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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 May 31, 2007 / 14 Sivan, 5767

The Justice Teaches Civics

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sandra Day O'Connor describes herself as a "product of the last century," but she's determined to be an up-to-date grandmother. She retired from the Supreme Court a little more than a year ago, and often watches her grandchildren playing on their computers. Inspired, she wants to harness this revolutionary instrument to teach kids the nuts and bolts of democracy.


She's creating an interactive website for teaching civics. Remember civics? Civics was where the "products of the last century" learned how their government was supposed to work, and were taught the responsibilities and obligations of an informed citizen. But fashions change, and "social studies" became a catchall class to teach history, sociology and government, and rarely well.


Earlier this year in a national test to measure their knowledge of how their world works, only half of the nation's 12th-graders understood what happens when federal and state laws conflict. Fewer than half could describe the meaning of federalism.


"I regard [civics] as a very important thing for our public schools to teach," Justice O'Connor told interviewers on Fox News Sunday. "It's critical for every generation to learn it. You don't inherit that knowledge through the gene pool." The Internet may be serendipity, because it engages young people in ways that books no longer do. She particularly wants to teach kids how the courts work. Only a Luddite would object.


Like Sandra Day O'Connor, I took civics, too. I still prefer to get knowledge from books, but the book's day seems to have passed. As long as we remain a plugged-in society, we'll have to tap into electronics to teach citizenship. That's the way the kids communicate. The schools will need all the help we can give them.


"In many, if not most, high schools today," says Justice O'Connor, "civics education is no longer required. And I don't know how long we can survive as a nation if we don't teach every generation how our government is structured and works."


The teaching of American history is just as dismal. In an extraordinary "Meet the Press" give-and-take between Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, and Chris Dodd, the Democratic senator from Connecticut, the two politicians went at each other in a spirited debate about whether Congress should pull the plug on the war in Iraq. Each man gave as good as he got, evoking historical analogies that few high school students could have understood. Impatience and skepticism of the newly elected government in Baghdad, Gingrich argued, overlook our own 14 years of confusion from the first Continental Congress in 1775 until the adoption of the Constitution in 1789. He suggested this summary of what a French skeptic might have said about helping the bumbling Americans of 1776: "Should we really send aid to these guys? They've retreated to Lancaster. They're not even in Philadelphia. They've lost New York. . . . This guy Washington has no major victories. Why are we sending money over there? That is just bad money after good."


Dodd, not missing a fact or date, pointed out that it wasn't quite right to equate the American Revolution with a civil war in Iraq. He wouldn't compare George Washington to Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.


This was a real debate, lending historical perspective to current events, the sort of debate we rarely hear between presidential candidates. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were never limited to 90 seconds for a response to an argument, and anyone who reads contemporary accounts marvels not only at the eloquence of Lincoln and Douglas, but that their audiences, often made up of unlettered backwoodsmen, understood what they were talking about.


It's tempting to ask how FDR would have dealt with a Congress debating whether to withdraw the 101st Airborne from Bastogne after the first days of the Battle of the Bulge, or the Marines from Guadalcanal because the slogging was hard. Frederick Kagan poses the question another way in The Weekly Standard: "To imagine that America can lose in Iraq but prevail in the war against jihadism is almost like imagining that we could have yielded Europe to the Nazis but won World War II."


Fueling the debate over immigration reform is the question of what we should expect immigrants to learn about their new country. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services poses questions for new citizens before they take their oath of citizenship. Many are as basic as the red, white and blue of the flag, but some require a knowledge of civics many of our high school students (and no doubt some of their teachers) do not have. The future depends less on how we teach than on what we teach. Sadly, that's a revolutionary idea.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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