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8 Rules for the Formation of Young People

Apr 20, 2023

Eight Rules for the Dean of Students by Gregory Roper at First Things. For the past twenty-two years I have taught English literature at the University of Dallas, a Catholic school grounded in the Western intellectual tradition. A year and a half ago, in a fit of insanity, I also became the dean of students…. One thing I have learned is that most students come to us steeped in the anthropology that Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor termed expressive individualism, in which autonomy becomes the highest good to which all other goods are subordinated. And often, those of us in the student life office—even at places like the University of Dallas—don’t do enough to help our students combat this way of thinking, and might even make it worse. After only seventeen months in the job, I do not pretend to have all of the solutions. But the following eight rules are quite clear to me. Read


“Just” Is Not Really Just by John M. Grondeski at Crisis Magazine. For Karol, church bells are purely utilitarian, “just” an “alarm” or sound that can be substituted with the equivalent of canned steeple elevator music. That caused me to wonder about today’s lack of wonder…. I fear that modernity and its “scientific,” empirical worldview terribly flattens young people, making them “lifelong learners” of the ephemeral at the cost of awareness that “there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” Read


Evangelizing Our Reality-Denying Nonculture by Anthony Esolen at Crisis Magazine. I happen upon people who scoff at belief in God, calling it belief in a “Sky-Daddy.” They show by their scoffing that they have only the vaguest idea of what Christians and Jews believe—and not the least curiosity to learn about it. You can’t then ask them to read Augustine’s Confessions, and there are several reasons why not, reasons that would not have applied a hundred years ago. The first is that they take for granted that there is no point to it, since “science”—wherewith they usually have but a slender acquaintance—is our only means to ascertaining the truth; science which they will conveniently ignore when it comes to their personal habits or inclinations. So it is that “science” is invoked not to pursue knowledge but to rule out its pursuit from the beginning. Read


Free Speech for Some—But Not for Christians? By Charles J. Russo at Catholic World Report. Can public school teachers make their faith known in public? As evidenced by a recent incident in Loudoun County, Virginia, controversy and confusion over this point—fueled by educators’ lack of understanding of recent Supreme Court precedent interpreting the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion—are plentiful…. Last year, in its first case directly on point, in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Supreme Court pointed out that the private speech of educators in the workplace is not an endorsement of particular religious beliefs. Instead, the Court ruled that such private speech is protected by the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Read


Handful of Colleges Hold Out, Push Back on Cultural Marxism on Campus by Katharine Gorka at The Daily Signal. Today, many college campuses have embraced cultural Marxism, a poisonous mix of identity politics, intolerance of dissent, and a vision of the world locked in structural conflict. The new brigades of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” administrators serve as thought police, enforcing the new orthodoxy. A recent study by Jay Greene of The Heritage Foundation and James Paul of the Educational Freedom Institute found that DEI staff now make up an average of 3.4 positions for every 100 tenured faculty, and that “these programs are bloated, relative to academic pursuits and do not contribute to reported student well-being on campus.” Read


European Author Explains the Massive Disconnect between Young and Old Americans on Capitalism by Jon Miltimore at FEE Stories. "The younger generation hasn’t lived in a world with socialism. For them it’s only history. Of course they should learn this in school, but teachers don’t tell them about it. I do lectures all over the world, and I have one test question I ask students when I visit them in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America. I ask them, Have you heard about Mao’s Great Leap Forward at the end of the 1950s in school? Whether I’m speaking to thirty people, three hundred, or three thousand, I ask this question. Very few people say yes. They haven’t heard about it! This is the biggest socialist experiment in history. Forty-five million people died.? Read


DePaul University Facing $56 Million Budget Gap and Shrinking Enrollment by Mike LaChance at Legal Insurrection. DePaul University is facing financial pressure after the pandemic intensified declining enrollment and widened the Chicago private school’s budget gap. To narrow the growing gap between revenue and expenses the largest Catholic university in the US is starting to cut its budget. Read


Lawmaker Blasts Cardona Over Transgender Athlete Regulations in Heated Hearing by Jeremiah Poff at Washington Examiner. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona faced harsh questioning from Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) about the Department of Education’s proposed regulations on transgender athletes in school sports programs.

Harris, a medical doctor, blasted Cardona for the proposed regulation's requirement that elementary school sports programs allow all students to compete based on their stated gender identity rather than their biological sex. The exchange took place during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday on the Department of Education's budget. "I would suggest, Mr. Secretary, you didn't base [this rule] on science," Harris said. "You based it on woke politics, which is rampant through your department and the reason why we continue to fail on an international scale." Read


Surgeon Castrating ‘Gender-Diverse’ Eunuchs Manifests the Evil of Transgenderism by Nathaniel Blake at The Federalist. Sidhbh Gallagher, a Miami surgeon who aggressively uses social media to promote the hundreds of “gender-affirming” surgeries she does each year, some on children, recently posted a video about castrating men who identify as eunuchs. As she explains, eunuchs are just “another group of gender-diverse individuals,” albeit one that hasn’t “been very visible.” Perhaps Gallagher is looking for a new revenue stream after Florida Republicans, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, protected children from surgical transition. Read


The Surgeries are Immoral by Cole S. Aronson at Public Discourse. Florida has made it illegal for doctors to surgically alter the genitals of minors to treat gender dysphoria. In November 2022, after the Florida Board of Medicine took an initial step toward banning “gender-affirming” procedures, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado praised the board’s members for “ruling in the best interest of children in Florida despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these unproven and risky treatments.” The pressure was indeed quite strong. But describing the procedures as “unproven and risky” misleadingly suggests a technical difficulty that could be fixed with better data or tools. The real problem is more basic: the surgeries remove healthy organs without good reason. That’s not risky—it’s harmful and morally wrong. Read


Maryland Governor Tries to End School Choice for Low-Income Families by Delano Squires at Washington Examiner. Families and students in Maryland can breathe a sigh of relief after lawmakers agreed to provide $9 million in funding for the state’s school choice scholarship program for low-income families. The program was originally on the new governor’s chopping block…. BOOST is not perfect by any means. The average scholarship is less than $3,500, a fact that likely explains why the program serves a disproportionate number of students who were already enrolled in private schools. But the interest groups and ideologues who want to shutter BOOST do not oppose it because it serves too few families. Read


Arkansas Enacts Given Name Act. Here’s What Parents of Schoolchildren There—and Elsewhere—Need to Know by Jonathan Butcher at The Daily Signal. Arkansas lawmakers delivered a clear message to parents of K-12 students this week: You have the right to know how your child is being treated in school. Lawmakers in New Jersey, California, and hundreds of other school districts across the U.S. operating under policies that do the opposite and allow school officials to hide information about children from their parents should prepare to receive an influx of student-transfer requests. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday signed legislation, the Given Name Act, which says that school officials cannot call a student by a name that does not match the name listed on the student’s birth certificate without a parent’s permission. Likewise, educators cannot address a child by a pronoun that does not match the child’s sex. Read


Throwback Thursday


How St. Katharine Drexel and My Odd-Couple Parents Taught Me to Fight Racism by Gregory Lee Roper at Public Discourse on November 18, 2020. Katharine Drexel’s life, then, shows that through intelligence, vision, and God’s grace, any of us can see outside of our own limited worlds and perceive the truth, goodness, God-given beauty, and value in people completely unlike us. It might not be easy, but it is necessary and it is possible. Note also that Katharine made heroic sacrifice to serve and lift up the poorest and most derided through education, not through an activism that might have just told people that they were victims who should define themselves by their grievances and resentments. Katharine had no patience, no truck with such ideas; she asked her nuns, the students at her schools, and their families to get some courage and get to work. Read

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