Israel's Education Ministry announced on Sunday that for the first time ever evolution will be taught in the middle school core curriculum, which up until now offered only the biblical account of the origins of humanity. Ultra-orthodox groups have responded with mixed feelings on the matter, however, with some calling it a "mistake."
"Until now, there has been no discussion on the topic and students were not taught that the multitude of species is the result of processes of development among plants and animals," Professional Committee Chairwoman Professor Nava Ben-Zvi told Israel Hayom.
"The entire evolutionary perspective had not been written down [for them], as with the topics of ecology and the behavior of animals. It is important to explain how so many species came to be." more >>
Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high. A nationwide poll found that 60 percent of Americans could not identify even five of the Ten Commandments, and another survey revealed that 39 percent of Millennials never read the Bible. To address America's increasing biblical illiteracy, Christians such as Steve Green, CEO of the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store chain, are working to incorporate the Bible into public school classrooms. Yet a dedicated Bible curriculum, such as Mr. Green is offering to Oklahoma classrooms, isn't the only way to bring the Bible into local schools. In fact, students can and should be reading the Bible as part of a robust literature curriculum that emphasizes great literature and literary non-fiction.
Indeed, as part of new educational standards that have been adopted by most states, schools should be refocusing their literature curriculum on precisely this kind of reading, including Christian scripture. Extensive research indicates that students must continually increase the complexity of the texts they read to be better prepared for college and work. The Common Core literacy standards prepare students to engage in analytic discussions of complex text by requiring them to cite strong textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly and to determine the meaning of words and phrases in text, including figurative and connotative meaning. Additionally, many literary works that feature a Judeo-Christian ethos have had an undeniable and vast influence on Western culture, and for this reason Christian scriptures are a natural primary source to examine when interpreting themes of the literary greats, such as Shakespeare.
As a Christian by faith and an English professor by training, I know biblical literacy is essential for a meaningful life of faith, and has innumerable ancillary benefits, both academic and personal. Like most Christians, I testify that the Bible has been "a rock and a fortress" for me in times of difficulty, and a "lamp unto my feet" to guide me as a father, husband and teacher. In addition, because I was grounded in biblical study as a young man, the lens of Scripture clarified innumerable biblical allusions I have encountered in my academic career, helping me draw out deep truths from diverse materials. From the transcendent truths etched on stone tablets carried down from Mount Sinai to Martin Luther's translation of the Bible for the masses, which went "viral" via the printing press, Christians have always deeply valued literacy, including biblical literacy. more >>
Suprising (some would call it shocking) answers came from beachgoers in New York to the questions about why Americans celebrate Memorial Day when O'Reilly Factor correspondent Jesse Watters visited Jones Beach in Wantagh, N.Y.
Watters asked revelers whether they knew why they had the opportunity to spend the day at the ocean-- and not at work or school, according to Fox Nation.
"Do you know why you're off today?" Watters asked. more >>
The Circuit Court for Montgomery County ruled on Wednesday that the state's year-old school choice law, the Alabama Accountability Act, is unconstitutional and that the state is enjoined from taking any measures to further implement the law. This is the third lawsuit filed in an effort to halt the Act -- the previous two were unsuccessful. While the court order is a hurdle to the immense progress toward educational choice in the state, proponents of the law and the families who have experienced the hope that it offers will fight this ruling through every available channel until it is overturned.
This politically-driven lawsuit, the second by the Alabama Education Association, alleged that the Act violates the Alabama Constitution by way of the procedure through which it was enacted and the means through which it is funded. The legal reasoning of the decision is shaky on a number of fronts, rendering the case fertile ground for an appeal.
This is the second suit to put forth several procedural violations as a foundation for having the law struck down. Similar arguments in a previous suit against the Act failed at the Alabama Supreme Court, where the Court held that it was not the function of the judiciary to require the Legislature to follow its own rules. Rather than alleging a violation of the legislative rules, the plaintiffs here claim that the passage of the Act violated the Alabama Constitution as to the single subject rule, the original purpose doctrine, and the three readings requirements. Alabama Supreme Court precedent shows a pattern of deference to the Legislature on issues of this nature, presuming compliance in instances where it is questioned. more >>
A Georgia church helped 50 of its recent high school graduates earn $4.3 million in scholarships by mentoring and providing guidance to the students through their education ministry.
Turner Chapel AME in Marietta held a special service to honor the group, who were accepted to a combined 125 colleges and received college tuition assistance through private scholarships, institutional, merit and need-based aid.
Students come from economic backgrounds that "span the range of families with little to no financial resources to those with enough to pay some of their college costs. However, even the most affluent families find a $60,000 annual price tab out of reach without taking out loans," Mychal Wynn, leader of the education ministry told The Christian Post. more >>
A humanist group recently accused a New York high school of violating the U.S. Constitution after it allegedly prohibited one of its students from opting out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance due to its reference to God.
In a letter to the Elmira City School District this week, the American Humanist Association argued that a teacher at Southside High School violated the constitutional rights of a student when she forbade the student from sitting down while the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in class. Additionally, the teacher reportedly told the student that not reciting the Pedge of Allegiance "is disrespectful to America and to military personnel."
The letter from the American Humanist Association suggests teachers at Southside High School be instructed not to persuade a student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance if they do not wish to do so. The letter also requests that students not be punished for opting out of the Pledge. The humanist association cites the Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, that granted students the right to opt out of the Pledge. more >>