The Fast Track

I remember many years ago hearing for the first time a phrase that caught my attention as a youngster–“living life in the fast lane.”  I cannot remember all the connotation of the phrase, but I have heard the phrase used a number of times since.  One thing for sure, the fast lane is often very appealing, especially to someone that has drive and purpose.

© 2012 Ben. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#43).

© 2012 Ben. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#44).

Rollins (2014) in Learning in the Fast Lane addresses the age-old problem of remediation, noting that the focus of most remediation is to help students master concepts that they have missed along their educational journey.  She sees remediation as over-focus on the past, with the goal of getting students to the present.

Unleashing God’s Power

Have you ever wondered what will it take to unleash God’s power in your life or ministry?  We have all read the accounts in the Bible where God unleashed His power and allowed men to accomplish great things through their lives and ministries.  You may have also read or heard about God doing similar things in the ministries of men and women in more recent times.

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It is easy to dismiss these accounts and feel that the men and women that God did mighty things through were special and unique.  It could never happen with you.  We might say to ourselves, yes Elijah did great miracles but I’m just an ordinary person and it could never happen with me.  I have been there on many occasions myself.

Mr. Franklin, Meet Watters’ World!

Cynthia Hill is a former small business owner/operator and homeschooling parent. Since moving professionally into the public policy arena, she has advised on policy matters in all 50 state legislatures, at the federal level and on cases headed to the Supreme Court. She has consulted for pro-family organizations and start-ups from numerous foreign countries. Cynthia regularly advises and collaborates with national and state leaders regarding organizational and legislative strategic planning and policy issues in the news.

Previously, Cynthia served as Senior Director of State and Local Affairs at the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, D.C. There, she was primary liaison to a nationwide network of state Family Policy Councils and similarly-minded entities. Prior to her work at FRC, Cynthia was a researcher and lobbyist in the Virginia General Assembly for the Family Foundation of Virginia. She later accepted the position of Vice-President of Development.

Cynthia earned undergraduate degrees in Religion and Human Services and a Masters in (Social and Domestic) Public Policy. She has authored and taught a variety of curricula in volunteer capacities and online at the collegiate level. Her most recent is entitled Open Doors, a multi–year, single text curriculum for middle through high schoolers who want to develop personal opportunities for jobs, scholarships and volunteer and leadership positions. She is currently finalizing a book about family violence in America entitled Voiceless.

Cynthia is also founder of Common Sense, an education and policy model designed to inform and equip “grassroots” citizens, policy novices and public officials about issues relating to the protection and preservation of faith, family, fiscal responsibility and freedom via a Judeo-Christian worldview.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Ben Franklin was asked what kind of government the new Americans had been given. His recorded response was “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Oh, if only Ben could be here today to view The O’Reilly Factor’s Watters’ World on the TV!

© 2013 The Bakken Museum. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#42).

© 2013 The Bakken Museum. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#43).

“Watters” is ace reporter Jesse Watters. He tours the country interviewing random “people on the street.” His segment is then featured by host Bill O’Reilly. Jesse’s topics range from historical facts to current news. Recent highlights include priceless responses regarding the president’s approval rating and student debt.

Summertime: Educator Reboot

For years it was said tongue-in-cheek that the favorite months of any teacher’s year were June, July, and August.  As a result of a bit of a time warp, those months have been trimmed to a few weeks shy of three full months.  However, the idea is still the same.  Teachers love, and I should add need, the summer months.

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Why are these months so important?  In a word–REBOOT!

Kids Have Been Big Losers!

Dr. Schultz has been involved in education for over 40 years. He recently completed 9 years of service as an associate pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and Headmaster of Sherwood Christian Academy. Prior to coming to Sherwood in 2005, he served as a public school chemistry teacher, a Christian school science teacher, high school principal and superintendent. He also served as the Southeast Director for the Association of Christian Schools International and as director of Christian school resources at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of the booklet A Parent’s Greatest Joy and the book Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations. He is married with three children and 6 grandchildren. His children attended biblically-based schools from Kindergarten 4 years old through college. His grandchildren are also being educated through biblically-based programs.

I entered school in the 50s.  Since that time, a lot of changes have taken place in education and these changes have made a significant difference in the lives of children.

© 2008 Nonnerboy. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#41).

© 2008 Nonnerboy. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#42).

Several years ago, I came across a short description of some losses kids had experienced since the 1950s.  Having lived through theses decades, I knew these losses were a reality and included this list in my book Kingdom Education.  Consider the following:

Kingdom Education: God’s Plan for Educating Future Generations (Nashville: Lifeway, 2003)

This book is a MUST READ for every Christian educator, period.  In the book, Dr. Schultz outlines the 10 principles of a biblically-based education.  The question is not WHERE (public school, homeschool, Christian school) should we educate our children, the question is HOW should they be educated.  This book will challenge your thinking in a number of areas.

6 Months of FOCUS!

Well, the FOCUS blog has reached a milestone of sorts: we’ve completed our first six months of consistent blogging!   On behalf of Edward and the whole FOCUS team, I want to thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing in this journey.

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Our hope is that you have found the FOCUS blog to be engaging, encouraging, and equipping. Our plan is to continue to bring you great content twice each week, but we’d love to hear from you, our faithful readers.

Leave your comments below and let us know how we can better serve you.  Consider answering one or more of the following:

  1. What subjects/topics are most helpful to you and your ministry?
  2. Which do you prefer more: content related to “philosophy” or content that is “practical.”
  3. What is the biggest obstacle or difficulty you are facing in your classroom/school?
  4. Are there any particular topics you would like to see addressed on the FOCUS blog?

Share your thoughts!  

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Fill in the blank with the first word that comes to mind:  I love _________.  Did you insert a person’s name?  Your favorite food?  A treasured vacation spot?

© 2008 Gene Tobia. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#40).

© 2008 Gene Tobia. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#41).

What a person loves reveals his heart.  As Christian educators, our calling extends far beyond the content of our lessons.  We are called to help our students set their affections on things that are not of this world (Colossians 3:2).  In his Tractate on Education, John Milton identifies the goal of education as “repair[ing] the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him . . . .”  The goal of education is for our students to love God.

What Are You Banking On?

School improvement in the United States generally takes the form of some external driver to bring about change.  By using the word “external,” I mean external to the individual members of the professional staff.

© 2009 Tracy Ruggles. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#40).

© 2009 Tracy Ruggles. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#40).

In my own career in education, now spanning more than half a century, I have seen state boards of education mandate increases in the requirements for a high school diploma, legislative committees increase standardized testing requirements in an effort to make schools more accountable, and the federal government offer a number of carrots to local school systems to improve student learning.  Such measures are individualistic in nature and they are meant to appraise, reward, and punish individuals who do not measure up, whether professional staff or students.  The result is that little improvement occurs.