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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 July 12, 2013/ 5 Menachem-Av, 5773

Lessons From Our ‘Uneducated' Elders

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Everybody talks about education — the politicians loudest of all, until they get bored with the subject — but the education, and the miseducation, of our children continues as the concern dearest to the hearts of parents.

Everyone, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, male and female, agree that "somebody has to do something." The argument, angry and contentious, is about the who and the what.

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City who has solutions to problems we don't yet have, arrived fresh from his first election three terms ago with the announcement that he wanted to be "the education mayor." He has since decided that he wants to be the "the gun-control mayor," or the "soda-pop mayor," meddling with his millions in congressional races in places like Arkansas and Missouri, more than a thousand miles from Gotham.

Yet, by one estimate, nearly 80 percent of New York City's high-school graduates need help learning to read well enough just to master other subjects when they apply to one of the community colleges in the City University system.

The state of New York spends $18,126 on every child in its schools. A dollar is not what it used to be, but that's still a lot of taxpayer money. It's not merely New York, by any means, and the New York City Department of Education says it has raised high school graduation standards by 40 percent since 2006, but the number of students who need remedial work has declined by only half of a percentage point.

It's easier to blame global warming than doing something real and effective about failing schools. Comparisons are odious, particularly of time and place, but the eighth-grade graduation exam used in Bullitt County, Ky., in 1912 — more than a century ago — is enough to make a parent long for the old days he or she never knew.



Bullitt County eighth-graders were required, among other things, to calculate the cost of painting a room, if the paint cost 12.5 cents per square yard, the room was 20 feet by 16 feet by 9 feet, and deducting one door measuring 8 foot by 4 feet, 6 inches and two windows 5 feet by 3 feet, 6 inches.

They were required to locate the Erie Canal, explain why it was important and identify the waters a ship would pass through on a voyage from London to Manila via the Suez Canal. And this one: Tell where the liver is located, and compare it to other organs of the body, and identify the secretions of all. Define the cerebrum and the cerebellum.

The 13-year-olds were required to explain the Electoral College and give the number of electoral votes accorded to each state, to identify five county officers and explain the duties of each, and to cite three rights given in the Constitution to Congress and two rights denied to Congress. While they were at it, they were required to say who discovered Florida, the Pacific Ocean, the Mississippi River and the St. Lawrence River.

Since reading was important, they were required to name the properties of a noun, define a personal noun, give the properties of verbs and degrees of comparison of adjectives, and diagram the sentence, "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver."

Many educationists scoff at such exercises as relics of a primitive time in America, but other teachers say those "primitives" could teach us a thing or two. (How many Harvard graduates would pass such a test?) Such an eighth-grade education was all that George Washington, Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin ever got.

Education in early America "began in the home at the mother's knee and often ended in the cornfield or barn by the father's side," writes Robert A. Peterson, headmaster of the Pilgrim Academy in Egg Harbor City, N.J., in the online newsletter Freeman. Teaching reading was a mother's portion, and without pencil or paper she often traced the letters of the alphabet in the ashes on the hearth.

The Bible was by far the most important cultural influence in the lives of the early Americans; letters home from Civil War soldiers, Union and Confederate alike, were written well, rich with metaphor, allusion and vivid imagery. John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," John Milton's "Paradise Lost," the New England Primer and Isaac Watts' "Divine Songs" were familiar at many hearths.

Few of us would give up the resources of the present day — the books, magazines, television, tablets and the wealth of electronic wizardry that makes learning a snap, if only we knew how to harness the power of the wizardry. We shouldn't dismiss the lessons those early Americans could teach us. Maybe they knew something we have yet to learn.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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