30 June 2009
To the Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Canon Michael K. Wiener, pictured above in a pontifical high Mass with then-Cardinal Ratzinger, and also Canon Karl W. Lenhardt, former Rector of the Oratory (Canon Wiener is at right).
"In the last few decades, the expression ‘adult faith’ [fede adulta, 'grown up faith'] has become a widespread slogan. It is often used in relation to the attitudes of those who no longer pay attention to what the Church and her Pastors say — which is to say, those who choose on their own what to believe or not to believe in a sort of ‘do-it-yourself’ faith. Expressing oneself against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as a sort of ‘courage’, whereas in fact not much courage is needed because one can be certain of receiving public praise.
Instead, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if it contradicts the 'order' of today’s world. Paul calls this non-conformism an ‘adult faith’. For him, following the prevailing winds and currents of the time is childish.
For this reason, it is part of an adult faith to dedicate oneself to the inviolability of life from its beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense precisely of the most defenseless. It is part of an adult faith to recognize the lifelong marriage between one man and one woman in accordance with the Creator’s order, re-established again by Christ. An adult faith does not follow any current here and there. It stands against the winds of fashion."
I would like to see the response of Bozek and friends to this address. Of course this would probably fall on deaf ears. As I heard Mother Angelica say on an archived EWTN program the other day:
"You cannot reason with someone who has chosen not to believe."
"Liberals have no doctrine. Just name one; I'd like to know what it is..."
29 June 2009
Well, I visit this site from time to time in the interests of information gathering, but today I pulled it up and found the following gem. The title of the post itself piqued my interest. In the words of Renee Zellweger's character in Jerry McGuire, "You had me at hello."
The article is by the notorious Leonardo Boff-- "theologian". Yes, that's him, above. If you guessed Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, pay up. No, really. It's not Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, either. At least, I don't think it is.
Excerpts from the full post--read as much as you can take here:
Love everybody... (and everything)
Reciprocity or Death
When human beings decided to live together, they established an unwritten social contract, setting up norms, prohibitions and common purposes that allowed them to coexist with a modicum of peace. Later on, thinkers appeared, like Locke, Kant and Rousseau, giving the contract a formal status.
Those historic contracts have a common defect: they imply naked and acosmic individuals, who lack even a minimal link with nature or the Earth. The social contracts ignore and totally suppress the natural contract.
Previously, wars were waged to conquer regions and peoples. All Earth's territory has been conquered, and what is going on now is a total war, one without mercy, against the Earth, her goods and services, exploiting them to the point of exhaustion. The Earth can no longer rest: she has no refuge nor space into which to withdraw.
This aggression is worldwide, and the reaction of the Earth - Gaia - is also worldwide. Her reply is a collection of various crises, together forming a devastating planetary warming. It is Gaia's revenge.
There is no way out but to consciously and quickly reintroduce that which we had forgotten: a natural contract articulated with the social contract. We must overcome our arrogant anthropocentrism and put everything in its place, and ourselves as well, as a part of a whole.
What is a natural contract? It is the acknowledgement on the part of the human being that he is integrated into nature, from which he receives all, and the recognition that he must behave as a child of Mother Earth, giving her caring and protection in return, so that she may continue doing what she has always done: give us life and the means to live.
Either we reestablish the reciprocity between nature and human beings, and rearticulate the social contract with the natural contract, or we must accept the risk of being expelled and eliminated by Gaia. I trust that we will learn from our suffering and that we will use the good sense that we will still have.
28 June 2009
This is the latest Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream ad, kindly sent in by a reader. It has all the subtlety of safe dropped from the tenth floor.
27 June 2009
26 June 2009
1. In obedience to which duty, we (who by God's goodness are called to the aforesaid government of the Church) spare no pains and labour with all our might that unity and the Catholic religion (which their Author, for the trial of His children's faith and our correction, has suffered to be afflicted with such great troubles) may be preserved entire. But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this, with whom as in a sanctuary the most pernicious of all have found refuge. This very woman, having seized the crown and monstrously usurped the place of supreme head of the Church in all England to gather with the chief authority and jurisdiction belonging to it, has once again reduced this same kingdom- which had already been restored to the Catholic faith and to good fruits- to a miserable ruin.
3. We, seeing impieties and crimes multiplied one upon another the persecution of the faithful and afflictions of religion daily growing more severe under the guidance and by the activity of the said Elizabeth -and recognizing that her mind is so fixed and set that she has not only despised the pious prayers and admonitions with which Catholic princes have tried to cure and convert her but has not even permitted the nuncios sent to her in this matter by this See to cross into England, are compelled by necessity to take up against her the weapons of justice, though we cannot forbear to regret that we should be forced to turn, upon one whose ancestors have so well deserved of the Christian community. Therefore, resting upon the authority of Him whose pleasure it was to place us (though unequal to such a burden) upon this supreme justice-seat, we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ.
4. And moreover (we declare) her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever.
5. And also (declare) the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordship. fealty and obedience; and we do, by authority of these presents , so absolve them and so deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended title to the crown and all other the above said matters. We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication.
6. Because in truth it may prove too difficult to take these presents wheresoever it shall be necessary, we will that copies made under the hand of a notary public and sealed with the seal of a prelate of the Church or of his court shall have such force and trust in and out of judicial proceedings, in all places among the nations, as these presents would themselves have if they were exhibited or shown.
Given at St. Peter's at Rome, on 27 April 1570 of the Incarnation; in the fifth year of our pontificate.
25 June 2009
Reception of the Pallium - Archbishop Robert J. Carlson
Many other new Archbishops will be receiving the pallium along with Archbishop Carlson, including St. Louis natives Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Archbishop George Lucas.
Live Television Coverage
EWTN will show the Pallium Mass at 3:00 a.m. CDT. on-air and online, and will rebroadcast the Pallium Mass at 10:00 a.m. CDT. (All on Monday the 29th).
This picture comes from Principium Unitatis, the blog of a sometime commenter on this site. It absolutely captures the soul of Archbishop Burke. Click on the photo to greatly enlarge it.
New Motu Proprio on the SSPX this summer?
From the paleo-left-liberal, more Tablet than the Tablet, French magazine Golias
According to our information, and on the eve of the SSPX ordinations on 27 June in Germany, the Pope wishes to write a second motu proprio in the coming months. The document to be issued this time is not only about the liturgy in Latin, but a more comprehensive reintegration of the SSPX into the Church. This will mean demanding, of course, conditions, but also by engaging the whole Church in this process. Serious!
In other words, the bishops will no longer be entitled to express in a too overt manner open reluctantance and even less to slow the return of the traditionalists. One should understand that representatives of these currents regularly complain to the Pope posed about the obstacles placed to their reinstatement by the bishops and their entourage. Until now, Rome and the Ecclesia Dei commission have been bypassing bishops without, however, in general, openly disavow their views.
Thus, in 1988, the Commission regularised very quickly and in a very caring manner the Benedictine abbey of Barroux, without informing or consulting the Archbishop of Avignon at the time, Archbishop Raymond Bouchex. More recently, Rome proceeded in the same way with respect to the Institut du Bon Pasteur, without informing the Archbishop of Bordeaux, in which it was located. Recently, another signal was given by the Vatican when restoring a traditional parish priest in dissent with his bishop in Calvados, just so as to remind the bishops. Following this Motu proprio, a bishop considered too reluctant to welcome the fundamentalists will certainly have his knuckles rapped.
By now, if you spend any time watching State-run media outlets or surfing the web, you are aware of the unrest in Iran following their recent election. We are certainly used to being dismayed by the outcome of elections here, and even the odd, stolen election (Sen. Franken?).
If events are as they seem, the people of Iran are suffering at the hands of the mullahs, as they have for decades. And the brutality of the regime is not to be condoned.
But before we get too excited by the lack of response by the U.S., keep in mind that we really shouldn't be getting involved in that situation. We have no national interest there, we have no resources to apply to make the situation any better, and we create no confidence that we will stay the course. I don't think these reasons are the motivation for the current administration's inaction; in fact, I think it has great sympathy for militant Mohammedan regimes. However, not acting is the right outcome in this situation.
In the Taki's Magazine blog today is a post by Jack Hunter titled, "Stay Out of Iran", that includes a video of his reasons why he thinks the U.S. should refrain from acting in Iran. The video mentions the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani during an early Republican presidential debate on the subject of Iran, where Paul was laughed at for his views. I have embedded that video above. It is a good reminder of the ridicule one faces when going against the entrenched interventionist foreign policy favored by both parties. The parties only differ as to where to intervene, not whether to intervene.
I think the author is too naive when he cites Ronald Reagan as a proponent of diplomacy with the Soviets, "just like" Obama is with the Iranian regime. Unlike Obama, Reagan first backed the Soviets into a corner where they were forced to negotiate, through the deployment of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe, the research and development of anti-missile defenses, and through strategic support of anti-communist forces and governments throughout the world. He negotiated from strength, not weakness.
Therefore, I don't endorse everything in this video, but I post it as a means to encourage thought and discussion.
As luck would have it, the army is probably stretched too thin for the government to fall prey to anyone's inclination to actually send troops there anyway. And unlike money, they can't yet print more soldiers.
At New Liturgical Movement.
One must note, first of all, that praying the Office needn't mean praying all of the hours. It would be ideal if one could at least pray Lauds (Morning Prayer), Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer) it is true, but if one cannot, even doing one or two of these would be of great merit, helping to sanctify our day, tying us to the Church's liturgical year and embedding the Psalms of David and elements of Sacred Scripture and Christian poetry into our day to day prayer life.
As regards the issue of time, a single hour of the Office can be prayed, prayerfully I might add, within 10 minutes or so -- hardly an impossible or unreasonable time investment. If one considers that a devotional praying of a set of mysteries of the Holy Rosary takes about a similar period of time, I think this alone is demonstrative of the problem with the objection that the laity, especially those in family situations, cannot possibly pray the Divine Office. (Now, evidently, there may be some instances where the Divine Office may simply not be feasible, for reason of some particular and unique set of circumstances, but I would suggest that this is by no means the majority of cases.) It is worth remembering as well that the Church herself has encouraged the laity in the praying of the Divine Office: "...the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually."(Sacrosanctum Concilum, para. 100) Evidently then, the Church does not see this as an impossible task, but actually encourages it.
24 June 2009
For those who don't watch Late Night with Conan O'Brien, he does this skit where he tries to predict the future in the retro-nebulous "year 2000", where he and his guest (that's Jack Black over there) shine a flashlight up their faces.
You know. Highbrow stuff.
And, for those of you who don't waste their lives on Catholic blogs all day, the Curt Jester posts some pretty humorous articles on matters relating to the Church and its members.
You know. Catholic stuff.
At the link above, he posted a template for mainstream media types who wanted to publish their own hatchet-job news stories on the Traditional Mass and the Motu Proprio, but who didn't want to work to find the usual lies and half-truths about these subjects on their own. Quite funny, and true.
That got me thinking, what could it be like in 50-100 years from now, when some fringe group of Catholics get "nostalgic" for the novus ordo and clamor for an indult for its use? Thus, without further ado, this story from the Year 2000-- Motu Proprio edition:
Pope Set to Approve Wider Use of Forgotten "Vernacular" Mass
Boston (AP)-- Don't look now, but the Pope is set to ignore the advice of his Bishops and grant permission for the long-discarded novus ordo missae of 1969. The Vatican states that some people are nostalgic for this form of Mass, which was briefly in use in the late twentieth century prior to the restoration of the Church begun in the reign of Benedict XVI.
In the vernacular Mass the priest faces away from God and faces the congregation, reciting the prayers of Mass in a very loud voice, requiring almost continual verbal responses from the faithful, who are not allowed to enter into contemplative prayer and experience the deep inner participation of the Mass of the Ages.
"Because two to three generations of Catholics are accustomed to assisting at the Mass celebrated in the Church's official and unifying language of Latin, it is unlikely most will want to switch to a liturgy that is less formal and conducted in the language they use at the flea market," opined Fr. Jones of Catholic University.
The Holy Father is taking the Church back to before the restoration of Mass and removing the revitalizing norms set by Benedict XVI and subsequent Popes-- a revitalization that most scholars agree brought about the reunification with the former Orthodox churches and increased the number of Catholics by 30 percent. Faithful Catholics are concerned.
The vernacular Mass dilutes the role of the priest by making everyone liable to be up at the altar, walking around the sanctuary like a used car showroom.
The vernacular Mass encourages each priest and congregation to make up their own rubrics to suit their particular mood of the day. In its most advanced stage, it takes the form of the "Clown Mass".
The Pope has received considerable advice not to allow this use from most of the world's bishops, excepting those in France and those in the U.S. northeast and California--long considered the hotbeds of heretical, "progressive" Catholicism in the past.
Catholics are wary because the vernacular Mass is associated with the schismatic groups Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful (sic), whose tiny numbers are offset by their incessant clamor for change. Many believe this move is designed to try to foist a reconciliation with these groups upon the world's bishops.
The proponents of the vernacular Mass are said to number no more than 2 percent of Catholics, and polls show the majority of Catholics embrace the traditional restoration of decades ago. "There seems to be no demand for it," said Fr. Jones.
"I totally dig the old guitar Masses, man," said Moonbeam Johnson, age 87, of Orange County. "Holding hands at the Our Creator prayer, and helping break the bread and pass around the wine make me feel really good."
Her entry on "The Unpublished Letters" is a classic. Some excerpts:
Dear Inventor of the Crying-it-out Method,
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you were either deaf or wore earphones.
Dear Midwest Summers,
It's fine if you want to be all, "Hey, I'm going to be 98 degrees today!" but this whole heat index of 110 thing has GOT to go. Outdoor time is being cut short which results in unhappy toddlers everywhere. Moms are about ready to revolt. Just thought I'd warn you.
Dear Infant Motrin,
Have I told you lately how much better you are for teething babies than Infant Tylenol? Well, you are. Thanks.
Dear Alfalfa Herb Supplement,
I decided to take you because you're supposed to be good for lactating moms. I did NOT expect, however, to lose weight due to not wanting to eat inbetween meals. You are my new favorite! Thanks!
It's good to have you back, old friend. I've missed you.
Dear Hardwood Floors,
I'm absolutely floored (pun absolutely intended). How is it that after I finish sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping you, you STILL manage to have little particles of dust, food, and who knows what else on you? Seriously. What's goin' on with that? Are you TRYING to make me angry? Get your act together, and clean yourself up!
Dear Brussel Sprouts,
I still don't like you.
P.S.----> Please tell your cousins Broccoli, Cauliflower, Lima Beans, and Asparagus that I feel the same way about them, too. Thanks.
It's come to my attention that you've noticed that my family has a blow-up pool in the backyard that comfortably fits our entire family. We enjoy this pool. When your friend, Midwest Summers, decides to pump up his heat index, we like to sit in the cool water and just relax. This, though, is NOT our super secret signal to you that you should come feast on us. You actually kind of kill the vibe for us. There are a TON of stray cats in our neighborhood. I'm sure you can find some quality feeding grounds in them. Thanks.
I've missed you. I'll try to write you more often.
23 June 2009
--abstaining from meat on Friday.
Like with the head covering law, this disciplinary practice has fallen into disuse, and the great majority of Catholics (at least in the US) believe it is no longer required. Jimmy Akin also takes the position (like on the head covering issue) that no abstinence or other penance is strictly required on non-Lenten Fridays. I respectfully submit that as on the other issue, he is wrong on this one. Due to changes in the law, the Bishops' Conferences can allow some other penance instead, but some penance is still obligatory.
Now, UCLX would undoubtedly have something to say on this issue, and UCLX has expressed to me a certain amusement at my attempts to construct a syllogism, but let UCLX speak for UCLX's self. I'd like to plunge ahead.
So, let's take this one step at a time. First, what do the relevant Canons in the Code have to say? Remember that the first codified Code of Canon Law dates from 1917, and the current Code was published in 1983. So, from the 1983 Code:
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
This seems very straightforward. The 1983 Code continues the law that Friday penance is required of the faithful. Canon 1251 does list abstinence from meat as the penance to be observed OR some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference. Canon 1253 goes still further to allow the Episcopal Conference to substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance.
Now, of course, dating from the end of the Second Vatican Council there have been some events that have caused confusion to the faithful, and which beg for clarification. The 1917 Code, as usual, is wonderfully clear on the subject:
Canon 1252 (CIC 1917). 1. The law of abstinence... must be observed every Friday.
Why cite the 1917 Code at all? Because the 1917 Code was in force when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops came out with norms "On Fast and Abstinence", which contains the following paragraph:
3. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. (emphasis added).
Now, Jimmy Akin points to this document, and primarily to the paragraph immediately above, to support his contention that although the USCCB continues to urge abstinence and other penance on Fridays, it has lawfully dispensed with any obligatory prescription of abstinence or other penance, pursuant to its lawful authority under Canon 1253.
This position is erroneous for several reasons:
1. The US Bishops' document was published in 1966, seventeen years before Canon Law gave the Conferences the right to change the fast and abstinence rules in their territories. Such a document was not legally sufficient to alter the abstinence requirements of the 1917 Code, and if read to amend the canonical prescriptions was ultra vires-- in other words, beyond the power of the Conference. Even if the document is viewed as a dispensation, the language of the Code was unchanged and the law was in force, whether or not it was applied by the Conference.
2. Akin argues that the 1983 Code's permission for Conferences to specify the abstinence regulations stands as a recognition, tacit or otherwise, of the USCCB's decision. This is a not highly likely reading of the act of the promulgation of the new Code of Canon Law. However, even if Akin's premise were correct, the very terms of the new Canon 1253 disallow the type of alteration made in the "On Fasting and Abstinence" document.
Canon 1251 states the Episcopal Conference can name some other food instead of meat for the abstinence requirement. Canon 1253 allows the Episcopal Conference to substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance for the abstinence requirement. Nothing in either Canon allows the Episcopal Conference to substitute nothing in place of abstinence from meat on Fridays. Therefore, even if we adopt the Sherman-and-Peabody Way Back Machine approach to canon law, the 1966 NCCB document is not effective to alter the canonical obligation for Friday abstinence.
3. Now, the USCCB promulgated a memorandum in 1983 to all Diocesan Bishops reaffirming the 1966 document. This document claims that the 1966 norms "continue in force since they are law and are not contrary to the code (canon 6)." However, with all due respect, this is demonstrably incorrect. To the extent that the 1966 norms make the requirement of Friday penance completely voluntary, it is certainly contrary to the 1983 Code, which we have already established only allows the Episcopal Conferences to substitute other forms of penance for abstinence. It does not give the power to nullify the requirement.
Giving the 1983 Code and the USCCB 1966 and 1983 documents their most liberal joint reading in favor of relaxation of the traditional abstinence rule, one can only conclude that at least some form of penance must be substituted for abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year except those upon which a Solemnity falls. If the USCCB documents cannot sustain this reading, then they are ultra vires and leave Canon 1251's prescriptions unaltered. Take your pick.
4. The final argument against the abrogation of the abstinence or other penance requirement comes from immemorial custom. As you may recall from the veiling article, this is a complicated area to explain. Because the first three reasons above are sufficient for purposes of my position, I won't delve into all the details here, but rather cite the general rule that an immemorial custom obtains the force of law and cannot be abrogated by a generic revocation.
Oh wait... you're already doing that.
22 June 2009
McCain: Obama has 'done well' as president so far
Important and long-overdue statement from the USCCB finally acknowledging that no one is exempt from the call to conversion and belief in Jesus Christ. This "clarifies" (read "corrects") a document that produced a lot of mischief and confusion. Excerpt published at Rorate Caeli:
USCCB clarifies ambiguities of "Reflections on Covenant and Mission"
21 June 2009
The budget "crisis" in California has politicians playing the same old game-- not many can bear to cut any of the perks of office, or the patronage pork for their friends and constituencies. So, to cover their cry for more of our money, they lament that any cuts would kill public schools and leave our poor children in the lurch.
Education Cultural Indicators
The following facts and figures put into perspective the current status of the American Education system. They are exerted from the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators for 2001 produced by William J. Bennett of Empower America.
- In 2000, enrollment in America's elementary and secondary schools was about 53.5 million. Of that total, private school enrollment was about 6.0 million. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- There are an estimated 1.7 million home school students in kindergarten through 12th grade during the 2000-2001 school year. This is about 3% of all K-12 students in the U.S. National Center for Home Education, Purcellville, VA: 2001.
- Public school enrollment at the elementary level in 2000 was 33.9 million, while enrollment at the high school level was 13.7 million. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- In 1999, 421 new charter schools were opened across the U.S., increasing the total to 1,184 charter schools educating more than 250,000 students. U.S. Dept. of Ed., "The State of Charter Schools 2000: 4th Year Report" (January 2000).
- The percentage of three to five-year-olds enrolled in pre-primary school programs rose from 27.1 in 1965 to 64.5 in 1998. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- The percentage of high school dropouts among persons 16 to 24 decreased by almost 60% between 1960 and 1999. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000 and U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 1999, Washington, DC: 2000.
Expenditures in Education
- Between 1990 and 1999, per pupil public school expenditures increased (in constant dollars) almost 10%. Between 1960 and 1999, per pupil expenditures almost tripled (in constant dollars). U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- According to preliminary estimates by the Department of Education, public elementary and secondary education expenditures rose to an estimated high of $344.2 billion in 1998-99. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- The total amount spent on public elementary and secondary education in 1996-97 was $313.1 billion. Of the total revenues collected for education, 6.6% came from the federal government, 48% from the states and 45.4% from local governments. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- Spending on elementary and secondary schools as a percentage of the gross domestic product increased from 3.6% in 1961 to 4.4% in 1998-an increase of about one-fifth. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1998, Washington, D.C.: GPO 2000.
Connection between Per-Pupil Expenditures and Their Level of Achievement
- While the level of spending per pupil has increased 82% (in constant dollars) since 1971, student achievement, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, has stayed relatively level. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000, and U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999, Trends in Academic Progress: Three Decades of Student Performance, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- Of the five states that had the highest increase in per pupil expenditures between 1977 and 1997, four were below the national average increase on SAT scores and none was in the top ten. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March, 2000.
- Of the five states that had the highest increase in SAT scores between 1979 and 1999, only one was in the top 10 states measured by per-pupil expenditures. American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March 2000.
- In 1997, New Jersey had the highest level of per-pupil expenditures; however, it did not participate in the NAEP tests. New York had the second highest level of per pupil expenditures and ranked seventh in NAEP's eighth-grade reading test. On the other hand, Maine, Connecticut, Montana and Massachusetts had the highest NAEP scores, but ranked 15th, 5th, 26th, and 7th, respectively in terms of per-pupil expenditures. (Note: Only 36 states participated in the test.) American Legislative Exchange Council, "Report Card on American Education: A State by State Analysis," March, 2000, and U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
Student Test Scores
- In a 1999 follow up to the 1995 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the ranking of U.S. eighth graders fell to 19th in mathematics and 18th in science out of 38 nations. When compared only to the other nations, who took both sets of tests, U.S. eighth graders were significantly below the international average in mathematics and were slightly below average in science. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Pursuing Excellence: Comparisons of International Eighth-Grade Mathematics and Science Achievement from a U.S. Perspective, 1995 and 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- A 1997 in-depth nationwide study of 5,402 children and youth in 1,657 home school families revealed that the students were scoring at about the 80th percentile on average in all subject areas on standardized tests-30 percentile points above the national public school average. In addition, the 2000 Peabody Journal of Education review of dozens of studies on home schooling confirmed that home schooled students are typically 15 to 30 percentile points above average in terms of academic achievement. Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, Home Education Across the United States, pgs. 8-10, 1997; Ray, Brian D. (2000). "Home schooling: The ameliorator of negative influences on learning?" Peabody Journal of Education, v. 75, nos. 1 & 2, pp. 71-106.
- Between 1990 and 2000 the average SAT scores increased 19 points. But between 1960 and 2000 it decreased by 56-points. College Board, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1996.
- Average verbal scores on the SAT decreased 49 points between 1960 and 2000, while math scores decreased 7 points. College Board, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1996.
- Average SAT scores were at their highest level (1980) in 1963-64. Between 1964 and 1980, when they were at their lowest level, scores dropped 90 points. Diane Ravitch, "Defining Literacy Downward," The New York Times, August 28, 1996.
- In the most recent (1995) international comparison of mathematics achievement, American fourth graders ranked 12th out of 26 nations; eighth graders ranked 28th out of 41 nations; and twelfth graders ranked 19th out of 21 nations. U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- In the most recent (1995) international comparison in advanced mathematics, U.S. students ranked 15th out of 16 nations taking the test. U.S. Dept. of Ed.
Science & Physics
- In the most recent (1995) international comparison in science achievement, American fourth graders ranked 3rd out of 26 nations; eighth graders ranked 17th out of 41 nations; and twelfth graders ranked 16th out of 21 nations. U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- In the most recent (1995) international comparison in advanced physics, the U.S. ranked last among all nations taking the test. U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- Between 1990 and 1999, student scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress increased very slightly (although 17-year-old reading and eleventh grade writing actually decreased slightly). Between 1970 and 1999, scores increased slightly on nine tests but decreased slightly on three (17-year-old science and eighth and eleventh-grade writing). U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- In 1998, Maine had the highest average reading score for students in the eighth grade. (Fourteen states did not participate: AK, ID, IL, IN, IA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, ND, OH, PA, SD, VT.) U.S. Dept. of Ed, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999
- In 1998, 38% of fourth graders, 26% of eighth graders, and 23% of twelfth graders scored below basic levels in reading (that is, they lack even partial mastery of the knowledge and skills appropriate to their grade). For fourth graders, this means that they cannot "demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read." For eighth graders, this means they cannot "demonstrate a literal understanding of what they read and be able to make some interpretations." For twelfth graders, this means they cannot "demonstrate an overall understanding and make some interpretations of the test... They [cannot] identify elements of an author's style." U.S. Dept. of Ed., Office of Educational Research and Improvement. National Center for Education Statistics, The NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
- Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans have reached the twelfth grade without having learned to read at a basic level. More than 20 million have reached their senior year unable to do basic math. Almost 25 million have reached the twelfth grade without knowing the essentials of U.S. history. A Nation Still at Risk: An Education Manifesto, April 1998.
- In 1998 77% of fourth graders in urban, high-poverty areas were reading below the basic level on the NAEP tests. Quality Counts '98: The Urban Challenge, Washington, DC: Editorial Projects in Education, January 8, 1998.
- Four out of five seniors from the top 55 colleges and universities in the United States received a D or F on a recent standardized American history test. Only 34% of the students surveyed could identify George Washington as an American general at the battle of Yorktown, the culminating battle of the American Revolution. More than one-third were unable to identify the U.S. Constitution as establishing the division of power in American government. Less than one-quarter (23%) correctly identified James Madison as the "father of the Constitution." On the other hand, 99% knew whom the cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead are, and 98% could identify the rap singer Snoop Doggy Dogg. American Council of Trustees and Alumni, Losing America's Memory: Historical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Washington, D.C., Feb. 21, 2000.
- The percentage of public schools with Internet access has increased dramatically since 1994. In February 2000 94% of elementary schools were connected to the Internet (an increase of more than 310%) and 98% of secondary schools (an increase of 100%). U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Statistics in Brief: Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms, 1994-99, February 2000.
- Only 33% of college and university professors and 39% of employers believe that a high school diploma means that a student has "learned the basics," but 66% of parents, 74% of elementary and secondary school teachers and 77% of students believe it does. The Public Agenda "Reality Check 2000."
- More than 70% of public high school students admitted on a recent survey to cheating on an exam at least once in the past 12 months (45% said they did so two or more times). Nearly one in six (16%) say they have been drunk in school during the past year (9% said they were drunk two or more times). The Joseph Institute of Ethics and the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, Washington, D.C., 2000.
Income and Graduation
- Between 1986-87 and 1996-97, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to men increased 8% (from 480,782 to 520,515), while those awarded to women increased 28% (from 510,482 to 652,364). U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- In high-technology fields, one-third of master's degrees and 45% of Ph.D.'s were awarded to foreign nationals in 1996-97. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Degrees and Other Awards Conferred by Title IV Eligible, Degree-granting Institutions: 1996-97, November 1999.
- In 1996, the median income of men 25 years old and older with only a high school diploma or an equivalency degree was $31,477, while the median income for those with some high school education but without a high school diploma was $23,958. The numbers for women were $22,780 and $16,482 respectively. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, Washington, DC: 2000.
- In 1998, 82.8% of Americans age 25 and over had completed high school. This includes 83.7% of whites, 76.0% of blacks, and 55.5% of Hispanics. U.S. Depart. Of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
- In 1998, Washington had the highest percentage of Americans over age 25 who had graduated from high school or earned an equivalency degree (92%). West Virginia had the lowest percentage (76.3%). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
Private School Tuition
- The average full tuition charged by elementary and secondary private schools in 1993-94 (the most recent year for which data are available) was $3,116. Catholic school students paid an average of $2,178, and students at nonsectarian private schools paid $6,631.U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1998, Washington, D.C.: GPO, 2000.
- The median amount of money spent in 1997 on educational materials for home school students was $400. When this relatively small expenditure is considered in light of the high scholastic achievement of most home school students, it can reasonably be concluded that it does not require a great deal of money to home school successfully. Home Schooling Works, The Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998; Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D., Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation. 1999.
Teacher Quality and Cost
- Measured in constant 1997-98 dollars, the average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has increased from $27,496 in 1960 to $39,385 in 1998-an increase of 43%. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics1998, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
- The average teaching work year lasts 180 days, three-quarters of the 240-day year worked by the typical American with a full-time job. Compensated at the same daily rate for a 48 week year, the average public school teacher would have earned $52,513 in 1998.U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics1998, Washington, DC: GPO, 1999.
- Between 1990 and 1997, the percentage of full-time school staff who are teachers decreased 2.3%. Between 1960-1997, the percentage decreased almost 20%. U.S. Dept. of Ed.
- Between 1990 and 1998, the number of students per teacher stayed about the same. But that ratio had already declined by one-third. U.S. Dept. of Ed, National Center for Ed. Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999. Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- The number of guidance counselors in public elementary and secondary schools increased more than 500% between 1960 and 1997. There was an almost tenfold increase in teacher's aides. The number of support staff increased more than 170%. Over the same time span, the number of teachers increased only 103%. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999. Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.
- In 1999 the student-teacher ratio in private elementary and secondary schools was fifteen to one; in public schools, it was seventeen to one. U.S. Dept. of Ed., National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1999, Washington, DC: GPO, 2000.