Prayer in public schools

The Supreme Court’s decision to allow a high school football coach to pray on the field after games will be used as a wedge to open the door to further lawsuits (“Ruling reopens debated on religion in schools, Los Angeles Times, June 28). Everyone should be allowed to pray on their own time, but the issue is where.

When those who pray insist on doing so openly on school grounds, it unavoidably sends the message that the act is school sanctioned.  That’s why the Bremerton, Washington school board likely fired the coach after he refused to follow instructions.

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Public funding for religious schools is growing

The Supreme Court’s ruling that tuition aid can go to religious schools in Maine is the latest evidence about the breakdown of the wall between church and state (“Supreme Court Rules Religious Schools Can Get Main Tuition Aid,” Associated Press, June 21).  I support parental choice, but I draw the line about aid to religious schools.

I say that because religious schools already enjoy protection from discrimination laws under the so-called ministerial exception.  If such schools want public aid, let them play by the same set of rules as traditional public schools.

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Teachers leaving the classroom

The teacher shortage is now a flood, as a confluence of factors has made the profession unattractive (“School’s Out for Summer and Many Teachers Are Calling It Quits,” The Wall Street Journal, June 20). Covid-19, shootings and politics are responsible, with no end in sight.

I think the only possible solution is choice because then parents have skin in the game.  As a result, their children take school seriously.  Choice is not a panacea, but it is far better than what exists at present.

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Promotion fraud in public schools

I’ve long been skeptical that higher graduation rates are the result of improved instruction and learning. The news that teachers are pressured to give passing grades to students who have rarely been in class confirms my suspicion (“Teachers say they’re pushed to pass students who skipped class often,” New York Post, June 18).

A high school diploma used to mean something, but that is no longer so. Students are being given credit for work they’ve never done.  That’s outright fraud.

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No race is a monolith

Asian Americans as a group have been depicted as a model minority because of their academic success (“Asian Americans are typecast as successful students, but new report finds troubling gaps,” Los Angeles Times, June 16).  But the truth is that they are not a monolith any more than any other racial group.

Yet we persist in assuming that because those of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Indian descent have performed so impressively that other Asians have too.  The fact is that Asians are as diverse as Blacks, Hispanics and other racial groups.  As a result, we design policies that are based on the wrong interpretations. It’s time to focus on individual achievement regardless of race.

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Charter school parents can’t have it both ways

When Charter Day School in North Carolina required girls to wear skirts, it was sued by three parents who argued that the rule violated the equal-rights of girls (“Court Says Skirt Requirement for Girls at North Carolina School Is Unconstitutional,” The Wall Street Journal, June 16). But if these parents objected to the rule, they shouldn’t have enrolled their daughters in the school in the first place.

If that same rule existed in a traditional public school, I could understand the need for a lawsuit because no one forces parents to enroll their children in such schools.

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Guns for teachers are a bad idea

I understand the need to make classrooms safe, but I think the decision in Ohio to allow teachers to carry guns is wrongheaded (“Ohio Makes It Easier for Teachers to Carry Guns to School,” The New York Times, Jun. 14). By reducing the number of hours of training required from 700 to 24, Ohio is setting itself up for a disaster. I say that because teachers have their hands full already trying to teach their subject matter.  Expecting them to use their guns is unrealistic.

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Humanities course in med school curriculum

The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is launching a new humanities curriculum in the belief that it will foster insight into the human condition for students (“Human Touch,” U magazine, Spring 2022). I have the greatest respect for UCLA’s medical school, but I doubt that the course can do very much.

I say that because students in law school are required to take a course in ethics in the belief that it will make for better attorneys.  Yet we know from the media that is a myth.  The fact is that it is far too late to change attitudes and behavior in law school or in medical school.

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Keep politics out of universities

There is already enough internal politics in higher education without adding more from the outside.  But that is precisely what Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is doing by taking hiring decisions away from university presidents and giving them to boards of trustees that include his political appointees (“Florida Gov. DeSantis targeting tenure and ‘politicized’ classes,” Orlando Sentinel, Jun. 8).

The move is being opposed by the United Faculty of Florida, a union representing 25,000 faculty members across the state.  But I doubt they will prevail because voters are unhappy with the liberal bias that characterizes much of higher education in Florida.

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Parents are fleeing public schools

For the past two years, enrollment in traditional public schools has dropped, while enrollment in charter schools has grown (“We cannot let shameful failures of the public-school system continue,” New York Post, Jun. 6).  The question is why.

The likely explanation is that parents believe that the quality of education their children receive in charters is superior. I don’t disagree with that assessment, but I hasten to add that charters play by entirely different rules.  As a result, comparing schools is unfair.

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