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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 May 10, 2004 / 19 Iyar, 5764

Making the case for parochial school

By Jeff Jacoby


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Why this religious Jew is backing a pending Southern Baptist Convention resolution about education


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Of the roughly 50 million children enrolled in American grade schools, all but about 5 million attend government-run public schools. Of those 5 million, approximately 800,000 attend secular private schools. That leaves just 4.2 million who attend the nation's religious schools — only one American child in 12.


That isn't much, particularly for a country in which more than 60 percent of adults say that religion is very important in their lives. The United States is by far the most religious of the world's industrial democracies. Yet the vast majority of American parents would no more think of sending their children to a parochial school than they would of sending them to an orphanage.


Two Americans who aim to change that attitude are T.C. Pinckney, a retired Air Force brigadier general, and Houston attorney Bruce Shortt. Lay leaders in the Baptist church, they have drafted a resolution — which they hope to bring before the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis next month — urging the denomination's 16 million members to take their children out of public schools and either homeschool them or send them to parochial schools. Their argument is straightforward: Christian parents owe their children a Christian education, not the relentlessly secular and often anti-religious instruction provided in public schools.

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"Millions of children in government schools spend 7 hours a day, 180 days a year being taught that G-d is irrelevant to every area of life," their resolution says. Consequently, "many Christian children in government schools are converted to an anti-Christian worldview" — which helps explain why "88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return."


The resolution accordingly "encourages" all Southern Baptists to "remove their children from the government schools and see to it that they receive a thoroughly Christian education, for the glory of G-d . . . and the strength of their own commitment to Jesus."


To which I say: Amen.


I'm not a Southern Baptist or even a Christian — I'm a religious Jew — but I vote with Pinckney and Shortt. Parents who take their faith seriously ought to think twice before putting their kids' education in the hands of the state. If war is too important to be left to the generals, the shaping of children's minds and values is surely too important to be left to government educators.


For the first two centuries of American history, it was taken for granted that education included not only reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, but a fourth "R" — religion — as well. That began to change in the 19th century, however, and by the late 1800s, the burgeoning "common school" system was resolutely secular.


Nonetheless, many schools continued to affirm the importance of G-d and religion in American life. Well into the 20th century, for example, daily prayer and Bible reading were a familiar part of the public-education experience, and students sang Christmas carols in annual school pageants.


No more. Government schools today routinely suppress any trace of religious influence. Not only do teachers no longer lead their classes in group prayer, students have been reprimanded for uttering private prayer, such as grace before meals. Public schools have barred children from reading Bible stories during their free time or giving bags of jelly beans with a religious poem attached to their classmates before Easter. In a case now being litigated in Virginia, school officials want to ban a graduating senior from singing Celine Dion's "The Prayer" during commencement exercises because the song asks G-d to "help us to be wise in times when we don't know."


This isn't neutrality toward religion — it's hostility. And children immersed from K through 12 in an environment that treats religious faith as a superstition to be suppressed frequently reach adulthood with little interest in G-d or church. Students trained from the age of 5 to see science as the highest source of truth and all value systems as equally valid often come to share Jesse Ventura's opinion of religion: it's "a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people," the former wrestler and Minnesota governor once said. "It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business."


None of which may be a problem for parents who are firmly secular themselves. But for those who want their children to live G-d-centered lives, the animus against religion found in so many public schools is indeed a problem — or should be.


Sending a child to parochial school isn't always easy. The tuition can be steep. The environment can be insular. But if they gave parochial education a serious look, countless American parents would find that the values it promotes are their values, and the truth it inculcates is their truth. With 45 million children in public schools, parochial education will never be the popular choice. But surely it can be, for many more than one child in 12, the right choice.

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JWR contributor Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.


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