In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Sept. 8, 2010 / 29 Elul, 5770

Parenting tough job with no pay

By Marybeth Hicks

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Even before I have the chance to stow my purse and kick off my sandals, my son pops into the room to ask: "What are the new rules?"


"Yeah," he says. "I figured since the parent meeting at school was mandatory, they must be telling you about all sorts of new rules."

"Nope," I reassure him. "Same rules as before."

He can't imagine what administrators and parents would need to discuss if not some sort of complex rubric to define the various rings of hell one might be required to visit in the event of a behavioral lapse.

I explain that the meeting wasn't about school policy, but rather about the school's mission. "You might say it was a mission-effectiveness seminar for parents," I say.

He glazes over and then says, "Huh? Well, good night."

My son doesn't get it, but that's OK. As a high school junior, he can't appreciate that his education is, for his teachers and me, a mission — something we deliberately set out to do, with goals and strategies to help him succeed.

On the other hand, we parents are supposed to understand the connection between our children's intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth and the opportunities they will have in life for happiness, fulfillment and success.

Taking the long view is precisely our job. It's why we get paid the big money.

Oh, wait. There's no money in it; just the intrinsic rewards that come from knowing you've fulfilled your obligation to be the best parent you can to the children God has put in your care.

Unless … you recently enrolled your son or daughter for the first time at the troubled Jefferson Elementary School in St. Louis. In that case, you will get paid — $300 per student, to be exact — simply to assure that your child has near-perfect attendance and that you participate in a minimum of three parent/teacher meetings in the first semester.

A nonprofit called Urban Strategies offers the program. Working in partnership with a private developer of affordable housing, Urban Strategies has since 1978 sought to rebuild faltering neighborhoods by introducing creative solutions that empower community residents. The enrollment incentive program is meant to attract nearby families to their neighborhood school, rather than choose charter or magnet schools in other parts of the city.

On the one hand, it's laudable to want to rescue a neighborhood school. But less than 15 percent of Jefferson's students passed last year's Missouri Assessment Test. You have to wonder if the benefit of a cash payment at the end of the semester is worth the risk that your child will be among the 85 percent of students who are not being well-educated.

The Urban Strategies program is but one of countless incentive plans aimed at improving student behavior and parent participation through cash rewards. Based on an extensive study of such programs for students in four major U.S. cities, researchers at Harvard University found that while some may improve classroom behavior, most don't make a difference on standardized test results. The effectiveness of programs for parents is less clear.

I confess these educational incentive programs chafe me. Education is a privilege to be protected. Parents who won't take responsibility for their children's schooling ought to be held accountable for the negligence they exhibit, not bribed to get in the game.

The American public education system used to be one of the best in the world. For all of my adult life, it seems as a society we've been chasing our tails trying to figure out why it doesn't work the way it used to, or the way it should.

I'm not sure we need more reams of research to accept that we've created a monster of mediocrity.

When you can't fire bad teachers because of tenure and union protections, and you can't get parents to participate even nominally in the education of their own children, it doesn't matter how many billions of dollars you spend on education.

Children will be inadequately educated, and the country will pay the price.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of more than 20 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2009, Marybeth Hicks