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Volume XIV, No. 11 • New York City • AUGUST 2009

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Education update

For Parents, Educators & Students

GUEST EDITORIAL

CUNY and New York City Public School Graduates are Thriving By Jay Hershenson New York City public high school graduates are thriving at CUNY Colleges, like Fei Yan Mock, who received her foundation for learning at the New York City Lab High School in Manhattan and is now an undergraduate at Hunter College majoring in biochemistry and classical studies. Fei hasn’t had it easy. She was born in China decades after Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin introduced their polio vaccines, but those vaccines weren’t available where she lived. She contracted polio and has used a wheelchair all of her life. But that hasn’t stopped Fei. Indeed, it has given her a goal: earning a doctorate in biomedical science focused on bringing affordable vaccines to Third World countries. She has received several major competitive and prestigious fellowships, including the Clare Booth Luce and Hunter College’s McNair Scholars awards. Fei is now interning at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. Don Gomez, a graduate of Martin Van Buren High School, is a junior at the City College of New York. Don served two tours in Iraq, leaving the Army as a sergeant. He founded the City College Veterans Association and was particularly instrumental in establishing an Office of Veterans Affairs on the campus. Don is majoring in international studies with a concentration on the Middle East. He is a Colin Powell Leadership Fellow, a recipient of a scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association, and this year received a prestigious Harry S. Truman Fellowship worth $30,000 for graduate study. Don has studied Arabic and hopes to work for the U.S. State Department. He recently said, “The State Department will need motivated foreign service officers who are willing to sacrifice personal comfort and security to accomplish an increasingly complex and challenging mission.” It should come as no surprise that New York City public high school students are succeeding at CUNY. CUNY’s interdependence dates back

HARLEM DREAM AWARD 2008 PRESENTED TO

Dr. Pola Rosen Harlem Children � Society

to 1847 when Townsend Harris, the first president of the Board of Education, led the battle to create the Free Academy, the predecessor of The City College of New York. Here are some more recent examples: • 70 percent of CUNY students are graduates of New York City public schools. Nearly one third of all new teachers hired by the New York City Department of Education are CUNY educated. • The College Now program, which started at Kingsborough Community College in 1981, currently serves more than 30,000 students annually at over 300 public high schools at all 17 undergraduate CUNY colleges. College Now students earn more first-year credits, have higher GPAs, and are retained at higher rates than other New York City high school graduates. • Eleven public schools, mostly high schools, are located at CUNY colleges, including many of the most highly regarded in the City (such as The High School for American Studies at Lehman College or Townsend Harris High School at Queens College). • Eleven Early College schools exist today at CUNY, preparing students for college beginning in either the sixth or ninth grades. • CUNY’s teacher education programs are providing candidates that are passing the key certification tests in record numbers. On the two exams required to teach in New York State (the Liberal Arts and Science Test [LAST] and the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written [ATS-W]), pass rates for many CUNY colleges increased from below the norm of 80 percent in 1998 to 97 percent and 99 percent, respectively, in 2006-07. • CUNY currently has more than 9,600 students enrolled in graduate-level teacher education programs. CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center offers a highly attractive Ph.D. program in urban education to prepare leaders in educational research and policy analysis, with an emphasis on the New York City public schools.

AUGUST 2009

In This Issue

Education Update

Guest Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Letters to the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Spotlight on Schools. . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-9 Medical Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Sports SPECIAL Alonzo Mourning � 8 Special Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-11 COVER STORY. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-14 Summer in the City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 MetroBeat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 College Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Colleges & Grad Schools . . . . . . . . 20-24 Crossword Puzzle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

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CUNY’s success and the success of the City’s public schools are inextricably linked. These are interdependent systems that work best when they work in partnership. Today, more than ever, New York City and State need the talents of the skilled graduates of our public schools and colleges to meet the challenges of an unforgiving economy, an increasingly technology-oriented society, and a world where problem-solving requires a highly educated citizenry. # Jay Hershenson is Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees at The City University of New York.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR New York, NY Keep Up the Great Work To the Editor: Keep up the good work. I really enjoy and have learned much from your newspaper. Dr. Leonard Blackman, Professor Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University New York, NY To the Editor: Good luck with your new project helping intermediate schools start their own newspapers. You and Education Update have had a vital and positive impact on schools in New York. Carol Cohen, Barnard College Alumnae Trustee Emerita Staten Island, NY Outstanding Educators of the Year 2009 To the Editor: Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of the great celebration last month. I was so honored to be in included in such a great collection of true educators. The experience was quite humbling. In addition to my personal thanks, my entire family sends their thanks as well. This includes my 85-year old mother, my children and my eleven brothers and sisters. We as a family are all as proud as can be. Mike Tighe Outstanding Educators of the Year 2009 Honoree

PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF: Pola Rosen, Ed.D. ADVISORY COUNCIL: Mary Brabeck, Dean, NYU School of Education; Shelia Evans-Tranumn, Assoc. Comm. of Education, NYS; Charlotte K. Frank, Ph.D., Senior VP, McGraw-Hill; Joan Freilich, Ph.D., Trustee, Barnard College & College of New Rochelle; Andrew Gardner, Technology Teacher & Advisor, The School at Columbia U.; Cynthia Greenleaf, Ph.D.; Augusta S. Kappner, Ph.D., President Emerita, Bank St. College; Bonnie Kaiser, Ph.D., Director, Precollege Program, Rockefeller University; Harold Koplewicz, M.D., Founder & Director, NYU Child Study Center; Ernest Logan, Pres., CSA; Cecilia McCarton, M.D., Dir., The McCarton Center; Eric Nadelstern, Chief Schools Officer, NYC Dept of Education; Alfred S. Posamentier, Ph.D., Dean, School of Education, CCNY; David Steiner, Dean, Hunter College; Adam Sugerman, Publisher, Palmiche Press; Laurie Tisch, Founder, Center for Arts Education, President, Illumination Foundation. ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Heather Rosen, Adam Sugerman, Rob Wertheimer SPECIAL EDITOR: Barbara Lowin ASSISTANT EDITOR: Dan Lewis ASSISTANT TO THE PUBLISHER: Shara Grau GUEST COLUMNISTS: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mary Brabeck, Ph.D., Bonnie Brown, Ed.D., Jay Hershenson, Sr. Vice Chancellor, S.G. Grant, Ph.D., Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D., Michael Passow, Ed.D., Alfred Posamentier, Ph.D., Jerrold Ross, Ph.D., Raul Silva, M.D. STAFF WRITERS: Jan Aaron, McCarton Ackerman, Jacob Appel, J.D., Judith Aquino, Joan Baum, Ph.D., Adam Bloch, Alberto Cepeda, Dorothy Davis, Steven Frank, Gillian Granoff, Richard Kagan, Sybil Maimin, Rich Monetti, Martha McCarthy, Ph.D., Joy Resmovits, Lauren Shapiro, Emily Sherwood, Ph.D., Marisa Suescun, Lisa Winkler GUEST STAFF WRITERS: Chris Duffy, David Kahn, Marylena Mantas, Yuridia Peña, Emmanuel Reed SPECIAL EDITOR: Barbara Lowin BOOK REVIEWERS: Harris Healy III, Merri Rosenberg, Selene Vasquez MEDICAL EDITOR: Herman Rosen, M.D. MODERN LANGUAGE EDITOR: Adam Sugerman MOVIE & THEATER REVIEWS: Jan Aaron MUSIC EDITOR: Irving M. Spitz ART DIRECTOR: Neil Schuldiner ADVERTISING DEPARTMENT: Martin Lieberman, Manager; Richard Kagan, Heather Maher, Chris Rowan, Carolina Salas Education Update is published monthly by Education Update, Inc. All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Education Update; 695 Park Avenue, Ste. E1509; New York, NY 10065-5024. Subscription: Annual $30. Copyright © 2009 Education Update

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Education update

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AUGUST 2009

DEANS’ perspectives on education

School Reform: Tinkering Around the Edges By Jerrold Ross, Ph.D School reform has been the subject of articles, books, speeches (including campaign), op-ed pieces, research, and most of all, political pronouncements. The problem is that they all attempt to validate either existing models of school organization or proclaim the virtues of variations of the same. Solutions have been offered ranging from smaller class size and smaller schools (reported to have worsened the situation at large schools), to improving teacher quality, to paying teachers substantially higher salaries, to rewarding “effective” teaching through bonuses, to recruiting the “best and brightest,” to stopping the flow of experienced teachers from schools that are difficult to staff, to eliminating the assignment of new teachers to those same schools, and establishing charter schools whose achievement has been mixed, at best. None of these has proved to be altogether successful. And, if this assortment of approaches were not enough, we have also promulgated new and “tougher” regulations governing the certification of teachers while, at the same time, initiating accelerated certification programs with markedly different standards designed to fill the void of teachers in low achieving schools or in disciplines such as math, science and reading. Moreover, emphasizing math, science and reading has reduced teaching the arts, sports and the social sciences, moving us perilously close to the virtual elimination of sequenced programs in each and, many times, substituting part-time, non-certified “teachers” who are available at a rate of pay far lower than that of regularly certified professionals. All of this provides little in the way of educating children to meet the world competition for a citizenry capable of contending with the promise of the 21st century. The largest problem, and the one no one wishes to engage, is that K–12 schools operate as though we were still an agrarian economy. Summer vacation exists as though children in urban and suburban schools have to be free to harvest crops (apparently growing through the concrete pavement). It is claimed that summer “vacation” permits teachers to gather renewed strength, or to make needed extra money, or for children who have not passed exams to be tutored in an environment perceived by many of them to be more

as punishment than support. In My Fair Lady, Henry Higgins queries why women cannot be more like him. A corollary to this peculiar puzzle is why elementary and secondary schools cannot (indeed, should not) be organized more like higher education. Under the present system teachers have little time to confer with their colleagues, no time to engage in scholarly discussion except over a sandwich at lunch, no time to develop interdisciplinary programs, no time to reflect, collectively, on the progress of individual students, and certainly no time to advise or counsel their students out of class. Nor have principals the time to act, as the concept of principal was once believed to be that of “principal teacher.” If K–12 schools were organized on a nine-month basis with longer school days, using summer for all children conceived not just as remedial, but as time for enrichment, for acceleration of those who are clearly gifted, and for activities that capture the imagination of all, we would have a very different set of outcomes way before twelfth grade, at which point only a fraction of the original school population is still in attendance. Of course, this is also predicated on a reduced teaching schedule for teachers, affording them, for the first time in our history, the time and support to become truly professional. It would harness the untapped talents of thousands who are now hampered by archaic policies and politics that prelude thoughtful and forward thinking. It would also mean the complete restructuring of curricula, the prioritization of classes according to the needs of all pupils, and the potential for introducing brilliant people in their own fields as “adjunct” to the regular teaching staff. The proliferation of programs and practices within the existing framework of schools—a crazy quilt of competing ideas and conflicting approaches—are designed to “patch up” the existing structures rather than radically altering the failing status quo. This quilt smothers cooperative relationships between the school administration and its teachers, among the teachers themselves, and between teacher education universities and the schools, through which creative models of organization and pedagogy could be developed. It is time to create a new pattern: one whose edges are not circumscribed by binding stitched

This Time, Let’s Truly Leave No Child Behind By Mary Brabeck, Ph.D. It is summer and faculty are heading for vacations with novels they have saved for beach reading. But most educators—teachers, researchers, policy makers—are also keeping an eye on Washington DC. While health care seems to dominate the news out of the nation’s capital, education watchers are trying to read the signs of change and speculating about what is ahead for the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB was the major education reform of the Bush administration. An accountability system based on standardized testing to improve math and reading skills, it focused the attention of the country on the worrisome achievement gap between white students and students of color, the national scandal of high school drop out rates, and the huge challenges faced by English language learners. The Act was intended to give our schools historic education reform based on stronger accountability, more freedom for states and communities, research-based education methods, and more choices for parents. Everyone expects NCLB will be reauthorized, but how will it be changed under the Obama administration? We have an opportunity to refocus the goals of NCLB and draw out some aspects of it that were ignored by the Bush administration. Implementation of NCLB was heavily influenced by the 1998 William Sanders research, which indicated that, “The single biggest factor affecting academic growth of any population of youngsters is the effectiveness of the individual classroom teacher. The answer to why children learn well or not isn’t race, it isn’t poverty, it isn’t even per-pupil expenditure at the elementary level. It’s teachers, teachers, teachers.” No one doubts the importance of high-quality teachers. However, complex behaviors like academic achievement and student development are not the result of any single factor. Ample evidence indicates that environmental factors together to prevent the loosely sewn pieces within from falling apart completely. It is time to view school reform as an entire piece, not piecework typical of factories: hopefully a work more resembling art than artifice. # Dr. Jerrold Ross is Dean of the School of Education at St. John’s University in New York.

powerfully impact the academic and social development of children. Authors of the reformulated NCLB should address the reality that poverty may well cancel out the best teaching; if we do not remove the barriers to learning created by poverty, children handicapped by it will continue to fail. But we will also fail our children and youth if we do not give them deep and rich experiences with the arts. In our highly technocratic society, we must pay deliberate attention to aesthetic development. Music and art engage the hearts and minds of children, youth and adults. They develop new lenses for viewing and understanding the world. Through art, music, theater, and dance, children and youth learn to make sense of their emotions, their political stances, their environments, their relationships, their fears, their dreams. They also can come to understand other peoples, learn tolerance, appreciate similarities and differences, and thereby learn to live and work in a global society. However, principals under pressure to remove the achievement gap and meet standards of Adequate Yearly Progress under NCLB have diverted arts education money to tutoring, teaching materials and programs in reading and mathematics. The budget crisis is further causing many to cancel music and art classes in order to provide more time for coaching in reading and mathematics, areas being tested under NCLB. While wealthier families are able to transfer to schools that continue to offer arts programs, the poor urban schools, arguably most in need of these programs, are least likely to have them. In this arts-rich city of New York, this is a tragedy. The solution is not to take time away from instruction in the basic skills, but rather to create curricula in which the arts are infused rather than added. To develop this rich curriculum requires that art and music educators work “elbow to elbow” with the best artists engaged in their creative disciplines. I hope that revisions of NCLB will include incentives for communities to collaborate in providing the arts: dancing, visual arts, theater, and music, to all our children so that we indeed leave no child behind. # Mary Brabeck, Ph.D., is Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University.

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New York City • AUGUST 2009 For Parents, Educators & Students

Dr. Jonas Salk Scholarships Awarded to CUNY Pre-Meds Chancellor Matthew Goldstein announced that eight CUNY pre-medical students have been awarded Jonas E. Salk Scholarships to study medicine. They were recognized for their research on growth factors in the immune and vascular systems in autoimmune diseases, the cellular response to DNA damage, new ruthenium complexes with potential as anti-malaria and cancer agents, and on thymic nurse cells. “This year’s Salk Scholarship winners continue the tradition of academic achievement, research excellence, and public service exemplified by Dr. Jonas E. Salk, one of CUNY’s most illustrious graduates,” Chancellor Goldstein said. The scholarships are the legacy of Dr. Jonas E. Salk, a 1934 graduate of City College, who developed the polio vaccine in 1955. The endowment provides a stipend of $8,000 per scholar. to help defray the cost of medical school. The keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was Dr. Kenneth Olden, founding dean of CUNY’s School of Public Health, which is set to open in 2010-2011. Dr. Olden joined CUNY in 2008 after having taught at the Harvard School of Public Health for three years. He led the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology program from 1991 to 2005. Jason Abramowitz, Queens College, SUNY Downstate Medical Center Although Jason always wanted to become a physician, his own hospitalization two years ago solidified his calling. Emergency room physicians worked as a team to diagnose his rash and fever as a rare strep infection of the skin, impressing him with their sincerity and skill. Jason’s quest to become a physician has followed several paths. He volunteered in a hospital emergency room and shadowed oncology fellows at Bellevue Hospital. And he assisted in neuroscience research on the myelination of nerves within the rodent somatosensory system. Mikhail Bekarev, Hunter College, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Mikhail began his collegiate studies at Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute in Uzbekistan before transferring to Hunter College. At Hunter, he has majored in computational biology and interdisciplinary sciences while pursuing his passion for medical research. He served as a research assistant in two different Hunter College labs and participated in the Summer Undergraduate MSTP Research program at the University of Iowa, which included both laboratory research and clinical participation.

Chantal Bruno, Queens College/Macaulay Honors College, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine As a child, Chantal was exposed to the suffering of patients as well as the compassionate caregiving of the medical profession when her grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Her feelings of helplessness motivated her to take action to help others. She began by volunteering in a nursing home while still in high school, and has since had experiences shadowing a cardiologist and interning at the emergency department of North Shore University Hospital. For almost six years she has conducted neuroscience research, which she has presented at international conferences. Martin Detchkov, City College/Macaulay Honors College, SUNY Downstate Medical Center At the age of nine, Martin came from Bulgaria to New York City with his family. An early interest in anatomy coursework piqued his interest in medicine and his fascination with the complexities of the human body. He has worked for two and a half years in hospitals, including the surgical unit of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and his introduction to physicians and surgeons engaged in clinical studies was a defining experience for him. He pursued his interest in research at City College, conducting independent research with thymic nurse cells and presenting peerreviewed articles. Michael Ignat, Hunter College, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine Growing up in a small Ukrainian village, Michael could never have imagined that he would have the opportunity to study in America or to achieve his dream of becoming a physician. During a turbulent period in his family’s life, he lost hope and nearly dropped out of college. His grandfather’s death made him realize the fragility of life and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams. In his quest to become a physician, Michael volunteered at the NewYork-Presbyterian emergency room and became a registered EMT, working as a first responder for the last two years. Michael graduated from Hunter College with a degree in psychology in 2008 and will graduate with a biochemistry degree in 2009.



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New Eyes for the Needy: Giving the Gift of Sight by Lisa K. Winkler, STAFF WRITER New Eyes for the Needy’s mission is vision, and this New Jersey-based nonprofit volunteer organization works hard to guarantee that anyone who needs glasses gets them. New Eyes has helped more than seven million sight-impaired people throughout the world. “Our goal is to fulfill 100 percent of the requests we receive,” executive director Susan M. Dyckman told Education Update. Through a voucher program in the United States and a recycling program overseas, New Eyes provides glasses for those who can’t afford them. Founded in 1932 by Short Hills, NJ resident Julia Lawrence Terry, New Eyes has become a primary resource for charities and medical missions seeking to distribute glasses. Terry had volunteered at a food depot during the Depression and noticed that many people had vision problems, which affected their ability to read forms and complete applications. She began by collecting old glasses from her friends and redistributing them. She soon realized that she could sell the gold frames of the collected glasses and use the proceeds to purchase new glasses. Terry enlisted her friends to assist her and launched a nationwide appeal for donations. Using donated offices, New Eyes for the Needy was born. Now the organization operates two programs. The first is a glasses redistribution program similar to the one started by Terry during the Depression. Used eyeglasses, including readers, sunglasses, sports glasses, and protective eye gear are donated to organizations in more than 56 countries, according to Dyckman. The other is their U.S.based voucher program. Prospective recipients file

an application to determine financial need, and if approved, receive vouchers worth about $60, covering the cost of a new pair of glasses. Volunteers manage the operation. High school students and adults assist in sorting the thousands of glasses sent each month, testing lenses to determine the prescription, and preparing glasses for mailing. In the Short Hills office, countless boxes of glasses are stacked against every wall space. New Eyes for the Needy solicits funds from grants and foundations, and conducts an annual gala event each year. School groups, often seeking to fulfill a public service requirement, also assist with fund raising. This year students from a local high school organized a “Kids Rock for Vision” concert and netted nearly $8,000. Additionally, New Eyes runs a resale boutique, selling estate and costume jewelry and other gift items. Every recipient of a glasses voucher receives a postcard, asking them how the glasses impacted their lives. For Dyckman this provides a way to “get to know” how the glasses are appreciated. “If you have difficulty seeing, your entire world is distorted. By giving the gift of glasses, we improve the quality of people’s lives.” #

Dalanda Jalloh, Brooklyn College, SUNY Upstate Medical University Dalanda grew up in Hungary, the daughter of a Hungarian mother and a father from Sierra Leone. The family immigrated to the United States when Dalanda was in high school. Her family has traveled extensively, which contributed to her deep appreciation of other cultures and new perspectives, an important attribute for a physician. Her natural interest in both biology and chemistry led her to choose a double major at Brooklyn College, where she has pursued both disciplines diligently. She has thrived in a research environment as well. Mario Pinto, City College, A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine (Arizona) As the eldest child of a single immigrant parent from Bogotá, Colombia, Mario has had to shoulder more responsibilities than many of his peers. His family arrived in the United States when he was 11, and he worked throughout high school and college in the food and nutrition department of a nursing home to contribute to the family’s finances. Mario entered Borough of Manhattan Community College as an adolescent unsure of his abilities and aptitude, and he credits

the strong support structure at the college for enabling him to mature and to shift his priorities to the sciences. Transferring to City College, Mario has assisted with projects related to osteoarthritis with researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and City College. Sheryl Purrier, York College, Penn State College of Medicine Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Sheryl suffered from chronic asthma and spent a great deal of her childhood in and out of hospitals. Observing the dedication and kindness of her own pediatrician and the comfort and care provided by physicians at a local children’s hospital inspired her to become a physician. Sheryl participated in neuroanatomy research for two years, studying whether the composition of the inner nuclear layer in cat retinas is different from other mammals studied thus far. #

Executive Director Susan M. Dyckman


AUGUST 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

spotlight on schools



Sadlier Conference on U.S. Mathematics Achievement By Lauren Shapiro Part 1 of 2 In 2006, President Bush created a National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP), comprised of 20 expert panelists and five ex-officio members, to advise him and the Secretary of Education on the best use of scientifically-based research on the teaching and learning of math, with a specific focus on preparation for and success in learning algebra. Recently, William H. Sadlier, Inc., the oldest educational publishing company in the United States, took an active role in convening its own National Mathematics Advisory Board to discuss the NMAP report and its effect on math teaching. “Ours is the only math program with such a distinguished board of advisors; and the key is we actually use them,” stated Frank S. Dinger, Chairman and COO of William H. Sadlier, Inc., as he introduced the board. Sadlier Publications posed the question, “How are Educators and Policy Makers Responding to the Recommendations of the National Mathematics Panel Report?” to its panel members: R. James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University, Regina Panasuk, Professor of Mathematics Education, University of Massachusetts, Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, Vern Williams, Mathematics Department, Longfellow Middle School (VA), and others. Professor Stotsky and Ms. Williams both served on the original NMAP Panel. Stotsky averred, “Parents have been very happy with the NMAP report and are doing as much as they can to bring the report to their own state departments of education and to local school systems. I have been involved in Connecticut, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Missouri. We haven’t had activist parents who are focused on a particular subject in the curriculum; typically, we’ve had parent activist groups about general issues like language or special ed. This parent activism focusing on math is a new issue that has not been looked at by press. These are not soccer moms; these are engineer moms. This group is very positive in its response to the NMAP.” She added that the NMAP emphasized and encouraged high quality research that they implied was lacking overall. Milgram stated, “In over a hundred years there has been no real interaction between the professional math community and the K–12 math education community. This didn’t matter for a long time, and wasn’t even noticed, but as our society became more technological, and more mathbased, it became more and more critical that there

be a connection. There has been enormous resistance to this on the part of math educators. It is critical that there be more interaction between the math and the math education communities.” He further pointed out that the national and the state exam results are riddled with mathematical errors. He also indicated a need to improve the training and certification of teachers. “Washington State’s economy is very dependent on only a very few industries—Boeing, Microsoft and tourism mostly, 09AA_Acad_EducUp07_ad:09AA_Acad_EducUp07_ad 6/23/09 3:36 PM Page 1 (L-R) Sandra Stotsky, Vern Williams, Jack Beers, R. James Milgram, Regina Panasuk and two of them require highly prepared students coming from the Washington education system,” Milgram continued. “Boeing left, Microsoft is outsourcing to Beijing, and so the unemployment rate in Washington has been growing. I was talking to people at Microsoft and they were explaining that only 8 percent of their employees in Washington were from the state education system, and they couldn’t function in that state with that low a percentage of local employees. The result was that the superintendent of education was voted out of office. The legislature ultimately holds the power because they hold the purse strings; it and the governor are the actual final arbiters of the education system. They can, and sometimes are forced to, override the Superintendent of Education and the education schools, to say nothing of the school districts—but the education community is up in arms.” Williams added, “Parents are relieved to finally have something in writing that we can take to our school districts to show that we were right. In my own county, Fairfax County, we are finally coming up with a new curriculum.” But, he adds, “We have many kids taking algebra who should not be taking it. They’re taking algebra based on the fallacious theory of research that any kid who takes algebra will succeed in college so put everyone in algebra.” Stotsky reminded the board that the National Governors Association just announced that 46 states have signed an agreement to support a common core of math standards, the Common State Standards Initiative. The federal government, by law, cannot impose a standard or a test on the states. So states must all have their own processes and adopt some core: at least 85 percent of the state standards are in agreement. # Part 2 will appear in our next issue.

Get dazzling results! Progress in Mathematics, K–8/9

Sloan Work and Family Research Network Releases New Policy Brief on School Involvement Leave President Barack Obama continues to underscore the importance of parental involvement in education as the beginning of education reform. Recently, the Sloan Work and Family Research Network released their latest policy brief on one way that states are responding to this call for parental involvement in education. This brief is titled, “School Involvement Leave: Providing Leave for Parental Involvement in School Activities.” This new brief offers state policy makers a starting point for further discussion about parental involvement in school activities. More specifically, this brief defines school involvement leave and why it is a policy issue, discusses the pros and cons of school involvement leave policies, maps out proposed and enacted state legislation concerning school involvement leave, and provides links for more information. As the policy brief points out, many states are addressing this issue already. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have laws provid-

ing leave for parents to attend school activities. Another twelve states have proposed new legislation during the current session that would provide this leave. “School involvement leave is an active policy issue because, despite President Obama’s call for parental involvement, many working families do not have the flexibility in their schedules or the leave time necessary to attend school conferences and activities,” states Mary Curlew, policy associate at the Sloan Network and author of this policy brief. Whether or not school involvement leave policies are the best initiatives to address this expressed need is for policy makers and their constituents to decide. For more information on work-family legislative initiatives and trends, visit the Sloan Work and Family Research Network website—the premier online destination for information about work and family—including state policy resources, a bills and statutes database, policy briefs, statistics, and reports, at wfnetwork.bc.edu/policy.php.#

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EDUCATION UPDATE

AUGUST 2009

Exclusive Interview: Alonzo Mourning’s Triumph Over Kidney Disease By Richard Kagan ow did you get the nickname “the ultimate warrior?” Based on my demeanor and determination, over the years the nickname came from the perception that people took from my intense play. What influence did Coach Pat Riley have on your career with the Heat? Coach Riley taught me so much more about professionalism and preparation than he taught me about basketball. I knew the game, I had the drive and determination, but what he taught me was how to channel all my energy to be successful. I learned that this is so important to be successful in professional athletics. What are your views on education and the college athlete? What role did your college experience play in your life and career? My college coach and mentor, Coach John Thompson, taught me the importance of education first. There are only a small number of NBA players, so if you look at all of the college athletes there are only a few that are going to make it in the NBA; some will go on to play in Europe and most will be champions in other professions. Basketball is not who you are, it is what you do and it is only a temporary part of your life. There will come a time when we all will need to utilize our education. Should a college athlete stay in school and graduate as opposed to opting out and signing with a pro team? This is a tough question because I am a bit biased. I did stay in school and I did get my degree and I am thankful for that; however, there are some who have left early or have not even attended college and have done well in the NBA. This is a decision that every person has to make individually, but I personally feel that players will fare better with the college experience (both on and off the court). When did you find out about your kidney disease, focal glomerulosclerosis? I found out about my kidney disease because of a mandatory, routine team physical after playing and traveling all summer with the 2000 Olympic Team. I retired for six months to get my mind and body right, and with the help of my Nephrologist, Dr. Gerald Appel, I was able to return to playing in March of the following year. Through the next two seasons, I was monitored closely and ultimately needed my life saving kidney transplant in December of 2003. The story of you and your donor, your cousin Jason Cooper, is remarkable. How did you

(L-R) Shaquille O’Neal, Gerald Appel, M.D. and Alonzo Mourning

connect with your cousin, and what made him decide to donate a kidney? This story is proof that fate does exist. My aunt (Jason’s grandmother) was sick and in the hospital. Jason went to visit her and, while he was there, my father was also visiting. They happened to see the news conference where I announced that I was going to have to retire from basHIGH MARKS: REGENTS CHEMISTRY ketball and that I needed MADE EASY - BY SHARON WELCHER $10.95 a kidney transplant on the (College Teacher, Chairperson & TV in the hospital room. He looked at my father and Teacher of High School Review Courses) told him that he was living Easy Review Book with hundreds of in the New York area, and questions and solutions that if there was anything Next Book in the Series that he could do to call him, and gave my father his HIGH MARKS: REGENTS PHYSICS MADE number. I called, met him EASY - BY SHARON WELCHER $12.95 at the hospital for testing, Teaches Physics Problems and he was a match. I had not seen my cousin Jason [w‰c{Š~…z‰©]{Š^gh Marks in over 25 years, and actually tried to talk him out of donating the kidney. I didn’t want him to feel that he had to do this if he had any reservations about it. I owe

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Jason my life, and now we share a bond that is unexplainable. Since your new kidney was placed in your lower right abdomen, did you have concerns that it would be vulnerable to the intense physical contact that basketball demands? At first, yes. However, I was fortunate enough that NIKE made me a one-of-a-kind shield that would protect my new kidney. It was like any of the injuries I had throughout my career; I might have been nervous at first to return to the court, but if I allowed myself to dwell on what could happen, I knew that I would never be able to be the player I wanted and was able to be. I was strong mentally and my body followed. You helped the Heat win a title in 2006. Was this great achievement a surprise given that you were just two years removed from a kidney transplant? No, not at all. With all of the hard work that we put in as a team and as an organization it was our time and we seized the moment. How did the team, coaching staff, and trainers support you? The organization as a whole helped us be better basketball players by taking care of a lot of the little things that could turn into distractions for us. They allowed us to strictly focus on basketball and, at the same time, helped us develop as people and players. All of the coaches, staff members and trainers were a huge influence in

the overall success of the franchise through the years. What else helped you overcome your personal and professional challenges? The title of my book says it all: Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph. Those qualities, along with the support of my family and friends, allowed me to overcome whatever challenges came my way. What is your plan for the next five years? I plan on raising my family and building my foundation. I will also be the Vice President of Player Development for the Miami Heat, and I look forward to developing and contributing to the careers of our young players as we help build the organization. What advice would you give to young people who want to make sports their career? It is important to follow your dream because if no one ever did there would never be a dream come true! However, due to the small percentage of athletes who are lucky enough to be a part of professional athletics, it is important to also be committed to education. There are so many different ways to be involved in sports that don’t necessarily include competing, and every position is essential for the success of a team (team doctors, trainers, coaches, etc.). So follow your dreams, but don’t be so focused that you don’t see all the different opportunities available to you along the way! #


AUGUST 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

spotlight on schools



Loews Corporation’s Education Scholarships By Joan Baum, Ph.D. When Andrew Tisch talks about the Loews Corporation’s Scholarship Program, he breaks into a broad smile. The Loews Scholarship program, overseen by Tisch, who serves as Co-Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee of this major New York City-based conglomerate, is one of the oldest, most consistent and prestigious education assistance programs in the country. The program makes it possible for deserving youngsters who would otherwise lack the opportunity, to attend a good college. Of course, there are scholarships, and there are Loews scholarships. What distinguishes awards supported by Loews? (1) Design and administration, (2) longevity, (3) size of award, and (4) exemplary status. Loews forged a relationship early on with the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which administers the awards program. The organization identifies recipients on the basis of “test scores, academic record, leadership, significant extracurricular accomplishments, and other standard requirements of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.” Merit sets the criteria. But Tisch ensures that funding keeps up with the times. The Loews Merit Scholarships have been around

since 1962, and though the program started with two awardees, it now has kept constant with five. Winners tend to come from high-achieving high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School and Bronx Science, but it should be noted that Loews added two additional awards. Besides the Loews Merit Scholarship Awards, there is the Achievement Scholarship program (added in 1969) for underrepresented minorities, mainly African Americans, in New York, and not open to Loews’s family members. There are also the Loews Special Scholarship Awards for the children of Loews employees who need not attain the achievement level required by the Merit awards. The Loews awards were started by Laurence and Preston Robert Tisch. “I was only in the seventh grade when the awards were instituted,” Andrew Tisch pointed out, “yet the program represents an ongoing tradition of community service that we at Loews Corporation continue today.” He added, “We believe that companies should make an effort to serve local communities and enhance leadership and social issue opportunities for deserving youngsters.” Tisch is delighted when he hears how former scholarship recipients are doing. “Several Achievement Scholarship students are children of people in our New York office,” he noted. “I was pleased that

we were able to find a place for our last year’s Achievement (non-employee related) Scholarship winner as an intern in our Investment Department.” An important feature of two of Loews’s awards is that they are available to everyone and anyone who works in the corporation, across the country, no matter what the job—hotel staff, elevator operators, waiters, etc. The Achievement Awards, on the other hand, are restricted to youngsters in New York City who are children of Loews employees. Tisch is more than delighted to be a part of this philanthropic enterprise. He is, he says, genuinely “gratified” that he is helping kids get an opportunity to go to college. Each May, when the awards are given out, he meets the winners and their parents, a truly “rewarding” moment. While most youngsters opt for private colleges, usually the Ivies, in fact, there is no restriction on where students go. A number of winners, he recalls, have elected to attend public universities. Tisch, a graduate of Cornell who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard, is personally generous to his undergraduate alma mater. He and his wife not too long ago made a major donation to Cornell to allow the university to honor and retain current faculty members and recruit the most talented young scholars and researchers from around the world. He is also active in Jewish com-

munal affairs, and of course, who has not heard of the outstanding NYU Tisch School of the Arts, of which he is Co-Chair of the Dean’s Council. Married to journalist Ann Rubenstein, he supported his wife as she created the innovative all-girls pubAndrew Tisch lic Young Women’s Leadership School in East Harlem in 1996 (there are now eight such schools in the city and across the country); she also created the college guidance program—the now ten-year old CollegeBound initiative, a remarkable program for inner-city public high school students that assists students with their applications for admission and scholarships. Loews Corporation, led by Jim, Andrew and Jonathan Tisch, who comprise the Office of the President, supports many programs that benefit the community. The Tisches are that rare breed: active, personally involved philanthropists, who generously contribute time and advice and not just resources.#

The DEAN’S COLUMN

The Arithmetic Uniqueness By Alfred S. Posamentier, Ph.D. The number 11, since it is 1 greater than our base 10, has some lovely properties that can be used not only to shortcut some calculations, but also to exhibit some of mathematics’ hidden treasures. We begin with considering a method to multiply by 11 mentally and then inspect when a number is divisible by 11. This is a very nifty way to multiply by 11. This one always gets a rise out of students, because it is so simple – and, believe it or not, even easier than doing it on a calculator! The rule is very simple: To multiply a two-digit number by 11 just add the two digits and place the sum between the two digits. For example, suppose you need to multiply 45 by 11. According to the rule, add 4 and 5 and place it between the 4 and 5 to get 495. It’s as simple as that. This can get a bit more difficult, as students will be quick to point out. If the sum of the two digits is greater that 9, then we place the units digit between the two digits of the number being multiplied by 11 and “carry” the tens digit to be added to the hundreds digit of the multiplicand. Let’s try it with 78·11 7+8=15. We place the 5 between the 7 and 8, and add the 1 to the 7, to get [7+1][5][8] or 858. Your students will next request that you extend this procedure to numbers of more than two digits. Let’s go right for a larger number such as 12,345 and multiply it by 11. Here we begin at the right side digit and add every pair of digits going to the left. 1[1+2][2+3][3+4][4+5]5 = 135,795. If the sum of two digits is greater than 9, then use the procedure described before: place the units digit appropriately and carry the tens digit. We will do one of these for you here. Multiply 456,789 by 11. We carry the process step by step: 4[4+5][5+6][6+7][7+8][8+9]9 4[4+5][5+6][6+7][7+8][17]9 4[4+5][5+6][6+7][7+8+1][7]9 4[4+5][5+6][6+7][16][7]9 4[4+5][5+6][6+7+1][6][7]9 4[4+5][5+6][14][6][7]9 4[4+5][5+6+1][4][6][7]9 4[4+5][12][4][6][7]9 4[4+5+1][2][4][6][7]9 4[10][2][4][6][7]9 [4+1][0][2][4][6][7]9 [5][0][2][4][6][7]9 5,024,679

of the

Students will be enthusiastic with this procedure, because it is so simple. They will go home and show it to their family and friends. By showing it and doing it, it will stay with them. Your goal is to maintain this enthusiasm. Now having convinced students that the number 11 has a special property, have them consider when a number is divisible by 11 – that is determining this without actually doing the division. Try to convince students that at the oddest times this question can come up. If you have a calculator at hand, the problem is easily solved. But that is not always the case. Besides, there is such a clever “rule” for testing for divisibility by 11 that it is worth showing students just for its charm. The rule simply states: If the difference of the sums of the alternate digits is divisible by 11, then the original number is also divisible by 11. Sounds a bit complicated, but it really isn’t. Have your students take this rule a piece at a

Number 11

time. The sums of the alternate digits means you begin at one end of the number taking the first, third, fifth, etc. digits and add them. Then add the remaining (even placed) digits. Subtract the two sums and inspect for divisibility by 11. It is probably best shown to your students by example. We shall test 768,614 for divisibility by 11.* Sums of the alternate digits are: 7+8+1 = 16, and 6+6+4 = 16. The difference of these two sums, 16-16 = 0, which is divisible by 11. Another example might be helpful to firm up your student’s understanding. To determine if 918,082 is divisible by 11, find the sums of the alternate digits: 9+8+8 = 25, and 1+0+2 = 3. Their difference is 25-3 = 22, which is divisible by 11, and so the number 918,082 is divisible by 11. Now just let your students practice with this rule. Once again, practice with this procedure

will insure its permanence with students, who throughout their mathematics study should be building an arsenal of tools with which to navigate through their further study in mathematics. Above all, with these little tidbits they will allow themselves to be charmed by the subject that all too often does not enjoy appropriate popularity in our society. Dr. Alfred Posamentier is Dean of the School of Education at City College of NY, author of over 40 Mathematics books, including: Math Wonders to Inspire Teachers and Students (ASCD, 2003) and The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (Prometheus, 2007), and member of the NYS Mathematics Standards Committee. *Remember (0/11) = 0


10

Special Education

EDUCATION UPDATE

AUGUST 2009

A Hope for an Inclusive Tomorrow John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School

by Emmanuel Reed One of the greatest fears that many parents face today is that their child will be diagnosed with autism or some other learning disability. According to statistics provided by organizations such as fightingautism.org and the US Department of Education, the skyrocketing number of new cases of students with autism in the last 15 years is a further illustration of why tri-state area parents are concerned. Many parents and educators are not properly educated or equipped to deal with the harsh realities of educating a student with severe and multiple disabilities. As a result, organizations such as The New York City Task Force on Quality Inclusive School, UFT Teacher Center and Parent-to-Parent NYS took action by recently sponsoring the first annual Supporting Inclusive Classrooms: Strategies for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities conference. Inclusive education is the practice of educating students with disabilities in mainstream schools. Where necessary, education is provided with the use of supplementary aids and services. The conference focused primarily on a twopronged approach aimed at empowering parents and informing educators of the resources available to them since the inception of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Chris J. Anderson, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at College of Mount Saint Vincent, began the conference by highlighting not only the struggles that parents and educators have historically faced with inclusive education advocacy, but the advances that have been made as well. Brenda Dressler, Ph.D., Co-Liaison, New York City Task Force on Quality Inclusive Schools, discussed the process of how the various professors from different educational institutions came together to form the conference and outlined some future goals of the conference.

David J. Conner, Professor of Special Education, Hunter College, CUNY, a speaker

Participants attending the conference viewed the documentary Songs of Our Children and received an informative resource handbook titled, Supporting Inclusive Classrooms: A Resource New York City Task Force on Quality Inclusive Schooling. Grade leveled strategy sessions (Birth–Grade 6 and Grade 7–Post Secondary) included topics such as: how to improve classroom management; creating optimal learning environments; and promoting high academic, functional and transitional expectations for all. David J. Connor, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Special Education/Learning Disabilities at Hunter College, CUNY, spoke about the open denigration of students recently seen in the news, and how federal programs such as No Child Left Behind have left our country’s most vulnerable student population behind by enacting anti-inclusion policies. Connor also provided participants with a useful behavior management website that offers strategies for dealing with disruptive behavior. For a long time, children with disabilities were

By Yuridia Peña John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School will open its doors to 75 sixth graders this fall. The first charter school in Staten Island will offer a rigorous college preparatory program to its eclectic student body comprised of students with and without emotional and physical disabilities. “This is a new group of kids that we are looking to address, and we felt that there was a need on Staten Island and probably in every borough,” said Evelyn Finn, founding principal and veteran school administrator. Prior to her retirement several years ago, Ms. Finn was the principal of P.S. 37, a New York City public school for severely handicapped children on Staten Island. She has returned to her role as an administrator because she believes in the charter’s mission. “I’m committed to this school and I’m excited about working in it,” she added. Board members of The Verrazano Foundation, a non-profit organization that combats stigmas against people with disabilities, are the visionaries behind this project. “Research data on psychiatric illness says that people recover. It is not a death sentence… The expectation we have for kids is educated in separate classes. People got used to the idea that special education meant separate education. Much progress has occurred with the inclusion of students with disabilities in their home schools and classrooms. The IDEA Amendments of 1997 has strengthened the role of parents in educational planning and decisionmaking on behalf of their children, and it focuses the student’s educational planning process on promoting meaningful access to the general curriculum.#

very powerful in shaping their behavior and how they will move on,” said Dr. Ken Byalin, founder and president of the Verrazano Foundation. The incoming class has a 30 percent population of students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), a document that assesses a student in need of special services and its goals for the student’s recovery and academic success. These kids are expected to graduate high school with a Regents Diploma, master multiple foreign languages, and participate in an intensive six-year wellness curriculum. The rest of the student body is composed of high- and low-performing students as well as kids who do not have an IEP but are in need of remediation. “There are going to be kids whose parents did not want [their] kids identified with an IEP and saw Lavelle Prep as the opportunity for them to get the support they need without having the label attached,” said Dr. Byalin. The wellness curriculum is an extension of the health and physical education program that teaches students how to fight peer pressure, set goals, overcome bullying, and make healthy choices. Since March, the new staff participated in numerous professional development-training workshops. “There is a real group forming and I think that has a lot to do with Evelyn’s leadership… Team work is going to be crucial for the success of the school,” said Dr. Byalin. A couple of certified teachers who were not selected in the competitive hiring process took a pay cut and joined the team as paraprofessionals. “I’m really proud of that because they decided to stick with me,” said Ms. Finn. The school will be housed in the Elizabeth A. Connelly Campus in Graniteville.”#


AUGUST 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

Accountability vs. Equity: Are They at Odds?

Special Education

11

Sterling School Graduates Inspire Its Current Students

By Dr. Bonnie Brown As educators, we labor under the rigor of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in our attempts to improve accountability through public test scores and district school-wide achievement metrics. Principals are being charged with holding teachers accountable for student outcomes and using both formative and summative assessment data to drive daily classroom instruction. In short, there is a Herculean effort being made to demystify teaching and learning and hold educators responsible for student achievement through transparency of data and public entry to all varying types of student information. As special educators, we are held to the same standards as our general education colleagues, and expectations for student growth are congruent. However, there are elements of “soft data” that are not as publicly proclaimed or published that we know impact student outcomes as strongly as test scores. That “soft data” has to do with equity of access and resources to students with learning challenges. Exactly what types of equity am I alluding to? Here are a few examples: • Equitable use of school building facilities such as libraries, gyms, cafeterias, pools, and computer rooms. • Classes located along a corridor with appropriate grade-level peers instead of in a “special education wing.” • Breakfast and lunch times at reasonable hours rather than a 10:45 a.m. lunch after an 8:45 a.m. breakfast. • Inclusion in school-wide assemblies, fails, dance festivals, proms, and graduations. • Access to extended-day academic intervention programs and intramurals even if they require after-hours bussing. • Integration in public areas such as cafeterias, staircases and restrooms. • Opportunities for integration, mainstreaming and/or full inclusion with general education peers.

In short, special needs students in integrated buildings are being held to the same academic expectations as their general education peers without the same supports from the school’s infrastructure. How then can we anticipate positive outcomes in students who grapple daily with rejection, disparate treatment and loss of selfesteem? It is high time to bring all the inequities to light, make all children equal in their rights of access, and have breaches in equity made as public as student test scores. Until these egregious improprieties in school communities are rectified and structures are put in place to ensure no future recurrences, we can never truly enact NCLB in our schools; we will only perpetuate lip service. # Dr. Bonnie Brown is the superintendent of District 75 in New York City.

A Perspective By Raul Silva, M.D. In this column I would like to share with the readership my own perspectives on what is probably the most common neuropsychiatric condition in our schools today. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 6 percent of children and can have serious implications on their academic and lifelong potential. ADHD, ADD, or hyperactivity, as the illness is frequently referred to, should not be ignored. There are three primary sets of features that can comprise the clinical picture of ADHD, which include motoric overactivity, impulsivity and lack of attention. One of the difficulties parents often face is putting off the proper identification of this illness. Many well-intentioned parents hope and wait to see if their child will outgrow these behaviors and often let the ramifications of the condition go unchecked and untreated. The life-long curse of ADHD is that frequently the motor hyperactivity decreases in adolescence and adulthood, but the inattentive and impulsive components persist. The decision of how to proceed is complicated by the fact that most children with ADHD also

on

Rain could not put a damper on the Sterling School’s 10th anniversary and graduation at the Peristyle in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park last month. This celebration marked a milestone in the life of Sterling School and its students. For ten years Sterling has taught elementary school-age children with language-based L.D. and dyslexia. What was special was that in addition to graduating the sixth graders and awarding the accomplishments of many students, parents got to meet over twenty Sterling alumni. These students are now in college, just graduated from high school, or are in schools like Bay Ridge Prep and Brooklyn Tech. They represent the future that many of the parents of L.D. children fear their children can’t achieve. Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne T. Graham presented Ruth Arberman with a proc-

lamation marking the achievements of Sterling School. Looking on were Stephen Levin, who is currently running for City Council, and Joyce Arberman. Sterling School graduates look forward to a bright future brought about by hard work, parental support, and the one-of-a-kind education these students receive at Sterling. In the words of a current graduate, Hunter Haymore, “The Sterling School gave me the opportunity to improve my reading, spelling and math. Before Sterling, I had teachers that didn’t understand me or the way I work. I hated learning anything new because I would never get it. Now I’m looking forward to seventh grade; to new challenges and new experiences.” For information about Sterling School, visit www.sterlingschool.com, or contact Ruth Arberman at 718-625-3502. #

ADHD

have other psychiatric conditions that require treatment. Treatment often consists of cognitive behavioral approaches and medications. Nowadays there are many different medications that are used to improve concentration and reduce the hyperactivity, including the traditional stimulants (methylphenidates and amphetamine based agents) and newer agents such as atomoxetine, clonidine and guanfacine. The stimulants have been used to treat the symptoms of this illness for over 50 years. Many parents worry about the agents’ potential for abuse and opening the door to future substance abuse. A number of recent studies have looked at this very issue and have not confirmed an association. The one group of disorders that often coexist with ADHD and which should not be ignored are the learning disorders. This group of disorders requires specific testing and alternate learning strategies, the medications used to treat ADHD will not in and of themselves overcome the academic struggles of those who have learning disorders. # Dr. Raul Silva is the Vice-Chair and Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Child Study Center and Exec. Dir., Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center.

Contact Elizabeth O’Shea eoshea@rebeccaschool.org


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Outstanding Educators

www .EDUCATIONUPDATE. com

|

AUGUST 2009

Charlotte Frank, Ph.D., Sr. VP, McGraw-Hill and David Steiner, Ph.D., Dean, Hunter College School of Education

(L-R) Augusta Kappner, Pres. Emerita, Bank Street College & Regina Peruggi, President, Kingsborough Comm. Coll.

of the

Jay Hershenson, Sr. Vice-Chancellor, CUNY delivers the keynote address

Honoree Joan Washington & Craig Dunn, The New York Times

Honoree Judy Mittler & Margaret Grace, J.D., Founder, Grace Outreach

Ernest Logan & Honoree Paula Holmes

Honoree Beth Altmann & Shaneequa Wright, Mgr., Public Affairs, Con Edison

Ernest Logan & Honoree Jeanne Fish

Honoree Craig Antelmi & Shaneequa Wright

Honoree Mary Padilla & Margaret Grace

Honoree Josephine Viars & Craig Dunn

Honoree Dedria Lacy & Shaneequa Wright

Ernest Logan & Honoree Alyce Barr

Honoree Mary Scarlato & Craig Dunn

Dr. Pola Rosen, Publisher, Education Update

Y


Year 2009

at the

Jennifer Raab, President, Hunter College & Ernest Logan, President, Council of School Supervisors & Administrators

H arvard Club AUGUST 2009

Randi Weingarten, President, AFT/UFT & Susan Fuhrman, President, Teachers College, Columbia U.

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www .EDUCATIONUPDATE. com

Alfred Posamentier, Dean, City College of NY & William Dinger, CEO, Sadlier Publishing Co.

(L-R) CUNY Trustee Freida Foster-Tolbert, CUNY Deputy COO Burton Sacks, CUNY Trustee Rita DiMartino

(L-R) Mary Brabeck, Dean, NYU Steinhardt School of Education; Bonnie Kaiser, Ph.D., Rockefeller University

(L-R) Eric Nadelstern, Chief Schools Officer, DOE & John Mogolescu, Sr. Univer. Dean, CUNY

Honoree Rosanna Ohba & Jay Hershenson

Honoree Karena Thompson & Randi Weingarten

Honoree Sandra Mattes-Schwartz & Jay Hershenson

Honoree Mike Tighe & Randi Weingarten

Honoree Dr. Laverne Nimmons & Margaret Grace

YOUTUBE Watch the

event online at www.Youtube.com/EducationUpdate Honoree Leah Moore & Jay Hershenson

Honoree Margarita Rosa & Randi Weingarten

Dr. Christine Cea, NYS Bd. of Regents

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14

Education update

For Parents, Educators & Students

O utstanding

Educators of the Year 2009 Awards Ceremony By Joan Baum, Ph.D.

nd you thought Thanksgiving was only in November and that only Plymouth rocked. Not so, to judge from the outpouring of tributes at Education Update’s seventh Outstanding Educators of the Year Awards Breakfast Ceremony at the Harvard Club recently. It was a celebratory event full of thanks, given by those presenting the awards and those receiving them. Opening the program, Dr. Pola Rosen, publisher of Education Update, evoked spontaneous applause from the audience when she noted that Education Update was honored to applaud those in attendance that morning. “We salute you.” “Good teachers teach,” she beamed, but “great teachers inspire.” And they do so as innovative classroom teachers, administrators, political supporters, and corporate sponsors. Honorees came from every borough and represented every level of public education. They were all in their different and various ways New York City leaders in education who “would be remembered” for the work they do, local achievements that would continue to have “national reverberations.” Humor marked the start of the morning, when CUNY Senior Vice-Chancellor Jay Hershenson, introduced as “Chancellor,” gave thanks for his promotion and then delivered the Keynote Address. Stressing CUNY’s great success in producing 70 percent of the city’s outstanding educators, he reminded the audience that CUNY has always done “more with less.” A Queens public school graduate, he noted that his own career, serving six chancellors, had given him a unique perspective from which to appreciate “the magnitude” of CUNY’s progress. During his tenure, he remarked, he has seen the establishment of many graduate-level teacher education programs, close collaborations between public high schools and the college campuses on which they are situated (eleven, to date), and an outstanding pass rate for prospective teachers (97-99 percent) on state certification exams. He sang the praises of three typically untypical CUNY students, whose extraordinary careers “reflect their extraordinary teachers.” The address was followed by the Distinguished Leader in Education Awards, presented by Dr. Rosen. Introduced by Hunter College President Jennifer Rabb, Ernest Logan, President, Council of School Supervisors & Administrators, rose to accept the first medal and certificate. Citing a heritage of being involved in education in his own family—he has 12 siblings, all of whom he encouraged to get into the field—Harlem born, New York City educated Logan spoke animatedly of “public education as the great equalizer.” Humbly referring to himself as “an average guy blessed by extraordinary mentors,” he became an English teacher, he said, because someone told him, “You can do that.” Yes he could, and did, and he also became a curriculum writer, education administrator, assistant principal, and principal. Yes We Can emerged as a theme for many of the speakers that morning. Distinguished honoree Randi Weingarten, President of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers & United Federation of Teachers, was introduced by Susan Fuhrman, President of Teachers College. “We have the best teaching force since the ‘70s,” noted Weingarten. Invoking both public education and the labor move-

ment as related accomplishments of capitalist democracy, she expressed delight at “getting an award for the work you love doing.” Alfred Posamentier, Dean Emeritus, School of Education, The City College of New York, was introduced by William Dinger, CEO of Sadlier Publishing Company, the oldest (“but not stodgy”) education publisher in the city. Dean Posamentier, who was garnering any number of awards on his recent retirement from CCNY, said he took particular pride at popularizing mathematics, his great passion. The author of over 45 mathematics books, he writes a regular column on mathematical issues and enigmas for Education Update. He noted that in spite of criticism of American math education, this country is still leader to the world about “how things are done.” He reminded the audience that comparative graduation rates and test scores are flawed because only in this country does everyone have access to public education. No swan song for this long-time educator who is looking to “new challenges:” swans mate for life and the Dean is clearly wedded to mathematics education. The morning also saw awards given to two special Education Update honorees: Regina Peruggi, President of Kingsborough Community College, who was introduced by Augusta Kappner, President Emerita, Bank Street College, and David Steiner, Dean of the School of Education at Hunter, who was presented by Charlotte Frank, Sr. VP, McGrawHill. President Peruggi sang the praises of KCC, of course, but also of community colleges as the “new Ellis Island,” places that spin immigrant hopes into “gold.” Aside from his stellar innovative achievements at Hunter, including a nationally recognized practicumbased Digital Video program for student teachers, Dean Steiner will probably also be remembered for his opening remark, that “as Henry VIII said to each of his wives, ‘I will not be keeping you for long.’” He proved true to his (and Henry’s) word, but not before acknowledging that he used to be a critic of schools of education but was now pleased to be heading one and rising to the challenge. No Education Update Awards Ceremony would be complete, of course, without presenting Medals and Certificates to the Outstanding Educators of the Year, 2009. The Outstanding Administrators included: Alyce Barr, Principal, Brooklyn Secondary School for Collaborative Studies; Jeanne M. Fish, Principal, P.S. 277 (Brooklyn); Paula Holmes, Principal, Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts (Brooklyn); Judy Mittler, Principal, I.S. 125 (Queens); Dr. Laverne Nimmons, Principal, P.S. 335 Granville T. Woods (Brooklyn); Mary Padilla, Principal, P.S. 5 (Bronx); Mary Scarlato, Principal, P.S. 31; Josephine Viars, Principal, P.S. 380; and Joan Washington, Principal, P.S. 811 (Queens). The Outstanding Teachers of the Year, 2009 included: Beth Altmann, P.S. 811 (Queens); Craig Antelmi, Bronx High School of Business; Steve Cucuzza, Abraham Lincoln High School (Brooklyn); Dedria Lacy, P.S. 335 Granville T. Woods (Brooklyn); Sandra Mattes-Schwartz, P.S. 811 (Queens); Leah Moore, Baruch College Campus High School (Manhattan); Rosanna Ohba, Marta Valle Secondary School (Manhattan); Margarita Rosa, The IN-Tech Academy (Bronx); Karena Thompson, P.S. 335 Granville T. Woods (Brooklyn); and Michael Tighe, The Richard H. Hungerford School (Staten Island).#

AUGUST 2009

A Remarkable Dining Experience at Barbetta Restaurant

Nobelist Günter Blobel & his wife Laura Maioglio, owner of Barbetta

By Dr. Pola Rosen If you ever want to enjoy a spectacular lunch or dinner and retreat entirely from the hustle and bustle of the city, dine at Barbetta Restaurant, the oldest single family-owned restaurant in New York City. In the family tradition, Laura Maioglio, a Bryn Mawr and Barnard grad, proudly has chosen to continue her father’s work, carefully preserving traditional Italian dishes with a strong

emphasis on nutrition and healthful preparation. The lush private garden behind the four townhouses that comprise Barbetta is host to songbirds and blooming flowers, a gurgling fountain, and a spectacular wine list. Set in the heart of the theater district, Barbetta is a jewel not to be missed. Having visited once, you will return again and again to Barbetta, truly the quintessential Italian restaurant. #

THE UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS Salutes

EDUCATION UPDATE We join in honoring Outstanding Educators of the Year:

ERNEST LOGAN ALFRED POSAMENTIER and our own

RANDI WEINGARTEN

Randi Weingarten, President 52 Broadway, New York 10004 • www.uft.org


AUGUST 2009

For Parents, Educators & Students

Tips

for the J ob S earch from G race I nstitute

By Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D. In today’s very tight job market, candidates must ask themselves several hard questions as they proceed on their job search. What do they have to offer an organization? Do they have the skills required for today’s workforce? What can give them that extra bit that will set them apart and get them noticed? How can they get an interview and pass it with flying colors? We deal with questions like these every semester at Grace Institute, where for over 100 years we have been preparing women with the skills they need to successfully get and keep jobs. Even in a highly competitive atmosphere, many of the basics of job-hunting haven’t changed. Today you must be sure these basics are covered perfectly. Be sure to use all the tools at your disposal. Your local bookstore is crammed with volumes on job hunting. Use Internet resources as well; many sites have great resume, cover letter and interview advice, and finding this material can hone your research abilities—a key job skill. Honest self-assessment is the crucial first step. Who are you, what do you want, and what do you have to offer a company? Putting all this onto a resume that transmits your special blend of experience, accomplishments and talent is the next tough step. Many people make the mistake of merely writing out a list of job descriptions. A good resume is much more than that. It tells not only the positions you’ve held, but also your unique set of accomplishments. Have you trained or supervised another employee? Saved your company time or money? Created or improved a system or procedure? Received commendations? Rooting out these accomplishments and writing them succinctly takes some time, but it’s time well spent. After you’ve put together your resume, make sure that as many people as possible see it before you send it out. Ask people you trust to proofread it carefully. In this economic climate, a resume with even one mistake can knock you out of the running for a job. The cover letter that accompanies your resume is a chance to talk about a special quality or experience that you can bring to the table and to show that you have researched the organization. Remember, your cover letter is about what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you. Focus your writing on how you

Education update

Just Graduated, What Do I Do Now? By Chris Duffy

Graduating in a recession is the best excuse for adventure. With the possibility of getting a career-track job looking like slim-to-none, I felt free to pursue options I might not otherwise have considered. While at Brown University, I concentrated in English with a focus in Nonfiction Writing. In a different year, I might have ended up writing for a newspaper or a magazine. In fact, I applied to newspapers, big and small, all across the U.S. and even several abroad. This wasn’t a good year to find a paying job as a journalist. Many papers wrote back saying they’d implemented a hiring freeze. Others simply went bankrupt and folded. There was stiff competition for the few positions still available. One managing editor told me she’d had a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter apply for the same entry-level position I was hoping for. My time at Brown was dominated by the philosophy of the “Open Curriculum.” This increased Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D., Executive Director, focus on advising and lack of a required core curGrace Institute riculum can be summed up as, “your education is what you make it.” Over my four years at Brown, can add value to your prospective firm. And if I was able to study broadly, taking courses on you’re responding to a help-wanted ad, don’t everything from British literature to economics to forget to match their descriptive language: if they public health and policy. Now, faced with a tough ask for an energetic self-starter, then the words energetic and self-starter should appear somewhere in your cover letter. Many organizations start screening with a telephone interview. Take it as seriously as an in-person talk. Follow the advice we give to our students at Grace Institute: you’re going to talk to someone who wants you to be the perfect candidate, so put your best foot forward. Be By Steven Frank professional, have a copy of your resume ready, Was Abraham Lincoln a true and be prepared to answer tough questions. Make sure to prepare your “elevator speech”—a 30- abolitionist who deserves the title second summary of the best you have to offer of “The Great Emancipator?” Did he go too far in restricting this company. Finally, to make sure you truly stand out, go civil liberties during the Civil back to the basics of courtesy: write a thank War? These were the core questions you letter. Make it brief, help your interviewer to remember you (“It was a pleasure telling debated at the first annual Gilder you about my job in Chicago”), and repeat your Lehrman student symposium, contact information. And remember to send your “Debating Lincoln’s Greatness,” held recently at Lehman College letter within a day of your interview. These are the basics that will prove to be a solid in the Bronx, one of the constituent colleges of the City investment in your career. # Mary Mulvihill, Ed.D., is the executive director University of New York. Students from seven Gilder of Grace Institute. Lehrman history high schools examined the life, politics and legacy of our sixteenth president, debating Lincoln’s most controversial views and actions. “It’s moving to see these students in action: their eloquence, passion and love of American history,” said Dr. James Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a non-profit that promotes the study and love of American history. “I foresee great futures for all of them.” Gilder Lehrman history schools are rigorous, college-preparatory schools with a focus on American history. They have a track record of raising test scores and sending more than 90 percent of graduating seniors to college. Students prepared for the debates and panel discussion for more than five months. It was a rare opportunity for the students to access Gilder Lehrman’s vast document collection. Five schools took part in each debate, with one serving as the introduction team. Two paired schools worked together to prepare both the affirmative and negative sides of the debate.  Students participated in two debates; one focused on Lincoln’s views on abolition of slavery, and the other on civil liberties, specifically his suspension of habeas corpus (the right to challenge unlawful detention) during the Civil War. Students also filled the roles of master of ceremony and moderators of each debate. A student panel was also convened to discuss the connections made between Lincoln and

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job market, I was able to translate the broad curiosity, independence and creativity that Brown fostered into thinking outside traditional career paths. Right now, I’m studying the Korean language in Suwon, South Korea. I’m here with the Critical Language Scholarship, a program funded by the U.S. State Department that brings Americans overseas for immersive study in highneed languages. Once I leave Korea, I’ll spend a week at home and then head off for a year in Greece, where I received a fellowship to teach English. I’ve found these fully-funded opportunities, which will give me regional expertise and a knowledge of local languages, only because this recession forced me to look for options I wouldn’t otherwise have considered. In the end, I think I’ll have enjoyed my time after college more and be left with a more interesting story and qualifications than if I’d graduated into a stronger job market. #

Gilder Lehrman Student Symposium: A Debate on Lincoln’s Greatness

President Barack Obama, examining similarities in their previous experience, paths to the presidency, tone of the country when they took office, and oratorical skills. “These high school students have been energized by the election of President Obama,” said Dr. Basker, who moderated the panel. “That Lincoln and Obama represented major watersheds in the history of race relations in America makes today’s panel discussion all the more meaningful.” Prior to the debates and panel discussion, Professor Mathew Pinsker, Dickinson College, presented on the topic of Lincoln as a private citizen. Pinsker encouraged student interaction and questioning and helped to facilitate the two debates later in the day. The day-long event at Lovinger Theater, hosted by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the High School of American Studies at Lehman College, and the Academy of American Studies in Long Island City, coincided with the celebration of the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial year. Participating schools included the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx, the Academy of American Studies in Long Island City, All Hallows High School in the Bronx, Constitution High School in Philadelphia, Midwood High School in Brooklyn, Notre Dame School of New York, and Patchogue-Medford High School of Medford, New York. #


16

Education update

T he Wonderful Multiethnic Tapestry of New York City

By Dr. Pola Rosen Parades are a great way to celebrate the diversity of New York City. As you enjoy the images taken by Education Update on this page, you will see the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Israeli Day Parade, and the Indian Parade (along Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn) marked by music, festive garb, and beaming faces. Traditionally, the immigrants of decades past called the United States a “melting pot,” a land where many different peoples would blend and work together for the common weal, our great nation. Today the goal is the same, but there is a recognition of the value of preserving and celebrating one’s own heritage. What a wealth of riches here

in our “town,” where one can eat tapas on one street, hummus on another, and chicken tikka masala on yet another. And that’s only the beginning. How about visiting El Museo del Barrio, the Jewish Museum, or an Indian exhibit or two at the Rubin Museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Picture living in Davenport, Iowa or Minneapolis, Minnesota —that’s like weaving a blanket all beige! While New York City parades generate litter and cost us money in security, the interchange of cultures and ideas provides incomparable opportunities for learning, living and cooperation. I wouldn’t live anywhere else!#

For Parents, Educators & Students

AUGUST 2009

S ummer in the City By Dr. Pola Rosen

While many New Yorkers escape the inner city for cooler climes at the beach or countryside, those who remain behind can enjoy a plethora of activities and venues without the crowds.

Sunbathing in Central Park

Rowing on Central Park Lake

Peregrine Falcon Viewing

Cocktails at the Water Club

The Israel Day Parade

Department of Education’s Big Apple Games Offer Free Activities for Ages 8-19 Indian Parade in Brooklyn

Puerto Rican Day Parade

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) recently announced the start of the Big Apple Games, which offer free recreational activities for children between the ages of eight and nineteen. The program is run by the DOE’s Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), which oversees high school varsity and junior varsity competitive sports during the school year. This summer the Big Apple Games run from July 6 to August 16 at 48 sites located throughout the 5 boroughs, and offer basketball, softball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, football, soccer, lacrosse, cross country, track and field, and arts and crafts. Families can register daily at each site throughout the six-week program.

“We are offering terrific athletic programs that are fun and provide free, healthy forms of exercise for youngsters at all ability levels,” PSAL Executive Director Donald Douglas said. “We have clinics for beginners and tournaments for more experienced athletes. There is something for everyone, so there is no excuse to sit at home this summer.” In addition to the regular activities, some locations will offer special programs with local professional athletes, including basketball clinics with players from New York Liberty and Harlem Wizards. Select sites will also have programs for children with special needs. Certified teachers and school safety officers will be on site

at all locations. The Big Apple Games are in their 30th year of operation. Last year the program attracted 43,000 children citywide. The Big Apple Games are partially sponsored by Snapple. Additionally, the American Diary Council is providing students access to New York Liberty games and to players who are conducting basketball clinics. For a list of Big Apple Games activities and locations, families can call 311. The program is free and runs from July 6 through August 13. For more information, contact David Cantor or Margie Feinberg at (212) 374-5141. #

Summer Reading Recommendations from Education Update’s Advisory Council Charlotte K. Frank, Ph.D. Senior VP, McGraw-Hill 1. Disrupting Class, by Clayton M. Christensen 2. Never Work Harder Than Your Students, by Robyn R. Jackson - ASCD 3. The BIG Picture, by Dennis Littky Mary Brabeck, Dean NYU Steinhardt School of Education Here are some of the best books recently published by NYU Steinhardt faculty, and of interest to Education Update readers: 1. Tears Before Darkness, by Elizabeth and Michael Norman

2. The Trouble with Black Boys, by Pedro Noguera 3. Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences, by Perry Halkitis 4. The Deepening Darkness: Patriarchy, Resistance, and Democracy’s Future, by Carol Gilligan and David A. J. Richard Bonnie Kaiser, Ph.D., Director Precollege Program, Rockefeller University 1. My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme 2. Proust was a Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer

Augusta S. Kappner, Ph.D. President Emerita Bank Street College of Education 1. A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, by Karen Armstrong 2. When Mayors Take Charge: School Governance in the City, edited by Joseph P. Viteritti Eric Nadelstern Chief Schools Officer, DOE 1. The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin 2. The Secret of TSL, by William Ouchi (soon to be published)

3. Disrupting Class, by Clay Christensen 4. Sent to the Principal, by Kathleen Cushman 5. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell 6. Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw (children’s book) Pola Rosen, Ed.D., Publisher Education Update 1. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan 2. A Different Life by Quinn Bradlee 3.“Women in Power.” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter-Spring 2009 4. Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith


AUGUST 2009

For Parents, Educators & Students

Fighting for Geoscience Education

Education update

17

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Jed Foundation

The Jed Foundation Hosts Eighth Annual Gala

Dr. Michael Passow sharing information at NESTA

Founders of The Jed Foundation Phil Satow and Donna Satow

President of Documentary and Family Programming for HBO and Cinemax Sheila Nevins

The Jed Foundation was founded in 2000 by Donna and Phil Satow, after their beloved son, Jed, commited suicide. The Foundation’s mission is to reduce emotional distress and prevent suicide, the second leading cause of death among college students. Unaddressed emotional problems are a top reason students struggle in school academically and socially. The Jed Foundation’s programs are changing the way parents and students think about mental health, paving the way for more young people to get treatment if needed, and helping colleges create safer, healthier campus communities. President John Sexton of New York University attended the event and has initiated a program to help students cope with depression (see Education Update next month for the article). Hosted by Stone Phillips, the evening honored musician/entrepreneur/activist Pete Wentz and President of HBO Documentary/Films Sheila Nevins for their contributions to the national dialogue on mental health in America. Ms. Nevins was cited for her role in producing the documentary Boy Interrupted, about a 15-year-old boy in New York City who committed suicide. The gala featured performances by Kristy Cates (of the original Broadway cast of Wicked) and The Bacon Brothers. # Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Jed Foundation

without having to fill a regular thirty- or sixtyminute timeslot, which many are loath to try. Participants can collect useful ideas from more than a hundred colleagues if they go to all four. This has always been one of the highest-rating features of NSTA conferences, and a major reason to attend for many teachers. NESTA also provides another highly-anticipated event: our Rock and Mineral Raffle. Up to two hundred specimens suitable for classroom use, along with other donated resources, are set out on tables after the Share-a-thon volunteers pack up, together with a brown paper bag. NESTA members sell raffle tickets, and attendees place them into the bags of desired items. There is a lot of fun as the winning tickets are pulled, plus much grief when people don’t get what they fervently hoped for (we now try to provide consolation specimens for people who don’t win the regular prizes). NESTA offers featured “Earth and Space Day” lectures on key issues in the geosciences. These begin with a theme breakfast meeting, and provide three talks by scientists on the forefront of the earth and space sciences. For many classroom teachers, these provide the rare opportunity to interact with “practicing” scientists. This greatly enhances credibility with students when they can say, “As I learned from Dr. So-and-so at the NESTA lectures, scientists discovered that…” NESTA also fosters informal interactions through our “Friends of Earth Science Reception” at national meetings. Classroom teachers, researchers and representatives from government agencies, professional societies, trade associations, and commercial companies mingle over drinks and hors d’oeuvres in this one-of-a-kind event. Networking that takes place here has led to many valuable connections in subsequent months. NESTA representatives also reach out in many other venues. Dr. Roberta Johnson, NESTA’s Executive Director, other NESTA Officers and I frequently meet in person or exchange emails with counterparts at major geoscience organizations, including the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and dozens of other entities in our efforts to promote K–12 earth science education. Many current decision-makers in schools and government agencies never studied earth science during their education. So, to demonstrate the importance of earth science, we try to leave them with this message: These are dynamic times on planet Earth, and dynamic times to be teaching about our planet. In recent decades, the earth sciences have grown from infancy to the most dynamic and societallyrelevant field of science. Current events—earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, water supply problems, and much more—demonstrate the necessity to understand earth science in order to create an informed citizenry capable of making good decisions when disasters strike. For earth science educators, this requires the capability to remain current with changes in the earth sciences as a field of study.# Dr. Michael J. Passow is President of the National Earth Science Teachers Association.

Kevin and Michael Bacon

Singer Pete Wentz Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Jed Foundation

When National Science Education Standards was released in the 1990s, earth and space science education was boosted toward a position of equality with biology, chemistry, and physics. Although earth science has long been part of the K–12 offerings in New York State schools because of the Regents Exams, it has remained out of the curriculum in many states for a variety of reasons, including politically-based opposition to “deep time,” “fossil evolution,” and other controversial topics; but it is also because of the difficulty finding teachers who can provide quality instruction about geology, astronomy, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences. Support for K–12 geoscience education is the main reason for the existence of the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA). NESTA’s mission since its founding in 1983 has been “to facilitate and advance excellence in earth and space science education.” Most of NESTA’s members are classroom teachers from every state and a few Canadian provinces, but they are joined by university professors, representatives from informal educational organizations, and federal and state agencies. Its purpose is to stimulate, improve, and coordinate earth science at all levels. NESTA does this through print and online publications, highly regarded programs at national and area conferences, and interactions with many other science-oriented organizations. NESTA’s quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, provides classroom educators and others with five to seven articles about cutting-edge investigations, classroom ideas and other information that serve to inform readers about new advances in modern geoscience. NESTA’s monthly “ENews” provides timely announcements about upcoming events, conferences and professional development opportunities. Special interest items with immediate time demands are disseminated through “E-blasts.” And, with support from the National Science Foundation, NESTA recently created an enhanced website, www.nestanet.org. Each year at the National Science Teachers Association national and area conferences, hundreds of teachers participate in NESTA-sponsored events. Over four days at the national meetings, NESTA presents seven types of programs. For example, we create a field trip, conducted by university and informal science specialists, to study interesting local sites. Last year in New Orleans, participants received a behind-the-scenes tour of the hurricane devastation and recovery efforts led by people who have literally been involved in picking up the pieces of lives and educational programs following Katrina. NESTA pioneered the now-popular conference format of “Share-a-thons.” These involve volunteers at up to thirty or forty tables set up in a ballroom who provide an exemplary classroom activity or information about their program to hundreds of teachers circling the room in search of ideas of value to them. At national meetings, NESTA offers four themed Share-a-thons: geology, astronomy, meteorology, and environmental science. This format allows teachers to share what has worked well for them at a conference

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for Jed Foundation

By Dr. Michael J. Passow

John Sexton, NYU President

Stone Phillips


18

Education update

For Parents, Educators & Students

METROBEAT

Free and Fun Activities for a G reat S ummer S eason By Mayor Michael Bloomberg The summer is now in full swing, and if you forget about the near-record rains we’ve been experiencing, you can see summer all around us. Our public pools and beaches are open, summer school is running smoothly (despite the chaos up in Albany), and the Yankees are rolling while the Mets are just gathering their strength for a great second half. (You gotta believe!) Summer is a time to get out there and celebrate, and even if you’re feeling the pinch during this recession, we’re making sure there are still plenty of ways to have fun in the City, regardless of your budget. Government has a responsibility to help New Yorkers through these tough times, and that includes helping them enjoy the fun and excitement that our city is famous for. So, before last winter’s holiday season, I asked City agencies to develop a huge range of free and low-cost activities in every borough. And now we’re doing it again. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you’re interested in, there’s something fun for you and your family to do this summer—for free. For instance, why not take the free ferry to Governors Island, where there are free bike rentals and miniature golf? And this summer, a group

of artists has taken over some of the Island’s historical sites with a series of interesting and interactive art installations. Or check out one of the many free concerts happening in parks and public spaces around town: R&B, classical music, jazz, a Billy Joel tribute, you name it. Maybe you or your kids want to learn a new skill. Well, you’re in luck. In conjunction with the City Parks Foundation, we offer free programs in everything from the theater to throwing the javelin. Volunteering for one of the many initiatives that are part of our new community service campaign, NYC Service, is another great way to fill the summer. It doesn’t cost a thing, and the rewards are priceless. And don’t forget about the return of Summer Streets. Last year, on several Saturdays, we closed seven miles of streets running right through the heart of Manhattan. This year, in addition to that, there will be Summer Streets for joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians in every borough. The possibilities to have fun without spending a dime are almost endless. In fact, we’ve put together a calendar of more than 1,500 free events and activities happening over the next few months, which you can see by visiting www.nyc. gov. Have a great summer. #

CAREERS

A Mosaic Artist, Yiannis Frazis By Marylena Mantas Tourist groups from Russia to New York City often find visiting St. Eleftherios Greek Orthodox Church in Chelsea on their list of attractions. The church was built over 90 years ago, but tour groups started arriving only recently. The reason, according to Reverend Father Nicholas Soteropoulos, has to do with the two mosaic icons that have been recently installed on the exterior walls of the church. “People marvel,” says Soteropoulos. “Non-Greeks, non-Orthodox look and glare.” The credit belongs to Yiannis Frazis, a Brooklyn-based artist commissioned by the church to create the mosaics. “The Church of St. Eleftherios has a magnificent history,” says Frazis. “I am honored that the community chose to place my work on their historic structure.” Frazis, 33, is one of very few artists in the United States that works with Byzantine mosaics, a unique art form that rests upon an artist’s ability to properly assemble an image using hundreds of carefully cut mosaic pieces, or tessarea, as they are called. In his home studio in Brooklyn, Frazis uses a seemingly simple pair of pliers to complete a very complex task: cutting tiles of glass, stone, gold, and other materials and using them to create images of Greek Orthodox saints. “Byzantine iconography is a very intricate process that requires a tremendous amount of patience,” says Frazis. The process starts with Frazis creating a sketch of the desired icon, very often originally designed by him. “I prefer original design. It gives me greater sense of ownership of the mosaic,” says Frazis. Upon completion of the sketch, he selects the material and color of the mosaic pieces. His work, according to Soteropoulos, “has a good color combination” not easily achieved by all iconographers. Soon after he selects the color palette, he begins the tedious task of cutting the materials into the appropriate shapes and sizes and laying the miniature pieces into place using a special type of adhesive. The process can take weeks, even months to complete, depending, according to Frazis, on the intricacy of the design, the type of material used, and the size of the icon.

Larger, however, does not always mean longer. In fact, Frazis has found that creating miniature mosaics can often take as long, if not longer, than a large icon. Born on the Greek island of Kalymnos, Frazis credits his parents for giving him the characteristics that he considYiannis Frazis ers vital to his profession: inspiration, discipline and determination. One of five children, Frazis comes from a home with a keen appreciation for the arts. “My father was a teacher, a mathematician, who loved Greek culture, and would always talk to us about books, music and art,” says Frazis. It was no surprise then that Frazis gravitated toward the Archaeological Agency of Kalymnos, an entity responsible for the excavation and preservation of the island’s various archaeological treasures stemming from Classical and Hellenistic times, but also from the Byzantine era. In fact, it was during an excavation at one of the hundreds of Byzantine churches located on Kalymnos that Frazis came face to face with his first mosaic icon. “I will never forget how mesmerized I was,” he says. “The icon was so beautiful, even though it was aged and damaged. Working with the Agency’s preservationists, we slowly brought it back to life. In many ways that is how I feel every time I create my own mosaic. By putting together the mosaic pieces one by one, I see the icon coming to life right before my eyes.” This incident inspired him to create his own mosaic, even though he lacked formal schooling and relied upon his own studies of the art form and on the practical training that he acquired while working at the Agency. “I knew that it would not be easy,” he says. “But, I was inspired and determined.” His first mosaic was a mural of Alexander the Great, currently in the possession of a private collector in Sydney, Australia. “Once I completed Alexander,” he says, “I knew that I could

AUGUST 2009

Logos Bookstore’s Recommendations By H. Harris Healy, III, President, Logos Bookstore 1575 York Avenue (Between 83rd and 84th Sts.) New York, NY 10028 (212) 517-7292 Fax (212) 517-7197 www.logosbookstorenyc.com In the Education Update May 2009 issue, I talked about a quality supplier of paperbacks, Dover Publications. I have more titles to present as well-worth reading from this publisher. First is Howard Pyle’s fine retelling of the Arthurian legends with his rich black and white illustrations compiled in four books, The Story of King Arthur and his Knights (Arthur’s beginnings, the sword in the stone, the Merlin stories, Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere among other tales, $12.95), The Story of The Champions Of The Round Table (The adventures of Sir Launcelot and Sir Tristam {Known often as Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristan} and Sir Percival, $11.95), The Story Of Sir Launcelot and his Companions (further adventures of Sir Launcelot with a pause to relate the adventures of Sir Gareth {An unusual sequence of Arthurian storytelling; other Arthurian compilers, like Sir Thomas Mallory, usually present the Gareth tales earlier in the narrative before the later Launcelot tales, like his saving Queen Guinevere from Sir Mellegrans’ castle, his meeting with Elaine and the birth of Sir Galahad}, $13.95), and The Story Of The Grail and the Passing Of Arthur, which concludes the saga with the story of Sir Geraint, the adventures of Sir Galahad, the quest for the Holy Grail, the war between King Arthur and Launcelot, the death of Sir Gawaine and the final fatal battle between King Arthur and Sir Mordred, ($12.95). For older, more scholarly readers, Dover’s edition of Arthurian Romances ($12.95) by Chretien de Troyes is a must as it is a most early verse rendition of the Arthurian legends. Included in this edition is Lancelot’s adventure, the rescue of Guinevere, which is a principal source of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Arthurian folklore is present in W. Jenkyn Thomas’ The Welsh Fairy Book ($7.95) in the tale of “Arthur in The Cave” where a Welshman picks up an object of interest to a sorcerer, who leads him to a cave where Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table have been asleep for centuries. Other tales feature phantoms, fairies, witches, magical spells, and other things to grab one’s attention. An enthralling tale of a different sort is J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens, beautifully illustrated by Arthur Rackham ($18.95). I had the opportunity as a child to read this story and visit Kensington Gardens. After one has read this book, one may want to visit Kensington

Gardens the next time in London. Poetry will fill the air in Logos’ garden patio on Wednesday, July 22 at 7 P.M. (weather permitting, indoors otherwise) when the Poetry Dogs celebrate their works. Poetry Dog member Elizabeth Haukaas will read from her new book, Leap, winner of the Walt McDonald Poetry Award. She will be joined by fellow Poetry Dog members Susanna Case, Larry Loeb, and Myra Malkin reading from their poetry. A signing and reception will follow. On Thursday, August 6 at 7 P.M., local artist Peter G. Pereira will present his Hydrangea flower series, inspired by the flowers of Carl Schurz Park. When not engaged with multiple creative arts projects, Peter works part-time at Logos Bookstore, usually Wednesday and Thursday evenings. For more events during the summer months please see our upcoming events at Logos below. Upcoming Events At Logos • Wednesday, July 22 at 7 P.M., Elizabeth Haukaas of Poetry Dogs will read from her new book, Leap, winner of the Walt McDonald Poetry Award. She will be reading with fellow Poetry Dogs Susanna Case, Larry Loeb, and Myra Malkin. A signing and reception will follow. • Sunday, August 2 from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. (with lunch break), Life Enhancement Workshop with Stephen Kaufman, internationally acclaimed author of Self Revealization Acceptance. Fee involved. Please call Logos Bookstore for information and registration. • Wednesday, August 5 at 7 P.M., Kill Your TV Reading Group (KYTV) will discuss Where Angels Fear To Tread by E.M. Forster. • Thursday, August 6 at 7 P.M., local artist Peter G. Pereira presents his Hydrangea flower series inspired by the flowers of Carl Schurz Park. • Monday, August 10 at 7 P.M., The Sacred Texts Group, led by literary agent Richard Curtis, will discuss the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 28 and the beginning of the Gospel of John. • Wednesday, September 2 at 7 P.M., KYTV Reading Group will discuss The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Transit: 4.5.6 subways to Lexington Ave. and 86th St., M86 Bus (86th St..), M79 Bus (79th St.), M31 Bus (York Ave.), M15 Bus (1st and 2nd Aves.)

move forward. The people of Kalymnos are very religious. The island has a very religious spirit, so in many ways it was very natural for me to eventually move toward Byzantine iconography.” “Yiannis was born with this talent,” says Kiveli Christakos, a Greek artist of impressionism and surrealism who lives and works in New York and is the proud owner of one of Frazis’s mosaics. “Had he attended university, he would now easily be able to teach mosaic art. Not only does he know his work, but he is a phenomenon.” Although most of his work remains with private collectors, Frazis was commissioned to create a mosaic icon for St. Nikolaos Church in Tarpon Springs, FL, and a mosaic cross that has been mounted on the ceiling of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey. He also has been involved in the preservation of icons, including those of the Holy Trinity Church in Westfield, NJ and those of the Church of the Holy Cross in Brooklyn. “Icons are the most distinguishing feature of any Orthodox Church,” states an article in the

parish newsletter of the Holy Trinity Church where Frazis completed the restoration and preservation of icons. “However, after three decades of services and constant exposure to smoke and soot, a need arose to clean these beautiful works of art. Holy Trinity called upon the right man, [Yiannis] Frazis, to accomplish this feat and restore them to their original luster.” In addition to mosaic iconography and preservation, Frazis has recently ventured into the area of jewelry design. Only a couple of months ago, he completed a Byzantine engolpion, a pendant worn exclusively by Greek Orthodox Bishops. “The engolpion that I created is one-of-akind,” says Frazis. “It has a miniature mosaic interior, which to my knowledge has not been created before.” Ambitious but also very humble, Frazis uses his raw, natural talent to create pieces that those around him say have a lasting impression. “His work is magnificent,” says Soteropoulos. “He is involved in the icon. It must be perfect. He is a person that you delight working with. He feels the spirit of the icon.” #


AUGUST 2009

â–

For Parents, Educators & Students

Gifted Students Thrive in Vocational Environment

â–

Education update

MUSEUMS AS EDUCATORS

Remembering A Life Long Past By Jan Aaron, STAFF WRITER

(L-R) Dr. Charlotte Frank Sr. VP, McGraw-Hill; Daniel Jaye, Principal, Bergen County Technical School; Dr. Pola Rosen, Publisher, Education Update, visit the school

By Steven Frank, STAFF WRITER A gifted student complains that her classes are too easy, so she gets bored. We know traditional teaching styles don’t engage all children, but what’s the alternative? Enter Bergen County Academies, a vocational and technical public school for gifted students in northern New Jersey. It opened on the Hackensack campus of Bergen County Technical Schools in 1992. Today, BCA offers seven specialized programs in the areas of math and science, engineering and design, medical science, business and finance, culinary arts, performing arts, and telecommunications. It routinely sends graduates to the Ivy League. “Everything is project based,� said Daniel Jaye, who was an assistant principal at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan in 2006 before being recruited to be the principal at BCA. “It’s just a place where kids learn by doing, and not so much by learning what is placed on the blackboard and regurgitating it.� Traditionally, vocational schools were devoted to training job-specific skills such as plumbing, carpentry, cosmetology, landscaping, masonry, and electrical work. But as industries modernized and college degrees became a prerequisite for many jobs in the 1990s, the purely vocational focus began to shift. When you visit BCA’s sprawling red-brick complex, it feels more like a college campus than a high school. The school day is from 8:00 a.m. to 4:10 p.m., about an hour and forty-five minutes longer than a typical high school day. Classes are not held every day, giving students and faculty time to do ongoing research and creative thinking. Also, the average class size is only 18-20 students.

BCA has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on cutting-edge equipment. In 2007, the school opened a stem cell research lab, complete with a flow cytometer and the ability to manipulate stem cells. Down the hall, two scanning electronic microscopes anchor the nanotechnology lab, where students investigate inflammatory breast cancer. “Because of the technology that we have, they were able to characterize tunnels that, up until now, had not been discovered in inflammatory breast cancer tumors,� said Jaye. “We are hoping to exploit [the tunnels] using nanotechnology for drug delivery to perhaps target the cells for destruction.� Admission to the four-year school is open to all graduating middle school students in Bergen County. An annual pool of 1,500 to 1,700 applications is whittled down in a rigorous process of testing and interviewing. Only about 265 make the cut. Students are bused in from as far away as 25 miles. Enrollment is limited to about 1,100 students. All 110 teachers have master’s degrees and more than 20 percent have doctorates. The school is financed through county taxes and aid from the state, along with “tuition� for each student paid by their home district. Students are required to stay in their chosen academy for the entire four years, but there are plenty of opportunities to take electives from other academies.  “Our culinary institute is right across the hall from our stem cell research center,� said Jaye. “You can see kids wearing white coats for entirely different reasons. And in fact, many of the kids keep the white coats on because, for example, we have culinary students who are doing advanced scientific research as well.� #

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19

They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Life in Poland Before the Holocaust will be exhibited at the Jewish Museum through October 1. This vibrant exhibit takes visitors to a lost world, closely observed in 70 canvases and 12 works on paper by Mayer Kirshenblatt. Born in 1916, Kirshenblatt left Poland for Canada in 1934. But the exhibition is an amazingly detailed, poignant record of Jewish life in the town of Opatow (also known as Apt, in Yiddish), from the perspective of a young boy fascinated by life around him. A child with an independent streak, Kirshenblatt’s nickname was Mayer Tamez; in Yiddish, Tamez means “July� and is also slang for crazy. Now 92 years old, Kirshenblatt first picked up a paintbrush at age 72 at the insistence of his family, who thought it would help him fight bouts of depression. “God gave me talent,� he said during a brief interview at the museum. To his great surprise, the town of his childhood emerged, almost from the outset, in colorful,

vibrant scenes depicting birth and death, images of kitchens and bedrooms, farms and town, markets and shops, populated by a lively cast of characters who lived in Apt. There were shoemakers, fishmongers (and the mayor’s wife, who shoplifted a fish by stuffing it down her bodice), prostitutes, street performers, the marriage of a pregnant hunchback bride standing under the canopy moments before birth, a cobbler who kept accounts on his boots, a teacher caught in bed with the drummer’s wife, and many others. In addition to this fascinating artwork, there is also a tiny toy theater created by Great Small Works based on Kirshenblatt’s painting “The Boy in The White Pajamas.� It tells the story of the cobbler who dressed his son in white to fool the angel of death (the boy later perished in the Holocaust). A video shows performances in the tiny theater. #

Making a Difference at the Holocaust Center in Purchase, NY By Rich Monetti, STAFF WRITER ply raise the level of awareness among peers and Genocide knows no geographic or historical parents. “We’re in the substance business,� says boundaries, but its numerous instances share a Ms. Cohen. “The whole point is to make human series of striking similarities. beings feel like they can make a difference.� “The first thing that genocidal governments In light of that, nothing is more inspirational know is that the world is not going to do any- than when a survivor addresses an audience as thing,� says Donna Cohen, execupart of HHREC’s distinguished tive director of the Holocaust and lecture series. “Any person who Human Rights Education Center hears—it changes them forever,� (HHREC) in Purchase, New York. says Ms. Cohen. Additionally, it’s often the educaAdditionally, as the number of tors that take a prominent position living holocaust survivors dwinin spreading the party line on the dles, today’s students must assume subhuman status of the minority in their voice, and the importance question, says Ms. Cohen. HHREC’s and impact of this contribution mission obviously aspires to exist in is ever increasing. To this effect, stark contrast to that, be it taking a Ms. Cohen and the Center have stand on Darfur or simply stepping produced a documentary called, Donna Cohen, “Testimony of the Human Spirit,� up with a smile for the kid who sits Executive Director, alone everyday in the cafeteria. which not only solidifies the stoHolocaust and “Our mission is to enhance the ries on celluloid, but also teaches Human Rights young people how to begin standteaching and learning the lessons Education Center of the holocaust and the right of all ing up in the face of injustice. people to be treated with dignity and Still, she concedes that their respect. We encourage students to speak up and efforts must begin with baby steps. “I wish I act against all forms of bigotry and prejudice,� could start a smiling committee. Smile to someshe says. body who’s down, you’ll see the difference it Established in 1994, before the state mandate makes.� requiring that human rights be part of school Just as important, she hopes HHREC’s efforts curriculums, HHREC makes itself available to more easily enable people to identify the subtle teachers who want to embark on in-depth study and often more dangerous signs of human rights and share their knowledge with coming genera- abuse. In 1994, she remembers that The New tions. “In our professional development confer- York Times identified the unfolding genocide in ence, we have a program devoted to training Rwanda as a “tribal war.� Phrasing the conflict teachers how to teach about the holocaust and like a war between primitives where spears and human rights in their own classrooms,� says Dr. stones were being exchanged, she says, made it Marlene W. Yahalom, director of education at easier to ignore. the Center. Knowing there will always be more work to be HHREC also takes teacher workshops and done, she takes pride in where Holocaust awareseminars right to the schools when requested. But ness is today in comparison to her childhood they don’t limit teaching strategies to just what in the early 1960s. “When I was growing up, is developed in-house: they also provide funding nobody had this education,� she says. She tries often to remind today’s young people and grants, says Ms. Cohen. “If you want to do anything on human rights to improve the quality of just how far awareness has come. Upon meetof your students, we will help you.� ing a 21-year old filmmaker who wanted to Of course, hands-on teaching is most effective, make a documentary on HHREC’s “Garden of so HHREC gives ample opportunity for young Remembrances� in White Plains, she had just that people to take advantage through their student reflexive notion. In response, the young woman institute. Taking on issues like hunger, torture, said, “I had a wonderful holocaust education.� At or the epidemic of child-soldiers, middle or high once, Ms. Cohen realized, “Oh my God, we have school students create fundraising events, or sim- made a difference!� #


20

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

Does Testing Promote Accountability or Accounting? By S.G. Grant, Ph.D. These are vexing times for educators interested in nuance, context and complexity. Critics of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) assert that the act robs teachers and students of opportunities to richly explore ideas and events. Advocates, by contrast, believe the legislation offers a more leveled playing field for all students by ratcheting up the accountability of all players. It is no big surprise that NCLB proponents favor tests as the vehicle to accomplish their goal. Despite the costs of money and time, testing is a relatively cheap intervention. Moreover, many Americans believe that tests provide a fair method of judging student performance and a fair means of holding both teachers and students responsible. They may be right. But increasingly, tests and test scores seem more about accounting than accountability. Many school observers question how we assess what students know and what sense we make of the assessments we use. These questions are not new; in fact, there is a wide-ranging debate about what “counts” as successful learning, teaching and teacher preparation. Playing out in interesting and complex ways, this debate illuminates the gulf between accounting and accountability. Despite all the public talk about accountability, the actions around schooling look like accounting. The accounting impulse, which I define as dividing complex ideas and behaviors into bitesized bits, labeling those bits, and then counting them endlessly, appears in myriad places today. The public comparisons of school test scores, the magazine rankings of colleges and universities, and the requirements of national accrediting bodies are the most obvious illustrations, but the need to equate quality with numerical and rankable scores seems ingrained in American society. Counting is, of course, a legitimate means of identifying patterns of social behavior. Identifying a pattern, however, is not the same thing as interpreting and assigning value to it. And on both of those fronts—interpreting patterns and assigning value to them—at least two problems arise. One is the notion that counting alone is sufficient as a means of establishing a pattern; a second problem arises when counting is not the best measure of a phenomenon. Both of these problems are rooted in the twin assumptions that numbers speak clear-

ly and singularly, and that everyone interprets them in the same way. Two brief examples illustrate my point. First, consider the example of NBA basketball players’ heights. As a group, they are notably taller than the average American man (6’7” compared with 5’9”), a clear statistical difference. Yet this singular feature means little; height may be necessary, but it is far from sufficient, as the number of tall but NBA-rejected players attests. Noting players’ heights seems like it ought to be useful; other indicators—both measurable (e.g., field goal percentage) and immeasurable (e.g., the ability to make one’s teammates better on the floor)—may have as much or more value. Counting a phenomenon is not a problem; assuming that a single measure can tell the whole story is. Many more examples demonstrate the concern about using a single, easily counted measure, but one more should suffice: Does the fact that some 80 different revisions were made to Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence mean that his effort was sub-par? Such a measure may be useful for accounting, but it fails to demonstrate accountability. Before turning back to schools, let us take a minute to examine the notion of accountability. Jefferson and his compatriots are a good place to start: By any accounting of military advantage, the colonists should have capitulated to England, yet Jefferson, Washington, and thousands of lesser known Americans took full responsibility for their future lives and livelihoods. (That many did not hold themselves accountable for African slavery is a discussion for another time.) As a result, taking responsibility for one’s actions—being accountable—appears to be a widely held value in American society. And it is one that currently frustrates Americans eager to see someone accept responsibility for events such as the September 11 attacks, hurricane damage by Katrina, and the recent economic collapse. There is much to count around these situations, but accountability seems illusive. Back to schools. For over 20 years now, observers have filled the education airwaves with talk about increasing standards, creating more rigorous curricula, and the like. The aim of that talk—to create a more worthwhile education by increasing student and teacher account-

EDUCATION UPDATE

AUGUST 2009

An Excursion

in

Paris

By Shara Grau, STAFF WRITER This summer, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Paris. With all of my friends unable to join me, I ended up going alone. I reasoned that I’d meet people in the French classes I’d be taking each day. And I did; there were plenty of people my age in the courses I took at the Alliance Française, most of whom found themselves in the same situation that I did. These were people who had traveled to Paris from a wide variety of countries—Argentina, Spain, England—and who were looking to meet people and get to know French culture. Besides seeing the sites, there was another motivation that drew me to Paris. Having studied the French language for many years—first in high school, then as a major in college—I was eager to improve my conversational skills. The courses I took at the Alliance helped greatly. But what proved most important was my home-stay with a Parisian family. I spent two weeks living with a mother and children, and the mother went out of her way to converse with me. It was a pleasure to watch (and comment on) the news with her or to eat dinner together in the evenings. And although she knows some English, she talked to me uniquely in French. I was delighted. Here was an opportunity to speak the language in an everyday context. During this trip, French became more than a talent to cultivate; it was a practical skill, one that would allow me to get by from day to day. I never

figured out whether my hostess avoided English because it was uncomfortable for her, or whether she sensed my eagerness to leave my native language behind. Still, our interactions felt authentic, and I began to speak much more naturally. I also visited many cultural sites during my trip. I spent my afternoons alone, going to various museums. I visited the Musée Rodin, the Musée Picasso, and the Musée d’Orsay, which houses a large collection of impressionist paintings. I spent an afternoon (in the rain) wandering around Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny. The gardens have been preserved, and one can even visit the lily pond that was the subject of so many of Monet’s paintings. I had lots of fun and returned from Paris with a better sense of its culture. But above all, the French language remains dear to me. Luckily, there will always be more to learn.#

ability—seems right. Unfortunately, the single measure assigned to drive this reform has been standardized testing. And there lies the rub: test scores provide a convenient accounting measure, but they fail to offer deep insights into what students know. Accountability demands a mea-

sure of time, attention, interest, and investment. These attributes seem ill represented in a statemandated, standardized assessment program that privileges accounting over accountability. # S.G. Grant is Dean of the School of Education, Binghamton University, State University of New York.

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AUGUST 2009

EDUCATION UPDATE

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

21

Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Marymount Manhattan Writers’ Conference Examines Youth Held at Moravian College Industry Revolution by Sybil Maimin The impact of rapid changes in the world of communications was a major theme at the 2009 Writers’ Conference at Marymount Manhattan College. Writers are finding themselves in a new, fast-evolving universe. The blogosphere is growing exponentially. Newspapers and magazines are downsizing; many are failing. Editors’ roles are becoming redefined. Writers face the challenge of finding their place in this new environment. One of three keynote speakers during the information-packed conference, J. Peter Scoblic, Executive Editor of The New Republic and author of U.S. VS THEM, discussed the future of written media, acknowledging the “wide perception of a dark time for publishing.” He explained that newspapers and magazines, formerly the very profitable main channels between consumers and advertisers, are reeling as large, staple vendors hit by the recession find more efficient advertising opportunities on the Internet. Magazines—tactile, visual, collectible, covering topics “less of the moment”—have done somewhat better. News magazines have fared poorly. Meanwhile, the Web and blogosphere are exploding. Today, 40 percent of the public gets its news online. Trying to adapt, newspapers and magazines have added bloggers and Web departments. The Web has pros and cons. Positives include speed, efficiency and global reach. Locals can help report events. Essentially derivative, the Web is efficient at distributing information, not gathering it. To Scoblic, “the Web does things better shorter, and magazines do things better longer.” Considered by some to be the “Wild West” of journalism, blogs are very slowly becoming more responsible and credible. Still, spontaneity and speed are blog advantages, and there is “enormous danger in not having an editorial filter between writer and reader,” advises Scoblic, especially if a blog is written “quickly and emotionally.” Scoblic expressed concern that with “so much enthusiasm about this new medium, the losses have been overlooked.” Newspapers provide an “incredibly valuable public service,” he explained, noting that investigative reporting and “journalist intellectuals” (experts with contacts) provide essential, authoritative information and analysis. Blogs largely depend on them for content. In this new world, opportunities to write have increased dramatically as people read and demand more information, but opportunities for careers are decreasing. Traditional paths of entry, advancement, decent salaries, and benefits are disappearing. The blogosphere, a wide-open field, offers a broader opportunity to be published, but often very low pay. After the keynote addresses, conference participants were offered twelve excellent panels that covered a range of publishing issues. Experts, including many well-known figures, were generous with advice and tips. The current difficult environment in publishing was on the minds of the Publicity Panel. During this “stressful time” of overworked editors and fewer venues for publication, it is “really important when making a pitch that writers have a specific game plan, talking points, and a Plan B,” advised Gabrielle Brooks, vice president and director of promotions for Alfred Knopf. Joannie Danielides, president of Danielides Communications, advised, “Do your homework…Your work is an investment. You spent time writing it. Now you must spend time selling it…Prepare a press kit including a bio, list of media ‘friends,’ wish list, and target audience… Be creative and clever in dealing with editors.” Generating “buzz” on the blogosphere has also gained importance. A writer can reach a vast audience through the “viral effect” of linked blogs. Brian Rohd, an Internet marketing special-

(L-R) Joseph O’Neill, Lewis Burke Frumkes & Christopher Reich

For the thirteenth consecutive year, Moravian College hosted the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Center for Talented Youth program. The summer camp is attended by students ranging from sixth to tenth grade. The camp is held on Moravian’s Main Street Campus in two threeweek sessions. Approximately 250 students attend each session. A faculty and staff of 75 teach nineteen different classes. To be accepted, younger students (those who have completed fifth or sixth grade) had to take a standardized assessment test. Acceptance of older students is based on their SAT scores and other factors. Each student in attendance is academically gifted. The JHU program offers a variety of courses such as “The Middle Ages,” “Engineering Design,” “Biotechnology,” and “Inductive/ Deductive Reasoning” to attract youngsters of all backgrounds and interests. There are more traditional courses offered as well, including geometry, psychology and writing.

“The JHU program offers a unique opportunity for gifted and highly motivated students to expand their academic horizons during the summer months,” said Christopher Hunt, director of student life at Moravian, who helps coordinate summer conferences at the college. “The kids want to learn; they have a real thirst for knowledge. They tell their parents they want to come here.” Some courses run seven hours a day, Monday through Thursday, and five hours on Friday. Each student is housed on campus. There is also a full program of recreational and enrichment activities outside of the classroom. For many of the youngsters the camp is the first time they will leave home. This is the 29th year of the JHU program. Moravian was chosen to join the program in 1997. Other schools such as Princeton University in New Jersey, Stanford University in California, and the European University of Madrid, Spain also host the program.#

ist, recommends major immersion in new technology. He advised that, as a writer, you should own your own domain name, have a Facebook page and Twitter account. Get familiar with new media. Build networks of groups with common interests. “It is all about sharing and helping,” Update says Rohd. “Don’t just Education talk about yourself and acknowledged the importance of “luck” in their Reich, who writes thrillers, seems to enjoy your work…Help others as well.” Customary July 21, 2009 Issue writing successes (O’Neill’s highly praised book the process—the adventure of coming upon an venues are still important, though. Depending on Netherland is reportedly being read by President “inciting incident” (what mystery writers need) # 22503 the subject, a 50/50 splitP.O. between use of old and Barack Obama, and Reich’s Rules of Deception and turning it into a “page turner.” new media was suggested. made The New York Times best-seller list), and Lewis Burke Frumkes, the indomitable director In addition to new technology, more tradi- each also had a prior career (O’Neill as a busi- of Marymount Manhattan’s respected Writing tional issues were also debated ness lawyer and Reich as an investment banker). Center and organizer of the annual conference, 8 5 5⁄8 xat 7the3⁄conference. Critic John Simon aroused the Poetry Panel, Otherwise their personalities and attitudes rep- was pleased with the day. “The recession has saying, “This is a terrible time for poets. They resent divergent models of the writer. O’Neill not quieted the enthusiasm of participants,” he don’t exist.” Discussion followed on whether spoke of writing as “lonely,” “solitary,” “a life of reported. Difficult times have not squelched the words that move the reader qualify as obscurity,” and an “almost fictitious existence.” hopes of aspiring writers. # poetry, or whether structure, rhythm, metaphor, and imagery are required. The Humor Panel, which included Patty Marx, Bruce Jay Friedman, Tony Hendra, and Ben Cheever, grappled with how to create a funny character. (There is no answer.) Suspense Panel author Jeffrey Deaver quoted Mickey Spillane: “People don’t read books to get to the middle. Suspense is the best medium for dragging people through to the end.” Superstar Mary Higgins Clark shared her formula: Take a true case. Ask “Suppose,” “What if,” and “Why,” and turn it into a story. Writer and editor Kenneth Whyte of the Memoir Panel made a case for biographies, explaining, “Between the lines of a biography you can learn a lot about the author. One reveals about the self when writing about another.” Another panelist, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Connor, a scion of both the Vanderbilt and Whitney families, and herself a talented artist, illustrated as well as wrote her memoir, Those Early Days. The Religious and Spiritual Markets Panel tackled the difference between religion and spirituality, as well as how to appear authentic and not “preachy.” Essential nuts and bolts of getting a book published were shared by the Birth of a Book Panel, as professionals took attendees, step by important step, through the process, including finding and working with agents, editors, and sales reps. A first chapter is often the decisive critical basis Infant & Family • Early Childhood • Childhood • Middle School • Special Education for assessment of “level of writing, Reading & Literacy • Bilingual/ Dual Language • Museum Education • Child Life tone, and atmosphere.” Fiction writers discussed “voice” and whether Curriculum & Instruction • Leadership for Educational Change “salability” should influence a writer. Popular author Meg Wolitzer advised, “No one knows what will sell. You have to trust that if you are engaged in the world, the world will be engaged in you.” Two lunch keynoters, Joseph O’Neill and Christopher Reich, each

Become the best prepared educator for every student, in every classroom, in every school.

Bank Street College Graduate School of Education, 610 West 112th Street, New York, NY

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22

COLLEGES & GRADuate Schools

Touro College’s Graduate School of Education To Launch Online/Blended Teacher Education Program Dr. Bernard Lander, president and founder of Touro College, today announced that Touro’s Graduate School of Education will launch an “online/blended” program this fall. All of the program courses—with the exception of field experience and practicum courses—can be completed online. The School is one of the few graduate schools in New York State to receive New York State Education Department approval to launch such a program. Touro’s Graduate Program in Education and Special Education, with approximately 3,300 students, is one of the largest such programs in the Northeast. In addition to graduate education and special education, the Graduate School of Education offers graduate programs in school leadership, teaching literacy, TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), bilingual education, and instructional technology. Courses are offered in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, and Bay Shore, Long Island. “Touro is pleased to be leading the way in the field of online learning in education,” said

Dr. Lander. “The program will provide great opportunities for individuals who live outside the immediate area to further their education. Additionally, the new program will be an enormous boon for people who want to return to school and complete a graduate program, but who must work full-time or fulfill family obligations.” One of the hallmarks of the rigorous online program is the use of technology. For example, students will film themselves doing lesson presentations and post the footage on a designated channel on “TeacherTube,” an online community for sharing instructional videos. Peers and professors will have the opportunity to view, comment on, and critique the presentations. “An important feature of our online program is that students will continue to meet each semester with department chairs or directors, so they will have the benefit of live, in person interaction,” said Dr. Ronald Lehrer, associate dean and chair of Graduate Programs in Education and Special Education. “Thus, regardless of whether students are in live classrooms settings or in online cours-

EDUCATION UPDATE

AUGUST 2009

Bank Street College Children’s Book Awards Children not only learn to read at Bank Street College’s School for Children; they also learn to evaluate picture books. They, as well as students in 13 other schools throughout the country (and one in Canada), have chosen a book authored by Bank Street’s own Robie H. Harris ’70 as this year’s winner of the 37th Irma S. and James H. Black Picture Book Award: Mail Harry to the Moon! (Little, Brown and Company). The book’s illustrator, Michael Emberley, collaborated with Harris for the eighth time. Harris, a renowned author of dozens of fiction and non-fiction children’s books, taught at the Bank Street School for Children after receiving her master’s from the Graduate School in 1970. She also worked closely with two well-known es, they will feel the same sense of community.” Strongly committed to the goal of high quality universal education, the Graduate School of Education’s mission is to develop and implement educational programs that supply schools and other educational settings with the most professionally competent teachers, administrators and educational support personnel.#

children’s book authors at the Bank Street Writers Lab: Irma Simonton Black (in whose memory this award is named), director of Bank Street’s publications division; and Bill Hooks, who became director after Irma. The children selected Mail Harry to the Moon! from an outstanding group of four finalists. The other three nominees are designated as “Honor Books”. They are: Nic Bishop Frogs (Scholastic), written and illustrated by Nic Bishop (his Nic Bishop Spiders was an “Honor Book” last year); The Ghost Catcher (August House), a retelling of a Bengali folk tale, written by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss and illustrated by Kristen Balouch; and What To Do About Alice? How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World and Drove her Father Teddy Crazy! (Scholastic), written by Barbara Kerley, with illustrations by Edwin Fotheringham. The awards were presented at a breakfast ceremony at the Harvard Club in New York City. This year’s keynote speaker was Lisa Von Drasek, children’s librarian at Bank Street College, and a nationally-recognized expert on children’s literature. #

Hofstra’s Zarb School of Business M.B.A. Students Renovate Playground

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M.B.A. students from the Frank G. Zarb School of Business practiced corporate social responsibility while volunteering to renovate the playground at the California Avenue Elementary School last month. To launch the establishment of its TeamMBA chapter, a global initiative for community service by students in graduate management programs, Zarb students decided to start in their own backyard by repainting the children’s playground at the Long Island elementary school located just south of the Hofstra University campus. In 2005 the Graduate Management Admission Council, owner and administrator of the GMAT exam, started TeamMBA to demonstrate that today’s graduate business students care about more than just making money— they care about making a difference. “Our students are not only gaining valuable educational experience at the Zarb School but they are also initiating community-based activities that responsibly exhibit their commitment to improving the world around them,” said Dean Salvatore F. Sodano.#

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AUGUST 2009

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Education update

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For Parents, Educators & Students

AUGUST 2009

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Education Update - August 2009  

Education Update's August 2009 issue.

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