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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 May 9, 2012/ 17 Iyar, 5772

At last, parents rebel against standardized tests

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Around the country, more parents are protesting -- and some even boycotting -- the standardized collective tests that grade the progress of entire classes and whole schools. In New York City and state, where I live -- and elsewhere -- the results can cause teachers to lose their jobs and can shut down whole schools.

As for the kids, a parent, Coleen Mingo, describes the stress on her sixth-grade son, and on many other students nationally, in "A testing culture out of control," (NYDailyNews.com, May 2, 2012):

"He worked hard on an unending slew of practice tests. He obsessed over each mistake as if it were proof he was doomed ..."

The Daily News article notes that a 2011 report commissioned by Congress and conducted by the National Academy of Sciences Committee found that America's test-based accountability systems "have not increased student achievement."

Moreover, an author of the report charged that "there is widespread teaching to the test and gaming of the systems that reflects a wasteful use of resources and leads to inaccurate or inflated measures of performance."

And what of the many students who fail -- and whose individual problems and backgrounds are not at all known to the test-makers? As I've learned from some of them through the years, they get depressed, and, deciding that they're just plain dumb about this sort of thing, they drop out of school.

In the April 29 letters section of The New York Times, there are two penetrating insights that further explain the growing rebellion against this mechanical collective testing. Walt Gardner, who writes for Education Week, states:

"If one of the goals of schooling is to create lifelong learners, then high standardized test scores may be a Pyrrhic victory. That's because long after the subject matter is forgotten, attitudes remain."

A vital attitude lost in the non-individualized tests is emphasized in a letter from a Los Angeles mother, Pamela Beere Briggs, explaining why she has joined the opposition to standardized tests:

"A remark our 12-year-old daughter made in sixth grade -- 'There's a certain part about getting good at something that involves loving it' -- lighted a spark of resistance in me. I knew that she was right. We ended up home-schooling for the seventh and eighth grades. This way we had a chance to focus on real learning. No tests. No homework! Lots of reading. Lots of writing. Lots of conversation. What happened? Our daughter not only loves school, but also is good at lots of things."

One of my daughters has home-schooled her daughter and two sons. I enjoy talking with them. They're full of ideas and questions about my views and ideas. And they read a range of books for pleasure.

More educators are also liberating children from standardized schools whose regimen of tests and more tests, with no time for appreciation of the arts, such as music, that release individual creative imaginations and emotions.

Dig this national movement from our sea to shining sea reported in Valerie Strauss' Washington Post education blog, "The Answer Sheet," on April 24:

Strauss writes about a national resolution against high-stakes tests that focuses on standardized testing and involves "a coalition of national education, civil rights and parents groups, as well as educators who are trying to build a broad-based movement against the Obama administration's test-centric school reform program."

I support the resolution, but I'm also not aware of any indication that a Republican administration's approach to school reform would not also significantly depend on standardized tests.

According to the Washington Post, the forceful new resolution calls on "organizations and individuals to endorse (this) resolution, which asks officials in every state to 'reexamine public school accountability systems' and to 'develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing' and 'more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning.'"

"We want our elected leaders to support real learning, not endless evaluation," says Pamela Grundy of Charlotte, N.C., who helped Parents Across America lead a revolt last year against standardized testing.

Meanwhile, New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzales lets us share this grinding spring season of New York public school students:

"Those dreaded state tests are here again. All third to eighth-graders in New York began Tuesday the first of three consecutive days of English language arts assessment, to be followed next week by three days of math tests.

"And those state tests have never been longer... Many middle class families now spend thousands of dollars for tutors to prepare their children for these tests. Meanwhile, poor and minority families who can't afford tutors see their children fall farther behind."

On the same page of that story: "Black and Latino students are nearly four times more likely than their white and Asian peers to be enrolled in the city's lowest-performing high schools, a new study revealed."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delights in calling himself "The Education Mayor." He also never mentions that the New York City school system, as in many other big cities, is largely racially and ethnically segregated, not by law, but by differing residential choices."

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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