May 20, 2013
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Nov. 20, 2008
/ 22 Mar-Cheshvan 5769
The other deficit
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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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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