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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. 29, 2010 / 21 Tishrei, 5771

Meet my teacher of the year

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For years, there has been an insistent demand for "diversity" -- equal access by race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc. -- in education, employment, health care and other lifelong definitions of being an American. These battles for equal opportunity continue in the courts and legislatures. However, in the accelerating, contentious emphasis on education reform, there is a growing discovery of another crucial meaning of "diversity."

After all these years of writing about schools from kindergarten on, I am now indebted to Bobby Ann Starnes, chair of the educational studies department at Berea College, Berea, Ky., for what should be at the very root of all projects and debates on how we can engage students of all backgrounds to become lifelong learners and informed citizens.

In an article in the September issue of Phi Delta Kappan magazine, "Rethinking Diversity," she tells of her intense discussions with her classes of candidates for teacher certification about how they themselves can redefine "diversity" and thereby learn much more about each student.

This begins with how much each student learns: "learning quickly, requiring more time," etc. Then, "how we understand and how we perceive." That includes critical thinking. There are other diversities that she, of course, acknowledges (race, gender, culture, etc.) but -- and this is her unusually clear focal point:

"In our classroom (at Berea College) and in every classroom everywhere, there could be as many combinations of these individual diversities as there are students -- and we have to teach in ways that support each individual learner."

As I have reported, there are individual classrooms, schools and even some school districts across the nation where teachers keep learning who each student actually is. A sure way for teachers not to focus on "rethinking diversity" is the still largely mandated standardized collective testing of entire classes and schools. A concisely cogent question about such testing was raised by Janice Koch, professor emerita, department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hofstra University (Letters section, New York Times, Sept. 24). She asks "what we really want to know about our children. Can they think? Can they reason? Do they read? Can they apply what they know?"

Another very important point to keep in mind about standardized testing was raised by the widely read author of books and articles about education, Alfie Kohn: "What we've learned (about standardized testing) is that passing rates (and difficulty of the questions) can be raised or lowered at will to produce whatever results are politically useful …" (Letters column, New York Times, Aug. 8, 2010).

I often learn more from letters writers than from staff reporters. I used to hear of members of Congress who had associates keep careful watch on letters to hometown papers to get a better understanding of the concerns of the constituents.

Also vital to "Rethinking Diversity" are certain daily newspapers that truly care about the quality of their education coverage. In New York City, The New York Times, which used to set national standards for covering schools, seldom gets inside a classroom these days. But the tabloids (the New York Daily News and the New York Post) keep doing in-school investigative reporting prized by parents, and irritating "education mayor" Michael Bloomberg and school chancellor Joel Klein.

Here is a valuable Sept. 20 story in South Florida's Sun-Sentinel newspaper about seeing how well individual students learn: "Letter grades vanishing from some Palm Beach Country report cards."

For six straight years, this Palm Beach County District "touts its 'A' rating from the state … as proof that it is 'the top performing urban school district in Florida.'"

Some have cited this as ironic, as the district is "reviving a controversial plan" that is also being tried at 13 schools in the county: Removing letter grades (A, B, C, D and F) from report cards. ("We've pulled the plug on this many times," says Superintendent Art Johnson.) To learn how well each student is understanding how to master reading, math, social studies and science, each will be given "performance codes."

As reported by Marc Freeman of the Sun Sentinel, these results (or grades, as we used to call them), will be marked: "exemplary" (the student exceeds grade-level standards), "proficient," or "approaching or needs development."

These letterless report cards will be used in elementary schools, and, next year, may be extended once again to more of the district's 107 elementary schools. However, some parents object, fearing this measurement will be too subjective.

"But," explains the Sun-Sentinel, the letter grades don't "tell a true picture, because a student can get Bs and still be below grade-level standards (of) what children are expected to learn in each subject at each grade level."

One of the new criteria, "approaching or needs development," tells a parent more than a letter grade; and I think I am safe in assuming that each individual student with that designation will immediately be getting individualized attention on how well he or she understands what they're being taught and how to apply it.

Another factor in this change, says Superintendent Art Johnson, is the psychological impact of giving a child an F or other lowly descending marks. As Johnson says, "If you say to a student, 'You're failing,' they start to wear that internally. They become that." Dr. Kenneth Clark (instrumental in the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling on the requirement of integrating public schools), and former head of several education institutions, said to me: "In too many schools, by the second grade, too many children learn only that they're dumb."

That's grimly different from approaching or needs development. For example, Andrea Sandrin, a Palm Beach mother of a daughter with a learning disability, says "she would have been looking at F's. That would have changed how she thought of herself."

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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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