It’s a known fact that the American education system cannot be compared to educational systems in other countries. Our children’s education is lacking compared to their international peers and it shows.
One of the local papers reported the story of a New York City teenager, Melissa Mejia. Miss Mejia was not doing so well in school. But somehow, she passed her classes, received her diploma and is now on her on way to college.
We have a systemic failure. An outsider could easily point the finger at the teachers and ask why the students are failing. The problem is far more than the teachers themselves. The problem ripples beyond the teachers and beyond the school system. The problem is our general society. Teachers are not given the respect that they are due. It is not easy to stand in front of a class of 25-30 kids and try to hold their attention throughout the day.
Another component of this problem is the parents. For any number of reasons, some children do not receive the necessary support to succeed in school. When a child sees that the parent is not investing in their education, they go through the motions of going to school without putting in the effort. This not only affects them individually, but as a society, when we are under-educated, our country suffers and our job market suffers.
When education is our priority, when teachers are respected and our children are expected to succeed in school, then we can truly compete on the global stage. But until then, we will lag behind the rest of the world and we will suffer the consequences.
Earlier this week, a measles outbreak was occurring in California.
Such diseases used to be a thing of the past or the subject of a Charles Dickens novel. It was not uncommon in previous centuries for parents to watch one or more children die from diseases such as measles.
Since the 1950’s vaccinations has become the norm. But some parents do not vaccinate their children for a variety of reasons.
Before I go any further, I need to state that I do not have any children. But I believe that unless there is a specific reason that a child should not be vaccinated, there no reason that a child should not be vaccinated. If not for the sake of the individual child or their immediate family, but for the sake of the surrounding community. Please vaccinate your child, you could be saving more than their life.
This past weekend marked the 2 year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. Two years ago this nation mourned the loss of twenty children who would never have the opportunity to grow up.
There was tragedy in Pakistan today. The Pakistani arm of the Taliban forced themselves in a school, armed and ready to kill. As of tonight, 141 were killed, 90% of the victims were children.
There is a famous saying from the Talmud:
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if they destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if they saved an entire world.
I would like to add to that. Whoever destroys the soul of a child, it is as if they have destroyed ten worlds. Whoever saves the life of a child, it is as if they have saved one hundred worlds.
While I have no children of my own, my heart and my prayers go out to the families of those murdered.
I would say RIP normally, but RIP is not enough.
1.5 million Jewish children were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust. Only 10% of the European Jewish children who were alive before World War II survived.
The adults who helped the children survive had to resort to desperate measures.
R.D. Rosen’s new non fiction book, Such Good Girls is about several of these children who shed their Jewish identities during the war and became Christian. After the war, they found themselves conflicted between their Jewish pasts and their Christian present. In 1991, these child survivors were brought together in New York and began to examine their pasts and understand the measures the adults took at the time to ensure the children’s survival.
I enjoyed this book. Every time I think I know everything about the Holocaust, I learn something new. What I saw in this book was the love of parents who saw the coming storm and did what they could to ensure that their children would survive. Even if that survival meant changing everything about their child and possibly giving their child up to others to raise. I can only imagine the emotional trauma of a child who has been told all of their life they are they are one thing and then they are told they are something else.
I recommend this book.