Robert Cargill’s Call For Letters in Support of Christopher Rollston

I was out of town when Robert issued his call so I didn’t get to his post till now.  Here it is.

I’d like to announce an open call for letters in support of Dr. Christopher Rollston, who Emmanuel Christian Seminary is presently attempting to terminate, despite the fact that he is a tenured professor holding an endowed chair.

Then follows further explanation of the situation.  Bob has already received several responses but many more are, I think, needed.   Take a few moments to do it.

Lazy Students Make Wretched Researchers: And Lazy Profs Make Lazy Students

An analysis of research papers written in first-year composition courses at 15 colleges reveals that many students simply copy chunks of text from the sources they cite without truly grasping the underlying argument, quality or context.

“The findings are not happy news for how writing is taught,” Rebecca Moore Howard, an associate professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, said here Thursday at the annual meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. “[Students] are not selecting authoritative, meaningful sources and not reading them carefully. They are not, in a word, engaging.”

Howard’s presentation — with her co-principal researcher, Sandra Jamieson, professor of English, director of composition and department chair at Drew University — of the initial findings of the Citation Project could carry broad implications for how writing is taught at the college level, not just in composition courses, but across disciplines.

But really who does this surprise?  They’ve been told, many of them have, that Wikipedia is a legitimate research tool and if Wikipedia is anything at all it’s skimmed dreck.  They’ve also, many of them, been taught to be lazy and taught to regurgitate ‘for the test’.  Small wonder that thinking isn’t really a skill they’re developing.  Or thoroughness.

Finally the root of the problem lies in the fact that too many academics are more concerned with their own careers than they are with teaching.  Thereby setting the example for students that higher ed really isn’t about learning, it’s about getting by just so one can get ahead.

And – ironically- it’s all legitimized by ‘accreditation’.  Now how’s that for a scream?

Alienating Still More of My Friends…

Pretty soon I won’t have any at all. I’ve already made the fundamentalists, gay rights advocates, angry atheists, homeschoolers, cat lovers, and Zionists mad. And now I’m about to make the Student Loan Forgiveness Act crowd mad too.

My take on the issue is simple:

1- If you agree to a loan, you agree to pay it.
2- If you don’t wish to pay your loan back, don’t take it out.
3- If you don’t pay it, exactly who do you expect will? And why should they?
4- Christians are bound both by morality and ethical duty to act honestly.
5- It is dishonest to renege on one’s debts.
6- Therefore, Christians, of all people, should reject any choice which cheats others out of what they’re due.

I realize that lots of people think that student loans are burying many of the young. And in some respects I’m sure they are. But there are always alternatives. If you can’t afford the payments, live in a smaller house, drive a smaller car, abandon the luxury items which you have come to expect should be handed to you on a silver platter.

The ‘entitlement’ mentality doesn’t just exist among welfare recipients and society’s deadbeats. It also, tragically, abides in the hearts of too many of our young people, who have neither work ethic nor sense of fairness. With their hands out, they come begging for things they neither need nor must have. And they want someone else to pay for it. What is Christian in that?

Mark Asks, ‘Why Blog’

I reply to him and all- because academics who don’t engage culture and society with responsible scholarship and who only care whether what they write is publishable in book form are

1- out of touch and behind the curve; and
2- driven more by economic considerations than a genuine desire to teach.

Teachers teach- that’s what they do.  Scholars share their ideas- it’s not as if they can help it.  Scholars don’t hunt and peck for ideas to write about but rather their real problem is narrowing down from the thousands of ideas they have the one which will occupy them in the present moment.

For those to whom sharing ideas, writing posts, thinking ‘out loud’, and pondering with a wider community those thoughts which drive and – in a sense – possess them, is a ‘waste of time’ I can only say ‘then the whole of your life would be better spent selling insurance or engaging in some telephone solicitation’ because scholars who don’t burn with passion for learning and teaching should serve the public in some other fashion or form than academics.

If telling others what you’ve learned or what you are presently learning is a waste of time, academics isn’t the field for you, and blogging is something you should avoid because you’ll seldom ever do it and when you do, you’ll only try to justify your own indolence.

Better to spend your time slamming back a six pack and watching strange sporting events or taking long walks along the beach or some such other sort of time wasting than posting posts which complain about your own lack of posting posts.

Learn to Read 16th Century Latin

If you’re in Michigan or within driving distance of Calvin College, you should do it!

Latin Paleography: A Course on Reading 16th Century Manuscript Documents in Latin
June 4 through June 15, 2012

This course, hosted by the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies in Grand Rapids, Michigan and co-sponsored by the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, is intended for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students and scholars interested in reading manuscript sources in Latin, whether those documents are held in archives, or in the Meeter Center’s own collection.

Teachers Who Love Their Students Demand of Them Effort

A good teacher hates the laziness or ill will of a pupil, and he takes care to correct him with discipline, not that he hates the pupil or is in the grips of a kind of lust for flogging boys, though I saw many of this kind in the schools years ago when I was a boy, but he loves the boy very much and is moved by this love when he chastises him.

Actual fact and experience teach that there is need of discipline. Our heavenly Father follows the same method in chastising the godly. Therefore the man who can endure this discipline and persevere will at length experience what is stated in Heb. 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” — Martin Luther

True words, Martin.

Can Anything Good Come from Australia? Yes!

Or at least one thing:  this recommendation of an essay on theological education.  George remarks

I firmly believe in theological education. …   I am convinced that the Church needs good, solid, and theologically mindful leaders.

Couldn’t agree more.  The Church has been harmed in countless ways by ignorant and uneducated clerics.  Give the piece a read.

They Can’t Teach Necessary Subjects Because Idiotic Ones Consume Their Day

This is so offensively stupid:

Virginia’s Board of Education is expected today to hand off legislation to local school districts allowing them to add gun safety to elementary school curriculum.  The state’s General Assembly approved a measure last April that required the Board of Education to design course materials in line with the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program guidelines to teach elementary students about gun safety.  The curriculum includes lessons ranging from distinguishing those who use guns professionally to recognizing and catching firearms on school property, WTVR reports. Individual districts will be able to decide whether to adopt the curriculum.

I thought Virginia was better than Texas.  I was wrong.  Kids can’t learn math and english and reading and history as it is, and now, guns?  A course on guns????  Idiots.

Move to Ireland

They pay (some) academics there a LOT of money!   And I thought Ireland was suffering financial woes.  Pish-Posh, they’re rolling in it.

Some 191 Irish academics in third-level colleges are on fat-cat salaries in excess of €150,000, with three earning over €250,000, the Sunday Independent can reveal.  For the first time, the full extent of the hefty salaries across all third-level colleges has emerged.

According to official figures released by the Department of Education and obtained by this newspaper, in total 91 professors and lecturers are currently being paid between €150,000 and €200,000; a further 97 are being paid between €200,000 and €250,000 and three are being paid over €250,000.

Over 75 per cent of the €8.59bn education budget is absorbed by pay and pensions. This means that all other education services must be funded from the €2.14bn non-pay element of the budget.

With thanks to M.B. on the facebook for sharing the good news.

If Teachers Could Speak Freely

They’d tell parents to start being parents!  And other things.

This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.  I screamed, “You can’t leave us,” and she quite bluntly replied, “Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can’t deal with parents anymore; they are killing us.”

But of course teachers can’t speak freely.  They have to coddle parents and school boards and whiners of all sorts who mistakenly think that being a teacher means being the doormat of the incompetent folk who never should have had children in the first place.

The piece continues

Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list “issues with parents” as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.  So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?  For starters, we are educators, not nannies.

Say, 4 years or less is about what the average Seminary Grad stays in the Pastorate!  I guess dealing with lots of Church folk as a pastor is just like dealing with the parents of school kids.

Read the whole piece and pass it on to a teacher that you know.

Nick Clegg is Right About This: Parents Need to Realize Teachers Aren’t Surrogate Parents!

Parents need to do more to help teachers rather than expect them to be “surrogate mothers and fathers”, Nick Clegg will say today.

I’m not a Clegg fan (in fact, he’s down there at the very bottom with Benjamin Netanyahu on my list of people worth admiring), but when he’s right, he’s right. And he’s right about this.

The Deputy Prime Minister will argue that too much is expected of teachers and it is time parents did “their bit” and not leave the responsibility for the upbringing of their children to schools.  His comments strike a different tone from those of senior Conservatives in recent weeks who have placed a lot of emphasis on teaching and school discipline as a reason for the recent riots.  In a speech Mr Clegg will say: “If you don’t take an interest in your child’s education, teachers cannot make up the shortfall.  “We already expect our teachers to be social workers; child psychologists; nutritionists; child protection officers. We expect them to police the classroom, take care of our children’s health; counsel our sons and daughters; guide them, worry about them, and, on top of that, educate them too.  “When you consider that list, it is phenomenal that so many rise to the challenge. But it is too much to ask. Teachers are not surrogate mothers and fathers; they cannot do it all.”

Parents need to be parents and not just people kids see laying on the couch sipping booze and snorting coke.

Matt Damon is Smarter Than Most Congressmen

Valerie Strauss has a piece in the Washington Post that’s must reading for all those in education or who have an interest in America’s education policy.

She quotes Matt Damon’s speech at an education rally which contains this paragraph-

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

Indeed there are.  And those in our Country seeking to undermine education are unworthy of respect or support.

Every College and University Should Do What the Catholics Are Doing

First, the troubling facts-

 The two most serious ethical challenges college students face are binge drinking and the culture of hooking up.  Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults aged 17-24. Students who engage in binge drinking (about two in five) are 25 times more likely to do things like miss class, fall behind in school work, engage in unplanned sexual activity, and get in trouble with the law. They also cause trouble for other students, who are subjected to physical and sexual assault, suffer property damage and interrupted sleep, and end up babysitting problem drinkers.  Hooking up is getting to be as common as drinking. Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, who heads the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, says that in various studies, 40%-64% of college students report doing it.  The effects are not all fun. Rates of depression reach 20% for young women who have had two or more sexual partners in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none. Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their academic work. And as we have always admonished our own children, sex on these terms is destructive of love and marriage.  Here is one simple step colleges can take to reduce both binge drinking and hooking up: Go back to single-sex residences.

Christopher Kaczor at Loyola Marymount points to a surprising number of studies showing that students in co-ed dorms (41.5%) report weekly binge drinking more than twice as often as students in single-sex housing (17.6%). Similarly, students in co-ed housing are more likely (55.7%) than students in single-sex dorms (36.8%) to have had a sexual partner in the last year–and more than twice as likely to have had three or more.  The point about sex is no surprise. The point about drinking is. I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up–and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up).

But now, the simple solution to many of the problems-

Next year all freshmen at The Catholic University of America will be assigned to single-sex residence halls. The year after, we will extend the change to the sophomore halls. It will take a few years to complete the transformation.

Every school should do just that.  It’s the right, the responsible, and the sensible thing to do.  Read the rest here.

There’s More than One Way to Skin a Cat: Or, Some Thoughts on Online Education

Thanks to Marc(k) for the notification.

How Online Education Is Changing the Way We Learn Here’s an interesting infographic from OnlineEducation.net about the development and current state of online education in America. Click to view larger image. via Mashable … Read More

via scientia et sapientia

Oh Who Hasn’t Wanted to Chain a Misbehaving Miscreant Teen to a Rail?

Everyone’s so sensitive these days…  I actually have a list of people I’d very much like to chain to a rail for a few hours.  I bet if you were honest you would admit that you did too.

Civil rights advocates have filed suit against Jackson’s public school district, claiming officials at one alternative school respond to minor violations by shackling children to railings and poles for hours at a time.  Critics of the Capital City Alternative School in Jackson say the allegedly excessive punishment at the schools makes such students more likely to drop out of school – and commit crimes later in life.

Mamby pamby eastern big city liberals…  Chain the little troublemakers up- they might as well get used to it.

And there’s biblical precedent for it!  Michael binds Satan in chains and casts him into the abyss!  So there ya go!  A rail is hardly an abyss and a few hours is hardly eternity.  It seems to me the troublemakers are getting off easy!

‘Telling Tales’: The 400th Anniversary of the KJV DVD rom From Sheffield

Is available now for folk in the United Kingdom-

The General Edition includes:

  • EXHIBITION MATERIALS: 12 print-ready panel designs telling the story of King James’ Bible from its origins to its contemporary impact (plus a child-friendly supplement);
  • ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (topical ‘find-out-more’, glossary, Who’s Who);
  • EDUCATION: Teaching materials and the Adult study guide (also available to download free from this web site);
  • PLUS:The UnAuthorized Version 2.0, an interactive companion to the exhibition including audio-narration.

The UnAuthorized Version uses Exhibitor software (designed by the University’s Humanities Research Institute).  This software is provided with the DVD-Rom and can be installed on your PC, or can normally be run from disc on other operating systems. Instructions are included on the DVD-Rom. The software is primarily designed for use with MS Windows (all versions). We cannot guarantee full compatibility with other operating systems.

Samples of the printable material including one of the panel designs area available to download (see left-hand menu).

Go to their website to order!

American Kids Already Lag Behind Other Nationalities Educationally…

M-4 tank crews of the United States, Ft. Knox,...

The only job America's kids will be able to do

So it’s curious that education budgets are prime targets for axing in numerous states.  That’s ok, America, invest in wars and not kids.  China will surpass us as the leading economy within five years anyway and they already own most of our debt.

Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, North Carolina, and the rest… smooth move cutting education.  Smart… [not].

Many other states are in same tough spot, massive unemployment and other recession problems have resulted in less money collected in taxes. The shortfall has to be made up somewhere, and education is proving to be a popular place. Students and parents will likely face several consequences in the coming school year across the country including: elimination of programs, combined transportation, and discontinuation of athletic teams. In addition, the money being removed from universities and colleges will also result in cutbacks on the post-secondary level.  No matter which way the situation is analyzed, it will be a long year for school administrators, but it could be even worse down the road for the affected students.

Good thinking, state legislators, good thinking… {bloody imbeciles}.

Distance Learning MA in Biblical Studies and a new MA at Sheffield (via Sheffield Biblical Studies)

The Coat of Arms of the City of Sheffield.

Sheffield

This is a fantastic bit of news and a really fantastic opportunity for students. Brilliant!

Here are two new MA/postgraduate developments at Sheffield starting September/October 2011. Distance Learning MA in Biblical Studies The programmes are taken through part-time study via the internet, giving access to online resources, discussions and some video lectures. You will be part of an online community of students, engaging with both the biblical and contemporary worlds, and exploring where the two differ, intersect, and how the modern wo … Read More

via Sheffield Biblical Studies