On Saturday night, my 6th grade daughter notified me she was going over to a girlfriend's house for the night, to study for an upcoming exam in English. As the daughter of "Anglo" parents, she studies English in a special class -- 'English for English Speakers."
Over the years, my kids have been in this advanced class, yet they still (unfortunately) lag behind their counterparts in the US. While their English is excellent from an Israeli point of view, they aren't on the same level as if they lived abroad. A small price to pay for living here.
Yet when I asked my daughter about what was on her upcoming exam, her reply came as an unexpected, refreshing shock.
"I need to know about the 3 branches of the American Government, the preamble of the US Constitution, the 5 freedoms in the first amendment, and the first 10 amendments of the "Bill of Rights."
I don't remember having to know that in 6th grade in the US...maybe in 7th grade or later. I was thrilled to be able to review with her the system of "checks and balances" of the US government, explain what a "jury of peers" is, and the importance of the freedoms granted by the "Bill of Rights." "Bearing Arms" and "quartering soldiers" were new words and concepts that she had never heard of before.
Since it wasn't easy for a non-native English speaker like my daughter to memorize all of the above, I found "Schoolhouse Rock" videos from youtube that help explain the above in song form. We made up a rap song called "RAPPS" -- for the 5 freedoms in the first amendement, "Religion, Assembly, Press, Petition and Speech"
Kudos to my daughter's English teacher who aims higher when educating our kids in Israel -- there is so much to learn and appreciate from the USA's democracy, government and legal system. Its a shame that Israelis who aren't in my daughter's "English for English Speakers" class are never formally exposed to such concepts -- Israel has a long way to go before we can match the freedoms and democracy in the US.
Maybe we'll get there one day.
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