Weekly Meanderings, 15 September 2018

Weekly Meanderings, 15 September 2018 September 15, 2018

A wonderful couple days in Wichita with the Apprentice Institute and this week I go to Seedbed’s New Room conference in Nashville. Then classes begin…

Teachers, underpaid and largely ignored:

Hope Brown can make $60 donating plasma from her blood cells twice in one week, and a little more if she sells some of her clothes at a consignment store. It’s usually just enough to cover an electric bill or a car payment. This financial juggling is now a part of her everyday life—something she never expected almost two decades ago when she earned a master’s degree in secondary education and became a high school history teacher. Brown often works from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. at her school in Versailles, Ky., then goes to a second job manning the metal detectors and wrangling rowdy guests at Lexington’s Rupp Arena. With her husband, she also runs a historical tour company for extra money.

“I truly love teaching,” says the 52-year-old. “But we are not paid for the work that we do.”

That has become the rallying cry of many of America’s public-school teachers, who have staged walkouts and marches on six state capitols this year. From Arizona to Oklahoma, in states blue, red and purple, teachers have risen up to demand increases in salaries, benefits and funding for public education. Their outrage has struck a chord, reviving a national debate over the role and value of teachers and the future of public education.

For many teachers, this year’s uprising is decades in the making. The country’s roughly 3.2 million full-time public-school teachers (kindergarten through high school) are experiencing some of the worst wage stagnation of any profession, earning less on average, in inflation-­adjusted dollars, than they did in 1990, according to Department of Education (DOE) data.

Meanwhile, the pay gap between teachers and other comparably educated professionals is now the largest on record. In 1994, public-school teachers in the U.S. earned 1.8% less per week than comparable workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-leaning think tank. By last year, they made 18.7% less. The situation is particularly grim in states such as Oklahoma, where teachers’ inflation-adjusted salaries actually decreased by about $8,000 in the last decade, to an average of $45,245 in 2016, according to DOE data. In Arizona, teachers’ average inflation-adjusted annual wages are down $5,000.

What will you do? What can we do?

Nicea Comes to Life:

A team of archaeologists working in the city of Iznik (the old Nicaea, in Turkey), found something unexpected as they examined aerial photographies. In the lake of the region, they could see the structure of what once was a big Christian basilica. Mustafa Sahin, head of archaeology of the Bursa Uludag University, said the church was an unexpected and surprising finding. “I was doing field surveys in Iznik [since 2006], and I hadn’t discovered such a magnificent structure like that”, he told LiveScience. According to the archaeologists, an earthquake in 740 destroyed the temple. The remains now rest about three metres under water and 50 metres away from the shore. The submarine explorations have helped find tombs with coins of the reigns of Roman emperors Valente (364-378) and Valentiniano II (375-392). The Daily Mail quoted Sahin saying this temple could have been the place where the Council of Nicaea happened. During this theological gathering in 325, the heresy known as Arrianism was refuted, and the eternal nature of God the Son was affirmed.

Local authorities expressed their enthusiasm about the discovery. The metropolitan Mayor, Alinur Aktas, said the submarine archaeological museum of Turkey will be built around the basilica, and will be accessible for tourists.

A tower of 20 metres of height will be built near the basilica, and the discoveries of the excavation will be exhibited in the museum. “The tower will offer visitors the chance to view the area during the day and night. When the construction of the museum is complete, it will make a great contribution to tourism”, Aktas said. The mayor added: “By establishing an underwater archaeological museum, we will be both making a first in Turkey and providing a historical viewing area of a site that stretches back centuries. There will be professional diving courses offered as part of the project. Those who are interested in diving can come and take courses, and later dive to the excavation site. It’s a versatile project in every respect. We are looking forward to getting started”. [HT: NS]

Ocean cleanup:

SAN FRANCISCO —  As the sun rose Sunday morning, an Ocean Pacific cleanup system was slowly but steadily being towed out to its eventual, audacious goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic pollution.

Five years in the making, the Ocean Cleanup is the brainchild of a young Dutchman named Boyan Slat. He saw plastic trash polluting the waters in Greece when he was diving there in high school and he became obsessed with cleaning it up.

A vague idea became a plan, then a project that became a TED talk that found crowd-funded seed money. On Saturday the now 24-year-old got to stand on the bow of a ship and see the fruits of his idea be towed out into the Pacific.

The process has been neither simple nor easy.

“There were lots of hurdles, lots of zigzags,” he said in an interview with USA TODAY on board the boat that followed the system. He began with one idea, based on the booms used to contain oil spills but quickly realized that wouldn’t work.

Hundreds of tests, iterations and models went into what the Ocean Cleanup now calls System 001.

Though the idea of a 19-year-old college dropout coming up with a viable plan to clean the world’s oceans of plastic pollution might seem absurd, the project’s chief operating officer, Lonneke Holierhoek, views it differently.

That’s a lot of ham!

An Ohio grocery store employee is facing the possibility of felony theft charges for her daily snacking habit.

The unnamed employee worked in Bolivar at the grocery chain Giant Eagle for eight years – during that time authorities say she helped herself to three to five slices of ham every day, totaling $9,200 in lost revenue. Authorities say she would also sometimes eat salami.

The Associated Press reports that the store’s loss prevention manager received a tip that the employee had been eating the meat slices for years.

The woman is facing potential felony theft charges, however, Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that “felony charges are unlikely.”

“While our office did take a report of the issue as requested by the store, no determination of charges has been made. The procedure is to send the report to the Prosecutor’s Office and they are the ones to decide.

“While my office does not have the authority to make the final decision in this case, I do feel confident that once all of the facts are relayed to the Prosecutor, Felony charges are unlikely,” the statement read before adding that no arrests and “no formal filing of charges” had happened.

That’s quite the opening claim:

“Turning hearts toward home”—a phrase Dr. James Dobson has repeated so often over the last four decades that it sounds like scripture. It’s hard to believe now, but his unrelenting focus on the family would have been viewed as heretical by evangelicals a century and a half ago.

Indeed, revivalistic religion in the eighteenth century often tore families apart. As Christine Heyrman writes, “For those to whom Canaan’s language long remained an unintelligible tongue, the conversion of beloved relatives could lead to enduring emotional estrangement. Transformed by their newfound zeal, dutiful sons and daughters, affectionate siblings and spouses . . . [could become] remorseless, relentless, seemingly heartless in dealing with loved ones.”

The instinct to de-emphasize family continued in the nineteenth century. Methodist evangelist Phoebe Palmersuffered the death of two young children, and she interpreted these tragedies as divine discipline. “After my loved ones were snatched away,” she wrote in her journal in 1831, “I saw that I had concentrated my time and attentions far too exclusively, to the neglect of the religious activities demanded. Though painfully, learned, yet I trust the lesson has been fully apprehended. From henceforth, Jesus must and shall have the uppermost seat in my heart.” Palmer’s heart was sanctified at the moment it turned away from home. …

Not all of it was political. For every Focus on the Family radio show explicitly devoted to the culture wars, there were half a dozen focused on conflict resolution, inspirational stories, marital intimacy, child discipline, how to have fun as a family, and other topics related to family nurture. As articulated in a 1982 book entitled God, the Rod, and Your Child’s Bod, the Christian family is “that place where parents so live the Christian life and so practice the presence of Christ that they children grow up to naturally accept God as the most important fact in life.”

This new sensibility represented a substantial shift within evangelicalism, which historically had been “deeply suspicious of domestic entanglements.” As Bendroth aptly puts it, “The identification of erstwhile fundamentalists as pro-family is one of the ironies of recent history.”

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