Wednesday, March 15, 2006 

The State of the Public Schools 1

God-willing in May or possibly sooner I am planning on writing a series of posts on the state of the public school system in America (at least from my vantage point as a Substitute Teacher who has been in at least 30 different schools this year, was educated in the public school system, has previously been an advocate for public schools, and who is still considering a career in public school education). I had considered posting some questions today asking what types of issues you, the reader, are concerned with in regards to the public schools. I believe that I will eventually write on several subjects ranging from morality to ethics to overall education quality in the public school system and was hoping that some of you had some input to offer on what types of things about which you would like to know "the state of" in our schools.

However, after reading another post over at Bruce Prescott's Mainstream Baptist blog railing against homeschoolers and everything Evangelical when it comes to education (and basically anything else), I have decided to offer 5 reasons why, if right now I had children, I would no doubt homeschool them. In order to get some of what I am going to say, you might want to read Bruce's article, as well as the one posted by Ethics Daily by Ed Hogan on Christians pulling their children out of the public schools. So here goes:
  1. I believe that the public schools not only don't prevent segregation, they actually breeds it. This might sound strange to a few, so let me explain. First, in contrast to the cheap, tasteless, and immature shot Prescott takes at Evangelicals when he says, "Public Schools are the frontlines in the culture war that conservative Christians are waging in this country[; t]hey have been since the day that they were integrated," I believe that most, if not all, true Evangelicals are not only unopposed to integration, but want more of it in their lives, as well as in the lives of their children. The problem is, they aren't finding it when they walk through the doors of the school house. What they are getting is a set of cliques that are both racially and socio-economically segregated. Every day I see people shunned from one group only to respond with contempt to others desiring entrance into the group in which they eventually find themselves. I overheard a conversation yesterday between a Caucasian girl and a African-American female in which racial stereotypes were being heaped onto Hispanics. Last week I was accused of "hating black people" because I disciplined an African-American female in class, though just prior to that event I had disciplined a white male. Unfortunately integration hasn't worked well (despite enormous potential and the best of intentions), to all of our detriments. It has just spawned new arenas of opportunity for us to become more divided as a people. And the public schools are not at all helping to educate our children on the diversity of our culture, nor on the appropriate attitudes we should have in dealing with those with whom we are not similar.
  2. The public school system is self-destructing and rapidly becoming a barrier to our children's education. While Prescott charges that Christians are trying to destroy public education, the opposite is true: public education is trying to destroy our children. Every day I walk into schools where the level of discipline is non-existent. Take today, for instance. I saw a new level of disrespect for authority when I actually had a student take a swing at me when my back was turned. And while I, as well as the student, knew that he was not trying to make contact, it was pretty obvious to me that he was not in an environment that discouraged such activity, nor even attempted to address it as disrespectful. I have been in other schools where the students would cuss out their teachers in front of the class, only to have the teacher do nothing or simply walk away, afraid or unwilling to intervene. Even good solid students who care are unable to overcome these types of distractions and learn the material that they so desperately need to be successful in life. Taking children out of environments such as those is not killing the public schools, it is preserving the life of the next generation.
  3. The level of education in the public schools is severely inadequate in comparison to that of children who are homeschooled. Study after study shows that those who are homeschooled academically outperform those who are publicly educated on both standardized tests and in regards to future college achievements. And while Prescott, Hogan, and Blow focus on one or two poorly written textbooks for homeschooling, they completely ignore these numbers, as well as many more. These guys claim to be for education, yet they choose to focus on one misrepresentation in one textbook, all the while their children are statistically falling further and further behind those same homeschoolers they loathe. "Isn't it ironic, don't ya think? Yeah, I really do think."
  4. The public schools do not teach tolerance of views and few teachers care to offer both sides of the issue to their students. Hogan (and ultimately Prescott) suggests that homeschooling textbooks can be used to "[teach] our children to be intolerant of others who disagree with us politically," yet anyone who caught just two minutes of the tape that high school student Sean Allen produced of his geography teacher's madman-like rant on the American government should be much more worried about what is happening with those who are receiving our tax dollars to educate our children. And not to mention the fact that many biology teachers spread out all across this nation are not even allowed to offer any sort of critique on the outdated and sorely unscientific approach to the "origin of the species" currently holding sway over our nation's young minds.
  5. And finally, speaking of taxes, I actually believe that teaching my own children not only helps the public schools out economically by decreasing the burden of already jam-packed classrooms, but it also helps out the economy as a whole both though encouraging greater competition by raising the educational bar and through the positive impact that better educated children have on the nation in general. The idea that Prescott seems to suggest, which is that homeschoolers and private school educators want to use "tax dollars in the form of vouchers to subsidize the education of their children in their intolerance" is ludicrous. Take my tax dollars if you think it will save the dying public school systems, but don't accuse me of wanting to use government money "to indoctrinate [my] children in values that are opposed to the constitution." I don't want tax dollars spent on indoctrination either. So, if you are so for the separation of church and state and religious liberty, why not give tax breaks to those who homeschool and do private education, instead of vouchers and call it even? That way no one can say they subsidize indoctrination, because it's obvious it's not just coming from the Christian side.

My final point is this: the public schools are in a sad shape and instead of guys like Bruce Prescott, Ed Hogan, and Steve Blow telling everyone how much private Christian educators threaten to destroy the public schools, why don't they just admit this fact, along with the admission that private education is producing better educated kids, and start helping to effect change in the schools by trumpeting these facts and pressing public teachers, administrators, and superintendents to raise the level of the classroom by instituting discipline on both the children and their teachers? They are right to say that public schools are being destroyed, they just missed the boat on who is causing the devastation.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 

March Madness!

I think Andy Williams got it wrong when he penned the lyrics to "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." He should have written about the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney. It is truly a magical time where lots of teams, players, coaches, colleges, and fans find out if they have been "nice" enough to play on college basketball's biggest stage -- the Big Dance. From the NCAA Selection Show today until they play "One Shining Moment" I am hooked to the television screen. My name is D.R. and I'm a College Basketballaholic. But thankfully I am not alone. There are many of you out there that share my affliction and, if you are, here's some info for you.
  1. If you want to fill out a bracket and see how you are doing against other fellow Christian Basketballoholics, then you can go to Tim Ellsworth's site and join his ESPN Tournament Challenge group. Or you can just click here. You have to register for an account on ESPN.com, but it is well worth it, just for the fantasy sports games.
  2. A great new feature this year is CBS Sportsline.com's live streaming video of the games you can't get in your area. If you register on their On Demand site soon, you could get a VIP pass, which limits the waiting period to get into their virtual arena. I don't know about you, but for me the most frustrating thing about CBS's coverage of the NCAA Tourney is that you can only watch one game at a time. Now, you can watch at least two.

So, let the Madness begin. Oh, and one last thing:

GO TIGERS GO!

 

10,000 Served!

Site meter has just alerted me that I received my 10,000 hit here at Christ and Culture. It was logged at 3:35:36 pm from Nashville, TN using Bellsouth.net. The reader accessed my blog through SBC Outpost by clicking the link posted by cks in the comments' section under the topic heading, "Rogers and Yarnell [Updated]." In light of this honor and the fact that we are in the season of awards shows, I would just like to take a moment to thanks those who made this happen:

Thank you,
  • To the 10,000 reader for visiting my site and making my dreams come true.
  • To those who read my blog and who checked it even during those times of inactivity.
  • To my parents for having me and teaching me the importance of speaking out.
  • To my wife for putting up with my blog compulsion and for reading my blog on occasions.
  • To all those who have linked to my blog -- there are too many to name, but you know who you are.
  • And to all those bloggers from whom I have gained much knowledge and insight.

So, let me say thanks to all of those and anyone else I might have left out.

FOR ALL YOU DO . . . THIS BLOG'S FOR YOU!

Friday, March 10, 2006 

From the "Do What I Say, Not What I Do" Department


Today on FoxNews I saw this story about how former-gang-member-turned-community-servant, Hector Marroquin Sr., 49, founder of an organization called "No Guns" was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon. According to the Associated Press, the firearm was found by the police while searching his house looking for his son, "a reputed gang member nicknamed "Little Weasel," [who] was taken into custody in connection with a home-invasion robbery."

Thursday, March 09, 2006 

IMB Humor

A friend sent me this today and I thought it worth posting. Click on the pic to blow it up.



Friday, March 03, 2006 

RC Sproul Jr. Defrocked

In researching my previous commentary on Little Geneva and their disgust with John Piper over his views on interracial marriage, I found several comments on their site about RC Sproul, Jr., a Presbyterian pastor whose church is located in Tennessee, and son of the famous Reformed professor, speaker, and apologist. I saw his name in several places on the site, but in a desire to read as little as possible there for fear I would get really angry, I just glanced and went on my way. However, yesterday Kelly alerted me to the fact that Sproul, Jr. has been in a world of trouble with his denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA). And after a bit of research he learned that Sproul, Jr. has indeed been defrocked and four of his elders have been desposed of their offices as elders. The official action took place on January 26th, but the news is still continuing to spread.

Now, though the story is over a month old, I have only found two Baptists to report on this, The Sinner at Kudzu Gulley and John Divito of the Reformed Baptist Reader. One reason why this may be is that we Baptists have little experience in defrockment. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, defrock means, " to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of office." What that means in terms of Sproul, Jr. is that he is no longer allowed to be a minister in his denomination. That is definitely something that Baptists don't get. There are plenty of stories of ministers doing very ungodly things and just moving on to the next church. Not so with the Presbyterians it seems.

So what did Sproul, Jr. do for this punishment to be placed upon him? Well, according to the "Declaratory Judgment" by the Westminster Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly through the Office of the Moderator, Dr. Kenneth Gary Talbot (which can be accessed here), it was due to "abuse of authority of the office of elders" by engaging in "abusive behavior in dealing with [a] family . . . under [their] authority" and "knowingly and willingly use[ing] the Tax Identification number of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church after leaving that denomination in violation of the Federal Income Tax Code" as well as some other denominational violations.

In reaction to this a number of blogs and websites have popped up, mostly to heap coals upon RC Sproul, Jr's head, as it seems he wasn't very popular in the first place. Probably the most informative is hosted by the Heal Our Land Ministries, which I think a whole blog would have to be dedicated to in order for me to explain it. Suffice to say, the particular part of the site that deal with the Sproul, Jr. controversy is updated by a man named Peter Kershaw, and it provides links to actual documents dealing with the controversy, as well as updates in regards to what is happening with Sproul Jr., his church, Saint Peter Presbyterian Church, and the elders who were desposed. Among the other sites, there are several blogs dedicated exclusively to this, my favorite of them being, Spinderella Sproul: Lessons In Spin With RC Sproul Jr, mainly because of the creative name, but also because there is a large amount of information there, though I will warn you, some of it could be considered gossip.

The situation is long from being over, and from the websites I have seen, a lot of people are hurt and angry over the events surrounding this controversial man and his church. We should remember to pray for all those involved, including Sproul, Jr. and his family (and his father, who has taken heat on some various websites as well), his church, the elders involved, the denomination, and those in the larger community of the Reformed faith who have been affected by this.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 

Calvinism Debate Imminent

It appears that while everyone is staying hush-hush right now, Dr. Ergun Caner, Dean of Liberty Theological Seminary on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and Dr. James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries are talking about holding a debate on Calvinism. This is a far cry from what most bloggers assumed would happen, especially after the email discourse between the two seemed to suggest that Dr. Caner was completely unwilling to take Dr. White's challenge. However, Dr. White today on his radio program, "The Dividing Line" hinted that this would be the case. Here is what he said so that you can decide for yourself (approx. 17:50 into it):
I, actually am holding back today on some really big news about a future debate. I'm really holding back because I want to be able to give everything at once, but there could be something coming in the pretty near future like before June-ish I would say that's, uh, going to get a lot of attention. Let's put it that way. So . . . . just thought I'd mention that.
When the caller to whom he was speaking said that he needed to make sure it was in Southern California, Dr. White had this response:
Ah, no, in fact, I am going to give one hint, because people in my chat channel already know what it is, but . . . I'll give one hint it would be in Virginia. That should be enough to tell everybody actually what's possibly going to be happening . . . I'll leave it at that. All you gotta do is think about what's in Virginia and what cities are in Virginia and you can figure it out from there. . . Not everything is completely in place yet, so that's why I'm not saying anything more about that.
So there you have it. It seems apparent that a debate with Ergun Caner is imminently upon us. James White is correct when he says that it is going to get a lot of attention. The Patterson/Mohler breakout session coming up at the SBC Pastor's Conference that was first thought to be a debate fizzled when it was revealed that it would be more of a discussion. But you can bet that this will not fizzle. It will be an old-fashioned theological throwdown. And it is likely to make history. Stay tuned for more.

HT: The Sinner at Kudzu Gully


**UPDATE**

Check out this site for more clues on where the debate may be held and who else might be involved. But, beware, you might have to swallow the blue pill in order to get the info.

About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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