Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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. 24, 2007 / 12 Tishrei 5768

Not much ado about history

By Suzanne Fields


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If a nation expects to be both ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be. — Thomas Jefferson


The third president of the United States depended on the educated yeoman farmer to carry the burden of enlightened citizenship in the new country. Civic duty demanded an informed public. Many Americans couldn't aspire to a college education — anything beyond five or six years in a primitive school was higher education — or even aspire to vote, but the young country was full of the potential to change all that. And it did. Now most young people aspire to the university, and advanced degrees are commonplace, but a lot of us who are educated are not always enlightened.


In a shocking study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), "civic literacy" is found to be declining at some of our finest (and most expensive) colleges and universities. Many graduates leave college with less knowledge of American history, government, foreign affairs and economics than when they entered as freshmen. Knowledge apparently just evaporates. If the survey questions administered by a team of professors to 14,000 college students at 50 colleges had been a test in a college classroom, the average score would be 53.2 percent — or simply an "F" for failure.


"Though a university education can cost upwards of $200,000 and college students on average leave campus $19,300 in debt," the report concludes, "they are no better off than when they arrived in terms of acquiring the knowledge necessary for informed engagement in a democratic republic and global economy." We're not talking about Podunk A&M or West Tennessee Normal, but about the likes of Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Duke, Brown, Georgetown and University of California-Berkeley, the cream of the cream.


Harvard seniors scored highest, but their overall average was merely 69.6 percent, only 5.97 points higher than its freshmen, and worth a D-plus. (One Harvard student, however, did make the one perfect score.) Many of the students who took the test had done well on their SATs and other academic achievement tests, and were well prepared with excellent high school credentials, but they were not challenged at the prestigious universities to study civics or the historical narrative of the shaping of America.


The test was not loaded with tricks or esoteric questions. Given multiple choices, a majority could not say where they could find the phrase, "We hold these truths to be self evident." Several thought it was from "The Communist Manifesto." At many of these schools there is no requirement for even one course in American history.


It's not clear why the students did poorly, but several reasons suggest themselves. In several cases professors favored ideological interpretations that distort historical facts, or diverted students from the courses that would deepen an understanding of American history. The nation's flaws are emphasized in many courses, and taught as reasons to dismiss the nation's successful attempts to put things right.


In "Choosing the Right College," a guide to the American colleges that still provide the old-fashioned "liberal" education that today is properly called "conservative," John Zmirak offers clues to the problems exacerbated by tenured radical professors who focus angrily only on what's wrong with America, the founding fathers and their own fathers. "Like spoiled heirs who despise the family business that funds their leisure," he writes, "contemporary professors indulge in Oedipal ideologies that focus on killing, over and over and over again, our fathers."


Despite the respect and responsibility that we now extend to college-age students, we've forgotten their unripe vulnerability. No matter how smart they may seem, they're particularly open to uncritical acceptance of the notions of radical rebellion that dominate most college campuses on the left. Tradition is denigrated and dismissed before it's explored or understood.


But lest we smugly sneer at college seniors for what they don't know, we should see how we answer these questions ourselves: Where does the phrase the "wall of separation" between church and state appear? What Supreme Court decision ended legal racial segregation in the United States? Why were the Federalist Papers written? What is federalism? What is the Monroe Doctrine? What is meant by a "progressive" tax?


The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut's department of public policy and was aptly titled, "Failing Our Students, Failing America." Thomas Jefferson knew that education was essential for the republic to remain strong. He wrote that the purpose of education was to "enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom." That was crucial in his 18th century, and it's crucial in our own 21st. We forget at our peril.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Up

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles