Education Archives

As home schooling parents, who happen to reside in California, it has always been our intention to give our children the opportunity to attend whichever university they desired and were qualified for. While private universities are certainly an option (an expensive option), we have also wanted our children to have the opportunity to attend a state supported school (primarily because of the lower cost involved). Yet, it wasn’t until our first child was in her junior year of high school that we seriously addressed the following question:

How does a home schooled high school graduate properly apply and get admitted to either a Cal State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) school?

Are you a home schooling parent, in California, who can relate to this question? Has the prospect of home schooling your child through high school caused you to have more than a few sleepless nights?

Read the rest of this entry

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    Suing Educational Success

    Hurricane Katrina caused unimaginable devastation to the city of New Orleans and to the state of state of Louisiana itself, but it did provide an opportunity to push the reset button on some of the city’s and state’s policies. One of these resets has occurred in the area of education.

    Last year, Louisiana’s legislature established a voucher program for poor kids who would otherwise be stuck in failing public schools. It received bipartisan support, and is part of a larger set of reforms statewide; that reset button. Here are some of the results:

    • Last spring, Louisiana’s graduation rate reached an all-time high, with 72.3 percent of students graduating from high school on time, up from 64.8 percent in 2005.
    • About 85 percent of students using Louisiana’s vouchers are black. In Louisiana, where 45 percent of blacks remain in poverty, this can only be a good thing economically, both for the kids for whom many more doors open when they have a high school diploma, and for the state economy, as more workers with a better education helps deal with unemployment.

    When he was in Louisiana this month, President Obama said these words in a speech. “Let’s give everybody a chance to get ahead, not just a few at the top, but everybody. If we do that, if we help our businesses grow, our communities thrive and our children reach a little higher, then the economy is going to grow faster. We’ll rebuild our middle class — stronger.”

    Now that sounds great, and it’s exactly what the school voucher program is doing; giving everybody a chance to get ahead. Which is why it’s rather incongruous of the President’s Department of Justice to be suing the state to essentially halt the program, on the grounds that if poor black children leave terrible schools for better ones, those failing schools become less diverse?

    And here we get to the crux of the matter. To the Left, results don’t matter if they are achieved by proving liberal policies wrong; in this case, the idea that the government is the best educator of kids. Further, diversity has not been negatively impacted, and in some cases, has improved, so they’re making stuff up just to protect their orthodoxy, and hurting school children in the process.

    Don’t listen to this administration’s rhetoric, watch what they do. Their politics are more important than the outcomes.

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      Not What He Meant, But True Nonetheless

      Mr Taranto highlighted a Yglesias post in which Mr Yglesias opines against educational meritocracy. Mr Yglesias is wrong in assuming that “white people” would have problems with Asians getting more places in higher education based on their higher grades and test scores. I offer myself as one white person who sees nothing at all wrong and a lot right with more people with better grades and test scores regardless of the color of their skin getting into the better schools. Furthermore he concludes:

      But rather than dedicating the most resources to the “best” students and then fighting over who’s the best, we should be allocating resources to the people who are mostly likely to benefit from additional instructional resources.

      I wholeheartedly agree. We should allocate more of our educational resources to those who are most likely to benefit from additional instructional resources. Who are those people most likely to benefit? We call them the gifted students (at least those gifted students who are also willing to work hard).

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        Links for Sunday, 27 January 2013

        Home School Edition (particulary for a couple of new homeschool moms I know)

        Homeschooling and Socialization
        Ah, yes. The question that won’t go away. From the post,

        And lets face it — the “Lord of the Flies” social scene in most schoolyards never occurs anywhere else in life. I never encountered anything remotely resembling it in college, grad school or the work place. Women in groups may at times verge on being a bit “catty,” but maturity has deadened the sharper edges of the claws they may have had as schoolgirls. And besides, maturity works both ways — women have thicker skin than young girls.

        ###

        Well, homeschooled kids ARE NOT well socialized
        Depending on how you define “well socialized.” From the post,

        I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s nothing “normal” about our kids. Your homeschooled child is odd compared to the schooled population because they have not experienced ongoing school-based socialization and standardization.

        When you consider that the homeschooled population makes up only 3-6% of the entire school-going population, you may begin to understand just how different your kids are or will be.

        ###

        Does Homeschooling threaten public school systems?
        From Glenn Reynolds,

        Traditional public schools haven’t changed much for decades (and to the extent they have, they’ve mostly gotten worse). But the rest of the world has changed a lot. The public who eagerly purchased Henry Ford’s Model T (available in any color you want, so long as it’s black!) now lives in a world where almost everything is infinitely customized and customizable. That makes one-size-fits-all education, run on a Fordist model itself, look like a bad deal.

        ###

        Homeschooling: resistance is futile
        From The Atlantic, even “progressives” have been smitten with the allure of homeschooling.

        So we are making a different choice. Sure, we have philo­sophical reasons. Some of the parents in our circle are “unschoolers,” convinced that early education should follow a child’s interests and initiatives rather than shape them. Some of us aspire to offer something like a classical education: logic and rhetoric, mythology, Latin. Most of us are put off by the public schools’ emphasis on standardized tests and their scant attention to the visual arts, music, religion, and foreign languages.

        ###

        Your homeschooled teen will be better prepared for college
        Due to their lack of socialization skills, no doubt. From the article,

        They’re also better socialized than most high school students, says Joe Kelly, an author and parenting expert who home-schooled his twin daughters.

        “I know that sounds counterintuitive because they’re not around dozens or hundreds of other kids every day, but I would argue that’s why they’re better socialized,” Kelly says. “Many home-schoolers play on athletic teams, but they’re also interactive with students of different ages.”

        Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, Kelly says, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.

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          Links for Monday, 31 December 2012

          Exporting the “old and sick” to another place

          But don’t worry – I’m sure it’s for “the common good.”

          From The Guardian,

          Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.

          …with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.

          Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.

          Something to think about as we travers the road towards nationalized healthcare.

          ###

          The Last Radicals
          From the National Review,

          There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional.

          The author contends that opponents to homeschoolers have three core reasons.

          The first is that progressives by their nature do not trust people as individuals and feel that, whether we are applying for a credit card or popping into 7-Eleven for a soft drink, Americans require state-appointed overseers.

          The second reason for this hostility is that while there is a growing number of secular, progressive, organic-quinoa-consuming homeschool families, there remains a significant conservative and Christian component.

          A third reason is that the majority of homeschool teachers are mothers. A traditional two-parent family with one full-time breadwinner and one stay-at-home parent is practically built into the model.

          Long live independence!

          ###

          Safe, legal and… rare?
          From Touchstone Magazine,

          The Federal Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) released a report on the eve of Thanksgiving showing that there was an historic drop of five percent in the abortion rate, the most in a decade. The data is from 2009, the latest year available, and shows that there were only 789,000 abortions. [emphasis in original]

          The author states that data from California was not included, so the number of abortions most likely was over 1,000,000.

          As for the demographics, this unsettling note,

          Approximately 85 percent of women who aborted their babies were unmarried. The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy. White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for African-American women was about four times that; and the abortion rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

          The liberal mantra of being there for the disadvantaged seems to get turned on its head.

          And to put some perspective on the killing of 1,000,000 unborn children every year, it’s like having 137 Sandy Hook mass killings EVERY DAY.

          ###

          A belated Christmas Light Painting link for you all
          Here’s a great example!

          Merry Christmas Everyone!

          © Michael Ross

          ###

          Doctrine vs. Methodology?
          From The Gospel Coalition,

          Pastors constantly face temptation to devote more time and energy to methods rather than to doctrine. If that includes you, then give heed to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:16: “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

          Following the imperative to keep watch on himself, Paul further instructs Timothy to keep watch on his doctrine. My observation, however, is that most ministers aren’t doing this. They don’t talk about doctrine. They don’t read it. If they’re paying close attention to anything, it is their methods and psychology. What’s the result? Less biblical fidelity. Less interest in truth. Less seriousness. Less depth.

          Neglecting doctrine results in less capacity to offer a compelling alternative to the thinking of our generation. I often hear the excuse that pastors aren’t studying theology because they’re too busy trying to reach more people. Ironically, this pursuit of identification often comes with a corresponding loss of communication. We put forth all this effort to make people feel comfortable and at home so they don’t feel the difference between life in Christ and life without Christ. Problem is, it is supposed to be different when you come to Christ. That is the point.

          [emphasis added]

          ###

          From Radicals to Oddballs
          Oh, those homeschoolers,

          There are two facets to educating a child well. The first is to recognize that education is not merely the accumulation of facts, but that it has an unavoidably moral aspect. A suitable education must do more, therefore, than simply teach facts, even moral facts. Education must seek to cultivate the moral imagination of the child, for reducing moral education to a list of rules is bound to fail.

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            Friday Link Wrap-up

            No, the Bush tax cuts didn’t cause the recession. Yes, Obama’s "recovery" has been the worst in history. These and other economic realities can be summed up in this graph. (Click for a larger version.)

             

            A sex scandal involving adults and children under their charge. No, not the Catholic church of the 60s; the public schools of today.

            While he did get the number wrong, Romney was right in that those who pay the least in income taxes are the least likely to vote for him.

            The number of scientific papers that had to be retracted last year was a 10x increase over the rate during the previous decade. And a study of those retractions finds that 3/4ths of those retractions were due to misconduct rather than honest mistakes.

            Good news in the stem cell debate. "Two stem-cell researchers have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking work in cellular reprogramming, a technique that unleashed a wave of advances in biology, from cloning to the possible treatment of diseases using a patient’s own cells." That is, there is less of a reason to use embryonic stem cells, when adult ones will do just as well.

            Hedging their bets? "A survey by the Pew Research Center discovered that 2.4 percent of Americans say they are atheists and 3.3 percent say they are agnostic. Among the atheists and agnostics, however, 6 percent said they pray daily."

            Need more money for your school district, by proving how many students attend? Make them wear microchips. Privacy takes a back seat to cash.

            And finally, some apt scripture for the VP debate last night. (Click for a larger version.)

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              A Generation of School-Voucher Success

              That’s the title of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the results of a new study on how school vouchers affect their recipients.

              President Barack Obama last month signed an executive order promising to "improve outcomes and advance educational opportunities for African Americans." The order instructs federal agencies to "promote, encourage, and undertake efforts" to increase "college access, college persistence and college attainment for African American students." Unfortunately, his administration remains opposed to the Opportunity Scholarship program in Washington, D.C., which lets students—mostly low-income and African-American—use a voucher to attend a private school.

              Perhaps Mr. Obama will reconsider his position on vouchers now that we have for the first time tracked the impact of a voucher program all the way from kindergarten (in 1997) to college enrollment (in 2011). Our study compared students who won a voucher lottery with students who didn’t—the only difference between the groups was the luck of the draw, the gold standard in research design.

              The study shows that an African-American student who was able to use a voucher to attend a private school was 24% more likely to enroll in college than an African-American student who didn’t win a voucher lottery.

              Some take issue with voucher programs because the parents might actually spend the money on >gasp< religious schools (as noted in the article).

              And given the money involved, they got better results for a lower cost.

              These impacts are especially striking given the modest costs of the intervention: only $4,200 per pupil over a three-year period. This implies that the government would actually save money if it introduced a similar voucher program, as private-school costs are lower than public-school costs. To get a similar (19%) increase in college enrollment among African-Americans from a class-size reduction effort in Tennessee in the late 1980s, the public-school system had to spend $9,400 per pupil (in 1998 dollars).

              But one of the barriers to this successful program is…politics, of course.

              President Obama is certainly correct to identify the particularly steep educational barriers that African-American students must surmount if they are to become college-ready. And he seems to have nothing against private school per se, as he has long sent his own daughters to private schools. Yet—apparently thanks to opposition to vouchers from powerful teachers unions—the president still hasn’t taken the next step and helped open private-school doors for low-income children as well.

              One more reason to consider when stepping into the voting booth this November.

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                When Idealism Meets Reality

                This is just Human Nature 101, but too many folks just don’t understand that.

                Apparently, many students don’t like the idea of redistribution – but, only when it applies to their grades. Redistribution of their GPAs (grade point averages) to poorer students, they say, is unfair. But, those with lower grades don’t seem to mind benefiting from the hard work of their “greedy” high-achieving classmates.

                Young America’s Foundation’s fourth annual GPA Redistribution Petition and Video Contest has produced yet another stellar student entry, this time from Carthage College. This year, the national public policy debate has focused on "fairness" through taxing the wealthy in an attempt to redistribute wealth. Many young people support this socialistic policy.

                Yet, when students at Carthage where asked if they would be willing to sign a petition to redistribute GPA points from the top 10% to the rest of the college, most of them said NO. One student said, "No, because I worked hard for my grades!"

                Another said, "At Carthage, each student has an equal opportunity to get the GPA they desire." And another, "I don’t want my GPA being taken away from me if I had an ‘A’."

                When the petitioners told students that oftentimes outside factors leave students at an unfair disadvantage, a student said, "No. I’m low-income and a minority, and I have a fairly decent GPA, so…"

                Fittingly, some of those who are not in the upper 10% welcomed the free points. "Why not? I’m down," said one student with a low GPA  (eagerly signing the petition), but then the student’s friend standing next to him said, "It takes away from people working hard… and obviously it’s paid off with their higher GPA." Later in the conversation, when the first student told his friend to sign the petition, the friend responded, "How about trying harder for a semester?"

                I wonder if these students will understand how this applies to their vote in November.

                Here’s the video.

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                  Friday Link Wrap-up

                  A federal government out of control. Without any evidence, Attorney General Eric Holder took a woman to court for obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic. The judge threw out the case and ordered the government to pay $120,000 to the woman. Yes, it’s good that the woman was compensated, but this case should have never gone to court.

                  I think Julian Assange has been irresponsible for dumping secret data that, in many cases, has put lives at risk or tipped our hand to enemies. Still, it’s nice to know that, in all that, George W. Bush has been vindicated in his handling of the Iraq/WMD situation.

                  I agree with the sentiment that the teen’s shirt said, "Jesus Is Not A Homophobe". However, I also think that the folks he thinks need that message aren’t, for the most part, homophobes either, if, by "homophobe" you mean "someone who agrees with 2000 years of Christian teaching".

                  Global Warming Update: "The number of [polar] bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt."

                  James O’Keefe is at it again. He, a white guy, to prove that voter fraud really is simple, something that Attorney General Eric Holder denies, was able to (almost) vote in the primary as Eric Holder himself, a black guy. Extremely easy.

                  An atheist who threatened to sue over a Nativity scene, was helped in his time of need by the very Christians he had threatened. Result: He’s now a Christian preparing to enter the  ministry.

                  John Stossel, libertarian and (when he was at ABC News) a contrarian in the media, describes the liberal bias at his old network.

                  Ever since Jimmy Carter got snookered by giving food to North Korea in exchange for an empty promise not to pursue nukes, we keep hoping that they’ll change their mind about belligerence if we bribe them well enough. It hasn’t worked, and it won’t work. A dictator that will spend who knows how many millions on a missile program while his country starves is patently not concerned about his people. Period. No amount of appealing to his better nature will change that. Now that N. Korea has test launched (what Rick Moore calls) a "three-stage artificial reef", now we’re serious. Now we mean business. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

                  Civility Watch: "Moderate Caucus" chairman, a Democrat, tweets, "Cheney deserves same final end he gave Saddam. Hope there are cell cams."

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                    Friday Link Wrap-up

                    If celibacy is to blame for the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, how does that explain the continuing abuses in the public schools? (Hint: it doesn’t.)

                    Here are 4 hard truths of health care reform. (Hint: if they promised something, it’s generally not going to happen.)

                    "[I]f you come down hard on Limbaugh because he has crossed a line, you must come down hard on Schultz and Maher because they have crossed the same line…." (Hint: Schultz and Maher supporters haven’t.)

                    New York City Mayor Bloomberg, not content with nannying the well-off on what they can and can’t eat at restaurants, now is denying food to the homeless because it might be too salty. (Hint: That’s not compassion.)

                    If they had been Republicans, this would have been racist. (Hint: They’re Democrats.)

                    Is Zionism humanitarianism? (Hint: Yes.)

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                      Vanderbilt’s Right to Despise Christianity

                      That’s the title of a post by Michael Stokes Paulsen at the Public Discourse website. He starts out with a statement of the facts.

                      Vanderbilt University has decided that Christian student groups that hold traditional Christian religious views are not welcome on campus. They will no longer be recognized as valid student organizations. Vanderbilt’s reason is that such groups require that their leaders be Christian—that is, that their leaders embrace certain core principles of Christianity and try to live according to these principles. In Vanderbilt’s view, religious beliefs and standards “discriminate” against those students who do not subscribe to them. Therefore, student religious groups with religious beliefs and standards are banned.

                      This from an institute that (allegedly) encourages debate and the free exchange of ideas. All ideas are welcome, except those that aren’t. Behavioral standards will not be tolerated in student organizations. You cannot hold to a belief system and, at the same time, expect that belief system to be held to by the members.

                      I wonder if a women’s rights organization could be run by a woman, or a man, who thinks women are second-class citizens. She or he doesn’t agree with the group’s beliefs, but if they don’t allow for someone like that to lead the group, should they, too, be banned? But see that’s a belief system that Vandy doesn’t have a problem with. No matter how they paint it, it’s a case of discrimination based on beliefs.

                      And thus, in a huge bit of irony, Vandy wishes to exercise a right that they themselves deny to the student groups!

                      As Paulsen notes, Vandy is well within its rights to do this.

                      As weird as it may sound—and as ridiculous as Vanderbilt’s actions may be—this is entirely within Vanderbilt’s constitutional rights: Vanderbilt has the right to be as hostile to orthodox Christianity and to suppress its faithful exercise on its campus as it wishes. Vanderbilt’s status as a private university gives it the First Amendment right to take whatever position it wants on the exercise of religion within its university community. Vanderbilt University has the right to despise Christianity (and other faiths, too) if it so chooses.

                      Of course, having a right to do something does not make it the right thing to do. And Vanderbilt’s policy is, undeniably, an embarrassing example of political correctness run horribly amok, of intellectually incompetent administrators, and of institutional hypocrisy. But in Vanderbilt’s bad example lies a parable rich in irony about constitutional freedom under the First Amendment.

                      Worth reading the whole thing. This isn’t about rights; it’s about hypocrisy, and how it and religious intolerance is being taught to the next generation.

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                        Friday Link Wrap-up

                        In Canada, strip searches from possession of a deadly … crayon.

                        Also from the Great White North, government intrusion into homeschool, saying that Christian parents can’t teach a Biblical view of homosexuality. Freedom of religion is being chipped away slowly enough that most don’t see it.

                        If Obama is some post-racial president, why is he launching "African Americans for Obama"?

                        Medical "ethicists" are seriously arguing that post-birth newborns are "not persons" and can ethically be "aborted".

                        With all the religious implications of Obama’s policies, you’d think he’d have kept around his faith-based council for advice. Nope, they’ve just faded away.

                        Movie reviewers of the liberal persuasion are all for anti-war, anti-military or pro-environmental message movies, but that idea gets thrown out when they disapprove of the message. Suddenly, it’s "propaganda".

                        Scofflaw Democrats. "The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 further provides that if, for two years in a row, more than 45% of Medicare funding is coming from general revenues rather than Medicare taxes, the president must submit legislation to Congress to address the Medicare funding crisis. President Bush dutifully followed the law, but President Obama has ignored it for the last three years."

                        Obama claims that we can’t drill our way out of the energy problem, and then, in the same speech, notes that domestic oil production is at it’s highest level in 8 years. Because we drilled! Can’t have it both ways, Mr. President, but the press will try to let you have it.

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                          Training Young Adults in Christian Apologetics

                          Recently, in Christian apologetic circles, it was noted that a former Christian professor of philosophy had converted to an Eastern religion. Dr. Michael Sudduth, from San Francisco State University, was highlighted in the blog post Michael Sudduth Converts to Vaishnava Vedanta!

                          As part of our home schooling effort, we engage in a weekly Current Events series in which I have my oldest daughter (high school) read various news items (which I have selected), and then write a brief commentary on the item, first explaining what the article was about and then giving her opinion on the story.

                          Here is what she wrote regarding the conversion story of Dr. Sudduth:

                          This article is a letter written by a man who has converted from Christianity to Vaishnava Vedanta. He had been a Protestant Christian for 25 years, but had increasingly become drawn toward Vedanta, both trough a philosophical attraction and an experiential attraction. As he began to explore the religion more deeply, he became profoundly affected by it and to feel the presence of God through it. He began to believe that his former beliefs in God were a limited expression of the deeper meaning he found through Vedanta.

                          Vaishnavism articulates a model of the love of God, where intimacy and separation are the two important elements of the divine-human love relation. People are both one with God and separate from God. The relationship with God is a simultaneous difference and non-difference. He believes that God is manifested in different ways, and God-realization takes on diverse forms. Vaishnavism acknowledges religious truth found across different religious traditions, and though the names are many, God is one. How we experience God depends on different aspects of our own personalities.

                          The author says that he does not believe he is worshipping a different God than he worshipped when he was a Christian – he believes it is the same God, under a different, and fuller manifestation. He says that the basic principles of Vaishnavism are compatible with a number of fundamental Christian beliefs, and that he is not relinquishing these beliefs but situating them in a different philosophical and theological context. He closes his letter by saying that he doesn’t want to convert any of his friends to Vaishnavism, but he hopes that they’ll make each other better devotees in their respective faiths.

                          From this letter, it seems like the author has based his entire conversion on experience. He felt something when reading the texts associated with Vaishnavism, he felt a closeness to the person of Lord Krishna, he felt profoundly affected and overwhelmed with a sense of the presence of God. He felt Krishna’s presence in his bedroom, he felt a validation of his spiritual journey. Even when he starts talking about philosophy and theology, he says that he has found aspects of the Vedanta theology and philosophy appealing to him. I think that his question should not be, “is it appealing?”, or “does it feel right?”, rather, he should ask “does it line up with reality?” He seems to ignore this question, replacing it with how he happens to feel. If these beliefs don’t line up with reality, if they’re not true, they shouldn’t be believed no matter how appealing they are or how good they make one feel.

                          The author claims that Vaishnavism is compatible with Christianity. He even claims he is worshipping the same God he worshipped before he switched religions. However, if he really means this, he couldn’t have been worshipping the Christian God before. Jesus said that He was the only way to God – obviously, the author believes there are many ways to get to God, so his beliefs are in direct opposition to fundamental Christian beliefs.

                          Lastly, he says that he’s only interested in making his friends better devotees to their respective religions, not in making them converts to Vaishnavism. Why is this? If he believes that Vaishnavism is true, then shouldn’t he want to convince other people of that? This religion seems to be one without much substance – it seems like anything you believe goes, and I don’t think that lines up to the way the world we know actually works.

                          Personally, I think that it is incumbent on us, as Christian parents, to prepare our children for the realities of a post-Christian America, thereby providing them with the resources to not only counter the worldviews they will come up against, but to courteously provide a clear explanation of the veracity of the Christian worldview.

                          And, I’m proud of my daughter’s grasp of these concepts, while in high school. We must engage our young adults (that would be anyone older than 13) in the marketplace of ideas, stretching them, and setting the bar high – they can achieve it.

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                            Spending Watch

                            A couple of items related to spending and our national debt.

                            Obama called Bush’s increase in the debt "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic". What does he think about his own contribution to the debt?

                            Obama signed an agreement to fund the DC-area incredibly successful school voucher program. Yet with all the new spending he added, he didn’t fund this. Does he really care about education, or just teacher unions?

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                              Sexual Abuse of Children

                              No, I’m not talking about priests abusing boys back in the 1960s. I’m talking about public schools today.

                              Los Angeles police are investigating a teacher aide at Miramonte Elementary School who allegedly sent love letters to an 11-year-old student. The student’s mother discovered the letters in 2009, but she says police and school officials didn’t take the matter seriously until last week, when two other teachers at the same school were arrested for sexually abusing students in separate cases. Is sexual abuse in schools really as common as these reports make it seem?

                              Possibly. The best available study suggests that about 10 percent of students suffer some form of sexual abuse during their school careers. In the 2000 report, commissioned by the American Association of University Women, surveyors asked students between eighth and 11th grades whether they had ever experienced inappropriate sexual conduct at school. The list of such conduct included lewd comments, exposure to pornography, peeping in the locker room, and sexual touching or grabbing. Around one in 10 students said they had been the victim of one or more such things from a teacher or other school employee, and two-thirds of those reported the incident involved physical contact. If these numbers are representative of the student population nationwide, 4.5 million students currently in grades K-12 have suffered some form of sexual abuse by an educator, and more than 3 million have experienced sexual touching or assault. This number would include both inappropriate romantic relationships between teachers and upperclassmen, and outright pedophilia. 

                              For over a decade, and more, we’ve known this situation existed in public schools. The media, however, rather than report on this current problem, continues to harp on Catholic priests who did what they did 50 years ago. Indeed, it should be reported, but how about a little perspective? The occasional comely female teacher who hits on boys in her classes is occasionally highlighted, but the study cited here is but 12 years old, and there is no evidence that the incidence has decreased.

                              The professor who worked on the best study of its kind on the subject, Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia Commonwealth University, should be on your news radar. She contributed to this linked report as well.

                              Schools today do exactly what the Catholic Church did in the 60s; ignore the problem and move teachers to another district. ("Passing the trash", as they call it.) But the media have not given public schools nearly the investigation that they’ve given the Catholic Church, instead solely focusing on individual cases, so as to make the problem seem more isolated than it is.

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