I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

We’ve got snow up to our eyeballs up here, but the interwebs haven’t shut down yet. Here are some of the top ILYBYGTH-themed stories from the past holiday week:

NYT charters

Good schools are good schools…right?

Are charters the best hope for low-income urban students? At NYT.

Max Lyttle, director of instruction at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., argued that pitting schools against one another misses the point.

“It shouldn’t be about what’s better: charter schools or neighborhood schools,” he said. “It should be about what schools will help our children succeed.”

At the school’s campus in southeast Washington, where more than 90 percent of students are black, Eagle Academy seeks to provide the same resources that white, affluent children have: a swimming pool, a chef who serves fruits and vegetables and a “sensory room” modeled on private medical facilities where students can calm down. The school was recognized this year for its improvements on standardized test scores.

Burge rns anointed by godRyan Burge asks: How many Americans believe Trump was “anointed by God?” At RNS.

White Protestants’ belief in Trump’s anointing tracks with church attendance. Among those who attend less often than once a month, just 1 in 10 thinks that Trump was anointed. Of those who attend church multiple times a week, 4 in 10 agree that Trump was anointed by God.

Views of the Bible also affect how Americans responded. Among those who consider the Bible inspired by God, just 11% believe Trump was anointed, while those who believe the Bible to be the literal word of God are more than three times as likely to think so.

Liberty University sets up a new academic center, at WE.

The Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, a combination of their names [Jerry Falwell Jr. and Charlie Kirk], will “play offense” against efforts by liberals to water down Judeo-Christian values in the Bible and Constitution in their bid to build support for big government, said Kirk. . . . He said that the center hopes to answer a question he gets often, “was Jesus Christ a socialist?”

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

What happened this week? Looks like charter-school questions are back on the docket for 2020. Also some stories about racist professors . . .  and of course anti-LGBTQ chicken. Enjoy!

Sen. Booker bucks the trend, jumping back on the charter-school train, at NYT.

So it is largely up to Democrats — especially those of us in this presidential primary race — to have a better discussion about practical K-12 solutions to ensure that every child in our country can go to a great public school. That discussion needs to include high-achieving public charter schools when local communities call for them.

WARREN AND CHARTERSSen. Warren talks with charter-school protesters, at Chalkbeat.

In that meeting, [Howard] Fuller, former Milwaukee schools chief and advocate for private school vouchers, told Warren that her language is helping anti-charter efforts across the country. A number of states, including California, Illinois, and Michigan, have recently moved to limit charter schools or cut their funding. . . .

“Your plan starts out with an attack on charter schools,” he tells Warren.

“What you may see as an attack is designed to say everybody’s got to meet the same standards,” Warren counters.

Indiana University makes a tough call: Condemning a professor’s racist comments while defending his right to free private speech. At IHE.

“We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids us to do so,” [Provost Lauren] Robel said. That’s “not a close call,” either.

rasmusen postLeading historian describes the long tradition of conservative evangelical politics, at WaPo:

White evangelicals’ pragmatic and self-serving approach to political power has been consistent for at least a century, dating to fundamentalists’ adoration for Warren G. Harding in the 1920s. . . . Harding and Trump have much in common. They are among the most allegedly corrupt presidents in U.S. history. Their Cabinet teams have been racked by scandal. Like Harding, Trump’s personal morals are the antithesis of what religious Christians profess to demand. But, like Harding, Trump maintains the support of the faithful because of his policies and the attention he lavishes on Christian voters and their faith leaders.

saint-donald1Does Jordan Peterson save the internet from racism? Or does he serve as a “gateway drug?” At HxA:

these data support the notion that those who are already affiliated with the alt-right eagerly engage with and promote Peterson’s content. . . . participants in Peterson’s comments sections on YouTube migrate twice as quickly to alt-right YouTube channels over time relative to controls (see Figure 2). In other words, it appears that participating in Peterson’s YouTube channel predicts increasing flirtation with alt-right content.

Chik-fil-A stops funding anti-LGBTQ allies, at NBC.

“Staying true to its mission of nourishing the potential in every child, the Chick-fil-A Foundation will deepen its giving to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger,” the organization announced Monday.

The conservative response:

How does Chik-fil-A’s decision echo evangelical anti-racism efforts from the 20th century? Here at ILYBYGTH.

chik fil a protestFuller Seminary gets in hot water for expelling non-heterosexual student, at LAT.

Though the college does allow same-sex relationships, it does not allow “homosexual forms of explicit sexual conduct” and has made clear that it believes sexual intimacy is reserved for a marriage between a man and a woman….

Student reporters at Brigham Young University—Idaho pressured to squelch a story, at RNS.

Two days before BYU-Idaho formally announced the change on Nov. 15, the school’s student newspaper, the Scroll, published an article highlighting frustration among students whose requests to use Medicaid as an alternative to the student health plan were rejected by the school. Students are required to have insurance or use the student health plan in order to enroll in classes.

In-depth articles on the controversy at the Scroll then abruptly stopped, with coverage mostly limited to the school’s official statements on the matter as BYU-Idaho was beset with backlash over the decision.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

From Satan at the polls to Jack London in Alaska–this was a humdinger of a week. Here are a few of the stories that caught our eye:

Ha: From the “Christian Onion.” New poll results say that a majority of conservative evangelicals would vote for Satan, at BB.

A new LifeWay Research poll confirmed Wednesday that a majority of conservative evangelicals would vote for Satan, the Prince of Darkness, should he run for public office as a Republican candidate. . . . “Lucifer? Yeah, I’d vote for him, as long as he claims to be a Republican,” one member of a study focus group said. “He’s got some character flaws, sure—who doesn’t—but we’ve got to remember that ensuring we Christians get some fleeting political power is far more important than whether our chosen candidate does a little soul-devouring on the side.”

More evidence: (Some) liberal parents will fight against school integration, at NYT.

The virulent opposition in an area that its founder once declared to be “color blind” shows that the issue remains deeply divisive among liberals when it comes to their own children.

Not easy: Can you listen to the hard truths from the other side? At The Atlantic.

When women are urged to “shout your abortion,” and when abortion becomes the subject of stand-up comedy routines, the attitude toward abortion seems ghoulish. Who could possibly be proud that they see no humanity at all in the images that science has made so painfully clear? When anti-abortion advocates speak in the most graphic terms about women “sucking babies out of the womb,” they show themselves without mercy. They are not considering the extremely human, complex, and often heartbreaking reasons behind women’s private decisions. The truth is that the best argument on each side is a damn good one, and until you acknowledge that fact, you aren’t speaking or even thinking honestly about the issue. You certainly aren’t going to convince anybody.

Donald Trump Jr. heckled off stage at UCLA…by conservative protesters.

Ohio bill would allow students to be wrong, if their religion said they were right.

if a student submitted biology homework saying the earth is 10,000 years old, as some creationists believe, the teacher cannot dock points.

The rise of Catholic fundamentalism? At RNS.

why not? Since the late 1970s, conservative Catholics and evangelicals have been allies in the culture war that has shaped American partisan politics.

Hong Kong protests turn colleges into citadels, at NYT.

NYT hong kong

When parents had to choose between integrated schools and bad schools, they chose the bad ones. Memories from white students at “segregation academies,” at Slate.

The stories up so far represent segregation academies as chaotic, understaffed, and underplanned. The point, it’s clear, was not education but separation. Bridget Smith Pieschel, who went to the all-white Winston Academy in Louisville, Mississippi, starting in 1969, reported that at first, there was “no art; no foreign language; no science lab; no band; no chorus” at her school. But, as a child, she said, “I took everything at face value. I believed that my school was ‘better,’ more ‘refined,’ ‘safer.’ ” Alan Huffman, who went to one of the many Southern seg academies founded by the “respectable” white supremacist Citizens’ Councils, remembered that it had a “mix of brilliant and horrible teachers.” “Anyone, it seemed, could get a job teaching in one of its pre-fab classrooms,” he remembered, “including a woman who admonished us for acting up in class by saying, ‘Y’all should be grateful—if it weren’t for teachers like me, y’all would be going to school with n—–s.’ ”

Nikki Haley’s new book doubles down on Trumpism, at The Guardian.

She clearly sees a future in which bigotry and populism will continue to define the Republican brand, and believes that her personal survival requires her to toe the party line as closely as possible.

Jack London’s Alaska gold rush, at Smithsonian.

Jack london buck

The inspiration for Buck is the dog on the left.

There are still evangelicals who aren’t “evangelical,” at RNS.

They might be wrong or crazy. But one thing they obviously are not is Trumpy. Tell that to the next person who equates “evangelical” with right-wing, knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and think instead of a certain rabbi from Palestine.

Are students “helots?” One Detroit teacher gets in trouble for comparing students to Greek slaves, at Chalkbeat.

History nerds: Is the new Midway movie any good? History review at HNN.

Military buffs will adore it, but the average person will sit through, liking certain parts very much and frowning at others. . . . Midway is far better than the recent staid and slow Pearl Harbor that starred Ben Affleck. I just wish that Midway was a sturdier historical movie and explained the battle, and that part of World War II, better. Despite its drawbacks, Midway is a rip-roaring military saga and a testament to the men who won it. The Americas are seen as brave and heroic in the film, but so are the Japanese.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another week flown by–here are a couple of the ILYBYGTH-themed stories from around the interwebs that caught our attention this week:

Liberty v. BYU: What does it mean? At DN.

It’s unclear exactly why football has become the sport most linked with Christianity, but it could be their shared qualities.

Its worshippers — ahem, fans — congregate weekly in grand structures adorned with posters of past glory, reminiscent of bibilical scenes depicted on stained-glass windows; games begin with a procession onto the field, often accompanied by rituals — from Miami’s fire extinguisher fog to Clemson’s run down the hill; and on the green 100-yard altar, players sacrifice their bodies, push themselves through pain and exhaustion, learning important lessons of sacrifice for a better good.

Will Democrats survive as the “party of the rich”? At FT.

The richest 15 percent of House districts are now represented by 56 Democrats and just 10 Republicans. In 2018, voters in America’s wealthiest counties, cities, and neighborhoods made a decisive turn toward the Democrats, and now America’s traditional party of the left—whether it admits it or not—is the party of the rich.

How much stuff do teachers buy for their classrooms? It’s a lot. Teacher responses at WaPo.

Why? Because every child NEEDS these items and because we are a Title 1 school; many cannot afford the necessities. Kids need to have equal supplies; including food. I don’t regret spending this money as I can teach my students when they have all the tools needed to succeed.

Heading for a breakdown? The history of civil war in America at AC.

a party system ending without a consensual replacement means that longstanding customs and norms that undergird constitutional relationships are quietly pared away. In other words, well before legal confrontations over legitimacy, the erosion of informal rules sets up adjudicating crises over formal rules. This was a feature of the final deterioration in Congress before 1860, marked by brawls on the floor of the House and a bloody assault in the Senate.

sumner-beating.jpg

Could it get this bad again…?

U Washington’s College Republicans booted out of the national organization for “hurtful and inappropriate conduct,” at CHE.

What can happen when a young-earth creationist doubts his faith? At BL.

I asked hard questions about what I believed about science, the world, and the Bible. I prayed for wisdom, battled doubts, and struggled with painful internal conflict. On one occasion, I asked myself what I would do if, to remain a Christian, I had to choose between YEC and my growing commitment to evolution. I then experienced a deep discomfort when I didn’t have an immediate answer.

What happens when a conservative Christian church tries to take over a liberal college town? At RNS.

Led by controversial pastor Douglas Wilson, Christ Church of Moscow has for years been planning a spiritual takeover of the town — transforming both its politics and its soul. Wilson is gentle and soft-spoken when not behind the pulpit but will go head-to-head with anyone in a debate.

wilson logos

Town/church tensions?

Phillip Johnson, architect of intelligent-design movement, dies at 79. Obit at CT.

Johnson’s landmark book, Darwin on Trial, argued that Darwinian evolution didn’t have real evidence or good arguments, but was instead “another kind of fundamentalism.” When it was published in 1991, Darwin on Trial galvanized a group of Christians who opposed the theory of evolution, but also wanted to distance themselves from Bible-based creationism, which could not be taught in public schools.

There are “evangelicals,” and there are “evangelicals.” On the difference between “cosmopolitan” and “populist” white evangelicals at AB.

Do you hang out at an InterVarsity chapter at Harvard? Do your friends watch Huckabee on FOX News? Do you study sociology at Wheaton College? . . . Each of these persons can make an authentic claim to evangelical identity. But if you were only hanging out in the faculty lounge at an evangelical college or with humanitarians at an evangelical NGO in Phnom Penh, there’s a good chance you were shocked by the 81 percent. The election exposed the many evangelicalisms that have been there all along.

The New Deal as Social Gospel, at R&P.

R&P: Can the New Deal be understood as the political expression of Roosevelt’s faith?

JB: That’s very well put! He wasn’t alone in shaping it, of course. Harry Hopkins, who served as Roosevelt’s right-hand man throughout the administration, was a committed Social Gospel Methodist from Iowa. Eleanor Roosevelt had worked in Social Gospel programs following her return from boarding school abroad. And Frances Perkins, who served as FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury for all of his 13 years in office, was very devout and theologically informed, and she was the architect of Social Security, among other programs. She very consciously pursued her political work as an expression of her Social Gospel commitments.

FDR

When Jesus hung out on the Left…

Chicago’s teachers demanded smaller class sizes. Will that help students? A review at TC.

The results were clear: students in the smaller classes performed significantly better on math and reading tests, with a gain of 4 percentile points or more. The benefits of smaller classes were even larger in schools with low-income students.

More recent research indicates that the benefits of being taught in smaller classes persist long after students have moved on to the next grade. They become more likely to complete high school and go to college and less likely to end up becoming parents in their teens, to name some of the most compelling examples.

Queen Betsy’s speech about MI schools—fact-checked at DFP.

DeVos: “ESSA invites each state to determine their standards and develop innovative assessments that focus on achievement and excellence. States can also set aside a certain percentage of federal taxpayer funding to use in new and creative ways. There’s a student-centered funding pilot program for dollars to support students — not buildings. I like to picture kids with backpacks representing funding for their education following them wherever they go to learn.”

This is a school choice absolutist mantra, and frankly, I just don’t get it. School choice absolutists bemoan the dollars spent on buildings and administration, and sometimes on teachers, saying money should be spent on children instead. But kids learn are taught by teachers, and generally indoors. To repair Detroit’s dilapidated school buildings would cost about $500 million.

Will Chief Justice John Roberts help Trump survive impeachment? At Slate.

There’s every reason to think that Roberts—conservative, Republican, and lifelong believer in expansive executive power—is not going to want history to remember him as the guy who emptied the ashtrays of a carnival barker president.

Did teacher power put a Democrat in the KY governor’s mansion? At CHH.

Beshear’s running mate Jacqueline Coleman introduced the governor-elect shortly after all precincts reported Beshear led the race by 4,658 votes.

“It’s official,” Coleman said. “The war on public education is over.”

In his victory speech Beshear said public education will be his top priority, and a pension is a “promise.”

“To our educators, this is your victory,” Beshear said. “From now on, the doors of your state’s capitol will always be open.”

Wisconsin considers a mandatory-cursive bill for its schools, at WSJ.

the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, submitted written testimony in a cursive font that he composed on a computer.

Bart Simpson on cursive: “Well, I know hell, damn, and fart.”

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

You’d think no one would do anything else while the History of Education Society was meeting in Columbus, Ohio, but there were still some headlines this past week:

The Chicago teachers’ strike is over, after 11 days. Was it worth it? At Vox.

The district also committed to spending $35 million to shrink oversized classrooms and to prioritize schools that serve the most at-risk students. The deal includes a 16 percent pay raise for teachers over five years, and a remarkable 40 percent raise for teaching assistants, clerks, and other lower-paid workers. The new, five-year contract will also boost investment per pupil and reduce the number of students in each class.

Teachers had wanted more, though. They also wanted more affordable housing in the city for students and teachers. That’s something no teachers union has demanded in recent contract negotiations.

chicago teachers strike againWhat happens to public schools when there are fewer students? The view from MI:

Fewer students mean less funding. But schools costs don’t drop in lockstep with enrollment declines, as school officials point out.

Another evangelical college shuts its doors, at WCPO.

[Cincinnati Christian University] did not “operate with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and auxiliary functions” or establish processes governing fair, ethical behavior among its employees.

Didja miss the headline that Queen Betsy was held in contempt of court? Two historians explain why at WaPo.

Last week’s ruling forced the department to admit wrongdoing. But its actions were not an accident or oversight — abetting the exploitation of our nation’s most vulnerable students goes to the very core of DeVos’s vision for education.

How Trump’s Bible teacher became a shadow diplomat, at NYT.

[Ralph] Drollinger himself is aware that some foreign governments’ interests in his studies might not be entirely biblical. “I can get these guys to help me,” he told me a few weeks earlier, speaking of his allies in Washington. “And everybody overseas wants to know someone in D.C.”

Why is Liberty U’s star professor leaving? At NA.

Karen Swallow Prior, a longtime English professor at Liberty University and a high-profile voice in the evangelical movement, will leave the school next year because of mounting frustrations over what she said is an administration-led campaign toward standardization that limits academic independence.

“For me, teaching is an art and I need the freedom to express that art,” Prior, who has accepted a position at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, said in an interview this week.

“Trump cult?” Not so fast… at R&P.

Scholars of new religious movements have shown that the mythology of cultic mind-control is more rhetoric than reality. It is easy to understand why critics of the president dismiss him as a cult leader, and his political followers as brainwashed. But it says a lot more about the power of the language than it does the president himself.

Sports page: Congrats to the Nats, but please stop saying a Washington team hasn’t played in a World Series since 1933. The Negro-League Washington Homestead Grays played in the 1948 World Series, at SUSIH. HT: PS.

BH_Grays-1024x521Jill Lepore’s This Americaresurrecting the tradition of liberal history, at The Nation.

Driving the demagogues out of the Barnes & Noble will require more than just taking back the nation as an object of serious historical inquiry. Lepore also sees a need to show that object in a more flattering light. Whereas many of her colleagues narrate US history as a tragedy and a chronicle of oppression, Lepore sets out to capture a fuller range of feeling. Her version features “a great deal of anguish,” she admits, but it also contains “decency and hope,” “prosperity and ambition,” “invention and beauty.” Lepore’s relatively upbeat tone is more than a sensibility; it’s a politics. The Bill O’Reillys of the bookshelf, she insists in This America, have not only taken control of the national story but also claimed for themselves the mantle of patriotism. Lepore wants to take it back for liberals. . . . In the end, she argues, it is liberals, not radicals, who can deliver progressive change. They do so using the most powerful tool within reach: the nation.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another big news week here at the offices of ILYBYGTH International! Here are a few of the biggest headlines:

Has public education remained the same for a century? Not really, at WaPo.

The subjects that students studied, the way the day was organized, the size of classes, the kinds of supports young people received — these essential aspects of education were all different.

Devos and trumpQueen Betsy held in contempt of court in student-loan case. At NPR.

the department “erroneously” sent messages to more than 16,000 borrowers to pay up. Some did so voluntarily. Others had their wages garnished or tax refunds seized by the government. Ten different third-party contractors were involved in collecting the loans, and the judge’s opinion notes that the Education Department didn’t do much to make sure they followed the orders, beyond sending a few emails.

It’s rare for a judge to find a Cabinet secretary in contempt of court.

Could Latinx evangelicals decide the 2020 election? At RNS.

“We’re pro-life. We want criminal justice reform. We want educational equity. We want a healthy economy,” [President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition Gabriel Salguero] told Religion News Service this week, noting that members of the faith group also feel strongly about immigration and foreign policy. “Because we’re not one-issue voters, people think if they come to us with talking points they’re gonna get us — no.”

What is life like at an evangelical college? One alum shares her memories at RA.

“Kind of liberal, isn’t it?” sneered a girl at my church youth group, who would be attending the ultra-conservative Master’s College.

“I don’t think so?” I said, recalling that Westmont didn’t allow drinking, smoking, or overnight guests of the opposite sex. But I secretly wanted her to be right. I hoped that Westmont would help me deal with the panic I continually felt reading the Bible, that it would help me figure out how to be a Democrat, a feminist, and a Baptist.

Top historian reviews new book about evangelicals, at CT.

As for white evangelicals’ enthusiastic embrace of the Republican Party and their overwhelming support for Donald Trump, Kidd views these trends as unfortunate but—like the Scopes Trial of the 1920s—not necessarily representative of evangelicalism as a whole. . . .[but] If evangelical theology transcends racial and political lines in ways that most other religious movements in America can’t match, shouldn’t we see clearer evidence of our racial attitudes and political stances aligning with our theology?

Has America gone too far on school safety? At the Atlantic.

We have students who feel like they’re being treated like potential criminals instead of students. . . . We’ve kind of gone overboard. Not all threats are created equal.

The big Ed news: Senator Warren reveals her K-12 plan. Some highlights:

  • Quadruple federal Title I funding for schools in high-poverty neighborhoods. . . .
  • Fund the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act at the level the federal government originally promised . . .
  • End federal investment in charter school expansion, ban for-profit charter schools and ensure existing charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability requirements as traditional public school districts. . . .
  • Reinstate Obama-era protections for transgender students under federal law that were revoked by Trump and take other steps to protect LGBTQ students and faculty.
  • Invest federal dollars to raise teacher pay and strengthen the bargaining power of teacher unions.
  • Eliminate use of standardized test scores for high-stakes decisions. . . .
  • Cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and provide free and nutritious school meals.
  • Ban the storing and selling of student data.
  • Expand social-emotional learning.
  • Offer $100 billion in grants to transform 25,000 public schools into community schools, which provide family support and health and social services to students.

Sen. Warren follows it up with a visit to a Chicago teachers’ picket line. At CST.

“Be strong in the Chicago teachers strike … I know you are out there fighting for the future of our children. … Stay on the picket lines as long as you need to.”

Conservative critic Chester Finn on Warren’s ed plan, at EN.

it would reverse most of the major education reforms of recent decades, drive a stake through the heart of what’s left of bipartisan federal and state policy, and re-enshrine adult interests, especially those of the teachers unions, in place of children’s, while wasting immense sums of taxpayer dollars. (The total price tag is estimated at $800 billion.)

Can progressive Christians be kinder? At RNS.

I’m not advocating for us [progressive Christians] to ignore evil and to stop seeking justice wherever we go. But our posture must be one that seeks the well-being of all people, one that aims to lovingly persuade our brothers and sisters without embracing anger, bitterness and pride.

What does the economy need? Better storytellers, at WaPo.

“It’s important we don’t just talk about numbers, coefficients and rules, but stories that people can understand,” Lowe said. “Stories about how policies are contributing to economic welfare and the things that really matter to people.”

Teaching impeachment can put history teachers in a tight spot, at NYT.

“I think social studies teachers are hesitant to teach controversial topics, past and present, due to hyperpolarization or pushback from parents,” [31-year-old teacher Chris Dier] said. “Almost all of my students will be voting in the next election; they deserve teachers who do not shy away from current events because of our partisan climate.”

Joe Biden might not be able to bring Catholic voters to the Democrats anymore. At RNS.

burge catholicCan new leadership save struggling evangelical colleges? At CT.

Jobe [at Moody Bible Institute] sees his first job as having to “define reality.” That includes helping team members understand the institution’s identity and next steps needed to thrive. To rebuild confidence across the campus, he also attempts to engage with the basic needs of students and staff.

Will other evangelical colleges learn from the tragic lessons of Liberty U? At JGMC.

Reforming Liberty doesn’t mean compromising its mission. Nobody is demanding that Liberty become a Christian liberal arts school in the mold of Wheaton College or Hillsdale, or a carbon copy of a secular state school. In fact, Liberty is uniquely positioned as a popular university that could be a bona fide alternative to the overwhelmingly progressive status quo in academia.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Almost time for tricks ‘n’ treats–but the news kept on happening. Here are some of the top stories from last week:

Do “working-class” white evangelicals really support Trump most?

Will Queen Betsy and the Kochs end up destroying charter schools? At Curmudgucation.

I don’t find it at all difficult to imagine a future in which the scorched earth folks work to take down charter schools right along with the public system (the one that charters insist they’re part of). If I were a scorched earth person, my plan would be first to split the funding stream into several streams (public this way, vouchers over there) and then just slowly pinch off the public stream. The techniques that we’ve already seen work just fine– starve the schools, create a measure to show that they’re failing, use their failure as justification for starving them further.

Can Democrats learn to “speak evangelical?” Hell Heck yes. At the New Yorker.

“Trying to memorize John 3:16 in the car on your way to the event and then quote that is probably not the best way to connect with faith-based voters,” he said. He had seen a candidate try this trick on the way to a rally in Kansas and then struggle to remember the phrase onstage.

The US government sues a company for discriminating against conservative Christians, at EEOC. HT: DS.

According to the suit, West Reading, Pa.-based Service Caster subjected two assemblers and one assembly line supervisor to a hostile work environment because of their national origin, Puerto Rican, and religion, Pentecostal. The plant manager routinely made derogatory remarks about their national origin. The EEOC says the plant manager also made disparaging comments about their Pentecostal faith, including calling it a “cult.” The EEOC said the harassment continued even after the workers com­plained to the company owner.

Why is one evangelical university in Tennessee thriving while another shrinks? At CT.

In some ways, the schools are very similar. Both recruit large portions of their student body from Tennessee, and are especially appealing to conservative Christians. . . . full-time enrollment at Trevecca has grown by 3 to 6 percent each year since 2013. . . In that same time frame, Bryan saw enrollment decline. The number of full-time undergraduates decreased between 6 and 13 percent in 2013, 2014, and 2015, according to IPEDS. Enrollment numbers rebounded a bit in 2016, but then declined again in 2017.

Bethel Professor Chris Gehrz asks two tough questions about evangelical colleges and tax exemptions, at PS:

institutional self-preservation isn’t our mission. And if we can’t fulfill our mission except with the economic assistance of the state, perhaps this model of Christian education is ready to join others on the dust heap of history.. . . Are we [Christian colleges] doing something necessary and good for our neighbors that couldn’t be done as well by other nonprofit educational agencies that don’t impose a religious test that may discriminate against a category of citizens?

Alfie Kohn has a different question for every Democratic candidate: What do we do about high-stakes testing?

real leadership on this issue would consist of steering the conversation beyond problems with how the tests are used, to problems with the tests themselves; and from talking about how often students are tested to talking about whether these tests are needed at all (in light of the harm they do as well the availability of more informative and less destructive alternatives).

What to do with “gifted and talented” programs? At The Atlantic.

Justice in education isn’t realized through uniformity; it’s realized by ensuring that every single child has the best shot at reaching his or her highest potential.

Religious right shuts down controversial display in Connecticut library. But it’s not what you might think: This religious right is the Indian government and the display was about a 1984 attack on the Sikh minority. At RNS.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Greetings from beautiful Madison, Wisconsin! Even though the Badgers are 6-0, people are still fighting about schools n Jesus n stuff. Here are some of the top stories to catch our attention this past week:

Bazinga. Two Congresspeople complain that Liberty U breaks Queen Betsy’s free-speech rule. At RNS.

Despite Executive Order 13864, which directs the Department to ensure institutions promote free inquiry, you have failed to act in cases of suppression of ideas that involve the administration’s political allies, such as Liberty University. . . Given that Liberty’s violations are public and longstanding, we are left to conclude that the Department’s failure to act is deliberate and that it is only interested in enforcing free speech policies against institutions it deems unfriendly.

SCOTUS won’t be hearing a Bible-in-schools case. At RH.

Are things turning around at evangelical Gordon College? After making big cuts, the school now gets huge $75.5 MILLION donation, at CT.

  • This kind of big money might end up hurting more than it helps, here at ILYBYGTH.

Too much? Just right? Physics professor suspended at NC State, at CN&O.

Professor E. David Davis called on a female student who couldn’t answer a question and jokingly asked if she was dropped on her head as a baby by her mother. . . Davis called on another female student who was also unable to answer the question. His response, a student told ABC11, was “’Well, the women are useless today. So maybe I should ask a man.’”

Where can progressive Christians go? How about Evolving Faith 2019? At RNS.

The speaker list alone made that clear — a Christian who’s-who of black, brown, LGBTQ and female voices. At a time when many Christian conferences have come under fire for having primarily cis-gender, straight white men on stage, Evolving Faith featured only one: Pete Enns, who, during the “Evolving Faith & Bible/Theology” session, described his own journey toward becoming an “agnostic Christian.”

What can radical creationists give out on Halloween? How about $1,000,000 tracts from Answers in Genesis? At Ken Ham’s Blog.

AIG money treats

Want some candy? How about these tracts instead?

Kids love these, and it’s a fun way to share the gospel—something worth far more than a million dollars!—with children and their families.

Will more teachers vote for Sen. Warren because she was a teacher? EdWeek asks the question.

Teaching is one of those weird things where everybody thinks they understand it because everybody was a student at some point, but actually doing it is different,” [MA elementary school teacher Megan] DiScicio said. “I am really tired of having people making all of the decisions in education reform and education funding who just fundamentally don’t understand what we do every day.”

While one year in the classroom might not give Warren enough experience to guide her education policy, DiSciscio is heartened by the senator’s pledge to appoint a teacher as U.S. education secretary. “It is enough experience to know the importance of choosing the right person to make those [education policy] decisions,” she said.

Democrats in “denial” about charter schools. At Flypaper.

Though it may be lost on those with a bad case of impeachment brain, the logical implication of those two strands of research is that an increase in the percentage of students in a community who enroll in charter schools should lead to systemic gains—that is, to an overall increase in achievement across all public schools—including those in traditional public schools.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Impeachment in classrooms, impeachment among evangelicals…and a few stories NOT about impeachment this week, too.

How can Smithsonian tour guides defuse anger about good science? At RNCSE.

most volunteers make a rookie mistake: they focus on what their response should be, rather than taking the time to understand the values and fears of the person they’re speaking with. Often, this takes the form of focusing on communicating the science. While effective and accurate communication of science is a crucial element, it is not enough to reach the most skeptical populations. By taking time to assign real human emotions to the visitors, volunteers can better empathize and use this newfound understanding to decide the best way to share their evidence.

Impeachment in the classroom:

Imagine, for example, a project in which students listen to the Nixon tapes and make the case for and against impeachment in that historical context. Students might research impeachment’s constitutional context as a congressional power and how the Founding Fathers saw this process as a safeguard for democracy.

Teachers might worry about taking on such a controversial political topic, either because they don’t have time for it in a packed regular curriculum, or because they worry about the discussion getting out of hand, possibly angering parents and administrators. But there are ways to treat this as a learning opportunity rather than a political smackdown, especially because many students may raise the news in class and look to teachers for clarification.

Historian Peggy Bendroth wonders why mainline Protestant women didn’t act angrier, at RA.

I am beginning to think the psychological issue isn’t actually mine at all—it’s those churchwomen I’m trying to write about, ladies with pillbox hats and big corsages, smiling gamely from the pages of denominational magazines. How can you tell a compelling human story with so much of its emotional valence buried out of sight?

I cannot believe that they were not angry—i.e., furious beyond measure at being belittled, patronized, and ignored, many years of education and prodigious talents wasted, while they watched feckless male bureaucrats rise through the ranks and then write books about their own accomplishments.

bendroth RAWill the impeachment investigation push some white conservative evangelicals closer to Trump? At AP.

“I do feel like we are, as Christians, the first line of defense for the president,” Christina Jones, 44, said before [Franklin] Graham took the stage. Trump is “supporting our Christian principles and trying to do his best,” she added, even as “everybody’s against him.” . . . In the crowd at Graham’s tour, which will stop in six more North Carolina cities over the next 10 days, believers had reserved their concern for Trump’s Democratic antagonists. “They’re just digging things up and making things up just to try to take him down, and I don’t think that’s fair,” said Mike Fitzgerald, 64.

Students know the rules about prayer in public schools, but many don’t care. At PRC.

Nationwide, roughly four-in-ten teens (including 68% of evangelical Protestant teens) who go to public school say they think it is “appropriate” for a teacher to lead a class in prayer. Some of the teens who express this view are unaware of the Supreme Court’s ruling. But most know what the law is; 82% of U.S. teens in public schools (and 79% of evangelical teens) correctly answer a factual question about the constitutionality of teacher-led prayer in public school classrooms.

Federal judge rules in favor (again) of campus Christian groups, at IHE.

When is “Bring Your Bible to School” Day? Every day, at R&P.

Bringing a Bible to school (public or private) is a legal, common, and regular practice in the U.S. . . . The federal government protects this right, unequivocally. Hindrances in the U.S. to the practice of Christian religious freedom are rare, usually stem from confusion around school policy, and are often quickly resolved.

It might take more than 6,000 to figure out all the financial connections. New Yorker story unpicks the connections between real-estate deals, Congressmen, dinosaur fossils, and sad homeschool “research” trips. HT: CS.

What is school reform like? Larry Cuban reviews the metaphors. Jalopy? Or old house?

Over the years I have used the image of a jalopy.

Incremental change means sanding and re-painting the old car. Getting a tune-up, new tires, and replacement car seats for the torn ones–you get the idea.

Fundamental (or transformational or radical) change, however, refers to giving up the car and getting a different kind of transportation–biking, bus or rapid transit, walking, car pooling, etc.

“Court evangelicals” and the culture of fear, at TWOILH.

John Wilson–you need to get out more. The fearful people I am writing about here do not read back issues of Books & Culture or attend the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing.  They do not talk theology in the coffee shops of Wheaton, Illinois.  There is an entire world of evangelical Christians out there who you have not yet met. They are very afraid.  They seek comfort in strongmen of both the political and religious variety.  Donald Trump and the court evangelicals are exploiting their fears for political gain.

Ouch. Bad news for the Education Department. It was the second-least-favored federal department in a recent survey. Plus, more Republicans (55%) like the EPA than the Ed Dept. (48%). At PRC.

Pew fed agencies EPA or ED

Teachers: Do you buy it? American Enterprise Institute says the ‘underpaid-teacher’ thing is a myth.

predictions generated by the underpaid-teacher hypothesis — such as that teachers must have high quit rates, or that a large percentage of their income flows from second jobs — are not supported by the data. Teachers as a group are generally well compensated, and teacher pay and benefits have risen faster over time than compensation in private-sector jobs. Failure to recognize these facts can lead education reform down a blind alley.

Can universities accept philanthropy tainted by the Oxycontin scandal? Many have, at AP.

Oxford, the University of Glasgow in Scotland and Cornell each received $5 million to $6 million, tax records show. Columbia University followed with nearly $5 million, while Imperial College London and McGill University in Montreal each received more than $3 million.

It’s not only K-12 schools. Preschool programs are even more segregated by race, at Hechinger.

early learning programs are twice as likely to be nearly 100 percent black or Hispanic than kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Apparently there was some news this week about a whistle blowing in Ukraine or something. In the ILYBYGTH International Offices, though, the stories below were the top ones to grab our attention:

Whom do Americans trust? Well, nobody, really. But they trust school principals more than they trust religious leaders. From Pew.Pew principals or preachers II

What’s wrong with judging teachers by students’ test scores? The view from Florida at TBT.

teachers who don’t even teach math or reading receive VAM scores based on the school’s average, not what they’ve done in the classroom. They are judged on variables they can’t even influence.

The answer is not that complex. Put in place a good principal — a good leader — and let her run the school and build support. If she rates a teacher “highly effective,” the state should trust her judgment and not micromanage by wielding a flawed VAM score as a cudgel. It’s one thing to measure performance in the classroom. It’s another to use a faulty measurement that unfairly punishes some good teachers and deprives students who need them.

So, wait: ARE religious children more generous? A retracted study leads to more questions at PT.

In 2015, a paper by Jean Decety and co-authors reported that children who were brought up religiously were less generous. The paper received a great deal of attention, and was covered by over 80 media outlets including The Economist, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and Scientific American. As it turned out, however, the paper by Decety was wrong.

What should evangelicals do about getting kicked off campus? One piece of evangelical advice at RNS.

Today, evangelicals should not take to social media to complain that Christian conservatism is under attack. Rather, we should grieve that our LGBTQ+ neighbors don’t feel safe on our campuses and do something about it.

Chicago teachers gear up for another strike, at CT.

The union’s demands boil down to a hashtag, #PutInWriting, which social media users have appended to statements of support for CTU and demands that the city codify certain promises in contract language. The mayor has promised and budgeted for more nurses, social workers and special education staff, but the union wants those commitments made in a legally binding contract.

chicago teachers strike

How many kids are praying at your public school? New app hopes to boost numbers, at CT.

SYATP phone

Does she have a K-12 plan? A look at Sen. Warren’s ideas about schools at CB.

She has been a staunch advocate for holding schools accountable for their test scores and graduation rates, describing that data as a tool to push for racial equity, though more recently she’s criticized “high-stakes testing.” She has also praised charter schools in her home state while pushing for greater oversight of the schools nationally, especially those run by for-profit companies.