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battleknight24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:27 AM
Original message
I have an important question for anyone interested... help me come up
with a good counter argument.

I always hear christian conservatives saying that the world starting to go to hell in a handbasket ever since "prayer was taken out of school" (actually, prayer has never been taken out of school, but that is another topic of conversation) ... test scores and grades in public schools have fallen... the only reason that they appear high or appear to be climbing is because the test makers (SAT, ACT, various other achievement tests) reconfigured the test to make a bad score look okay...
They go on and on about how there is more crime, with more of it committed by younger and younger people... their is more rampant drug use... kids are less obedient...

Okay, you guys get the picture.

First of all, did all this stuff get bad when "prayer was taken out of school"? Were things that great when kids were forced to pray in schools? Are things today worse than they used to be?

What do you guys think? How would counter those who continue to argue this?


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purduejake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. Well, schools went down hill when they forcing religion into it...
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 03:29 AM by purduejake
Hell, they're bitching about us teaching science in high school nowdays.

edit: actually the big problem is lack of funding in my opinion, which really started this mess. But I think that lack of funding is because of the repubs and rupublican-lites.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I attended 7 different public schools while growing up
and prayer was never a part of any of them. I graduated in 1960. The only schools that had prayer were the parochial ones.
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timtom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:21 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Interesting.
Where did you grow up? I went to school in Florida and we always said the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer before class started (in elementary school. Now that I think of it, I don't quite remember if we did in junior high and high school.)

I graduated in 1960, as well.
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juajen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. Same here, graduated in 1960 in Alabama. Do not ever remember
having to pray in school, though they did ask in grammar school if we had attended sunday school. We actually got a star or something. We did have prayer at special assemblies, which nobody seemed to mind, and I sang a hymn at my grade school graduation (8th grade). Religion was not a big part of my school life, though I was brought up in the church (protestant). Seems to me, that during those days anyway, one of the things that distinguished us from the parochial schools was that lack of emphasis on religion. Strange....

In high school we did have a group that met before and sometimes after school to study the bible, but it was not a school sanctioned club, just allowed for those who wanted to use that time in bible study. No big deal made about it. Those who wanted, attended. Also, in high school, no questions asked about sunday school attendance. There was a prayer before every sports event, invoking the Lord to favor our team. I always thought that was funny, cause the other team was praying too.
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McKenzie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. By detailed and empirical analysis for a start
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 03:44 AM by McKenzie
we live in a world where sweeping statements have replaced considered opinion. The age of the soundbite. Religous apologists know full well that it isn't whether something is true that matters, it's whether it is believed. (sic)

At the risk of contradicting myself, I'd say it's wrong to plant the notion that prayer leads to change. If children were taught to think critically they would soon realise that praying for mutually opposing desires, wishes or whatever could present God with a conundrum. I don't know how he would handle that one.

Equip children with the facts first. Then let them use critical analysis to determine whether they should pray. As an initial exercise the children could ask why a supposedly loving God allowed Tsunami and the Holocaust. A study of comparative religion would be another useful exercise - "There are many religions in the world. Which one is most likely to be correct and on what basis?"

edited: grammar

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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
4. First of all -
when people talk about putting prayer in schools they are talking about Christian prayers only. Please remind them of that, unless they are really talking about having Muslim prayers in the schools.

To blame current ills on the lack of prayer in schools is a bit silly. I can think of a few other reasons:

1. Kids spend more time on their own and alone while parents are working.

2. Kids seem to have money of their own - they are being courted, or rather branded (preferred term of industry) by corporations trying to get their money. They also seem to have more possessions than ever before.

3. As a nation, we have been doused with over 100,000 chemicals in our air food and water - we are dumping tons of neurotoxins on the planet. We are just now learning that some of those chemicals are affecting the fetus - altering their neurological development. Think learning disabilities and emotional disorders.

4. There seem to be a lot of parents who think they are here to be their kids' best friends unstead of their parents.

It get pretty complicated - so I guess saying that all we need to do is put prayer in schools is all we need to do to fix all problems.

Anyway - some things are better and some things are worse.
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battleknight24 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:04 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. What do you mean when you say...
... "There seem to be a lot of parents who think they are here to be their kids' best friends instead of their parents"

I think I might have an idea, but what exactly did you mean?


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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:36 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. when I was growing up
parents were pretty universal in their discipline of children. It was very clear that the parents were in charge. Children were to behave well - at least in the presence of adults.

Of coure there are still parents like that but there are also many parents who desire that their children love them - probably to fulfill the parent's personal needs. Sometimes parents feel such guilt over not having the time to spend with their children they don't want to say no - even when it would be better for the child. Rather than teach the child to be a good citizen, have good habits etc., they want to indulge the child so they will not "hate" the parent.

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tuvor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 03:46 AM
Response to Original message
5. If they're making ANY sort of claim, you have to demand they back it up.
No point arguing something that may not be true.

If they're being honest, they'll provide the evidence. THEN you can start worrying about refuting it.
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98geoduck Donating Member (590 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:00 AM
Response to Original message
6. It's a culmination of problems, with the core being family values.
Edited on Sat Jan-29-05 04:17 AM by 98geoduck
We have become a fat and lazy country and many of the parents have fallen right into the fog of consumerism, and the fuck it i got a job attitude.

Parents spend way too little time with their children when it comes to educational help and discipline. Give the kids a play-station game and tell em to shut up. Religious schools provided the "discipline", but also scarred a lot of people for life as well. I've heard horror stories from relatives that attended Catholic school during the 40s and 50s. Favoritism, and physical abuse was the norm.

While the education system is underfunded, it's also being packed with noncritical thinking educators as well. I know I look back at some of the teachers I had in school, and say to myself now how in the hell do you expect kids to learn from someone like that. Of course, this was rural upstate NY, and yes, there were a few great teachers.

By the way, grades don't mean as much as people would like you to believe. Take a look at what we have going into this administration
(bush exempt) and you can see that the Ivy league doesn't always produce the brightest either (even though their academic scores might lead one to believe it). A calculus prof once told our class "Every one of you can learn this if your life depended on it". I also heard a Chinese woman tell a fellow student at work. "If you can add, subtract, multiply and divide, you can learn calculus". It's all about understanding theory.

In my opinion, debate and applied studies are the way to really "teach" Otherwise, your progressing only the good test takers.
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mark414 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 04:22 AM
Response to Original message
9. considering that drug use, sex, and crime among youth is at an alltime low
i'd tell them they're full of shit
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 06:54 AM
Response to Original message
12. These might help, even if they are a bit old...the trend continues
And you might point out (if you really want to push buttons) that at the same time forced prayer was removed from schools, racial integration was mandated. Does he really think that maybe -that- might be the real cause? (You show him for the asshole he is however he answers)

# During the 1998-1999 school year, the year that included the Columbine shooting, the National School Safety Center reported that there were 26 school associated violent deaths-- a 40% decline from the previous year. Since there are 52 million students in America's schools, the odds of dying a violent death in a school in America last year was one in two million.

# The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1993 and 1997, reports of physical fights by students declined 14%, reports of students being injured in fights declined 20%, the number of students who self-reported carrying a weapon in the previous 30 days declined 30%, and there was a 25% decline in students who had carried a gun to school in the previous 30 days.

# A joint study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics found that between 1993 and 1997, the number of school crimes declined 29%, the number of serious violent crimes declined 34%, the number of violent crimes (including fighting) declined 27%, and the number of thefts declined 29%.

# The FBI reported that since the historical peak for juvenile homicides in 1993, the number of juvenile arrests for homicide have dropped 56%, and the number of youth arrested for murder under age 13 is at its lowest point since the statistic was first kept (1964).

# A study by researchers from the Department of Special Education at the University of Maryland found that students at schools which employed "secure building" strategies to combat crime (including metal detectors and locker searches) were more likely to be afraid and be victimized than those attending schools which used less restrictive school safety measures.

# Surveys of students, teachers and law enforcement showed that they found the schools in their communities to be safe. A survey by Metropolitan Life in 1998 found that twice as many teachers, twice as many students, and three times as many law enforcement officials reported that the level of violence in their schools had declined from the previous year. Eighty-six percent of teachers, and 89% of students and law enforcement surveyed said that they thought their local schools were safe.
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