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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 March 15, 2007 / 25 Adar, 5767

Education renewal

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Congress will soon decide whether to renew President Bush's signature education program "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB), the goal of which is to bring every public school student to grade level in reading and math by 2014.


Though leaving no child behind may be a worthy goal politically and socially, some are questioning whether it is an obtainable one. Robert L. Linn, co-director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing at UCLA, recently told The Washington Post, "There is a zero percent chance that we will ever reach a 100 percent target." Maybe not, but the poet Robert Browning said that our reach should always exceed our grasp. By expecting more, we get more from our institutions and ourselves than if we were to "settle" for less and get less.


Still, after five years of NCLB, the statistics are not encouraging. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, between 1992 and 2005, there has been an increase in the percentage of 12th-grade students who read below the basic level (from 20 percent to 27 percent since the previous assessment). Only 23 percent of 12th-graders are performing at or above math proficiency levels. As usual, the figures are worse for black and Hispanic students.


I asked U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings about this. She told me that half of the states waited until the 2005-'06 school year to do an annual assessment, but that 70 percent of the nation's 90,000 public schools "are meeting the requirements of NCLB. But for 1,800, which are chronically year after year failing our kids, something more dramatic has to happen."


That "something more" has included local government takeover of some school systems. In New York and Chicago, as well as in the state of Florida, which Spellings describes as a "leader" in education improvement, interesting things" are being done. Washington, D.C., is also debating whether government should take over its poorly performing schools. Spellings said "the state of affairs" in Washington schools is "not encouraging."


Spellings cited one major reason for underperformance I had not considered. When I was in school, she noted, I was taught mostly by bright and accomplished women. As opportunities for women in other professions opened up, many of the best and brightest teachers — and potential teachers — left or chose other professions because they paid more. "The teachers' unions," she said, "always negotiate the same pay raises for everybody and the superstars say 'forget this, I'm going where I will be recognized as a superstar.'"


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Education in the United States continues to lag behind that of other nations. "When you go to China or India," Spellings said, "they don't sit around arguing about class size. They're starving to death and are motivated for education. We take all the advantages we have for granted." And while America focuses too much on nonacademic subjects — sex education, driver's education and the environment — and not enough on what employers are looking for, some other nations are graduating young people with real knowledge and skills of the kind we once produced.


A serious school choice program, not more money to subsidize underachievement, is one answer to poor performance. Competition improves everyone's product and service. It's working in those states and localities that have managed to nominally free themselves from the teachers' unions, which seek to maintain the education monopoly for political influence. Paying bonuses to the best teachers is another good idea. According to Spellings, her department has provided $100 million through 16 grants for that purpose. If corporations can pay their CEOs huge bonuses for failure, why shouldn't teachers be paid bonuses for achieving and surpassing education goals?


There is another point no one in government will address. It is that not all children are equally intelligent. Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute raised this controversial issue recently in a series of articles he wrote for The Wall Street Journal, in which he noted that half of all children have below average intelligence and that "even the best schools under the best conditions cannot repeal the limits on achievement set by limits on intelligence."


Politically, that argument has no traction and so we are left with renewing "No Child Left Behind," monitoring progress and paying bonuses to the best teachers. Now if we can just get real school choice added to the mix, maybe even some of the less intelligent won't be left behind and we will see even greater progress with the rest. With what we are spending on education, the adults deserve a better product and the kids are entitled to a better education, which is their best chance at a good life.

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.

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas Comment by clicking here.


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