New Study Shows That Catholic Primary Schools Are No Better (and Arguably Worse) Than Public Primary Schools

A new study shows that Catholic primary schools are no better — and arguably worse — than public primary schools, contrary to popular belief.

The study, published in the Journal of Urban Economics, was done by Michigan State University’s Todd Elder and University College Dublin’s Christopher Jepsen.

Catholic school children actually do better at an early age, like in kindergarten, but that’s likely because they come from the kinds of families that can afford to pay private school tuition, giving them a bit of a head start in life. As they get older, however, the advantages fade:

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Bill to Put ‘In God We Trust’ Sign in Every Public School in Pennsylvania Gets Through Education Committee

We learned earlier this month Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Saccone (R-obviously), who has a history of sponsoring and supporting unnecessary legislation to promote Christianity, planned to propose legislation to put the words “In God We Trust” in every public school — and possibly every classroom — in the state. As Justin Vacula correctly pointed out then, [Read More…]

An Open Letter to the Principal of My Kids’ Elementary School: Let’s Drop the Pledge of Allegiance

This school year, my youngest daughter, who is eight, is being asked to say the Pledge of Allegiance in her public school every day. “Being asked” is too kind, really; it’s on her class program, so like a good little third-grader, she simply does it, every morning, without question — just like her 20 classmates. No one’s told her that she may opt out.

The school has no specific policy on saying the Pledge, leaving it up to individual teachers to incorporate it into their daily routines — or not.

I thought about it off and on for a few weeks, finding it hard to know what to do, if anything. Not rocking the boat has its advantages, which in this case would include not exposing my daughter to the social perils of having an outspoken atheist for a dad, specially in the very school environment where this could hurt her the most. Then again, I’m just not that good at keeping my mouth shut when something bothers me.

When I cautiously broached the principal about this, he immediately offered to discuss any concerns with the staff without disclosing my name, or those of my two school-age daughters. I thought that was pretty classy, so I felt unburdened to send him the following letter.

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American Legion Group Demands Prayer at Public School’s Veterans Day Ceremony, but School Officials Say No

This past June, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Wallenpaupack Area Schools (in Pennsylvania) Superintendent Michael Silsby letting him know that if a clergy member ever again led a prayer at the district high school’s graduation ceremony, they would be hit with a lawsuit. Silsby wrote back in August: “The District will no longer have religious rituals as part of the commencement ceremony.”

Excellent. Problem solved.

So you can imagine how Silsby reacted when he learned what American Legion Post 311 wanted to do during Wallenpaupack Area High School’s Veterans Day ceremony next month. Normally, the event includes announcing the winners of an essay contest, singing patriotic songs, and listening to a guest speaker. But this year, the Legion made an additional, ungrantable request: Let our chaplain say a prayer at the assembly.

Silsby, not wanting to go through the same legal battle again, told them prayer wasn’t an option. It was a public school ceremony. There would be no mixing of church and state.

The veterans didn’t take the news so well. They’re now saying if the school won’t allow their chaplain to say a prayer at the event, they just won’t show up:

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School Board Says Prayer is Allowed at Parent-Teacher Meetings… if Teachers Are Banned From Group Leadership

Last week, I posted about how the Franklin County School Board in Tennessee was debating whether or not the Parent-Teacher Organization should be praying at meetings:

The school board’s attorney suggested that a moment of silence would be okay, but a prayer crossed the line — Since the PTO was a school-sponsored group, it was violating the law.

Well, the school board has finally figured out how to handle this.

Oh, they’re still allowing the prayers. But they’re also telling teachers that they can’t be on the board of the Parent-Teacher group:

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