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School chaplaincy program deemed unconstitutional

Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2014] HCA 23) for the second time that Commonwealth funding of school chaplains was unconstitutional. This is in direct contradiction of the Abbott government's recent budget moves to totally defund secular counsellors in favour of a $244M school chaplaincy program[me]. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Jun 18, 2014 - 48 comments

Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

Potterverse Worldbuilding

The extended setting of the Harry Potter series is fertile soil for fans interested in worldbuilding, especially since the release of Pottermore (previously), a companion site to the books that includes back-story and adjunt information direct from J.K. Rowling. Some of these worldbuilding projects include explorations on wizarding fashion, magical education (including other magical schools), fantastic beasts (and perhaps where to find them), Muslims at Hogwarts, and the next generation of Hogwarts students. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 30, 2014 - 116 comments

"Somebody's gotta stand up to these experts!"

Creationists' Last Stand at the Texas State Board of Education
posted by brundlefly on Nov 14, 2013 - 82 comments

Malala Yousafzai leaves Jon Stewart speechless

“I’ll tell him how important education is, and that I even want education for your children as well. And I would tell him, ‘That’s what I want to tell you, now do what you want.’” - Malala Yousafzai (previously), shot by the Taliban a year ago, talks to the Daily Show's Jon Stewart about what she would do if a gunman came to shoot her again, as they have promised.
posted by Artw on Oct 9, 2013 - 64 comments

"You don’t like it? Find another place to live."

"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 24, 2013 - 168 comments

That's me in the corner

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Beauty, Virtue and Vice

Most of the prints in the exhibit "Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints" were designed simply to please the eye, but they are also useful to historians who would like to understand how nineteenth-century Americans thought about the world in which they lived. Although prints are often works of imagination (even when they are grounded in fact), they still have much to tell us about the time and place in which they were created. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Sep 30, 2011 - 10 comments

The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

The Philanthropist "Godman"

"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 25, 2011 - 41 comments

Religion and America's Academic Scientists

Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 30, 2010 - 89 comments

"Greetings from Idiot America"

Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

Why there are still monkeys

Why are there still monkeys?
posted by homunculus on Aug 25, 2008 - 110 comments

3 to 10 classroom hours

16% of US science teachers believe human beings have been created by God within the last 10,000 years. 25% of science teachers spend some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. 12.5% teach it as a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species". 2% say they do not cover evolution at all. Teachers who have taken more science courses themselves devote more time to evolution - "This may be because better-prepared teachers are more confident in dealing with students' questions about a sensitive subject."
posted by Artw on May 19, 2008 - 205 comments

Surrealistic Lilliputian Realm

The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell? Remember The Inner Life of a Cell animation (discussed here)? Apparently the Discovery Institute (recently discussed here) is showing it in presentations with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
posted by homunculus on Nov 20, 2007 - 20 comments

Love on Campus: Why We Should Encourage an Eroticism (of the Mind) Between Professor and Student

Love on Campus: Why We Should Encourage an Eroticism (of the Mind) Between Professor and Student. Yale English professor William Deresiewicz argues that the newly-emerged stereotype of professors as "pompous, lecherous, alcoholic failures" is in the main due to our culture's fear of and inability to understand the true intimacy between professor and student: that of the mind. Cf. controversial Hindu teacher-student relationships, the same in Christianity, or merely observe Oscar Wilde: "I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself."
posted by shivohum on Jul 13, 2007 - 50 comments

The Pursuit of Happyness II: This time, it's a cross-cultural documentary

Three small classes of high school students, one in Watsonville, California, one in Jos, Nigeria, and one in Dharamsala, India, are currently collaborating on "Project Happiness". The students are "exchanging their thoughts about what happiness is, and how to behave in ways that promote happiness all around them," drawing on the Dalai Lama's Ethics for the New Millennium (useful 50-page pdf study guide; positive review from Christian Century magazine). In their work creating a curriculum for the book, the students communicate via email, a blog, and videos (an instructor in India describes the project's focus; a "what life is like here" video from India). The podcast section of the official site currently features just one introductory video posted a few weeks ago. The project will culminate in a meeting of all three classes in March 2007 in Dharamsala. A book and a PBS documentary are planned.
posted by ibmcginty on Dec 28, 2006 - 5 comments

Remembering the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy

Culture Wars: School buses are riddled with sniper bullets, gas lines are cut, windshields broken, and bomb threats disrupt schools daily. Teachers and custodians must remove nails and broken glass from their school parking lots each morning, and several school buildings have been damaged by early morning firebombs and dynamite. One minister has prayed publicly for the deaths of three board members. 'It was simply overwhelming.' Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (via)
posted by Otis on May 12, 2006 - 27 comments

Not to be confused with anthropology

The World of Waldorf: where children learn to read after the second grade. Critics speak out against it, but there's dancing, and the moon was once part of earth. But, don't believe everything that you read online! One of the minor links is a pdf.
posted by Jim Jones on Feb 23, 2005 - 30 comments

Mmm, church and state, mmmmmmm.

Uhoh. Tony Blair's new Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is almost certainly a member of masochistic Catholic cult Opus Dei, as featured in The Da Vinci Code.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jan 24, 2005 - 52 comments

prove it!

"Students in tax-supported schools are being taught that evolution is a fact. We are convinced that evolution is a religion masquerading as science and should not be part of any science curriculum." Dr. Kent Hovind is offering $250,000 to anyone who can prove evolution. Dr. Hovind is also known for his 17-hour award-winning seminar series. While you're there, you can buy all sorts of goodies like fossil replicas! And if that's not enough, there's a great FAQ. [MI]
posted by exlotuseater on Dec 7, 2004 - 85 comments

Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School

Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School? WTF? That's what I thought when I first read it. I read more and again I said: WTF? This can't be right! So, I looked around a bit and I realised some people had already a different perspective on this.
posted by acrobat on Nov 25, 2004 - 38 comments

SCOTUS rules for seperation of church and state for once.

SCOTUS rules for seperation of church and state for once. The court's 7-2 ruling held that the state of Washington was within its rights to deny a taxpayer-funded scholarship to a college student who was studying to be a minister. That holding applies even when money is available to students studying anything else. "Training someone to lead a congregation is an essentially religious endeavor," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court majority. "Indeed, majoring in devotional theology is akin to a religious calling as well as an academic pursuit."
posted by skallas on Feb 25, 2004 - 42 comments

Stay between the lines.

Teacher sues over limits on history curriculum. "A seventh-grade social studies teacher in Presque Isle [Maine] who said he was barred from teaching about non-Christian civilizations has sued his school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression."
posted by sarajflemming on Dec 4, 2003 - 35 comments

Roy

Roy Ten Commandments Moore (discussed here) received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in January of 2003 from the Methodist Episcopal Church, USA (temporarily deactivated, someone, call billing!) & the National Clergy Council. The National Clergy Council has placed "Ten Commandment" plaques on the walls of politicians such as George Bush, Trent Lott, Joe Leiberman, & Rick Santorum among others. The web site of the National Clergy Council reads "There remain thousands of additional government officials yet to receive the Ten Commandments Plaques." and asks for help. Chief Justice Moore had to travel all the way to Washington DC to receive his honorary Doctorate of Divinity. It would have been far cheaper to pay $7.95 online. In case you were wondering a Doctorate in Divinity means an "understanding of the relationship between Man, His Creator, and the rest of the Cosmos." It's good nice to know that such a moral man is was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
posted by filchyboy on Aug 24, 2003 - 29 comments

Web Project Seeks to Digitize Religious Images for Theological Libraries

Web Project Seeks to Digitize Religious Images for Theological Libraries The American Theological Library Association's Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative aims to create a large database of religious images to spare research librarians the expense of digitizing documents that other institutions have already scanned
posted by turbanhead on Jul 16, 2003 - 4 comments

Don't believe in evolution? Don't get a recommendation.

Don't believe in evolution? Don't get a recommendation. The Justice Department has been asked to look into the case of a Texas Tech biology professor who has made it clear that you won't get a recommendation from him if you believe in creationism. In his online notes to students, Dini writes "If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: 'How do you think the human species originated?' If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences." The Liberty Legal Institute, calls the policy "open religious bigotry." Texas Tech supports Lini, saying the decision on whether to recommend someone is a personal one. Clearly, it should be a professor's call on whether to give a student a recommendation or not, but did Lini make himself a target by laying out this criteria this way?
posted by Gilbert on Jan 30, 2003 - 182 comments

High school Satanism club prompts parental outrage

High school Satanism club prompts parental outrage some kids in a high school start a club called Satanist Thought Society. As expected, everybody gets offended, especially the Christian Society. It can be argued, though, that the the Satanist Society has as much right to exist as the Christian Society. Is this just a 1st ammendment issue or is there a moral question to be thought out? (via Camworld)
posted by falameufilho on Oct 2, 2002 - 100 comments

Yoga in the classroom? EGADS! That reeks of religious implications, say parents in Aspen, Colorado. "For some families, the chanting that accompanies a selection of yoga techniques creates a challenge for separation of church and state." Aspen Elementary says the pilot program "was proposed as a way to help kids cope with their return to school. Rowdy tots could be calmed and readied for class work after recess using a series of relaxing breathing and stretching techniques."
posted by msacheson on Aug 28, 2002 - 66 comments

Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum.

Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum. I wish I could find better links than these. I've been hearing about this on NPR every morning this week, but have been unable to find any news links - I can't even find the Ohio State School Board site. They are debating whether or not to start teaching IDT, which seems to be Creationism with a pseudo-scientific background. Here is a transcript of comments that were given to the board by John Calvert, J.D., a supporter of IDT. Anybody know any more about this theory?
posted by starvingartist on Feb 8, 2002 - 64 comments

Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives

Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives The Washington State bill would have required school districts to set up policies against harassment, bullying and intimidation. Christian conservatives that blocked the vote claim "it amounted to censorship of their right to condemn homosexuality." There is no mention of homosexuality in the bill at all. So this leads me to the conclusion that these Christians condone "harassment, bullying and intimidation." How far from the Golden Rule can you stray and keep a straight face?
posted by kokogiak on May 1, 2001 - 26 comments

We're glad too, Justice Scalia.

We're glad too, Justice Scalia. A New York State public school has prohibited an evangelical group from offering Bible study and prayer in its classrooms, and the case is now before the US Supreme Court:

"This is divisive in the community?" Justice Scalia exclaimed. "I don't understand. What would the community get upset about? I don't understand." He continued: "You must have a very divisive community down there. I'm glad I don't live in New York anymore."
posted by nicwolff on Mar 1, 2001 - 17 comments

Stenberg v. Carhart

Stenberg v. Carhart Interesting points (no pun intended): "consider a law that violates the principle of separation of church and state by mandating that each public school day begin with a sectarian prayer. The primary purpose of that law would be to advance [a] religion. ...In contrast, consider a law with the proper and constitutional purpose of promoting good citizenship, for example, a law requiring students to recite the pledge of allegiance at the beginning of the public school day. Unlike the school prayer law, this law would not be invalid ... However, it would be unconstitutional ... Forcing those students to recite the pledge would violate their First Amendment rights because the right to speak includes the right not to speak."
posted by greyscale on Apr 27, 2000 - 6 comments

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