Daily Devotional: Not Called to Warfare But to Witness


DrTony:

Great thoughts, which I hope echo what I said earlier this week!

Originally posted on progressiveredneckpreacher:

The truth is like a lion you don't have to defend it let it loose it will defend itselfPsalm 35 is a call for God to fight and defend his hurting children.

So often we get this backwards in our society, believing God calls us to fight and defend God’s honor. So we raise Cain about the Bible and Christianity being in dishonor, waging little culture wars with others around us.   Mostly those are non-violent, but at times they sure do break out in violence – not just the violence of terrorists from the Middle East (which is an expression of this same desire to defend God) but also in home-grown acts of violence and discrimination.

joan of arcGod does not call us to defend God here, as if God is a helpless child in need of a grownup like us to take her or him by the hand, lead them to safety, and run off her or his bullies. No, God is depicted as able to take care of…

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“Notes On The Common Core”


I would be most interested in your thoughts on this topic.


 

The problem with the Common Core (or Common Core State Standards Initiative as it more properly known) is not that it is a federally imposed mandate (which it is not) but because it was implemented without prior notice or proper preparation and training. And when any program begins without prior notice, training, or preparation it will probably fail.

There is also a historical basis to the problems associated with the Common Core Initiative and that was the now infamous “No Child Left Behind” legislation. While the NCLB legislation may have been well intended, its implementation has proven a disaster. And the efforts to repair that damage have been as equally disastrous.

A second point to consider is that we had some of the answers to many of our educational problems some fifty years ago when we began what we called the “space race.” But when we won that “race”, the money for education was diverted to the war in Viet Nam and the solutions in place began to disappear.

Let the reader understand that, for me, education is not only the learning of information (which I believe is the present and sole emphasis of the educational process) but the learning of skills that will allow the student to learn on their own, both in and outside the classroom. In essence, the educational process is self-eliminating; we teach our students in such a way that they can begin learning on their own.

Now, I realize this is not always possible. What is possible for a young adult of sixteen is not necessarily possible for a child of seven or eight but we cannot necessarily simply teach for the next year (as happens now).

I also think that we need to think about education at the highest possible level. Right now, our educational process focuses on a rather low-level, ensuring that all children pass. If we shift the focus to a higher level, we can still make sure that all children pass but also have the necessary and proper skills for life outside the classroom.

So how do we achieve a solution where all children receive an equal education, that allows them to achieve whatever they wish to seek (which may not necessarily be what their parents want) and have education be, as Indira Gandhi noted,

. . . a liberating force, and in our age . . . democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.”

We begin by recognizing that there are two sets of goals inherent in teaching children. The first are the goals met during a particular time frame and which allow the child to progress through the educational system. What we also have to realize is that each child learns at their own rate and we have to be careful to keep that in mind and not forcing the child to learn at a rate that they cannot keep up.

Second, there are a set of cumulative goals. These are the goals that represent the sum of the period goals and represent what a person needs requires for success in society.

We must also realize that if we want the highest possible results, we cannot keep up the “test now” attitude. Learning takes place and the only way you are going to know if someone has learned something is to ask them later, say six months after they have learned it. (And the research shows this is most often true. People may understand during class that all objects fall at the same rate but when you ask them later, they revert to the heavier objects fall faster answer.)

An emphasis must also be place on the teaching of thinking skills. This does not end the need for learning information but changes the emphasis from simply knowing information to using the information.

Learning must become an active process as opposed to the passive process that takes place now. And this is especially true in the STEM areas. Right now, in most instructional practices, the student reads the material, do some practice problems, and then take a test over the material. I cannot say whether this approach works in other areas such as English and social studies but it does not do well in mathematics and the various sciences.

A more active approach would be to have the students explore an area of interest (which would be a natural extension of their normal behavior) and develop a concept to explain what they have observed. The teacher/instructor can be the leader or students can do it on their own.

After identifying the concept and relating it to a broader scheme, the students are evaluated. This approach allows the learner to develop the necessary thinking skills as well as calling into play previous learning experiences.

Now, I realize that this method uses far more resources than current methods but we have to realize that a cheap education is

not necessarily a good education. If we are to obtain the desired effects, we must realize that the current funding plan for most schools does not work.

Right now, the economic status of a school district determines the educational content and outcome of the schools in the district. And we have seen that, over the years, money spent on education today yields better economic effects tomorrow.

To go back to the beginning, there really is no problem with the Common Core Initiative; there was and is a problem with its implementation. And we have to realize that the solution to the present problem will not be resolved overnight or next week because we have allowed things to really get screwed up.

We will need to do the following:

  1. Equalize school funding, both across state levels and across the nation. If this means taking funds from the defense and national security establishment, so be it. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
  2. Make sure that teachers in the classroom are well-prepared to undertake the changes being implemented. This means taking more than just a few days before the beginning of the school year and also that it will be an ongoing process from the first day of employment.
  3. Make sure that the parents and guardians of the students are part of the process. It does no good to make changes in the classroom if they are not understood at home. This will need the involvement of the parents and guardians because they will need to know how things work (and how they have changed from when they were in school; we cannot simply teach children today the way their parents and grandparents were taught).
  4. Finally, society as a whole needs to understand what education means. Education can no longer be a secondary issue in the thought and decision-making process of society. Right now, we need to shift our funds from tasks that ultimately result in the destruction of things to tasks that construction of things.

The Situation Today


DrTony:

I am re-blogging this post from a little over four years ago because things really haven’t changed all that much. In fact, the amount of money being spent on political campaigns has probably increased and the needs that I described in this post are probably still the same.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Heart On The Left:

I posted this on my Facebook page earlier today but since not everyone who reads this blog is my friend on Facebook, I figured I would post it here as well.
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In the New York Times this morning it was reported that President Obama has raised almost 90 million dollars for his relection campaign.

The Washington Post reported that Mitt Romney raised over 18 million dollars in the last three months. He has more than double the money of his closest competitor (Michele Bachman).

That means that, conservatively, some people or corporations have given over 100 million dollars for an election.

If there ever was a better example of the problems with this country, this has to be it. How many people would have been feed if this money had been directed toward the food banks and feeding ministries of this country? Over 1000 children are now receiving free…

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An On-going Culture of War


DrTony:

I am re-blogging this post from 2008 simply because I think there are some who would like us to be in another war. And on the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I think we really need to think about what a war today might be like.

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Heart On The Left:

It was Robert E. Lee who, following the battle of Fredericksburg stated that “it is fortunate that war is so terrible – lest we should grow fond of it.” He also wrote in a letter to his wife on Christmas Day, 1862, “What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! I pray that, on this day when only peace and good-will are preached to mankind, better thoughts may fill the hearts of our enemies and turn them to peace. … My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.”

clip_image002[5]In a saying that has been passed down through the ages, we are reminded that nobody…

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“Which Path Will You Take?”


A Meditation for 2 August, 2015, the 10th Sunday after Pentecost (Year B), based on 2 Samuel 11: 26 – 12: 13, Ephesians 4: 1 – 16, and John 6: 24 – 35

When the first “Cosmos” television series concluded, Carl Sagan suggested that society was at a crossroads. One path lead to the exploration of the universe and beyond; the other path lead to death and destruction through violence and war. At that time, we were still technically in the Cold War and President Reagan’s rhetoric did not help an image of some sort of nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Of course, shortly thereafter, the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Soviet-style communism. Much to the dismay of many, I don’t think that we can create President Reagan for this outcome. Oh, I don’t doubt that he had a part in it but I don’t think that increasing military spending will ever be the answer because, sooner or later, you end up having to justify all that spending and that means going to war.

It is now some forty years later and we are again, I think, at another crossroads. And while one path perhaps leads to new discoveries, the other is still a path that leads to destruction. We are a society that still believes that the answer to violence is violence and we are becoming a society where concern for the other person is minimized. It seems to me that the rich and powerful will do whatever is necessary to hold onto what they have and to continue getting more, no matter what the consequences of their actions might be. And if we continue on this path, if we continue to hold onto the notion that we must hold onto what we have and gather more, then there will come a time, when there won’t be anything left.

Think about it; if one person gathered up all the resources in the world for themselves and allowed no one else to have anything, either nothing would get done or the other people would rise up in revolt.

The time is now to make a decision, not to try and gather everything we can for ourselves (and Jesus told at least parable about the outcome of such actions) but rather to insure that everyone has enough. And we have to realize that all the material stuff that you gather but will never use can never provide the solace and comfort that your spirit and soul needs.

And if your spirit and soul are not comfortable, there is no way that you can discover new things or seek new ideas.

Jesus spoke of the Bread of Life, the food that would feed your spirit. What we have to do is find ways to feed the spirit and soul of the people. We don’t have to lead them to Christ but show them the way. We cannot force people to follow Christ but we can show them the way.

So, as we come to these crossroads, we have to make a choice. One will give us a good life but it is a life that will be limited; the other choice will lead to a good life that goes beyond what we can see or envision. Which path do we take?