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 Sept. 11, 2009 22 Elul 5769

Learning Is No Picnic, Buster

By Suzanne Fields

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Conservatives and other parents won their point. President Obama dropped his lesson plan for the schoolchildren of America. He didn't ask what they can do for him, as he first intended to do, but what they can do for themselves and country.

"We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect, so you can help solve our most difficult problems," he said. "If you don't do that — if you quit on school — you're not only quitting on yourself, you're quitting on your country." Nobody can argue with that.

The furor that preceded the speech was rage against the "cult of personality," and the White House did a good job of changing the subject to misrepresent what the furor was about. But as the Bard would say, "All's well that ends well."

A good follow-up question might be how many of the kids he talked to would know who the Bard is — the bright young man who introduced the president at Wakefield High would know — but a lot of American kids are getting shortchanged by what they're reading, and not reading.

A new method of teaching reading has taken hold in many classrooms, allowing children in middle school to pick their own books for literature class. No more assigned classics. If a child prefers to read a Judy Blume novel or the "Twilight" vampire series rather than "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" or "To Kill a Mockingbird," he can get credit as a happy, satisfied reader. The idea is that he'll develop a love for reading — a love he wouldn't develop if told what he should read.

Lorry McNeil, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English classes in a suburban Atlanta middle school, tells The New York Times how as a teenager she devoured the novels of Judy Blume and Danielle Steel. She disliked Mark Twain, even though she taught Twain later. Now she teaches "gifted" students and lets them choose what they want to read. She says they're more excited about their personal choices than the classics they're forced to read. She boasts that her students score well on standardized state reading tests, but standardized tests tell only how well a student tests to statistical standards, not necessarily to substance.

Many educationists have, as usual, boarded the Band-Aid wagon, teaching the "personal choice" method. Fads are always popular with the educationists. But Diane Ravitch, professor of education at New York University, asks the pertinent question: "What child is going to pick up 'Moby Dick'?'" Or "Julius Caesar?" or even "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," once the staples of literature classes. Kids can learn good reading habits in elementary school to be prepared to read the best of the classics later.

But few schools teach a reading "core" any longer, and students graduate from high school with no collective body of knowledge in common, a problem made worse when they're encouraged to make their own personal choices for book assignments. President Obama passed up a good opportunity to tell the teachers, in an avuncular aside, that dumbing-down is not the rigorous discipline he promised to encourage in the campaign. A dumbed-down curriculum inevitably leads to dumbed-down state standards.

Reading time-tested literature should be about enjoyment, of course, and a good teacher should see to that. But it's about a lot more than enjoyment. A reader of fine literature develops critical thinking that is both aesthetic and moral, probing profound questions of life from different perspectives. These are lessons not found in social studies courses.

Reading the classics is about raising universal questions in an imaginative context, challenging the reader to evaluate ideas outside the passing popular culture. It's never difficult for kids to read the trendy fluff after school, just as there's no shortage of diversions from the rigors of homework. Guidance to good literature is an obligation of teachers. This is a presidential reminder Obama could have given at Wakefield High.

The president told the students that when he was a boy, his mother got him up at 4:30 in the morning to do his homework with her. When he complained, she reminded him, "It's no picnic for me either, Buster." Learning, as the president emphasized this week, is hard work for everybody. Reading Harry Potter is fine, but not when it's instead of Huck Finn. There will be time later to "light out for the territory." Only those who have read their Mark Twain would understand what that means.

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