Religious Holidays, Science Teacher Suspended for Doing His Job, Standardized Testing Eulogy, Charter Schools, and Segregation 60 Years after Brown v Board, it’s Required Readings 04.20.14
Good Sunday morning. Did you know to ast Eostre is the goddess of spring (or the dawn depending on which source you read)? Yep, Easter, like Christmas is another pagan holiday co opted by early Christianity. In December, around the shortest day of the year, we bring into our homes an evergreen tree, a symbol of of perseverance against the suffocating dark, and hope that the spring will come quickly. Today we celebrate the end of that journey. The day is now longer than the night, and green leaves clothe the once naked branches.
I heard a quote about Easter from a nonbeliever recently that resonated with me. On “Fresh Air,” Bart Ehrman, a prolific scholar on the historical Jesus, was asked what Easter means to him as an ex-believer. He responded:
I think Easter continues to show me that there is horrible injustice and oppression and political violence in the world, but that we should wrestle against it. In the Christian story of God raising Jesus from the dead, God was saying no to the Roman Empire and the forces that were aligned against him.
There are political forces in our world today that do horrible things; acts of injustice and oppressions, creating poverty and misery and suffering, and I think we should say no to them. And so I understand that Easter story not to be a historical event, but I still think that it says something very important about how we ought to live in the world.
On to the links!
Here’s the latest on an LAUSD AP Bio and Psych teacher suspended for “supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons.” I guess the physics of projectile motion now falls under no tolerance policy.
In New York, the Muslim Democratic Club is pushing for public schools to recess for Eid holidays. In an interview with NPR, Linda Sarsour, said
And I think that because it’s afforded to the Jewish community and the Christian community as two of the three Abrahamic faiths, we think it’s about time that students in the Muslim community have the same opportunity.
I think Sarsour is being generous when she says Jewish communities get the same deference. We certainly aren’t out of school this week because of Passover, and we don’t break in winter for Hanukkah. Why do we break for religious holidays at all? I don’t think we need more holidays, we need fewer. Holidays should be scheduled for academic reasons, not religious.
Over at the Fordham Institute, they are declaring victory for the anti-standardized testing camp, but warn that effective policy must fill the void, or schools will once again be able to sweep under the rug their growing achievement gaps.
The Democrats for Education Reform are arguing to not throw out the baby with the bath water. Charter schools can be successful, but they should be held to the same standards as neighborhood schools, and if they are underperforming, they should be closed.
And finally, the Economic Policy Institute takes a look at Brown v. Board after 60 years and shakes its head in disappointment.
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