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Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

more than a network. a movement.

In Blog on September 28, 2010 at 1:33 am

Yes, they have BlackBerry as well. Join Credo Mobile, and support progressive causes and non-profit organizations. Does your current cell phone provider do that? Still not convinced? They also buy you out of your current cell phone contract, no matter who you are currently with. Want to know more…then ask…

Visit www.credomobile.com and tell them I sent you…

To wait or not to wait…

In Blog on September 25, 2010 at 5:15 am

Love the discussions and hype brought up by the movie coming out this weekend called “Waiting For Superman.” Watch the film, reflect on it, discuss it, and most of all, get involved with public education in your own way and in your own community. Want some ideas…then ask…

Below are the links for pro-film and anti-film camps:

Team “To Wait” – www.waitingforsuperman.com

Team “Not To Wait” – www.notwaitingforsuperman.org

Enjoy…

The passion for politics

In Blog on September 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm

How is that for political passion?

Compassion revisited and defined…

In Blog on September 14, 2010 at 3:29 am

Hispanic progress in America

In Blog on August 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I thought that the article below, although sort of stereotypical, presented some implications for the K-12 classroom and how to successfully run a public education system…

www.forbes.com/2010/08/23/hispanic-cox-school-leadership-citizenship-training.html

If you’re motivated (and have internet access), you can learn…

In Blog on August 28, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Check this out (and no, I had nothing to do with this stuff)…

www.khanacademy.org

Check this out too (good press from CNN and comments from Bill Gates)…

money.cnn.com/2010/08/23/technology/sal_khan_academy.fortune/index.htm

Flush…

In Blog on July 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

The NBA has gone to the toilet with events and spectacles like “The Decision” and this one…

Design Outside the Box

In Blog on July 12, 2010 at 2:17 am

This is worth the time to watch I think…

g4tv.com/videos/44277/DICE-2010-Design-Outside-the-Box-Presentation

We deserve better…

In Blog on July 12, 2010 at 2:10 am

It is almost as if we are in need of a faith and a system of belief that transcends a person, place, thing, and anything connected to the material world in which we live. See below…

Spiritual Abuse

by David Henke

Founding Date: Spiritual abuse is as old as false religion itself. While the practice is old, the term “spiritual abuse” may have been coined first by Jeff VanVonderen.

Organizational Structure: Can occur under virtually any organizational structure, but “top down” hierarchical structures are especially well suited to systemic spiritual abuse.

DEFINED

Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help. Sometimes abuse arises out of a doctrinal position. At other times it occurs because of legitimate personal needs of a leader that are being met by illegitimate means. Spiritually abusive religious systems are sometimes described as legalistic, mind controlling, religiously addictive, and authoritarian.

COMMON CHARACTERISTICS

#1) Authoritarian

The most distinctive characteristic of a spiritually abusive religious system, or leader, is the over-emphasis on authority. Because a group claims to have been established by God Himself the leaders in this system claim the right to command their followers.

This authority supposedly comes from the position they occupy. In Matthew 23:1-2 Jesus said the Scribes and Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat,” a position of spiritual authority. Many names are used but in the abusive system this is a position of power, not moral authority. The assumption is that God operates among His people through a hierarchy, or “chain of command.” In this abusive system unconditional submission is often called a “covering,” or “umbrella of protection” which will provide some spiritual blessing to those who fully submit. Followers may be told that God will bless their submission even if the leadship is wrong. It is not their place to judge or correct the leadership – God will see to that.

#2) Image Conscious

The abusive religious system is scrupulous to maintain an image of righteousness. The organization’s history is often misrepresented in the effort to demonstrate the organization’s special relationship to God. The mistaken judgements and character flaws of its leaders are denied or covered up in order to validate their authority. Impossibly high legalistic standards of thought and behavior may be imposed on the members. Their failure to live up to these standards is a constant reminder of the follower’s inferiority to his leaders, and the necessity of submission to them. Abusive religion is, at heart, legalism.

Abusive religion is also paranoid. Because the truth about the abusive religious system would be quickly rejected if recognized, outsiders are shown only a positive image of the group. This is rationalized by assuming that the religion would not be understood by “worldly” people; therefore they have no right to know. This attitude leads to members being secretive about some doctrines and the inner policies and proceedures of the group. Leaders, especially, will keep secrets from their members. This secrecy is rooted in a basic distrust of others because the belief system is false and can not stand scrutiny.

#3) Suppresses Criticism

Because the religious system is not based on the truth it cannot allow questions, dissent, or open discussions about issues. The person who dissents becomes the problem rather than the issue he raised. The truth about any issue is settled and handed down from the top of the hierarchy. Questioning anything is considered a challenge to authority. Thinking for oneself is suppressed by pointing out that it leads to doubts. This is portrayed as unbelief in God and His anointed leaders. Thus the follower controls his own thoughts by fear of doubting God.

#4) Perfectionistic

A most natural assumption is that a person does not get something for nothing. Apart from the express declarations of salvation by grace through faith God has given in the scriptures, it would be natural to think that one must earn salvation, or at least work to keep it. Thus, in abusive religions all blessings come through performance of spiritual requirements. Failure is strongly condemned so there is only one alternative, perfection. So long as he thinks he is succeeding in his observation of the rules, the follower typically exhibits pride, elitism, and arrogance. However, when reality and failure eventually set in, the result is the person experiences spiritual burnout, or even shipwreck of his faith. Those who fail in their efforts are labeled as apostates, weak, or some other such term so that they can be discarded by the system.

#5) Unbalanced

Abusive religions must distinguish themselves from all other religions so they can claim to be distinctive and therefore special to God. This is usually done by majoring on minor issues such as prophecy, carrying biblical law to extremes, or using strange methods of biblical interpretation. The imbalanced spiritual hobby-horse thus produced represents unique knowledge or practices which seem to validate the group’s claim to special status with God.

To be or not to be…

In Blog on July 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

The quintessential issue of government regulation versus deregulation will take center stage during the coming midterm elections, where the very existence of the Department of Education will be passionately debated. Pros and cons exist on both sides, but I think we need to stick with the socialization of education. With education being the primary determinant of social class, it is one of the few instruments (almost an essential “magic hand”) that keeps America from developing into a Third World country defined by the absence of a viable Middle Class and wide separation between rich and poor. See below…

Conservative Candidates Take Aim at Federal K-12 Role

Taken from:

www.edweek.org

By Alyson Klein

The conservative currents roiling the 2010 midterm election season bring with them a new group of Republican congressional candidates who are outspoken about their desire for a limited federal role in education policy and funding.

For many, the prime target is the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic-stimulus program passed by Congress in February 2009, which provided some $100 billion for public education.

And in some cases, candidates have taken a page from a decades-old conservative playbook, pushing policies that would strengthen the rights of parents to homeschool their children—and even urging the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education, a position once favored by President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

“I think that if this wave comes to Washington, it could get quite interesting,” said Gary M. Huggins, the executive director of the Washington-based Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind.

Conservative candidates are likely to support policies such as expanding options for parents, and may even find common ground with the Obama administration on proposals such as encouraging the proliferation of high quality charter schools, Mr. Huggins said.

But while these candidates may support challenging, locally set academic standards, it might be trickier to get them behind proposals such as tying Title I dollars for disadvantaged students to states’ adoption of college- and-career ready academic standards.

‘Tea Party’ Momentum

Some of these conservative candidates identify with the “tea party” movement, a largely decentralized movement that sprang up in the wake of the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, a rescue plan for Wall Street, and the stimulus program.

Some of the GOP Senate nominees buoyed by that conservative wave—and who in some cases beat back primary candidates who had the support of more-established members of the Republican Party—have called for the elimination of the Education Department and returning control of K-12 policy to states and districts.

They include Republicans Rand Paul in Kentucky, a physician and son of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Sharron Angle, in Nevada, a former substitute public school teacher who also taught in a one-room K-12 Christian school.

Such candidates’ “anger at the [Education Department] has a lot to do with the amount of money in the stimulus,” said Lisa Graham Keegan, a former Arizona state schools chief and the top education advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Their views “put pressure on moderates, for sure, to look seriously at how angry people are,” she added.

But while abolishing the department may make for good campaign rhetoric, she said, such proposals are not likely to go very far in Washington.

Ms. Keegan, who has spoken informally to advisers of tea party-backed candidates, said she is hoping that some of the more conservative candidates grow to understand that the Obama administration used the stimulus to advance policies Republicans are likely to embrace, including overhaul of teacher tenure and evaluation laws, as well as barriers to public charter schools.

Candidates “might not like the way it happened,” she said. But “it still happened, and that’s progress.”

Federal Role Questioned

Still, the campaign rhetoric on education for some of these candidates remains unabashedly conservative.

Ms. Angle, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader, said on an earlier version of her now-revised Web site, “The Department of Education is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level.”

And she took aim at the No Child Left Behind Act, the version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that passed in 2002—and one of Republican President George W. Bush’s proudest domestic accomplishments. “NCLB has burdened classrooms and hamstrung teachers with testing and regulation,” language on the web site stated. “The best education is the education that is controlled closest to the local level as possible.”

Mike Lee, the Republican nominee for Utah’s Senate seat—who unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett in June’s Republican primary and is heavily favored against Democrat Sam Granato in the general election—also sees a very limited role for the federal government in education policy.

“Congress has no business regulating our nation’s public education system, and has created problems whenever it has attempted to do so,” Mr. Lee says on his campaign web site. He has been endorsed by local tea party groups.

Mr. Paul, the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky, has called for the elimination of the Education Department, according to local news reports, and has said on his web site that “more money, more bureaucracy, and more government intervention are eroding this nation’s educational standards.” Mr. Paul, who is battling Democrat Jack Conway, the state attorney general, for the open Senate seat, also has said he would strengthen the rights of homeschooling parents and keep the government from regulating homeschooling.

In Colorado, a state that put a lot of early energy into competing for a slice of the $4 billion Race to the Top fund, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, one of two Republican contenders facing off in the Aug. 10 primary, has also called for eliminating the Education Department.

“Education funding now goes to bureaucrats in Washington rather than to the classroom,” said Cinamon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Norton campaign. “Send the money directly to the states through block grants—students’ education is best served when it is controlled by local school districts.”

Ms. Norton is vying for the seat currently held by Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat who is said to be closely aligned with the Obama administration on education issues. Mr. Bennet, former chief of the 75,000-student Denver school district, was appointed to the seat in 2010 and is fending off his own primary challenge from Andrew Romanoff, the Colorado Speaker of the House.

Mr. Bennet’s other potential GOP opponent—Ken Buck, an attorney, who has some backing from local tea party activists—has criticized the high price tag of the ARRA on his campaign website.

“It was such a bad bill that a new word was coined … ‘porkulus,’” he says. “Since it passed, both unemployment and the federal deficit have continued to rise. No new jobs, just huge new debt.”

And in yet another primary battle, Joe Miller, a combat veteran and former judge who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a fellow Republican, in Alaska, has also called for disbanding the Education Department, along with other federal departments not listed in the U.S. Constitution.

Republicans Hopeful

Republicans, who lost control of both chambers of Congress in 2006, are pressing hard to retake the U.S. House of Representatives, which would require them to pick up 40 new members. Larry J. Sabato, the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, projects that the GOP could win 32 seats.

Analysts say there is virtually no chance that Republicans will win back their majority in the Senate, but Mr. Sabato is projecting they will gain seven seats, giving the GOP, which currently holds 41, more influence.

To be sure, many of the GOP candidates vying for a Senate seat aren’t nearly as conservative as others. For instance, Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware, who is considered the frontrunner in the race to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden, has been supportive of policies such as common standards and has often collaborated with Democrats on K-12 policy.

Vic Klatt, a former aide to Republicans on the House education committee, who is now a lobbyist at Van Scoyoc Associates in Washington, said Congress will almost undoubtedly be more conservative after the 2010 election. But he thinks a bipartisan reauthorization of the ESEA will ultimately make for better legislation.

Given policy divisions in the Democratic party, he said, “the only way that Congress will ever be able to pass an ESEA reauthorization that has any reform elements in it all at is for key Republicans and Democrats to work together.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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