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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Aug 22, 2012/ 4 Elul, 5772

Our kids are ignorant --- why and how to rectify the situation

By Jack Kelly




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The people who run them would prefer you didn't notice how little our children learn in public schools, despite all the money we spend on them. But if you do notice, they point their fingers at parents. There have been, they say, demographic changes which have reduced the interest parents have in their children's' education, the supervision they give them, and the support they provide to teachers.

What they mean is this: In 1970, when our schools were the best in the world, our population was 88 percent white, 11 percent black, 5 percent Hispanic. (This adds up to more than 100 percent because "Hispanic" includes both whites and blacks.) Today, we're 72 percent white, 13 percent black, 16 percent Hispanic.

In 1970, only 10.7 percent of births were to unmarried women. That's risen nearly fourfold, to 41 percent.

I was blessed to have two married parents who loved each other, loved their kids, and loved knowledge. Their discipline was strict. Their standards were high. (In the Kelly household, A was for average, B was for bad.)

This matters a lot. But it matters less than those who make excuses for the current system would like you to believe.

There are significant differences in the median incomes of households headed by whites ($51,861), blacks ($32,584) and Hispanics (38,039). The median income of single parent households ($16,500) is only a fourth that of two parent households. But there is little reason to believe black and Hispanic parents love their children less than do white parents, or that single parents are less interested in having their children acquire the knowledge they need to succeed. Evidence also is sparse for the notion black and Hispanic children have more difficulty learning than white children do. Marva Collins in Chicago and Jaime Escalante in East Los Angeles have demonstrated the opposite.

The economic disparity between whites and blacks was greater during segregation than it is today. But back then, the racial disparity in student performance was smaller. Washington D.C. was segregated by liberal hero Woodrow Wilson. As you might imagine, far more resources went to the three white high schools than to the one set aside for blacks. But well into the 1950s, students at Dunbar, the black school, often performed better on standardized tests than did the students at the white schools.

The racial disparity in student achievement today can't be explained by a disparity in resources. Per pupil spending in the urban districts where minority children cluster is higher than the national average.

IQ scores for all ethnic groups in America have risen in the last 50 years, but more so for blacks. The gap between whites and blacks is narrower now than it was when there was less difference between them in student achievement. There is dispute over why IQ scores have risen, and how accurately IQ tests measure intelligence. Still, the evidence suggests children today should be more capable of learning than were their parents and grandparents.

But they learn much less. The culprits are easy to identify. Back when our schools were the best in the world, students were taught English, history, geography, civics, math, and science by teachers who knew these subjects. Students were expected to learn what was presented to them. Those who didn't got failing grades. Their parents got stern notes. Discipline was strictly enforced. Disruptive students were removed from classrooms.

All that's changed, with predictable results. If their teachers don't value knowledge, neither will the kids. Students don't learn what they aren't taught. If a high bar is set for them, most children will strive to reach it. If the bar is set low, most will descend to the level of expectations. Even the best require a kick in the pants from time to time.

Teachers today, especially in inner city schools, have a legitimate beef about many parents. But they have a bigger beef with school administrators who don't enforce discipline, and with the schools of education that pumped garbage into their heads when they were in college.

At the margin, a decline in parental supervision and a few other factors have contributed to the massive ignorance of our children. But most of the fault lies with those who changed the system from what worked to what plainly doesn't. Don't let them compound their crimes by scapegoating parents.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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