Category : Education

Church aims to double number of UK Minority Ethnic Head Teachers in England

The ‘Leaders Like Us’ scheme, which is now open for applications, aims to equip UKME teachers with the skills for headship, and has funding to train more than 450 teachers by 2027.

Around one in every three students in schools in England are from UKME backgrounds, but there are fewer than 400 headteachers from the same backgrounds in total, out of more than 20,000 schools.

Research shows that the impact of teacher and school leader representation on students is significant; their attainment and likelihood of progressing to tertiary education is exponentially higher when students see leaders like them. Their exclusion and suspension rates decrease and future aspirations are also measurably lower.

However, data shows that teachers from UKME backgrounds are much less likely to progress to senior positions within their schools than their white peers, becoming increasingly under-represented the more senior the role. A recent report from the National Foundation for Educational Research showed that rather than improving over the last few years, there has in fact been a decline in representation.

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

(Independent) Religious leaders back our campaign to urgently extend free school meals

Religious leaders have backed The Independent‘s call for free school meals to be extended to more children living in poverty and urged the government to make it one of its priorities this winter.

Paul Butler, the Bishop of Durham, said: “It is heartbreaking to think of children living in poverty facing this winter without free school meals and the impact this will have on their health, wellbeing and educational outcomes.”

Our Feed the Future campaign, in partnership with the Food Foundation and a coalition of charities, calls on the government for free school meals to be extended to all children living in families that rely on universal credit.

Mr Butler, who is lead bishop for the Church of England in the House of Lords on welfare issues, added: “The Independent has shone a light on the heroic efforts of schools to step in and support their pupils and struggling families through initiatives such as school food banks but it really should not be down to them to fill this gap. I have long held that all children in families in receipt of universal credit should receive free school meals and I urge the government to give this priority in their spending plans.”

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Education, England / UK, Islam, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Hard-up church-school head turns to his family to fill staff gaps

Spiralling costs and staff shortages have forced the head teacher of a church school in Devon to ask his mother to help out as a lunch supervisor and to rope his sister in to do the cleaning.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has warned that schools are “cut to the bone”. The association has released data from a survey of its members, suggesting that 90 per cent of schools will go into deficit in the next academic year, and half expect to go into the red in the next 12 months.

The general secretary of the NAHT, Paul Whiteman, told the Observer on Sunday. “There are no easy fixes left. This will mean cutting teaching hours, teaching assistants, and teachers.”

Last week, Steve Hitchcock, the head teacher of St Peter’s C of E Primary School, in Budleigh Salterton, told the APEX news agency that there was nothing left to cut. The school was “constantly asking parents for money, constantly asking local groups, constantly trying to get money from any source”.

The school’s energy bills had doubled in the past six months, he said, while real-terms income had fallen by nine per cent in the past decade. Rising costs and diminishing income has left the catering budget £38,000 in arrears, and meant that the school was unable to give catering staff a pay rise in line with inflation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Education, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

(Local paper front page) Columbia elementary school’s reading test scores soar through pandemic, past state expectations

Alexis Temple started teaching English and Language Arts in Columbia at the height of a pandemic.

Her third grade students had fallen far below the S.C. Department of Education’s academic standards. The Greenville native said she was in survival mode.

In the capital city’s historic Waverly district, Carver-Lyon Elementary School serves nearly 400 students. Over 95 percent of the students are minorities and all come from low-income households, two groups whose academic progress was disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. School administrators anticipated that their students’ learning was likely to suffer during remote learning. The school had to figure out a way to use what little resources they had to their full potential.

Carver-Lyon came up with a game plan. School administrators knew that by third grade, standardized tests look at whether students could read, but on how well they understood the material. They decided to help students with their reading comprehension through a combination of collaborative group exercises, freedom of choice in literature and the acceptance of toggling between dialects.

This combination ultimately raised their third grade students’ English Language Arts test scores by 78 percent over three years ending in 2021….

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Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education

(FA) Nicholas Eberstadt and Evan Abramsky–America’s Education Crisis Is a National Security Threat

The erosion of the United States’ educational edge will eventually weaken the country’s global reach. With a less highly educated workforce than it could or should have, the United States will have less economic, political, and military heft with which to defend its interests and uphold the economic and security architecture that has defined the postwar order. Eventually, Pax Americana will come under pressure. It is not hard to imagine a progressively less peaceable and more economically insecure international environment in which the United States has much less influence as a result of its stagnating pool of high-skilled labor.

Fortunately, the United States still has good options for coping with loss of educational hegemony. But they all require Washington to take initiative—something it seems unaccustomed to lately. Through more active and imaginative diplomacy, the United States could seek to forge new coalitions or alliances that would add human resource ballast to the liberal order. This might entail patient cultivation of new security partnerships with some of tomorrow’s major centers of highly educated labor: India, Indonesia, Vietnam—maybe even Iran. Other intriguing possibilities include a closer integration of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, which might bring North America’s strategic potential more in line with its tremendous demographic and economic potential.

Meanwhile, the United States could attempt to reverse its ominous educational slowdown. Stagnation in educational attainment is impeding economic growth and likely robbing the United States of trillions of dollars in output each year—a price that will only rise if the United States doesn’t shift course. Part of the problem is that Americans do not want to buy a lot of what U.S. educators want to sell, and it is hard to blame them. The quality of public primary and secondary schooling is woefully uneven, and a high school diploma does not always come with marketable skills. Higher education is increasingly bureaucratized, ideological, and expensive. If Americans treated education as if their future depended on it, they would look for far-reaching overhauls, not marginal changes, and they would look beyond teachers’ unions and university administrators for better ideas. Revitalizing the country’s human resources—not just educational attainment, but health, workforce participation, and even family—will increasingly be strategic imperatives for the United States.

The coming demographic and educational changes are predictable. But they are not entirely inevitable, and they are unfolding slowly. The United States has time to adapt and address its educational shortcomings before it is too late. To avoid squandering its educational edge and putting its position of global primacy at risk, however, Washington must acknowledge that education is no longer just a domestic policy issue but a national security issue on which the very future of the United States depends.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Education, Foreign Relations, Globalization

Hidden’s Brain’s Unsung Hero segment with a wonderful story about little things being anything but little

After Brandon, a teacher, learned that his new niece was delivered stillborn, his entire school was informed of the loss. None of his students talked to him the next day — except for one young student named Marissa

Take the time to listen to it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology

(WSJ) Schools Are Back and Confronting Severe Learning Losses

Delainey Tidwell says she loves reading. The tricky part for her is understanding the words on the page.

“I would read one sentence over and over again,” said the 9-year-old fourth-grader.

Though she returned to school in August 2020, repeated quarantines left her mostly on her own at home. Her father is a construction supervisor who has to be on site. Her mother works from home but gets few breaks during the day. Delainey sometimes had to care for her little sister during virtual school.

Delainey’s difficulty with comprehension is also hurting her in math class, where she struggles to understand word problems, said her mother, Danyal Tidwell, who pins some blame on the pandemic. “We want to give her every resource we can between school and home, because we want her caught up,” Mrs. Tidwell said.

For two years, schools and researchers have wrestled with pandemic-era learning setbacks resulting mostly from a lack of in-person classes. They are struggling to combat the learning loss, as well as to measure just how deep it is. Some answers to the second question are becoming clear. National data show that children who were learning to read earlier in the pandemic have the lowest reading proficiency rates in about 20 years.

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Posted in Children, Education, Health & Medicine

(Forbes) The University Of North Carolina Strikes A Blow For the Freedom Of Speech

On July 27, the University of North Carolina (UNC)–Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees made a strong, new commitment to safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus. Colleges and universities face immense pressure to comport with majority beliefs, but UNC’s trustees proactively resolved to maintain institutional neutrality on controversial political and social issues.

The trustees’ unanimous resolution built on the previous work of the faculty. To the credit of the UNC Faculty Assembly, it adopted in 2018 the Chicago Principles on Freedom of Expression, an action affirmed by the trustees in March 2021. The faculty resolution read, in part, “By reaffirming a commitment to full and open inquiry, robust debate, and civil discourse we also affirm the intellectual rigor and open-mindedness that our community may bring to any forum where difficult, challenging, and even disturbing ideas are presented.”

The trustees took a remarkable further step. In addition to confirming once more the decision of the Faculty Assembly, they put the university in the vanguard of institutions committed to a robust heterodoxy of views and opinions by also adopting what is known as the Kalven Committee Report on the University’s Role in Political and Social Action. The UNC resolution notes that the Kalven Report “recognizes that the neutrality of the University on social and political issues ‘arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints’ and further acknowledges ‘a heavy presumption against the university taking collective action or expressing opinions on the political and social issues of the day.’”

In an interview with me, UNC Trustee Dr. Perrin Jones, who introduced the resolution, observed that the unanimity of the board reflected its desire for public affirmation of the university’s commitment to be a forum for open and vigorous debate, which cannot happen without institutional neutrality. Board members embrace, in Dr. Jones’s words, the “high bar” of living up to these “timeless principles.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Law & Legal Issues, Young Adults

A prayer for the Feast Day of Artemisia Bowden

O God, by thy Holy Spirit thou dost give gifts to thy people so that they might faithfully serve thy Church and the world: We give praise to thee for the gifts of perseverance, teaching and wisdom made manifest in thy servant, Artemisia Bowden, whom thou didst call far from home for the sake of educating the daughters and granddaughters of former slaves in Texas. We give thanks to thee for thy blessing and prospering of her life’s work, and pray that, following her example, we may be ever mindful of the call to serve where thou dost send us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Education, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) With an Eye to Mission and Money, More Evangelical Universities Go Green

There are two reasons to put solar panels on the roofs of Calvin University.

One, renewable energy can provide power for the private Christian campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, without adding to the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide that are driving climate change.

Two, it will save the school some money.

At Calvin, the environmental reason is primary. The budgetary help is a bonus.

“I think taking care of the planet is a prerequisite to being a Christian,” Tim Fennema, vice president for administration and finance, told CT. “And as a Christian university, it’s something we want to do.”

Calvin is on a mission to be carbon neutral by 2057. The school got a little closer last month when it announced a partnership with the Indiana-based Sun FundED to come up with a plan to install solar arrays on university buildings, offsetting the high-carbon energy sources Calvin currently uses to heat, cool, and power the campus.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Ecology, Education, Energy, Natural Resources, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(Washington Post) Russia sending teachers to Ukraine to control what students learn

Russia has promised hundreds of teachers big money to go to occupied Ukraine and give students there a “corrected” education — with Russia’s take on Ukraine’s history — in the coming school year.

For some teachers in Chuvashia, a republic about 400 miles east of Moscow, the offer seemed tempting. The average monthly salary in the region is around $550, but the prospective salary posted by a school director on a Chuvashia teachers’ chat group was for more than $2,900 a month.

“Urgent,” his June 17 message said. “Teachers needed for [Zaporizhzhia] and Kherson regions for the summer period. 8600 rubles a day. The job is to prepare schools for the new school year. Transportation there and back — free. Accommodation and food — under discussion.”

An hour later, the director added: “Dear teachers, is there anyone else who wishes to help colleagues? It is safe in those regions. Please respond fast.” Both solicitations were shared with The Washington Post by the Alliance of Teachers, an independent group in Russia….

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Posted in Education, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Russia, Ukraine

(Local Paper) South Carolina school districts are investing thousands in security. Experts warn it’s not the answer.

Some of South Carolina’s largest school districts are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in advanced security technology with little evidence that it will actually keep students safer.

The districts are increasing security measures after the nation’s most recent mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 shook the country. School shootings are on the rise, but experts warn that knee-jerk security increases don’t effectively protect schools.

Jason Nance, associate dean for research at the University of Florida’s law school, noted that barriers like metal detectors are tangible objects politicians and school district authorities can point to when they want to prove to the public that their schools are secure.

Yet there aren’t strong findings to show metal detectors better protect students…..

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Posted in * South Carolina, Education

(Gallup) Americans’ Confidence in Public Schools remains poor

Americans’ confidence in U.S. public schools remains low, with 28% saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the institution, similar to 32% last year. Both figures are down from 41% in 2020, reflecting a brief surge in the early months of the pandemic after registering 29% in 2019.

While all political party groups expressed more confidence than usual in public schools in 2020, Republicans’ confidence has since plunged, while independents’ has dipped and Democrats’ has remained near their pandemic high.

The percentage of Republicans having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in public schools fell from 34% in 2020 to 20% in 2021 and 14% today. Since 2020, independents’ confidence has declined nine percentage points to 29% and Democrats’ has remained fairly high — currently 43%, versus 48% in 2020.

Today’s 29-point gap between Republican and Democratic confidence in public schools contrasts with an average seven points since the start of Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions trend in 1973.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Education

([London] Times) Cambridge University culture blamed for spate of student deaths

Friends of a student believed to have taken his own life at Cambridge University have claimed that a high-pressure academic culture has contributed to worsening mental health on campus.

With five suspected suicides in the past four months, the university has set up a rapid response group involving health professionals to review the recent deaths. The first has been confirmed as suicide by a coroner; the rest remain subject to inquests.

A friend of one of the students said she believed that Covid, combined with a pervasive culture to be a good academic, had contributed to the deaths. “Welfare support at Cambridge is quite strange,” she said. “They prioritise the academic so much that welfare is all about ‘what can we do to make you get better grades’. [My friend] who died, there are a lot of things the college probably did wrong, that I think they should change.

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Posted in Education, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Young Adults

(Economist) The Covid19 learning loss has been a global disaster

New data suggest that the damage has been worse than almost anyone expected. Locking kids out of school has prevented many of them from learning how to read properly. Before the pandemic 57% of ten-year-olds in low and middle-income countries could not read a simple story, says the World Bank. That figure may have risen to 70%, it now estimates. The share of ten-year-olds who cannot read in Latin America, probably the worst-affected region, could rocket from around 50% to 80% (see chart 1).

Children who never master the basics will grow up to be less productive and to earn less. McKinsey, a consultancy, estimates that by 2040 education lost to school closures could cause global gdp to be 0.9% lower than it would otherwise have been—an annual loss of $1.6trn. The World Bank thinks the disruption could cost children $21trn in earnings over their lifetimes—a sum equivalent to 17% of global gdp today. That is much more than the $10trn it had estimated in 2020, and also an increase on the $17trn it was predicting last year.

In many parts of the world, schools were closed for far too long…. During the first two years of the pandemic countries enforced national school closures lasting 20 weeks on average, according to unesco. Periods of “partial” closure—when schools were closed in some parts of a country, or to some year groups, or were running part-time schedules—wasted a further 21 weeks. Regional differences are huge. Full and partial shutdowns lasted 29 weeks in Europe and 32 weeks in sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in Latin America imposed restrictions lasting 63 weeks, on average. That figure was 73 weeks in South Asia.

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Posted in Children, Education, Globalization, Health & Medicine

(PD) Nicole Stelle Garnett–Another Chink in the Armor of Legal Discrimination against Religious Schools

Fortunately, in Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court ruled that faith-based schools cannot be asked to shed their religious identity in order to participate in school-choice programs. As the majority opinion makes clear, Maine’s exclusion of faith-based schools from its tuition assistance program is neither constitutionally required nor constitutionally permissible.

Of course, before the twenty-first century, the state might have been forgiven for making an honest mistake. The Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause doctrine has been all over the map in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1980, many decisions seemed to prohibit students from using public funds to attend religious schools. Speaking of maps, for example, in Meek v. Pittenger (1975) and Wolman v. Walters (1977), the Court held that the Establishment Clause permitted states to provide secular textbooks, but not instructional materials such as maps, to faith-based schools. Seriously.

Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause doctrine has taken a decidedly pro-religion turn in the past few decades. In decision after decision leading up to Carson, the Court has reiterated that the Constitution demands neutrality and prohibits hostility toward religious institutions and believers. Importantly, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the Court held that the Establishment Clause does not prohibit faith-based schools from participating in publicly funded private-school-choice programs.

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

(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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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