Monday, June 30

Diane Ravitch shares more ridiculous textbook-censorship stories she's received since the publication of her book The Language Police

A contributor to a major textbook series prepared a story comparing the great floods in 1889 in Johnstown, Pa., with those in 1993 in the Midwest, but was unable to find an acceptable photograph. The publisher insisted that everyone in the rowboats must be wearing a lifevest to demonstrate safety procedures.....When it comes to illustrations in textbooks, certain images--women cooking, men acting assertive, scenes of poverty, and old people walking with the aid of a cane or a walker--are likewise considered unacceptable. The specifications for photographs, I have learned, are exquisitely detailed. Men and boys must not be larger than women and girls. Asians must not appear as shorter than non-Asians.

Here's what needs to end: statewide textbook adoptions. There. Get California, Texas and New York out of the picture, and give school districts the right to get whatever books they want. Increase competition, force a bit more quality. Not that school textbooks have ever been what inspired anyone to greater heights of learning, anyway, but this spinelessness in the face of interest groups - from fundamentalists to the PC crowds is getting, as Ravitch says, too funny, but in a tragic kind of way.


Illinois parish split over gay choir directors' dismissal.

Roundup of evangelical Christian leaders' opinions on Lawrence
Cleveland parish changes with its neighborhood's needs.

Garfield Heights- St. Timothy Church is remaking itself - again. The Catholic parish close to the bor der of Cleveland has recast its mission several times since it was founded in the 1920s. It originally served a popu lation with Old World roots. It ad justed to urban sprawl, white flight and economic shifts over the decades and now faces a new challenge - serv ing an aging population. The church converted a convent into assisted living for senior citizens 18 years ago to help elderly who need some care but not the full service of a nursing home. Today, St. Timothy is recycling parts of its property for use by other seniors. The church is build ing 35 apartments for seniors next to the rectory and converting parts of the rectory into meeting and lounge areas for the new tenants.


A simply astonishing story about a high school valedictorian, her family and their lawsuit.

Is this the breed that populates the Ivy League? Count me happily out.

In Rochester, the preservationists lost and the renovators won

The $6 million to $8 million project calls for renovating the interior and building an addition and new parking lot. The building - the central church in the 12-county Rochester diocese - is outdated, unable to handle the demands of the diocese’s 350,000 Catholics. But the plan has been a target of criticism by some parishioners. They believe renovation will damage the character of the cathedral, a neo-Gothic structure, and cost much more than the diocese estimates. “It’s very disheartening,” said Don Messina, 68, of Rochester. “I don’t want to see tremendous destruction. I don’t want to worship organ pipes, I want to worship the Lord.” Messina said he doesn’t oppose all cathedral renovations. He just doesn’t want the church to lose its main focus, by removing the altar, canopy and several religious statues.


CNN is reporting that O'Malley's been pegged as new Archbishop of Boston

Michael has an interesting perspective

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