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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 May 17, 2010 / 4 Sivan 5770

Is the ADL finally grasping the necessity of school vouchers?

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The storied Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation's oldest civil-rights organizations, is fervent -- very fervent -- about the separation of church and state. It devotes an elaborate page to the subject on its web site. It files friend-of-the-court briefs when church/state issues come before the federal or state judiciary. Whether the controversy is over school prayer, religious displays in public, or the phrase "under G0d" in the Pledge of Allegiance, ADL argues with much passion for keeping the "wall of separation" between government and religion as high and impenetrable as possible. "The more government and religion become entangled," it has often warned, "the more threatening the environment becomes for each."

No surprise, then, that ADL takes a hard line against school-choice voucher programs, which give parents the wherewithal to rescue their children from failing public schools and enroll them in private schools instead. Since those private schools are often church-affiliated, ADL contended in an amicus brief the last time the Supreme Court took up the issue, vouchers have the unconstitutional effect of directing "government funding to religious schools for religious purposes."

That case was Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, a landmark decided in 2002, in which the Supreme Court disagreed with ADL. As long as vouchers enable parents to "exercise genuine choice among options public and private, secular and religious," the majority ruled, nothing about them offends the Constitution.

But ADL's opposition hasn't softened. When the Senate was poised earlier this year to vote on funding school vouchers for the District of Columbia, ADL signed a letter calling for the program be killed. "Instead of sending federal money to private schools," it urged, "money should instead be invested in the public schools." In a five-part essay posted online, ADL claims that "vouchers pose a serious threat to values that are vital to the health of American democracy" and "threaten to undermine our system of public education."

Needless to say, the ADL position, widely shared on the left, has plenty of critics on the right, including your humble servant. From the conservative editorialists at The Wall Street Journal to the libertarian litigators at the Institute for Justice, supporters of vouchers have frequently excoriated those who oppose them -- especially teachers unions and the politicians who genuflect to them -- for their willingness to keep poor kids trapped in wretched schools.

But while there may be nothing extraordinary about conservatives or libertarians embracing school choice, it takes real grit for liberals or Democrats do so. Especially when they do so from within ADL.

Three months ago, the executive committee of ADL's Philadelphia chapter voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution endorsing vouchers. Now it is urging the entire organization to follow suit.

"We believe school choice to be an urgent civil rights issue," the committee argued in a brief being circulated among ADL's 30 regional offices. Despite decades of increased spending on K-12 education, "the evidence that our public education system is failing to educate our children is staggering." ADL should reverse its longtime position "as a moral imperative," the Philadelphia leadership urges, and "issue a resolution in favor of school choice."

As it happens, the ADL regional board's isn't the only liberal voice in Philadelphia calling for greatly expanded school choice. State Senator Anthony Williams, a black Democrat and a candidate in Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary this week, is the founder of a charter school, a champion of vouchers, and an ardent believer in the power of competition to improve the quality of education. His position puts him sharply at odds with the state's largest teachers' union, which opposes choice and has endorsed his main opponent. But Williams -- like the local ADL leadership -- sees school choice as the great civil-rights battle of the day.

"Anybody who was for Brown v. Board of Education -- it baffles me that they would be against vouchers," Williams told me last week. "Brown condemned schools that were separate and unequal. Well, that's exactly what we're back to now -- schools that are segregated by income, by ZIP Code, by race."

Of the 20,000 children who annually enter Philadelphia kindergartens, Williams notes, almost half will drop out before finishing high school -- and fewer than 2,000 will go to college. The way to fix the dreadful public schools that produce these results isn't to shower them with more money, he says. It is to empower parents to pull their kids out and enroll them in better schools elsewhere.

Williams may not win Tuesday's primary. Philly's ADL chapter may not persuade the national board to follow its lead. But in swimming against the tide, both have set examples that will inspire others. Educational inequality persists. But thanks to some gutsy Philadelphia liberals, it has just lost a little more ground.

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

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

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