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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 June 13, 2005 / 6 Sivan, 5765

Separating school and state

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three recent dispatches from the education battlefront:

  • Kansans have been debating how the development of life on earth should be taught in public schools — as the unintended result of random evolution or as the complex product of an evolution shaped by intelligent design. The board of education held hearings in May, and is to decide this summer whether the current science standards should be changed. Kansas is just one of 19 states in which the Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design contest is being fought. Emotions have been running high, as they often do when the state takes sides in a clash of fundamental values and beliefs.

  • In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe recently reported, a father named David Parker found himself in a war with his local school board when he objected to a kindergarten "diversity" curriculum that depicted gay and lesbian couples raising children. Parker, a Christian opposed to same-sex marriage, showed up at Estabrook elementary school in Lexington to request that he or his wife be notified — in keeping with state law — when homosexual themes were going to be brought up in their 6-year-old's class. School officials wouldn't agree to do so and "urged" Parker to leave. When he didn't, they had him arrested.

  • Luke Whitson, a 10-year-old at the Karns Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., liked reading the Bible with his friends during recess. But when a parent complained, the public school's principal "demanded that they stop their activity at once, put their Bibles away, and . . . cease bringing their Bibles to school." That language is from a lawsuit Luke's parents have filed in federal court, where they are asking a judge to rule that school officials cannot prohibit religious expression during a student's free time.

Once there was a solid consensus about how the nation's public schools should be run. In 1911, the Encyclopedia Britannica could assert with confidence that "the great mass of the American people are in entire agreement as to the principles which should control public education." But as the battles in Kansas, Massachusetts, and Tennessee — and countless others like them — make clear, that day is past.

From issues of sexuality and religion to the broad themes of US history and politics, public opinion is fractured. Secular parents square off against believers, supporters of homosexual marriage against traditionalists, those stressing "safe sex" against those who emphasize abstinence. Each wants its views reflected in the classroom. No longer is there a common understanding of the mission of public education. To the extent that one camp's vision prevails, parents in the opposing camp are embittered. And there is no prospect that this will change — not as long as the government remains in charge of educating American children.

Which is why it's time to put an end to government control of the schools.

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There is nothing indispensable about a state role in education. Parents don't expect the government to provide their children's food or clothing or medical care; there is no reason why it must provide their schooling. An educated citizenry is a vital public good, of course. But like most such goods, a competitive and responsive private sector could do a much better job of supplying it than the public sector can.

Imagine how diverse and vital American education could be if it were liberated from government control. There would be schools of every description — just as there are restaurants, websites, and clothing styles of every description. Parents who wanted their children to be taught Darwinian evolution unsullied by leaps of faith in an Intelligent Designer would be able to choose schools in which religious notions played no role. Those who wanted their children to see G-d's hand in the miraculous tapestry of life all around them would send them to schools in which faith played a prominent role.

Rather than fight over whether reading should be taught with Phonics or Whole Language, parents who felt strongly either way could choose a school that shared their outlook. Those who wanted their kids to learn in single-sex classes would send them to schools organized on that model; other parents would be free to pick schools in which boys and girls learned together. Some schools might reflect a Christian or Jewish or Muslim philosophy; others would be quite secular. In some, athletics would have a high priority; in others, there might be an emphasis on music, language, technology, or art. And no doubt many parents would stick with schools that resembled the ones their children attend now.

With separation of school and state, the roiling education battles would come to a peaceful end. Robust competition and innovation would dramatically lower costs. Teachers, released from their one-size-fits-all straitjacket, would be happier in their chosen profession. Children would be happier, too — and, perhaps best of all, better-educated to boot.

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.

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

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