I was happy to read Rabbi Cohon’s “Support for Arizona public education a must” in the April 9, 2010 Arizona Jewish Post. Rabbi’s historical perspective on Jews inventing public education provides an interesting perspective on the “inherently Jewish” value of education. I couldn’t agree more. All students deserve the opportunity of an education that will prepare them for the skills they will need in the 21st century; skills such as the ability to think critically and creatively, to communicate effectively, to collaborate and to assimilate data and reorganize information. Traditional education focuses on information memorization and recall, and test preparation. Unfortunately many Arizona public schools are not providing an educational environment based on current research in neuroscience, child development, and learning theory, nor are they providing experiences in 21st century skills. Educational environments have the opportunity to prepare our future leaders, and to make daily practice of tikkum olam (repairing the world). Dr. Maria Montessori, Italy’s first female physician and the 20th century’s most innovative educational theorist, states, “It is not the child as a physical but as a psychic being that can provide a strong impetus to the betterment of mankind. The child is the both hope and a promise for mankind. It is the spirit of the child that can determine the course of human progress and lead it perhaps even to a higher form of civilization. If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.” Rabbi Cohon correctly states that it is time for the Jewish community to speak out on the importance of education in Arizona. We must also focus on the equity of educational funding, and fund all Arizona public schools equally.
founding principal, Hermosa Charter School