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The Heights Standard

May 29 - June 12, 2014 Volume 4 :: No. 11

Community News

G ar field H eights and M a p l e H e i ghts

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Brick Orders Being Taken for Walkway of Recognition Garfield Heights is creating a brick Walkway of Recognition behind the new Welcome Wall at the Turney Road Fire Station. Anyone can purchase an

engraved brick to create a memory that will last a lifetime and pay tribute to the important people in their lives. Cost for the standard brick is $40.

Cost for bricks with a military or flag logo is $65. Order forms are now available at the Garfield Heights Civic Center, 5407 Turney Road; or online at The initial order deadline has been extended to June 1. For additional details, call 216-4751100, ext. 2425.

New Garfield Heights Boys and Girls Club Pilot Program Middle school age Garfield Heights residents have the opportunity to apply for the city’s pilot Boys and Girls Club program to be held this summer at Garfield Heights Middle School, 12000 Mapleleaf Drive. It is hoped that the program eventually will be available year-round. The mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland is “to inspire and enable young people who need us most,

to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Students who will be entering grades 6, 7 and 8 in the 2014-2015 school year are eligible for the program, which runs June 9 through July 31, 2014. The Boys and Girls Club program is from 2-7 p.m., Monday through Friday and includes a free meal. Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the country provide meaningful

supplemental educational programming including academic courses, sports and arts and crafts. The local program will be taught by Garfield Heights City School teachers. Program fees have been waived thanks to varying partnerships that have helped to make this opportunity possible. Applications are available through the Garfield City Schools and at the Garfield Heights Civic Center.

Representatives from the Garfield Heights City Schools, the City of Garfield Heights and the Garfield Heights Municipal Court partnered to develop the program, which is designed to fill a great need for positive opportunities for middle-school-aged students. For more information about this program, contact Dr. Gordon Dupree, Director of Pupil Services, at 216-475-8100.

Safety Town classes for children ages five and six years old will be offered in June. The program is being coordinated by the Garfield Heights Police and Parks and Recreation Departments. Residents will receive registration priority and

non-residents will be put on a waiting list. Fee for the class is $30. Morning and afternoon classes are scheduled for 9:30-11:30 a.m., and noon to 2 p.m., June 9-13; and at the same times June 16-20. Classes will be

held at Garfield Heights Middle School, 12000 Mapleleaf Drive where there will be a mini town to practice the safety rules children learn in class. Registration is scheduled for May 19-June 2 at the Dan Kostel Recreation

Center, 5411 Turney Road. Residents should bring the child’s birth certificate and two proofs of residency. For additional information about the program or registration guidelines, call 216-475-7272.

Garfield Heights Safety Town Classes Scheduled for June

Fun and Informational Activities Planned for Garfield Heights Seniors Garfield Heights senior citizens can participate in a variety of activities at the Senior Center located in the Civic Center, 5407 Turney Road, including: •News and Views – A group discussion about current local and global events at 1 p.m. each Monday. •Movie Mondays – One Monday each month, seniors will travel to the Cinemark movie theater in Valley View to take advantage of the $5

senior citizen discount. The date of the movie will be listed in the monthly issue of the Garfield Heights Senior Center Hi-Lite Newsletter, which is available at the reception desk inside the Civic Center. •Coffee with the Mayor – At 9:30 a.m, the fourth Monday of each month, seniors can enjoy coffee and an informal discussion with Mayor Vic Collova who will update the group

about recent city council action. There also will be a question and answer period. •Shopping – Transportation to local shopping areas will be provided from 10 to 11:30 a.m. each Friday. Registration is required. •Bingo – Games are at 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. •Exercise and Fitness Classes – Flexibility class is at 10 a.m. on Monday

and Wednesday; Aerobic Exercise and Strength Training class is at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. •Zumba - Class is at 12:45 p.m. Thursday. There is a fee for the Zumba class. The city encourages seniors to get involved to improve their quality of life. For more information about Senior Center programs or activities, call 216-475-3244.

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Summer Program Registration Underway Registration for summer programs is now underway at the Dan Kostel Recreation Center, 5411 Turney Road. The pool is scheduled to open on Saturday, June 14, weather permitting. For information regarding

identification cards, pool passes, admission costs and swimming lessons, visit the Parks and Recreation page on this website, or call (216) 475-7272.

How can we grow together?

Call today to find out.

GH Chamber Office Relocates The Garfield Heights Chamber of Commerce office has relocated to 5522 Turney Road (next to Curves). For information about

the organization or upcoming events, call (216) 475-7775 or visit

Web Sites starting at $300


Help for Garfield Heights families is just a phone call away. The new Family Resource Center at the Garfield Heights Civic Center, 5407 Turney Road, has information to assist families with drug treatment, counseling and

prevention services, support groups, and other needs. Office hours vary, so it is best to call and make an appointment. Call the Help Line, 216-475-1103, or e-mail rpollack@ for assistance.

Garfield Heights New Homebuyer Incentives Buyers no longer will be required to put repair funds into an escrow account for violations cited during the pointof-sale inspection. Repairs still must be made by the deadline set by the city’s building

department. Buyers will receive a one-year family recreation pass, limit one per family. Members are still required to purchase an identification card at the recreation center.

P.O. Box 31244 Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 410-4062 Publisher Doug Smith Advertising Representative Matt Trafis Calendar Editor Circulation Manager Robert Brown

Advisory Board

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David Goodman Ohio Senate Larry Levine Doug Smith The Heights Standard Matt Trafis Blue Streak Strategies, llc The Heights Standard is published and distributed by Blue Streak Strategies, llc twice every month and distributed through group and individual requests and through drop off points in the Garfield Heights and Maple Heights, Ohio area. The publication is paid for by benefactors, advertisers, and voluntary subscribers. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Heights Standard 893 N High St, Ste H Worthington, Ohio 43085

Views expressed by guest columnists, in letters to the editor and in reprinted opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Heights Standard. The Heights Standard owns the rights to allpublished articles. The Heights Standard provides the Garfield Heights and Maple Heights, Ohio area with a quality community newspaper that covers local interest in the journalistic tradition of insightful, fair and balanced reporting.

Additional copies of The Heights Standard can be ordered through our offices at (614) 371-2595 Š 2013 All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any content within without prior consent is prohibited.

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Cuyahoga County Opens First 10,000 College Savings Accounts Joined by officials from KeyBank, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald held a press conference at Campus International in Cleveland today to announce that his administration has opened college savings accounts for public school students who began kindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year. “Access to higher education is one of the most critical pieces of ensuring that our children will enter the workforce prepared for success,” said FitzGerald. “Young people today will be competing in a global economy, and we need to do everything we can to provide them with every possible opportunity to succeed. I am proud that Cuyahoga County is establishing the first countywide college savings account program in the nation in order to promote higher education every young person today.” The Cuyahoga County College Savings Account program is the first such initiative to establish universal savings accounts at the county level of government. Welcome packets will be sent out within three weeks to roughly 10,500 households with students in public districts along with a book of deposit slips to promote participation in the initiative. Students outside the public district systems will also receive welcome packets for the College Savings Account program at a later date. Additional information regarding the College Savings Account program is available at http://collegesavings. “One of the central tenets of the Cleveland Plan is an emphasis on career and college readiness beginning in the earliest years,” said CMSD CEO Eric Gordon. “The County’s college savings program directly supports this goal.” Gordon said the program aligns with the work of CMSD partners like College Now and the Higher Education Compact that are helping CMSD to increase the number of students who enroll in and complete college. Research has consistently demonstrated the benefits of establishing college savings accounts for children. A 2010 study found that young people who expect to graduate from college and have a savings account are about seven times more likely to attend college than their peers. In addition, a Sallie Mae study found that 62% of families were saving for college prior to the last recession, but only 51% were saving afterwards. FitzGerald’s program should be especially helpful for low and middle-income families, since only 27% of low-income families and 40% of middle-income families currently have a plan to save for college. “The College Savings Program provides many advantages for our children. In addition to building a financial foundation, the program also gives parents the opportunity to begin

conversations with their children about financial education,” said Lisa Oliver, KeyBank Cleveland Market President. “Through proper use of the program, we are positioning our children to have brighter futures.” Approximately 15,000 students enter kindergarten each year in Cuyahoga County through 31 school districts and more than 150 charter, parochial, and independent schools. Every student enrolled in kindergarten by October 31 of a school year will be eligible to participate, with families reserving the right to opt out at their discretion. New accounts will then be established for students entering kindergarten on an annual basis each fall. FitzGerald was joined this afternoon by Lucia Johnson, a single mother whose kindergartner attends school in Cuyahoga Heights. “I’d like to thank County Executive FitzGerald for his vision and leadership,” said Dr. Bob Mengerink, superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County. “The Cuyahoga County ESC views this program as a powerful way to increase the aspirations of every family and child in Cuyahoga County as they begin

preparing financially and educationally for success in our competitive global society.” Moving forward, Cuyahoga County will receive annual data from schools and school districts with assistance from the County’s Educational Service Center (ESC) and provide the list of students to its partners at KeyBank, which will generate account numbers for students enrolling in kindergarten. Families will be able to make deposits at KeyBank braches, by mail, or through direct deposit. Although the program is starting with kindergarten students this year, families with older children are encouraged to work with KeyBank to establish alternative savings programs. FitzGerald first outlined the importance of establishing a countywide college savings program during his 2010 campaign for County Executive, and just last year the Cuyahoga County Council approved his request for $2 million to establish $100 college savings accounts for every student entering kindergarten in the county. “Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are gaining traction around the country and collectively, these innovations

are helping thousands of students, many low-income, save for college,” added Dr. William Elliott, director of the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas. “In the absence of national CSA policy, some states and localities have blazed the path and developed their own children’s savings initiatives such as in Cuyahoga County, strengthening the case for broader CSA implementation.” Campus International, the only International Baccalaureate candidate school in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, prepares students in grades K-5 for international citizenship with a rigorous and comprehensive IB, global curriculum. Situated on Cleveland State University’s downtown campus, the K-4 Mandarin Chinese immersion school provides students with easy access to city and campus events, programs and cultural opportunities. Downtown Cleveland and CSU provide an expansive classroom for students attending this New & Innovative School in CMSD’s expanding portfolio of “Effective” and “Excellent” school models.

EMPLOYERS, JOB SEEKERS & YOUTH A Change is coming! Watch for it!

will change its name to:

Though our name is changing, our “commitment to service” to Cuyahoga County residents seeking employment and training opportunities remains a “high priority”! To better assist you, shortly we will roll out a new, easier-to-navigate, more informative website. The new website address will be: For assistance, visit one of our locations: Downtown:1020 Bolivar Rd, Cleveland, OH 44115 (216) 664-4673 Parma: 11699 Brookpark Rd, Parma, OH 44130 (216) 898-1366 Southgate: 5398-1/2 Northfield Rd, Maple Heights, OH 44137 (216) 518-4954 Westshore: 9830 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44102 (216) 939-2599

Celebrating 5 Years of Award-Winning Journalism in Central Ohio

29 -5768 June:: 12, & Ohio 4  Columbus :: 17May of Iyyar, May2014 22, 2008

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Library Spotlight Maple Heights A free event to learn about your risk for diabetes and vascular disease.

Wii Challenge Mondays! Branch: Maple Heights Date: Monday, June 2, 2014 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Wii challenge you to come join your friends for an afternoon of gaming fun and excitement to practice for the monthly summer tournament challenges.

Saturday, June 7 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Family Storytime Branch: Maple Heights Date: Monday, June 2, 2014 6:30 PM All ages with adult caregiver: Join us for stories, songs and fingerplays.

University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center invites you to attend a free comprehensive health assessment. Our experienced physicians will provide evaluations for: • •

Diabetes risk Chronic, nonhealing wounds

• •

Vascular disease Food disorders

Preschool Storytime Branch: Maple Heights Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 10:30 AM Caregivers and their children ages 3-5 not in kindergarten: Join us for rhymes, songs, fingerplays and stories. Baby and Toddler Storytime Branch: Maple Heights Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 6:30 PM Caregivers and their children ages Birth – 35 months: Join us for rhymes, songs, fingerplays and books.

Follow-up recommendations and specialist referrals will be provided when necessary. So, if you have a history of diabetes, nonhealing wounds, or vascular disease, we encourage you to attend. To register for this free event, call 440-735-4726 and leave your name and telephone number, including area code. You will be contacted with your appointment time. Participants should check in at the welcome table in the main lobby 10 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

At University Hospitals, our mission is you.

440-735-3900 | 44 Blaine Avenue Bedford, Ohio 44146

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May 29 - June 12, May2014 22, 2008 :: 17 of Iyyar, 5768 :: 

Come Out and Play at Night in MetroParks Camping is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature. It doesn’t matter if you bring all the latest gear or the bare essentials. Join Cleveland Metroparks for a weekend of overnight camping in three different reservations in the Park District. Experienced campers and interested beginners should take advantage of these fun, easy overnights that will hold you over until your next big camping trip. Enjoy a family campout close to home with these upcoming camping programs in June: Family Campout at Squire’s Castle Friday, June 27 - Saturday, June 28 ∙ 6 p.m. to 11 a.m. Squire’s Castle ∙ North Chagrin Reservation

Customize your camping experience at Squire’s Castle. Bring your own tent or rent one of ours. You can choose to play disc golf, go slacklining, enjoy the bonfire or take a nighttime hike at Squire’s Castle. Or, you can choose to do all of the above. Before you pack up in the morning, enjoy breakfast around the fire. Registration and fee ($10 for individuals, $20 for a family of two, $30 for families of three to six people) are required. Dogs are not allowed. Squire’s Castle is located off Chagrin River Road in North Chagrin Reservation, south of Chardon Road/Route 6 in Willoughby Hills. For more information and to register, visit or call 216-341-1704. Great American Campout

Saturday, June 28 – Sunday, June 29 • 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. South Chagrin Reservation Spend a night camping in South Chagrin Reservation. Bring your tent for a fun night of outdoor activities, a hike, and dinner and breakfast around the fire. This campout is for children ages 7 years and older with an adult. Registration by June 23 and fee ($15 per person ages 7- 15 and $20 per person ages 16 and older) are required. For more information and to register, visit or call 440-247-7075. CanalWay Campout Saturday, June 28 – Sunday, June 29 • 7 p.m. to 11 a.m.

CanalWay Center ∙ Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation Bring your family and friends to Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation for an evening under the stars. Watch bats fly over the canal during the night hike and sing songs around the campfire. Enjoy a light breakfast and hike before packing up on Sunday morning. This program is for children ages 6 and older with an adult. Registration and fee ($25 per family) is required. CanalWay Center is located on Whittlesey Way, off the East 49th Street entrance of Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation, between Grant Avenue and Canal Road in Cuyahoga Heights. For more information or to register, visit or call 216-206-1000.

Renowned Museum Leader and International Scholar Dr. William Griswold Named 10th Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees today voted unanimously to name Dr. William M. Griswold, a distinguished scholar, renowned curator and experienced museum leader, its next director. Griswold’s confirmation comes at a unique time in the life of the institution, which recently completed a historic and comprehensive $350 million expansion project on time and under budget. As it approaches its 2016 centennial anniversary, the Cleveland Museum of Art is renown for the quality and breadth of its collection and its historic role as a leading American museum. Dr. Griswold, 53, who is currently the director of the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, will assume his duties in

Cleveland as the museum’s 10th director in early fall, 2014. He brings to the position a depth of experience gained in America’s leading museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as an expertise in Italian drawings from the Renaissance and the 18th century. “The Board of Trustees is thrilled with Bill Griswold’s appointment,” said Steven Kestner, Chairman of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees. “We couldn’t have found a better, more experienced candidate and we’re looking forward to Bill’s leadership for years to come. Bill is joining the museum at an incredible moment in its history, with the additional capacity of

a newly completed expansion and a 100th anniversary swiftly approaching. It is the perfect moment to begin his legacy of scholarship, innovation and community outreach.” During his tenure at the Morgan Library & Museum, Dr. Griswold spearheaded the growth of the Morgan’s collections, exhibition program and curatorial departments, most recently adding Photography as a focus. He oversaw a number of important exhibitions and scholarly exchanges with leading international museums, including the Louvre, London’s Courtauld Institute, Munich’s Graphische Sammlung and Turin’s Biblioteca Reale. Dr. Griswold previously served as Director

and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, from 2005 to 2007; Acting Director and Chief Curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum, in 2004 to 2005; and Associate Director for Collections at the Getty, beginning in 2001. Prior to joining the Getty, Dr. Griswold had been Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Morgan Library since 1995. From 1988 to 1995, he was on the staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, first as Assistant and then as Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints. Dr. Griswold earned his bachelor’s degree at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and his Ph.D. at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Cleveland Clinic has 16 East Side addresses. One at Marymount Hospital


appointments 866.264.3126

Marymount Hospital is a Catholic hospital sponsored by The Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis.

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6  Columbus May 29::- May June& 12,2008 2014 Ohio :: 17 of Iyyar, 5768 22, What’s up, America? Ellen Augustine, M.A.

For the past couple decades nearly all the TV commentaries on education have been talk of “failing schools” and the vilification of teachers and their unions. But is that the whole story, or the truth of the matter? Across the country there is an uprising against teachers being hammered to teach to the standardized test. Yes! Magazine has devoted its Spring 2014 issue to the movement to take back, renew, and revitalize our public school system. Excerpts from four key articles follow below. Journalist Dean Paton begins by debunking “The Myth Behind Public School Failure” “In the rush to privatize the country’s schools, corporations and politicians have decimated school budgets, replaced teaching with standardized testing, and placed the blame on teachers and students. Until about 1980, America’s public schoolteachers were iconic everyday heroes painted with a kind of Norman Rockwell patina—generally respected because they helped most kids learn to read, write and successfully join society. Since then, what a turnaround: We’re now told, relentlessly, that bad-apple schoolteachers have wrecked K-12 education; that their unions keep legions of incompetent educators in classrooms; that part of the solution is more private charter schools; and that teachers as well as entire schools lack accountability, which can best be remedied by more and more standardized ‘bubble’ tests.” “To truly understand how we came to believe our educational system is broken, we need a history lesson. Rewind to 1980—when Milton Friedman, the high priest of laissez-faire economics, partnered with PBS to produce a 10-part television series called Free to Choose. He devoted one episode to the idea of school vouchers, a plan to allow families what amounted to publicly funded scholarships so their children could leave the public schools and attend private ones.” ‘You could make a strong argument that the current campaign against public schools started with that single TV episode. To make the case for vouchers, free-market conservatives, corporate strategists, and opportunistic politicians looked for any way to build a myth that public schools were failing, that teachers (and of course their unions) were at fault, and that the cure was vouchers and privatization.” “Armed with Friedman’s ideas, President Reagan began calling for vouchers. In 1983, his National Commission on Excellence in Education issued ‘A Nation At Risk,’ a report that declared, ‘the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.’” “For a document that’s had such lasting impact, ‘A Nation At Risk’ is remarkably free of facts and solid data. Not so the Sandia Report, a little-known follow-up study commissioned by Admiral James Watkins, Reagan’s secretary of energy; it discovered that the falling test scores which caused such an uproar were really a matter of an expansion in the number of students taking the tests. In truth, standardized-test scores were going up for every economic and ethnic segment of students—it’s just that, as more and more students began taking these tests over the 20-year period of the study, this more representative sample of America’s youth better reflected the true national average. It wasn’t a teacher problem. It was a statistical

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Choose the Right Answer: Test or Teach? misread. The government never officially released the Sandia Report.” “In 2001, George W. Bush enacted sweeping legislation called ‘No Child Left Behind.’ Supporters described it as a new era of accountability—based on standardized testing. The act tied federal funding for public schools to student scores on standardized tests. It also guaranteed millions in profits to corporations such as Pearson PLC, the curriculum and testing juggernaut, which made more than $1 billion in 2012 selling textbooks and bubble tests.” “In 2009, President Obama created a program called ‘Race to the Top.’ It didn’t replace No Child Left Behind; it did step in with grants to individual states for their public schools. It put desperate states in competition with each other.” “Since 2001 and No Child Left Behind, the focus of education policy makers and corporate-funded reformers has been to insist on more testing. For a dozen or so years, this ‘accountability movement’ was pretty much the only game in town. It used questionable, even draconian, interpretations of standardized-test results to brand schools as failures, close them, and replace them with for-profit charter schools.” “Finally, in early 2012, then-Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott kindled a revolt of sorts, saying publicly that highstakes exams are a ‘perversion.’ His sentiments quickly spread to Texas school boards, whose resolution stating that tests were ‘strangling education’ gained support from more than 875 school districts representing more than 4.4 million Texas public-school students.” “Then, in January 2013, teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School announced they would refuse to give their students the Measures of Academic Progress Test—the MAP test. Despite threats of retaliation by their district, they held steadfast. By May, the district caved, telling its high schools the test was no longer mandatory.” “Garfield’s boycott triggered a nationwide backlash to the ‘reform’ that began with Friedman and the privatizers in 1980. At last, Americans from coast to coast have begun redefining the problem for what it really is: not an education crisis but a manufactured catastrophe. In the bargain, weaken teacher unions, the largest labor organizations remaining in the United States. Push nonunion, profit-oriented charter schools as the solution. In Ohio, charter school teachers make 59% of what public school teachers make.” “There has been a huge growth of U.S. charter schools in the last 10 years, from 2,500 to 6,000. Charter schools receive the same per-student payment that public schools get, roughly $11,000. In Michigan they spend $774 more per student on administration, and $1,140 less on instruction. Their profit is $366 per student.” “But are charter schools succeeding? Stanford University studied test data from 27 states. In reading, charter schools showed 25% better results, and 75% ‘no improvement or significantly worse results.’ For math, it was 29% better results, and 71% ‘no improvement or significantly worse results.’” Corporations recognize privatization as a euphemism for profits. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify corporation is already growing at a 20% rate, due to its education contracts. ‘When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S.’” So what’s the alternative to teaching to the standardized test? One example is the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a coalition of 28 high schools across the state. “Coalition schools track student progress with performance-based assessments. Rather than take standardized tests, students do in-depth

research and papers; learn to think, problemsolve, and critique; and orally present their projects. This approach emphasizes criticalthinking skills over rote learning. Successful students have a true joy for learning which the modern focus on testing has stripped from classrooms.” ( issues/education-uprising/pencils-down) Is this resistance to standardized tests only from a few teachers in a few districts? Hardly. One of the leading proponents of No Child Left Behind “is among the few national public figures in education who have shown the courage to acknowledge publicly that the policies she promoted were wrong.” Diane Ravitch explains: “I believed in those things because they didn’t yet exist and sounded good in theory. Now they have been tried. I reviewed the evidence. I decided the rest of my life would be committed to reversing course and correcting what I got wrong.” Her book is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. “She examines charter school expansion, virtual schools, and how the application of the free market principles of competition and accountability hinders more than it helps.” (http://www. One of the most unfortunate casualties of the academic pressure cooker is kindergarten! In “You Can’t Bounce Off the Walls If There Are No Walls: Outdoor Schools Make Kids Happier—and Smarter” (http://www. the-original-kindergarten), educator David Sobel declares: “Kindergarten is the new first grade.” “Kindergarten teachers are required to focus on a narrowing range of literacy and math skills; studies show that ‘some children spend up to 6 times as much time on those topics and on testing and test prep than they do in free play or ‘choice time,’ writes David McKay Wilson in the Harvard Education Letter. Teachers are required to use scripted curricula that give them little opportunity to create lessons in response to students’ interests.” “The original kindergarten—the children’s garden—conceived by German educator Friedrich Froebel in the 19th century, was a place where children learned through play, often in nature. That idea is fast eroding. Children aren’t playing in the garden anymore; instead they’re filling in bubbles on worksheets in the indoor-ification of early childhood.” Are there other possibilities? Sobel recounts: “On a November day, I visit the Waldkindergarten on the Natick Community Organic Farm, outside of Boston. It is one of about two dozen forest kindergartens around the country. It’s below freezing, so children arrive bundled up in snow pants, down jackets, winter boots, and wool hats. The outdoor classroom is a sundappled acre of towering pines with smaller, scattered oaks. There are a couple of log circles, a low balance-beam structure, some homemade hobbyhorses, and a ‘bakery’—a sandpile with lots of kitchen equipment, a digging pit, and child-sized rough-hewn tables. The centerpiece is a storybook cottage with a steep-pitched roof. The children spend about 90% of their time out in the forest and only about 10% inside the cottage. They begin their morning convening in a circle on the ground singing chants and rhymes.” “Then they move into ‘forest gnome jobs’—tidying up the bakery, preparing snacks, collecting kindling, raking the outdoor block area. This morphs seamlessly into forest play. Children dig in the clay pit, continue to chop up apples for snacks, or huddle at the base of tree trunks and whisper, giving voices to acorn creatures. I watch four boys play for about 20 minutes on a swing suspended from

a wire between two pines. One boy winds up the swing, round and round. ‘OK, it’s ready,’ he announces. “Everyone piles on, a couple on the seat, two more standing, a tangle of arms, legs, scarves. The swing unwinds slowly, then faster, spinning the boys in a blur. When the spinning stops, the boys tumble off, and some of them roll down the leafy slope below. One jumps up, ‘Now we need to spin it up again!’” “What happens when such carefree kids, who have never sat at a desk, arrive at a conventional school at the age of six? Wendy Banning and Ginny Sullivan address this issue in their book, Lens on Outdoor Learning: ‘The many skills children develop through play, particularly the self-control practiced and refined in imaginary play, are related to longterm academic achievement.’” “Many physicians have also begun advocating for open-ended, free play. In an article in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Hillary Burdette and Robert Whitaker write, “The problem-solving that occurs in play may promote executive functioning—a higher-level skill that integrates attention and other cognitive functions such as planning, organizing, sequencing, and decision-making.” “Outdoor play can also remedy behavioral problems. One pediatrician notes that he sees lots of children with attention deficit disorder in conventional indoor preschools but none in forest kindergartens.” “In a 1998 article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the authors describe a study that tracked three classrooms of children from preschool into adulthood: Children from a preschool class that spent just 2% of its time in free play were more likely to engage in misconduct at age 15 than those from two classrooms that had spent more than 20% of preschool time playing. By age 23, the group that had played less as toddlers had more arrests and was more often suspended from work.” “Let’s do the math. The average yearly cost of a three-day-per-week program at a forest kindergarten is about $5,000. The average cost of a full year of incarceration in the United States is about $31,000.” Paul Doolan sent his daughter to such a school. “For two years my little girl went to kindergarten in the forest. Not a school in the forest, just the forest. No walls, no roof, no heating, only the forest, a few tools, and incredibly dedicated teachers.” “One day she came home from a day of particularly vicious downpours, her feet inevitably soaked, her eyelashes caked in mud, her cheeks ruddy with the cold and her eyes sparkling with fire, and I said to her it must have been tough being outside all morning in such weather. She looked at me in genuine incomprehension, looked out the window: ‘What weather?’ she asked.” Sobel concludes: “Isn’t this what we want for our children? This immersion in the natural world, this feeling-at-one-ness, these eyes sparkling with fire. We’re learning that grit and stick-to-it-ive-ness are some of the core character traits that determine success in school and in life.” So show up at your local school board meeting and give voice to what you want for your children! Ellen Augustine, M.A., is a speaker and author on national currents and the emerging sustainable economy. She may be reached at, 510-4281832, Questions, feedback, and topic ideas for future columns are welcome.

The New Standard

Columbus & OhioThe Heights Standard

Follow Food’s Journey from Farm to Fork at MetroParks June 7 Your dinner made a long journey to go from soil to supper. Learn about what it takes to bring fruits and vegetables to the family dinner table at Cleveland Metroparks Farm & Garden Day on Saturday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Garfield Park Nature Center. Farm & Garden Day is a free event that introduces the whole family to farm life, growing your own food and healthy eating. The event goes hand-inhand with Garfield Park Nature Center’s newly redefined focus on urban gardening and health and wellness. Meet live farm animals, including hens and roosters, turkeys, ducks, sheep, geese, goats and calves. There will be egg & sack races, horse-drawn wagon rides ($2 per person), hands-on crafts, a straw-throwing tent, activities, and other fun ways for children to explore the many aspects of farming and gardening. Sample hand-churned butter and bring home some plants from the heirloom plant sale to spruce up your garden at the local vendor and exhibitor section. Learn from the experts

May 29 - June 12,May 201422, 2008 :: 17 of Iyyar, 5768 :: 

Linda J. How, Elder Law Attorney “Making Sense of the Law”


with presentations by Cuyahoga County Soil & Water District, Garfield Heights Historical Society, We Grow Ohio and Wilson Feed Mill. Cleveland Metroparks naturalists will lead presentations throughout the day: Beginning Beekeeping at noon, Container Vegetable Gardening at 1 p.m. and Permaculture at 3 p.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Garfield Park Nature Center is located off the Broadway Avenue entrance of Garfield Park Reservation in Garfield Heights – north of the I480/Broadway Avenue exit. For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks. com or call 216-3413152.

What are YOUR estate-planning concerns?  Who is in charge if you become disabled? What can they do? Can they handle your $tuff? Can they make medical decisions for you? Do they know what you’d want?  Will your estate need probate? Or can that be avoided?  Will your “nest egg” be ruined if you or your spouse ends up in a nursing home? Is there legal planning for this?

Don’t just worry; get answers! Make an appointment to talk with me, or come to my next FREE Workshop, called “Seven Threats to Your Family Security” on MONDAY, July 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. or WEDNESDAY, July 16, 1013, 2 to 4 p.m. in Bedford, Ohio. (Call for exact location.)

Phone (440) 786-9449 Email

Need Home Repair? Call 614.371.2595 877-661-7467 Best rates in town! Will beat competitor’s rates.



Celebrating 5 Years of Award-Winning Journalism in Central Ohio

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May 29::- May June& 12,2008 2014 Ohio 8 Columbus  :: 17 of Iyyar, 5768 22,

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