When Edwin Newman published his phenomenal bestseller Strictly Speaking, a blurb on the back cover quoted a reviewer who described the erudite author as "a glass of chilled wine awash in a sea of tepid Tab." That is probably the greatest tribute to the surpassing virtue of verbal wheat over rhetorical chaff since Thomas Jefferson said the words of Jesus stand out from those of his commentators like so many "diamonds in a dung heap."
In New Jersey, a program called “Teach for America” is being tested as a tool for addressing the manifest failure of public schools in areas like Newark. This program purports to improve schools by providing them with leadership through this foundation, which combines teaching and administration.
The linguistic relativity principle is back in vogue, according to linguist Guy Deutscher of the University of Manchester, writing for the New York Times. This principle, often known informally as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis after the two linguists who articulated it most persuasively, states in effect that the way in which different languages encode various grammatical properties determines the way their speakers perceive the world.
For over 30 years the middle school in Nettleton, Mississippi, had classified students who wished to run in student elections by race. One year particular offices, such as class president, were reserved for white students; the next year they were opened only to blacks. This policy was implemented, said the school district, in response to a court order, likely involving a desegregation case.
This week, the New York Post exposed the religious bias found within the New York State Regents exams. According to the Post, “State testmakers played favorites when quizzing high-schoolers on world religions — giving Islam and Buddhism the kid-glove treatment while socking it to Christianity.” The bias was found in specifically global history and geography exams, proving yet again that the liberal tenet of separation of church and state applies solely to Christianity.
In what reads like a passage from George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the government public school district for New Canaan, Connecticut, is considering a proposal from SecureRF, a local digital security company, to tag and track school property, such as textbooks, laptops — and also students — whether they are on or off campus.
President Obama has signed into law an emergency appropriations measure intended to provide funds to stop teacher layoffs and to provide aid to financial strapped states. Critics charge, however, that the measure will harm economic recovery, stifle job creation, and harm low income families.
Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Council, has expressed outrage at a plan being considered by the Helena Public School System to have sex education begin in kindergarten.
Since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision gave women a “choice,” abortion has been one of the major issues dividing “liberal” and “conservative” Americans. Sadly, while nearly every thinking adult has an opinion on the subject, to a majority the act of abortion remains little more than an abstract idea, with few on either side of the debate willing to take a hard look at what abortion really means.
The July 4 news story in the Boston Globe described a scene that will be played out in virtually every school and community in the United States over the next five years, not always with the same decision. Cushing Academy — a 144-year-old private prep school located in the northern Worcester County, Massachusetts, town of Ashburnham — has decided to eliminate its library and replace it with an Internet center.
The Boston Globe reported July 4 that students have been studying less in high school and college compared with past decades. “In survey after survey since 2000, college and high school students are alarmingly candid that they are simply not studying very much at all. Some longtime professors have noted the trend, which rarely gets mentioned by college admissions officials when prospective students visit campus.”