Author Archives: Jeffrey

Holmquist: Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today

Author’s note: Research into old curriculum and an unexpected unearthing of a middle school reading list from Edina Public Schools prompted me to write this article back in September 2014. It was published right before the weekend, and to my surprise and delight, was going viral by the time I returned the following work week – something it continued to do in the years following as new individuals would find and share it widely.

The popularity of this piece didn’t stem from the fact that its observations were extraordinary; instead, the interest it generated likely occurred because it touched on something everyone suspected, but could never solidly prove. I present it once again as a testament to the falling education standards today’s students are subjected to. ~ A. Holmquist
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This Could Devastate Christian Education

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The LGBTQ lobby has targeted Christian schools for destruction, using the so-called “Equality Act” to force all Christians schools, pre-K through college, to accept all aspects of the LGBTQ agenda … or be stripped of accreditation and face lawsuits and persecution by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The bill passed the House in 2019 and 2021. It was reintroduced in the 118th Congress on June 21, 2023, in the House of Representatives and Senate. And now HR 15 already has 212 Democrat co-sponsors in the House. All they need is six Republicans to pass this bill.

With Congress back in session, HR 15 is a high priority for LGBTQ advocates. If this bill is signed into law, it would be a devastating blow to religious freedom and Christian education in America that would be very difficult to recover from. It’s not too late to stop it. ~ Mat
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Charters Receive Far Less Money Than Traditional Public Schools. They Do Better Anyway

New research is casting doubt on the common assumption that more funding is a key driver of better educational outcomes.

If you thought charter schools received anywhere near the same amount of funding as traditional public schools, then think again.

A new, massive study from the University of Arkansas finds that “On average, charter schools across 18 cities in 16 states (…) receive about 30 percent or $7,147 (2020 dollars) less funding per pupil than traditional public schools.” Over the past two decades, this funding disparity has remained relatively stable. Continue reading

Old Kindergarten Requirements Suggest Today’s Classrooms Are Too Much, Too Soon

I received a rather frantic email from a friend when school started last fall. Panicking over the number of parents posting first day of preschool pictures, my friend wondered if she had made a mistake by not sending her four-year-old to school. “When did preschool become so popular?” she asked in dismay. Continue reading

Benson: Exercises In Futility

Almost half a century ago now, when the textbook protest in Kanawha County was going on, at one of the school board meetings there, one of the school board members was caught in a blatant lie in some of his remarks and someone attending the meeting called him on it. The school board member, caught in the act, just laughed and continued on with his remarks.

He was not there to shine the light of truth on anything. He was there to lie to the parents about what the public schools in Kanawha County were doing to their kids. At that point, the Kanawha County School Board had one honest member on it – Alice Moore – who tried to do what was right for both parents and children. The rest of the school board wasn’t, to put it bluntly, worth spit! Continue reading

The Staplehurst Rail Crash, or; How We Nearly Lost Charles Dickens Early

Any fan of Dickens will know that he died before he could finish ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’. But, if not for him surviving a train accident in Kent in 1865, his last piece of work could well have been ‘Our Mutual Friend

On the 9th June 1865, Dickens was traveling back from a holiday in France in a first class carriage at the front of the Folkestone Boat Express train. Ellen Ternan, the actress for whom he had left his wife Catherine Hogarth two years previously, and her mother were traveling with him. Also accompanying them was another important passenger; the manuscript of the latest installment of the novel he was writing at the time; ‘Our Mutual Friend’. Continue reading

Roth: A Case for the Lost Art of Memorization

Memorization and recitation became part of my life through a club I was part of in middle and high school. With the club, I had the opportunity to recite patriotic speeches and poems along with chapters from the Bible in front of an audience of veterans, law enforcement officers, and first responders just about every month. I loved seeing how the words recited touched the people listening. Continue reading

The Great Libraries of Rome

Passersby could wander at will into grand public libraries in imperial Rome. Could they trust what they found inside?

It’s around 200 CE, in Ephesus, an Aegean city of Greek roots, now a major hub of the Roman Empire. Meandering down marble-paved Curetes Street, a dweller is lost in the bustle of the town, procuring produce and wares in shops tucked beneath the colonnades, attending the public baths – even a conveniently placed brothel. It all plays out alongside merchants from across the Mediterranean, who disembark their ships to transport cargos and conduct business in the great depot between West and East. They make their way past the shrine to the emperor Hadrian and the nymphaeum of the emperor Trajan, bold reminders that the Ephesians, in their prosperity, are now part of the realm in faraway Rome. And there, culminating at the end of this lively thoroughfare at a slight angle, as though gradually revealing itself, lies a theatrical marble-clad façade of elegant Corinthian columns, exquisite reliefs and wordy inscriptions.

Up a short flight of stairs, flanked by statues, three large doors offer a glimpse into a single large room, colonnaded and high-ceilinged. Thousands of scrolls are carefully stacked into rectangular recesses in the walls. The doors to the towering Library of Celsus are flung wide open: anyone can enter this shrine to the written word. Continue reading

In the Year 2525…

It is exceptionally RARE that I will ever post a video on Metropolis Cafe – but due the particular version of this amazing song – it has its’ own importance as the video was ceated with scenes from the silent film that this website was named for. ~ Editor

Here’s a music video I cut together with footage from the classic apocalyptic sci-fi film Metropolis, combined with sci-fi folk song In The Year 2525 by Zager & Evans. I really found them fitting together in a dystopian transhumanist meets Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World kind of way. What awaits humanity after the intense technological and biological developments set in motion? If we ever get there? Thea von Harbou had some intensively accurate visions of the future. And Fritz Lang did the visual masterpiece. Not to forget Brigitte Helm and her impressive acting. All this is now a classic topic about the future of humanity. In this video I wanted to concentrate the idea, the message and the visions of the future. With the classic one hit wonder song and outstanding vintage film footage. ~ Sanjin

Samuel Adams: The Man of the Revolution

This often overlooked Founding Father set the country on its course toward independence.

In this c. 1772 portrait of Samuel Adams by John Singleton Copley, Adams points at the Massachusetts Charter, which he viewed as a constitution that protected the peoples’ rights. / Library of Congress

Before his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson asked himself: “Is this exactly in the spirit of the patriarch of liberty, Samuel Adams?” Would he approve of it?

To understand why the new president hoped to channel Adams’s spirit is to discover not only where a daring revolutionary came from, but where a revolution did. To lose sight of him is to lose sight of a man who calculated what would be required to upend an empire, and who — radicalizing men, women, and children with boycotts and pickets, street theater, invented traditions, a news service, a bit of character assassination, and any number of innovative, extralegal institutions — led American history’s seminal campaign of civil resistance. Adams banked on the sage deliberations of a band of hard-working farmers reasoning their way toward rebellion. That was how democracy worked. Continue reading

Gallup Poll Reveals Americans’ Plummeting Confidence in Public Schools

Learners at Life Rediscovered PHOTO: Ada Salie

Americans have soured on public schools. That’s the takeaway from Gallup polling results released earlier this month showing that Americans’ confidence in public schools is at a low point, with only 26 percent of respondents indicating a “Great deal/Fair amount” of confidence in that institution.

Indeed, public schools join three other institutions that are also at or tied with their record lows, including the police, large technology companies, and big business. Along with the presidency, public schools are now among the most politically polarizing institutions in the US. Continue reading

Millions of Kids Are Missing Weeks of School as Attendance Tanks Across the US

When in-person school resumed after pandemic closures, Rousmery Negrón and her 11-year-old son both noticed a change: School seemed less welcoming.

Parents were no longer allowed in the building without appointments, she said, and punishments were more severe. Everyone seemed less tolerant, more angry. Negrón’s son told her he overheard a teacher mocking his learning disabilities, calling him an ugly name

Her son didn’t want to go to school anymore. And she didn’t feel he was safe there.

He would end up missing more than five months of sixth grade. Continue reading

Reading to Your Child: This is why it’s so important

If you are a parent or a teacher, you most probably read stories to young children. Together, you laugh and point at the pictures. You engage them with a few simple questions. And they respond.

So what happens to children when they participate in shared reading? Does it make a difference to their learning? If so, what aspects of their learning are affected? Continue reading