Posts Tagged ‘memphis’

Publicly Funding Christianity/Discrimination in Memphis City Schools?

How entrenched in religion are some public school districts, despite Constitutional limits? It appears that some not only proselytize to their employees but also might let discriminatory programs run their recruitment agencies.

Sometimes I run across news stories that make me want to learn more. First, principals leading students in prayer at school events in East Tennessee. Then the state legislature passing an anti-evolution bill. Then I ran across a story about Memphis City School teachers being led in prayer at a church hosting a teacher training session, and then I found that some of the school’s state funding could possibly be going towards teacher recruitment programs that discriminate on the basis of religion.

Legislation and East Tennessee aside, the state of Memphis City Schools appears to be unnoticed or unchallenged. An article in 2010 told of a school training session hosted for free by a local mega-church:

Memphis City Schools teachers converged at Bellevue Baptist Church on Tuesday for their first pep talk of the year.

Supt. Kriner Cash stood under a “Jesus” banner that hung from the sanctuary ceiling, while his image ricocheted rock-concert style on giant screens as he described his vision for the school year to several thousand teachers….

After a prayer by associate pastor Drew Tucker including Bellevue’s creed (“to share Jesus and make disciples”), the school superintendent asked for a moment of silence for the city’s children.

Search engines led to a number of practices, connections, and programs of the school system, but one article that stood out was “Christians commit to teaching in city schools to bring glory to God.” The article from May of this year states:

Like Teach for America and the Memphis Teaching Fellows, MTR seeks to recruit, train and support outstanding urban educators in Memphis. What makes MTR different is its mission to do that “within a Christian context.”

MTR recruits and accepts only candidates who believe that teaching in large, urban public schools systems is a Christian calling, not just a career.

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08 2011