Public Education: How the Mighty Have Fallen

April 14th, 2017
“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
“Tell it not in Gath,
proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
                                                                2 Samuel 1: 19-21
     From the landing at Plymouth Rock to today, communities tried to educate its members in a public forum.  Public education began in earnest in the 20th century.  Its dreams were worthy and laudable.  They have not come to pass.
     Today, the failures of that system are manifestly legin.  Almost no one will deny that public education is in deep trouble.  Yet, the failure of such a history-rich, august institution as public education gives me no pleasure.  In fact, it breaks my heart.  “Tell it not in Gath!  Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon!”
     My family is a loyal home school family.  My wife Karen and I home schooled all of our four children.  We are strong believers in home schooling and would have everyone home school if that were possible.
     But it is not possible. Not everyone can home school.  If we have our millions public education has it ten million.  And my heart cries out for the children and their parents. And you should cry too!
“O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.
     In the early years of our marriage, I taught in a public school.  In fact, I am still permanently certified in most states.  Later, I left public school teaching and became a pastor.  Recently, I spent three weeks substitute teaching for a social studies teacher.  My eyes were opened and my heart was broken.
     I met 16 year old Melissa.  Once a week she meets with about 12 students for a Bible study.  I observed that she and her friends are openly persecuted by most students and by some faculty. I met Frank, a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who also is a public school teacher. Melissa and Frank deserve our prayers.
     Home schoolers, public schools are not full of Godless, immoral brigands.  By and large, public schools are humane, sincere, if ineffectual, institutions trying to accomplish the same goals we home schoolers are trying to accomplish. But they are failing, we know that.  And, truly, public school teachers know that too.
     “Public education” is an oxymoron.  Education is the most intimate and valuable of experiences and occurs best in the crucible of a family.  Ineffectiveness has forced public education to embrace mediocrity with reckless abandon.
     But that is not our business.  Judgement is not our vocation.  We need only to cry out to God for public education!  47.7 million Public School students. 2.5 million graduates this year alone.  Saints, there were 47.7 million of them and 4.9 million of us.  We need to cry out for our public school friends and family members!  They are not the enemy.  Let not the enemy rejoice “in the streets of Ashkelon (a pagan goddess), lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,  lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.”  Home schoolers cry out and intercede in prayer for the public schools of this country!

Online College Degrees—Pray About it!

April 14th, 2017

The best approach to going to college is to present a terrific SAT/ACT score and offer a great transcript. The SAT/ACT is by far, without a doubt, the most important credential that you bring to college admission and college scholarship determination. Absolutely. Can I make myself any clearer! In an age when schools are so different—schools even in the same zip code—when an A somewhere would be a C in another place—colleges MUST rely on the ACT/SAT score to determine admission. It has been that way for a while. It will be that way for years to come, if not forever.

Take the SAT and/or ACT junior year. And then apply during your senior year. That is the ticket!

One question that I’m often asked, is, what about an online degree? Should I do that? No, you shouldn’t.

I want to define terms a little bit first. An online degree is a college degree of sorts, a sort of Bachelor of Arts, a sort of Bachelor of Science degree. A sort of sort of. It purports to be like any other degree (never is a claim that it is better than a four year, resident degree!). But it is not. I know of no employer who would prefer an online degree employee over a four year college degree from a recognized university. Do you? Would you hire an online degree graduate from Liberty University before you would hire a resident graduate from Liberty University?

Online college students stay at home and take all course work via the computer. The course work plus CLEP credit equals an online degree. Occasionally they spend a week or two on site, but most of the work is at home.

This is different from taking some course work online. A lot of people do that. A lot of people get AP or CLEP credit. But most do not complete a degree that way. Taking a few courses is fine. There’s no question that you may take one, two or three courses online—or get some CLEP/AP Credit–but you should know that many colleges—the best colleges—will not give you credit for any online courses. Usually they’re basic courses that are essentially the same everywhere. Most general online course, or CLEEP credits, are not in your major area, and, they might save you some money.

Or not. Remember if you have a high ACT/SAT score the university/college that admits you will give you a nice financial package. Let them pay for your education. Besides, as I said, colleges that I attended will not give you credit for online courses. Period. No credit at all.

As I advised, don’t do it. I have some real questions about an online degree. You should too. If you don’t, call a few employers and ask them if they prefer online degree employees or employees who went to Vanderbilt or the University of Texas in Austin. Ask them if they would rather have an online degree graduate from an online program or a four year, resident graduate.

Another reason I have questions about an online degree, is that the best graduate schools, will not admit online degree students. And what good is a degree, online, if you can’t use it, to go where God is calling you?

Another thing is, online degrees are terribly expensive! I know one online program that costs about $15,000 and you have nothing when you finish. If you don’t believe me ask people who have online degrees. Ask them if they were able to go to graduate school. Ask them if their degree is viewed the same way as a degree from the University of North Carolina or Messiah College. Ask them if they would do the same thing again.

You are hit both ways. You are ineligible for merit scholarships, ineligible for need based scholarships, ineligible for scholarships period. But you have a huge bill.

It no doubt would be cheaper for you to go to a four-year orthodox college on scholarship. And that will happen to you, if you have a high SAT and ACT score. You may, think you’re saving money by doing an online program, but if a regular college is, giving you a huge scholarship, it’s really cheaper then why not do that?

There are a lot of convention speakers who are vilifying big name schools and talking about how expensive they are. Well, did you know that homeschoolers receive more financial aid as a population group at Harvard and Stanford than any other population group?

$15,000 is a lot of money. You could spend $15,000+ and then need to pay for 2-3 more years in another college (if this college will accept your CLEP credits) because all you have is a bunch of CLEP credits (which are much less respected than AP credits).

If you really feel God is telling you to get an Online Degree, why don’t you do it on your own? Really, the entire Online Programs can easily be replicated by your own efforts. Online agencies (except colleges—colleges do help you sign up for online courses) do nothing more than what you could do for yourself—FREE. I could pay someone to get my social security for me. I see Ads on television all the time. But why would I? For a little bit of effort I could write and get one for myself FREE. Don’t pay someone $15,000 for something that could cost you nothing if you would do it yourself!

You can also lose your health insurance if you are not a resident student. That could cost another $400 a month for some students.

An online “degree” might cost $15,000. Texas A & M costs $7,500/year tuition. The University of North Carolina $5922. You might spend $15,000 only to find that you need to spend another $28,000 because you do not really have a college degree! Unfortunately, too, you might have taken yourself out of the running for scholarships because typically four year students do not give scholarships to transfer students.

I am proprietary about the evangelical leadership emerging in this country. We do not want you to be distracted by smoke and mirrors. We do not want you to pursue Quixotic delusions that sound too good to be true because they are too good to be true!

We have nothing to fear in the American university. Nothing. Believers are more than conquerors in Christ. He has favored us with the great opportunity to lead our sad country into the next millennium. Let us stay focused on this task.

We don’t have the time and resources to waste on something that will not advance the Kingdom of God.

Just pray about it, and make sure you know what you’re doing, before you enter an online degree program.

The best approach to going to college is to present a terrific SAT/ACT score and offer a great transcript. The SAT/ACT is by far, without a doubt, the most important credential that you bring to college admission and college scholarship determination. Absolutely. Can I make myself any clearer! In an age when schools are so different—schools even in the same zip code—when an A somewhere would be a C in another place—colleges MUST rely on the ACT/SAT score to determine admission. It has been that way for a while. It will be that way for years to come, if not forever.

Take the SAT and/or ACT junior year. And then apply during your senior year. That is the ticket!

One question that I’m often asked, is, what about an online degree? Should I do that? No, you shouldn’t.

I want to define terms a little bit first. An online degree is a college degree of sorts, a sort of Bachelor of Arts, a sort of Bachelor of Science degree. A sort of sort of. It purports to be like any other degree (never is a claim that it is better than a four year, resident degree!). But it is not. I know of no employer who would prefer an online degree employee over a four year college degree from a recognized university. Do you? Would you hire an online degree graduate from Liberty University before you would hire a resident graduate from Liberty University?

Online college students stay at home and take all course work via the computer. The course work plus CLEP credit equals an online degree. Occasionally they spend a week or two on site, but most of the work is at home.

This is different from taking some course work online. A lot of people do that. A lot of people get AP or CLEP credit. But most do not complete a degree that way. Taking a few courses is fine. There’s no question that you may take one, two or three courses online—or get some CLEP/AP Credit–but you should know that many colleges—the best colleges—will not give you credit for any online courses. Usually they’re basic courses that are essentially the same everywhere. Most general online course, or CLEEP credits, are not in your major area, and, they might save you some money.

Or not. Remember if you have a high ACT/SAT score the university/college that admits you will give you a nice financial package. Let them pay for your education. Besides, as I said, colleges that I attended will not give you credit for online courses. Period. No credit at all.

As I advised, don’t do it. I have some real questions about an online degree. You should too. If you don’t, call a few employers and ask them if they prefer online degree employees or employees who went to Vanderbilt or the University of Texas in Austin. Ask them if they would rather have an online degree graduate from an online program or a four year, resident graduate.

Another reason I have questions about an online degree, is that the best graduate schools, will not admit online degree students. And what good is a degree, online, if you can’t use it, to go where God is calling you?

Another thing is, online degrees are terribly expensive! I know one online program that costs about $15,000 and you have nothing when you finish. If you don’t believe me ask people who have online degrees. Ask them if they were able to go to graduate school. Ask them if their degree is viewed the same way as a degree from the University of North Carolina or Messiah College. Ask them if they would do the same thing again.

You are hit both ways. You are ineligible for merit scholarships, ineligible for need based scholarships, ineligible for scholarships period. But you have a huge bill.

It no doubt would be cheaper for you to go to a four-year orthodox college on scholarship. And that will happen to you, if you have a high SAT and ACT score. You may, think you’re saving money by doing an online program, but if a regular college is, giving you a huge scholarship, it’s really cheaper then why not do that?

There are a lot of convention speakers who are vilifying big name schools and talking about how expensive they are. Well, did you know that homeschoolers receive more financial aid as a population group at Harvard and Stanford than any other population group?

$15,000 is a lot of money. You could spend $15,000+ and then need to pay for 2-3 more years in another college (if this college will accept your CLEP credits) because all you have is a bunch of CLEP credits (which are much less respected than AP credits).

If you really feel God is telling you to get an Online Degree, why don’t you do it on your own? Really, the entire Online Programs can easily be replicated by your own efforts. Online agencies (except colleges—colleges do help you sign up for online courses) do nothing more than what you could do for yourself—FREE. I could pay someone to get my social security for me. I see Ads on television all the time. But why would I? For a little bit of effort I could write and get one for myself FREE. Don’t pay someone $15,000 for something that could cost you nothing if you would do it yourself!

You can also lose your health insurance if you are not a resident student. That could cost another $400 a month for some students.

An online “degree” might cost $15,000. Texas A & M costs $7,500/year tuition. The University of North Carolina $5922. You might spend $15,000 only to find that you need to spend another $28,000 because you do not really have a college degree! Unfortunately, too, you might have taken yourself out of the running for scholarships because typically four year students do not give scholarships to transfer students.

I am proprietary about the evangelical leadership emerging in this country. We do not want you to be distracted by smoke and mirrors. We do not want you to pursue Quixotic delusions that sound too good to be true because they are too good to be true!

We have nothing to fear in the American university. Nothing. Believers are more than conquerors in Christ. He has favored us with the great opportunity to lead our sad country into the next millennium. Let us stay focused on this task.

We don’t have the time and resources to waste on something that will not advance the Kingdom of God.

Just pray about it, and make sure you know what you’re doing, before you enter an online degree program.

Author World View (cont.)

September 1st, 2015
Finally, The Chosen is unabashedly a Judeo-Christian theistic novel.  What a wild ride! Readers began with the sobering Christian theism of William, Bradford, journeyed through the narcissistic naturalism of John Steinbeck,  and end with the unabashedly and well-written theism of Potok!  Readers had every reason to hope that the next century will bring more and better fruits of righteousness!

Author World View (cont.)

August 27th, 2015

Olive Ann Burns, who herself will stand under a cold sassy tree and face death at an early age, explores the transcendent power of Judeo-Christian love. These characters love with biblical, sacrificial, Christ-centered love–not love tainted by selfishness.  The protagonist and his family overcome genuine, catastrophic obstacles without sentimentalism or facile angst: they do it be following biblical principles of charity and grace.

Author World View (cont.)

August 25th, 2015

These three short stories evidence that the theistic revival among literature is well underway. O’Connor, a solid born again Christian, especially places the theistic banner back on the top of American literature. Porter celebrates the powerful of forgiveness and the endurance of grace. These are not characters who are victims of hateful circumstances (e.g., The Pearl) or cruel happenstances (e.g., Billy Budd).  Even foolish Julian in O’Connor’s short story, and all others, find that in theism, living in within biblical perimeters, one finds life. One hopes that other future authors will follow this worn path.

Author World View (cont.)

August 20th, 2015

John Knowles wrote this theistic novel in the early 1960s.  Before the world was turned upside down in the turbulent race riots and drug infused music concerts of the later 1960s, A Separate Peace was a much needed respite and a foreshadowing of future theistic offerings that were not long in coming. In the literary world, at least, American had turned a corner and was speeding back to its theistic, it not at times, Christian, roots. In that sense, A Separate Peace belongs to the 18th more than the 20th century.

Author World View (cont.)

August 18th, 2015
Arthur Miller was a very talented realist who had a bone to pick with his world.  He used the available but much maligned and misunderstood Salem Witch Trials as his setting.  Ultimately, though, all the characters, John Proctor, especially, is more a 1950 martyr than a 17th century one. Oops! “John,” Elizabeth Proctor says to her husband John, “I do not think you are bad–only bewildered.”

Author World View (cont.)

August 13th, 2015

Tennessee Williams, a controversial 20th century playwright, creates a timeless microcosm of world view mayhem.  Christian theism, romanticism, naturalism, & realism they all clash in  urban Depression era America. Readers, especially Christian readers, are inspired, discouraged, angered, and bemused by characters, especially Tom, who claim to no most everything but, it turns out, know very little about anything! They fumble, tumble, and fantasize through life and ultimately harm both themselves and those around them.  At the end, readers all wonder,  “What if Jesus was Lord of this home?” What a different story it would be!

Author World View (cont.)

August 11th, 2015
Lillian Hellman in her smash Broadway hit exposes, as Edward Albee in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? the facileness and ineptitude of marriage that is not centered on Christ and the Word of God. Again, Hellman borrows biblical characters–the main female character is a Jezebel double–to explore biblical themes–filial betrayal. However, Hellman, like so many of her literary peers, let’s the horse out of the barn but she can’t ride it because one cannot really ameliorate a sacred institution like marriage without the Bible.

Author World View (cont.)

August 6th, 2015

Eugene Gladsone O’Neill, perhaps best 20th century playwright, perhaps without his knowledge, writes a Christian moral expose of the effect of unforgiveness.  Brutus Jones is both the perpetrator and the victim of his woes, which, after all, is a metaphor of modern man. Modern Americans wandered into the cultural mayhem at the end of the 20th century, but, they also caused it. Readers will continually wish to stop the action and to join the play with encouraging words to this lost soul.