Is China’s Government Really As Anti Religion As The American Government Says It Is?

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

China to ban religious profiteering

CHINA is amending a religious affairs regulation to ban personal profiteering from religions.

Religious groups, institutes of education and sites are all non-profit, and no individuals or organizations should divide up, occupy or embezzle their property and revenue, according to a draft amendment to the 2004 regulation, released Wednesday by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for soliciting public opinion until Oct. 7.

No organizations and individuals are entitled to ownership nor rights of use of religious venues if they donate money to build the venues, and they may not gain “economic benefits” from the venues, the draft amendment reads.

The amendment was made to “ensure citizen’s religious freedom, safeguard religious and social harmony and regulate religious affairs.”

In tourist resorts featuring religious activities, buildings should be subject to the style and environment of the religious activity venues. Authorities should coordinate the interests of the venues and resorts, protecting normal religious activities and the rights of religious staff and believers.

Religious groups are allowed to accept donations from overseas individuals and organizations, based on relevant regulations and without any conditions attached, it said, but donations exceeding 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 U.S. dollars) must be reported to local authorities for approval.

Any unapproved acceptance of donations from home or overseas will be punished.

Those who, without authorization, organize believers to pay homage, receive training or attend meetings and other activities overseas will be fined from 20,000 to 200,000 yuan, and may be held criminally responsible.

The draft also reiterates that it is illegal to preach, hold religious activities, or establish religious organs or sites in schools.

Egypt’s Sisi Hinges on Developing Health, Education to Improve Living Conditions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt’s Sisi Hinges on Developing Health, Education to Improve Living Conditions

Thursday, 20 September, 2018 – 09:45
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (3rd L) visits police officer Mohamed el Hayes, who was rescued after being kidnapped during an attack in the Western Desert, at a military hospital in Cairo, Egypt on November 1, 2017 (Reuters)
Cairo – Mohamed Abdu Hassanein
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has revealed a huge interest in developing the education and health sectors to improve the living conditions of Egyptians.

During the inauguration of a number of development projects, Sisi said he would not allow citizens to suffer, promising to take the new education system to a whole new level.

The majority of Egyptians, living under the poverty line, fail in meeting their own basic needs and suffer from deteriorating health and education services amid growing inflation and a devalued currency.

Sisi inaugurated Wednesday a military hospital in Monufia governorate and a number of educational projects and new institutions, including Japanese schools, in several other provinces.

In his comment, he hailed the state’s initiative to eradicate queues in hospitals, noting however that the challenge in providing good medical services remains in the funding.

The president stated that queues had ended around 75 days after launching the initiative. The time-frame could have been shorter because Egypt has medical staff and hospitals that can offer medical services, he said.

Sisi urged civil society organizations to participate in the development and management of state hospitals.

He further tackled the screening campaign for Hepatitis C, saying it was launched because the virus has caused illnesses for the past 50 years.

Politically Correct: The Acidic Evil That Is American Politics

Politically Correct: The Acidic Evil That Is American Politics

Good evening folks, tonight I wish to speak with you about a subject matter that is not near or dear to my heart, it is called political correctness. This subject matter touches each and every one of us on a regular basis in our daily lives. In its simplest form political correctness is the attempt to avoid offending anyone at anytime regardless of the subject matter. I believe that when most of us hear the term political correctness it is not a smile that crosses our face, it is more likely to be a disgusted frown. Today if a person says anything about a subject matter when it may in any way shed a light of truth on the events of today, if that truth in the slightest degree has any measure of negatives then you will be labeled as a hater. There was a time in this country when people were allowed to be honest in their speech but unfortunately that is not the case these days. Now if you say anything about anyone person or persons even if you are speaking the total truth to the best of your knowledge, you have become a hater or some kind of a bigot whom is very likely to be sued in court because you dared to be honest. In the past we could describe a dirty old man in simple terms/truths, these days political correctness (stupidity) airbrushed the truth stains away so that you don’t offend that dirty old man. These days that person is a sexually focused chronologically gifted individual. Laziness is now referred to as motivationally deficient. I am now no longer short being only five feet eleven and three-quarters inches tall, I am vertically challenged because I didn’t make it to at least six feet. It is comforting to know that I didn’t really have trouble with algebraic equations in college, I simply had a memory deficiency.

 

We could all just sit back in our Lazy Boy recliners with a glass of Jose Cuervo in one hand and a big blunt in the other and just sit back and laugh at American politicians and media talking heads as they spout this stupidity. The scary part of this is that what we the people call stupidity/political correctness, some of the fore mentioned people cultivate this ignorance as their personal gospel. This ignorance is a gospel of re-education and it does show via the ignorance and apathy we see and hear when today’s streamlined, bought and paid for politicians open their mouths. Today at almost all of our college campuses as well as the secondary and primary schools this re-education propaganda is widely referred to as diversity education. This ignorance that our politicians and the media push down our throats tries to please everyone all of the time and to never offend anyone any of the time. This is a nice story line if it were in a small child’s fantasy or Fantasy Island handbook but in the real world it is simply poison. Most all of us adults know that political correctness if allowed to play out and to become the laws of the land, we are all doomed to be the laughing-stock of the whole world. Today if people dare attempt to speak the truth about real world issues they are branded as haters or we are people with stone-age ideologies. Truth is that when people do dare to speak the truth on real issues what you say will most likely offend some people whom do not happen to agree with you. When we are cultivated away from the truth and told we can’t say such things isn’t this the same thing as saying to advance in our society today that you must either be and idiot, or an habitual liar?

 

For those who might think that this mental disease is a spin-off of the 1960’s and 70’s hippy drug culture then you need to crack open some college level history books and increase your knowledge on this subject matter. My friends, political correctness has been around and practiced through other cultures around the world far longer than any of us have been alive. Political correctness is really nothing more than cultural Marxism in some professors views and I can’t say that I disagree with them. If we compare the basic tenets of political correctness with classical Marxism the parallels of the two are very obvious. When Marxist Communists take over a country such as Russia, China, North Korea or Cuba the personal freedom of speech ceases to exist.

 

I leave you tonight with just one last observation, isn’t it amazing how much Russia and her politics have turned to look more like our politicians rhetorical babbling? Or, is it more correct to say that our government is starting to look more like the Russia of President Putin or even that of Germany of the mid 1930’s in that free honest intelligent conversation can be construed as a hate crime? Is political correctness in places like D.C., Hollywood and New York City going to be a nail in America’s coffin? Time will tell us all what the truth is but I totally have my doubts that anyone alive today will live long enough to see that day. Friends, good night, stay well, God Bless.

Is China’s Government Really As Anti Religion As The American Government Says It Is?

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

(I First Published This Article ON September 16th of 2016)

China to ban religious profiteering

CHINA is amending a religious affairs regulation to ban personal profiteering from religions.

Religious groups, institutes of education and sites are all non-profit, and no individuals or organizations should divide up, occupy or embezzle their property and revenue, according to a draft amendment to the 2004 regulation, released Wednesday by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for soliciting public opinion until Oct. 7.

No organizations and individuals are entitled to ownership nor rights of use of religious venues if they donate money to build the venues, and they may not gain “economic benefits” from the venues, the draft amendment reads.

The amendment was made to “ensure citizen’s religious freedom, safeguard religious and social harmony and regulate religious affairs.”

In tourist resorts featuring religious activities, buildings should be subject to the style and environment of the religious activity venues. Authorities should coordinate the interests of the venues and resorts, protecting normal religious activities and the rights of religious staff and believers.

Religious groups are allowed to accept donations from overseas individuals and organizations, based on relevant regulations and without any conditions attached, it said, but donations exceeding 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 U.S. dollars) must be reported to local authorities for approval.

Any unapproved acceptance of donations from home or overseas will be punished.

Those who, without authorization, organize believers to pay homage, receive training or attend meetings and other activities overseas will be fined from 20,000 to 200,000 yuan, and may be held criminally responsible.

The draft also reiterates that it is illegal to preach, hold religious activities, or establish religious organs or sites in schools.

Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BROOKINGS)

 

BROWN CENTER CHALKBOARD

Teachers in the US are even more segregated than students

Michael Hansen and Diana Quintero 

Editor’s Note:This post is part of “Teacher diversity in America,” a series from the Brown Center on Education Policy that examines minority under-representation among public educators in the U.S.

An increasing amount of evidence shows that alignment in the racial or ethnic identity of teachers and students is associated with a range of positive student outcomes, from test scores to disciplinary actions to teacher expectations. Due to the under-representation of teachers of color in the current workforce, minority students stand to disproportionately benefit from efforts to increase teacher diversity.

Authors

Diana Quintero

Research Analyst – Governance Studies, Brown Center on Education Policy

With this evidence, it is easy for many practitioners and policymakers to take a next logical step, concluding that, because minority students tend to benefit uniquely from diverse teachers, teachers of color will be most beneficial in schools serving large numbers of minority students. Thus, any new teachers of color are often steered (whether covertly or overtly) toward high-minority schools. Taken to an extreme, given the tenacious grip of racial segregation on America’s schools, we could have a school system where the teacher workforce is every bit as diverse as its students—and perhaps every bit as segregated.

In addition to the risk of creating a racially segregated workforce, the logical leap above is misguided for at least two reasons. First, it ignores the evidence showing that teachers of color benefit white students—perhaps not always through test scores, but through pro-social beliefs and attitudes. Second, schools serving large numbers of minority students already tend to have the most racially diverse workforces, while many students of color in predominantly white schools have virtually no exposure to teachers of color.

As districts and states across the country pursue racial and ethnic diversity among teachers, we should pay attention to how teachers of color are distributed to avoid creating another layer of school segregation.

As districts and states across the country pursue racial and ethnic diversity among teachers, we should pay attention to how teachers of color are distributed to avoid creating another layer of school segregation. After briefly conceptualizing segregation and its manifestations in schools, we report our findings that teachers are even more segregated than students in the U.S., suggesting the need for a new framework around the hiring of non white teachers.

MANY TYPES OF SEGREGATION

School segregation does not exist in a vacuum, but is part of an interconnected structure of segregation that extends to residence and employment. Residential segregation can be primarily attributed not to self-segregation of minority racial groups but instead to decades of federal policy that prevented nonwhite families from acquiring mortgages, redlining practices, the strategic placement of interstates and highways throughout the 20th century, and individual actions of white families. Employment segregation takes the form of predominantly white jobs having an average salary four times higher than that of heavily black or Hispanic jobs. Furthermore, a 2017 meta-analysis of callback rates for fake resumes with racially coded names reveals the continued presence of simple employment discrimination.

Each of these factors significantly influences the racial segregation of students across schools. Although the school integration movement achieved significant gains following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision on Brown v. Board of Education, many of its victories have been reversed in the past 20 years, returning the American public school system to segregation levels last seen during the Civil Rights era. Resegregation in recent decades is most apparent in looking at the number of schools with very high concentrations of minorities, which are becoming more common and even more monolithically radicalized than in the past. In 2010, the average white student is just as exposed to black students as they were in 1980, while the average black student is actually less exposed to white students than they were 30 years before.

FACTORS SEGREGATING THE TEACHER WORKFORCE, PAST AND PRESENT

Understanding the history of teacher segregation helps to lay the groundwork for our analysis of teacher segregation today. This history can be clearly traced back to that same Brown decision, which ruled that separate schools for black and white students were inherently unequaland ordered that Southern schools integrate “with all deliberate speed.” As student integration began, however, teachers did not follow suit. Instead, massive layoffs for black teachers immediately followed. About 38,000black teachers lost their job in the decades after Brown—an estimated one-third of the nation’s black teachers.

Since teaching represented one of the few paths available to the middle class for educated African-Americans, black teachers in the pre-Brown era was highly respected and held central positions in their communities. Thus, not only did these displacements represent a career loss for the black teacher and the loss of a role model or advocate for a black student, but they also symbolized the destabilizing of Southern black communities. Since this period of mass displacement, black college graduates have chosen to enter the teaching profession at decreasing rates, thanks to factors including widening career options and the rise of teacher competency tests.

These historical roots of segregation persist and teachers of color are not spread evenly across today’s public schools. Rather, schools often act as pockets of minority teachers—or pockets without. A 2011 report estimated over 40 percent of public schools do not employ a single teacher of color. Instead, teachers of color are two to three times more likely than white teachers to work in disadvantaged schools—typically urban schools with high-minority student bodies.

Segregation among teachers today is likely due at least in part to different teacher preferences. For example, both white and non white teachers report higher job satisfaction and turn over less frequently when their principal is their same race. Kirabo Jackson evaluated changes in the teacher workforce when North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools quit busing students and found teachers partially resegregated along with students. Furthermore, a survey of black male teachers reports that those who are the lone black teacher in their school had more negative perceptions of their working environment, compared to those who had four or more black colleagues.

In addition, districts’ hiring and placement practices certainly play a part in continuing segregation as well. The latest research on this topic, conducted by professors at George Mason University, reveals that, in one large school district, white teachers were hired at a disproportionate rate compared to how often they applied. On the other hand, black teachers disproportionately received offers from black principals—if they got an offer at all. Black teachers were also much more likely to be hired in low-income schools.

TEACHER VERSUS STUDENT SEGREGATION NATIONWIDE

How does teacher segregation compare to the level of student segregation in the country? We use school enrollment and teacher staffing data from the National Teacher and Principal Survey to compute two types of segregation measures, which we explain in turn.

The first type is a dissimilarity measure, a numerical value between 0 and 1 that is often interpreted as the share of the minority group that would need to switch schools to achieve perfect integration across schools. For simplicity, we calculate this measure between two racial groups: white and non white. When we compute this statistic for teachers across all schools nationwide, we find a dissimilarity index of 0.61. In other words, three of every five non white teachers would need to be reassigned in order to achieve even distribution across schools. Remarkably, this is larger than the analogous dissimilarity computed among students in the same sample, which comes out of 0.56.

Computing a dissimilarity index nationwide masks underlying regional demographic differences. Yet, even state-level dissimilarity index measures show teachers in 37 states exceed the state-level student dissimilarity index. Maps of both are presented below for comparison—it is visibly apparent that high dissimilarity is far more common among teachers than students. (States with fewer than 30 schools captured in the survey sample are suppressed in the maps.)

student dissimilarity index teacher diversity

teacher dissimilarity index teacher diversity

To be clear, we have no expectation that this dissimilarity measure should be zero. Many teachers of color enter the profession precisely because they desire to work in schools that serve their own communities. Yet, current levels of student segregation are widely viewed as problematic; teacher segregation measures above those of students raise serious questions about structural racism in teacher hiring and assignment practices.

The second type of segregation measure is exposure, representing the average level of exposure between races within a school. This measure also takes on values between 0 and 1, where 0 represents low exposure. We can compute different exposure measures depending on which group’s exposure we care about. When calculating the exposure of non white students to non white teachers, we estimate it to be 0.32—in other words, the average non white student in the data is in a school where non white teachers account for nearly a third of all teachers.

When we calculate white student exposure to non white teachers, we estimate it to be far lower: 0.09. The large discrepancy in these numbers indicate vastly different experiences for students, depending on which types of schools they attend. For the many non white students who attend predominantly white schools, their chances of exposure to teachers of similar backgrounds are discouragingly low.

WHICH STUDENTS SHOULD GET MORE TEACHERS OF COLOR?

In this post, we have endeavored to explore racial segregation among teachers in public schools, and its relation to student segregation. We find racial segregation is actually higher among teachers than students, a surprising result given how much more autonomy teachers (but not students) ostensibly benefit from in choosing schools. This finding compels us to ask whether the current distribution of teachers of color is doing the most good for students.

This analysis sends a clear signal that non white teachers are needed in far more places than we currently have them, and those many schools with no teachers of color are the places that need them most.

In our view, informed by both evidence and values, teachers of color should be more evenly distributed across schools. Recent findings suggest the impressive benefits of racial matching between students and teachers do not appear to increase with dosage. Stated differently, a segregated faculty of black teachers for black students offers no obvious matching benefit beyond that expected by a diverse series of teachers over time. Instead, the ideals of a democratic, multicultural society are most likely to be advanced when teachers and leaders in our schools model that diversity for the nation’s youth.

While we applaud the efforts of many districts to promote diverse teacher recruitment, most of these efforts have come from locales with high populations of minority student groups and already hire diverse teachers in fairly large numbers. This analysis and other findings in our teacher diversity series send a clear signal that non white teachers are needed in far more places than we currently have them, and those many schools with no teachers of color are the places that need them most.

Bethany Kirkpatrick contributed to this post.

The Brown Center Chalkboard launched in January 2013 as a weekly series of new analyses of policy, research, and practice relevant to U.S. education.

In July 2015, the Chalkboard was re-launched as a Brookings blog in order to offer more frequent, timely, and diverse content. Contributors to both the original paper series and current blog are committed to bringing evidence to bear on the debates around education policy in America.

Read papers in the original Brown Center Chalkboard series »

A promising alternative to subsidized lunch receipt as a measure of student poverty

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BROOKINGS BRIEF)

 

REPORT

A promising alternative to subsidized lunch receipt as a measure of student poverty

Matthew M. Chingos

A central component of federal education law for more than 15 years is that states must report student achievement for every school both overall and for subgroups of students, including those from economically disadvantaged families. Several states are leading the way in developing and using innovative methods for identifying disadvantaged students, and other states would do well to follow them.

Until recently, low-income students have almost always been identified as those eligible for the federal free or reduced-price lunch (FRL) program.[1]But FRL eligibility is quickly becoming useless for both research and policy, as I documented in a 2016 Evidence Speaks report.

About one in five schools now offer free lunches to all of their students under a “community eligibility” provision.[2] The result is that the share of U.S. students receiving a subsidized lunch has climbed from less than 35 percent in 1990 to more than 50 percent today, even though the share of children who grow up in low-income families has not changed over this period.

This trend presents immediate challenges to states as they implement new school accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (EESA).[3] Continuing to use FRL to identify economically disadvantaged students in community eligibility schools means either saying that all students are eligible, which would violate the spirit of ESSA, or surveying families to find out who would be eligible on an individual basis, which would be costly and burdensome. Census data could be used to estimate the level of disadvantage in a school’s surrounding neighborhood, but cannot be linked to achievement data at the student level.

Fortunately, several states are leading the way in adopting new methods for identifying disadvantaged students based on their families’ participation in programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and the foster care system.

Districts have been making such linkages to “directly certify” students for FRL without them having to complete a form. States assuming the responsibility for this linkage reduces burden on districts and ensures more uniformity. Most important for ESSA purposes, it means that states including Delaware, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington, DC will be able to shine a light on the achievement of disadvantaged students even in schools where all students get a free lunch.[4]

Washington, DC makes for an instructive case study, as it is an urban school system where two-thirds of students attend schools where free lunch is provided to everyone. DC’s new accountability system will identify economically disadvantaged students as those who are “at-risk” by virtue of participation in SNAP or TANF or being in foster care or homeless.[5]

Shifting to this new definition dramatically increases the number of schools for which achievement gaps can be calculated (Figure 1).[6] In 2017, only 26 percent of students attended schools where the achievement of FRL students could be compared to non-FRL students, down from 40 percent two years earlier. But more than 80 percent of students attend schools where the scores of at-risk students can be compared to other students.[7]

Figure 1

School-by-school data, reported in Figure 2, show that the at-risk percentage varies dramatically among the two-thirds of schools where all students receive a free lunch, from 23 percent to 95 percent. By collecting the data underlying the at-risk designation, DC makes it possible to both measure achievement gaps within these schools and understand differences in contexts across these schools.

Figure 2

Transitioning to a new measure of economic disadvantage will entail some challenges. There is surely some cost of making data linkages across systems maintained by different agencies, and it has to be done using methods that ensure the privacy and confidentiality of student records. States may need to make upgrades to their data systems, or amend laws or regulations that restrict how data can be used.

But it is clear that FRL participation is no longer a viable option for identifying economically disadvantaged students, especially in areas with significant low-income populations. All states should follow the lead of DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Tennessee by putting in place linked data systems that enable them both to identify students who should get a free lunch—regardless of whether they fill out a form—and to shine a bright light on how much these students are learning.


The author did not receive any financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. He is currently not an officer, director, or board member of any organization with an interest in this article.

Author

Matthew M. Chingos

Former Brookings Expert

Senior Fellow, Director of Education Policy Program – Urban Institute

Prophet?—Profit?—Both Prophet And Profit?

 

Good afternoon folks, this afternoon’s letter to you is mostly my thoughts on the issue of “Holy Men, or Women.” I write this wanting to get your thoughts and opinions. So, if you would, after you have read this please drop me a note in the comment section with what your thoughts and opinions are on this subject matter.

 

Before a person can decide if they themselves or someone else can be a Prophet we need to know what the definition of the word is. So, I checked into the Google Dictionary and then into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for reference points. I am going to put their thoughts down for you so that we can have good talking points to help base our conversation on.

Via Google: the world ‘Prophet’ is “a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the Will of God.”

Via Google the word ‘Profit’ as a Noun: a financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent, excess.

Via Google: as a Verb: obtain a financial advantage or benefit, especially from an investment.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes the word ‘profit’ as “the excess of the selling price of goods over the cost.” Also: “The ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the ‘value of the sale.’

I on purpose left the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and their definition of the word “Prophet” for last because it gives more definitions in their answer. When I get finished giving you these definitions I will give you my personal thoughts on this matter. If you would, then please give me your thoughts on them.

Prophet:

1.) One who utters divinely inspired revelations.

2.) A writer of one of the Prophetic Books of the Bible’

3.) One regarded by a group of followers as the final authoritative revealer of God’s will:  Jesus Christ, Muhammad

4.) One gifted with more than ordinary Spiritual and moral insight especially: an inspired poet.

5.) One who foretells future events.

6.) An effective or leading spokesman for a cause , doctrine, or group.

7.) Christian Science: A Spiritual Seer.

Human terms: An Economist who is regarded by many as a reliable (Prophet) of future developments in the global economy. Example: Warren Buffet.

 

So now, a Prophet, Profit, or both a Prophet and Profit.

 

Okay, so in your thoughts, what is a Prophet? To me, a Prophet is definitely a ‘Holy Man, or Woman’, a Teacher, a Seer, one who has a much deeper understanding of the teachings of God than the average person. One who gives their life to God and His teachings. One who does these things then speaks the insight and knowledge they have been given to any who may ask of that knowledge and in some cases give this knowledge to those who did not ask and who do not want to hear such knowledge.

 

Profit: what does profit have to do with being a ‘Holy person?’ Does money have anything to do with being a Holy Person, a Preacher, a Priest, a Minister or a Church? Should we as children of God or as Ministers/Teachers of His Word base our lives on income? Should a true ‘Teacher/Prophet’ of God’s Word own 8 homes, $5,000 suits, $10,000 watches and a fleet of fancy cars? Should a Preacher be making a million dollars a year from the Church he ‘serves?’ Even with a Church Congregation that has 10,000 members and an offering plate each Saturday or Sunday of $100,000 what is wrong with the Preacher having a salary of $12,000 per year to go with a free Parsonage, utilities and a gas allowance for their vehicle or even a Church supplied vehicle? Why is that not enough? Should not the Church offerings be spread out to the Church members in need first then to the local community and or to missionaries? How about local food banks and homeless shelters? Why does so much have to go to the ‘top end?’ How much is a Church Congregation paying the Elders and the Deacons? Should the Elders and Deacons be getting paid at all? Are the local Churches sending all of their ‘profits’ to a regional ‘Dioceses’ where Bishops and Cardinals decide where funds should be spent? Has the Church you attend become nothing more than a business? The only excuse that I can think of for Churches having to pay their Preachers such a large salary is because of the cost of their college education at these ‘Christian’ schools. Personally I attended Carson Newman Baptist College in Jefferson City Tennessee and I realized that a person attempting to get their PhD. in something like Theology with a minor in Preaching could have a College loan debt of $100,000.00 plus by the time they graduated. Folks, it takes a long time to pay off a debt like that, the payments are high so it requires a high salary to be able to pay it. Here is my thought on this issue. Colleges like Carson Newman has thousands of students who are not studying for the Ministry so I believe that for the students who are trying to become Ministers couldn’t these ‘Religious’ schools cut these students a break like say let them attend at %50 the cost of the other courses? Or, being that they are ‘Religious’ schools couldn’t they only charge these students the cost of materials like books and write off the rest of the ‘fees? No Ministers first priority should have to be how big of a salary they can get so that they can pay off their college debt at a Religion based College!

 

Profit, a verb, a financial benefit, especially from an investment. Yes, a College tuition is an investment both in financial terms and in physical effort terms, yet is personal profit what should be driving a person who is trying to become a Minister of God? Should not Colleges who say that they are Religion Based be ‘not for profit’ schools/businesses? Our goal as followers of God should not, can not be, to see how much wealth we can amass. When non believers see Preachers who are at the Pulpit who are dripping in the trappings of wealth who are begging the Congregation and/or those watching or listening on TV or Radio to donate of their hard-earned income to the Church and to God, what do you think this makes them think? How many people have to think that a good chunk, or all of their offerings are going into the pockets of the Preacher? Folks, for profit Preachers and for profit Christian Colleges are a spike in the Cross of Christ.

 

Can you be a Christian or a Preacher and be blessed by God with great wealth, yes you can. But, what do we do with that wealth once we are blesses with it? Do we hoard it? Do we invest it in the stock market? During the time of Christ here on Earth the Jewish Religious Leaders of the Day taught, and rightfully so, that everyone should give the top %10 of their earnings to God, yet Jesus spoke to us that we must do better than these ‘Leaders’ in our actions. If you or I for example became well published writers, whether we are Preachers or not, and our income each year was one million dollars, have we developed a million dollar lifestyle? Do I need a bring home income of $900,000 per year? If I had such an income should I not be gracious to the Church I attend and to the community in which I live? Could I possible survive if I donated $900,000 each year to charities and lived off of the remaining $100,000 per year? My current income is about $30,000 per year, we own a 13-year-old car with about 180,000 miles on it yet it is still working well enough to do the things that we need it to do. The huge thing for us is, it is paid off, we have no payment on it. We own a house that was built-in 1961 and it is the best house we have ever owned, (actually it is the only house that either my wife or I have ever owned). To be honest we own %10 of it and the bank owns the other %90 but we feel very blessed to be allowed to have this home to live in. The house is the only thing that we have payments on except for some credit cards so we are surviving financially as long as nothing major tears up. But the thing is, we feel very blessed and thankful to God for his kindness of what we do have as we know that there are billions of people on this planet who have it much worse than we do. We only have a couple of hundred dollars in the bank but, when is enough, enough? We have food, we have a roof over our heads, we have electricity, we have a car that works, what have I got to complain about? We as Christians must learn to accept and to cherish to good things that we have been given and to quit coveting more. For that which we covet, that which we worship, this becomes ‘our God.’

 

How to get a world-class education for free on the internet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF QUARTZ ALIVE)

 

How to get a world-class education for free on the internet

As crucial as a university degree has become for working in the modern economy, it is not the only route forward into a wildly lucrative and satisfying career—just ask famous dropouts Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg.

In the future, a single bachelor’s degree in a particular subject will no longer suffice for many of us anyway. As robots and automation sweep the global workforce, hundreds of millions of people—the majority of whom do not have the time or money to go pick up a brand-new four-year degree—will have to “re-skill” in order to land new jobs. The question that employees and employers alike face is how to get that done quickly, efficiently, and, most importantly to many, cheaply.

The internet, luckily, is already a booming resource. Whether you find yourself seeking new employment mid-career, curious about alternatives to a college education, or simply are interested in learning for learning’s sake, Quartz At Work has compiled some of the most dependable, high-quality materials you can access to learn anything on the internet.

For a free liberal arts education:

The first name in online course catalogs is Coursera, a juggernaut because of its pioneering of massive open online courses (MOOCs). Started in 2012, Coursera now has over 28 million users and over 2,000 courses—which can either be taken for free or for a small fee to earn an official certificate—from leading institutions like Harvard and Stanford.

In recent years, the catalog has expanded far beyond traditional subjects like history and mathematics. “There’s been a lot of interest in courses that are more about personal and professional development—you’ll see courses on how to learn, how to reason, how to find happiness and fulfillment, as well as courses that are more skills-oriented,” Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller told Quartz in 2016.

The platform’s most popular classes include:

There are several other MOOC providers, including Udacity and edX. Udacity tends to be a better resource for professionals looking to develop certain vocational skills, and edX—created by MIT and Harvard—is more of a zany academic platform with a special focus on science, but both have large, comprehensive catalogs and easily searchable databases.

For specific professional skills, there’s also Alison, another online course provider, which works with big publishers like Google and Macmillan to provide training in areas like customer service, project management, and human resources.

If your aim is purely to soak in all the knowledge under the sun, you might also give Khan Academy a try. The site is lauded for its streamlined, expert-driven content in the form of short YouTube videos that are quick to absorb and do not necessarily comprise an entire course.

And if you’re interested in learning from professors at a specific institution, run a search for whether the school has an open learning program. Harvard Extension’s Open Learning Initiative, Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, MIT OpenCourseWare, and Open Yale Courses are all examples—and there are more coming out every year—of elite universities publicizing their most popular classes. (Quartz has a list of some of the newest.)

For learning a new language:

Many smartphone users are already familiar with Duolingo, which has emerged in recent years as a major language-learning program, beating out the likes of Rosetta Stone and other established companies for sheer efficiency. And, of course, cheapness.

Duolingo, which has about 200 million registered users around the world, currently offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 more courses in development. It operates a “freemium” model (think Spotify) which allows users to access the bulk of the app for free, and pay for certain additional features. Its genius lies primarily in its design, which has been praised as revolutionary and intuitive: Lessons integrate text translation, visuals, speaking, and sound into a comprehensive learning environment.

For the euphoria of fiction:

Reading, the most wonderful of leisurely pursuits, need not be costly at all. Start at Project Gutenberg, which offers over 56,000 free e-books. Open Library, a project of Internet Archive that is trying to catalog every book in existence, also offers plenty of free books.

Join your local public library—or any public library—that offers OverDrive, an app that lets users borrow from a comprehensive catalog of free ebooks and audiobooks. Libby is another app that offers the same functionality with a better interface.

Google Books has abandoned its once-lofty plans to digitize the world’s books, but it has a “free ebooks” feature you can toggle and is a useful site for academic texts or some more modern titles.

Quartz has a complete guide to finding specific titles online. (If you’re a book novice, unsure of where to start, you might also take a look at Quartz’s guide to enjoying classic literature.)

For the nitty-gritty of coding:

Coding is one of the best skills to learn online—the work itself takes place entirely on a computer—but the quality of free teaching available ranges from expert-level to deeply flawed. Programmers tend to agree, though, that Codecademy, Free Code Camp, and HackerRank are all consistently well-designed and useful resources.

Codecademy gently coaches novice coders through the basics of HTML and CSS, and into JavaScript and more complicated languages; Free Code Camp does the same with an added emphasis on building real-world projects for nonprofits. HackerRank offers code “challenges”—mini puzzles that are attention-engaging and educational without being explicitly instructive, providing a “learn by doing” approach that is ideal for people who prefer projects to lectures. If none of these three appeal, try this list of 49 vetted resources.

For a jumpstart on the hard-to-grasp:

Onerous is the idea of trying to learn more about the physical world without a good starting-off point. The following free resources, some of which live on a few of the open platforms mentioned above, offer a mix of interactive materials, quizzes, and videos, and are excellent inspiration for anyone interested in working in—or simply learning about—the sciences.

For a hefty dose of motivation:

TED Talks are hardly a secret resource; you can easily find talks from stars in every industry from technology to agriculture. Another source of inspiration is MasterClass, which is not free—the current rate is $180/year—but hosts a number of well-made videos led by celebrities. Judd Apatow can teach you comedy, Gordon Ramsay offers wisdom on cooking, and Diane von Furstenberg will share her tips for building a fashion brand.

With these kinds of classes, the delivery platform is not as important so much as the idea of being inspired continually, by idols, icons, experts, or anyone that you feel can lead you to where you want to go, so that you maintain your energy and stay enthusiastic about the world around you.

MasterClass CEO David Rogier says, “Schools teach you the underlying skills of what to learn, but now in the changing world it’s the default to change ourselves and continue to learn.” Thanks to the internet, that’s easier than ever.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NBA players defend LeBron James after President (THE DUMB ASS) Trump tweet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(DONALD ‘THE DUMB ASS’ TRUMP SHOWS ONCE AGAIN THAT HE IS THE MOST IGNORANT MAN IN AMERICA!)

 

NBA players defend LeBron James after President Trump tweet

LeBron James hasn’t responded to a shot about his intelligence from President Donald Trump, but Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and other fellow NBA players took to Twitter to defend him.

Trump took aim at James in a tweet on Friday night, days after an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon aired in which the Los Angeles Lakers star said he felt that Trump was “using sports to kinda divide us.”

“Sports has never been something that divides people,” James told Lemon. “It’s always been something that brings someone together.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Trump also appeared to take sides in the LeBron vs. Jordan debate, saying, “I like Mike!”

Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, issued a statement Saturday backing James.

“I support LJ,” Jordan said in the statement. “He’s doing an amazing job for his community.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who was at the league’s NBA Africa Game on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa, commended James for his work on and off the court.

“LeBron James is one of the all-time greatest NBA players and one of the most accomplished athletes,” Silver told USA Today. “He runs a very successful media company. He’s sent hundreds of students to college and just opened a school in Akron where at-risk students will receive free tuition, meals and transportation.

“I greatly admire his intelligence and business acumen and have enormous respect and appreciation for what he does in his community.”

Other players from around the league, including Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, came to James’ defense on social media after Trump’s tweet.

Karl-Anthony Towns

@KarlTowns

So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown? Shut your damn mouth! Stop using them twitter fingers and get stuff done for our country with that pen.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Donovan Mitchell

@spidadmitchell

A sign of an insecure human being is one who attacks others to make themselves feel better… im just sad that young kids have to see stupid tweets like these and grow up thinking it’s okay… forget everything else Donald your setting a bad example for kids😑 our future 🤡

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Stephen Curry

@StephenCurry30

Keep doing you @KingJames! 💪🏽

CNN

@CNN

LeBron James says he thinks the President is using athletics, and athletes, to divide the country — and that’s something he “can’t relate to” https://cnn.it/2M2wutB 

View image on Twitter

Jared Dudley

@JaredDudley619

He’s gotta go!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Anthony Tolliver

@ATolliver44

I’ve been silent about ALL of the DUMB stuff this man has tweeted but THIS is attacking the NBA brotherhood and I’m not rollin’! What an embarrassment…

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Bradley Beal

@RealDealBeal23

Tired of you!

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said the franchise “could not be more proud to have LeBron James as part of our Lakers family.”

“He is an incredibly thoughtful and intelligent leader and clearly appreciates the power that sports has to unite communities and inspire the world to be a better place,” Buss said in a separate statement Saturday. “Those efforts should be celebrated by all.”

Lemon, who conducted the interview with James, also weighed in.

Don Lemon

@donlemon

Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2018/08/02/lebron-james-i-promise-school-akron-ohio-don-lemon-cnn-tonight.cnn 

LeBron James launches new ‘I Promise’ School – CNN Video

The LeBron James Family Foundation, in collaboration with the Akron Public Schools system, has launched a new school for at-risk 3rd and 4th grader

cnn.com

The LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron (Ohio) Public Schools on Monday opened a new elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown.

The I Promise School is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by James’ foundation, with its focus on educating children from challenging situations or backgrounds. The school will begin with two grades, third and fourth, with plans to expand in the coming years.

For those who complete the program, which has been operating for years, James has arranged for free tuition to the University of Akron starting in 2021. He also created a program for parents of the at-risk children to return to complete their high school educations, and he has planned an institute to help prepare high-school-age students for college.

In all, James and his foundation leaders hope that more than 1,200 children will pass through the program and into college by 2029.

First lady Melania Trump, in a statement issued Saturday by her spokesperson, would be open to visiting the I Promise School.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” the statement issued by Stephanie Grisham said, “and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today.”

President Trump traveled to Ohio on Saturday for a campaign rally.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Learning The Bible By Reading One Chapter Per Day

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Launching in English, chapter-a-day project looks to bring Bible back to masses

Rabbi Benny Lau says 929’s daily study program intends to build bridges between Diaspora Jewry and Israel using their common heritage

Rabbi Benny Lau. (Courtesy)

Rabbi Benny Lau. (Courtesy)

In the beginning — November 2014 — Benny Lau, a Modern Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem, taught the first chapter of Genesis. More than three years and 929 chapters later, he’s starting it all again on Sunday. But this time in English as well.

“I want to give the Bible back to the people,” Lau told The Times of Israel recently. “For too long it has been held captive by the yeshivas and universities. It was lost from the rest of the nation and I want to return it to them.”

The 929 project — named for the number of chapters in the Hebrew Bible comprising the Torah, Prophets and Writings, from Genesis to the end of II Chronicles — provides a framework for anyone who wants to participate by learning one chapter of the Bible a day, five days a week.

“The first time through was a trial run,” said Lau with his trademark warm smile. “Now is when it really happens.”

Even though he calls it a trial run, the first cycle was tremendously successful. He said that over a quarter of a million people were active participants in the learning program — 75 percent of them nonreligious. He and hundreds of others give classes on each week’s chapters all around the country; there are written materials, audio and video lessons, all found on the program’s website or via its app, as well as a weekly radio show with 40,000 listeners.

Lau stressed that the best way to learn is in groups, and he urged people to register via the website to participate in weekly classes or joint study sessions.

Politicians, musicians, journalists, educators

Trying to “give the Bible back to the people” in Israel, though, can be a tricky business. Push it too hard, and it can seem like an attempt to ram religion down the throats of those who are proudly secular. Meanwhile, some ultra-Orthodox react in horror to a nontraditional approach to their holy texts.

Still, the people who contributed to 929 span the breadth of Israeli religious and secular society. In addition to educators, academics and rabbis there are politicians, including Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Naftali Bennett who leads the Jewish Home party, and Labor leader Avi Gabbay; musicians such as Neshama Carlebach, Kobi Oz and David Peretz; journalists including Lucy Aharish, Ilana Dayan and Gideon Levy; and former army chiefs Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon.

The beauty of Lau’s method of teaching, and one of the goals of the 929 learning program, is that it makes the Bible relevant to today. For him the Biblical prophets are modern-day journalists, the kings our politicians, the false prophets — fake news.

Talmud Bavli. 12 volumes, entirely complete. Printed in Amsterdam by Immanuel Benveniste, 1644-47 (Kestenbaum & Company)

The program takes its cue from the Daf Yomi program, in which participants learn one page of Talmud every day. However, in 929, new chapters are learned only five days a week — Sunday to Thursday — and on Friday and Saturday participants have the opportunity to catch up, review or study in greater depth.

Lau gave a class to about 100 high school Bible teachers in the last week of the first 929 cycle, at an event to mark the Education Ministry launching the Center for Enriching the Humanities to be housed at the National Library in Jerusalem.

“I’m going to focus on a single verse in II Chronicles,” the very end of the Bible, he began. But what followed was a whirlwind tour of the entire Bible, taking ideas from here, personalities from there, and traits from yet another place, as the teachers joined in (and argued) — “What about Amos?” said one. “How can you say that — did you forget about Elijah?” challenged another. “I’ve been teaching that differently for years,” one teacher said, confronting Lau at the end of the session.

Building bridges with Diaspora Jewry

The overall head of the English 929 program is former UK chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who spoke of the power and beauty of the project.

“What is so beautiful about 929 is the engagement it gives people with Tanach [the Jewish Bible] through numerous commentaries by contemporary figures and scholars from a wide range of specialisms,” he said. “Following the success in Israel, I am excited to be working with the team to bring the 929 experience to the Jewish world. It is truly making the rich and inspiring world of Tanach accessible to all.”

At a time of fraught and sometimes stormy relations between Israel and Diaspora Jewry over such issues as conversion and Western Wall prayer, the organizers of 929 said one of the goals of the program is to build collaborative bridges between English-speaking Jews and Israeli Jews through an honest, thoughtful dialogue based on the shared heritage of the Bible.

Members of the Reform movement and the Hebrew Union College confront ultra-Orthodox protesters and security guards while trying to enter the Western Wall plaza, in Jerusalem’s Old City, November 16, 2017. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

Lau said the English cycle also has a separate 929 North America section because the program is “not about language but also about culture, which is something else entirely.”

The writers, the dialogues, the nuances will be tailor-made for an American audience, which Lau said is very different from an Israeli one. 929 North America is headed by Rabbi Adam Mintz, a Modern Orthodox rabbi from New York City who teaches Jewish history, law and thought in university, yeshiva and synagogue settings.

According to his website, Mintz believes that “the greatest challenge facing twenty-first century Jewry is the creation of educated Jews who understand that the key to the Jewish future is the appreciation of the Jewish past.”

“Remember this date,” said Lau. “The second of February, 2022. 2/2/22. On that day we will learn the last chapter of Chronicles and once again complete the cycle of learning the entire Bible.”

And as he completes the entire Bible, where does Lau draw his inspiration from: Which prophet speaks to him more than all the others?

One of the less well-known minor prophets — Habakkuk.

“Of all the prophets, he is one of the smallest, but there is none as powerful as Habakkuk. He lived at the same time as Jeremiah [who reproved the people for their sins and lamented the destruction of the Holy Temple], but he was prepared to stand in the breach. He was the only one who was a steadfast defender of the Jewish people,” Lau said.

Habakkuk prophesied: I will stand upon my watch, and set myself upon the tower, and will look out to see what He will speak by me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved,

“Habakkuk is a soldier standing watch to defend the Jewish people,” Lau explained.

This is Lau’s inspiration when he says he wants to return the Bible to the people and build bridges between Jews of all backgrounds and nationalities. He is a defender of the Jewish people against a reproving God.

Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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