It's Labor Day—the end of summer, the beginning of the school year (though now schools usually begin earlier), the time when the pennant races get interesting (will the Mets collapse yet again?), and the traditional kick-off for the presidential races (as you may have noticed, those now begin earlier as well). But, it may occur to you as you grill in your backyard or sit in traffic on the way back from the beach, why "Labor Day"?
Glad you asked. Even if most celebrants aren't thinking much about the meaning of the holiday they're enjoying, the holidays a nation celebrates tell you a lot about its history, its beliefs, even its way of life. So if you want to take a minute to reflect on the meaning of Labor Day, visit the American Calendar section of the excellent What So Proudly We Hail website, assembled by the late Amy Kass along with Leon Kass and Diana Schaub. There you will find collected documents and readings about each of the American holidays, along with a thoughtful commentary to guide you through them.
Labor Day is more entitled than any other to be called a national holiday. Other holidays had their origin in state legislative action. Labor Day had its origin in national legislative action. After Congress had taken the lead the states followed. It is moreover a peculiarly American holiday. It is a most characteristic representation of our ideals. No other country, I am told, makes a like observance. But in America this high tribute is paid in recognition of the worth and dignity of the men and women who toil.
You come here as representative Americans. You are true representatives. I cannot think of anything characteristically American that was not produced by toil. I cannot think of any American man or woman preeminent in the history of our Nation who did not reach their place through toil. I cannot think of anything that represents the American people as a whole so adequately as honest work. We perform different tasks, but the spirit is the same. We are proud of work and ashamed of idleness. With us there is no task which is menial, no service which is degrading. All work is ennobling and all workers are ennobled.
Nearly everyone recognizes that student debt has risen to a level that will be difficult to sustain, given the nation’s slow-growing economy and the sagging incomes of too many college-educated Americans. Nearly 40 million Americans carry some form of student debt; more than 7 million are in default on their loans, and many more have missed scheduled payments. The total amount of outstanding student debt is estimated to be $1.2 trillion, with about two-thirds of this sum underwritten by the federal government.
A congressman's son is part of a black market at school to sell junk food, the child's mother revealed on Fox News. The revelation came from child's mother, Rachel Campos-Duffy, who is married to Rep. Sean Duffy, an accomplice in the black market sales of junk food.
Thanks to Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, salad may soon be added to the list of government-enshrined responsibilities.
The Salad Bars in Schools Expansion Act, which was introduced by the Ohio congressman last week, aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by school-age children. It would create a grant program to install salad bars in public schools across the nation.
The speed with which the transgender agenda is moving may end up making the same-sex marriage debate look slow and deliberative by comparison. And now Scholastic, the children's publisher that specializes in distributing and selling books through schools, is poised to bring the issue to a middle school classroom near you. The medium is George, the story of an eight year old boy named George who desperately wants to be considered a girl.
In school, the intense pressure to do well on tests creates a temptation to cheat. And in Philadelphia, it seems that teachers and their supervisors succumbed to it. As Stephanie Banchero of the Wall Street Journal writes:
For nearly 30 years—at least since Bill Bennett’s tenure as secretary of education and Lamar Alexander’s as governor of Tennessee—education-minded conservatives at both national and state levels have embraced a two-part school reform strategy, focused equally on rigorous standards and parental choice. Recent events have frayed that coalition, but it’s not too late to stitch it back together.
A Louisiana high school is in "chaos" after 57 teachers skipped school to protest the governor in Baton Rouge. The problem is that there were not enough substitute teachers to replace those who decided to protest the Republican governor, Bobby Jindal.
"Operations at Lafayette High School were thrown into 'chaos' on Wednesday after 57 teachers were absent, said Lafayette Parish Superintendent Pat Cooper," reports theadvertiser.com.
"Cooper said the majority of those teachers attended a rally of educators at the state capitol in Baton Rouge.
President Barack Obama will put more "counselors" in school to help thwart gun violence. According to a background briefer provided by the White House, Obama hopes to add an additional 1,000 "school resource officers and counselors."