Thursday, October 30

What Does It Really Take...

What does it REALLY take to transform a school? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to ask people who actually did it in some of America's toughest school districts. Public Agenda's new research report offers some helpful answers, as does this essay on the importance of paternalism in schools.

While we're at it, see this book about one man's effort to transform the lives of Harlem youth, and the review here. (What are the implications for school-community cooperation in Jewish schools?)

Tuesday, October 28


No, its not the story of Modern Jewry, its today's Dubai, but it has many parallels to the Lower East Side, to Modern Israel, and the challenges facing traditional Jewish youth around the world. The New York Times reports.

Sunday, October 26

On the Way Back

The Orthodox community has paid a great deal of attention to the problem of at-risk and drop-out youth, and has celebrated those parents and educators who help these kids "get it together." But what challenges do ex-drop-outs face as they are getting back on the "straight and narrow?" And how could we help them overcome those challenges? This research report asks similar questions of public school drop outs in California (Education Week summarizes).

Thursday, October 23

Its Not Easy Being a Parent

Sometimes I think that parents are too involved, but the Wall Street Journal quotes a study that says that I'm be wrong.

And, if you have nothing else to do with your time, you could follow absolutely every single one of these suggestions for how to be more involved in your kids' schoolwork.

On the other hand, we have reported before that homework may be a waste of time. Go figure!?

Thursday, October 16

Teaching Kids to Dislike Reading?

Fewer and fewer American youth read books for pleasure. Obviously, that is related to the dominance of youtube and facebook in the digital age. But maybe it also has something to do with how literature is taught in schools. The Washington Post reports.

Sunday, October 12

The Too Involved Parent

Parents' involvement in kids' education is great, but sometimes it might be better if they just left us teachers alone. (Not new, but always timely.)

Wednesday, October 8

From the Bottom Up

Rebuilding New Orleans schools into something better than they were before the deluge that destroyed them is no easy task, and comes with no guarantees. The New York Times Magazine reports.

Sunday, October 5

Nurture in Nature

How do animal parents teach baby animals the life-skills that they need to survive and thrive in the wild? Is it all just instinct, or does some of it have to be tought? Becoming a Tiger is a great book: intruiging, well-written, funny, and thought provoking. One need not conclude that motar ha'adam min habehemah ayin [man is just another animal] to realize that this has implications for human education, too (though I'm not quite sure what they are....).