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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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. 20, 2007 / 8 Tishrei 5768

Ideals meet politics in schools debate

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I love idealists. They offer us a vision of how things might be if our lawmakers truly lived up our dreams.


Yet, like overzealous soldiers in combat, they sometimes make you want to grab them by the collar and pull them back out of the line of fire.


Those thoughts came to mind earlier this week as Jonathan Kozol, the award-winning author and activist, entered his 75th day on a "partial hunger strike." He's protesting the six-year-old No Child Left Behind Act for education reform that Congress is gearing up to reauthorize.


At 71 years of age, even a "partial hunger strike" is impressive and alarming for those of us who care about his health. He's only drinking liquids, he said, but on doctor's orders he eats solid foods when the impact of hunger appears to be serious enough to cause permanent damage.


"If I sound a little weak, I apologize, he told a news conference in Washington. "I am dreaming of delicious dinners."


Kozol is an iconic figure in education. Back in 1967 he wrote a best-selling, award-winning book titled "Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools." It was about his being fired from the Boston schools for teaching a poem by Langston Hughes, a great African-American writer who was not in the school system's approved list.


Forty years later, No Child Left Behind is, in Kozol's view, repeating the same errors that shortchanged kids in the past, especially in poor minority neighborhoods.


Passed in 2001, the education reform law seeks to get all students reading and doing math at grade level by 2014. Everyone agrees that's a great goal and disagrees on the best way to get there.


The No Child Left Behind law tries to get there by mandating annual math and reading tests, and sanctions schools that don't show improvement. Kozol lambasted that approach for "turning thousands of inner-city schools into Dickensian test-preparation factories." It has effectively "dumbed down" school for poor, urban kids and created "a parallel curriculum that would be rejected out-of-hand" in the suburbs.


Yet, when I pressed him to say whether he found any benefit to No Child Left Behind, he observed after thinking for a few moments that, while there was no dramatic benefit, he appreciated one thing. With President Bush's backing, the law had revived the notion that successful schools were in the national interest, not just a state or local concern.


With that in mind, he has called for a truly radical reform that hints of ideas promoted by the political left and right. Under No Child Left Behind, parents may transfer their children from a low-performing school after two years to a better school in the same school district. Kozol would extend that. He would require states to authorize and finance a student's right to transfer from a failing district into a successful school in a suburban district.


That radical idea would be permitted, he points out, under the Supreme Court's school segregation ruling in June, as long as it is carried out for reasons other than race.


The idea elegantly borrows from ideals of both right and the left, but unfortunately smacks up against the political realities of right and left, too. After all, conservatives applaud the idea of parents having more choices and in ways that encourage competition between schools. And liberals applaud the desegregation of schools and reduction of isolation by race and income.


But in the real world, I suspect that most suburban parents moved to suburbs to get away from the problems they fear, rightly or wrongly, that urban kids will bring with them. In many cases, black middle class suburban parents are no less worried than their white neighbors.


And urban teachers unions and politicians fear a flight of tax dollars and other resources if they allow their families to escape poor performing schools in their districts. The result is a political stalemate.


Another way to close the gap besides moving students is by moving dollars. The Education Trust, a Washington-based reform organization, supports a draft House bill that would require state and local governments to include teachers' salaries in their calculation as they try to comply with federal requirements of equal funding to all schools. At present, "experienced teachers migrate fast as they can away from high-poverty schools," said Amy Wilkins of the Education Trust. "And they take their big paychecks with them. So the kids are doubly shortchanged. (Their schools) get less money and less experienced teachers."


Closing that loophole would improve funding for older, low-income neighborhood schools and, I hope, provide more incentives for experienced teachers to stick around.


That's a vision of how things might be if our lawmakers truly lived up our dreams. Hunger strikes can call attention to that vision, but it takes political leadership to make such dreams come true. .

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

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

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