Reading is more than just pedaling a bicycle

The teaching of reading never fails to be a hotbed of controversy. For decades, this issue has divided groups of Americans along political and religious lines. I’m perplexed as to why far right-wing religious groups and other conservatives are usually strong advocates for an over-abundance of phonics instruction. According to Frances R.A. Paterson in the […]

Defending whose Judeo-Christian values?

Claims to “Judeo-Christian” values in contemporary U.S. society are ubiquitous. Numerous institutions claim these principles as “foundational.” Various pastors, rabbis, politicians and pundits claim these values reflect America’s foundation as a “Judeo-Christian” nation. However, I fear “Judeo-Christian” values have been co-opted by a cultural understanding that demean them rather than protect them. Should our society […]

Do grades really matter?

For generations, parents have been pushing children to get good grades. When I was a kid, many of my classmates got $10 for an ‘A’ and $5 for a ‘B’ but I received nothing because good grades were simply expected. Today, students continue to receive rewards—candy, cash, ipods, even cars—for good grades from parents and […]

Enough room at the table

There has been a lot of discussion about the emergent church lately and most Christian denominations in North America have been involved in the conversation. Many churches have started alternate worship services, some pastors and parishioners attend emergent cohorts and many churches have begun to incorporate historic Christian practices such as prayer labyrinths, creeds and […]

Job sharing another way to look at work

The typical female over-achiever: do well in high school and college, get a great job, fall in love, get married and have a baby. Now what? The dilemma of most new professional mothers: work or stay-at-home. An increasingly popular option is part-time employment. This doesn’t mean leaving an executive or administrative job for an entry […]

Rethinking the way we get our news

It’s been a few weeks since McClatchy (and The Fresno Bee) announced an initial round of layoffs in an attempt to tighten its fiscal belt. With daily news highlighting tough economic times, such downsizing comes as no surprise, though the sting for those affected remains. Certainly, we’re all feeling the pinch, but the economy’s role […]

In a black and white world, try thinking gray

Would Barack make a good president? How about McCain? Are Bishop Schofield and the local Episcopal diocese taking a needed moral stand, or contributing to religious intolerance and divisiveness? Will Britney Spears ever display stability and good parenting skills? Is High School Musical a gift to society or one more example of mindless entertainment? With […]

Freedom and limits at the library

When I was eight, I wanted to check The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde out of my neighborhood library back east. My heart’s desire in hand, I approached the checkout counter. Miss Shoemaker—one of those always-frowning, cat’s-eye glasses wearing, kid-shushing spirits today’s library scientists are still trying to exorcise from the public […]

The economic stimulus big give

I will receive $1,800 this May. The IRS will pay me $1,200 because I’m married and $600 for my children. The money comes with no strings. And therein lies my quandary—how will I use my economic stimulus payment? Through the Economic Stimulus Act, Washington wants 130 million recipients to spend $168 billion in an attempt […]

Have you done a good math problem lately?

“Have you read a good book lately?” is a common conversation starter. Often the query is answered by an enthusiastic, “Yes!” and the sharing of one’s latest literary find. I have yet to hear, “Have you done a good math problem lately?” Don’t people love mathematics as much as reading? Evidently not—but it’s more than […]