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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Boys, ADHD And Reading

Friday, May 4th, 2012

When I was a young boy, America’s elite schools and universities were almost entirely reserved for males. That seems incredible now, in an era when headlines suggest that boys are largely unfit for the classroom. In particular, they can’t read.

– Thomas Spence, Wall Street Journal

In all my years of teaching kriyah and English reading, I have encountered more boys than girls who struggle with the skill. We are even subconsciously programmed to think of reading as a female endeavor. Picture a reader in a comfy chair, thinking, “Wow, what a great book! I can’t wait to share this with my friends.” Was the reader you imagined male or female? Chances are, you envisioned a female reader. The idea that the majority of readers are female is consistent with reading scores around the nation.

According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in 2001, fourth-grade girls in all of the 30-plus participating countries scored higher in reading literacy than fourth-grade boys by a statistically significant amount. In addition, According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.

Accounting for the Reading Gap

Why is there such a large gap between girls and boys when it comes to reading? There are several theories that explain why boys test below girls their own age when it comes to reading:

Girls begin school with a larger vocabulary. Studies have shown that on a normal day, girls use 30% more words than boys their age. Simply because girls speak more, they are more comfortable with language. Then, when it comes to reading, they are more likely to synthesize new words into their everyday speech. This in turn will make their future reading more proficient.

The subject matter is tailored towards women. Because many teachers are female, and because mothers are often the ones helping children pick out their books, the subject matter of the reading tends to appeal to female audiences. Most boys would like to read about characters who are similar to them, but are often presented with books that have characters they cannot identify with.

Boys’ brains might be wired for non-fiction. While girls are great at comprehending narrative texts and expository style, studies have shown that boys prefer informational texts and newspapers. Teachers often devalue these non-fiction texts – prompting boys to feel they are not “reading” when they pick up a newspaper. This only discourages them from reading in the future.

Girls enter school with better fine motor skills. Biologically, girls often gain fine motor skills essential for writing at an earlier age than boys. While the girls quickly figure out how to write, the boys struggle with the same tasks. This struggle with writing can often lead boys to feel they are “not good” at reading or writing and therefore they will not even attempt to try.

An often undiscussed issue in this area is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We all know reading takes concentration – without it you can’t get to the end of a sentence. What many people don’t realize is that while ADHD is a common behavioral disorder affecting 8-10% of school age children, boys are three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with the disorder.

Of course, only a tiny fraction of boys have ADHD, but this fraction is significantly larger than the fraction of girls who do. This can also account for the differences in proficiency in boys and girls’ reading scores. Therefore, if you notice that your son is unable to focus, is easily distracted, and often fidgets, consider getting him tested for ADHD. His lack of reading skills could be attributed to a surmountable learning disability.

The most important thing to be aware of when parenting or teaching children with ADHD is that they are not “acting out.” Rather, it is difficult for these children to control their behavior without either medication or behavioral modification. Only a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine, but as an educator (or a parent) there are plenty of behavioral modifications you can implement in order to help a child become more attentive when reading or performing another activity that requires concentration.

Encourage fidgeting: Though this sounds counter-intuitive, children with ADHD benefit from distractions. In reality, it is not that they cannot focus – instead they focus on everything. So, give them a pencil to tap or a kush ball to squeeze while they are reading. Remember these are students who are designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Providing them with the second activity, in addition to reading, will keep them from looking for what else they could be doing.

Rifka Schonfeld

Rubin Reports: Egypt’s Elections – Titanic of Western Interests Meet Iceberg of Islamist Revolutionary Zeal

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/04/egypts-elections-titanic-of-western.html
Egypt will hold its presidential election May 23-24 with a possible run-off on June 16-17. It is impossible at this point to predict what’s going to happen but I can make a good guess. Eight weeks from now Egypt will be led by either a radical anti-American Islamist who wants to wipe Israel off the map or by a radical anti-American nationalist who just hates Israel passionately.
Let’s review the background and then analyze the likely events to come.
Since Egypt’s revolution began a year ago five propositions have monopolized the Western debate and coverage, all of which were wrong:
–That Egypt would become a real democratic state in which human rights and civil liberties would be respected.
–That this state would be dominated by moderate and modernist secular groups.
–That the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate and a bulwark against the really radical Islamists.
–That the army is simultaneously the main enemy of democracy in Egypt that should be opposed and yet also the force that would keep Egypt stable and pro-Western.
–That the new Egypt would remain an ally of the United States or at peace with Israel.
Only the second has been reluctantly dropped by governments and mass media. All the others are still in place today! Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood has become the substitute moderate democratic hope. This blindness ignores all the daily evidence to the contrary.
The “moderate democratic” forces up until now have defined the military as their main enemy. Perhaps they still do so.  But they also woke up to realize that a constitution written by a vast majority of Islamists wouldn’t be a great thing for them. So they followed the classical Arab mistake of boycotting the constitution-writing process, thus ensuring that the Islamists will have even more power.
Two Islamist candidates—the Brotherhood’s Khairat al-Shater and the Salafists’ Hazem Salah Abu Ismail—and one secularist—Omar Suleiman—have been disqualified. The Brotherhood simply substituted Muhammad Mursi, leader of its Freedom and Justice Party, for al-Shater, who returned to his job as deputy head of the Brotherhood.  Mursi told a news conference, “We intend to make the Palestinian issue our main issue.”
The other main candidate is the radical nationalist Amr Moussa. His stances have varied depending on whether he thought he could hope for the Brotherhood’s backing. Since his main rival is the Brotherhood-backed Mursi, Amr Moussa is in a relatively anti-Islamist phase.  And that’s not to say that Moussa, albeit the lesser of two evils, is any great prize – though he is certainly preferable.

There are now a total of 23 candidates, though it is possible there will be a few more before registration closes April 26.  Aside from Mursi and Moussa, they include two other Islamists, three moderates, and a leftist.

In all of this, there is a hugely important point that’s been generally missed: Unlike the Brotherhood, the radical Salafists have not yet produced an alternative candidate.  A lot of its members are endorsing Mursi. Now the Salafist al-Nour party has genuine differences with the Brotherhood, though more over timing and the desire for power than anything substantive. Still, al-Nour may be splitting over the party’s support for Mursi. But if the dissidents don’t have a candidate at all, who will the 25 percent of al-Nour’s supporters in the parliamentary ballot support?

In theory, then, Mursi can depend on 75 percent of the electorate — the Brotherhood and al-Nour voters — based on the parliamentary vote!  He won’t get that many because a lot of those who voted for Islamists may want some balance in the government or just happen to like Moussa, whose anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Israel credentials are strong.

Still, will enough voters switch to Moussa to tilt the balance? Moreover, in a run-off between Mursi and Moussa, the former should be able to depend on stronger support from any al-Nour supporters who are ambiguous about how they will vote in the first round.

So nobody can predict the victor. Still, overall, one might better assume that Egypt is going to have an Islamist president and parliament just eight weeks from now, to be followed by an Islamist constitution.

As far as I can tell — and amazing as this might seem — there has been no preparation in the West for such an outcome.  In a Wall Street Journal op-ed we can read:

What is poorly understood in the West is how critical fundamentalists are to the moral and political rejuvenation of their countries. As counterintuitive as it seems, they are the key to more democratic, liberal politics in the region.

Of course, there is a grain of truth in what Reuel Gerecht said in his op-ed. If Islamists weren’t allowed to participate, there couldn’t be fair elections. And if they do participate and win, one can call the resulting system democracy.

Barry Rubin

ADL Praises Mormon Church Prohibition of Holocaust Victims’ Posthumous Baptism

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The Anti-Defamation League on Friday welcomed a letter from Mormon Church leaders, to be read during services this Sunday, in which they remind LDS members that Jewish Holocaust victims should not be submitted to the church’s online genealogical registry for proxy baptisms.

“Without exception,” reads the letter from LDS President Thomas S. Monson and other church leaders, “church members must not submit for proxy temple ordinances any names from unauthorized groups, such as celebrities and Jewish Holocaust victims.  If members do so, they may forfeit their new family-search privileges.  Other corrective action may also be taken.”

The church directive comes in the wake of attempts by some members to submit the names of famous Jews – including diarist Anne Frank, slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, and relatives of Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel – for proxy baptism in violation of Mormon Church policy.

ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, himself a Holocaust survivor, lauded LDS for their move and added: “As two minority religions who share histories as the target of intolerance and discrimination, we will continue to work with each other to bring greater understanding and respect to both of our faith communities.”

As Woody Allen once put it, ” The lion and the lamb shall lie down together but the lamb won’t get much sleep.”

Jacob Edelist

Iran Passes Letter to US: You Killed Our Scientist

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

In a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, the Iranian foreign ministry relayed to the United States that it believes the CIA was behind the recent assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist.  Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s car exploded after a magnetic bomb was attached to the side of it during rush hour traffic on Wednesday by a speeding motorcyclist.

The United States and Iran have no formal diplomatic relations.  The Swiss embassy represents US interests in the country, and received the letter from the Iranian foreign ministry on behalf of the United States.

“We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA,” the letter said, according to a Reuters report.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denied US responsibility for the attack, the fifth such assassination in 2 years.

Western intelligence sources told Time magazine on Friday that Israel’s Mossad is responsible for the scientist’s death.

The Wall Street Journal on Saturday reported that the U.S. is preparing for the increasing possibility of an Israeli military assault on Iran.

Malkah Fleisher

Al-Qaida Sympathizer Plotting Terror Arrested Near Yeshiva U

Monday, November 21st, 2011

A 27 year-old Al-Qaida sympathizer who was planning a terror attack on New York City law enforcement and US soldiers was arrested on Saturday, just blocks away from Yeshiva University.

Jose Pimental, an American citizen from the Dominican Republic, has been charged with conspiracy, first-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism, and soliciting support for a terrorist act.  The convert to Islam was arrested at his apartment in Washington Heights, after being tracked by the NYPD counter-terrorism unit for almost 2 years.

After the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemenite recruiter, inspirational speaker and engineer for Al-Qaida, Pimental  – who calls himself Muhammad Yusuf – went from allegedly calling for militant jihad against the United States to building bombs for that purpose.  He was allegedly planning to use them to attack police patrol vehicles, postal facilities, and war veterans.

According to Britain’s Daily Mail, the plans for the weapons were reportedly culled from an article in the online English al-Qaida magazine, Inspire, which had been published by al-Awlaki.  The name of the article was “How to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mom”.  Pimental bought supplies for his crude bombs from New York stores in the Bronx and Manhattan, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Pimental was also the webmaster of trueislam1.com, a site advocating jihad and lauding deceased Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin-Laden as “Leader of the Believers”.  He is currently being held without bail.

Malkah Fleisher

Huge Bomb Buy Raises Question of Attack on Iran

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Speculation of an impending attack on Iranian nuclear facilities has increased, following the US acquisition of a huge bunker buster bomb six times the size the US Air Force currently employs.

The first shipment of Boeing’s “Massive Ordnance Penetrator”  – designed to fit the B-2 stealth bomber – arrived at Air Force Global Strike Command in September, according to Bloomberg News.

The 30,000 pound , 20.5 foot long mammoth will have significant impact, capable of reaching 200 feet underground before detonating 5,300 pounds of explosives. The US military currently uses a 5,000-pound bunker buster to attack nuclear, biological, and chemical sites underground.

The US military’s announcement of the procurement comes just days after the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report stating that Iran is enriching uranium for the purpose of creating atomic bombs.  That report came just as Iranian authorities announced that their uranium enrichment facility in Natanz will be transferred to a more secure location at Qom, 295 feet under rock.

The US has also closed a deal to provide the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with thousands of bunker busters, according to the Wall Street Journal.    The UAE is a strong trade partner of Iran, but has come out publicly against Iranian nuclear development.  The US alsorecently agreed on an plan to sell $60 billion in F-15s and munitions to Iran adversary Saudi Arabia.

In September, US President Barack Obama agreed to sell 55 GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrator bunker busters to Israel.  Israel originally requested the weapons from the Bush administration in 2005, but was denied.

In response to news of the recent explosion at a missile storage facility outside Tehran in which a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards official and missile expert was killed, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated “May there be more like it”.  Israel has been accused by Iranian officials of conducting a stealth attack which caused the explosion.  President Shimon Peres recently stated that an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is “more and more likely”.

Malkah Fleisher

Good Bye Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I feel like I lost the best teacher I never had. 

~ Anonymous

“Your time on this earth is limited, don’t live someone else’s life, live by your vision.” – Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

I am sad as I type this up on my shiny white MAC laptop. Steve Jobs passed away. I didn’t know Steve, but I was fierce in my defense of the holy MAC when debating its merits with PC fans. I saved up, patiently, until I could afford my very own MAC, and I now carry it around like a prized accessory. Yes, it’s more expensive than the other brands, but as I surf the net without fear of stumbling onto a virus and enjoy the beauty of its design and programming, I know it’s worth it. I shop at Forever 21 and will buy designer knockoff sunglasses for five bucks on the street, but when it comes to my laptop, I want the real deal.

Steve Jobs sparked a technological revolution with his first design of the MAC and ever since continued to amaze and inspire us with his brilliant vision. He made computers accessible to the world and gave young entrepreneurs the courage to forge ahead and create.

A few weeks ago, I watched in awe as he gave a speech to young graduates and was moved deeply by his advice on selecting a career. Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Jobs leaves behind his family, a wife of twenty years and four children.  He was one of the richest people on earth. But money was not what drove Steve Jobs, as he told the Wall Street Journal in 1993. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”

So go ahead, be brave. Be fierce. Do something wonderful.

 

 

This article was posted on www.maidelle.com, an online magazine for Jewish teenage girls to speak their minds.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/good-bye-steve-jobs/2011/10/26/

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