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

Students sue school district for violating their 'right to read'

By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

Law and Order from Bigstock

In a first-of-its-kind legal maneuver, students whose reading skills are below grade level are suing their state and school district. If successful, the lawsuit could spawn others nationwide

JewishWorldReview.com |

cUBLIN— (TCSM) Students are suing the state of Michigan and their Detroit-area school district for violating their "right to read."

The class-action lawsuit appears to be the first of its kind, and potentially signals a new wave of civil rights litigation in the United States to enforce laws intended to boost academic achievement, education law experts say.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed what it has dubbed the "right to read" lawsuit on behalf of the nearly 1,000 students in the impoverished district.

Two-thirds of 4th-graders and three-quarters of 7th-graders in the Highland Park school district are not proficient on state reading tests; 90 percent of 12th-graders fail the reading portion of the final state test administered in high school, according to the complaint. Nearly 100 percent of the district's students are African-American.

"A child who cannot read will be disenfranchised in our society and economy for a lifetime," said ACLU of Michigan executive director Kary Moss in a written statement explaining the case. The lawsuit follows a "careful process of investigation that has made clear that none of those [education officials] charged with the care of these children … have done their jobs."


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One of the plaintiffs is a student referred to as S.D. An 8th-grader who has been in the district since 1st grade, his reading proficiency level is at a 3rd-grade level at best, the complaint alleges. Yet he "has never received any individualized reading intervention or remedial instruction from an adult" in the district.

According to state law, students who do not score satisfactorily on state reading tests in 4th or 7th grade "shall be provided special assistance" to bring skills to grade level within 12 months.

In addition to many examples of students whose specific literacy needs appear to be neglected, the suit cites general conditions in the district that interfere with their ability to learn — including a lack of books, terrible record keeping on individual student achievement, inadequate heat in the classrooms, and bathrooms in a state of filth and disrepair.

The lawsuit asks the court to require the district to improve such conditions and provide quality implementation of research-based approaches to bring up students' literacy.

Highland Park's two K-8 schools and one high school have recently come under the jurisdiction of an emergency manager appointed by the state to address the district's $11 million deficit. The state's most recent plan is to find a charter-school operator to run the district.

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education said officials had not received the complaint so it was too soon to comment. Efforts to reach the manager of the district were not successful.

"Everything we have done, and are doing, is to ensure that the kids of Highland Park Schools get the education they need and deserve," a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder told The Detroit News.

There have been many legal cases arguing that states have not adequately funded certain schools or districts, or that students' constitutional rights have been violated by being in de facto segregated schools. But this case takes a new approach by focusing narrowly on the core skill of literacy and a state law that addresses it.

The case is "potentially very significant," says Michael Rebell, head of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York.

Michigan isn't the only state to have laws designed to bring up low-achieving students' reading or math scores, and often these laws are not being faithfully followed, he says. "Now that we're in a budget cutting era, a lot of states and districts are falling behind [on education goals] and this may be a wake-up call," Mr. Rebell says.

The case "represents the progressive potential of the standards movement," says Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation in Washington. "If you articulate certain outcomes [through education laws] … then litigation like this is a logical follow on when students are not in fact meeting the goals."

But even if the ACLU prevails in court, "it's very difficult to provide that list of services [called for in the lawsuit] in a segregated environment, particularly an economically segregated one," Mr. Kahlenberg says. There have been many failed attempts around the country to retain quality teachers in high-needs schools, for instance.

Some initial public reaction in online news stories about the lawsuit included comments about the responsibility of parents in ensuring their children's literacy. One reason this district was chosen for the lawsuit was parents' interest in getting help for their children.

"I spoke out at nearly every public meeting and I went to school with my kids every day … but nothing I do will work if the district and the state don't meet me half way," said parent and lifelong Highland Park resident Michelle Johnson, in the press release announcing the suit. Her 11th-grade daughter is starting her junior year of high school soon, but reads five to seven levels below her grade.

While the state has brought in the emergency manager because of a financial crisis, "academic results have been lost in the conversation about budget," the ACLU's Ms. Moss says in a phone interview.

In small communities around the country that have lost manufacturing or otherwise lost their tax base, "too often education reform efforts fall by the wayside," Moss says. Stakeholders need to come together to find solutions fast, she says. "We're graduating generations of children who cannot read."

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