Daily Archives: May 24, 2008
High school students in this well-to-do Westchester suburb pile on four, five, even six Advanced Placement classes to keep up with their friends. They track their grade-point averages to multiple decimal places and have longer rÃ©sumÃ©s than their parents.
But nearly half the students at Briarcliff High School have packed their schedules so full that they do not stop for lunch, prompting administrators to rearrange the schedule next fall to require everyone to take a 20-minute midday break. They will extend each school day and cut the number of minutes each class meets over the year. Briarcliff currently does not require students to have a lunch period.
In a school where SAT scores are the talk in the hallways and more than half the seniors are accepted to their first-choice college, Briarcliff’s principal, Jim Kaishian, said mandatory lunch is intended to reduce stress on teenagers so caught up in the achievement frenzy they barely have time to eat or sleep.
This year, 12 percent of Briarcliff’s 665 students have no free periods, while an additional 30 percent have classes the entire time the cafeteria is open.
“We see kids rushing to eat; we hear about stress levels going up,” Mr. Kaishian said. “We’ve watched as some kids implode and bend under the weight of having to go period after period without a break.”
Members of the Anglican Church in Kenya would like to know why our bishops are not attending the Lambeth 2008 Conference.
Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi is reported as reasoning thus: “Lambeth 2008 should have been about a return to God in view of these realities, yet it’s obvious that won’t be the case. Canterbury has sanctioned homosexuality. We cannot be going there to keep up with its theological gymnastics.”
Is this not missing the point of Lambeth? Isn’t this cowardly?
This conference is central in our church tradition as one of the four instruments of the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Church has launched a programme on one of the fastest-growing and best-known Internet sites, Facebook.
This was revealed by Bishop Dr John Holder in his charge of the annual Synod delivered last Sunday at St Michael’s Cathedral, as part of the diocese’s effort to pay close attention to the nation’s youth.
“We are trying new and creative ways to strengthen our ministry to the youth,” he said. “We are using the new technology to assist us in doing so. Mr Haydn Workman of the Evangelism Commission has developed a programme on Facebook that is reaching out to young people and helping them to reflect on the Christian way.
“Given the fascination of our young people with the new technology, this is a good way to share and strengthen the faith among our young people,” he said.
Australias’s first woman bishop didn’t take long to find herself at odds with her boss, the primate of the Anglican church.
On her first day in her new role as Assistant Bishop of Perth, Kay Goldsworthy was asked whether women had shared the same experiences as homosexuals in their battle for recognition.
She was also asked if she would like to see homosexuals represented in the Anglican clergy.
“I think these are two different matters,” she replied.
“We are, as an Anglican church, at the moment engaged in a long process of listening carefully and attentively to the experience of homosexual Christian people, and that’s where we’re up to.
California state lawmakers are considering an unusual idea to solve the state’s huge budget shortfall: Tax pornography.
The idea was proposed by a state assemblyman, and would impose a 25 percent tax on the production and sales of pornographic videos — the vast majority of which are made in southern California.
Jennifer Glickman, a 17-year-old high school junior, gets so stressed some days from overwork and lack of sleep that she feels sick to her stomach and gets painful headaches.
A straight-A student, she recently announced at a college preparatory meeting with her mother and guidance counselor that she doesn’t want to apply to Princeton and the other Ivy League schools that her counselor thinks she could get into.
“My mom wants me to look at Ivy League schools, but my high school years have been so stressful that I don’t want to deal with that in college,” says Ms. Glickman. “I don’t want it to be such a competitive atmosphere. I don’t want to put myself in this situation again.”
High school has long been enshrined in popular culture — from the musical “Grease” to television shows like “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Friday Night Lights” — as a time of classes, sports and overwrought adolescent drama. But these days, junior year is the worst year in high school for many ambitious students aiming for elite and increasingly selective colleges — a crucible of academic pressure.
Almost two-thirds of middle- and upper-middle-income high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area told researchers that they were “often or always” stressed by schoolwork, according to a series of surveys of 2,700 students conducted last year by Stanford University researchers.
More than half the students reported that they had dropped an activity or hobby they enjoyed because schoolwork took too much time. More than three-quarters reported experiencing one or more stress-related physical problems in the month prior to the survey, with more than 50% reporting headaches, difficulty sleeping, or exhaustion….
Hating every minute of it, Americans are slowly learning to live with high gasoline prices. For a nation accustomed to cheap fuel, big vehicles and sprawling suburbs, the adjustments are wrenching.
Cory Asmus of Temecula, Calif., just bought a $4,800 motorcycle for his 20-mile drive to work so he could cut his gas bill to $8 a week, from $110.
Florian Bialas, a retiree who lives near Chicago, sold his 1987 Pontiac Sunfire for $3,000 and plans to relinquish his license when it expires in September. “I can walk to most places where I need to go,” he said.
And Debbie Gloyd of Cleveland has parked her Chrysler Concorde and started taking the bus to work. “I can’t afford these gas prices,” she said. “They’re insane.”
With the nationwide average price for regular gasoline closing rapidly on $4 a gallon, people are bracing for a summer of pain at the pump.
As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, kicking off the summer driving season, the record prices are provoking dread and upsetting some people’s vacation plans. A recent survey by AAA, the automobile club, found a rare year-on-year decline, of 1 percent, in the number of people planning to travel this summer.
Vallejo became the largest California city to seek bankruptcy protection a week after it rejected an offer by labor unions for $10 million in pay cuts.
The Northern California city listed assets of $500 million to $1 billion and debt of $100 million to $500 million in its Chapter 9 filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento. Bankruptcy protection would keep city services running and freeze creditor claims while officials devise a recovery plan.
“It’s a bittersweet moment,” City Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said in a phone interview. “It’s bitter because our city is in such pain, but it’s sweet because we are finally addressing our problems. We are finally addressing it head on.”
Maybe it’s the pinch of $4-a-gallon gas and the economic downturn. Maybe it’s distrust of Burma’s ruling junta or concern over human rights violations in China. Or maybe the American people are going through “disaster fatigue,” the feeling that we’ve seen it all before.
But the simple fact is this: In the weeks since a cyclone laid waste to Burma’s delta region and an earthquake devastated a central Chinese province — catastrophes that collectively left 184,000 people dead or missing and displaced millions — Americans have donated an estimated $57 million to disaster relief charities as of yesterday.
Compare that with the $207 million that Americans donated in the first five days after an Indian Ocean tsunami struck southern Asia in 2004. Or the $226 million raised in five days after hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast.
Americans historically respond to natural disasters with an outpouring of giving, but the charitable response to the cyclone that hit Burma on May 3 and the earthquake that struck China on May 12 has been modest at best.
The relief group AmeriCares collected $10 million within two weeks of the tsunami. But the charity said it has raised a combined $1 million for its efforts in Burma and China.
“It’s very clear that the breadth and depth of the people who have been touched emotionally doesn’t compare to the tsunami,” said Curtis R. Welling, chief executive of AmeriCares.
The first large-scale gathering in the Anglican Churches of the Americas will be a February 2009 conference on “mutual responsibility and mission.”
The organizers hope the gathering will help “to continue to celebrate our relationships through friendship, prayer, common worship, and to focus on God’s common mission in the world,” according to the draft of a “save the date” letter.
The conference will take place during the week of February 22 in San Juan, Costa Rica. Exact dates during that week are still to be determined.
“I would hope that the Anglican Churches in the Americas can come to a common understanding of our mission work together going forward from the conference,” House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson recently told ENS.
Anderson is one of the group’s organizers. The other is Francisco de Assis da Silva, provincial secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.