My question may sound socialistic to some of my fellow conservatives; nonetheless it is a question that must be addressed. American high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, but the education gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Noble and expensive attempts to close this gap—including subsidized preschool and the controversial implementation of the Common Core State Standards—have largely failed. In the case of Common Core, where wealthy and middle class parents are hiring tutors to compensate for its weaknesses, the "reform" aimed at equalizing the playing field may actually be making the problem worse.
Why is it so difficult to elevate the academic performance of low-income children? A growing body of research indicates that part of the answer may lie in the tremendous amount of brain development that takes place during the first three years of life. Babies are born to learn, and we now know many neural networks in the brain are significantly strengthened or weakened long before a child has entered formal schooling.
According to a 1995 University of Kansas study (Hart and Risley), children of educated parents hear 2,100 words an hour. In contrast, those with working class parents hear 1,200 words, and children whose parents are on public assistance hear only 600. The vocabulary and attentiveness of the primary caregiver—whether it is a parent, a nanny or a daycare worker—plays a central role in the cognitive skills children will demonstrate later in life. more >>
A newly enforced nondiscrimination policy issued by the California State University system that requires InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to allow non-Christians to be chapter leaders has forced the nationwide organization to develop a new style of campus ministry, IVCF officials said Tuesday.
"InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is now developing a new style of campus ministry on CSU campuses where we have been banned from participating in campus life as a recognized student organization," IVCF stated. "In order to maintain a ministry presence with 23 chapters on 19 CSU campuses, InterVarsity is introducing creative new ways to connect with students and share the gospel message — though doing so as an 'unrecognized' student group will prove considerably more costly."
IVCF officials added that because it is no longer allowed to participate in campus organization fairs, InterVarsity will make contact with students by deploying new tools such as mobile banner stands, interactive displays, social media, and other techniques that don't rely on established campus structures. more >>
Millions of children in the Middle East region are at risk of missing the school year in the wake of extreme turmoil in the region in the past several months, most notably the war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and the attacks from terror group ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
"The problem concerns not only minors who are displaced or refugees in these countries, but also the numerous young people living in the areas where people in flight have sought safety. Very often schools, which are not destroyed or damaged or used as headquarters for armed groups, are occupied by communities of displaced persons," a report by the Italian Red Cross and the AGIRE network read.
"In many cases there is no other option: refugee camps are often overcrowded or in precarious conditions and the only possible shelters for those not staying in private homes, are parks, abandoned buildings and schools." more >>
What is the core of the American story? What is American history about? For a long time, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was thought to offer the most succinct and profound reply to these questions. The heart of the American story was said to be the Founding, with its principles of liberty and equality. American history was thus a study of our efforts to more fully realize republican principles, often in the face of our own flaws and failings. American history was also about the defense in peace and war of a unique experiment—a nation bound by democratic norms, rather than by ties of blood.
More recently, revisionist historians have developed a different answer to the question of what America's story is about. From their perspective, at the heart of our country's history—like the history of any other powerful nation—lies the pursuit of empire, of dominion over others. In this view, the formative American moment was the colonial assault on the Indians. At its core, say the revisionists, America's history is about our capacity for self-delusion, our endless attempts to justify raw power grabs with pretty fairy-tales about democracy.
The growing dispute over the College Board's new Framework for AP U.S. History (APUSH) turns around these clashing views of the American story. The creators and defenders of the new APUSH Framework are adherents of a radically revisionist approach to American history. That is why the Framers and the principles of our Constitutional system receive short shrift in the new AP guidelines, and why the conflict between settlers and Indians has taken center stage instead. more >>
A respiratory virus is sweeping through the Midwest and other areas of the United States, sending an unprecedented number of school children to the emergency room.
Enterovirus 68, also known as EV-D68, is a respiratory virus that has afflicted over 475 children in Missouri and more than 1,000 throughout the U.S. Ten states have reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help investigate clusters of the virus, including Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
Virologist for the CDC Mark Pallansch says it could just be the beginning of the epidemic. "This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases," Pallansch told CNN in an interview. "We're in the middle of looking into this, we don't have all the answers yet." more >>
Justin Kintzel, worship pastor for Liberty University's Campus Band, has been nominated for a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association.
A release from the university said he was nominated for his original songs "Love Displayed" and "Death is Overcome," both of which are featured on Vital Worship's "Songs For The Living King," which was nominated in the "special event album of the year" category.
Kintzel explained that the nomination shocked him because it was the first time his music had been distributed nationally. more >>