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| Do Utah Public Schools Still Grant Credit For Attending Seminary? |
Thursday, Dec 9, 2010, at 08:17 AM
Original Author(s): Ptloma
Topic: SEMINARY -Link To MC Article-
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| The Canyons school district (Sandy) ramped up its graduation requirements by adding two "honor diplomas": you can graduate with the basic diploma, which allows enough holes for a period lost to Seminary each semester, or one of two honor diplomas (can't remember the name) which required 21 or 24 credits vs. the basis 18 credits.
LDS officials were moaning and whining that this would adversely affect Seminary and The Church by "forcing" the church to offer Early Morning sessions where normally it was released time. To earn the two more rigorous diplomas, you could not attend released Seminary (for the middle diplomas you could attend released time one semester per year but not two). The superintendent did not back down (and I would surprised if he is not LDS) and got his way, despite church protests. Essentially, the 24-credit diploma earners were doing what non-Morridor peers must do: attend early morning if at all, in order to use all available school hours to earn credits to graduate.
Enhanced diplomas are nothing new. We had them in San Diego city schools from the 1960s. They offered a special "diploma with academic distinction" which required more courses, and a certain percentage of them had to be designated as honors or AP courses. Grades of A or B in those courses were required (a C or D would not count toward the minimum number of courses required).
The superintendent is to be commended for standing up to LDS Inc pressure and for throwing light on the dirty little secret of released time's impact on high school education in Utah. By the way, released time was approved by the US Supreme Court and technically is legal everywhere in the US if school districts choose to offer it. As late as the 1980s, elementary schools in Anaheim had released time (but once a week, not once a day) offered in off-campus trailers, operated by a consortium of Protestant churches. Other denominations have used released time, but usually no church has enough of its members concentrated in one area to make it worthwhile except among LDS inside the Morridor.
Here is the website for San Diego schools and their Academic Distinction diploma:
When I was in school in the 70s, the 3.5 GPA option to earn the diploma did not exist. You had to complete the 14 credits in honors courses in grades 10-12, with A or B grades (technically, you could graduate with a 3.0 GPA and get this award, though in practice most people who took this rigorous a schedule usually had much higher grades).
There was something called a "dean's list" for all people who finished with a 3.2 or higher, but no one ever saw the dean's list until graduation day when it was printed in the hand out program (I'd never heard of it, actually).
There was an honor society (California Scholastic Federation; California schools could choose between CSF or National Honor Society, and some schools had both), basically you had to have a 3.5 GPA or higher, but membership was not automatic, you had to apply each semester and pay nominal dues. If you were a member for at least six of eight semesters, you were deemed a Life Member and a special gold CSF seal was added to the diploma. Academic distinction was listed on the diploma and an additional gold seal was added. I didn't realize this was anything extraordinary until I saw a friend's diploma with no gold seals on it, which is what most people received. CSF Life Members got to wear an extra gold tassel at graduation, and Academic Distinction students were issued "honor cords" to drape over one's neck and shoulder in the school colors.
Don't know about Utah schools, but many schools outside the Morridor offer extra "weighting" for AP or honors classes, with an A counting 5 instead of 4 points, B counting as 4 instead of 3, and so forth. As a result, one sees GPAs in the high 4's, though no one hits 5.0 since some courses (PE, Band 1, etc.) have no AP or honors version (there IS an AP in Music, I believe, but I digress). Where I live, the high school simply designates everyone with over 4.0 GPA as a co-valedictorian, and the one student with the overall highest GPA is designated "Scholar of scholars".
Quite often, the kids near the top ALL have ALL A's on their transcript, and the separation between say 4.72 and 4.68 may be only one additional AP or honors course taken. I have a patient who was Scholar of Scholars c. 2001, and he said the only reason why he was on top was that he had been accelerated in math in middle school (took full year of algebra in 7th grade), thus finishing calculus in 11th grade and then taking AP Statistics in 12th grade. While a half dozen or so other students had done the same in math, the others either had one B or had taken one less AP course elsewhere along the line. He said specifically that a handful of his classmates had records identical to his minus having taken AP Stats.
That said, if you and I took the same courses and earned all A's, but you took an additional honors or AP course each year while I was studying the Restored Gospel in Seminary for one period each day, you would have taken more honors courses (eight more, by the end of high school) than I and--if the school weights AP/honors grades---your GPA would be higher than mine, even though we both had all A's for four years. You would be rewarded for having taken more courses.
If, on the other hand, the school did not weight AP/honors grades, with the maximum GPA being 4.00, then a Mormon taking fewer courses but still getting all A's would be rewarded with the status of valedictorian or higher class rank. When you apply to a competitive school (NOT defined as BYU), the admissions officers don't just look at GPA, they look at the transcript with courses taken, to evaluate the depth and difficulty of your high school courses.
I graduated from high school when GPA was not weighted. Two women in our class both finished #1 with perfect 4.0 GPAs. However, two honors courses for seniors, political science and calculus, were offered on campus by the community college district. Both women were in the calculus class, but both earned B's. This did not lower their GPAs, because the calculus class was not a "high school class" (i.e. not taught BY the high school) and was not computed into their GPAs. One of the two valedictorians did not take many honors courses outside of math, and in a weighted system would have slipped behind those with a few B's but whose transcripts were loaded with AP courses.
Also, our school computed class rank including PE courses, which were required every semester at that time. I had several friends with all A's and one B in PE, which put them one notch behind the women who finished first (and two of these also pulled A's in calculus).
| Hate. It's A Strong Word, But He Deserved It. |
Friday, Jan 14, 2011, at 08:20 AM
Original Author(s): Queen Of Denial
Topic: SEMINARY -Link To MC Article-
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| I grew up in southeast Idaho and subsequently was not forced to attend early morning seminary. I was privileged to attend released time seminary instead.
By my junior year, I was in a seminary class with a certain teacher who I really enjoyed, for the third time. Although each year we studied different scriptures, he used a lot of the same games and quotes every trimester.
One day, near the beginning of the trimester, he had us play this game that was supposed to mimic the Law of Consecration. He divided the room up into four groups and declared us families. The game was composed of a certain amount of rounds, and each round the four different families would decide if they were going to choose and "X" or and "O" (Maybe he used different letters. I can't remember.)
This is how a family earned points:
If every family chose and "O," then every family got 2 points.
If some family chose "X's" and some "O's" then only the families who chose the "X" would get 1 point. The "O" families got zero.
I had played this game every single trimester and knew how it worked. I was bored and decided to have a little fun. I convinced my family to choose and "X" every single round. The mood was very silly and lighthearted. In the beginning, two of the other families chose an "X" too, but a certain family chose and "O" every single round. Slowly, the other two families started feeling bad for this consistently "O" family so they eventually started choosing "O's" too.
Awesome. Our family quickly pulled ahead. Yay! We were winning this silly little game and there's only a few minutes left of class. Hallelujah!
By the end of class, the mood had changed. Every family but mine was very somber. My family was evil. I kid you not. I thought this was a game. Apparently, I was wrong.
The next day, the teacher brought doughnuts for the family who chose the "O" every single round. He explained that he was so touched by their sacrifice and steadfast selflessness. At first I thought he was being silly. Nope. He started to tear up. He told his wife all about it over dinner and she insisted that he buy them doughnuts.
In a nauseatingly selfless-pompous-we're-so-good attitude, they shared with the rest of the class... even my evil family, of whom I was the obvious leader who led them astray.
Coincidentally, I was on a health kick and politely refused. Immediately, the teacher pounced on my refusal and made some smart ass comment and the entire class was staring at me.
From that point on, the teacher would make a mean comment whenever I would try to contribute to the conversation, so I clammed up and kept quiet. That was very out of character for me. I was a good student and enjoyed participating. Because of his constant picking, I really started to feel small in that class. Then, he started to pick on me because I wasn't talking, like I was rebelling or something.
Almost a month later, he presented the class with an object lessons about "throwing stones." He would have students call out names of evil people like, Hitler, which he would write on the sliding black board, and then the student got to throw rolled-up sock "stones" at the name.
By this point, I hadn't said a word in weeks. Out of nowhere he tossed me the sock and asked for a name. The lesson was obvious so I said something about "who was I to judge." At that, he said something incredibly mean, which I truly wish I could remember, about me trying to be good now.
I couldn't believe it! It was a GAME! I was the child. He was the adult and he was picking on me. Maybe one or two joking comments... okay, but every single day? Especially when I wasn't playing along? It wasn't funny.
I just glared at him. In that moment, I truly hated him. I had never really hated anyone before, so it was an intense emotion for me. I guess he finally got a clue because his demeanor changed and he said, "I bet you want to throw this at me right now."
"Yep. How could you tell?"
To this day, I wish I would have just stood up, walked out and never returned.
| I attended seminary during the late 80s/early 90s in the Salt Lake area. I enjoyed my 9th grade experience as we were covering the New Testament and I enjoyed the stuff about Jesus (that dude TOOK THE TIME to construct a whip before beating people at the temple).
In tenth grade we "covered" the DandC. What I mean by that is we mostly spent time watching movies including "Land Before Time" and "The Little Mermaid". (I'm sure the church didn't have a license to do that.) I do not recall learning anything LDS related that entire year.
During my Junior year in HS we covered the BoM. My seminary teacher was not married at the time. He spent more of his time worrying about that (and losing his job) than teaching us. We didn't learn anything beyond what is offered to Primary aged children. Well, adult Gospel Doctrine too for that matter.
Come my Senior year in HS I was getting worried. I was a year away from serving a mission. I had no idea what LDS doctrines were all about and expected to understand them before committing two years of my life for them. I expressed my concern one day in class right before we were going to re-watch "Johnny Lingo" for the nth time. I said, "Could we study the scriptures today and actually learn something?" The seminary teacher didn't even respond. He left the room and returned with the seminary principal who in turn escorted me out of the building.
I could not believe it. I was being kicked out of seminary because I wanted to learn the gospel in order to become an effective missionary.
Needless to say my parents were upset and sent me back the next day. They promised I would no longer disrupt the class as long as the discussion was gospel oriented. Fair enough. I kept my promise.
I was kicked out again the following week because I asked a doctrinal question the same teacher could not answer. It wasn't due to the fact he couldn't answer but he had lost "control" of my fellow classmates who started to "murmur" against his ability as a gospel instructor.
Again I was escorted out of the building by the seminary principal and went home to angry parents. My dad called the principal to determine what was going on. After a half hour of heated exchange the seminary principal finally admitted to lying about me being a "disruptive influence". He said the real reason they kicked me out is they couldn't meet my demands on learning the gospel.
It turns out church policy during that era was one of entertaining the kids to prevent them from sluffing school and to provide happy/good memories during their seminary experience. This policy was later confirmed to me years later by my bishop (whom I served with as ward financial clerk),who was a seminary principal. He actually apologized to me on behalf of the church for my experience (talk about going outside the chain of command, er, I mean priesthood authority!).
Being kicked out of seminary (twice) for the reason of wanting to be an effective missionary resulted in my choice of not going on a mission. Oh, the irony!
| Seminary Teacher Signed My Daughter Up Without My Permission |
Friday, Jan 4, 2013, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Luvcake
Topic: SEMINARY -Link To MC Article-
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| When my daughter was in Middle school, we had just left the church a years before. My daughter decided to cut and go to seminary with her mormon friends. They were giving out candy bars or something and having a recruiting party of sorts. Well, the seminary teacher went to the school and signed her up for seminary, which meant he had to cancel one of her other classes.( normally you have to pay for a class change) All done this done without my permission.
I went to the school and basically set the secretary up by asking her a lot of questions about how things worked. After she gave me the answers I already knew I asked her how a seminary teacher, which has nothing to do with the school district, could just come in here and switch my daughters class without my permission? She fumbled for a bit looking for the signed letter. Sure enough it was only the seminary teachers signature with no charge. I was so angry!!
The seminary teacher asked my daughter if I would like him to call and talk to me about going to seminary and she assured him that was a very bad Idea.
Later that week the principal called me at work, not my cell phone, so I took a call from him in front of two other women who I knew were LDS. He said something about her cutting and that there were worse things than going to seminary. Etc.
Now 5 years later I would have had SO, SO much I would have said to both those morons. But, I was still in shock mode and wasn't sure what the boundaries were. What I learned is that there isn't any boundaries!!
| Church Education Institute And Seminary Teacher Of 14 Years Resigns From Church And Job |
Thursday, Feb 7, 2013, at 12:05 PM
Original Author(s): Avidreader
Topic: SEMINARY -Link To MC Article-
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| See: http://mormonstories.org/?p=2322
In this episode we interview John and Brooke McLay. John served for 14 years as an employee of the LDS Church Education System (CES). In this capacity he served as: a seminary teacher and principal, an institute teacher and director, a BYU Education Week speaker and an EFY Director. John also served as a member of a stake high council, and was serving in a bishopric during the months leading up to his decision to leave the LDS Church. John and Brooke resigned their membership of the LDS Church in August of 2011. This is their story.
Part 1: Growing up in the LDS Church and Serving as an LDS CES Seminary and Institute Teacher
Part 2: Ceasing to Believe in the LDS Church as a CES Seminary and Institute Teacher
Part 3: The Decision to Resign from the LDS Church as a CES Seminary and Institute Teacher
Part 4: How the LDS Church Education System (CES) Harms the Church and Its Members
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