school."

He then brings those parents right into their children's education. "We can't throw anybody out, but we sit the parents down and say there is a waiting list a mile long of people who want in to this school and you have this spot and you're throwing it away. We need your help. "

Just about every one of Eva Moskowitz's Success charter schools does have long lines of parents intently striving to get their kids into those schools because academically, they genuinely outperform neighboring regular schools.

That's why I have urged, in New York City's Village Voice newspaper, Eva Moskowitz to run for mayor when the present incumbent, Michael Bloomberg's extended term expires. Bloomberg proudly calls himself "The Education Mayor" and has repeatedly urged New Yorkers to judge his reign by what he has achieved for the students.

The degree of his failing grades is revealed by the long reliable Quinnipiac University poll, reported on Feb. 12 by Michael Goodwin in the New York Post:

"The numbers jump off the page. Only 26 percent of New Yorkers approve of Mayor Bloomberg's handling of the public schools, while 61 percent disapprove."

One of Bloomberg's main pledges while running for office and since was that he would prove the lasting value for students of mayoral control of the schools. Here is the current report card on how well he is doing in that regard: "Just 24 percent say mayoral control has been a success, with 57 percent calling it a failure."

And The Education Mayor's response, reported by Michael Goodwin: "The mayor says he kept that promise, recently declaring that 'schools are better than they have ever been.'"

Sadly, many years ago, the teachers of young Bloomberg in Massachusetts were not able to get him to learn critical thinking with regard to assessing the actual results of education.

If Eva Moskowitz does not run to succeed Michael Bloomberg, I would gladly vote for principal Jim Manly, because he sees -- and continually acts on -- what he calls the real urgency to this work, telling the New York Times this about the kindergarten to fourth-graders in his Harlem Success Academy 2:

"These kids don't have more time. They don't get to say 'I'll wait five or six more years for this school to get fixed.' By then they'll be in eighth grade, reading at a third-grade level."

As a reporter and then a friend, I came to know Dr. Kenneth Clark, whose research on many black children being deprived of learning to be lifelong learners contributed significantly to the Supreme Court's unanimous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that racially segregated public schools are unconstitutional.

When that decision failed to racially integrate many schools because of legal residential segregation, Kenneth told me: "So, by the end of the second grade, some black kids still learn to believe that they're dumb, and they are not."

In such Success Academy Schools as the one where Jim Manly is principal, what the students are learning is the joy of learning.

Perpetuating the other kinds of schools are principals judging students not through personalized learning, but how they do on collective standardized tests.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, NEA

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