As I continue to make my way through the book of Acts, an underlying theme that continues to come forth from the pages, is the ongoing assurance that Christ is present with us, no matter what comes our way. As Paul faced angry crowds, accusations, assault and murderous plots, the Lord provided protection and His very presence. God did not take away the difficult road ahead of him, but He assured Paul that He would be with him, always. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” – (Acts 23:11) Though Paul seemed to have an insatiable faith, imagine how empowered he must have felt after the Lord actually came and stood near?
The very same God that stood beside Paul, resides in the hearts of all who believe. When we are in the midst of difficulty, or are called to go into the face of adversity, He will go before us, be with us, and grant us what is needed to make an impact for Him. As an educator, I cannot help but think of the monumental task that is before the community only ninety miles north of my home. Yet another school, shattered by the brokenness of one child’s permanent solution to a temporary problem. May His courage and grace be poured out upon all whom He sends to bring healing, where devastation has been dealt.
mountains we must climb;
His nearness constant,
for now and all times.
Our courage is found,
in Christ, the true King;
He supplies power,
and all needed things.
In trial, in loss,
in wholeness, in grace;
determine His place.
For God is on high,
He’s still on His throne;
no matter what comes,
Love will be made known.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us, no matter what comes. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and that You supply what we need to see us through, even in the darkest of situations. Forgive us for losing sight of Your Light within us, and help us to shine brightly before others, even on the darkest of days. May we offer Your hope to the hurting and Your love to the lost, just as You have so generously done unto us. Father, please be present in the Marysville-Pilchuck community. Help every person impacted by the tragedy to find comfort in You. Equip and empower those You are sending to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in that community. Let beauty come from these ashes, we pray. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to stand firm in the gift of Your presence. Amen.
He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25
Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.
Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.
So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.
to love children well;
to lift each one up,
all darkness dispel.
May my words grant life,
extend each child hope;
may Your peace be felt,
be their safety rope.
Let every child,
have a champion;
one who listens well,
and praises each win.
Let love be the guide,
of correction brought;
and walking beside,
how the battle’s fought.
God, hold each student,
in Your tender hand;
protect and connect,
with each You have planned.
May we be ready,
and open to hear;
all that You ask us,
to bless a child’s year.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. Amen.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8
I recently began home schooling one of my daughters. It was day three of High School and she was completely overwhelmed. She quit swim team because of the work load -3 math classes, plus a mandatory online class added to a full day of classes. I went to the school counselor many times, but the counselor wouldn’t budge on the work load they had given her. I knew this wasn’t right. Within 24 hours, I read up on the laws, found a local home school group, selected a curriculum, asked millions of questions and sent my letter of intent to our county school board the next day. I always thought about home schooling but I could never figure it out, it seemed difficult and impossible. I know without a doubt, the hand of the Lord was leading in all of this. It was truly amazing to see how everything worked out. Even in my chaotic world, everything worked out perfectly as if pieces of a puzzle were all being pieced together.
It was as if I had jumped off the security of trusting in the schools and all they had to offer- like the safety of a ship and do something impossible- walk on water.
For me, it was about trusting God. It is about faith.
Fix your thoughts if you want to walk on the water
As I begin this unfamiliar journey, I know there is a lot at stake. It’s a huge risk but the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Will she make it? Will she succeed? Can I do this? Will she get into college? How can I prepare her for the SAT? How can I make up for all the lost years of knowledge she never received in the public schools? Is she learning enough? Do I remember World History? Can I teach? What if? What if? What if?
Those are thoughts I refuse to entertain. I know the Lord is with me. I started this race and I will run to win, and that’s it. There is no other thought than that for me to entertain. I have learned that our thoughts keep us grounded in our faith and trust in the Lord. I remember to Philippians 4:8 my thoughts at all times.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you”
Another version says “Fix your thoughts”. Notice how it ends with a promise of God’s peace. How do I keep my faith up so I don’t drown? I fix my thoughts. Maybe the last few (many) years have been my training ground to get to this point – where I have the strength and discipline to fix my thoughts.
You can’t walk on water if you are worrying and complaining – it’s weight that will sink you
The same rule of Philippians 4:8 can be applied for finances, sickness, family issues and other worries. Jesus said worrying won’t add one more day to our life. A few years ago I cried out to the Lord in my distress. It seemed like my entire world was about to fall apart. By the world’s standpoint, we couldn’t survive, it was impossible. I began to pray telling God about my situation and what was going to happen. As I was praying I saw a verse come out of the heavens towards me. I couldn’t read it at first because it was so far away, but as it got closer and closer to me I could see it. I saw “Isaiah 51:12” I got up from my prayer time to find the verse:
I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
Wow, what was that saying to me? Was I trusting in man’s words and doom around me or was I trusting in the supernatural powerful hand of the Lord Almighty? Why should I put my trust in the words people say? The news I read? Or the worries of this world? They will all disappear. The Lord comforts me and He tells us over and over again NOT TO WORRY but to be strong and courageous in all you do, doing all you do as if you are doing it for the Lord.
- Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you
- Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong
- Don’t complain: Numbers 11:1 [ Fire From the Lord ] Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp and Numbers 14:27 “How long will this wicked community grumble against me? I have heard the complaints of these grumbling Israelites
God will give you the strength you need
Feeling discouraged? Feeling down? The Lord is your strength. Ask Him for help. Consider Isaiah 41;30 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint
The Lord is always right beside you, but you need to reach out for His help. Call on Him and He will answer. Trust Him and He will carry you through. He can strengthen you when you feel week, He will lift you up when you fall and He is never too far way, but always beside us. Try and see, the Lord is good and His Promises never fail.
We walk by faith, and not by sight
Keep your heart protected so you don’t speak words of faithlessness
If I let my thoughts run away into negative and wrong things, soon they slip out of my mouth into the hearts of those around me. That’s no good! I said something this weekend to my youngest daughter I wish I wouldn’t have said. I had thought it for a while and oops! There it came out of my mouth into her ears and she heard it. Ugh! I need to shut out anything negative and keep my children protected also Prov 4:23
Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.
I know! I’m always quoting this verse – but it’s key and it’s connected like a puzzle to many things in the bible especially the teachings of Jesus. We need to make sure nothing sinks into the well of our heart unless it undergoes the Philippians 4;8 test.
Are our thoughts really important? Read the verses below. Consider the psalms of David. He would cry out in distress to the Lord and each time David would call on the promises of God in His prayer. He always spoke and prayed in faith even when he was in terrible trouble. Imagine what Abraham was thinking as he marched his son Isaac to the mountain. The only way Abraham got there was by faith and the only way he had faith was by looking straight ahead, not looking to the left or right. He put all his focus on the orders God gave Him and marched on without doubt. He fixed His thoughts. We see the same thing with Esther when she went before the King and many other people of the bible.
- Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
- Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
- Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
- Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
- Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
- Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off
- Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit
- Proverbs 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want
- 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you
Beware of the Devil’s lies that cause doubt and discouragment
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints Ephesians 6
You also need discernment as you step out in faith and walk on the water. The Lord explained discernment to me by allowing me to see the fiery darts that the devil sends. They are just like arrows and they are aimed straight for your head. The arrows are full of wrong thoughts, blasphemy, discouragement, doubt and everything against Jesus and the Lord. Discernment is knowing what to allow yourself to think and ponder and what to throw out and refuse to think about.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned
- Ecclesiastes 8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
- Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean
What is of the Lord and what is not? You see, the devil tries to plant a poisonous lie into your thoughts so it sinks down into your heart and soon becomes a part of your every day life. That is just one of his tactics. You don’t have to think about everything that comes into your mind. Keep your eyes and your thoughts fixed on the prize-Salvation in Jesus Christ.
- James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
- 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
Whatsoever you do, do it for the Glory of God
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites Col 3:23
Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. Eph 6:7-8
In everything you do, do it as if you are doing it for the Lord. Run the race to win. I started this race and I will finish. Don’t give up if you are struggling with doubt or discouragement. Lift your head up and keep going.
Persistance is key!
- Luke 18:1[ The Parable of the Persistent Widow ] Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
- Romans 2:7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
Persistance is a running theme through scripture. David didn’t give up! Noah didn’t give up! They all had difficult times yet they pursued through them. Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Esther, Mordecai, the Shumanite woman, Rahab, Abraham, Jesus! Peter, Paul, Stephen – their lives weren’t perfect, they had struggles yet each one had persistence and endured to the end victorious.
I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me
From day one I can sense the darts of defeat and discouragement coming out me, but I don’t allow them to enter my mind. I remind myself that I started this race and I will finish this race and I run to win. Each day throws new challenges and new obstacles in my way, but I know with God I can do anything. With God I can jump the highest mountains, with God I can win the race. Now my 5-8 hours of bible study a day has gone down to 2-3 hours as I relearn biology, World History, Spanish and Algebra. I can see God’s handiwork in each of these subjects I am teaching my daughter. I remember these verses and they keep me going:
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small Proverbs 24:10
If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5
If I faint in times of adversity, how can I race against the strong? So each day I keep on and each day I see God’s miraculous hand on my life and my steps. Trust Him in all your ways and He will direct your paths.
Did Jesus promise the walk to be easy?
No, but He did promise to walk with us. He did promise to always help us. He did promise that we are overcomers in Christ Jesus and though Him, all His promises are yes, true and amen.
Why did I make this decision?
My 15 year old has never been taught grammar in the public school. She can’t figure out multiplication because the way she was taught was so confusing. The kids are expected to type all their papers but no one has been taught how to type. The students hen peck at 10-20wpm and they cannot read or write cursive. How can they attend 4 years of college hen pecking the keyboard and using bubble baby print for note taking as they listen to their college professor? How are they going to calculate statistics if they have to draw boxes to figure out a simple math problem? I am ready to pull my second grader out as well. The math they teach is confusing. They try to teach logic without foundation. You need foundation first and then logic comes. An example of the new math is 436 + 249, instead of lining them up and adding them, the children are told to draw out 6 hundred boxes, then 7 ten lines, then 15 small circles for the ones, then they have to count the boxes, the lines and the ones, finally they must line up all those numbers and add them all up. Calculators are encouraged, homework and class time are spent playing games on computers to “tutor”. God is far away and non existent in the schools. “English 1” is 6 months of learning and studying all the greek gods, their offspring, and perverted affairs – for middle and high school- without grammar knowledge or writing skills. Who is behind this? Why are they dumbing down our kids? Why aren’t they teaching history? Why aren’t they encouraging students to read biographies ,autobiographies or something intelligent? The scholastic book bulletin just came out and 80% of the books are about magic. As I prepare for SAT teaching , I read that 22% of the biology exam is proving and acknowledging the evidence of evolution and patterns of evolution. Isn’t that a violation of my religious rights?
My daughter now has more social interaction than she did in school. She is able to join in at youth groups, drama groups, learn guitar and volunteer at a local ministry. These are all things she was unable to do when she was going to school. She is a different person, I can see her joy. She has always wanted to be in the famous Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant but homework made that impossible. Now she is able to be a part of this cast. She practices for hours every week. God is truly good and surely has taken care of my daughter because she belongs to Him.
Do you want to walk on water? Has God called you to a specific task and you think it’s impossible for you?
- Trust God, not man
- Fix your thoughts
- Refuse to worry
- Don’t let doubt and discouragement entertain your thoughts
- Call on God for Strength
- Watch your words- begin by guarding your heart
- Be wise to the devil’s lies and pray for discernment
- Stay Grounded in Gods word which gives discernment
- In all you do, do as if you are doing it for the Lord
- Don’t think it a strange thing when you run into trials
- Run the race to win
- See you at the finish line! :)
both young and old;
may each be well,
as day unfolds.
When bags are packed,
and lunches made;
with new clothes donned,
Lord, go before,
each one of us;
whether by car,
by foot or bus.
Let hope be held,
in every heart;
as we make way,
to year’s new start.
May every child,
find safety there;
may peace be found,
through smiles we wear.
Let each student,
and know our care,
as they walk in.
God give us strength,
use us to be;
a voice of hope,
with kids we lead.
For all who come,
may we provide,
a place to grow.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginnings. Thank You for the privilege of partnering with You in preparing young lives to be tomorrow’s leaders. Thank You that as we begin a new school year, You have already set in place, which people are to care for every child who enters our schools. Strengthen and equip us to reach and care for each one, and may they leave a bit better at each day’s end. Forgive us for our oversights, and please stand in the gaps where we fall short. Protect every student and staff member that enter our schools, and help each to become the very best version of ourselves. May we honor You with all we do, and may many find way to faith in You. Amen.
Anne update: Yesterday was a quieter day for Anne, but I imagine a bit of rest was good. Today she has an important appointment. Please pray not only for her healing, but for wisdom and words for the medical community entrusted with her care. Please grant them Your words to speak. Hold her heart and her hand as she goes, and be her perfect peace. Blessings to you, my prayerful friends!
With countless thanks, Shannon
U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black was elected in 2003.
Posted on the official U.S. Senate website is:
“Chaplain’s Office – Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State.
The first Senate, meeting in New York City on APRIL 25, 1789, elected the Right Reverend Samuel Provost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, as its first Chaplain.
During the past two hundred and seven years, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate’s faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation.”
This was a continuation of the practice of the Continental Congress during the Revolution, as Ben Franklin remarked in 1787:
“In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection.”
The first Senate Chaplain was Bishop Samuel Provoost, who conducted George Washington’s Inaugural Service at New York’s St. Paul’s Chapel.
Bishop Samuel Provoost preached the first Episcopal ordination sermon in St. George’s Chapel, New York City, July 15, 1787:
“We are occupied in the…most important business that can possibly engage the human mind…that…in the Hands of God, we shall be made the happy instruments of turning many from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to the Knowledge and Love of the Truth…
Lay no other foundation than that which is already laid…upon the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and him crucified…
Let us all unite our most strenuous endeavors, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may run and be glorified, till the earth be filled with the Knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
From 1789-2013, the 62 Senate Chaplains have been Christian:
Seventh-day Adventist 1.
Occasionally members of other faiths have been invited to offer prayers.
The U.S. Senate Chaplain after World War II was Peter Marshall, who prayed:
“Our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else. May our faith be not merely stamped upon our coins, but expressed in our lives.”
Peter Marshall’s son, Peter Marshall, Jr., together with David Manuel, wrote the best-selling book, The Light and the Glory, which traced the Hand of Providence in the founding of America.
On February 7, 1984, President Reagan addressed the National Association of Secondary School Principals:
“God…should never have been expelled from America’s schools.
As we struggle to teach our children…we dare not forget that our civilization was built by men and women who placed their faith in a loving God.
If Congress can begin each day with a moment of prayer…so then can our sons and daughters.”
American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement to vwww.AmericanMinute.com
The following post is reprinted with permission and it is a must read for anyone with children and grandchildren. It is also a must read for educators. Please do take time to check the links and read the other posts available!
Debunking the Common Core “The Emperor’s New Clothes” Narrative….
- by Gretchen Logue
- January 7, 2013
…and why are education reformers/politicians ascribing to fairy tales for policy?
Should Common Core State Standards be considered an educational version of the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”? The standards are the promise of new clothes for education but is there basis for believing there are any clothes at all? From Wikipedia:
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale byHans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over a hundred languages.
Christopher H. Tienken, Editor of AAASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice provided commentary in the Winter 2011 publication entitled Common Core State Standards: An Example of Data-less Decision Making.
His research may just expose the standards to be unfit and fallacy to those who are critical thinkers asking for data determining their stated validity. This article should be studied by educators, politicians, taxpayers, to understand the colossal farce Common Core standards are in terms of providing promises of educational improvement for American students as they are unproven and untested.
Tienken writes the standards have not been validated empirically and no metric has been set to monitor the intended and unintended consequences they will have on the education system and children (Mathis, 2010). So why would governors and private trade organizations spend millions of taxpayer dollars on theories instead of verifiable researched data? The CCSS proponents have bought into these two arguments:
- America’s children are “lagging” behind international peers in terms of academic achievement, and
- the economic vibrancy and future of the United States relies upon American students outranking their global peers on international tests of academic achievement because of the mythical relationship between ranks on those tests and a country’s economic competitiveness.
Where’s the data supporting the CCSS proponents’ arguments? There isn’t much put forth by the education reformers. So why are states and school districts implementing unproven and untested theories? He defines the acceptance/lack of data for the unproven and untested CCSS assessments and implementation allegedly designed to enable students to become “globally competitive” with such sentences/phrases as:
- An unbelievable suspension of logic and evidence
- To believe that economic strength of the United States relies on how students rank on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS) or the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), rather than reliance on policy (tax, trade, health, labor, finance, monetary, housing, natural resources policy)…”is like believing in the tooth fairy”
- The “critical skills necessary to compete in the 21st century” are repackaged 19th century ideas and skills…they are “inert, sterile, socially static”…the CCSS are stuck in a curricular time machine set in 1858
- Connecting an individual’s education achievement on a standardized test to a nation’s economic future is not empirically or logically acceptable and using that mythical connection for large-scale policymaking is civically reckless…when school administrators implement programs and policies built on those faulty arguments, they commit education malpractice
- More countries with national standards underperformed the US than did countries without national standards
- To think that every student in this country should be made to learn the same thing is illogical—it lacks face validity…we should have learned from the Soviet Union that central planning does not work in the long-run
- Standardization and testing are so entrenched in Singapore that every attempt to diversity the system has failed, leaving Singapore a country that has high test scores but no creativity
- (CCSS) creates a standardizing apparatus…we should respect differences among children, not try to extinguish them…there is a lot more going on here on the societal level than meets the eye…it’s more complex than the creators and vendors of the standards either understand or wish to present
- Children have a right to a quality education. School leaders, those who prepare them, and the people who lead our professional organizations have a duty to help provide the quality…if some education leaders choose to drink the snake oil then they should expect to get sick. If some help sell it, they should resign.
He backs up his findings with 48 independent referenced sources. It is worth your time to read his commentary that destroys the CCSS proponents’ arguments with methodical precision based on actual data. Compare/contrast his research/reference with the data CCSSO and the NGA use:
Many school districts or schools have “data committees” that make school-widedecisions based on some type of data. Surely there must be quality data available publically to support the use of the CCSS to transform, standardize, centralize and essentially delocalize America’s public education system. The official website for the CCSS claims to provide such evidence. The site alleges that the standards are “evidence based” and lists two homegrown documents to “prove” it: Myths vs Facts (NGA, 2010) and the Joint International Benchmarking Report (NGA, 2008).
The Myths document presents claims that the standards have “made use of a large and growing body of knowledge” (p. 3). Knowledge derives in part from carefully controlled scientific experiments and observations so one would expect to find references to high quality empirical research to support the standards.
When I reviewed that “large and growing body of knowledge” offered by the NGA, I found that it was not large, and in fact built mostly on one report, Benchmarking for Success, created by the NGA and the CCSSO, the same groups that created these standards; Hardly independent research.
The Benchmarking report has over 135 end notes, some of which are repetitive references. Only four of the cited pieces of evidence could be considered empirical studies related directly to the topic of national standards and student achievement.
The remaining citations were newspaper stories, armchair magazine articles, op-ed pieces, book chapters, notes from telephone interviews, and several tangential studies.
Many of the citations were linked to a small group of standardization advocates and did not represent the larger body of empirical thought on the topic”.
Tienken’s report needs to be sent to school boards, superintendents, state educational agencies, educational reform groups, governors and state legislators for their response to his research and conclusions. These private and/or public entities need to asked why they support common core standards and provide the data to back up their beliefs and use of the standards. If you get shocked faces and declarations from these groups/politicians such as “I do whatever _________ tells me to” (fill in the blank: state agency, federal government, governor, etc), you know the right to direct your school’s educational direction is in dire jeopardy.
Tienken writes those who perpetuate bad ideas based on flawed data are practicing poor leadership. If some school leaders and their organizations do not want to stand up for children then they should stand down and let those who are will assume the leadership reins.
How do you believe these organizations/politicians will respond (if they do) to Tienken’s research? Tienken welcomed rebuttal on his 2011 commentary:
“I welcome your rebuttals but please remember: Leave the opinions and ideology behind and bring the evidence”.
Do the CCSS proponents have anything other than opinions and ideology? This commentary was published in Winter 2011. I haven’t seen any data backing up CCSS proponents’ assertions, have you? That’s odd as they state CCSS is data driven. If they insist CCSS should be data driven, shouldn’t the foundational theory of their reforms consist of verifiable data to determine the veracity of their argument?
Dr. Tienken’s academic profile:
Christopher Tienken, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of Education Administration at Seton Hall University. He has public school administration experience as a PK-12 assistant superintendent, middle school principal, and elementary school assistant principal. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher. Dr Tienken’s research interests include the effect and influence of professional development on teacher practice and student achievement, the construct validity of high-stakes standardized tests as decision-making tools about student achievement and school effectiveness, and curricular interventions used in schools to improve achievement. His research about the effects of professional development on student achievement has been recognized by the Institute of Education Sciences and the National Staff Development Council awarded him the Best Research Award in 2008.