Category : Education

(American Affairs) Patrick Deenen reviews Michael Sandel’s recent book “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?”

In the end, Sandel flinches: in spite of accusing the new ruling order of “tyranny,” he fails to locate any tyrants. This silence on the meri­tocracy’s self-deception, in what is otherwise a singularly powerful critique of the pathologies of meritocracy, is telling. Sandel is remark­ably incurious about whether meritocrats’ justifications of their moral eminence might in fact shroud the deeper “will to power” one would expect to find among tyrants.

For instance, Sandel evinces a lack of suspicion when listing a string of dubious actions by the meritocrats, concluding simply that they “have not governed very well”—not that they have governed with malevolence. He cites a string of failures from 1980 to the present, includ­ing “stagnant wages for most workers, inequalities of income and wealth not seen since the 1920s, the Iraq War, a nineteen-year, incon­clusive war in Afghanistan, financial deregulation, the financial crisis of 2008,” and so forth (29). In each instance, however, these were not “failures” if you were a member of the meritocracy. Almost to a person, the ruling class benefited from these crises, or at the very least, were not harmed by their consequences, even as they collectively diminished the prospects for flourishing among the meritocracy’s losers. Sandel regards these outcomes as failed policies of otherwise well-intentioned leaders, rather than identifying them as the expected outcomes of a ruling class’s efforts to maintain its position.

We return to where we began. At its outset, meritocracy, like most regimes, was defended as a just and beneficent new departure. It would replace the injustice of the ancien régime by encouraging and rewarding people for their talents. If inequality was to be an inescapable result, nevertheless the “industrious and rational” would afford benefits to the society as a whole. Prosperity, progress, and enlightenment would spread even to the “quarrelsome and contentious”: as Locke wrote, the life of the day laborer in England was better than the mightiest king of the Indians in America. Unlike in a vicious regime, the ruling meritocrats would govern not (merely) for their own advantage, but for the advantage and even common good of all.

Although it has barely been a century since Conant began his transformation of Harvard, and about a half century since the full realization of the new meritocratic regime celebrated by Gardner with the ascent of the “best and the brightest,” overwhelming evidence suggests that the meritocracy’s claims are altogether unbelievable, useful mainly as the self-serving subterfuge of an oppressive ruling class. For those outside the charmed meritocratic winner’s circle, prospects for flourishing have precipitously declined in recent dec­ades, as documented in such works as Charles Murray’s Coming Apart and Robert Putnam’s Our Kids. Among the noncredentialed, life spans are declining, deaths of despair increasing, material circumstances have worsened, social stability and moral formation have cratered. By their own admission, meritocratic elites have failed to improve race relations in America. The meritocrats’ claims to benefi­cence might once have been widely believed before this accumulating evidence, but now they largely function as a form of self-deceit among the rulers. Awareness of the potential for malevolent, even tyrannical intention behind these developments seems to be missing in Sandel. Yet such evidence seems increasingly apparent: approximately half the country showed its disbelief and contempt for elite ruling claims by voting for a demagogic anti-elitist. The reaction of the ruling class was four years of denying the legitimacy of the election, denouncing those who dared to vote for the demagogue, and unremitting efforts to “resist”—with hardly a moment to spare to reflect about their complicity in bringing about this wrenching period in our national history.

Sandel’s title, The Tyranny of Merit, is arguably more accurate an assessment of meritocracy than the ultimate thrust of his book. Ac­cording to the classical definition, meritocracy is a tyranny because its ruling class accrues benefits for itself while causing material, social, and spiritual impoverishment among those it governs. Sandel states that “merit can become a kind of tyranny,” but avoids discussing the motivations of the tyrants.

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

(City Journal) Bari Weiss–The Miseducation of America’s Elites

This Harvard-Westlake parents’ group is one of many organizing quietly around the country to fight what it describes as an ideological movement that has taken over their schools. This story is based on interviews with more than two dozen of these dissenters—teachers, parents, and children—at elite prep schools in two of the bluest states in the country: New York and California.

The parents in the backyard say that for every one of them, there are many more, too afraid to speak up. “I’ve talked to at least five couples who say: I get it. I think the way you do. I just don’t want the controversy right now,” related one mother. They are all eager for their story to be told—but not a single one would let me use their name. They worry about losing their jobs or hurting their children if their opposition to this ideology were known.

“The school can ask you to leave for any reason,” said one mother at Brentwood, another Los Angeles prep school. “Then you’ll be blacklisted from all the private schools and you’ll be known as a racist, which is worse than being called a murderer.”

One private school parent, born in a Communist nation, tells me: “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.” Another joked: “We need to feed our families. Oh, and pay $50,000 a year to have our children get indoctrinated.” A teacher in New York City put it most concisely: “To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology

(ProPublica) The lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers

As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their “circulation.” There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidence that schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus.

As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sports, Teens / Youth

(NYT) Nigeria’s Boarding Schools Have Become a Hunting Ground for Kidnappers

When nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their boarding school by the Islamist group Boko Haram in 2014, the world exploded in outrage. Hundreds marched in the country’s capital, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was picked up by then First Lady Michelle Obama and Nigeria’s president scrambled to respond to the mass abduction in the village of Chibok.

It seemed an aberration. But since last December, mass kidnappings of girls and boys at boarding schools in northwest Nigeria have been happening more and more frequently — at least one every three weeks. Just last Friday, more than 300 girls were taken from their school in Zamfara state. They were released this week, the governor of the state announced early Tuesday. The week before, more than 40 children and adults were abducted from a boarding school in Niger state. They were freed on Saturday.

With Nigeria’s economy in crisis, kidnapping has become a growth industry, according to interviews with security analysts and a recent report on the economics of abductions. The victims are now not just the rich, powerful or famous, but also the poor — and increasingly, school children who are rounded up en masse.

The perpetrators are often gangs of bandits, who are taking advantage of a dearth of effective policing and the easy availability of guns.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Teens / Youth

(NYT) Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College

The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN picked up the story of a young female student harassed by white workers. The American Civil Liberties Union, which took the student’s case, said she was profiled for “eating while Black.”

Less attention was paid three months later when a law firm hired by Smith College to investigate the episode found no persuasive evidence of bias. Ms. Kanoute was determined to have eaten in a deserted dorm that had been closed for the summer; the janitor had been encouraged to notify security if he saw unauthorized people there. The officer, like all campus police, was unarmed.

Smith College officials emphasized “reconciliation and healing” after the incident. In the months to come they announced a raft of anti-bias training for all staff, a revamped and more sensitive campus police force and the creation of dormitories — as demanded by Ms. Kanoute and her A.C.L.U. lawyer — set aside for Black students and other students of color.

But they did not offer any public apology or amends to the workers whose lives were gravely disrupted by the student’s accusation.

This is a tale of how race, class and power collided at the elite 145-year-old liberal arts college, where tuition, room and board top $78,000 a year and where the employees who keep the school running often come from working-class enclaves beyond the school’s elegant wrought iron gates. The story highlights the tensions between a student’s deeply felt sense of personal truth and facts that are at odds with it.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Politics in General, Psychology, Race/Race Relations, Theology

(NYT) Heating Up Culture Wars, France to Scour Universities for Ideas That ‘Corrupt Society’

Stepping up its attacks on social science theories that it says threaten France, the French government announced this week that it would launch an investigation into academic research that it says feeds “Islamo-leftist’’ tendencies that “corrupt society.’’

News of the investigation immediately caused a fierce backlash among university presidents and scholars, deepening fears of a crackdown on academic freedom — especially on studies of race, gender, post-colonial studies and other fields that the French government says have been imported from American universities and contribute to undermining French society.

While President Emmanuel Macron and some of his top ministers have spoken out forcefully against what they see as a destabilizing influence from American campuses in recent months, the announcement marked the first time that the government has moved to take action.

It came as France’s lower house of Parliament passed a draft law against Islamism, an ideology it views as encouraging terrorist attacks, and as Mr. Macron tilts further to the right, anticipating nationalist challenges ahead of elections next year.

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Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, France, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General

Remembering the remarkable Percy Julian

Percy Julian was one of the great scientists of the 20th century. In a chemistry career spanning four decades, he made many valuable discoveries, for which he was awarded dozens of patents, 18 honorary degrees, and membership to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences—only the second African American bestowed such an honor.

Yet Julian’s achievements as a trailblazer for Black chemists, while less well-known, are no less remarkable. Growing up when racial discrimination factored into every aspect of life for Blacks in America, from riding a bus to getting a job, Julian persevered to realize his dreams. And when he finally “arrived” as a successful chemist and businessman, he did not lose sight of the challenges that fellow Blacks still faced. He became a mentor to scores of young black chemists and, later in life, an inspiration for thousands as a civil-rights leader and speaker.

As the late Vernon Jarrett, one of the nation’s leading commentators on race relations, put it, “This man is Exhibit A of determination and never giving up. I think he’s a role model not only for blacks but for all races.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Austria, Education, History, Marriage & Family, Race/Race Relations, Science & Technology

(Patheos) Francis Beckwith–Baylor Provost Defends Free Speech Against Cancel Culture

We recently had an unfortunate incident at Baylor in which a small group of students on campus, with the assistance of the student newspaper (The Lariat), called for the dismissal of a lecturer in the English department. Her crime? She had made comments on twitter with which these students did not agree. The comments concerned the uncontroversial public policy question of whether biological males who claim to identify as girls or women should be allowed in semi-private spaces (such as restrooms) historically reserved for biological females. On cue, these students used the inapt language of “safety,” which, as should be evident, applies only to things like motorboats, ferris wheels, mountain climbing, automobiles, airplanes, and kayaks, but for some reason they think it applies to beliefs about sex and gender that are not in cultural ascendancy at the moment. They would like us to believe that they would suffer a nervous breakdown if they were required by their professors to read Plato, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, or Elizabeth Anscombe on the nature of erotic love. I don’t believe it. I think too highly of their potential for academic excellence, and thus refuse to cooperate with their diminished understanding of their own resilience and intellectual curiosity.

To add injury to insult, these students have published a petition on change.org calling for not only the firing of the English lecturer but the dismissal of any Baylor faculty member who harbors, and has the temerity to publish, teach, or speak on, ideas and beliefs that make them feel “unsafe,” without any regard to the quality of the faculty member’s arguments or his or her good faith effort in presenting them.

Apparently, these students do not realize that they are enrolled at an actual university, a place in which encountering differing views on a variety of contested questions is supposed to go with the territory. This is why in my classroom my students are required to read, understand, and critique thinkers, scholars, and writers who disagree with each other and with which their professor often parts ways. It would be academic malpractice for me to do otherwise. Can this process be uncomfortable and sometimes unnerving? Of course it can, and often is. But what other path is there to wisdom? Just as you can’t climb Mt. Everest by helicopter, you can’t achieve real insight (unless you’re a special kind of saint or seer) without cultivating real intellectual virtue.

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Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General

For Thomas Aquinas’ Feast Day– Archbishop Michael Miller Speaks on Aquinas and Universities

Authentic Christian faith does not fear reason “but seeks it out and has trust in it”. Faith presupposes reason and perfects it. Nor does human reason lose anything by opening itself to the content of faith. When reason is illumined by faith, it “is set free from the fragility and limitations deriving from the disobedience of sin and finds the strength required to rise to the knowledge of the Triune God”. The Holy Father observes that St Thomas thinks that human reason, as it were, “breathes” by moving within a vast horizon open to transcendence. If, instead, “a person reduces himself to thinking only of material objects or those that can be proven, he closes himself to the great questions about life, himself and God and is impoverished”. Such a person has far too summarily divorced reason from faith, rendering asunder the very dynamic of the intellect.

What does this mean for Catholic universities today? Pope Benedict answers in this way: “The Catholic university is [therefore] a vast laboratory where, in accordance with the different disciplines, ever new areas of research are developed in a stimulating confrontation between faith and reason that aims to recover the harmonious synthesis achieved by Thomas Aquinas and other great Christian thinkers”. When firmly grounded in St Thomas’ understanding of faith and reason, Catholic institutions of higher learning can confidently face every new challenge on the horizon, since the truths discovered by any genuine science can never contradict the one Truth, who is God himself.

Read it all from 2010.

Posted in Church History, Education, Theology

(PD) Timothy P. O’Malley–A Communion of Anxiety: Hookup Culture and the Impossible Horizon of the Future

For those of us who are married and with kids, these micro-transformations are most of our life. We change diapers, play endless games of horsey with toddlers, teach our kids to read and write, ask our teen the questions that matter, and endure the wrath of the same teen when we limit their use of a digital device. We do this because we hope in a future in which truth, goodness, and beauty will be passed on not by us but by our progeny. After all, we will be very dead. But the pursuit of wisdom will continue through our children, who hand on the gift of life to their children, and so on until a future generation knows us exclusively because of a seventh-grade family history project on the part of our great-great-great-great granddaughter.

All of this may seem a strange way to deal with hookup culture and an increasing fear of procreation. But if hookup culture and the anxiety of introducing children into this world is about fear of the future, then we must uphold the gift of commitment, stability, and those small acts of love that no human being will recognize as an accomplishment worth fêting.

It is precisely through these micro-transformations that a future will be created that is marked by generosity and communion. In other words, a future in which everyone will introduce children into a world that is very good.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

(Bloomberg) Affluent Families Ditch Public Schools, Widening U.S. Inequality

One is thriving after switching from online public school to in-person private education. The other is struggling, stuck in her virtual classroom.

The lives of these two girls, Ella Pierick and Afiya Harris, encapsulate the growing divide in U.S. education as more affluent parents flee public schools.

In Connecticut, enrollment fell 3%. Colorado reported a similar decline, with the steepest losses in one of its wealthiest counties. Chicago’s rosters dipped 4.1%, the most in 20 years.

Parents with means are instead homeschooling; joining with other families to hire teachers in so-called pandemic pods; or signing up for private schools. Poor and minority children often have no choice but to attend inferior virtual classrooms, and some are just giving up entirely.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing

(NBC) Virginia Educator Gives Back To Students After His Teacher Inspired Him

“Anthony Swann knows that educators have a big impact on their students. A teacher from his youth inspired him to choose education as his career, and now Swann strives to affirm his students every day.”

Enjoy the whole thing.

Posted in Children, Education

(C of E) Rural Teaching Partnership launched to build a fair education for pupils in rural communities

The Church of England, education charity Teach First and the Chartered College of Teaching are today launching the new Rural Teaching Partnership. The partnership will run in ten pilot regions across England and will see trainee teachers, trained by Teach First, start two-year placements with Church of England primary schools in September 2021.

By coming together, these three organisations hope to tackle teacher recruitment challenges currently faced by schools in poorer rural areas, with evidence showing that rural school leaders face greater difficulties with staff recruitment and retention compared to urban schools.

With more than half of its 4,644 schools situated in rural areas, the Church of England is the majority provider of rural schools nationally. Within ten pilot regions, schools serving areas of rural deprivation will be selected for placements either in Church of England schools, or non-Church of England schools which are part of a Church of England federation or multi academy trust.

All trainee teachers in the partnership will be enrolled on Teach First’s Training Programme, which has recruited, trained and placed over 15,000 trainee teachers in schools serving disadvantaged communities to date. They will receive ongoing support and training from Teach First throughout the two years and will also benefit from bespoke training for rural school settings, such as teaching multiple year groups.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life

(NBC) Texas Teacher of the Year inspires students with historic award

“Dallas elementary school teacher Eric Hale made history this year as the first Black man to win the Texas Teacher of the Year award. His engaging lessons both before and during the pandemic have inspired students and colleagues alike.”

Posted in Children, Education

(Local Paper) University of South Carolina cancels spring break in hopes of avoiding possible COVID-19 spike

The University of South Carolina decided to cancel an annual college rite, spring break, to avoid a potential COVID-19 outbreak from thousands of students returning to campus after traveling.

The week of days off usually scheduled in March will be sprinkled throughout the spring semester, the state’s largest college announced in an email to parents and students Thursday. USC is calling the days off “wellness days” scheduled for: Thursday, Feb. 25; Friday, March 12; Tuesday, March 30; and Wednesday, April 21.

“I certainly understand your disappointment with this announcement,” USC Provost Bill Tate said in an email sent to university community. “However, I, and the medical community, firmly believe it is the right thing to do in light of the unprecedented worldwide pandemic.”

College of Charleston, South Carolina’s third-largest school, canceled spring break as well. Clemson University, second only to USC in enrollment in the state, has not announced a decision.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Education, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

(WSJ) France Vows to Root Out Islamist Extremism After Beheading of Teacher Samuel Paty

French authorities vowed to crack down on civic groups they said were promoting radical Islam, days after an extremist beheaded a schoolteacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Monday said that 51 associations, including religious schools and mosques, would be visited by security services this week, and a number of them dissolved. Authorities Monday conducted searches targeting 40 suspected extremist individuals and associations, and have opened more than 80 investigations into extremist sentiment expressed online since the attack, officials said.

“We must stop being naive,” Mr. Darmanin said. “There is no reconciliation possible with radical Islam.”

The actions reflect tensions between parts of France’s Muslim community and authorities in the aftermath of the slaying of the teacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, in an attack that shocked the nation.

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Posted in Education, France, Terrorism, Violence

(NBC) Wonderfully encouraging story from California–Family’s mission to provide desks for kids in need

“Mitch Couch initially built just one desk for his daughter. After posting a YouTube tutorial, parents needing desks started reaching out, and other volunteers across the country joined in to help build desks for kids in need.”

Watch the whole thing.

Posted in Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology

(Tablet Magazine) American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology–Stop Being Shocked

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” as the writer Audre Lorde put it. And the master’s house must be dismantled—because the house is rotted at its foundation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Media, Movies & Television, Philosophy, Politics in General, Secularism

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Liverpool Coach Jurgen Klopp Writes an 11 yr old a letter which you need to see

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Sports

Caitrin Keiper remembers Amy A. Kass, 1940-2015, “The Greatest of Teachers”

Born in New York in 1940, she was a bright light at the University of Chicago for 34 years, also teaching at St. John’s College in Annapolis and in various programs of the Hudson Institute in Washington. Notwithstanding these elite affiliations, she was democratic in her means and aims, a defender of the liberal arts as a heritage that belongs to and benefits everyone, with a sneakily elemental way of bringing them to life.

When I met Amy—then “Mrs. Kass”—I was a freshman who had crept into her class on King Lear where I did not belong, hoping she would sign my registration slip. She sternly admonished me that this was a class meant for experienced students who would all be held to the same high standard, as I turned myself inside out promising to make every effort to meet it. She peered down her nose at me, her face impassive but her eyes dancing. “I believe you,” she said.

What followed was a transformative experience. Her standards were indeed high, enforced by a finely calibrated nonsense detector, but raised by an even more finely calibrated radar for a promising line of thought. “Another sentence, please,” was her frequent rejoinder: You haven’t made your case yet, but I sense you have one in you. All the same, you needed both humility and pluck to make it. Naming no names, I knew one cowering student who always made a point of sitting next to her so as to avoid her penetrating stare from across the room. That stare could plow the earth out from under you if ever directed that way with disgust. But it never was—at most, with disbelief, and a pointer back to solid ground. Indeed, although she might be said to “never suffer fools,” she was always suffering fools, driven by a bottomless ambition that we could think and be so much better than we knew. Her eyes lit up with a kind of knowing surprise every time that faith was rewarded, as if she expected no less but still marveled at what was said.

As for the course’s content? That one tragedy, just the one, mined for all the treasure it holds. Is there even enough to go on, you may ask, twice a week for months in a single Shakespeare play? Oh yes.

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Posted in Education, Young Adults

(BN) Class Of COVID-19: The Horrifying Sadness Of Sending My Kids To College During A Pandemic

All four people have been isolated and are being cared for. They are being contact-traced. The school is on point, and I appreciate the transparency. That said, the miasma of anxiety the news summons is overwhelming.

But it’s also a good reminder to finish up our extraction plan. Both schools have told us that we need one in the event a COVID-19 surge on campus requires us to evacuate our daughters.

I don’t know how that will work. Honestly, I’m not sure how any of this will work.

Read it all.

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

(NYT Op-ed) Michael Sandel–Disdain for the Less Educated Is the Last Acceptable Prejudice

At the heart of this project are two ideas: First, in a global, technological age, higher education is the key to upward mobility, material success and social esteem. Second, if everyone has an equal chance to rise, those who land on top deserve the rewards their talents bring.

This way of thinking is so familiar that it seems to define the American dream. But it has come to dominate our politics only in recent decades. And despite its inspiring promise of success based on merit, it has a dark side.

Building a politics around the idea that a college degree is a precondition for dignified work and social esteem has a corrosive effect on democratic life. It devalues the contributions of those without a diploma, fuels prejudice against less-educated members of society, effectively excludes most working people from elective government and provokes political backlash.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Theology

(NBC) A Washington D.C. teacher takes kids fishing for a good cause

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Education, Sports

(NYT) ‘I’m Only One Human Being’: Parents Brace for a Go-It-Alone School Year

Parents across America are facing the pandemic school year feeling overwhelmed, anxious and abandoned. With few good options for support, the vast majority have resigned themselves to going it alone, a new survey for The New York Times has found.

Just one in seven parents said their children would be returning to school full time this fall, and for most children, remote school requires hands-on help from an adult at home. Yet four in five parents said they would have no in-person help educating and caring for them, whether from relatives, neighbors, nannies or tutors, according to the survey, administered by Morning Consult. And more than half of parents will be taking on this second, unpaid job at the same time they’re holding down paid work.

Raising children has always been a community endeavor, and suddenly the village that parents relied on is gone. It’s taking a toll on parents’ careers, families’ well-being and children’s education.

In families where both wage earners need to work outside the home, parents have obvious logistical challenges because they cannot be in two places at once. Three-fourths of these parents say they will be overseeing their children’s education, and nearly half will be handling primary child care, according to the survey, answered by a nationally representative group of 1,081 parents from Aug. 4 to 8.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

Prayers for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina This Day

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Education, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer

(The State) South Carolina students may not return to schools if COVID-19 spread doesn’t slow, official says

If coronavirus cases continue to rise as they have been for the last few weeks, K-12 students will not likely return to in-person education in the fall, a top official said Monday.

“If it continues on the same path we’re on right now it’s going to be extremely difficult for us to be able to go back face-to-face,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said at a Monday press conference. “Hopefully we’ll see a change and things will start decreasing.”

There is no question being able to teach in-person is better — especially for young students — than being purely online, Spearman said. However, she said she will not risk student and teacher safety to meet that goal.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, State Government

(Inside Higher Ed) A Yale University student voices her concerns about reopening campuses in the fall.

Special circumstances. I am an only child, and my parents have health conditions that put them at a risk of getting very ill. Who is going to take care of them if I am at college? Not their siblings, who are also high risk, and not my grandparents, who are in their 80s. What happens to students who suffer from underlying medical conditions? What about graduate students and nontraditional undergrads who have children? What if elementary schools do not reopen in the fall or close midsemester? What if we see more young children develop COVID-related Kawasaki syndrome?

Worst-case scenario. The death rate for university-age students is estimated to be about 0.2 percent, and the hospitalization rate is estimated to be 2.5 percent. At a university like mine, with a student population of roughly 13,000, we risk having 325 students sick enough to be hospitalized and 26 students die in a worst-case-scenario outbreak. Our professors, though fewer in number, face even higher hospitalization and death rates.

Is this a price we’re willing to pay? If the decision were up to me, I would say no. If a vaccine or effective treatment were developed between now and January, such deaths would be entirely needless.

Read it all.

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

(Telegraph) Row escalates between Christ Church Dean and dons as Oxford college tries to distance itself from McDonald Centre

An ongoing row between the Dean of Christ Church and Oxford University dons has escalated following the college’s attempts to distance itself from a theological foundation headed up by one of the Dean’s staunchest allies.

One of the university’s Chancellor has been asked to intervene after Christ Church insisted that The McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life remove all references to Christ Church from its website, including the centre’s logo, which has the appearance of the college’s famous Tom Tower.

The centre is headed up by Professor Nigel Biggar, a vocal supporter of the Very Rev Martyn Percy, who presides over the prestigious college and the cathedral.

It comes after 41 members of Christ Church’s governing body wrote to the Charity Commission accusing Dr Percy of “unsound judgement” and “a consistent lack of moral compass” in a bid to have him removed from the Board of Trustees. They also accused him of breaching his legal, fiduciary and safeguarding duties and of leaking confidential material to the press.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Church Times) Dean Cally Hammond reviews ‘Austin Farrer: Oxford warden, scholar, preacher’, edited by Markus Bockmuehl and Stephen Platten

{This book]…is the fruit of a conference that took place in early 2019, and was published to mark the 150th anniversary of that icon of High Church Anglicanism, Keble College, Oxford. The book is a proper tribute to Farrer in that anniversary year, providing a series of essays on him as Warden, theologian, philosopher, exegete, and preacher.

It is not often that a book compiled from many sources is of such a uniformly high quality; and this makes it seem unfair to highlight what are really no more than personal enthusiasms. But I especially enjoyed the chapter by Ian Archer on Farrer’s time as Warden of Keble, not least because it is written with benign historical detachment — a useful balance to the hagiographic tendency in many Christian biographies.

The other highlight of Part One for me was the chapter by John Barton on Farrer as a preacher. Again, this combined a personal warmth for the man with honest acuity about his excellence, and sometimes shortcomings, as a preacher. Praise from the praiseworthy is praise indeed.

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Posted in Books, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Theology

(Diocese of South Carolina) St. Christopher Cancels All Sessions of 2020 Traditional Residential Summer Camp

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With grave sorrow, The Rev. Robert Lawrence and Bishop Mark Lawrence, announced at the meeting of Diocesan Council on Thursday, May 21, that St. Christopher would be canceling all of its traditional residential summer camp sessions. The first three sessions had already been canceled, while awaiting new guidelines for the safe operation of residential camps. Those long awaited guidelines, drafted in cooperation with the American Camp Association and the CDC, were released early last week. Upon a thorough review of what would be required to fully implement all safeguards, it was regretfully determined that in doing so, “Camp Saint Christopher” as many have come to know it, would be unrecognizable. Restrictions on groups size, numbers in cabins, cabin ventilation, wearing of mask, food service, group interactions, and more were simply too much. One only has to imagine a first time camper not having a parent be able to accompany them to their cabin on check in, facing daily temperature checks, eating many of their meals from takeout bags, and only interacting with their own cabin group to realize this would not be camp. To borrow from what was so aptly stated by David Schnitzer, Camp Kanuga Director, “social distancing is the antithesis of what we do.” Indeed it is.

In the wake of this cancelation, St. Christopher is encouraging all of those that have made summer camp arrangements, to allow their payments to be converted to a charitable contribution. Additionally, any monies already paid can be used as a credit for any future booking at St. Christopher to include personal retreats, Day Camps being developed now for this summer, or as a credit toward Summer Camp 2021. Anyone that does allow their full credit to be held specifically for Summer Camp 2021 will also be offered priority in early registration next year. “We want to salvage as much of this summer as possible, and reduce the sting of this bitter news” said Bob Lawrence. “We will survive this painful time, but we need your prayers and continued contributions to see us through.”

Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Parish Ministry