Historical Sites to Visit in The Hague


The Hague pic
The Hague
Image: holland.com

A graduate of Northwestern University with a master’s in English literature, John Heintz of Chicago also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a JD from the John Marshall School of Law. He went on to serve as legal officer and assistant superintendent for operations at Niles Township High School District 219 before becoming an international education and law consultant. As part of his post-graduate studies, John Heintz participated in the Advanced LLM in Public International Law program at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, a country which offers a number of beautiful and historic cities to see, including The Hague.

Located on the North Sea Coast, the Hague is home to the International Court of Justice, but it offers much more to do and see. The following are just a few of the numerous historical sites to visit in The Hague:

The Ooievaart

As The Hague is a canal city where boats used to unload merchandise at local markets, the city features canals where visitors can take a tour aboard the Ooievaart to get a unique view of the town’s architecture and history. During the 90-minute tour, visitors can learn about such sites as the Malieveld and the Palace Gardens.

The Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk

Constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries, The Grote of Sint-Jacobskert, also known as St. James Church, is a classic Gothic structure that features a six-sided tower with bells, historical works of art, and ornate stained-glass windows. Although the church occasionally hosts Protestant services, it is mostly used for special events, including concerts and banquets.

The Binnenhof

The Binnenhof (the Inner Court) is located in the oldest area of The Hague and dates back to 1250. Consisting of several buildings surrounding a central courtyard, the Binnenhof is now home to both chambers of Parliament as well as the North Wing, where the Dutch prime minister resides.


The John Marshall Law School – Recognized for Legal Writing Training

John Marshall Law School pic
John Marshall Law School
Image: jmls.edu

A former legal officer and assistant superintendent of operations for Niles Township High School District 219 in the Chicago area, John Heintz leverages his knowledge and experience to write about education and legal topics at Second Rail Education. A graduate of the University of Chicago with an MBA, John Heintz works also holds a juris doctor from the John Marshall School of Law, which has been recognized for its excellent legal writing program.

The legal writing program at the John Marshall School of Law is ranked fifth in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The school maintains rigorous legal writing standards, and requires that all students take four semesters of legal drafting.

The John Marshall School of Law also supports students through its Writing Resource Center, which is overseen by a full-time writing specialist. In addition to helping first-year law students during their adjustment to the demands of legal writing, the Writing Resource Center helps students hone their writing skills during all stages of law school through individual meetings designed to take their writing to the next level. The center even helps advanced degree students and graduating students as they seek their first position in the legal field.

To learn more about the John Marshall School of Law and its Writing Resource Center, visit www.jmls.edu.

Globalization of education is here. Personalization is coming.

John Heintz, school lawyer, administrator, teacher and progressive learning advocate, offers a perspective on merging these two irresistible trends. The world, Heintz explains, is already globalized.

China is leading the way in education investments. Students in China learn English. Ambitious parents understand the value of sending their child to English-speaking countries every holiday for authentic language experiences.

Globalization of education is here
Globalization of education is here.

Parents in the West are moving less quickly. Where parents in China prepare their children for a highly competitive globalized job market, parents in America hold romanticized views of the goals of education.

In his latest piece, Heintz highlights the differences in schools today. Schools are different because of increased competition. Selective college spots are more coveted, including from international students and especially competitive children from China which topped 300,000 this year.

Students experience more stress today due to the increased competition, and even parents who retreat to the formerly safe suburbs are confronting the impact of global competition. The competition is all the more cut-throat given increased academic accountability from accurate new assessments that mercilessly sort students leaving little room for consideration whether a child is nice.

Future job skills are unclear. Parents, schools and employers seek to create flexible, adaptable learners, so the narrow training curriculum of the past has disappeared. Higher education costs continue to increase disproportionately to the economy overall. Increasingly vocal are those questioning whether big student loans for big degrees carry a worthwhile return. Even in an improving global economy, salaries are not keeping pace with increasing education costs.

Parents in the US are slowly beginning to see the depth to which schools need to change. Parents in China have seen it for years. The East has an advantage over the West in that Eastern parents understand globalization and are doing their best to prepare student for it. Western parents have an advantage over the East because of the West’s open and free internet. Education needs an open society, and openness today means freedom from censorship. China’s restrictions on information hinders its parents’ attempts to prepare its children for a global future. Western openness means students explore ideas freely.

On both sides of the Pacific, schools are the hold-up. In China, schools lack the global internet needed to match parents’ global expectations. In the US, schools maintain a 1950s bell-and-seat schedule that holds learners back from learning at a time, place and pace of the learner’s choosing.

Twenty years ago, most high school English classes taught research in high school when seniors did “the research paper.” Today, students would not consider waiting until twelfth grade to perform research. They want information, and they can get it on their phones.

Personalization is coming.
Education transformation

Globalization has come, but schools have not caught up. Progressive schools worldwide are upgrading approaches to teaching and learning. Most schools maintain dated models for organizing classes, the school day, the school year and school operations, all of which will transform when embracing the opportunities presented from digital technologies.

Embracing research starts in schools. Schools with parental support to embrace curricular and operational revisions will flourish. Parents and schools need to acknowledge these few changes that will transform learning.

  • Research needs to be taught directly and at younger ages. Curricular planning needs to include evaluation of source reliability as well as giving credit to sources.
  • Research need to be taught by whatever means necessary. Students in Shanghai research on their phones. Families in China that cannot afford computers see the power of smartphones. Students in China are masters of working with thumb-typing and have been known to write entire papers on the smallest digital devices.
  • Students need to be encouraged to research with fast processors, fast internet and good online support. The hole-in-the-wall project shows kids will research and learn on their own when given the bandwidth.
  • Traditional schools try to control information flow by focusing on plagiarism. The increase in plagiarism is good news. It signals increased numbers of students conducting research. Online research is an opportunity for teaching and learning and need not to be turned into an opening to legislate punitive rules.

Change not being made is because of parents. Parents are not the sole arbiters of what schools teach, but they are the most powerful. John Heintz, former Chicago area attorney and school superintendent, and his friends at Second Rail highlight the need for schools to catch up with globalization and prepare students for the coming education transformation. Heintz makes an informed and impassioned plea for schools to change how they approach reading, writing, research and, most imperatively, learning.

The Meaning of the Eyes in The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby pic
The Great Gatsby
Image: amazon.com

A co-founder of and senior legal consultant with Chicago-based Lydian, Inc., John Heintz served as the assistant superintendent for operations and chief legal officer for Niles Township High School District 219, within which he also functioned as an English teacher earlier in his career. John Heintz counts To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby among his favorite books.

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, The Great Gatsby involves fictional characters from different economic backgrounds living on Long Island, New York during the Roaring Twenties. While not particularly popular when published, the novel is now considered a literary classic. Some of the book’s prominent symbols highlight the era’s decadence and despair.

One such symbol is a billboard that overlooks the Valley of Ashes, a destitute environment between New York City and the fictional town of West Egg. The billboard features a pair forlorn eyes belonging to Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, peering over the desolate wasteland.

In one part of the book, the main character notes that the eyes are always keeping watch. In an interaction that takes place in front of a window where the billboard is visible, one person confronts an adulterer by saying that she can’t fool God. Some may conclude that the ever-present God sees everything and frowns upon the apparent greed, immorality, and selfish interactions set in the failed American Dream.