November 11, 1986
The recent decision by a federal court in Tennessee concerning textbooks used in government schools upholds parental rights and educational freedom that are appropriate in a democracy. Several devout Christian parents had argued that certain textbooks used in their government schools undermined the religious beliefs and habits they were seeking to inculcate in their children. They had sought either to have their children provided with (acceptable) alternative textbooks or that they be compensated for the expense of sending them to a non-government school with such reading material.
October 20, 1994 |
In the Central Bucks School District, you won't find elementary school students poring over antiquated, musty social science textbooks. Instead they learn about Egypt by creating models of mummies and cooking Egyptian food. They learn about American Indians by banging on drums and making weavings. And when the older elementary students do use textbooks, it's as a reference tool, not as the backbone of the curriculum. This hands-on, multicultural curriculum has not only made social studies fun, now it's winning a round of awards for some Central Bucks educators.
March 13, 1987 |
Twenty-five years have passed since the Supreme Court set forth its baseline position on religion in the public schools. Now a case is headed for the high court that will test that baseline position, as it were, in reverse. The case involves "secular humanism. " Since the Engel case of 1962, the court repeatedly has held that it is a violation of the Constitution for the schools to promote the existence of a Supreme Being. On these grounds the court has forbidden an official school prayer in New York, halted the reading of Bible passages in Pennsylvania, condemned the posting of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky, and barred a moment of silence in Alabama.
September 5, 1996 |
A Wharton School graduate who makes his living selling discount textbooks around the corner from the University of Pennsylvania bookstore has accused the school of trying to thwart his venture and plans to file suit today against Penn in Common Pleas Court. The university denies harassing Doug Levy or employees of Campus Text, which Levy operates out of two Ryder trucks parked on 38th Street between Walnut and Spruce. "Campus Text has not in any way been prohibited from selling its merchandise at Penn," university spokesman Ken Wildes said.
January 12, 2004
BOTH letter-writers Donna Sambrick and Frances D. Johnson are equally ignorant in characterizing certain physical features as white and "negroid. " Scholars long ago seized and burned all of the pseudo-scientific textbooks using that offensive term in relation to blacks. Contrary to popular, damaging stereotypes, there are no physical features that are exclusive to any ethnic group. I think most people would agree that Halle Berry is beautiful without dissecting which parts of her can be attributed to what parent.
March 7, 2006
Cherry Hill school ballot asks a loaded question Cherry Hill property-tax payers will be given a false choice on the ballot regarding the school budget. We will see a public question that is packed like a cable-TV package. We will be forced to take good programming with bad, or reject a combination of good and bad. We will not get a list of specific options on a menu - the ballot - so we can make intelligent selections. If the school administration recommended separate items to the board, the board wouldn't have to pass this strange package on to the public.
March 17, 1987 |
Last Wednesday, Judge Brevard Hand banned 40 textbooks from Alabama's public schools because they promoted a religion, "secular humanism. " The case arose from a systemic problem - the growing omission of discussion of religion in the textbooks and classes of public schools. Yet both the plaintiffs' account of the source of the problem and the judge's bizarre remedy miss the point. Secularists haven't chased religion from our classrooms. The religious right has. Banning books isn't the answer; rediscovering an educationally sound and constitutionally permissible way to teach about religion is. The efforts of the religious right to introduce sectarian teachings into the public schools has had the paradoxical effect of depriving young Americans of knowledge about the role of religion in history and culture, and about the comparative teachings of diverse religious creeds.
March 9, 1987
A federal judge in Mobile banned 36 textbooks from Alabama public schools last week declaring that they promoted "the religion of secular humanism. " The complainants also claimed that the books were hostile to the beliefs of many Christians. There is a temptation to simply urge the prompt appeal of the case so as to re-establish, at the earliest possible moment, the precept that the federal courts of the United States should not be in the business of banning textbooks. Many of the objections raised to specific books are, at most, inconsequential.
September 22, 2003 |
It wasn't until the diagnosis of my son's scoliosis, a lateral bending or curving of the spine, that I began to pay attention to the magnitude of the weight he had been hauling on his back all these years. Carrying his 26-pound school backpack was equivalent to playing piggyback with a toddler all day. For the record, Suken A. Shah, my son's pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, pointed out: "We haven't found any evidence that heavy backpacks cause scoliosis, but they can contribute to back pain.
March 19, 1987
A March 5 article reported that U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled that the school board in Mobile, Ala., violated the First Amendment of the Constitution by selecting textbooks that "teach the religion of secular humanism. " Judge Hand made several serious errors and we may expect appeals to higher courts. Secular humanism is an ethical philosophy or "life stance" that emphasizes respect for persons, responsible freedom and compassion and that relies on the methods of reason, science and democracy.