Monday, January 14, 2013

Ed Beat:Praying, Asking, Da NUTZ, Da Shortz

Say Your Prayers! There's a saying that goes, "as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools."
At one time, that likely reflected a fairly uniform view about school prayer: that despite what federal law said about the practice, religious Americans by and large approved of it.
A new study, however, paints a more complicated picture of attitudes toward school prayer over the last four decades, finding sharp differences in school-prayer support between different generations and their religious denominations.
Forthcoming in the journal Sociological Forum, the study maps a general decline in advocacy for school prayer starting in the mid-1970s and accelerating as skeptical Baby Boomers became ascendant through the 1980s.
According to the study's findings, school-prayer support remains markedly lower today among Catholics and mainline Protestants yet unwaveringly high among their evangelical counterparts.

Read more at:"


Serious People Are Asking: Can Public Education survive? That's the frequently heard question, as more and more of the terrain of the academy becomes the battlegrounds for competing social/economic forces, sites of battles which CorpoRat interests USUALLY prevail.
Schools, either per se or in the abstract, were NOT regarded as anything  but an undiluted "public good" from the mid-19th Century until Brown v. Board of Education. Thereafter, a lot of (mainly white) parents decided  they didn't want to send their kids going to school--mingling, socializing, and maybe even having sex with--with "those people."
On a similar note:  Along with every other facet of the "commons," such shreds as have still escaped being engulfed in the ravening maw of predatory, shock-driven capitalism, everything "public" has been subjected to a kind of specious scrutiny and criticism based as much on ideas of "class" as any measurable criteria. Answering a similar question--"Why You Can Kiss Public Education (and the Middle Class) Goodbye," ;a piece on Alternet last month/year began with this provocative hook:
 "Quick - when you hear "public housing," what picture jumps into your mind?  Or "public hospital"?"

All around us, our public institutions are disintegrating, and the most important public
institution of all – our public education system – is the next to be ghettoized.

This is the coda to the mantra of privatization, and a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unfortunately (quote-unquote), the new, private, charter schools won't be able to take EVERYBODY. There will always be (much poorer, much shabbier, much more dangerous) "public" schools for the losers and the dregs.
Da Nutz
: "It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that a low-income student, no matter how intrinsically bright, moves up the socioeconomic ladder. What we’re talking about is a threat to the
American dream." - Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford.
  That's why the for-profit "Schools" and so-called 'private' universities like Phoenix and its emulators are such predatory scum. They sell spurious (at best) "degrees" as credentials for professions don't exist to people desperate to believe in the mobility myth...A recent piece in the NYTimes provided some of the nasty details.


The CTU Took It In The Shortz: In the context of a moving and accurate Jeremiad on the decline--well, the erasure, if we were honest--of anything even remotely resembling an American "left," an Australian scholar, writing on TruthOut, explains just how FAR the Chicago Teachers' Union were backed into a corner by Rahm Emanuel, and how MUCH to which they were forced to concede.
Quotha: As Reuters reported on September 18,
 "those were major goals for Emanuel and positive outcomes for any Emanuel financial backers associated with the national education reform movement." The outcome, however, was widely viewed in the United States as a victory for the teachers, since (amazingly, to most Americans) they retained their pre-strike jobs, salaries, and health insurance benefits

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