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Disquiet over schools' moment of silence

post #1 of 153
Thread Starter 
L.A. Times

Quote:
When high school freshman Dawn Sherman learned that Illinois had a new law requiring public schools to provide a moment of silence each day for "reflection and student prayer," she was outraged.

Not because the law meant lost learning time in her honors math class -- which would be 15 seconds shorter -- but because "it was clear that we're supposed to sit and pray, or sit and watch other people pray," said Dawn, who is an atheist.

Along with her father, Rob, the Buffalo Grove High student has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which some Illinois school boards have raced to embrace and others have defied.

"I don't go to school to talk to God," she said. "I'm in school to learn."

Quote:
Since the Shermans filed suit, even some of Dawn's closest friends have started to criticize her.

"My one friend was really angry because he liked having that moment to think about his life. He's going through a tough time. His parents are getting divorced. His brother's not very nice to him," Dawn said.

"It's hard, because I understand he has rights. But so do I."

Let me say as a teacher, the last thing I need done to my day is to take 15 secs. to allow kids to reflect, pray or do whatever it is they are mentally doing during this time.

However I am also the guy that would have stopped this slippery-slope a long time ago because I also don't think we have time for the thousand other surrogate activities school currently engage in.

So in other words, if we have time to teach kids not to bully, how to have sex safely, what drugs are out there and what their various effects are in hopes of avoiding the worst of them, what their BMI is and how to eat and exercise appropriately, etc... then we probably can't argue against the 15 seconds being too much time or an inappropriate interest acting on the school day. (Sadly the line is already far too long)

I say that because of the principle argument of the father pursuing the case.

Quote:
"I've always taught my daughter that you conduct personal business on personal time and school business on school time," said Rob Sherman, an atheist and well-known local civic activist. "I saw this as a deliberate attempt to inject student prayer back into the schools. . . . If the state's legislators weren't going to pay attention to the Constitution, I knew the courts would."

Rob, I agree, but how do we sue to get health clinics out of schools, ethnic and sexual pride clubs, every advocacy group for every cause that desires our time. (especially those having to do with diet dairy, veggies and meat/non-meat) Sadly in all these other cases, the thought is we must hang together lest we hang separately and additionally, that since we are run in the public interest, the public has a right to express that interest for the good will of all.

The arguments about self-reflection or prayer if you happen to be of that persuasion, are no different than all the others. I'd gladly give up the one to not have to deal with the others and as you say, have personal business taken care of outside of my instructional time.

That said, if I do have to deal with all this, I don't see how you can advocate for intolerance in this one area alone. As the daughter's comments note, it isn't the actions of the school that upset her. She specifically says it is the fact that she has to view others praying and as she notes, her friend has rights but she doesn't wish to let him exercise them. To me, this comes across as straight up religious intolerance using the claim of government endorsement as a shield.

What are your thoughts?

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #2 of 153
I think...

School is not about turning kids into academic zombies, but where young people go to get a good grounding in life - which is why we need to be telling them the very things you disapprove of.

You dont really learn shit academically until much later in your life. The aim should be that people are being prepared through the younger years to be the best they can become when they get to the level that knowledge is actually worth something.

Clearly you do not understand this, which is worrying being a teacher.
post #3 of 153
Intolerance?

Advocates of this law are intolerant of the Constitution.
post #4 of 153
Well "moment of silence" laws have already been determined to be unconstitutional, so this is going away if it's challenged.

I'm curious about this Nick: "every advocacy group for every cause that desires our time. (especially those having to do with diet dairy, veggies and meat/non-meat)." What does that mean?
post #5 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcUK View Post

I think...

School is not about turning kids into academic zombies, but where young people go to get a good grounding in life - which is why we need to be telling them the very things you disapprove of.

As well as the things that YOU disapprove of.

Such is the endless spiral-to-hell of who gets to indoctrinate the kids, and to what extent.

As a side note... I love hearing a bunch of liberal bedwetters wail about our teaching Eddie Eagle classes in schools and churches. When I use the same statist justifications of "well, you cannot parent or teach your children as well as us 'professionals'..." -- their whining, ponytailed heads explode.

Education is not now, nor will ever be, values neutral. It includes the subjective interpretation and pedagogy of "right" and "correct" versus "wrong" and "incorrect." THIS is why we need educational choice. Let parents decide. I won't teach your kids about Jeeesus and you don't demand my kids be taught things like consequence-free sex and the intellectual fascism of the PC movement. It's a deal that the left just won't take. Need those NEA union $$$s, ya know.
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post #6 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

I won't teach your kids about Jeeesus and you don't demand my kids be taught things like consequence-free sex and the intellectual fascism of the PC movement. It's a deal that the left just won't take.

I'm not going to trade away the Constitution.

You don't violate the establishment clause and we wont violate the establishment clause.
post #7 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

I'm not going to trade away the Constitution.

You don't violate the establishment clause and we wont violate the establishment clause.



"... PERMIT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF"

Does this mean I get to not trade away the 2nd Amendment, too? Goody. Does this count also as "establishment" when the state itself is your religion... if the Almighty Government is your god? Just wondering.


Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Jubelum
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post #8 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Does this mean I get to not trade away the 2nd Amendment, too?

No no no. You don't get it.

The way this works is we interpret the amendments as narrowly and restrictively as the text will allow when that serves our purposes, but as broadly and expansively as possible when that serves our purposes.
post #9 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

"... PERMIT THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF"

That's the free exercise clause, which is not implicated in this controversy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Does this mean I get to not trade away the 2nd Amendment, too? Goody.

Of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubelum View Post

Does this count also as "establishment" when the state itself is your religion... if the Almighty Government is your god? Just wondering.

No, for obvious reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sslarson View Post

The way this works is we interpret the amendments as narrowly and restrictively as the text will allow when that serves our purposes, but as broadly and expansively as possible when that serves our purposes.

Basically.

Con law interpretation doesn't lend itself that easily to such generalizations, but there's nothing illogical about interpreting some amendments expansively and others more restrictively-- particularly the more recent amendments.
post #10 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Intolerance?

Advocates of this law are intolerant of the Constitution.

Yeah and in your view Jews are intolerant of Nazism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

Well "moment of silence" laws have already been determined to be unconstitutional, so this is going away if it's challenged.

I'm curious about this Nick: "every advocacy group for every cause that desires our time. (especially those having to do with diet dairy, veggies and meat/non-meat)." What does that mean?

Perhaps you missed this section of the article...

But there were limits: In the mid-1980s, an Alabama mandatory "moment of silence" law was found unconstitutional by the high court because "there was a clear legislative record that they were trying to advocate getting prayer back into schools," said Charles C. Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington.

"Since then, legislators have been far more careful about what they're saying about why such measures are pushed forward," Haynes said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia also require such moments of quiet in the classroom. In more than 20 other states, teachers are allowed to decide whether they want such a classroom time-out.


The second part has to do with advocacy groups and goodies or grants. Basically if somebody is willing to buy something for the district, if a board member has an interest in that particular area, or if someone wrote and received a grant in an area, it often forces actions on all of us in the classrooms. Think of them as sort of kid versions of ADM commercials. Everyone wants you to know the health benefits of their various products only it really is 50% sales pitch, 50% good intention.

The groups often end up clashing to some degree with veggie groups wanting more beans for protein over meat, the meat groups declaring their own products to be the best sources of protein, and the dairy folks showing up to let kids know to drink their milk three servings daily. To be polite the vegetable folks are basically vegetarians in disguise which doesn't upset me at all except they want all the "questions" answered back in class with me. So basically they want me to be the one attempting to explain why soy milk rules and cow milk sucks for example. In the meantime the kids don't get information so much as propaganda going in multiple directions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcUK View Post

I think...

School is not about turning kids into academic zombies, but where young people go to get a good grounding in life - which is why we need to be telling them the very things you disapprove of.

You are welcome to cite the studies that show our children to be academically superior to the point of exclusion of other life activities. The reality is quite different. Often they know how to make a kid, but can't read. Academic zombies that I needed to round out with life lessons would be a dream for me.

Also I never said I disapproved of any of these activities, rather I can influence a lot of variables in my room and also compensate for them but what I cannot change is time. Grants can bring more money, personnel can bring more effort, I cannot add more hours into our day. Time is for the most part, the only true means by which we are all equal. We all have 24 hours in the day, seven days in the week, etc.

Quote:
You dont really learn shit academically until much later in your life. The aim should be that people are being prepared through the younger years to be the best they can become when they get to the level that knowledge is actually worth something.

Clearly you do not understand this, which is worrying being a teacher.

It is very sad that you prefer personal attacks to discussion. I don't even understand what it is you disagree with since a personal attack isn't stating a point. Do you seriously think our schools are too much about academics?

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #11 of 153
My opinion is simply if sudents want a moment to themselves for fill in the blank reason do it at lunch hour or some other time outside of the classroom.

Fellowship
May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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May the peace of the Lord be with you always

Share your smile, Have respect for others, and be loving to all peoples

Paul in Athens: Acts 17 : 16-34
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post #12 of 153
I thought there always was a place for moments of silence...we called them "Study Hall" or "Library".
post #13 of 153
What if a school taught mental review, mnemonic and/or relaxation techniques for more efficient learning, and there were moments of silence in the middle of class to allow use of those techniques when they're at their most efficient?

If the student wanted to use the silences to pray, fine by me. Their win or loss.
post #14 of 153
The Governor of Illinois vetoed this moment of silence law, but the all too conservative Illinois house and senate overrode the veto. Here is what Governor Blagojevich had to say about the law:

The governor cited concerns about the separation of church and state.

"The law in Illinois today already allows teachers and students the opportunity to take a moment for silent thought or prayer, if they chose to," Blagojevich wrote. "I believe this is the right balance between the principles echoed in our constitution, and our deeply held desire to practice our faith. As a parent, I am working with my wife to raise our children to respect prayer and to pray because they want to pray—not because they are required to."

Federal and state governments need to quit passing such frivolous laws. What they really need to be focusing on are the real issues, like a more efficient way to fund public schools.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. Thomas Jefferson
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The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. Thomas Jefferson
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post #15 of 153
How about having a moment of silence or a moment of loudness (aka recess)?

This would be applied at the preschool, kindergarden, grade school, junior high, and right through high school levels.

Active social participation versus passive social participation.

I think this would be instructive when applied across the different age groups (i. e. following how the youngest age group chooses which group to participate in through time).

Having gone through 8 years of private catholic school, I can't even remember if there was even a prayer time, but I certainly remember recess time!

As an adult, I have had many daily moments of silence, perhaps way too many moments of silence, and these have become my much needed mental recess time, as I ponder the absurdities of human nature/nuture!
Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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Every eye fixed itself upon him; with parted lips and bated breath the audience hung upon his words, taking no note of time, rapt in the ghastly fascinations of the tale. NOT!
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post #16 of 153
I'm just glad the state is stepping up and giving students opportunities for prayer.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #17 of 153
For all those oppressed kids where their parents won't let them pray at home. That's it, right?
post #18 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

For all those oppressed kids where their parents won't let them pray at home. That's it, right?

Absolutely. But it's also just about time. I mean, think about it: praying takes time, and I know from personal experience that there's often just not enough time in the day to squeeze in a 15 second prayer or have a completely non-religious moment of silence.

What better place for this to happen than in school? And who better to lead these prayers than their pinko commie atheist teachers?
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #19 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Perhaps you missed this section of the article...

But there were limits: In the mid-1980s, an Alabama mandatory "moment of silence" law was found unconstitutional by the high court because "there was a clear legislative record that they were trying to advocate getting prayer back into schools," said Charles C. Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington.

"Since then, legislators have been far more careful about what they're saying about why such measures are pushed forward," Haynes said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia also require such moments of quiet in the classroom. In more than 20 other states, teachers are allowed to decide whether they want such a classroom time-out.

I hadn't read it, and it sounds like an appeals court has upheld these newer laws. It's interesting that just by hiding their (obvious) intent, they're allowed to pass a law that others, being honest about their intent, weren't. It creates a situation where they're basically rewarded for dishonesty.

Quote:
The second part has to do with advocacy groups and goodies or grants. Basically if somebody is willing to buy something for the district, if a board member has an interest in that particular area, or if someone wrote and received a grant in an area, it often forces actions on all of us in the classrooms. Think of them as sort of kid versions of ADM commercials. Everyone wants you to know the health benefits of their various products only it really is 50% sales pitch, 50% good intention.

The groups often end up clashing to some degree with veggie groups wanting more beans for protein over meat, the meat groups declaring their own products to be the best sources of protein, and the dairy folks showing up to let kids know to drink their milk three servings daily. To be polite the vegetable folks are basically vegetarians in disguise which doesn't upset me at all except they want all the "questions" answered back in class with me. So basically they want me to be the one attempting to explain why soy milk rules and cow milk sucks for example. In the meantime the kids don't get information so much as propaganda going in multiple directions.

That's depressing. I'd hope that there would be some group whose job it is to act as a guardian between such groups and classrooms. Obviously there are such things as sound health practices, and schools should try to apply them. But just leaving it open to all comers seems like a bad idea.
post #20 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

For all those oppressed kids where their parents won't let them pray at home. That's it, right?

"To educate a man in mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society." --- Theodore Roosevelt
post #21 of 153
Education does not only take place in schools.

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #22 of 153
I guess my last comment was too logical...continue...
post #23 of 153
Other times for moments of silence at school:

detention
lunch
homeroom
recess
US History class

 

Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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Your = the possessive of you, as in, "Your name is Tom, right?" or "What is your name?"

 

You're = a contraction of YOU + ARE as in, "You are right" --> "You're right."

 

 

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post #24 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

I'm not going to trade away the Constitution.

You don't violate the establishment clause and we wont violate the establishment clause.

Wikipedia

In October 2000, the U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton ruled that the "moment of silence" law was constitutional.[1][2] Judge Hilton stated, "The court finds that the Commonwealth's daily observance of one minute of silence act is constitutional. The act was enacted for a secular purpose, does not advance or inhibit religion, nor is there excessive entanglement with religion... Students may think as they wish -- and this thinking can be purely religious in nature or purely secular in nature. All that is required is that they sit silently."[cite this quote] His ruling was upheld in the 4th circuit.[3][4]

If I'm going to have to keep doing your legal research for you, I should at least get to bill you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I'm just glad the state is stepping up and giving students opportunities for prayer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

For all those oppressed kids where their parents won't let them pray at home. That's it, right?

I'm glad I get to spend time showing kids how to use a toothbrush as well because clearly there are parents who oppose and would oppress that as well. Oh and vegetables... I think I spend time on that because clearly parents opposed vegetables...

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

Absolutely. But it's also just about time. I mean, think about it: praying takes time, and I know from personal experience that there's often just not enough time in the day to squeeze in a 15 second prayer or have a completely non-religious moment of silence.

What better place for this to happen than in school? And who better to lead these prayers than their pinko commie atheist teachers?

The teachers do not lead them. They are too busy trying to sort out why soy milk is preferable to cow milk.

There also apparently isn't enough time in the day to realize that we don't act as bullies, that we don't take drugs, that we do eat vegetables, etc. If schools are going to be surrogate parents, what makes you think the will stop at religious expression?

Isn't it the Democratic Party that is by and large advocating for universal pre-K? If you are going to grab the kids for 7 hours a day from the second they pop out of the womb, people are going to have schools attempt to deal with a lot more than just education. It has been found that a lot of what we do right and wrong is mostly about habits. Everyone now wants schools to form good habits about what they consider important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

I hadn't read it, and it sounds like an appeals court has upheld these newer laws. It's interesting that just by hiding their (obvious) intent, they're allowed to pass a law that others, being honest about their intent, weren't. It creates a situation where they're basically rewarded for dishonesty.

Digging into the opinion a bit. It appears that the folks who did this went well beyond a moment of silence and clearly admitted to it in actions and motivations. So I don't know if the others were dishonest or if the really did just come at this with some secular intent as well. Clearly the court challenges there don't have these types of admissions or else they wouldn't have been upheld.

On August 2, 1982, the District Court held an evidentiary hearing on appellees' motion for a preliminary injunction. At that hearing, State Senator Donald G. Holmes testified that he was the "prime sponsor" of the bill that was enacted in 1981 as 16-1-20.1. 18 He explained that the bill was an "effort to return voluntary prayer to our public schools . . . it is a beginning and a step in the right direction." 19 Apart from the purpose to return voluntary prayer to public school, Senator Holmes unequivocally testified that he had "no other purpose in mind." 20 A week after the hearing, the District Court entered a preliminary injunction. 21 The court held that appellees were likely to prevail on the merits because the enactment of 16-1-20.1 and 16-1-20.2 did not reflect a clearly secular purpose. 22 [472 U.S. 38, 44]

Quote:
That's depressing. I'd hope that there would be some group whose job it is to act as a guardian between such groups and classrooms. Obviously there are such things as sound health practices, and schools should try to apply them. But just leaving it open to all comers seems like a bad idea.

Well the point is they are all sound. That is the rub. If you present the truth, the choices to get to that don't have to be so objective. I don't even know that they can be. If they present that you need two to three servings of protein daily, that is truthful. If you want to consider making those servings beans instead of beef, well that becomes harder to define. It isn't a lie. It is more like a preference.

I assure you people are pounding their "preferences" into classrooms all the time. This is why I said I can understand the moment of silence bit, but sadly it is in an already long line of stuff infringing on my class time.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #25 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post

I'm curious about this Nick: "every advocacy group for every cause that desires our time. (especially those having to do with diet dairy, veggies and meat/non-meat)." What does that mean?

He wants everyone to get fat like him so he doesn't feel so bad.
post #26 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Wikipedia

In October 2000, the U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton ruled that the "moment of silence" law was constitutional.[1][2] Judge Hilton stated, "The court finds that the Commonwealth's daily observance of one minute of silence act is constitutional. The act was enacted for a secular purpose, does not advance or inhibit religion, nor is there excessive entanglement with religion... Students may think as they wish -- and this thinking can be purely religious in nature or purely secular in nature. All that is required is that they sit silently."[cite this quote] His ruling was upheld in the 4th circuit.[3][4]

If I'm going to have to keep doing your legal research for you, I should at least get to bill you.

Do you know what that ruling means, precedent-wise, Nick?
post #27 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Do you know what that ruling means, precedent-wise, Nick?

You going to pay me for this legal research?

Since twelve states have mandatory moments, and twenty others allow such moments, it has been found to pass the Lemon test. At least that is what was found on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Brown vs. Gilmore.(PDF)

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #28 of 153
Apparently you do not.

It means that the court decision is only binding precedent for states in the 4th Circuit. It is not the law anywhere but there. So yes, one circuit (the most conservative), allows moments of silence under certain circumstances, but that does not mean it is the law elsewhere.
post #29 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

I'm glad I get to spend time showing kids how to use a toothbrush as well because clearly there are parents who oppose and would oppress that as well. Oh and vegetables... I think I spend time on that because clearly parents opposed vegetables...

Indeed. There is not enough time in the day for parents to teach those things, and so they have to hire a staff of people to do it for them. Gah, Nick. I thought you knew this stuff already! Either that or the teachers' unions are forcing parents to demand that their kids be taught this stuff. I mean, good lord, why else would people want kids to have moments of silent prayer in schools if not because they thought that the schools could pick up the slack of the heathen parents?

Quote:
The teachers do not lead them. They are too busy trying to sort out why soy milk is preferable to cow milk.

See above.

Quote:
There also apparently isn't enough time in the day to realize that we don't act as bullies, that we don't take drugs, that we do eat vegetables, etc. If schools are going to be surrogate parents, what makes you think the will stop at religious expression?

Nothing at all! I think it's awesome, although I'm a little concerned at the vagueness of this "moment of silence." I mean, what if the kids think about porn? What if they think about curse words? I would like to see some parameters for this moment of silence so that it doesn't function as an avenue for exacerbating already pernicious wickedness amongst the children.

Quote:
Isn't it the Democratic Party that is by and large advocating for universal pre-K? If you are going to grab the kids for 7 hours a day from the second they pop out of the womb, people are going to have schools attempt to deal with a lot more than just education. It has been found that a lot of what we do right and wrong is mostly about habits. Everyone now wants schools to form good habits about what they consider important.

I pay less and less attention to the Democratic party every day. Except when they do shit like this, which I am sure they do only to stoke my rage at them.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #30 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post

Apparently you do not.

It means that the court decision is only binding precedent for states in the 4th Circuit. It is not the law anywhere but there. So yes, one circuit (the most conservative), allows moments of silence under certain circumstances, but that does not mean it is the law elsewhere.

I don't think the fourth covers many of the states mentioned as having moments of silence.

Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, all those states were mentioned as having mandatory moments of silence.

Also the fourth didn't overturn the law, it affirmed the lower court ruling. The Supreme Court ruling against in Wallace v. Jaffree was not against moments of silence, but more specifically against Alabama version of it which was written in such a manner that no secular purpose could be found to justify it.

I say this because when you dig into the opinion where the comment on the specific sections of the ed code, you see this reasoning.

Footnotes
[ Footnote 1 ] Alabama Code 16-1-20 (Supp. 1984) reads as follows:

"At the commencement of the first class each day in the first through the sixth grades in all public schools, the teacher in charge of the room in which each such class is held shall announce that a period of silence, not to exceed one minute in duration, shall be observed for meditation, and during any such period silence shall be maintained and no activities engaged in."

Appellees have abandoned any claim that 16-1-20 is unconstitutional. See Brief for Appellees 2.

[ Footnote 2 ] Alabama Code 16-1-20.1 (Supp. 1984) provides:

"At the commencement of the first class of each day in all grades in all public schools the teacher in charge of the room in which each class is held may announce that a period of silence not to exceed one minute in duration shall be observed for meditation or voluntary prayer, and during any such period no other activities shall be engaged in."

[ Footnote 3 ] Alabama Code 16-1-20.2 (Supp. 1984) provides:

"From henceforth, any teacher or professor in any public educational institution within the state of Alabama, recognizing that the Lord God is one, at the beginning of any homeroom or any class, may pray, may lead [472 U.S. 38, 41] willing students in prayer, or may lead the willing students in the following prayer to God:

"Almighty God, You alone are our God. We acknowledge You as the Creator and Supreme Judge of the world. May Your justice, Your truth, and Your peace abound this day in the hearts of our countrymen, in the counsels of our government, in the sanctity of our homes and in the classrooms of our schools in the name of our Lord. Amen."

[ Footnote 4 ] The court stated that it did not find any potential infirmity in 16-1-20 because "it is a statute which prescribes nothing more than a child in school shall have the right to meditate in silence and there is nothing wrong with a little meditation and quietness." Jaffree v. James, 544 F. Supp. 727, 732 (SD Ala. 1982).


The other sections, yes it is pretty darn obvious why they were being sued and why it was seen as an endorsement of religion. A teacher leading "willing" students is absolutely the state endorsing religion. However the claim that a moment of silence was itself an endorsement was abandoned as a constitutional infringement claim and as far as I can read, that means the SC has not ruled against it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

Indeed. There is not enough time in the day for parents to teach those things, and so they have to hire a staff of people to do it for them. Gah, Nick. I thought you knew this stuff already! Either that or the teachers' unions are forcing parents to demand that their kids be taught this stuff. I mean, good lord, why else would people want kids to have moments of silent prayer in schools if not because they thought that the schools could pick up the slack of the heathen parents?

See above.

Nothing at all! I think it's awesome, although I'm a little concerned at the vagueness of this "moment of silence." I mean, what if the kids think about porn? What if they think about curse words? I would like to see some parameters for this moment of silence so that it doesn't function as an avenue for exacerbating already pernicious wickedness amongst the children.

I pay less and less attention to the Democratic party every day. Except when they do shit like this, which I am sure they do only to stoke my rage at them.

Turn down the sarcasm-o-meter please.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #31 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post


Turn down the sarcasm-o-meter please.

I'd rather not. While I agree with you that too much life-skills crap gets put on teachers' plates for whatever reason and that some of it ought not be there at all, any attempt to equate the thinly-veiled attempt to have kids in school pray with the teaching of these other skills is not to be taken seriously.
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post #32 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I'd rather not. While I agree with you that too much life-skills crap gets put on teachers' plates for whatever reason and that some of it ought not be there at all, any attempt to equate the thinly-veiled attempt to have kids in school pray with the teaching of these other skills is not to be taken seriously.

Well therein lies the problem. You consider these things to not be equivalent due to your set of priorities. Other consider them equally important or even more important due to their set of priorities. All of you compromise by tossing everything in and I'm the one left trying to teach math in 33.5 minutes.

I'm not saying of course you compromise, but obviously the state legislatures do or else we wouldn't be discussing this in the first place.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #33 of 153
Whatever happened to "after school activities"? Are my tax dollars actually helping to pay for all this crap? Ron Paul, we need you now, more than ever.

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post #34 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post

Other times for moments of silence at school:

detention
lunch
homeroom
recess
US History class

LMAO! ...and also sadness.

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post #35 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Well therein lies the problem. You consider these things to not be equivalent due to your set of priorities. Other consider them equally important or even more important due to their set of priorities. All of you compromise by tossing everything in and I'm the one left trying to teach math in 33.5 minutes.

I'm not saying of course you compromise, but obviously the state legislatures do or else we wouldn't be discussing this in the first place.

I agree that you're (as a kind of synecdoche for all non-university teachers) the one left holding the bag (or the bible), but I don't think this is a matter of differing priorities* so much as it is about some people wanting kids to have an organized prayer in school. Period. I'm not sure why they want kids to pray in school, but they do. I'm not sure what they want kids to pray in school, but I think it would be a good laugh to watch them try to come up with a common prayer.

As I said before, a moment of silence is clearly not a moment of silence. It's the school mandating prayer with a new name. And to defend it by saying that it's just another example of schools functioning as surrogate parents is, I think, specious at best.

--
* I take this tack largely because otherwise we wind up in a whirligig of pomo relativism where all positions are equally relative no matter how specious the reasoning behind them.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #36 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I agree that you're (as a kind of synecdoche for all non-university teachers) the one left holding the bag (or the bible), but I don't think this is a matter of differing priorities* so much as it is about some people wanting kids to have an organized prayer in school. Period. I'm not sure why they want kids to pray in school, but they do. I'm not sure what they want kids to pray in school, but I think it would be a good laugh to watch them try to come up with a common prayer.

As I said before, a moment of silence is clearly not a moment of silence. It's the school mandating prayer with a new name. And to defend it by saying that it's just another example of schools functioning as surrogate parents is, I think, specious at best..

Well of course you would say that because you are not one of the 80% self-proclaimed religious folks that the public schools must accommodate. It may be a very high-minded means of giving the priorities of others the brush off, but it is still the brush off.

I say this as one who would give them the brush off as well. As I said at the beginning, there is nothing I would desire less than to give up 60 seconds for a moment of silence. Islam mandates prayer five times a day. I can't say what is required for every religion but you grab kids for that many hours a day, certain parents are going to want assurances made for religious expression. Would I be one of those parents? No. Does that mean I can just ignore them though, especially if they are significant enough in numbers to have the policy implemented? No. It is their right.

Let's cede 100% of this though. Let us say that 95% of the students in the room are Baptist, go to the same church, have met on Sunday and agreed what prayer they will all silently be thinking at school that week. Let's even say the prayer it to convert that little Scott boy in the corner. If the only actions consist of their silent thoughts, it is still their right. Protecting rights means protecting them even when they are not to our benefit of when they don't come to conclusions with which we agree.

So understand that I'm not even trying to say all positions are equal. I'm saying this might be a pure case of majority rule, but if they do it in a neutral manner that accommodates secular interest as well, then no matter how ridiculous it sounds, it passes. The majority does have the right to assert their will when it does not infringe on minority rights. That appears to be the case here.

As a rule though, the more schools inject themselves into our lives, the more life is going to inject itself into schools. My school serves two meals a day. It has after-school tutoring, and YMCA day care. Our campus has kids on it 10 hours a day and the reality is each time we look at why X result hasn't occurred we take out that bigger hammer and want to make the day, school year and number of years schooled higher/longer.

The reality is that during the school year, I easily see these children more than their own parents will. I can desire not to give the time, note that I will be silently grading papers during this time, and will in no form or fashion discourage anything religious aside from this time with regard to their child and their respective religion. Some parents declare they want basically a guarantee, a .25% of the day allotment for religious expression where they know this child they do not get to see has the right to express themselves, it appears to win every time.

We are also not talking equivalence in terms of time. A minute a day comes out to be 3 hrs of time out of the school year. I can tell you that this is actually much less time than we spend on pretty much anything else. In my school we spend time daily reciting a character pledge. There is a character story as well. This eats up a good five minutes each morning. We have an entire red ribbon week (actually about an hour a day for five days) devoted to saying no to drugs. I seriously hate to admit this, but I would guess we spend 3 hours just attending assemblies for fund raisers during the course of the school year. I probably take a quarter of that time lining up their kids for pictures. Schools suck for time management because they really are at the mercy of the public and their interests. In the state legislative branch though, when someone wants their red ribbon week for drugs, they probably bend over and give up the minute a day for religious expression. You add up all these little compromises and it is huge blocks of time.

So do I think the religious folks should give up the three hours? Yes. Do I understand them retaining a selfish attitude about it though when their kids spend so much time on other non-academic stuff. Yes to that as well. Do I think the values of all these items to be equivalent? No and they aren't in terms of time and money spent. However everyone one is going to grab their piece when the kids, their eyeballs and their minds are there for some many hours, days and years. To reverse this means we have to begin reversing the role of schools as parents. Parents don't need assurances when they have their child instead.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #37 of 153
I agree with loads of this. With that said, I must say this, first:

Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Well of course you would say that because you are not one of the 80% self-proclaimed religious folks that the public schools must accommodate. It may be a very high-minded means of giving the priorities of others the brush off, but it is still the brush off.

That 80% of folks are self-proclaimedly "religious" does not mean that they want the schools providing time during the day for prayer. And it is hardly an offense to give others' priorities the brush-off. We do it every day.

Personally, I would like to see any moments of silence in class require students to face Mecca, but that's just me.

Quote:
I say this as one who would give them the brush off as well. As I said at the beginning, there is nothing I would desire less than to give up 60 seconds for a moment of silence. Islam mandates prayer five times a day. I can't say what is required for every religion but you grab kids for that many hours a day, certain parents are going to want assurances made for religious expression. Would I be one of those parents? No. Does that mean I can just ignore them though, especially if they are significant enough in numbers to have the policy implemented? No. It is their right.

While I think I agree with you mostly, I don't like the idea of the tyranny of the majority in any way, shape, or form. In terms of my own politics, I don't have a problem with Muslim kids in a public school being allowed to go pray when they need to. I don't have a problem with Christian students being allowed to go say the Lord's prayer in a closet when they, um, well, need to. I have a problem with the school setting aside time.

Quote:
Let's cede 100% of this though. Let us say that 95% of the students in the room are Baptist, go to the same church, have met on Sunday and agreed what prayer they will all silently be thinking at school that week. Let's even say the prayer it to convert that little Scott boy in the corner. If the only actions consist of their silent thoughts, it is still their right. Protecting rights means protecting them even when they are not to our benefit of when they don't come to conclusions with which we agree.

No. The problem is that the time for the prayer is institutionalized. That's the issue. If they want to take a few minutes out of your discussion of multiplication tables or long division to think about how sad they are that their Jewish friend is going to burn in Hell for all eternity, that's they're problem, not yours and not the taxpayers'.

Quote:
So understand that I'm not even trying to say all positions are equal. I'm saying this might be a pure case of majority rule, but if they do it in a neutral manner that accommodates secular interest as well, then no matter how ridiculous it sounds, it passes. The majority does have the right to assert their will when it does not infringe on minority rights. That appears to be the case here.

I disagree. You cannot equate 80% of folks saying they're "religious" with 80% of people want their kids to pray 5 times a day while facing Mecca or 80% of people wanting their kids to recite the Apostle's or Nicean creeds (both of which were burned into my brain just fine through recitation once a week). But that's most certainly what they'd prefer, otherwise why demand that kids take 30 seconds of every day to think about whatever they want? On its face, is that not the most bizarre demand you've ever heard? I mean, seriously. Hell, let's change the title from "A Moment of Silence" to "Brain Recess."

Quote:
As a rule though, the more schools inject themselves into our lives, the more life is going to inject itself into schools. My school serves two meals a day. It has after-school tutoring, and YMCA day care. Our campus has kids on it 10 hours a day and the reality is each time we look at why X result hasn't occurred we take out that bigger hammer and want to make the day, school year and number of years schooled higher/longer.

Yup.

Quote:
The reality is that during the school year, I easily see these children more than their own parents will. I can desire not to give the time, note that I will be silently grading papers during this time, and will in no form or fashion discourage anything religious aside from this time with regard to their child and their respective religion. Some parents declare they want basically a guarantee, a .25% of the day allotment for religious expression where they know this child they do not get to see has the right to express themselves, it appears to win every time.

Yeah. And if the teachers' union had any power, it'd stop it.

Quote:
So do I think the religious folks should give up the three hours? Yes. Do I understand them retaining a selfish attitude about it though when their kids spend so much time on other non-academic stuff. Yes to that as well. Do I think the values of all these items to be equivalent? No and they aren't in terms of time and money spent. However everyone one is going to grab their piece when the kids, their eyeballs and their minds are there for some many hours, days and years. To reverse this means we have to begin reversing the role of schools as parents. Parents don't need assurances when they have their child instead.

Yup.
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post #38 of 153
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter View Post

I agree with loads of this. With that said, I must say this, first:

That 80% of folks are self-proclaimedly "religious" does not mean that they want the schools providing time during the day for prayer. And it is hardly an offense to give others' priorities the brush-off. We do it every day.

Personally, I would like to see any moments of silence in class require students to face Mecca, but that's just me.

Well it may not be the full 80% but it certainly is enough people taking enough action to move legislatures. This doesn't just fly up out of no where. Also with regard to giving priorities the brush-off we DON'T do it every day in schools. This is the much deeper problem at which I am attempting to get across. We spend a profoundly large amount of time dealing with non-academic issues. As I stated early almost anything can drive this and does. If someone in my district tomorrow won a grant related to X proposal, I can guarantee you my class would have to devote X minutes of time toward that proposal regardless of whether that proposal was something with which I agree, care to spend time on, consider academic, important or whatever.

In this regard the public schools are basically at the mercy of... the public. There is no prioritization. The deck chairs are merely reshuffled. The time slots merely reshifted. Some acronyms are renamed.

Quote:
While I think I agree with you mostly, I don't like the idea of the tyranny of the majority in any way, shape, or form. In terms of my own politics, I don't have a problem with Muslim kids in a public school being allowed to go pray when they need to. I don't have a problem with Christian students being allowed to go say the Lord's prayer in a closet when they, um, well, need to. I have a problem with the school setting aside time.

While I agree with your sentiment, tyranny cannot be used to dismiss the fact that our system is majority rule in cases where the rights of the minority are not harmed. The minority here still has the time to do with as they desire silently. It isn't some form of cruelty to the minority. They aren't being sent to classroom concentration camp #9 for internment or being forced to use the "atheist" bathrooms and drinking fountains. Unless the rights of the minority are being infringed on the the majority still retains their rights.

Quote:
No. The problem is that the time for the prayer is institutionalized. That's the issue. If they want to take a few minutes out of your discussion of multiplication tables or long division to think about how sad they are that their Jewish friend is going to burn in Hell for all eternity, that's they're problem, not yours and not the taxpayers'.

Agreed. However the taxpayers appear not to agree.

Quote:
I disagree. You cannot equate 80% of folks saying they're "religious" with 80% of people want their kids to pray 5 times a day while facing Mecca or 80% of people wanting their kids to recite the Apostle's or Nicean creeds (both of which were burned into my brain just fine through recitation once a week). But that's most certainly what they'd prefer, otherwise why demand that kids take 30 seconds of every day to think about whatever they want? On its face, is that not the most bizarre demand you've ever heard? I mean, seriously. Hell, let's change the title from "A Moment of Silence" to "Brain Recess."

I think on a personal note I have made it more than clear it is craptacular and a total waste of my time.

Quote:
Yup.
Yeah. And if the teachers' union had any power, it'd stop it.
Yup.

While we have a lot of agreement, the point comes down to when you support an apparatus that influences and makes demands of others, don't be surprised when other grab it and have the same mechanism make demands of you. This is to some degree why I am a small government guy. A power structure is amoral. Some people grab it to make demands that kids read at home 15 minutes a day and receive one free book a month, which I think is great. However once it is there and operating everyone starts grabbing onto it as well. It becomes a sort of group interest superhighway.

In my view you can't limit the interest or slow the traffic, you have to be willing to tear down the highway and that means being willing to trust people to do what is right with regard to your own interests. People refuse to do that and so they end up accommodating the interests of others, whether they care to or not, perhaps even forced to via injunction. In short, if you build it, they will come.

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #39 of 153
I can't help thinking that all of the fuss and conflict over what's going on in schools could be greatly reduced or even eliminated if parents were given much more choice for the education of their kids.

Parents that want schools that allow (or even mandate) a "moment of silence" (or explicitly prayer), can send their kids to schools that do that. Parents that don't want such a thing can send their kids to schools that don't. Substitute sex education, alternative lifestyle enlightenment, environmental education, creation vs. evolution, etc. for the "moment of silence"/prayer issue and you have a wide variety of things that parents want to be able to choose for their kids.

Furthermore, teachers that don't want to deal with "moments of silence" or prayers in their classrooms would have a wide variety of school employment choices as well.

While I personally would advocate a completely privatized system, at least some movement in the direction of greater choice through vouchers, tax credits or other methods would help to reduce the various problems and conflicts centered around the public school system.

Parents would have a greater number of options.

Teachers would have a greater number of options.

Those sound like good things.
post #40 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman View Post

Well it may not be the full 80% but it certainly is enough people taking enough action to move legislatures. This doesn't just fly up out of no where.

I disagree. I think that lots of people in the US identify as Christian, but I think that this hardcore political wing is a small but very vocal and very organized minority within that population. And since they're the linchpin of GOP electoral math, they get a great deal of attention.

Quote:
Also with regard to giving priorities the brush-off we DON'T do it every day in schools. This is the much deeper problem at which I am attempting to get across. We spend a profoundly large amount of time dealing with non-academic issues. As I stated early almost anything can drive this and does. If someone in my district tomorrow won a grant related to X proposal, I can guarantee you my class would have to devote X minutes of time toward that proposal regardless of whether that proposal was something with which I agree, care to spend time on, consider academic, important or whatever.

Believe me, I understand the problems with siphoning off classtime. But this, again, is not equivalent to prayer.

Quote:
In this regard the public schools are basically at the mercy of... the public. There is no prioritization. The deck chairs are merely reshuffled. The time slots merely reshifted. Some acronyms are renamed.

Yup.

Quote:
While I agree with your sentiment, tyranny cannot be used to dismiss the fact that our system is majority rule in cases where the rights of the minority are not harmed. The minority here still has the time to do with as they desire silently. It isn't some form of cruelty to the minority.

I don't care about whether or not the atheist kid feels put-upon. I care about the state mandating that time be taken out of the day to pray, first, because I don't think my atheist tax dollars should be used to pay for prayer, and second, because it's just stupid. Are kids able to pray silently whenever they want? Yes. Why do we need some kind of special time devoted to it? The answer is simple: Don Wildmon wants it.

Quote:
They aren't being sent to classroom concentration camp #9 for internment or being forced to use the "atheist" bathrooms and drinking fountains. Unless the rights of the minority are being infringed on the the majority still retains their rights.

Indeed. And if they're made to wear a scarlet "A," their rights aren't being infringed!

But as I've said above, that's not what this is about.

Quote:
Agreed. However the taxpayers appear not to agree.

Depends. Have they actually been asked? Or was this something that got pushed through by that small but vocal minority?
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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