Category : Education

(Law+ Religion UK) Frank Cranmer–Law and religion round-up – 23rd July

Sexual orientation and “British Values”

An Orthodox Jewish school in Hackney has failed its third Ofsted inspection because it did not teach its pupils about sexual orientation. The inspectors reported that the pupils at Vishnitz Girls School, who range in age from three to eight,

“are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles. As a result, pupils are not able to gain a full understanding of fundamental British values.”

Furthermore:

“The school’s approach means that pupils are shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. The school’s culture is, however, clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle. Leaders and proprietors recognise the requirement to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender reassignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”

Unsurprisingly, opinions in the media are divided.

Read it all.

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

(NBC) Akron, Ohio, Schools to Get Anti-OD Med Narcan, but Not Everybody Agrees

There was one dissenter when the school board in Akron, Ohio, voted this week to start stocking medicine cabinets with what all members agree is a sad sign of the times — the anti-overdose drug Narcan.

And that school board member, Debbie Walsh, said she was bracing for blowback for casting that no vote

“But blowback is not what I’ve received,” Walsh told NBC News on Wednesday. “The people who talked to me said they agreed with me. They, too, are worried that having it on hand might be creating an even bigger problem by sending the message to kids: ‘Don’t worry, take drugs. We’ve got Narcan to save you.'”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Education

(CT) Supreme Court Gives Christian Schools a Big Victory

Trinity Lutheran argued that Missouri was violating the free exercise clause of the First Amendment (“no law … prohibiting the free exercise of religion”) by declaring the church’s preschool ineligible for a grant program—which helped cover the cost of safer playground surfaces made of recycled tires—just because the school was affiliated with the church.

On the other side, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources deployed the establishment clause of the First Amendment (“no law respecting the establishment of religion”) to defend its decision not to provide aid directly to a church, even if used for a secular purpose. This prohibition has been codified in Missouri and 30 other states under laws known as “Blaine Amendments.” Missouri’s bars state funds from going “directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect, or denomination of religion.”

While Roberts wrote that the consequences of Missouri’s rejection were likely “a few extra scraped knees,” he considered the discriminatory policy “odious to our Constitution all the same.” He defended the rights of religious institutions to get their fair share of public benefits.

By siding with the church, the Supreme Court sets a precedent against a strict interpretation of state-level Blaine Amendments, thereby shifting the prospects for religious institutions’ involvement in public programs.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

(NPR) Hey Higher Ed, Why Not Focus On Teaching?

Stanford physics and education professor Carl Wieman won a Nobel Prize for his innovative, break-through work in quantum mechanics. Wieman has since levered the prestige and power of that prize to call attention to the need to transform undergraduate teaching, especially science education.

Wieman’s message, as we’ve reported here and here, is bold: Too many undergraduate programs fail to focus on teaching effectiveness or even bother to try to measure it. As he sees it, undergraduate Higher Ed still worships at the old false idol called the Big Lecture and doesn’t seem to want to ask whether it’s working.

His solution: Systemically improve teaching through methods that have become known as active learning.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education

Mark Zuckerberg’s full 2017 commencement address at Harvard

Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It’s up to you to create it.

Read it all (emphasis mine); cited by yours truly in the morning sermon.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Young Adults

(NR) David French–Evergreen State College Professors Turn On Their Colleague, Demand Censorship and Discipline

Over on the home page, Tiana Lowe tells the tale of the campus craziness at the Evergreen State College of Washington. I’d encourage you to read the entire piece, but the basics are just as absurd as we’ve come to expect. Radical activists wanted to turn the school’s traditional “Day of Absence” (a day where black students leave campus) into effectively a day of exclusion, demanding that white students and professors leave instead. Bret Weinstein, a progressive biology professor, wrote a polite and thoughtful letter objecting, and the response? Well, the response was insane. Here’s Tiana describing what happened next:

Within days, vitriolic student mobs took over Weinstein’s classroom, screaming at him, calling him a racist, and demanding his resignation. When videos of the mobs made it to YouTube, the protesters demanded that the videos be taken down. Rather than ignoring the disruption and demands of students — including “the immediate disarming of police services” and “mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees” — Evergreen’s president, George Bridges, actively enabled them, excusing protesters from homework, instituting said mandatory sensitivity training for all college employees, creating a new equity center, and launching “an extensive forensic investigation” to “seek criminal charges” against whoever posted the videos to YouTube. While local police chief Stacy Brown told Weinstein to remain off campus as law enforcement could not guarantee his safety, Bridges lauded the protesters’ “passion and courage.”

 

Read it all, making sure to follow the links to the key additional documents.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Theology, Young Adults

(NBC) Mom Receives Honorary Degree After Attending Every Class With Quadriplegic Son

A wonderful story–watch it all.

Posted in Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Women

(PPH) Anthony Doerr, author of ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ returns to Maine

At Bowdoin, Doerr majored in history because it gave him the flexibility to take classes across a range of subjects. Bowdoin allowed him to explore his curiosities and what it means to be human. He sought out subjects of interest – in science, sociology, architecture, astronomy and nutrition – but never took a creative writing class. He did submit a poem as part of an application for a poetry workshop, but was rejected.

Still, writing was central to his time at Bowdoin. He wrote for the college newspaper and other publications, and his history major required a thesis. That was his first experience at long-form writing, and it led directly to his career as a novelist and essayist. Being a writer, he said, was never a consideration as a kid. It all happened at Bowdoin.

“Growing up where I did, being a novelist was something I could not do. I never met a novelist. I thought novelists were dead or living in Paris,” he said. “But at Bowdoin, I got to write a thesis. I learned how to hash out a book and what it was like to build a longer project. It was only 90 pages, but it was a way to start putting together a big piece of research and larger blocks of text. It felt empowering as a 20-year-old.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Education, Poetry & Literature, Rural/Town Life, Young Adults

NYT: How one Christian School Dealt with a Teenager who bravely chose to Keep her Baby

Ms. Runkles’s story sheds light on a delicate issue: how Christian schools, which advocate abstinence until marriage, treat pregnant teenagers.

“You have these two competing values,” said Brad Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia who directs the National Marriage Project, which conducts research on marriage and families. “On the one hand, the school is seeking to maintain some kind of commitment to what has classically been called chastity — or today might be called abstinence. At the same time, there’s an expectation in many Christian circles that we are doing all that we can to honor life.”

Navigating that balance is exceedingly difficult for Christian educators, and schools respond in various ways, said Rick Kempton, chairman of the board of the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,000 schools in the United States and many others overseas.

“There’s a biblical term that many Christian schools use, and it is the whole idea of grace: What would Jesus do?” Mr. Kempton said. Of Ms. Runkles, he added: “She’s making the right choice. But you don’t want to create a celebration that makes other young ladies feel like, ‘Well, that seems like a pretty good option.’”

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Uncategorized

(PD) Ryan Anderson–Faith and Reason, Beauty and Holiness

This time at college was also the first time I had ever met Evangelicals, and daily Mass-attending Catholics. Indeed, it was the first time I met any Christian deeply committed to the faith. And so, at Princeton University of all places, I started to think seriously as a Christian. And I came to see that there’s no conflict between faith and reason. I came to understand more deeply the reasons for the hope I have.

I also came to see just how misguided secular liberal policies were on the most urgent and important questions, and how much damage—in terms of human brokenness—these policies cause. I saw that to love my neighbor required me to help defend the truth in terms that my secular classmates could engage. That the knowledge I had acquired in thinking through these questions wasn’t just for me, it wasn’t just so I could be secure in my opinions, puffed up knowing that I’m right and they’re wrong, but was to be shared—and it was to be shared precisely because it is the truth that sets us free, and makes us flourish. This was what God was calling me to do then and there.

He may be calling some of you to do the same….

Read it all.

Posted in Apologetics, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture, Young Adults

(NPR) Can’t Pay Your Student Loans? The Government May Come After Your House

On Adriene McNally’s 49th birthday in January, she heard a knock on the door of her modest row-home in Northeast Philadelphia.

She was being served.

“They actually paid someone to come out and serve me papers on a Saturday afternoon,” she says.

The papers were from a government lawsuit that represents something more than just an unwelcome birthday gift — it’s an example of a program the federal government has brought to 19 cities around the country including Brooklyn, Detroit, Miami and Philadelphia: suing to recover unpaid student loans, like the ones McNally owes.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Education, Personal Finance, The U.S. Government, Young Adults

(NYT) How Google Took Over the Classroom: Are Schools giving the company more than they are getting?

Schools may be giving Google more than they are getting: generations of future customers.

Google makes $30 per device by selling management services for the millions of Chromebooks that ship to schools. But by habituating students to its offerings at a young age, Google obtains something much more valuable.

Every year, several million American students graduate from high school. And not only does Google make it easy for those who have school Google accounts to upload their trove of school Gmail, Docs and other files to regular Google consumer accounts — but schools encourage them to do so. This month, for instance, Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton, Colo., sent out a notice urging seniors to “make sure” they convert their school account “to a personal Gmail account.”

That doesn’t sit well with some parents. They warn that Google could profit by using personal details from their children’s school email to build more powerful marketing profiles of them as young adults.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Corporations/Corporate Life, Education, Science & Technology

(Chic Tribune) Student who tried hacking into grading system sues school board for expelling him

The lawsuit argues that state law and legal precedence require that school districts consider other measures of punishment before expulsion, and that failed to happen in this case.

According to the hearing officer’s report, an administrator at the Northbrook school did not specify whether other measures were considered but said a disciplinary committee that investigated “felt it was important to send a message.”

“If (the student) is allowed to return to school after serving a suspension, then other students could certainly decide that attempting to access a teacher’s account to change grades is worth the risk,” the report said.

The lawsuit contends that the student has not had disciplinary problems at school and that his actions caused no disruption to school operations, factors that the suit contends should have resulted in lesser punishment.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Teens / Youth

Wonderful Video Shows Classmates Welcome 7-Year-Old With New Prosthetic Leg

Anu, from Birmingham, England, unveiled her new “sports blade” prosthetic leg at her school, and her peers’ reactions are uplifting millions around the world on social media.

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Education, England / UK, Health & Medicine

(ABC Aus.) Katie Sutherland–Sesame Street’s Julia and moving autism on TV beyond the genius stereotype

Isolation is of particular concern for children on the autism spectrum, who may have difficulty making friends and are prone to bullying, often leading to mental health issues.

One study indicated that 63 per cent of children on the spectrum had been bullied in their lifetime, with 38 per cent bullied in the past month.

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street, states that bullying was a key motivator for the introduction of Julia.

It also claims that nearly every family is affected by autism in some way.

In Australia, it is estimated that one in 100 people (around 230,000) have an autism spectrum disorder, while in the United States, this figure sits at around one in 68 people.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Movies & Television, Pastoral Theology, Psychology