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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

In Britain, schools battle rising hemlines by banning skirts

By Henry Chu





A growing number of schools that have resorted to what one commentator calls 'the nuclear option' to end students' hemline creep: prohibiting skirts altogether


JewishWorldReview.com |

nAILSEA, England — (MCT) Thanks to the movies, Americans who have never set foot in this country have a fair idea of what British schoolchildren look like.

From Harry Potter and his pals at Hogwarts to the glowing-eyed demon spawn of the '60s horror classic "Village of the Damned," the image is one of boys and girls neatly turned out in their matching school sweaters, trousers, skirts and ties.

But for some of today's non-magical, non-mutant students, a key piece of that picture is missing. Visit Nailsea School here in southwestern England, and about the only skirts you'll see are those on teachers; most of the girls on campus are required to dress like the boys, in standard-issue trousers, after the school amended its uniform policy this year to become a skirt-free zone.

It's a new approach to an old problem: the fight against rising hemlines, a perennial battle that probably brings back embarrassing memories for the mothers of many of today's schoolgirls.

Nailsea belongs to a small but growing number of schools in Britain that have given up chastising students for hemline creep and instead resorted to what one commentator calls "the nuclear option": blacklisting skirts altogether.

Sharna Griffin isn't happy about it.

Sure, some of her peers have cast modesty a bit too far to one side. "It is a bit of a problem, because we don't want to see their knickers. Walking up the stairs, you don't want to see whatever the girl's wearing under the skirt," the 15-year-old said.


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But she thinks the ban smacks of collective punishment to students who obey the rules and don't let their regulation black skirts migrate much above the knee or disappear under their V-neck sweaters.

"I've never really been one to follow the crowd," Sharna said. "I don't think it's fair that the girls whose skirts are the correct length will not be able to wear them."

On the first two days of school, she showed up in a skirt in protest, only to be sent home early.

The decision at Nailsea and other schools to forbid skirts springs from the exasperation of administrators and teachers, who were tired of spending precious time forcing students to correct wardrobe malfunctions instead of getting them to ponder the Norman Conquest.

Girls who might've kissed their parents goodbye in the morning looking like paragons of virtue were arriving on campus with their skirts bunched up at the waist and drastically shortened. One headmaster in western England complained that his female students wore skirts that were "almost like belts," while a headmaster in a Scottish border town warned that the girls' increasingly revealing attire risked encouraging "inappropriate thoughts" among the boys.

Better to establish an environment that focuses attention on learning, not legs, than to maintain the status quo for the sake of tradition, educators say.

In general, there is little debate in this country over obliging children to wear uniforms to school, unlike in the United States, where the matter often becomes the subject of a fierce argument over civil liberties and freedom of expression.

Much of the relaxed attitude here may simply be a function of how long school uniforms have been a fixture on the British cultural and academic landscape.

By some accounts, the world's first school uniform debuted in England about 450 years ago at Christ's Hospital, a school for needy boys. Pupils at the now-private (and expensive) institution still deck themselves out much as they did in Tudor times, in dark blue overcoats, breeches for boys, pleated skirts for girls, white neckerchiefs, yellow socks and leather belts.

Although they resemble young seminarians, students voted overwhelmingly last year to keep their distinctive outfits rather than adopt any "modern" innovations.

Disputes over uniforms in Britain therefore have more to do with their specifications, not their existence. For campuses that have nixed skirts, grumbling has mainly come from parents and girls who want to have a choice between trousers and skirts, not scrap regulations altogether.

Educators say combating the rise of hemlines isn't about prudery but preventing the sexualization of children at ever-younger ages.

At publicly funded Nailsea School, where girls previously could choose between skirts and trousers, headmaster David New created a stir two years ago by banning trousers put out by a label called Miss Sexy.

"They were very low, hipster-style, very tight trousers. Staff were becoming embarrassed by seeing too much of the girls instead of the uniform," said New, who supervises 1,200 students in this commuter town outside the city of Bristol.

During the last school year, campus officials warned that skirts faced the chop as well for all 11- to 16-year-old girls if they couldn't manage to keep them at the specified length of just above the knee or lower. (Older girls in the school's "sixth form," the college-prep division, are exempt from wearing uniforms.)

When things didn't improve, school officials decided in May to make good on their threat. The new policy came into effect at the beginning of the new school year this month.

"I suspect that, teenagers being teenagers, there will be a new uniform violation that becomes the habit," New said resignedly. "That was true when I was at school, and I'm sure it was true when my father was at school."

Still, an outright ban on skirts seemed the best option.

"We didn't want to waste any more time on it," New said. "It just means that teachers can concentrate on what's important in education."

Even if the lesson turns out to be about history repeating itself.

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© 2011, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.