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December 2, 2014

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 Dec. 6, 2007 / 26 Kislev 5768

Our gold-star world

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While parents and politicians have been pounding the table demanding greater academic performance in the "Three R's," social scientists, psychologists and education bureaucrats have slowly but ingeniously reframed the battle onto more favorable turf. Rather than compete head-to-head in a battle we cannot win, these dedicated teachers and administrators have elevated the importance of the one area where no country can compete with us: self-esteem.


Nearly 25 years ago, the Reagan administration released "A Nation at Risk," a scathing indictment of the educational system, proclaiming, "If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war."


A quarter-century after we declared war on mediocrity, some say it is time to face a painful truth: Mediocrity won. Now it's time to cut our losses and admit that this battle is lost.


It's easy to see why defeatism and depression reign supreme. Every day the headlines announce how far behind we've fallen. Preschoolers in South Korea can recite the square root of pi to the 300th place. Chinese kids know the periodic tables even before the umbilical cord is cut. A half-naked Sri Lankan child just built the first fully functioning perpetual motion machine. The fact that his school has no electricity, desks or even a roof drives home that infrastructure investments aren't the answer. Even if we repaired every leaky schoolhouse roof in the country — the central plank in the Democrats' education program — it's doubtful our first-graders would be able to discuss quantum physics the way Japanese tykes can.


But why be pessimistic when we can just pretend that America's can-do spirit will overcome all?


This was the brilliant insight of America's educational industrial complex, which has worked tirelessly to make our kids think the most of themselves regardless of their accomplishments.


The unsung hero of this story is Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." Few of us realized that the saccharine sage of preschool TV, who died in 2003, was preparing American youth for the rough-and-tumble world of global competition. Beneath that soft red sweater beat the heart of a warrior.


"You've made this day a special day," he said at the end of every show, "just by being you. You are the only person like you in this whole world. And people can like you just because you're you."


I remember during my own childhood how Saturday-morning cartoons were punctuated with public service announcements informing me that "the most important person in the whole wide world is you." Looking at me today, who can deny the basic truth of these ads?


More broadly, America's educational elite has built on this down payment of unqualified self-regard by redefining what it means to be educated. Rather than be educated about meaningless stuff — dates, names, facts, figures and other trivia — these selfless patriots have committed to drilling it into kids that no matter how "stupid" or "ignorant" they are on paper, in the real world they are brilliant and wonderful.


The payoff is all around us.


A study earlier this year titled "Egos Inflating Over Time," led by Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, found that — you guessed it (Good for you!) — egos are inflating over time. They concluded that America's youth are the most self-absorbed since we began testing.


Confirmation of Twenge's findings abound. CBS's "60 Minutes" profiled the so-called Generation Y, which is so fond of itself that employers cannot keep up. These new employees demand to be told how wonderful they are. They want to hear that nobody has ever photocopied better. They want a gold star for getting coffee. This demonstrates that our new educational regimen is showing real-world results. Teach a kid that merely having a pulse is a major accomplishment, and he'll carry that lesson for the rest of his life. Teach him how to do trigonometry, and he'll forget it before his Xbox even warms up.


Sadly, despite this success, there has been a backlash. College professors resent having to teach students who want an A for showing up. They applaud foreign-born students who react to low grades by trying harder. We know where that leads.


A recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal decried the campaign to get rid of "thought competition." This isn't, as I had imagined, where kids spend math class daydreaming they are, say, Klingons endlessly challenging each other to fights to the death. Rather, it is where students compete to see who is best at math or writing.


We must resist such backsliding. As one administrator said in the piece, "We don't want kids to compete individually, put themselves in vulnerable positions as individuals." Exactly so. Promoting academic competition only misleads our students into thinking that hard work and dedication pay off.


Only by pressing our advantages can we remain No. 1. "Objective" criteria used by our competitors are self-evidently illegitimate because they make our kids feel bad.


We need to make each and every child such a bundle of unalloyed self-regard that together they become black holes of self-esteem, the centers not only of their own worlds but of the entire universe, from which no self-criticism can escape.


If we are going to leave no children behind, we must abandon the idea that being smart and accomplished makes you special. For only by getting rid of the idea that some people are special can you teach children that everyone is.

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