Hush little baby, don't say a word
Take me out to the ballgame
Note: a further update on the situation can be found here.
Highly religious African American and Latino 12th-grade students from intact families, when controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), scored as well as their white counterparts on the Social Studies test, the Test Composite, and scored virtually the same as white students on the Math and Reading tests. Highly religious African American and Latino students from intact families were also slightly more likely to advance a grade with their class than white students, and were more likely to take the basic core set of courses recommended for college preparation by the National Assessment for Educational Progress.
A student was considered "highly religious" by the researchers when the following three conditions were met: (1) attendance at worship services at least 4 times per month (2) active involvement in a religious youth group (3) self description as "very religious".
Dr. Jeynes also examined the NELS data to compare students attending public schools with those attending religious-affiliated schools. While students in religious schools on average outperformed their counterparts in public schools, poor and minority children were the greatest beneficiaries.
Dr. Jeynes' research found that the factors contributing to the religious schools' success with minority children include strong parental participation, the encouragement of religious faith, a higher level of racial harmony, and considerably fewer problems with drugs and alcohol.One quote from the study I found particularly interesting as a homeschooling mom was the following:
the orientation of the public schools is one that sees schools as society’s instrument for releasing a child from the blinders imposed by accident of birth into this family or that family. Schools have been designed to open broad horizons to the child, transcending the limitations of the parents. By contrast, the religious school orientation sees a school as the extension of the family, reinforcing the family’s valuesDr. Jeynes argues that the religious school orientation promotes social capital and in that way contributes to the child's success.
Here are mine:
Denise suggests parishes offer a family catechesis program, where parents and children would come together with other families once per month. They would study lessons based on that month's theme and then take those lessons home to incorporate into family life. Denise writes: "For example, if the lesson of the month is on the Eucharist, families may try to attend at least one Daily Mass together or go to Eucharistic Adoration together."
This is an excellent idea and something that I would love my parish to implement. Many (if not most) of today's Gen X & Gen Y parents are like me in that they lack any firsthand experience with family Faith formation. We may have very good intentions about wanting to do better for the next generation of Catholics but it can be hard to put it into practice. Sure, there are books, magazine articles, and websites dedicated to helping us in this task. These are useful but don't provide the community that a program such as Denise's suggested one would.
It's not easy to go against the prevailing culture that pays lip service to spirituality on the Sabbath but ignores it the other 6 days of the week. It would be so great to have a group of other like-minded families in our parish to provide fellowship and support in this struggle!
Interesting theory but what may be true on the average for a group predicts absolutely nothing for any given individual. I've always scored significantly higher on the verbal portion of standardized tests than the math portion. Reading and writing have always come easily for me but math has not- particularly geometry & trigonometry, which were a real struggle.
Dr. Brosnan's research would predict that I should have a shorter ring than index finger; however, my ring finger is significantly longer than my index finger.
Guess we can't scrap the SAT in favor of finger length measurements any time soon...
Headmistress over at "The Common Room" had an interesting post in this week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling called "People, Events, or Ideas". In it, she compares the interests of her oldest DD's college classmates with those of their homeschooled friends. "College was a bit of culture shock [to her DD] because so much of it was so shallow" she writes. "Far from being exposed to a new and wider range of interesting ideas and conversations, she learned that most of her classmates typically preferred to hold discussions centering around
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against sports or Country music (I'm a big fan of both). There's nothing wrong with a bit of entertainment in one's life, so long as it's reasonably wholesome. The problem comes when the person is solely interested in trivial things and lacks depth.
One of the things that attracted me to DH was that he wasn't afraid to discuss meaningful issues including "hot button" political & theological ones on our first date. Too many of our peers, even at the "elite" university we attended, were mainly interested in superficial stuff such as drinking, drug-taking (which neither of us did), casual sex (ditto), and material success. I liked having somebody to talk to about more important topics even if we did not always see eye-to-eye. I also appreciated that he wanted a thinking woman and was not intimidated by my brains & strong opinions.
Of course, I also appreciated the fact that he's really cute and has a passing resemblance to Matt Damon (hey, I'm a red-blooded heterosexual female!)
I wrote the following in response to a fellow Christian homeschooling parent who felt frustration about the perceived lack of interest in the pursuit of academic excellence in the Christian homeschooling community:
"As a Christian who strongly believes that individuals have a duty to maximize their God-given talents, this attitude really bothers me. Yes, Christ preached humility and cautioned against materialism, but I certainly don't think He intended his followers to underachieve. Matthew 5:14-16 calls Christians to be a 'light unto the world' and to not 'hide it under a bushel basket' but to 'shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father'. How exactly does wasting one's potential glorify God?
Of course I want my children to build character and become good disciples of Christ. That is the central mission of my homeschool. However, I also want to provide them with a strong academic foundation that will allow both my son(s) and daughter(s) to serve God in whatever vocations He chooses for them. Currently, my DD says she wants to be a physician for the poor when she grows up. That is a very noble calling, and one that requires a high level of academic preparation. I'm committed to doing my best to provide that for her."
Faith and Reason are complementary ways of knowing as St. Thomas Aquinas famously discussed in his Summa Theologica. Academic excellence is perfectly compatible with Christian ethics and both should be important parts of a Christian homeschool.
Some of the others, however, I don't know how the algorithm came up with since they don't appear to have much in common with my blog at all! Perhaps in the sense of marching to the beat of one's own drummer and not being shy about speaking one's mind...
Students who plan to attend college need rigorous high school courses that will adequately prepare them for the demands they will face at college. Unfortunately, in too many of America's high schools, "college prep" are just words on a transcript. A 2003 study done by the RAND corporation and the Brookings Institution found that 2/3 of 17 year olds spend less than an hour per day on homework. In 2002, the Concord Review surveyed 400 public high school teachers nationwide. 62% of them never assigned a paper of 3,000-5,000 words (around 9-15 pages double-spaced) and 81% never assigned a paper of more than 5,000 words. Term papers have significant weight in the grading of many university courses, often 50% or more of the final grade. Students who have not practiced writing these types of term papers in high school are at a significant disadvantage.
Critics of homeschooling often question whether a parent can adequately prepare their high school aged child for college. It is clear, however, that many traditional schools are not adequately preparing students for college. Numerous studies have shown that homeschooled students score well above the national average on standardized tests. Test scores aren't everything, of course, but they do provide an objective assessment of the child's knowledge in tested areas and they do show moderately strong correlation with college grades (around 0.5 for the SAT). These statistics go to show that people need to worry less about inadequately prepared homeschoolers and more about inadequately prepared traditionally schooled students!
Under the student uniform guidelines issued by the British Department for Education and Skills, schools "should act reasonably in accommodating religious requirements," under human rights legislation unless there is a health or safety reason for the restriction.
I fail to see how allowing Lydia to wear her chastity ring during normal classes poses a health or safety risk to anyone. I could certainly understand a shop class banning jewelery out of a concern that they could get caught in the machine tools. The complete ban, however, does strike me as an infringement upon Lydia's right to practice her faith. The fact that the school permits students of other faiths to wear much more visible (and therefore potentially disruptive) religious adornments is unfair and religious discrimination.I hope that Lydia's legal challenge to her school's discriminatory ban is successful. Students should be free to wear religious jewelery such as a chastity ring, cross, Star of David, or patron Saint medal, and religious clothing such as a headscarf, yarmulke, or turban so long as it does not pose a health or safety risk to anyone.
E.J. Graff of Brandeis University was on NPR this past weekend with a truly depressing statistic for moms: part-time workers are paid a whopping 21% less on an hourly basis than if they were doing the same job full-time. That's even without taking into consideration employee benefits, which often do not cover part-time positions. Plus the fact that employers often discriminate against those on the "mommy track" when it comes to promotions.
Feminism was supposed to be about opening up choices for us women but four decades later it seems that we are left to choose between either the traditional female role of full-time homemaker or the traditional male role of a high-powered full-time career. That's fine for those women who wish to pursue those, but what about all of us who would prefer something in-between? Why are there not more options for part-time, flex-time, telecommuting, job sharing, and the like? Why is there such widespread discrimination against workers (primarily moms) who choose to take advantage of these types of arrangements?
I've requested Professor Stone's book from the inter-library loan and am very much looking forward to reading it. I certainly hope that the business climate improves in terms of work/life balance by the time my DD's generation start their careers. I'd hate to see them forced to choose between motherhood and career the way that my generation has :-(