Kristin Rawls

Here's how Christian fundamentalist homeschooling actually hurts kids

My interest in homeschooling was first sparked nearly 20 years ago, when I was a socially awkward adolescent with a chaotic family life. I became close to a conservative Christian homeschooling family that seemed perfect in every way. Through my connection to this family, I was introduced to a whole world of conservative Christian homeschoolers, some of whom we would now consider “Quiverfull” families: homeschooling conservatives who eschew any form of family planning and choose instead to “trust God” with matters related to procreation.

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Who Is Profiting From Charters? The Big Bucks Behind Charter School Secrecy, Financial Scandal and Corruption

This article is part of a two-part series that looks at mass school closings targeting America’s inner cities and the promise of charter schools as a magic solution to alleged “failing schools.” Part I explained how the charter school movement cynically appropriates civil rights rhetoric, but often leaves the most vulnerable students worse off than before. In Part II, AlterNet looks at a more likely motivation for the “reforms”: Profit.

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Punishing Students For Not Making Eye Contact? How Charter Schools' Prejudiced Policies Undermine Equality

This article is the first of a two-part series examining who is being left behind in the wake of charter school proliferation and the complicated web of profiteering that is driving the movement. Part I details many of the ways in which charter schools fail poor children, children of color and students with disabilities even as charter school supporters appropriate civil rights rhetoric. Part II will focus on the big business of charter schools.

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10 Frightening Things Happening at Conservative Christian Schools That May Be Funded With Your Tax Dollars

School vouchers have long been a pet cause of Christian school advocates who want to shore up profits and increase their ranks. In 2002, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public funds designated for private school tuition were not an infringement on church/state separation. That gave private Christian school advocates a green light to promote vouchers for themselves.

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Barely Literate? How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Hurts Kids

My interest in homeschooling was first sparked nearly 20 years ago, when I was a socially awkward adolescent with a chaotic family life. I became close to a conservative Christian homeschooling family that seemed perfect in every way. Through my connection to this family, I was introduced to a whole world of conservative Christian homeschoolers, some of whom we would now consider “Quiverfull” families: homeschooling conservatives who eschew any form of family planning and choose instead to “trust God” with matters related to procreation.  

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North Carolina Becomes the Front Line of a Brutal Corporate Assault on Education Raging in America

Corporate education forces are on a destructive march throughout the U.S. While busting teachers' unions has been long been an initiative of the GOP and Christian Right, it’s also on the agendas of urban mayors like Chicago Democrat Rahm Emmanuel and New York City independent Michael Bloomberg. And it’s a large component of the regressive agenda that has sparked mass popular uprisings in Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin.

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Who Is Profiting From Charters? The Big Bucks Behind Charter School Secrecy, Financial Scandal and Corruption

This article is part of a two-part series that looks at mass school closings targeting America’s inner cities and the promise of charter schools as a magic solution to alleged “failing schools.” Part I explained how the charter school movement cynically appropriates civil rights rhetoric, but often leaves the most vulnerable students worse off than before. In Part II, AlterNet looks at a more likely motivation for the “reforms”: Profit.

Keep reading... Show less

Punishing Students For Not Making Eye Contact? How Charter Schools' Prejudiced Policies Undermine Equality

This article is the first of a two-part series examining who is being left behind in the wake of charter school proliferation and the complicated web of profiteering that is driving the movement. Part I details many of the ways in which charter schools fail poor children, children of color and students with disabilities even as charter school supporters appropriate civil rights rhetoric. Part II will focus on the big business of charter schools.

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4 Ways College Admissions Committees Stack the Deck in Favor of Already Privileged Applicants

Affirmative action has been the subject of much media debate recently, as the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments on October 10 involving the controversial Fisher v. University of Texas “reverse racism” case. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, alleges that she was declined admission to the university as a result of affirmative action policies that left her at a disadvantage because she is white.

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5 Biggest Lies About America's Public Schools -- Debunked

Just weeks into the 2012-2013 school year education issues are already playing a starring role in the national conversation about America’s future. Because it’s an election year, the presidential candidates have been busy pretending there are many substantial distinctions between them on education policy (actually, the differences are arguably minimal). Meanwhile, the striking Chicago Teachers Union helped thrust teachers unions into the national spotlight, with union-buster Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel reminding us that, these days, Republicans and Democrats frequently converge on both education policy and labor-unfriendliness.

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6 Reasons Teachers Unions Are Good for Kids

Once upon a time, labor unions enjoyed a fair amount of political legitimacy among both the public and political elites. While it is true that unions were always a source of concern for capitalist elites and union-busting was always with us, the public generally considered unions mainstream. They had a political voice because regular working- and middle-class people often voted based on their endorsements.

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7 Things the Media Missed About the Chick-fil-A Saga

It’s probably one of the more bizarre manifestations of the U.S. culture wars in recent years: Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy expresses his support for “traditional marriage,” LGBTQ activists issue calls for a boycott, and conservatives -- including, most notably, Mike Huckabee -- respond with the now infamous Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which is attended in “droves.” Finally, LGBTQ activists respond with two counter-protests, a Same-Sex Kiss Day (self-explanatory) and Starbucks Appreciation Day, intended to show support for a company that has given money to same-sex marriage causes.

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5 Reasons the 'Pray Away the Gay' Movement Is as Vile as Ever

In late June, Alan Chambers, the president of “ex-gay” organization Exodus International who once identified as gay and is now in a heterosexual marriage, made headlines after announcing that he no longer believes one’s sexual orientation can change. From now on, he announced, Exodus would dissociate itself from reparative therapy, popularly termed “pray away the gay.”

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Are the President's Education Policies Helping Our Kids?

When Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, he did so on an education platform that was “ambitious” to say the least. Then-candidate Obama was clear that he aimed to reform America’s entire education system, from preschool on up through higher education -- and during his first term as president, his administration has indeed made significant changes to educational policy. But have those changes been for the better? Have schools, and their students, benefited from the Obama administration’s educational maneuvers over this first term? As it turns out, the answer is: not necessarily.

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5 Ways Louisiana’s New Voucher Program Spells Disaster for Public Education

Late last month, the state of Louisiana unveiled a new school voucher program, joining 14 other states that have recently increased the availability of vouchers to fund private school tuition with public dollars. 

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What Does Our Obsession With Zombie Stories Tell Us About Our Politics?

Zombie chatter reached unprecedented cultural prominence last week when reports of two murders involving cannibalism appeared in the national headlines.

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10 Frightening Things That Happen at Conservative Christian Schools That May Be Funded With Your Tax Dollars

School vouchers have long been a pet cause of Christian school advocates who want to shore up profits and increase their ranks. In 2002, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public funds designated for private school tuition were not an infringement on church/state separation. That gave private Christian school advocates a green light to promote vouchers for themselves.

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4 Worst Media Misrepresentations of North Carolina's Anti-Gay Amendment One

On Tuesday, May 8, just over 34 percent of North Carolina’s registered voters turned out to vote in the State’s primary election. They voted by a margin of 61 to 39 percent in favor of the controversial constitutional Amendment One. That Amendment states, "Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized."

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Does Mitt Romney Have an Education Platform?

If you’re looking to understand what Mitt Romney might do to education as president of the United States, a good place to start is with his own words. Back in March, Mitt Romney told Fox News' Bret Baier that his primary educational goal if elected to the presidency would be to weaken teachers' unions. “The role I see that ought to remain in the president's agenda with regards to education,” Romney announced, “is to push back against the federal teachers' unions.” His promise? To diminish the role of the federal government in education policy, except when it comes to union-busting.

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The Plot to Demonize Black Youth -- And Their Mothers, Too

A disturbing trend is increasingly making national news in the United States: poor black mothers jailed for sending their children to schools outside their zoned school districts. The arrests of these mothers may seem novel, but given what we know about the criminal justice system’s propensity for arresting black adults and children at disproportionate rates, we shouldn’t be surprised. Not unlike truancy sweeps that target large numbers of black and poor children with legal sanctions for missing school, arrest for so-called “fraudulent enrollment” has become yet another avenue through which to target people of color.

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5 Big Media Stereotypes About the South (And the Real Story Behind Them)

Stereotypes about the south are nothing new. In fact, they often date back to the Civil War. They tend to denigrate the Southern poor, under-educated and rural in ways that bear striking resemblance to Republican rhetoric that demonizes the poor in general. But every election season, those of us who have spent most of our lives in the South are reminded of the devastating misconceptions that many other Americans have about us. The Right romanticizes us as the “real America” while the Left treats us a punchline. Polling organizations like Public Policy Polling design studies that target Southern states and reinforce the national sense that we are backward and dim-witted. Here are just a few of the ways in which popular political narratives distort the contemporary realities of Southern life in historical context.

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Barely Literate? How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Hurts Kids

My interest in homeschooling was first sparked nearly 20 years ago, when I was a socially awkward adolescent with a chaotic family life. I became close to a conservative Christian homeschooling family that seemed perfect in every way. Through my connection to this family, I was introduced to a whole world of conservative Christian homeschoolers, some of whom we would now consider “Quiverfull” families: homeschooling conservatives who eschew any form of family planning and choose instead to “trust God” with matters related to procreation.  

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How Deep Is the Republican Christian Right's Connection to the Anti-Gay Bills Sweeping Sub-Saharan Africa?

Uganda’s notorious "kill-the-gays" bill, supported by some far-right Christian advocates in United States, was placed back on the Ugandan Parliament’s schedule for a vote yesterday. The proposed legislation punishes repeated instances of “homosexual behavior” – or sex – with the death penalty. Unless a member of Parliament releases the date and time to the public, it could be brought before the legislature’s Lower House for a vote at any moment. After that, it would need to pass the Upper House, and could become law very quickly.

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5 Biggest Lies About the Right-Wing Corporate-Backed War on Our Schools

National School Choice Week, a pet project of big corporations and conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers, kicked off Monday with celebratory forums throughout the country. Billing itself as a social justice movement committed to “ensuring effective education options for every child,” “school choice” has actually become a deeply divisive wedge issue for the right. But the folks at School Choice Week would prefer that you didn’t know that.  

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"I Cannot Eat Your Prayers": How Student Debt Changed One Woman's Mind on "Christian Charity"

 I’m going to tell you a story. It’s the story of a good girl from a quiet town who prayed, studied hard, said no to drugs, and otherwise did everything she was told—and then went on to become Sallie Mae’s bitch and lost just about everything. This story is mine.

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