Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Duck Dynasty’s Alan Robertson: Bible Should Be Taught in Public Schools

 Duck Dynasty’s beardless and eldest son, Alan Robertson, said the Bible should be taught in the public schools because it used to be required of earlier generations of students, particularly at even the higher-level Ivy League universities, and because America’s Founders believed society and its laws could function properly only when citizens had a solid “understanding of God’s truth and His Word.”

Al Robertson, who is an ordained minister, also said the “creation narrative” in the Bible should be taught alongside the theory of evolution in the public schools.

Al Robertson and his father Phil Robertson, who are elders at the White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, La., where the Duck Dynasty family attends church, just released The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, a study and devotional Bible (New King James Version), for which they served as executive editors.

Concerning the Bible in schools, asked Al Robertson, “You talked about how the Christian message comes through the [Duck Dynasty] program and also in your own preaching and your father’s preaching. Do you think the Bible should be taught in the public schools?”

Al Robertson said, “I do, and for several reasons. One is because it used to be taught in the public school system up until not that many years ago -- it was the gold standard of what was taught alongside other academic pursuits. You go back and look at the history of all of our major universities, including all the Ivy League schools, which are basically founded by preachers and all these spiritual heavyweights of their generation. They saw it as going right alongside [other academic subjects].”

“If you read some of the Founders’ thoughts on it, their idea was that government and what we’re trying to enact in laws will not work unless people are also understanding the Bible and what God says is right and wrong,” said Robertson.  “Several have been quoted, our Founders said it won’t work: Because if people lose the connection to that [God and Bible], why would they care about the laws?”

“In other words,” he said, “the people can’t be rightly governed without some understanding of God’s truth and His Word. Well that alone should be a reason to teach it.”

“Now, I understand the modern argument of, well, what about other religions, what about this – teach about all of it,” said Al Robertson. “I believe the Bible will always come out as the standard it should be. But all these things should be talked about instead of just shunned. In the public education awareness, it’s almost like it almost doesn’t exist.”

The Duck Dynasty star, who is the eldest son of Phil and ‘Miss Kay’ Robertson, said he knows that critics contend the Bible should be taught by the churches. But, he said, “most people don’t go to church anymore” and “even in America, a lot of people claim to be Christian or claim to have some sort of religious experience but very few of them are actively engaged or even know much about the Bible.”

“I think it should be [taught in the schools], I think the creation narrative, certainly, even if you just looked at it as a theory or whatever you want to do,” said Al Robertson.  “To put evolution there, which is a theory by the way, can be taught as the ultimate truth, then you can’t look at any other possibility?  What kind of discipline is that in terms of education? If we went that route, we’d have never taught some of the things now we know to be true that 50 years ago we didn’t even know about.”

I think it’s a little disingenuous, some of the reasons why God has been exorcised out of the public square,” he said.  “Supposedly, it’s been because that’s what the Founders intended. But all you have to do is go back and look at what was practiced and know that’s not true at all.”


UK: High-flying pupils offered £500 'bribe' to enrol at new free school sixth form

A flagship government free school has been accused of wasting public money by offering high-flying students a £500 'incentive' to join a their new sixth-form.

New College Doncaster will hand out the ‘academic scholarship’ to all applicants on course for at least five A grades in their GCSEs.

Yesterday, critics branded the incentive ‘bribery’ and not an ‘ethical’ use of public funds.

It is thought to be the first time a school has sought effectively to pay high-achieving pupils to sign up to attend.

Schools have previously offered money or prizes for good attendance or meeting exam targets. 

Nearby New College Pontefract applied to the Department for Education last month to set up the school, with the opening planned for 2016.

The school will be run as part of the Coalition’s 'free school' programme - which allows teachers, parents and charities to open new educational institutions independent of local council control.

The application said Doncaster ‘needs a new college because its young people are missing out on an outstanding sixth-form experience’.

To open, the college needs signatures from 1,000 parents, which Pauline Hagen, principal at New College Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, says has already been achieved.

It is hoping to open in 2016 with 500 sixth-formers, rising to 1,200 after three years.

The website for the new sixth-form advertises an 'academic scholarship' in which: 'If you are predicted to achieve more than five A grades in your GCSEs, we will offer you the opportunity to receive £500 and a place in our Excellence Academy to support your post-16 education.'

The proposed sum of £500 has been described as an 'incentive', but the college were not able to say how much it would cost in total.

Richard Fletcher, vice principal at New College, told Academies Week all eligible students would be paid the £500, but 'we wouldn't know how many students would receive this until we opened.'


Illinois Educators Can Learn From High-Achieving Nations

With election season in full swing, one of the most widely used political attacks is for candidates to accuse their opponents of wanting or having already committed “cuts to education” resulting in “teacher layoffs.”

For example, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s “Remember This” TV ad accuses incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn of cutting school funding by $500 million and causing “teacher layoffs and crowded classrooms.” The Illinois Federation of Teachers, which has unanimously endorsed Quinn, says Rauner is the one who wants to “cut billions out of public education resulting in teacher layoffs [and] larger class sizes.”

Such talking points suggest education spending can only be cut at the expense of teachers, but research from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice shows cuts can be made without teacher layoffs. From 1992 to 2009, the number of administrative staff in Illinois public schools grew by 36 percent, while the number of students rose by only 14 percent. Had administrative staff growth been restricted to the same rate as students’ growth, Illinois could not only keep all its teachers but it could give every single one a $5,606 annual salary increase.

Administrative bloat is hardly an Illinois-specific phenomenon. Between 1992 and 2008, non-teaching staff in the United States grew 2.7 times faster than the number of students, yet public schools’ reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Long-Term Trend exam fell slightly and mathematics scores remained flat, according to Ben Scafidi, professor of economics at Georgia College & State University.

Today, the United States spends more of its operating budget on non-teaching personnel than any other country in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), except Denmark. For all that money, the U.S. scores near the average among OECD nations in reading and science and below average in mathematics, according to the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

When one Chinese education official was asked how Shanghai students achieved the world’s top ranking, she told CNN they take special measures to recruit high-quality teachers. This included high salaries, but it also included higher standards. Countries such as Brazil, Columbia, and Poland, which dramatically improved their rankings, had each raised their teacher standards, leading to improved teacher quality.

In recent years, 33 U.S. states have taken measures to toughen teacher requirements. Illinois, however, is moving in the opposite direction. Last April, Illinois dropped a basic skills test requirement for admission to a teacher-training program, out of fear it would result in significantly reduced enrollment in education schools, even though the test’s difficulty is mostly regarded to be at the high-school level. Such a decision costs Illinois public school students the high-quality teachers research says are needed to improve student outcomes.


No comments: