Supposed to be teaching, “I feel like I’m babysitting!”

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The email was a cry from the heart from someone who really wanted to do the right thing: Dear Anchoress, I was asked to teach CCD to third graders making their First Reconciliation and First Communion. I am not a teacher. . .but having coached CYO (10-12-year-olds), and also having children (now adults), I agreed. I have been trying since September to "get into it." I prepare each week, sometimes for over a few hours. There are eleven kids in the class. They mostly show up, [but] if … [Read more...]

Boom!: Patheos Catholic Bloggers Call for Um…Revolution! UPDATED

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Yes, Revolution. It all started with Joanne McPortland, who we know is completely subversive. She wrote "What's Really Wrong with Catholic Religious Education? Everything!": Bad Catechesis has been an integral part of our tradition for a lot longer than 40 years, and it still goes on. Our seeming inability to form Catholics who understand and embrace the basics of the Faith is not the fault of Vatican II or goofy textbook publishers or ill-equipped religious ed volunteers. It’s not even … [Read more...]

The New School: Saving Education from Itself

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The Federal Reserve also found that those with student loan debt were less likely to purchase houses or cars than those without student loans. This isn't surprising. [Such debt] doesn't encourage people to live large. But with young people traditionally being a major source of demand in both the housing and auto markets, two areas deemed important to economic recovery and prosperity -- buying first houses and first cars and then moving up to something fancier every few years -- this burden is … [Read more...]

“What was Auschwitz?” “I don’t know…”

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No rant here, just clear demonstration of our terrifying ignorance and disconnection from our recent past: Questioner: What was the Holocaust? American College Student: Um...I'm on the spot. Questioner: Which country was Adolf Hitler the leader of? American College Student: I think it's Amsterdam? Questioner: What was Auschwitz? American College Student: I don't know. Questioner: What were the Nuremburg Trials? American College Student: I don't know. Questioner: How many Jews … [Read more...]

Worst. Fairy Tale. Ever. Also, the woman on the bed…UPDATED

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So, people have been asking me what I think about the Common Core curriculum and seriously, the little research I've done, it doesn't look so bad. I see that grammar, after taking a hit these last two decades, is back on the menu, so that's good. They should bring back civics, too, but I know they won't. That fairy tale above you see above, though, --a "core curriculumn aligned" worksheet that recently turned up in a Long Island elementary school -- bothers me, because it's just so damned … [Read more...]

Ranting on the Loss of Cursive Writing – UPDATES!

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So, I found it excruciatingly painful to watch this video clip,. Excruciating because I love and value cursive writing, and I felt really bad for this young woman, and for what is apparently a whole generation (or two) that has been denied the experience of learning to use it. Cursive enhances brain function, helps to develop fine motor skills and gives a student a daily dose of something that is both an art and a discipline. Ranting about it in social media, I was told that cursive isn't … [Read more...]

Remembering Bobby Kennedy and Missing Great Oratory

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Today is the anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. On Facebook, Bishop Christopher Coyne posted this quote from him: "What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." Something to ponder in a world where extremism is become commonplace. We’ll not see the like of RFK again, to our detriment. I don't say this because I … [Read more...]

If Canonized She’ll be Barbara-the-Barnburner – UPDATED

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There is nothing quite like an essay by Barbara Nicolosi. She is forthright; she is knowledgeable and blunt; she has zero-tolerance for bullcrap; she is also deeply thoughtful and her intellect shines through every paragraph she writes. Not everyone always agrees with her, but she's okay with that too -- she is always up for a good debate. In other words, Barbara Nicolosi is a strong woman with strong views; if she is ever canonized she will be known as Saint Barbara the Barnburner, and this … [Read more...]

“A Very Safe Place” in a world so thin of them…

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The value of a musical education begun during the early years of childhood has been well-documented; students who are exposed to musical instruction while young tend to do better in math and language arts and -- more importantly -- they develop a musicality that will remain with them for as long as they choose to use it, and can always be re-gained. At a recent family event our sons brought out a guitar, a uke, a mandolin and (and a fiddle for a guest) and it was kind of delightful to have a … [Read more...]

Dissecting Bodies, Sex, Sin, Selves: Catholic, Muslim and Plasticine

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A couple of days ago Muslimah Media Watch examined the way the media indulges in reductive stereotyping of Muslim women, whenever sexual issues are discussed: Thank you Jezebel for your groundbreaking work in this field and for using phrases like “Islam, surprisingly…” and “All of which may make many a Muslim woman blush,” because that’s not reductive at all – particularly when discussing Muslim women and their intimate lives, completely missing the point that sexuality is a … [Read more...]

Could Newtown Massacre be Latent Effect of Bullying?

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Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo is expressing embarrassment at just how much the press got wrong, yesterday, as they rushed to tell us anything they could about the terrible slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Perhaps he also feels mortified by the press tweets to families and friends of the victims looking for a story. I mean, I'm not a member of the fourth estate, and I'm mortified by it. But as we wonder what happened, why it happened and what motivated this terribly dark … [Read more...]

Educating graphs on IL education

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In this graph, the amount of money going to retirement benefits begins to look like Pacman, eating the ghost of Illinois' future. Tom Elia has more. Clearly, legislators -- if they are serious -- are going to have to find a way to prevent retirement benefits from eating all available resources. Whether they can get serious, or even want to, is the real question. I suspect that if anyone in Illinois tries to get a handle on this looming and outsized bill coming due, they will be … [Read more...]

"Quality" Teachers for Wisconsin – UPDATED

Photosource, Althouse, taken by Meade. "I NEEN QUALITY TEACHERS." They need teachers who can instruct them to love the qualifiers that denote the character of a quality - whether it is high-or-low, good-or-bad teachers that they neen and want. But apparently Wisconsin students are being pulled from their necessary classes in order to help teachers protest "whatever this dude [Governor Scott Walker] is doin'. My favorite observation on this story of schools closing so teachers may protest … [Read more...]

The Healy Brothers; a Thrilling, Shameful Story

February is Black History Month, and to kick it off historian Dr. Pat McNamara brings us a fascinating story that thrilled and shamed me. What a remarkable family of faith existed in the sons and daughters of Michael Healy and Eliza Clark; they became priests, nuns and even a bishop emerging from their home in Georgia, where mixed-race children were called "slaves." But none of it came easily or peacefully in 19th century America: By any standard, the Healys were an impressive family. … [Read more...]