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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 June 25, 2014 / 27 Sivan, 5774

Teachers' job security more important than kids' futures?

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Having organized a labor union at a Boston candy store when I was 15, during the Depression -- where students worked nights and weekends for 35 cents an hour -- I am not anti-labor union. Threatening a strike as Christmas business neared, we won our 50 cents an hour.

But in recent years, as a reporter on education, I have found teachers' unions bullishly and contractually protective of their members' jobs, most commonly at the expense of low-income and minority students.

For one example, "The dismissal process for grossly ineffective teachers in California is so complex and costly that it does not work; many districts do not even bother trying" ("A historic victory for America's kids," Campbell Brown, New York Daily News, June 11).

The "historic victory" was in Vergara v. California, a case brought by nine student plaintiffs, decided on June 10 ("Historic Victory for Students in Vergara v. California: Court Strikes Down Five Provisions of the California Education Code as Unconstitutional," studentsmatter.org/victory).

This decision, from Judge Rolf M. Treu of the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, is not final. He had to order a stay pending an appeal -- inevitable in this case.

Nonetheless, as news of this potentially huge setback for other states' teachers' unions spreads, many parents of public school students are organizing to bring this life-changing equal-protection reform to their children.

A June 11 New York Daily News editorial put it bluntly:

"It adds up to a glaring equal-opportunity violation that's been ignored for decades -- a gaping wound that's been treated like a common rash" ("Justice for students," New York Daily News, June 11).

Said Judge Treu in his ruling: "Evidence has been elicited in this trial of the specific effect of grossly ineffective teachers on students. The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience ...

"Plaintiffs have proven ... that the Challenged Statutes impose a real and appreciable impact on students' fundamental right to equality of education and that they impose a disproportionate burden on poor and minority students."


In its summary of the case brought by the student plaintiffs, the Students Matter organization -- which was vital in the plaintiffs bringing the case to court -- demonstrates how California's current Permanent Employment Statute (other states have similar laws) makes it hard to dismiss a grossly incompetent teacher:

"(It) forces administrators to either grant or deny permanent employment to teachers after an evaluation period of less than 16 months -- before new teachers even complete their beginner teacher induction programs and before administrators are able to assess whether a teacher will be effective long-term" (studentsmatter.org).

And dig this: "The process for dismissing a single ineffective teacher involves a borderline infinite number of steps, requires years of documentation, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and still, rarely ever works.

"Out of 275,000 teachers statewide, 2.2 teachers are dismissed for unsatisfactory performance per year on average, which amounts to 0.0008 percent."

For the record, California's two largest teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers, opposed the students.

Furthermore, there are times when a federal grant or a particular state legislature's grant for education disappears because of a sharp decline in the economy, or a reversal of political party leadership in Congress or the state legislature. I've seen this in my coverage of education issues in New York State and elsewhere.

This, invariably, results in cuts in the number of teachers, which means those most recently hired are immediately fired. That includes younger teachers who belong to independent national organizations devoted to equal educational opportunities for low-income and handicapped students.

As I've seen and reported, these dedicated newcomers often are beginning to bring higher expectations and the enjoyment of learning into their classrooms.

So, too, is this happening in California, argues Campbell Brown, founder of Parents' Transparency Project, a public education watchdog organization.

She writes in the Daily News: "California's 'last-in, first-out' law gives top priority in a time of layoffs to ineffective teachers if they have seniority while better teachers with fewer years are sent packing.

"The judge called that a lose-lose situation, supported by logic that was 'unfathomable.'"

She continues:

"The Vergara case reflects just the start of opportunities for action in other states, where many leaders are searching for better ways to evaluate teachers ... in 38 states, the cumbersome teacher dismissal process allows multiple appeals. This is not due process; it is an undue burden on those trying to protect teacher quality."

So, it's now up to parents throughout the nation to follow Vergara's lead "and take matters into their own hands. It is empowering to know the courts can help."

"Empowering," but often too rare for certain kids without labor unions representing them.

How many of you will remember the Vergara case in 2016?

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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