Herman Berliner

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December 5, 2010
I am not in a position to gauge whether Cathleen P. Black should or should not be granted a waiver from the normal credential required by NY State law in order to serve as New York City Schools Chancellor. That responsibility lies with New York Commissioner of Education. If she is qualified, she should receive the waiver. If she is not qualified, the waiver should not be granted. And yet, the actual conclusion regarding the granting of a waiver is neither the first alternative stated above nor the second.
November 28, 2010
My expertise is in education and I have tried hard to keep my blog focused on just that topic. I know from reading other blogs that many authors feel qualified and empowered to comment on almost any imaginable topic. These authors are certainly empowered, they certainly have the right, and for the most part they write well. It’s just that the expertise isn’t there and therefore for me the comfort level isn’t there. And yet, I am about to violate my own guideline and talk about an area where I certainly have strong feelings but limited technical expertise.
November 21, 2010
The phrase was new to me but the concept and the consequences are very familiar. William G. Bowen, in giving the keynote address at the recent TIAA-CREF Higher Education Leadership Conference, talked about students and their families underinvesting in higher education. Given the important economic and social benefits of higher education, why would there be underinvestment and how does this work? The reason for the underinvestment is simple — many families are looking for a bargain. They are looking to get the degree at a lower cost or possibly at the lowest cost possible.
November 14, 2010
I was at the last soccer match of the season and the tension level was very high. Team “Blue” had won the last time “Blue” met “Purple” and now “Purple” was vocally calling for revenge while “Blue” wanted to make their superiority even clearer by also winning this game. All around me the fans were in a state of heightened excitement yelling at the top of their lungs.
November 7, 2010
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the drama department production of Cabaret. I thought our students did a terrific job and the production was without doubt at a professional theater level. During the intermission, I went over to a senior faculty member in drama and we had a chance to catch up for the first time since last spring. The faculty member commented on how much harder it has become for faculty from throughout the University to just get a chance to talk. And he talked with fondness about on-site registration.
October 31, 2010
In coming back to my office from a University Lecture, I cut through a main administrative parking lot. The lot has three rows of cars and a total capacity of approximately 60 cars. Though I don’t normally take much notice of cars in a parking lot, for whatever reason that day these cars caught my attention. In the entire first row of the parking lot, there was one American car. In looking at the remaining two rows, there was perhaps one more American car. The American cars were not new models and the other cars varied from relatively old to new looking.
October 24, 2010
Recently I attended a lecture where the audience included a significant number of high school students. One of our most gifted teachers was lecturing and I was sitting in the audience directly behind a row of high school students, many of whom had brought their laptops to the lecture to take notes. I appreciated how conscientious they were.
October 17, 2010
My kids are in 4th grade and in 7th grade. Two week ago we had “meet the teacher night” for the 4th grader and last week we had “meet the teacher night” for the 7th grader. For the 4th grader, her education is centered around one teacher. For the 7th grader, the day has nine separate periods — one is for lunch; the remaining 8, for 7 subjects since English has a double period of time. For my middle school daughter, I followed her exact schedule except each of the classes was substantially abbreviated.
October 10, 2010
The Sunday September 26, 2010 edition of Newsday had the following front page headline, “ L[ong] I[sland] Colleges Change Course Major Push for Jobs How Schools Have Reshaped their Mission.” This headline which covered the entire first page also had a background of a graduation cap and tassel.
October 3, 2010
Though it is difficult to demonstrate, even in the era of outcomes assessment, we all strive to provide an education that enhances integrity, civility, and compassion. For years, many of us have emphasized that increased education makes us better parents, citizens, and voters. And yet, today’s environment in the United States seems to be moving us in the opposite direction. We appear to be less enlightened and less civil. A mosque and community center near ground zero is challenged because the sins of a few radicals have been used to try and tarnish an entire faith.

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