Category : Education

(Local Paper front page) How one rural SC school district is tackling the in-school therapist shortage

Christina Cody has a tireless, we-can-make-it-work attitude.

No matter the problem, she’s the kind of person who will offer up ideas one after another until she finds one that works.

Cody is a health and wellness specialist for Cherokee County Schools, a small, rural school district in the northwestern part of South Carolina. Over the past few years, she has been confronted with the growing youth mental health crisis at every turn. The reports from her colleagues filled her with worry. They would despair week after week as more students threatened to hurt themselves or others.

Some students were stabbing themselves with pencils or scissors. Others tore apart pencil sharpeners to get the blades and cut themselves. When the last school year started, there were seven mental health therapist positions to serve the district’s 8,000 students. None were filled. Without them, educators did the best they could to help in a job they weren’t trained to do.

Students’ mental health needs were increasing well before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The needs have only grown since. More than a third of high school students nationally experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with half feeling persistently sad or hopeless, according to a Centers for Disease Control Disease Control and Prevention study. In South Carolina, children’s emergency room visits for mental health needs are up nearly a third since March 2020, state officials have said. Suicide attempts also increased, particularly among teenage girls.

“That’s just a lot of pressure,” Cody said. “You can’t lose a kid. You can’t. It’s not an option.”

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(CT) Supreme Court Rules Against Maine Policy Denying Christian School Aid

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Maine policy covering tuition for private schools but not religious schools violates the First Amendment.

Maine offers the tuition assistance in rural districts that do not have public schools. The challenge involved two private Christian schools, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, which didn’t meet the state’s “nonsectarian” requirement for families to qualify.

The court said such a requirement infringes on free exercise protections and that there was “nothing neutral” about the program.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, State Government, Supreme Court

(NYT front page) Days of Funerals Begin in Uvalde, with a Plea to Celebrate Life

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, a jokester who made the honor roll. Tuesday, 2 p.m.

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10, who excelled in school and learned how to sew from YouTube videos. Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Irma Garcia, 48, and Joe Garcia, 50, the parents of Lyliana, Alysandra, Cristian and Jose. Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10, called Josecito and Baby Jose, who collected toy trucks and played Little League. Wednesday, 2 p.m.

A week after a gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, funerals began on Tuesday for the 19 young students and two teachers killed — as well as the husband of a victim whose fatal heart attack was attributed by his relatives to his overwhelming grief. Stretching into mid-June, the coming days will be packed with services, visitations, rosaries and burials, memorializing each of the victims whose deaths are the sum of a community’s agonizing loss.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry, Violence

(NPR) A Uvalde coroner is haunted by identifying the bodies of children and an old friend

When they entered the school, he and the medical examiner found that the first responders had moved the bodies – separating the deceased from the wounded – in order to get to those who needed medical assistance.

“So when we got there, there were children in four rooms – the initial two rooms plus two other rooms,” Diaz said, adding that they “went room by room getting the plan together on what we were going to need to make sure that we identified everybody correctly.”

Diaz did not describe the scene in detail. Instead, he said, “It’s something you never want to see and it’s something you don’t, you cannot, prepare for. It’s a picture that’s going to stay in my head forever, and that’s where I’d like for it to stay.”

He says he has no intention of ever sharing exactly what he saw.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(NYT) The deadliest U.S. school shooting in a decade shakes a rural Texas city

UVALDE, Texas — Anguished families waited late into the muggy Texas night on Tuesday to find out whether their children were among those killed by an 18-year-old gunman’s rampage at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde hours earlier.

Armed with multiple weapons, the gunman, who attended a nearby high school, killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, the authorities said, in the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 10 years ago. Several other children were injured in the shooting at Robb Elementary, including at least one 10-year-old who remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

At least one teacher was among the dead, and the gunman, whom officials identified as Salvador Ramos, died at the scene. A 66-year-old woman who officials said was the gunman’s grandmother had been shot at her home in Uvalde shortly before the massacre and was also in critical condition.

Robb Elementary lies in a rural area dotted with desert willows and bigtooth maples, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Census data show that more than 40 percent of people in the neighborhood around the school have lived in the same house for at least 30 years.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(NYT) With Plunging Enrollment, a ‘Seismic Hit’ to Public Schools

In New York City, the nation’s largest school district has lost some 50,000 students over the past two years. In Michigan, enrollment remains more than 50,000 below prepandemic levels from big cities to the rural Upper Peninsula.

In the suburbs of Orange County, Calif., where families have moved for generations to be part of the public school system, enrollment slid for the second consecutive year; statewide, more than a quarter-million public school students have dropped from California’s rolls since 2019.

And since school funding is tied to enrollment, cities that have lost many students — including Denver, Albuquerque and Oakland — are now considering combining classrooms, laying off teachers or shutting down entire schools.

All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Health & Medicine

(NYT) Jonathan Malesic–My College Students Are Not OK

In my classes last fall, a third of the students were missing nearly every time, and usually not the same third. Students buried their faces in their laptop screens and let my questions hang in the air unanswered. My classes were small, with nowhere to hide, yet some students openly slept through them.

I was teaching writing at two very different universities: one private and wealthy, its lush lawns surrounded by towering fraternity and sorority houses; the other public, with a diverse array of strivers milling about its largely brutalist campus. The problems in my classrooms, though, were the same. Students just weren’t doing what it takes to learn.

By several measures — attendance, late assignments, quality of in-class discussion — they performed worse than any students I had encountered in two decades of teaching. They didn’t even seem to be trying. At the private school, I required individual meetings to discuss their research paper drafts; only six of 14 showed up. Usually, they all do.

I wondered if it was me, if I was washed up. But when I posted about this on Facebook, more than a dozen friends teaching at institutions across the country gave similar reports. Last month, The Chronicle of Higher Education received comments from more than 100 college instructors about their classes. They, too, reported poor attendance, little discussion, missing homework and failed exams.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Young Adults

Greg and Beth Snyder are leaving the Anglican diocese of South Carolina to head to the University of Tennessee

The Lord has called me to a new ministry, a ministry which He has been preparing me for nearly 5 years. A ministry in the academy to young scientists and their professors. On April 13, I accepted the position as Lecturer in Geology at the University of Tennessee. Just a week later, on April 20 as you know, the Supreme Court ruling came down and not in our favor. I do not fully understand the Lord’s timing in this, but I must believe that it is good, and true and sure.

And I am encouraged in this by knowing that your Wardens and Vestry are ready and able to lead in the interim and to discern the nature of the next pastoral leadership for St. John’s Parish Church. I have seen the giftedness of this special vestry in recent months and you, the people, are all in very good hands.

My position begins at the University of Tennessee on August 1, so there are about two months or so before Beth and I, and Beth’s Mom, June, make the move to Knoxville. I must add that since the Lord has been growing this new call, both of my daughters have returned to Knoxville, and, as you all know, my granddaughter Ellie was born there. I had no idea of this 5 years ago, just as you all have no idea of the great blessing that will be poured out on you in the months and years ahead. “All will be well. All manner of things will be well.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent this weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Addressing survivors and Indigenous elders in Prince Albert on Sunday, the Archbishop said: “I am so sorry that the Church participated in the attempt – the failed attempt, because you rose above it and conquered it – to dehumanise and abuse those we should have embraced as brothers and sisters.”

He added: “I am more than humbled that you are even willing to attempt to listen to this apology, and to let us walk with you on the long journey of renewal and reconciliation.”

The Archbishop is visiting Canada to repent and atone for the Church of England’s legacy of colonialism and the harm done to Indigenous peoples – and to share in the Anglican Church of Canada’s reconciliation work with Indigenous, Inuit and Métis communities.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canada, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(Economist) No country for young women–The Taliban are pushing females out of public life

On march 23rd thousands of Afghan girls headed to school for the first time in eight months, kitted out in bulging rucksacks, neatly pressed headscarves and covid-19 face masks. Within hours, they were at home in tears—and not because of playground fights or test results. In a last-minute pivot, the Taliban had backtracked on a decision to reopen secondary schools for girls and sent them home.

The new Taliban are beginning to look a lot like the old Taliban who ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when women who failed to cover every inch of flesh in public were beaten and adulterers were stoned to death. But Afghan women have changed after two decades of American-backed government. Many have university degrees. Before the Taliban seized power last year, almost 30% of civil servants were women. On the streets of Kabul book-waving girls have been chanting: “open the schools”.

When American forces withdrew from Afghanistan, the big question was how the Taliban would make the transition from a fundamentalist insurgency to running a country. Girls’ education became the litmus test. In August there was some hope they wanted to show a gentler face. Officials were interviewed by female presenters on television. At the Taliban’s first press conference after seizing power, a spokesman reassured the world that women would be “very active” in Afghan society.

Read it all.

Posted in Afghanistan, Education, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan, Women

(RNS) At top universities, institutes of Roman Catholic thought focus on science and religion

“Unfortunately, today, Catholics have inculturated some of the worst divisions between science and Christian faith into our own mental worldview in America,” [Michael] Le Chevallier says.

“You have a number of Catholics who believe that evolution is in conflict with modern Catholic faith, and you have a number of young adults who identify that modern science and the Catholic faith are in conflict — often resulting in leaving the church.”

In February, the Lumen Christi Institute announced it had been awarded $3.6 million from the John Templeton Foundation to support a new three-year project that would create a national network of independent institutes of Catholic thought at U.S. universities.

Dubbed “In Lumine: Supporting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide,” the network includes six Catholic institutes: the Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago; the Nova Forum at the University of Southern California; the Collegium Institute at the University of Pennsylvania; the St. Anselm Institute at the University of Virginia; COLLIS at Cornell University; and the Harvard Catholic Forum at Harvard University.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

Church of England schools will be at the heart of the school system for the future

We have much to learn from the African concept of Ubuntu which outlines how an authentic individual is part of a larger and more significant relational, communal, societal, environmental and spiritual world, writes Revd Canon Nigel Genders

It’s a concept which is at the heart of the Church of England’s approach to education which sets out our commitment to educating for life in all its fullness through a broad and rich curriculum that enables children and young people to truly flourish. Such an education, with its focus on hope and aspiration, is vital in the light of a pandemic which has impacted massively on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

Today’s Government White Paper has stepped up momentum for schools to become academies, with the Government setting a clear aspiration for all schools to join a strong multi academy trust by 2030.

Since the beginning of the Academy programme, I have always spoken of the need for interdependence rather than an approach to the school system which has been driven by individualism and autonomy. Our work on rural and small schools has highlighted the need to work together and for schools to embrace change through formation of structural collaborations and partnerships, so I am delighted to see this emphasis in the White Paper.

Read it all and please follow the link to the full white paper (near the bottom).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Jesus Christ forgave Tobias Rustat, judge argues, and so must Jesus College

The consistory court of the diocese of Ely has refused to grant the petition of Jesus College, Cambridge, for a faculty authorising the removal of a memorial dedicated to a benefactor of the college, Tobias Rustat (1608-94), from the west wall of the Grade I listed college chapel.

The petition, which had been supported by both the Dean of Chapel and the Bishop of Ely, was heard by the Deputy Chancellor, the Worshipful David Hodge QC (News, 25 January). It had been advanced on the basis that any harm caused to the significance of the chapel as a building of special architectural and historic interest by the removal of the memorial was substantially outweighed by the resulting public benefits in terms of pastoral well-being and opportunities for mission.

The college contended that, because of Rustat’s known involvement in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, the continued presence of his memorial in such a prominent position, high up on the west wall, created a serious obstacle to the chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the college community and a safe space for secular college functions and events.

Ranged against the college were 65 parties opponent to the petition, represented in court by Justin Gau. Another party opponent, Professor Lawrence Goldman, appeared in person, and two other parties opponent were neither present nor represented. The parties opponent contended that the court should give no weight to the petition since it was the product of a false narrative that Rustat amassed most of his wealth from the slave trade and used moneys from that source to benefit the college.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

T.F. Gailor on the Reverend Dr. James DeKoven for his Feast Day

As an educator, Dr. DeKoven has had no superior in this or any other land. The great qualities of a leader and guide to young men–dignity, tact, firmness, sympathy, genuineness of nature–these he possessed in a marked degree. He needed no artificial safeguards to maintain his claims to respect. His personal appearance was noble and commanding. His face, whether bright with humor, or stern with disapproval, or melting with sympathy, was always attractive to look on, with a peculiar refinement of spiritual power. Students who never hesitated to cover him with ribbons on the base-ball ground or to tease him with ridicule of his favorite players, would rather have faced a battery than appear before him for discipline. In his constant visits to their rooms at odd times, he was always one of them, giving and taking jests, happy over their games, sometimes even mildly tolerant of their mischief, but the slightest violation of propriety or morals would be rebuked by a change of countenance indescribable, but most effective. He knew all the students by name and their antecedents, and he tried to make each one feel that “the Doctor” and he had some confidences shared by no one else. As a rule, the students worshipped him. If there was any fault found by any of them it was that his horror of certain kinds of evil was so keen that he could not force himself to be lenient to offenders of that class. In one other respect, he was sometimes misunderstood. He was with some men more than with others. They were not always necessarily the best or most congenial. They were those who, in his opinion, needed most help, and if any man ever thought that he was neglected it was because he himself erected the barrier that kept that great heart away from him. Sincere, true, tender, genuine through and through, that the Doctor always was, and the contact with such a life was an everlasting blessing to those who discovered it in time. Some, perhaps, who read these lines will recall with various emotions the old days–the early chapel service, and the walks with the Doctor afterwards, the thrilling sermons, the Easter morning breakfasts, the Sunday …night receptions, the gathering on the lawn at commencement, the choir suppers, the recitations in Butler, the Seniors’ tea, the hundred other associations with the old place where he was the spirit and the head; but however the memory comes to them now, with whatever regrets or misgivings or grateful joy, it cannot but bring the picture of a grand, pure, unselfish personality which never once in all the storms that beat upon it faltered for an instant in its love or duty for the individual students committed to its care.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Education, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Young Adults

(Local Paper) South Carolina DHEC eases COVID-19 school guidance as number of new cases declines

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced it would provide new guidance to help schools and child care centers transition from Test to Stay quarantine and isolation.

“Our updated guidance recognizes that COVID-19 is an illness that we now need to treat and manage as endemic, and will help our schools, child care centers, and ultimately all of us make that transition,” Dr. Edward Simmer, director of the state health agency, said. “It also allows us to respond quickly should another surge or impactful new variant arise.”

According to DHEC, the guidance resembles pre-COVID-19 guidance for influenza, allowing schools and child care centers to suspend Test to Stay or quarantine once they have had two consecutive weeks with less than 10 percent of all students and staff having COVID-19.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Education, Health & Medicine

(CJ) A Generational Threat to Free Expression–Survey data show that Americans under 30 prize cancel culture over liberty.

The clash between socialist and liberal economics defined the late twentieth century, and this century brings a cultural version of that struggle. Today’s culture wars pit advocates of equal outcomes and special protection for identity groups against defenders of due process, equal treatment, scientific reason, and free speech. Our political map is taking shape around this new divide between what I will call cultural socialism and cultural liberalism.

Cultural socialism, which values equal results and harm prevention for identity groups over individual rights, has inspired race-based pedagogies and harsh punishments for controversial speech. Rooted in the idea that historically marginalized groups are sacred, this view is no passing fad. Letters, associations, universities, and media defending free speech notwithstanding, the young adherents of cultural socialism are steadily overturning the liberal ethos of the adult world.

Survey data from my new Manhattan Institute report, “The Politics of the Culture Wars in Contemporary America,” show the scale of the challenge. While the American public leans two-to-one in favor of cultural liberalism, a majority of Americans under 30 incline toward cultural socialism. For instance, while 65 percent of Americans over 55 oppose Google’s decision to fire James Damore for having questioned the firm’s training on gender equity, those under 30 support the firing by a 59–41 margin. Similar gaps separate young and old people on similar instances of cancel culture, such as the oustings of Gina Carano (an actor fired from Star Wars for social media posts) and Brendan Eich (the former CEO of Mozilla forced out in 2014 for opposing gay marriage in 2008). Only part of this disparity stems from the fact that young people lean left: centrist young people, for instance, support Google over Damore by a 61–39 margin, while centrists over 55 support Damore over Google 58–42.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Young Adults

(Guardian) Winchester college society was cult-like, finds report into child abuse

A cult-like evangelical Christian society at a leading private school allowed a powerful and charismatic barrister to groom and sadistically abuse boys with impunity, an investigation has found.

Members of the Christian Forum at Winchester college “showed signs of what would today be described as radicalisation”, said a 197-page review commissioned by the elite school into abuse carried out by John Smyth QC.

The school’s then headteacher, John Thorn, was informed of the abuse in 1982 but did not report it to police. Smyth moved to Zimbabwe, where he abused “as many as 90 boys, possibly resulting in the death of one”, the report said.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(BBC) Yeterday Uganda schools reopened after almost two years of Covid closure

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Uganda

A story from a School in Michigan for Christmas

I have a friend who teaches in the upper peninsula in Michigan. He has one of those schools that run from kindergarten all the way up through eighth grade, including special ed. One of his students was intellectually slow, couldn’t do very well in classes. And when Christmas Pageant time came he wanted to have a part in the Pageant. What’s more, he wanted a speaking part. He wouldn’t settle for anything less.

So they made into the innkeeper. They figured he could handle that because all he had to do was say, “No room,” twice: once before Mary spoke, once after she spoke. The night of the Pageant, Mary knocks on the door he opens the door, and he says in a brusque fashion, “No room!” Mary says, “But I’m sick, and I’m cold, and I’m going to have a baby, and if you don’t give me a place to sleep, my baby will be born in the cold, cold night.”

He just stood there. The boy behind him nudged him and said, “No room, No room, say, “No room.’” And finally, he turned and he said, “I know what I’m supposed to say, but she can have my room.”

–Anthony Campolo in William H. Willimon Ed, Sermons from Duke Chapel: Voices from “A Great Towering Church” (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), p.294; used by yours truly in the Christmas Eve sermon

Posted in Children, Christmas, Education, Preaching / Homiletics

(WSJ) NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay

Five months after Kassandra Jones earned her master’s in public health from New York University in May 2019, she still hadn’t landed a job in the field. She was staring down a six-figure student-loan balance and had to pay for rent and food.

So she sold her eggs. Again.

Ms. Jones first harvested her eggs before starting at NYU in 2017 to help pay for moving to the city, she said. She received a $12,500 annual scholarship and relied on $131,000 in federal loans to cover the rest of her tuition and expenses. She has given her eggs five times, including to an NYU fertility clinic, earning $50,000.

Now 28 years old, Ms. Jones is working freelance on public-health campaigns for nonprofits making about $1,500 a month, which isn’t covering her living expenses, she said. She is applying for new jobs and considering leaving the field. “There are definitely moments where that number just looms as this tunnel that doesn’t have a light at the end of it,” she said of her debt. “It feels like I’m kind of trapped.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Women, Young Adults

(L and L) Mark A. Kalthoff–The Purpose of a Liberal Education

My thirty-two years of teaching experience have taught me that most students of the liberal arts become less interested in acquiring the means to get what they want than in figuring out what in life is really worth wanting, what ends are ultimately worth pursuing. The business of education is learning what to love and how to love it in the right way. If done properly, this involves improving one’s heart and character—which involves an ordering of the soul. One must come to recognize that which is genuinely good, true, or beautiful, and one’s soul must learn how those things ought to be loved.

Students young and old must free themselves to enjoy learning for its own sake, not just for the sake of the earning power it bestows. Only when learning is pursued for its own sake will that learning do its most for the student. It will order the soul, discipline the mind, and equip one, not just for the workplace, but for the job of living, that is, for flourishing in all the capacities that await in life. A good liberal education provides the kind of preparation needed to live well—not just for success at the office, but more importantly, beyond it.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Education, History, Philosophy

(Telegraph) France slips down power rankings amid warnings country is sliding ‘backwards

In other notes, the state auditor took aim at France’s school system saying that despite a raft of reforms and spending above the OCDE average, results remained “mediocre” and “are tending to get worse”, particularly among pupils from underprivileged backgrounds.

It suggested providing school heads with more “managerial” powers to pick their teachers, merit-based bonuses, and evaluation of schools’ performance – highly sensitive issues in France.

Perhaps the most damning note of all was reserved for the French culture ministry.

Once the pride of the nation for fostering France’s sacrosanct “cultural exception” in the face of Anglo-Saxon hegemony, the auditor said the ministry had over the past 40 years effectively morphed into a glorified “ticket office” for state handouts from its €3bn annual budget to a plethora of cultural players all defending their “acquired rights”.

The ministry should “refocus on a limited number of missions and exercise these in a more strategic way,” it said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Education, France

(C of E) Heat pump under playing field helps school cut emissions in bid to reach net zero carbon

The effort comes as all parts of the Church are working to reach net-zero carbon by 2030.

To fit the ground source heat pump, The Parish of St Laurence C of E Primary School in Chorley, Lancashire, had to install 4,500 metres of piping under its playing field, and drill seven bore holes to a depth of 150m.

A ground source heat pump works by drawing on heat below the ground with water heated as it is pumped through underground pipes. The water is then pressurised and used to heat a building.

The school’s efforts have received national acclaim, including at the Green Church Showcase – an event hosted in Glasgow during the COP26 summit.

Alongside the heating improvements, all lighting throughout the building has also been converted to more efficient LED bulbs, and solar panels have been added to the roof. Steps have also been taken to make the building more airtight, reducing draughts and heat loss.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ecology, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

The Bishop of Coventry accepts an invitation to lead Further and Higher Education work

In 2020 the Church of England launched its Vision for Higher Education and in 2021 set out plans for a major shift in engagement with the sector as part of its Vision for Further Education.

Bishop Christopher has been Bishop of Coventry since 2008. After teaching in secondary education, he trained for ordination and pursued doctoral studies. He has served in parochial and chaplaincy ministry and in theological education, latterly as Principal of Ridley Hall, Cambridge and in 2010 was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of London for his services to education. He was also awarded a Lambeth DD earlier this year.

Commenting on his appointment Bishop Christopher said, “Coventry Diocese is home to a number of Further and Higher Education institutions, and I am looking forward to extending my links with other institutions more widely and to demonstrating the Church’s commitment to this vital sector of our national life.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We are delighted that Bishop Christopher has accepted this role. His academic background, experience and wisdom will be a blessing to this important area of our work….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(CT) Can Maine Cover the Cost of Christian School Tuition?

The latest Supreme Court case over public funding for religious schooling examines a policy in Maine, a state dotted with small towns too tiny to run their own public schools. Over half of the state’s school districts (officially called “school administrative units” or SAUs for short) contract with and pay tuition costs to another nearby school of the parents’ choice—public or private.

And that’s where the hangup lies. By law, Maine mandates that partnering private schools be “nonsectarian in nature, in accordance with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution” to receive the funding, and three Christian families in the state are challenging the requirement.

The Supreme Court will hear their case, Carson vs. Makin, this week. The decision could set further precedent in defining the distance between church and state and the approach to religious freedom itself, as it makes a distinction between barring public funding due to religious identity of the recipient and barring funding to the religious purpose it would be used to advance.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, State Government, Supreme Court

Thursday Morning Encouragement–An unforgettable story about the tremendous impact of one teacher

Listen to it all (just under 6 minutes).


(Hat tip: EH)

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Education, History, Poetry & Literature

(NPR) Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout

Two weeks’ notice: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina voted on Oct. 28 to close schools on Nov. 12 for a “day of kindness, community and connection.”

Five days’ notice: On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17, Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan announced that schools would be closed the following Monday and Tuesday, extending Thanksgiving break for a full week. The district cited rising COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

Three and even two days’ notice: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 9 and 10, three different districts in Washington state — in Seattle, Bellevue and Kent — announced schools would be closed that same Friday, the day after Veterans Day, due to staff shortages.

Schools and districts around the country have been canceling classes on short notice. The cancellations aren’t directly for COVID-19 quarantines; instead schools are citing staff shortages, staff fatigue, mental health and sometimes even student fights.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

(Local Paper) Charleston County School Board votes to end mask requirement

Charleston County School District decided its mask mandate will end on Nov. 10, allowing students, staff and visitors to go to schools without face coverings.

The district’s school board voted overwhelmingly in favor of ending its mask policy during a Nov. 8 meeting, citing a low spread of the COVID-19 virus and the recent availability of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11.

The district reported only 38 cases among about 50,000 students and staff members over the week of Nov. 1 — the eighth consecutive week cases fell. During its peak the week of Aug. 30, there were 473 cases reported among students and staff members.

The district is following guidance from doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina, which said that it’s reasonable to unmask when spread of the virus is low in the community. The COVID-19 activity in Charleston County is currently rated “low” by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Health & Medicine

(NYT) Election Results Provide a Stark Warning to Democrats

Mr. Youngkin had campaigned heavily on education and seized on Mr. McAuliffe’s remark that he didn’t “believe parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Mr. Youngkin used the comment, made during a debate, as an entryway to hammer his rival on issues like race and transgender rights in schools. The issues simultaneously motivated the G.O.P. base while casting the matter to moderates as an issue of parental rights.

“This is no longer a campaign,” Mr. Youngkin said. “It is a movement being led by Virginia’s parents.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Joe Biden, State Government

(PD) Robert Miller–Academic Freedom and the Community of Scholars: A Response to Nathanael Blake

Still, Blake raises a good question when he asks why universities tolerate professors who support morally reprehensible ideas. Blake thinks the answer is “moral relativism,” but that cannot be right, for, as we saw above, universities have no trouble enforcing moral norms against plagiarism, embezzlement, and the rest. So why mention moral relativism? I suspect the answer is that, if the university held that all ideas were equally good and equally bad, then it would make little sense to punish a professor on the basis of his ideas, and so the university would have a strong policy of academic freedom. In other words, moral relativism implies academic freedom. But even conceding this point arguendo, it is just a logical fallacy (the fallacy of affirming the consequent) to infer the converse and conclude that academic freedom implies moral relativism.

The fallacy becomes obvious when we reflect that there are strong arguments for academic freedom based on objective moral theories. For example, although some academic speech is objectively good and other academic speech is objectively bad, nevertheless limiting academic freedom requires empowering university administrators to decide which speech is good and which is bad, which should be allowed and which suppressed. Empowering people in this way is so dangerous that it is objectively wrong, just as giving teenage boys whiskey and automobiles is objectively wrong. Even when university officials act in good faith, there will be many close calls, and history teems with examples of speech once widely considered bad that we now believe is good, and vice versa. Hence, in any system of speech regulation, the decisions of those running the system will involve a very high error rate, and, even worse, the errors will not be randomly distributed but will skew strongly in favor of ideas with which the officials themselves agree and against ideas with which they disagree.

The fact that there are some easy cases (bestiality is wrong) does not change this; once officials are empowered to decide which speech will be allowed and which suppressed, they will decide not only the easy cases but the hard cases as well. Moreover, the people running the system will not always act in good faith but will sometimes abuse their power to punish those with whose speech they disagree. Indeed, the history of censorship strongly suggests that such abuses are common. On this view, although free speech and academic freedom come at a cost (bad speech is permitted and causes real harm), the costs of a system of censorship are much worse.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy