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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 June 24, 2011 22 Sivan, 5771

Don't Know Much About History

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | First, the good news: The nation's eighth-graders are doing better in history class. Now, the bad news: They're not doing much better. Gains in test scores are small, made by the lowest performers, and only 17 percent of those tested are "proficient," or competent.

It gets worse. Only 12 percent of high-school seniors, who are getting ready to vote for the first time, have a proficient knowledge of history. If you're looking for a tinsel lining, you could point to 20 percent of fourth-graders who are described as proficient, but that means eight of 10 haven't learned very much during their tender years in the classroom

The standardized test results known as the "nation's report card," issued by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, are based on tests taken by thousands of schoolchildren in both private and public schools. Such dismal percentages once sounded alarms for parents and teachers, but now mostly get a bored yawn. What else is new?

"We're raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate," says historian David McCullough in The Wall Street Journal. "I know how much these young people — even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning — don't know. It's shocking." McCullough, who has lectured on more than a hundred college campuses, tells of a young women who came up to him after a lecture at a renowned university in the Midwest. "Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast."

McCullough has learned first-hand how formidable the obstacles have become. Emotional appeals in politically correct courses — women's history, African history, environmental history — take the place of chronological and conceptual study across the educational arc from tiny tots to graduate students.

From the early grades, our children learn how horrible slavery was, but spend little time studying the how, why and when we righted that wrong and the wrongs that followed. Who we are comes from what we reject as much as from what we embrace.

The problems with our schools run deep, not only affecting how the next generation is learning to make reasoned choices in determining public policy, but how ignorance undercuts pride and patriotism, the sense of America's core identity. It's not merely academic. When seniors were asked about Brown v. Board of Education and what social problem it was supposed to correct, only 2 percent knew it was the Supreme Court decision that declared laws compelling segregation in the public schools as unconstitutional.

The recent report card in history was issued just as I attended a conference sponsored by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, to discuss the American identity, to talk about the changing sense of "we the people." We heard concern for the way we're losing the moral tissue that connects the first principles established by the Founding Fathers. Intellectual trends like multiculturalism, globalism and a sneering skepticism of America have diminished the shared memories and common values that have held the nation together through war, Depression and social upheaval.

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, for example, but that shouldn't blind us to his ideals. Yet impressionistic young people are taught to belittle the whole man. The author of the Declaration of Independence is trivialized with simplistic moral condescension. When our history is reduced to our flaws, celebrating fragmentation in hyphenated Americans, the young can't understand the cohesive principles on which our liberty is based.

This becomes especially dangerous as younger generations fail to learn about the separation of powers, checks and balances of government and why Congress enacted the Bill of Rights. There's no appreciation for democracy, which after all originated here.

Best-selling books on atheism testify to the strength of American pluralism, but when our schoolchildren lack the knowledge to make intellectual discrimination as taught by history, they fail to appreciate how American ideas are rooted in such self-evident truths, that "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights," and become insecure in what it means to be an American.

"In God we trust, yes," observes the theological scholar Michael Novak. "But for all men there must be checks and balances." American citizens need not profess a faith in the Creator to be a good citizen, any more than they must attend a church or synagogue, but our children should be taught where the roots of American identity come from. The "nation's report card" sounds the alarm that the lessons of history are threatened when those lessons are never learned.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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