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What Are Some of the Key Issues Facing Youth Ministry Today?

A great discussion between David Plant, director of youth ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama; and Liz Edrington, who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.

HT: Collin Hansen, who has more info.

Why Do Asian-American Students Outperform Their White Peers?

Why Asian-American Students Outperform Their White PeersAt least academically, it’s an incontrovertible fact that Asian-Americans outperform their white peers (and every other ethnic group). But why such dominance?  That’s what sociologists Amy Hsina and Yu Xie set out to uncover, scouring data from two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students. The answer? It’s a shocker: They work harder.

There is, however, an interesting element:  ”Students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability.” Continue Reading…

Cultural Engagement and the Recent Q Conference

Hunter BakerHunter Baker offers insightful reflections from his time attending the Q conference in Nashville. An excerpt:

When I look at Q, its hosts, and the young people participating in it, I suspect I am seeing the cultural stance of those who have grown up in pervasively Christian subcultures. For them, rebelling means rebelling against Massive Baptist Church or Church Related University or Clearly Wealthy Famous Preacherman. Those are the holders of power in their world. It is little wonder to them that the dominant culture dislikes us. We are hypocrites. We don’t measure up to our own standards. And we are judgmental while the secular world is more understanding. Or so it seems to them.

Continue Reading…

Want Proof of Grade Inflation?

David  Brooks of the NY Times is a fair-minded journalist:

Every year researchers at U.C.L.A. do a survey of incoming college freshmen. These surveys, conducted over four decades now, show how the life cycle has changed over the past couple generations.

This first thing you see from this and similar data sets is that high school has gotten a bit easier. In 1966, only about 19 percent of high school students graduated with an A or A- average. By 2013, 53 percent of students graduated with that average.

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What Awaits 2014 Grads in the Working World?

From a March 2014 survey of more than 2,000 students (conducted by Accenture):

What Awaits 2014 Grads in the Working World?—Infographic

Read more, or download the full PDF.

Success Depends on What You Do in College, Not Where You Go

That’s the result from the inaugural Gallup-Purdue Index, a joint-research effort between Purdue University and Lumina Foundation to study the relationship between the college experience and college graduates’ lives.  In a nutshell, students are more likely to thrive after graduation, at work and outside of work, when they have the right kinds of support and experience during their college years.


  • Professors who make them excited about learning.
  • Professors who care about them as people.
  • Professors who encourage them to pursue their goals and dreams.


  • Worked on a project that takes a semester or more to complete.
  • An internship or job that allowed them to apply what they learned in the classroom.
  • Extremely active  in extracurricular activities and organizations while attending college.

Continue Reading…

Fathers Crucial in Preparing Teens for College

Great article today in the NY Post by Naomi Schaefer Riley on the importance of fathers in preparing teens for college (and life):

An American Enterprise Institute report last month found, “Compared to teens who reported that their fathers were not involved, teens with involved fathers were 98 percent more likely to graduate from college, and teens with very involved fathers were 105 percent more likely to graduate from college.”

Why?  Riley writes, “Fathers seem to do a better job fostering independence in kids. And one of the biggest challenges of succeeding in higher education is the amount of freedom you’re given.”

I totally agree on the importance of teens experiencing (and being trained to handle) freedom. Read the whole thing.

Why is Christianity Losing Influence in America?

Vishal Mangalwadi, author of The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, writes:

The branding or perception of Christianity as a religion of faith, disconnected with truth, is tragic given that the Judeo-Christian tradition is the only reason why any medieval, modern, or postmodern person talks about “Truth” that can be stated in rational words and propositions (creeds or equations). The secular academy and science acquired the truth-brand only because Secularism is a Protestant heresy. The university exists because the Church was committed to knowing and believing truth. Secularism didn’t create the university. It obtained that Christian institution because, liberal Protestantism surrendered to Rationalism and evangelicalism abandoned the life of the mind. That enabled Secularism to walk away with the brand Truth. The fact is that secular atheism and materialism leave no room for rational/propositional truth. That is why Secularism is dogmatic about relativism.

Read the whole thing. It’s quite long, but you’ll benefit even if you read  just one or two sections.

The Challenges of Christian Higher Education

Great cover story in World magazine about the challenges of Christian higher education, with input from schools in California, Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri. A few highlights:

  • A 2012 study by Bain & Co. consultants examining the financial sustainability of U.S. colleges and universities found that 36 percent of CCCU schools are sustainable, 32 percent are at risk, and 32 percent are unsustainable.
  • The four-year cost of attending a Christian college is now $100,000 (presumably for four years).
  • Federal regulations add to cost, as do amenities.
  • Students utilizing dual credit programs and online offerings see lower overall costs.
  • “Our investigation found that several key factors may doom a Christian institution: incompetent financial planning, poor leadership, indistinctive education, and unorthodox professors. CCCU schools can err at either extreme: On one end, coddling students within a “Christian bubble” and quarantining them from “bad ideas,” and on the other offering a nearly secular education, relegating the “Christian” part of higher education to chapel and campus ministries.”

Read the whole thing (which may require a subscription–totally worth it).

Anya Kamenetz, DIY U, and the Future of Higher Education

There’s a growing number of books on higher education reform. One that I recently found interesting and provocative is DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz (staff writer for Fast Company who regularly publishes in a variety of places). Thankfully, Ms. Kamenetz was willing to answer a few questions for us.

Do you think high schools today push four-year college onto students who should be considering other paths (associate degrees, trade schools, etc.)? And if so, what, historically, has led to this bias?

It’s not just high schools that push the four year college ideal. American citizens overwhelmingly support that as the ideal, especially when you ask them about their own kids, and politicians follow their lead, making discussion of alternate paths taboo. Nobody wants to track kids but I think there’s a basic lack of awareness that more years of education doesn’t always add up to a better life. The key is for people to be able to pursue the course of study that’s right for them.

Continue Reading…

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