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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 Nov. 20, 2008 / 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

The other deficit

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While Congress spends — and plans to spend — like the proverbial drunken sailor to "bailout" various industries for practices that are largely their fault and the fault of those in Congress who were supposed to provide oversight, another deficit looms which is at least as troubling as the economic one.


For the third straight year, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) has found that a large number of Americans cannot pass a basic 33-question civic literacy test on their country's history and institutions. The multiple-choice questions ask about the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), the name of Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1933 series of government programs (The New Deal) and the three branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial). No, I didn't peek at the answers. I received a good education.


The random sample of 2,508 American adults, ranging from those without high school diplomas, to people with advanced degrees, revealed a minimal difference in civic literacy between the uneducated and the highly educated. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed could identify Paula Abdul as one of the judges on "American Idol," but only 21 percent were able to recognize a phrase from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I had to memorize that speech in high school. What are they memorizing now?


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Not much of any use, it appears. Ignorance of America's history and heritage is a setup for politicians and others who want to manipulate us into a way of thinking that allows them to make decisions that are unconstitutional and unwise. More than repeating phrases and figures, knowledge of the past prepares us for a future based on unchanging principles. That's why knowledge matters and ignorance endangers our government and threatens our way of life even more than terrorism.


Civic illiteracy in the United States crosses all educational lines, including the vaunted Harvard where, according to the ISI survey, seniors scored 69.56 on the test, or a D-plus. And they were the best. The survey found that up to three-fourths of Americans believe teaching America's heritage is fundamental to a good education and to producing good citizens. So why is it not being done?


Part of it, I think, has to do with the continued embarrassment by the liberal education establishment over America and what it means to be an American. From their guilt about prosperity and our freedoms, to their opposition to "dead white males," college professors, especially since the '60s, have favored the trendy and quaint over the established and proven.


Remarkably, a college degree does not increase civic knowledge. According to the report, "The average score among those who ended their formal education with a bachelor's degree is 57 percent, or an 'F'. That is only 13 percentage points higher than the average score among those who ended their formal education with a high school diploma. Only 24 percent know that the First Amendment prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States." That's pretty basic information, isn't it? One might expect the Bill of Rights to be part of any class on government, even as early as elementary school.


Other findings: "Elected officials score lower than the general public," which tells us all we need to know about Washington. "Television — including TV news — Dumbs America Down," says ISI. In the midst of important hearings in Washington on the economy and a possible bailout for the big three automakers, one cable channel carried a story about a 44-year-old stripper who is suing for age discrimination.


ISI calls on everyone involved in education, including parents, to re-evaluate curricula and standards of accountability and to emphasize to students the fundamentals about our country. It notes Thomas Jefferson's admonition: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... it expects what never was and never will be."


Read the report at www.isi.org and weep. And then demand of yourself and others that something be done to fix the intellectual deficit.

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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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