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Anxiety, Depression, Less Sleep … and Poor Academic Performance?

Jun 6, 2024

Anxiety, Depression, Less Sleep … and Poor Academic Performance? by Michael J. Petrilli at Education Next. Over the last decade, smartphones have become commonplace. Today, 95 percent of American teenagers have a supercomputer in their pocket. Jonathan Haidt, Jean Twenge, and others have brought necessary attention to the likelihood that smartphones and social media are partly to blame for the teenage mental health epidemic gripping our nation. It’s not a watertight case, because it’s nearly impossible to prove a causal relationship with a phenomenon as ubiquitous as this one. What scholars can say is that the sudden rise in teenage anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide all happened at the same time that teenagers’ adoption of smartphones passed the 50 percent mark—around 2012 or 2013. Read


Canadian Catholic Schools Aim Lawsuit at Social Media Giants by J-P Mauro at Aleteia. A growing coalition of Catholic schools in Ontario, along with a few secular schools, have joined together to aim a lawsuit at social media companies. The schools are going after some of the industry’s tech giants like Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat, specifically aiming at the “addictive properties” of social media use that the schools say has negatively affected the education system, as well as the rates at which children learn. Read


Charlotte’s Web Revisited by Alexander Riley at First Things. I am presently rereading E. B. White’s novel Charlotte’s Web with my youngest child, who is eight. She is much enjoying this classic tale about the pig Wilbur and his friendship with the spider Charlotte, who hatches a clever plan to save him from the butcher’s knife. I don’t remember how old I was when I first read the book, but it is one of the earliest novels I can remember reading, maybe the first. Upon this rereading, I have realized that it marked me as strongly as it did because one of its major themes—indeed, the central one—is death. Read


Lessons in Apologetics: A Recap from the School Year by Thomas Griffin at Word on Fire. My fifth year of teaching senior religion at an all boys Catholic high school is coming to a close. Each year I have taught the same course in apologetics. Our curriculum strives to showcase the truth and power of the Catholic faith as many of these boys finish the last religion course of their life. We push ourselves to stress two important facts about our Catholic faith: every teaching is logical and everything is about a relationship with God that changes your life. In the final days of their school year, I try to spend some intentional time talking to them about their experience while making the last push to answer any unanswered questions. I also spend time gathering information on what was most helpful and impactful on their faith journey during their four years at school. Read


Triumph of the Human Spirit: Why Read the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas by Mary Frances Loughran at Cana Academy. Written in 1845, sixteen years prior to the outbreak of the war that would end institutional slavery in the United States, Frederick Douglass’s autobiography was a major catalyst in stirring sympathy for slaves and raising support for the growing abolitionist movement…As an autobiography, this classic is essential reading for the study of American literature and the Antebellum South. As an illustration of the triumph of the human spirit, it is a must read for all students. Read


Mother of Soon-to-be-Saint Carlo Acutis Offers Tips for Catholic Parents by Sabrina Ferrisi at National Catholic Register. The error of many parents is not praying daily with their children when they are young: in the morning and evening, before meals, or saying the Rosary with kids once they reach the age of reason. Parents must be the first catechists. They should read Bible stories and the stories of the saints. They must speak about the approved apparitions of the Church, like Fatima, Lourdes and Pontmain. Read


Colorado Discriminated Against Catholic Preschools, Judge Finds by Kate Quiñones at Catholic News Agency. Archdiocese of Denver Catholic preschools will now be allowed to participate in Colorado’s universal preschool (UPK) program after a federal court ruled Tuesday that the state’s decision to exclude Catholic preschools was unconstitutional. Two Catholic parishes with preschools, St. Mary Catholic Parish and St. Bernadette Catholic Parish, as well as a Catholic family and the Archdiocese of Denver asked the Denver federal court to stop the Department of Early Childhood from excluding them from the UPK program because they prioritize the admission of Catholic families and have religious expectations for teachers. Read


A New Player in Post-Secondary Catholic Education: San Damiano College for the Trades by Martin Barillas at Catholic News Agency. The founding of San Damiano College for the Trades responds to a call from Springfield, Illinois, Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki to set a new path for Catholic education in the diocese and broader United States. The new college, which is currently accepting applications for its inaugural class in the fall of 2025, is geared toward young men and will be located on the former Springfield, Illinois, campus of the Franciscan Brothers of the Holy Cross, who operated the St. James Trade School there from 1928 to 1972. Read


Throwback Thursday


The Mystery of Goodness in Children’s Literature by Mitchell Kalpakgian at New Oxford Review in July, 2000. Again and again the great stories we read — or should read — to our children explore the mysterious forces that are set in motion by secret, humble, unknown deeds of goodness and kindness. The folk stories and fables and fairy tales we put — or should put — on the bookshelves where children will browse, explore entertainingly but deeply the strange and wonderful consequences of generosity and humility. There is the cheerful doing of small favors for strangers, the generosity of giving without expecting to receive, the charity of doing good by stealth, and the outpouring of hospitality and love without measure, all illustrating the proverbial truth that frequently appears in Aesop’s fables: “A good deed is never lost.” Read

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