Sunday, August 30

Money Doesn't Buy Happiness, But It Can...

Everybody knows that money can't buy happiness. According to recent research, it can, you just have to know how to spend it. Less on objects that you can own and hold; more on gifts, charity, and shared experienced with people who matter. Oddly, we humans will instinctivelyspend our money wrongly. In today's hypermaterialistic society, what would we do to teach toward smart and more altruistic spending?

Thursday, August 27

Free Range Kids

Regular readers know what I think of so-called parenting experts. And, granted, there is something ironic about a parenting book attacking parenting books. But still, Free Range Kids, authored by the self-proclaimed "World's Worst Mom," sounds like a hoot. (Though granted, we in Israel already understand that pre-teens take public transportation on their own...) Her webiste claims that if, for some strange reason, you wanted to have your child abducted by strangers, you would have to leave him or her outside and unsupervised for... 750,000 years to make that statistically likely.

Tuesday, August 25

ATID's Jewish Educator's Book Club

I recently sat down with R. Dr. Tzvi Leshem to speak about Rav Shagar's (Shimon Gershon Rosenberg's) new posthumous book, BeTorato Yehegeh, on the study of Gemara as a search for God. Rav Shagar, despite his recent tragic passing, is emerging as one of Israeli religious-Zionism's most creative and thoughtful thinkers and educators. The book is full of suggestive and sometimes radical ways of thinking about the relationship between method, ideology, and motivation in Gemara education. You can listen to the discussion by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Sunday, August 23

To Interfere or Not Interfere

Everyone knows who the best fourth grade teacher in the school is. How hard should you push to get your kid into that class? Maybe you should leave well enough alone.

Thursday, August 20

Bad Teachers or a Bad System?

Are mediocre teachers mucking up the system and undermining kids' progress, or are hard-working, even heroic, teachers battling impossible odds? It's Newsweek vs. The Teachers.

Tuesday, August 18

Bullying Can Be Stopped...

It's just really hard to do. And a parent's or teacher's typical advice is probably wrong. The key to stopping bullying is peers.

Saturday, August 15

Moving Education Forward

The Forward's education section for Fall 2009 is here - with a lead article on - what else - the economy and the world of day schools, but there's a bunch of other interesting stuff, too.

Tuesday, August 11

A Model for Success in Israeli Schools

The Israeli media opened its new reports this morning with data on Israel's matriculation exams, the dreaded bagruyot. I'm not a big fan of the tests, as regular readers know, but perhaps the most remarkable piece of news is that the Arab town of Furadis more than doubled its matriculation rate in three years, (click here for a Hebrew report). Is that real? How did they do it?

Lousy Parents and the Experts Who Make Them

Are we all just inadequate, lazy, and insensitive parents? Maybe we are just fine, and its just those darn experts who keep telling us we are no good.

Sunday, August 9

All the Quiz That's Fit to Print

Don't feel like creating a quiz on President Lyndon Johnson, the planet jupiter, or the African continent. Just download from sporcle - they also have tons of educational games, too.

Thursday, August 6

Bagrut: Who'se to Blame?

I'm not a big fan of the bagrut: Israel's high-school matriculation exam. Often, they become the be-all-and-end-all of schooling in tenth through twelfth grade, with students doing little but preparing for stifling standardized exams. And, while we are at it, about half the students don't pass. I don't think there are too many people in Israeli education who think that the exams work well, but nobody seems poised to do anything about it. Israeli radio gave an intelligent high-school student a recorder, and sent him out to find out what's wrong. Listen here (Hebrew).

Tuesday, August 4

Better Than Nothing

When Dan Brown replaces Bronte on the summer reading list, is this because teachers would rather the kids read something than nothing, or is this because nobody thinks that "the classics" matter anymore? The Boston Globe wonders.

Monday, August 3

Hebrew Charter School is Overflowing

I don't know if this is "good for the Jews," "bad for the Jews," or just an inevitable outgrowth of the economic crisis, but the Ben Gamla Hebrew language charter school is growing beyond its capacity.

Sunday, August 2

It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It

Sentence structure, check. Gramatical precision, check. Proper punctuation, check. Coherent paragraphs, check. Repugnant argument, check. How to ace your SAT essay in the most morally reprehensible fashion.