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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. 27, 2005 / 23 Elul, 5765

A lesson in politicizing education

By Kathryn Lopez


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The desire to help the people of the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast has been abundant, as private citizens, businesses and Congress sent much-needed money, supplies, shelter and services. It's important to remember that Katrina victims need more than cash, and Americans and governments at all levels have reached out to help.

Of course, no thanks to Ted "don't teach a child to fish" Kennedy. Heaven forbid a kid gets a school voucher to attend a private school; even a kid who can't go back to the private school his parents sacrificed to send him to; even a kid who can't go back to a public school because the building was leveled by Katrina's fury.

As part of a larger education package, in mid-September the White House proposed $488 million for private-school tuition. If a family preferred to send their child to a private school instead of a public school, the government would subsidize the alternative.

"Parents may choose to send children to private schools. They may not. But this is their choice," explained Susan Aspey, an Education Department spokeswoman. Moreover, in cases where private schools — as some in Texas did, for instance — took in Katrina victims, the schools will be reimbursed. This seems simply fair.

Oh, but, the horror of it all! Children going to private schools with public money. Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy (aka Ted), ranking Democrat on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, blasted the White House proposal. "Instead of reopening ideological battles, we should be focused on reopening schools and getting people the help that they need."

But the vouchers bill is an emergency measure that makes sense. Looking ahead, it's an investment worth making — and a debate on school choice long overdue.

Overall, some studies have shown higher achievement in those attending school under a voucher program, and surveys have found parents at least feel their children are getting a better education.

There's no good reason New Orleans shouldn't be the next experiment. In New Orleans, before Katrina, about 61,000 children were enrolled in private schools. It was about one-quarter of the 248,000 students attending school in the broader area.

Laughably though, Kennedy has insisted that "we need to focus on rebuilding the public school systems which are the cornerstone of the Gulf Coast communities and economies." Any cornerstone would be missing a fundamental element there without a nod to families that were embracing education there, public or private.

And private schools are to be encouraged in a reconstructed New Orleans. Not only because they were the choice of so many families pre-Katrina, but because a little competition to the public schools there would be a beautiful thing, and force a mess of a public school system into reform. A reconstituted public system there with the same people, with the same philosophy would be a recipe for future disaster.

Before Katrina hit, 73 of New Orleans' more than 120 schools were "failing," according to state standards. In one 2004 survey, 96 percent of high-school-age students were below average in English and 94 percent were in math.

It's not just in the classroom that's a wreck. In a state-mandate audit of the school system's payroll records (pre-Katrina), one of the investigators announced: "I'm a CPA doing this 20 years. This is the absolute worst I've ever seen. Anyone can bend any rule around here."

If an investment is going to be made in rebuilding, that's not the system that should be rebuilt — do it right this time. And, again, maybe a little competition is the ticket to ride to educational success.

Faced with the realities on the ground in New Orleans, both pre- and post-Katrina, school choice now — and, if it works, later — may just be the silver lining in the storm.

Ted Kennedy, not unlike his approach to the John Roberts Supreme Court hearings, is the one playing politics with Katrina, in his vehement opposition to giving kids a chance at choice. But this is an issue that, while must be debated, should transcend politics.

Sen. Kennedy, like his peers in both parties, enjoys using catchy sound bites to get his message across. Here are two for you, sir:

Support school vouchers.

Do it for the children, Ted.

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