Terrorists Do Us Harm by Killing People But They Win Only If They Kill Our Ideals. – by  Michael Josephson 

“America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good she will stop being great.” – Alexis De Tocqueville ————– Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, if you are following the news I hope you share my dismay and concern about fear-mongering demagogic rhetoric which has been embraced by millions of Americans desperately seeking to feel safe. …

Memo From Michael: A Quick Note From Paris

I haven’t posted in a while, as I have been focused on some important personal matters, including a sad and ugly lawsuit my family filed against the Archer School for Girls and its head of school, Elizabeth English. (Those interested in status see JosephsonvsArcher.com. My hope to reform the law and assure that private school administrators can be held publicly accountable …

Historical Context for What is Going on in Ferguson and New York City: The Kerner Report

The summers of 1964-1967 were marked by civil disorders, rioting and looting in African-American neighborhoods of major cities including Los Angeles (Watts Riot of 1965), Chicago (Division Street Riots of 1966), Newark (1967 Newark riots) and Detroit (1967 Detroit Riots) In all, these disorders resulted in millions of dollars of damage[1] and the loss of 83 lives. In response, President Lyndon Johnson …

Memo From Michael: Getting the Most Out of Christmas

Though I am Jewish, I have always loved Christmas and what is commonly called the Christmas Spirit. Of course, I don’t mean the crassly commercialized version of the Christmas Spirit that stresses consumerism, but the spirit of love, forgiveness, family, friendship and — remember this phrase? — “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.” To those who celebrate Christmas, …

Reflections at 71: Life Expectancy, Life’s Expectancies and The Seven Biggest Truths I’ve Learned

(updated December 12, 2013) Where did the time go? I hate clichés like this, but among the things I’ve learned in my 71 years of lurching around life is that these pithy statements became clichés precisely because they are true. Often profoundly so. Looking through the rear view mirror of my life the past feels like a movie played a …

Memo From Michael: Nelson Mandela’s Inspiring Example

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela, at Walter Sisulu’s 90th birthday celebration, Johannesburg, May 18, 2002 I am impressed and deeply moved by the universal wall-to-wall coverage of …

Memo From Michael: Secrets, Surveillance, Trust & Credibility – What’s a President to Do? Take this simple survey illuminating the complex issues involved in the apparent eavesdropping on heads of state of friendly countries.

Take the survey here. I have been disturbed about the shallowness of public discussions concerning the revelation that U.S. intelligence agencies have been and still are conducting extensive surveillance on the phones (and presumably other communications) of heads of state (and presumably other top government officials). I have heard well known and respected pundits and politicians base their opinions (often stated …

MEMO From Michael: Youth Violence and Bullying

Just last month in a weekly memo I asked if violence and mass killings had become our new reality. That was prompted by the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Since then, the headlines have continued to shock and sadden us with news of seemingly random acts of violence. Some might ask: Since when has the news media not brought us …

What Do Educators Think About Education in America? (Preliminary Report #2 on our Survey Results)

Summary. We surveyed more than 2,500 educators (board members, superintendents, principals, teachers, counselors and support staff) and asked them to give their opinions on the trends in education in the past five years. (Are you an educator? Please take the survey here if you haven’t already.) Here are some of the survey results so far. What’s Going Well. Majority of educators believe …

MEMO From Michael: How Are We Going to Get Out of This Mess?

I am finding myself out of patience. I have listened to mostly sincere (to the point of self-righteous) politicians and partisan pundits excoriate the people they disagree with. They evade uncomfortable questions and explain why they are taking positions that may be based on principle but have become little more than tactical maneuvering. The focus is on who should get the …

MEMO From Michael: Sneak Peek – Some Surprising Preliminary Results of Our Educators’ Survey

(Updated 11/26/13) Nearly 4500 educators (76 Board members, 225 superintendents, 616 principals, 2414 teachers and 406 school counselors) have already taken the new Josephson Institute survey on the state of education in America. (If you haven’t already, please take the survey here and please share this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JIEducatorSurvey on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere to encourage others to take it as well — …

MEMO From Michael: 9/11, Colombia, New Survey on Education

Thoughts on September 11 Re-experiencing the 9/11 attacks is always a traumatic experience for me. I’ve posted several videos I think you will find worth your time. One cannot think about this shocking proof of our vulnerability without some anxiety and deep sorrow for the loss of life and of our innocent naiveté about our safety. Two images are etched …

MEMO From Michael: Bound for Bogota — and Medellin!

As mentioned in last week’s updates, I’ll be in Colombia next week. I will post dispatches on the What Will Matter Facebook page, so be sure to Like that page so you can stay in the loop. Much of this week has been spent collaborating with Dr. Gary Smit, the de facto dean of our national CHARACTER COUNTS! training faculty, and two of …

Recent Activities at Josephson Institute

What’s new and exciting at Josephson Institute? Here’s an update: Proposal for Colombia. I worked on a major proposal to the Secretary of Education of Bogota, Colombia. They are seeking bids on ways to help them initiate a comprehensive values education program in their 400 or so public schools. The idea is to integrate into their academic program the teaching …