Sunday, June 03, 2018

Prominent Chareidi Activist Warns: ‘No Future’ For Orthodox Jews In Britain

Rabbi Aharon Klein, one of the heads of the Belzer community in London, warned his constituents on Thursday that should the decisions regarding the education in Charedi schools in England go against the ethos taught by the community, then there would be no future for the Charedi community in England whatsoever.

The new rules set down by the Education Ministry, which helps fund the schools, is to teach about “the other and one who is different from the lifestyle of the students.”

“The English are not particularly taking aim at the Charedi schools, but rather trying to prevent young Englishmen and women from becoming too entrenched in their own beliefs and going off and joining a peripheral segment of society that is antagonistic towards others. However, the plans put forth by the Ministry instructed all schools including the Charedi ones to teach about people and their lifestyles that are considered To’eva.”

“From including heresy against G-d as well as things that fall into the category of rather die then transgress as well as other to’eva materials, none of these things will be taught in a Charedi school, for no such school will agree to teach these things.

Three months ago, HaRav Shraga Feivel Zimmerman from Gateshead passed along a similar message, stating that the situation is serious and that the Jews may have to leave en masse.

“The interference of the British Government in religious education is the most serious problem for the Jewish community since Edward the First expelled the Jews more than 700 years ago. English Jewry feels that it is in crisis right now.”


Texas Governor Introduces School Gun-Safety Plan

Texas governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday introduced a plan to prevent more gun violence from hitting his state’s schools.

The Republican governor’s “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” outlines 40 strategies to prevent shootings, including identifying students with mental-health issues, providing schools with active-shooter training, beefing up school-security staffs, and adding more police officers to schools.

“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” Abbott said as he announced the plan at the Dallas School District headquarters. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school.

School discipline should be tightened for students who cause trouble, and schools should monitor social media to keep an eye on potential threats, the plan recommends.

The governor is also asking the state legislature to enact a “red flag” law, which would allow a threatening person to be stripped of his firearms through a legal process before he could use them against innocent people.

The $110 million plan, a result of days of discussions between Abbott, victims, parents, teachers, law-enforcement officers, legislators, and others, already has $70 million in funds available, and the governor’s office plans to ask lawmakers to make up the gap.

A young gunman shot up Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas less than two weeks ago, killing ten people. In November, another shooter killed 26 at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, during the Sunday morning service.

Abbott said he may call a special session for state legislators to vote on some of his safety proposals if there seems to be enough support.

“When an active-shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds,” he said. “Trained security personnel can make all the difference.”

Gun-control activists were not satisfied with Abbott’s proposals and demanded that he push lawmakers to regulate firearms more strictly, saying the problem is that guns are simply too easy to get.

The answer to gun violence “isn’t some deep-seated secret,” said the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence. “It’s the fact that it’s frighteningly easy for dangerous people to get access to a gun, and this proposal does little to stop that.”


Teaching Australian kids to read still based on failed methods

L3 is used in hundreds of schools across NSW and is a core component of the NSW Department of Education’s Early Action for Success strategy. L3 is supposed to provide early literacy intervention for all students including the most disadvantaged groups in order to reduce the number of students needing intervention in later years of schooling.

A primary concern with L3 — as outlined in our Research Brief —  is that it is based on the same constructivist pedagogy as the Reading Recovery program.  A recent longitudinal analysis of Reading Recovery found the long term impact to be limited for the vast majority of students — and even negative for some — so from 2018 the NSW DoE no longer provides system support for Reading Recovery.

One would think that the L3 program would have been evaluated carefully to make sure it is achieving better results, unfortunately, this is not the case. An evaluation of L3 was promised for 2017, but to date this has not been carried out. With $340 million invested in EAfS in 2017-2020 alone, we should expect improvement in student outcomes, but an evaluation of the literacy and numeracy strategy, of which L3 is a key component, has not improved NAPLAN results.

This is not surprising given L3 content does not reflect the evidence base for effective reading instruction in the early years of school, as identified by the NSW Government’s own research unit. A critique of the L3 program by Dr Roslyn Neilson and Dr Sally Howell found that it does not teach the five key components of early literacy systematically or explicitly.

If the NSW DoE is committed to “rigorous evaluation to focus investment and effort on what works” as stated in the 2017-2020 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy then they must carry out a comprehensive evaluation of L3. The DoE should halt any expansion of the program until effectiveness has been established, and assist schools to transition into an evidence based literacy instruction program that reflects the scientific evidence for effective teaching of reading.


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