Tag: #covid

Issues in Education – Short-term Covid Cash leads to Long-term Layoffs – 4/15/24

Issues in Education – Short-term Covid Cash leads to Long-term Layoffs – 4/15/24

School Layoffs

Paying Student Teachers

Deadline for School Board Candidates



Dr. Ralph Kerr with the Teaching and Learning Institute has a mission to encourage Christians to get involved with their local public schools.  Here’s the latest on this week’s “Issues in Education” report.


Faith Under Fire – Long-term Lessons for Churches – 1/18/24

Faith Under Fire – Long-term Lessons for Churches – 1/18/24

What lessons learned during the “Covid Era” will help congregations thrive into the new future?

We have a return visit from Allison Norton of the Covid Religion Research Project, which is in the third year of a five-year study of 15,000 American congregations. In this new conversation Norton addresses how congregations are poised to either return to pre-pandemic patterns or use their relatively recent discoveries as springboards into faithful ministries.

There are divergent contexts in particular congregations and faith communities. Some are finding exhaustion and frustration are nudging people back toward wanting former programs and patterns. Norton says, though, and churches’ challenges from pre-2020 continue to happen. Other churches are maintaining some of the innovation and experimentation which Covid lockdowns forced upon them. She gives an example of a congregation which has had success with the elimination of large weekly worship events.

The research has found one key factor which is determining congregational health and vitality for current times and moving forward from here: whether or not there is an attitude of optimism.

Allison Norton is a faculty research associate for Hartford International University, based in Connecticut. She also directs the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England (PINNE).

This Lilly-funded study continues through 2025, taking surveys across various denominational and non-denominational churches, and doing in-depth analysis of church change since 2020. Reports, research results and recommendations are on the project’s social media and website: CovidReligionResearch.org , Facebook , X/Twitter , Newsletter

Congregational leaders and denominational networks can use these resources to foster ongoing evaluation, discussion and planning.


In addition to this podcast, you also can listen to our first interview with Allison Norton. That topic centered on how churches have rebounded short-term after however many months or years of shutdown, change and trying new methods.

Issues in Education – 1/15/24

Issues in Education – 1/15/24

Dr. Ralph Kerr at the “Teaching and Learning Institute” equips Christians to become engaged in their local public school.  Here’s what he’s discussing this week on “Issues In Education

  • Reading proficiency
  • The latest on Covid-era Learning Loss from Dr. Anthony Fauci
  • Anticipation of the top “Issues in Education” for PA and NY for 2024


You can also listen to, share, or download archive editions of Family Life’s “Issues in Education

Faith Under Fire – Post-Covid Rebounds – 01/04/24

Faith Under Fire – Post-Covid Rebounds – 01/04/24

A five-year research project on congregational vitality began just before the Covid shutdowns began in 2020. (The timing gives informative snapshots of the effect of the closing of church buildings, and the move of church life to electronic connections. It also gives us a long-view of how congregations have rebounded, and why some churches are seeing grow in the new era.)

That research has data from across the U.S. on how local churches fared during the pandemic, and analysis on how congregations have bounced back. Although local situations obviously vary, the national average is that overall worship attendance has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels. When those who worship online or through social media are included, the average church which offers at least one virtual option is seeing increased participation.

Allison Norton of Hartford International University joins Family Life to talk about the Religion Research Project, how various kinds of congregations are faring now, and what lessons church leaders can take from the Covid era, and what “next steps” seem to be most effective for churches and church networks.

Allison Norton is a faculty associate at Hartford International, and oversees its Covid Religion Research project.

She also directs the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England.

The Covid Religion Research website offers insights from this survey of 15,000 congregations, a research library, and information guides for congregational and denominational leaders. You will find those resources here. The Lilly-funded project also offers a newsletter for past results and future updates.


Faith Under Fire – Medical Authoritarianism – 11/09/23

Faith Under Fire – Medical Authoritarianism – 11/09/23

Two years ago, there was a split among public opinion about the efficacy of Covid-19 protection methods. <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/group-scientists-workers-holding-tubes_7333734.htm#query=group%20scientists&position=4&from_view=keyword&track=ais">Image by pikisuperstar</a> on Freepik

Now, our guest contends that even more widespread distrust of public health officials bodes a dangerous future, should another widespread epidemic arise.

A Christian psychology professor says the challenge came when scientists went beyond measuring and analyzing data, also making decisions which should be the prerogative of the elected leaders, or of the people.  Luke Conway is on the faculty of Grove City College. He says it became hard to “follow the science” when some of the scientists were against doing good science by refusing to consider other scientific evidence and other researchers’ observations. Conway contends that most of those who lean into authoritarianism, censorship or name-calling are primarily motivated by fear. He quotes Scripture that “perfect love casts out fear.” [1 John 4:8]

In this Family Life Interview, he also emphasizes the roles for politicians and the general public to take all the available information — from all angles and emphases — and come up with the best decisions. He ends the conversation with his prescription for navigating social strife and cultural disagreements. A Christ-mandated involvement will bring about restoration, consensus and hope — when people of faith start with a good dose of humility, a commitment to love those who disagree, and seek the best welfare of the city, nation or community.


“Early in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci is reported to have said to Donald Trump: “I just do medical advice. I don’t think about things like the economy and the secondary impacts. I’m just an infectious diseases doctor. Your job as president is to take everything else into consideration.”  —Luke G. Conway, writing for the Institute for Faith and Freedom at Grove City, PA. His full essay on the topic (using a sports rulebook analogy) is e-published here.

Luke Conway is also a fellow at the Institute for Faith and Freedom, and frequently writes about academic research and socio-political trends.


Issues in Education – Migrants, Masks, and Bus Drivers – 09/11/23

Issues in Education – Migrants, Masks, and Bus Drivers – 09/11/23

Family Life’s “Issues in Education” News Feature is back for the start of the new school year.

Dr. Ralph Kerr, a longtime school administrator and the founder of the Teaching and Learning Institute talks about key issues happening now among classrooms, school boards, and communities. These conversations are important for parents, extended families and taxpayers.

This week:

  • Migrant crisis in the classroom,
  • Shortages of school bus drivers: The latest update
  • Are the masks coming back at school?

Bob Price is your host.  Ralph Kerr and TLI are based in Houghton, New York.


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