From the very beginning, I was primed to be a Liberty University student. My upbringing as a dissatisfied fundamentalist Christian had built an aching for a more accepting, understanding religion that focussed less on the semantics and more on the sincerity. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who defined their faith as the drinks they avoided and the movies they skipped, and I longed to find a community that emphasized their personal relationship with Christ over their public acts of piety.
My first impression of Bob Jones University was a glowing one. Every year, hundreds of high school students are bussed onto the campus from conservative churches and schools (half-jokingly referred to as “feeder schools” by students and faculty at BJU) to visit for a week. This year, I was one of those lucky kids. Getting my first glimpse at real college life was a moment I’d long anticipated, and for the week I was there it was everything I wanted.
A Christian free school lauded by Education Secretary Michael Gove has been ordered to close after inspectors accused pupils of harbouring “prejudiced views” of children from other faiths which went unchallenged by their teachers.
For those of you who are in the teaching profession, or who are interested in politics, and how Govian free market economics is trying to usurp education, then this is fascinating. It’s a tour de force, from Disappointed Idealist:
Something hideous this way comes. It’s a teacher shortage. Nothing new there, I hear you say. But this one is going to be a cracker, and it’s one which has been manufactured by Gove and his fellow travellers.
This was a pretty interesting talk, with some lovely moments to lift as quotes. One of my favourites was the…
Today the British Humanist Association (BHA) is sending every state-funded secondary school library in Northern Ireland a copy of The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God. The initiative, funded entirely by public donations, is part of the BHA’s work to ensure that young people have access to resources that enable them to come to their own decisions about their values and beliefs.
The post-Trojan horse shenanigans rumble on. The BHA are riding the secular wave – good on ’em. The BBC reports:…
YES!!! GIVE IS OUT, GOVE IS OUT, WHOOP DE DOO, GOVE IS OUT. GOVE HAS GONE, GOVE HAS GONE, YAY YAY YAY, GOVE HAS GONE!
The National Governors’ Association calls for the abolition of the 70-year-old rule that requires schools to hold a Christian assembly every day, saying it is “meaningless”
OK, so if you have been following the debacle of the schools in Birmingham, UK, which have involved the schools…
Good news, everyone! My talk for the Illini Secular Student Alliance at UIUC back in April is now up for everyone to see. In my presentation, I talk about the 20th century origins of the ancient astronaut hypothesis (now in its modern TV form, Ancient Aliens), the sorts of claims about the past and why they don’t hold up, and into the sorts of claims related to modern UFOs and alien visitations–that is, close encounters. I also get to bring up my research and book on the Star of Bethlehem.
These schools shouldn’t even be allowed to exist, let alone be policed by their own. As the National Secular Society reports:
The National Secular Society has expressed concern that inspectors with extremist views are working for the body responsible for inspecting Muslims and Christian independent schools.
This, from the Telegraph: Headmaster sacked from Catholic school over marriage split A top Catholic school retracted its job…
The government are continuing to look into the Islamification of certain schools in the Birmingham area as I reported (from the BBC) before. Here, the anti-terrorism unit has got involved. This is close to my teaching and secular heart (from the BBC again):
Bloody awesome. [H/T Zoe Flanagan] OK, this is UK-centric. But man, this fricking NAILS everything which is wrong with education…
Timberlake, VA – Sports, sneakers, and short hair; it’s what makes eight year old Sunnie Kahle unique. It’s also what had her removed from Timberlake Christian School. Her grandparents pulled the plug on her time there after they said she was no longer welcome.
The family received a letter telling them that if their eight year old granddaughter didn’t follow the school’s “biblical standards,” that she’d be refused enrollment next year. She’s out and in public school now.
I don’t make a habit, as a teacher, of annoying parents. It doesn’t make my job easy. But I have spent the last week getting more and more incensed and infuriated over the claims and arguments I have been hearing on the radio and TV and at school. Why can’t presenters get some critical skills. Why can’t they challenge guests on false analogies and non sequiturs?
Wednesday 26th is an important day for the National Union of Teachers here in the UK. We have voted to go out on strike and I am going to do so, foregoing my pay for the day. I don’t take this action lightly, but then nor do I accept hat he government is doing to the education system lightly. I would like to elucidate on this and give the reasons to support my action.
Let me just prime you with this scandalous statistic: 40% of teachers leave the profession within 5 years.
The Guardian reports, following up from a story which I reposted here:
Experienced headteachers say they recognise ploy outlined in document about alleged Islamic plot to ‘take over’ schools
As a teacher, I cannot tell you how much this worries me. I will be striking later this month in opposition to this government push on ‘free schools’ an academies which is thinly veiled attempt to privatise education and politically liberalise it. I could bore you for hours on the ramifications and implications of such a stupid approach to education, not least adding in the utter stupidity of scrapping a national curriculum and assessment framework whilst neglecting to be organised enough to have something in mind and prepared to replace it. Total idiots. And yes, if I meet Education Secretary Michael Gove in a dark alley…