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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Susannah Heschel, the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College, and the daughter of noted 20th-century Jewish theologian and Civil Rights-era leader, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. They discuss what teachers and students today should know about Rabbi Heschel’s life and legacy. Born in Warsaw, Poland, the descendant of preeminent European rabbis, Rabbi Heschel was arrested by the Gestapo, and later escaped to London. Prof. Heschel describes how losing many family members in the Holocaust shaped her father’s writings, and brought moral urgency to his American Civil Rights efforts. Prof. Heschel describes her father’s landmark study, The Prophets, for which she wrote an introduction, his profound view of the prophets as models, and his search for enduring “truth and righteousness in everyday life.” They discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who evoked Old Testament imagery in many of his most memorable speeches, and who was accompanied by Rabbi Heschel on the Voting Rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Professor Heschel offers thoughts on what educators can learn from her family’s historic experiences facing adversity, and how citizens, teachers, and students alike can use personal stories, biblical wisdom, and ancient sources to inspire their civic action in our often divided country. She concludes with a reading from a favorite passage from one of her father’s books.
Stories of the Week: Which states are driving innovation in K-12 education, and which are struggling? Cara and Gerard discuss recent rankings, and some surprising results. The Kentucky Legislature passed a bill that would allow income-eligible families to access tax credit scholarships for private school tuition and other services, overriding the Governor’s veto.