Plans for a first-of-its-kind "gay school" in Britain seeking to carter to LGBT students have been criticized by some politicians who've spoken out against this kind of segregation.
"This idea does nothing but foster division. At a time that successive governments have closed all but a few special schools, why this sudden exception, if not for reasons of political correctness?" asked UKIP deputy leader and education spokesman, Paul Nuttall, according to the Daily Mail.
"Integration is the key to understanding, and it is utterly bizarre to be taking a step that highlights differences and adds nothing of value to a child's education." more >>
Duke University has abandoned its plan to transform the bell tower on the Methodist school's neo-gothic cathedral into a minaret where the Muslim call to prayer was to be publicly broadcast.
"Duke remains committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant and welcoming campus for all of its students," university spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement. "However, it was clear that what was conceived as an effort to unify was not having the intended effect."
The first adhan, or call to prayer, had been scheduled to be broadcast on Jan. 16. University officials said, the Islamic chant, which includes the words "Allahu Akbar" would have been "moderately amplified" -- in both English and Arabic. more >>
For many of us, going to church is a part of the Sunday routine. We hear a sermon, sing a few hymns, pray, and worship. We may reflect on a challenging message from the Gospels. Perhaps we satiate our longing for spirituality or just maybe we are wondering when the sermon will be over so we can catch the end of the football game. For some of us it is essential to who we are. For others, we go because our loved ones or friends go. Still others don't really even know why we go—it's just part of what we do.
Keeping a Sunday routine can be especially challenging during life's transitions: starting a new job, moving to a new community, getting married. Perhaps no transition is more challenging for religious practice than adjusting to university life or living on your own. According to a study by Jennifer Keup and Ellen Bara Stolzenberg, 83 percent of college freshman report attending church frequently at the beginning of the year but only 57 percent continued to do so by the end of their freshman year. Responsibilities and demands become much greater as time goes on, and finding the time to get everything done, while balancing other priorities, becomes a challenge. We often find ourselves choosing between homework and friends, extracurricular activities and family, church and work. Many times we give church the short end of the stick as other pressing needs demand our attention. There are many reasons, however, why this may not be in our best interest.
From a faith perspective, God holds the place of primacy in our lives. We should not place other gods before Him—not money or grades, friends or prestige. But faith aside, weekly church attendance has many practical benefits. Just take educational attainment as an example. more >>
Common Core harms children and will not alleviate poverty because it fails to understand how children learn, a Tuesday report jointly issued by Alliance for Childhood and Defending the Early Years claims.
While the Common Core State Standards Initiative expects kindergartners to learn to read, studies have shown that the ability to read in kindergarten does not predict success in later grades, the report states. Additionally, the focus on reading takes time away from methods that have proven successful — namely, play-based and experiential learning.
The report was authored by three early childhood education experts: Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita at Lesley University, Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin, director of DEY, and Joan Almon, co-founder of Alliance for Childhood. more >>
Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued that an Oklahoma bill that would protect school districts with Bible courses from legal action attempts to place a "loophole" in the law that would let public schools teach that the Bible is true.
Americans United expressed its opposition to Senate Bill 48 due to their concern that it would allow for Bible courses that advocate Christianity. Writing for the Americans United blog "Wall of Separation" on Wednesday, Sarah Jones argued that SB 48 was also unnecessary given current law.
Duke University has come under fire for making the decision air the Muslim call to prayer on Friday, beginning this week; Rev. Franklin Graham has come out against the school's decision.
"This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke's mission," Christy Lohr Sapp, Duke Chapel's associate dean for religious life, said in a statement to Duke Today. "It connects the university to national trends in religious accommodation."
The Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan will air for three minutes at a "moderately amplified" level to announce the call to prayer, and an English translation will follow. The service will take place in the chapel basement every Friday at 1:00 p.m. and is open to the public. Members of the Duke Muslim Students Association will perform the chant, which will be released from the chapel's bell tower. more >>