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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 March 21, 2012/ 27 Adar, 5772

Schoolkids learning to be citizens

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Two years ago, then-American Bar Association president Stephen N. Zack gravely warned: "Civic education courses have become electives in some schools; at others, they are not offered at all. We are producing a generation of citizens who are ill-equipped to govern themselves as participants in our democracy. We must do better" ("Let the Students Speak!" David L. Hudson Jr., Beacon Press, 2011).

This largely remains a very troubling truth. But there are signs that when students have the chance to get involved in our constitutional self-government, they are eager to continue.

In a recent New York Times story ("Election Year Offers Students Livelier Civics Lessons," nytimes.com/schoolbook, March 5, 2012), Yasmeen Khan quotes Will Packer, an 11th-grade applied civics teacher at the Democracy Prep Charter School in Central Harlem, a school that makes such classes a regular part of its mission, who says that along with debate, "students in all grades hold mock elections."

Adds Packer: "We (at Democracy Prep) believe that no one's going to hold their hand and make sure that they do these things. We want to make sure that they are enfranchising themselves and empowering themselves to be active citizens in the community."

Encouraged by this commitment to basic American civics, I remembered that as the 1787 Constitutional Convention was ending in Philadelphia, a woman came up to Benjamin Franklin and asked him what all of this had produced.

"A Republic," said Franklin, "if you can keep it."

I was determined to find out more about Democracy Prep schools. Are there more like them? Yes, indeed, there are more than 80 schools that operate similarly to Democracy Prep in 13 states nationwide, serving nearly 35,000 students (schoolsthatcan.org).

Founded by Seth Andrew -- who earned an Ed.M in school leadership and school development from Harvard, where he now teaches school leadership as an adjunct professor -- "Democracy Prep Public Schools (also) currently operates four high-performing schools in New York and replicated its model twice in Rhode Island" (democracyprep.org).

Andrew, who is Democracy Prep's superintendent, contributed a chapter to "Teaching America: The Case for Civic Education" (R&L Education, 2011), a book that should be read by school boards, principals, teachers and parents across this land.

Students who are beginning to learn why they are Americans should especially read Andrew's contribution: "Fighting Civic Malpractice: How a Harlem Charter School Closes the Civic Achievement Gap."

That school is Democracy Prep Charter Middle School in Central Harlem, which in 2010, Andrew is proud to say, "was named the top-performing middle school and top-performing charter school in the entire City of New York.

"Ninety percent of our citizen-scholars enter our halls substantially behind grade level, averaging third-grade reading skills at the beginning of sixth grade. By the time they reach high school, more than 95 percent demonstrate mastery on the New York State Regents exams" ("Teaching America").

Now dig this: "But academic growth is not enough to satisfy the mission of Democracy Prep. We must also prepare our citizen-scholars for lives of active citizenship -- which is, after all, the true mission of public schools" ("Teaching America").

Here, directly from Andrew, are the civic values that Democracy Prep schools are trying to uphold ...

"What We Stand For":

"We host elected officials and community leaders at all our schools. Students participate in required community and public service ... Students learn to -- and do -- meet with elected officials and conduct lobbying visits. They deliver testimony at city and state legislative hearings (they're the youngest ever to do so in New York and Rhode Island) and learn to write their own testimony effectively'" (schoolsthatcan.org/index.php/schools/ny/democracy-prep/).

In essence, he adds: "We believe that public schools have an obligation to help young people acquire and learn the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become competent citizens throughout their lives."

I have been writing about education for more than 60 years. By my criteria, students must learn what it means to be active Americans as they help preserve the Republic and its personal liberties, which are, as Benjamin Franklin knew, up to We the People to implement and protect. This is why I'm spreading the energizing news about Democracy Prep Public Schools.

Next week I'll look at how Democracy Prep students build upon what Andrew calls "the foundation of structure and joy" -- the joy of liberty. To quote Abraham Lincoln:

"What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our Army and Navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny ... Our reliance is the love of liberty ... Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your door" (From my book, "Living The Bill of Rights," University of California Press, 1999).

Many years ago, Kathryn Sinclair, a high school student in Murfreesboro, Tenn., asked me: "Why don't the schools teach why we're Americans? So few people know."

Thanks to schools like Democracy Prep, more and more of our students are finally finding out.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

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