More prayer battles in Tenn.: The University of Tennessee is standing by its tradition of asking fans to pause for prayer before football games. The same group that convinced the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) to replace its prayer time with a moment of silence also targeted the state system's flagship campus in Knoxville with cease and desist demands, according to a report in the Knoxville News Sentinel. The Freedom From Religion Foundation told the newspaper that prayer was out of place at a secular school. But school administrators said they did not believe the pre-game invocation violated the U.S. Constitution. While the school's legal team prepares a response, the prayers continue. No word on whether the secular group plans to take its challenge to court if the school doesn't comply.
Campaigning in class: Another teacher is in trouble for encouraging students to vote for President Barack Obama in November. Sharon Sweet, a tenured professor at Brevard Community College (BCC), in Cocoa, Fla., asked students to sign a pledge card she printed from a pro-Obama website. The pledge affirmed students would vote for the president and Democrats "up and down the ticket." A concerned parent outed the professor, who is now on unpaid leave. At least teaching won't get in the way of working on the campaign between now and Nov. 6.
Disconnected youth: A new report released by the Social Science Research Council claims that one out of every seven young people--5.8 million--is not in school or working. The Measure of America study analyzed Americans between 16 and 24 years old in the nation's 25 largest major metro areas. The 5.8 million "disconnected youth" are costing the country $93.7 billion in government support and lost tax revenue, according to the report. Rates of disconnection are highest among African-American youth--22.5 percent. Men are more likely to be disconnected than women. The study's authors conclude more emphasis should be placed on technical education and less on the idea that everyone should go to college.