Category: Education

Sex ed for Christians

Two years ago I sat in a parent-packed auditorium waiting to find out what our fifth graders would be learning in their first round of sex education. Since our family had just switched from a Christian school to a public one, I wondered what I’d hear. The night was tame enough, at least from the instructor. She assured parents our fifth graders really got “puberty ed” - all body hair, body odor,…  [more]

The missed opportunity of Duke’s Muslim call to prayer

Last week, Duke University reversed its decision to allow the traditional Muslim call to prayer to be broadcast from its historic chapel tower. The permission for Muslim students to recite the prayer on Fridays for three minutes from the bell tower was rescinded following strong criticisms from Christians and a “serious and credible security threat.” Evangelical public figure Franklin Graham, in…  [more]

Seeking justice and righteousness in campus sexual misconduct policies

When my son told me he wanted to play lacrosse, the first thought that popped in my head was, “Great. Lacrosse. The sport of rapists.” Of course, I was thinking of the case in which three Duke University lacrosse players were accused of raping a woman at a party. As it turns out, the three men had been falsely accused. Criminal charges were dismissed and they were declared innocent of the horrific…  [more]

What Glenn Beck gets wrong about Common Core

This Tuesday, Glenn Beck is live-streaming a national anti-Common Core event called “We Will Not Conform.” Opposing the Common Core State Standards has been Beck’s bread and butter of late. In May, he released the book Conform: Exposing the Truth about Common Core and Public Education, which currently holds top spots in three categories at Amazon. Much of Beck’s anti-CCSS steam comes from the…  [more]

Theological trigger warnings

Rape, incest, genocide, adultery and murder are just a handful of topics addressed in Scripture that might cause us to wonder if the Bible itself should contain “trigger warnings” for its readers.   According to a recent New York Times article, students from a number of colleges have called for written warnings about literary works that may contain themes of racism, violence or sexuality. The…  [more]

What my family gained when we lost our Christian school

A funny thing happened on the way to the library. Just fresh from the post office - where I had chatted up a neighbor in line and then laughed as the long-time clerk behind the counter teased me about my “usual” request  - I walked up the tree-lined path that leads to the library. Where I ran into a fellow mom from my kids’ school. And then a dad. After I nodded at one and stopped to talk to…  [more]

Why ‘teaching religion’ will only take students so far

A recent article in The Atlantic by Marshall Poe suggests that religion should be taught in secular universities. What makes this article fascinating is that Poe, a former history professor, is not religious but a “confirmed atheist.” Furthermore, he is advocating for religious leaders (priests, imams and rabbis) to teach their religions to undergraduates in the hope that this will give students, in his…  [more]

When religious rights get in the way of shalom

A recent controversy at York University in Toronto, where I serve as campus minister, has pitted religious rights against human rights, but lost in the debate is an even greater ideal: shalom. Sociology professor J. Paul Grayson received an unusual request from a student in his online course asking to be exempted from a group project because his “firm religious beliefs” prevent him from interacting with…  [more]

How math illumines our infinite God

This is the time of year when anxious North American educators and policy makers get to do their math. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has just released its 2012 student survey results - which largely focus on a 15-year-old’s understanding of mathematics, reading and science - and the math numbers are troubling. Canada ranked 13th, while the United States placed 36th. While the…  [more]

The myth of lucrative college majors

There’s a strong tendency today to value things in merely measurable terms: prices, costs and paychecks. Consider the attention surrounding a Georgetown University economist’s report ranking the most and least lucrative college majors. If college is simply about maximizing future income, then I suppose it makes good sense to take stock of what careers are likely to pay after graduation when deciding…  [more]

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