Monday, November 29, 2010

The Solution to Kansas' Ed Funding Paradox

Excellent Teachers with Larger Classes and Lean, Excellent Leadership

Here’s the post that I made on “Voice for Liberty in Wichita” website which can be found here:
I watched KSN's Jessica Schlageck's report on the new survey results released Monday by the Foundation for Educational Choice regarding Kansan's erroneous perceptions of educational funding. Dave Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute gave an excellent interview where he astutely pointed out that Kansans generally don’t realize just how much tax money Kansas schools already receive and that, as the schools ask for more and more, the schools nor the public have yet to define”How much is enough.” The fact is that if we increase taxes to 100% and give all the money to the schools we would destroy our economy and have no schools at all, so obviously there’s some upper limit to the necessity for school funding. It’s also interesting that the individual leading the vanguard in the court battle is not a parent or business person, the sort of person you think would be leading the way if more spending were necessary to produce greater economic growth—what businessman or parent would be against that?—but rather, John Morton, Newton’s school superintendent, one biased toward bloated school system overhead: the perpetuation of his own salary.
I was further interested to note that my comment to that article reflected the wisdom of Bill Gates shared just above on the WichitaLiberty site, that better teachers—who are rare—and larger class sizes are the keys to cost effective achievement. Further it’s time we shrank district staff overhead and dispensed with wasteful extravagances as it seems Lawrence schools are learning to do. With that as an introduction here was my response to the KSN report which can be found at :
According to the "Trends International Math Science Study," students from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia and England all score higher on the study's standardized test than the United States and yet the United States spends more than any of these as a percentage of GDP, except for England, and more than all in terms of real dollars according to the CIA World Factbook. There is no relationship between dollars spent on education and individual achievement as far as raw throwing dollars into school systems is concerned. Probably the best educational value in Wichita is the Classical School of Wichita which has one of the highest National Merit Scholar to student ratios at a fraction of the cost of public education by any measure. School funding advocates like superintendent Morton of Newton are clearly biased since they directly benefit from increased taxation for schools and yet there is no direct correlation in any available data of economic growth trending with educational expenditure. Quite to the contrary, some of the chronically poorest nations on earth, with the worst education, spend the highest percentage of GDP on education. What matters most is quality curriculum, quality leadership, and quality teachers that can be achieved with higher student-teacher ratios and fewer frills exactly as they have been doing and are doing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Russia. In order for class size to make any statistical difference in achievement the class must be smaller than 10 and then it would be virtually impossible, read astronomically expensive, to equip all such classrooms with excellent teachers, and so the achievement gain due to small classes would be reversed by poor teachers. The truth is that larger classes with exceptionally well qualified teachers and complete parental support with excellent lean leadership is the path to educational excellence for the masses as well as economic prosperity for the economy as a whole. At least that's what Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea have proved. The elite will have their “Roxbury Latin's,” of course, but it’s not good for anyone for everyone to have them.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Offering Up A Thank Offering in the Lord's Supper

Communion Thoughts: Thanksgiving And The Crucifixion

It’s only fitting that in the season of thanksgiving we should give thanks for the greatest blessing anyone could ever give: a life, a body and blood, that brings forgiveness of sins, redemption of our souls, reconciliation of our relationship with our creator God, adoption as children of God, power to overcome sin and Satan, and eternal life with all the others who share this thankfulness in the perfect home of our loving and beautiful father sharing eternal happiness with our perfect husband Jesus.

Now if you can’t get fired up about that your wood is really wet!! I mean it would have to be way wetter than Elijah’s wood when he faced the prophets of Baal. Remember that story? Elijah was going to call down fire from God so he asked the prophets of Baal to pour water all over his wood, and they poured barrels and barrels on it, but when they called for their God’s to ignite their sacrifices the Baal did nothing but God poured fire from heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice and burnt up not only the offering but the wood, water and even the stones of the alter!! Now that’s the kind of fired-up we’re talking about here, AMEN??

I did a study on thanksgiving recently and I found an interesting bit of trivia. I say trivia because it won’t make any difference in our eternal salvation if we don’t know this little fact or not, but we all like to learn fascinating insights into the scripture don’t we? Amen?

Well, the Bible talks a lot about thanksgiving:
1. Sanctifying power in thanksgiving 1 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
2. Thanksgiving is a kind of sacrifice to God Ps 50:23 ESV
23The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!"
(Jer. 31:31-34; 33:10-12 In the new covenant thank offering will be made.)
3. We are to make sacrifices to God 1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV
4As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
4. One of the sacrifices we are to make is of our bodies. Rom 12:1-2
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 
This brings us to the interesting piece of trivia that I told you about:
Jesus is recorded giving thanks to God on only 4 sets of occasions:
1. When he feeds the 5,000 and the 4,000 (Matt. 14, 15; Mk. 6, 8; Lk. 9; Jn. 6)
2. When he is about to raise Lazarus from the dead. (John 11)
3. At the last supper (Matt 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22;
4. With the disciples in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
Let’s look at the account of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22:14-20
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
In a sense, Jesus is preparing his body for sacrifice in the sanctifying prayer and setting up a thank offering for us to remember him by continually
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:16-21 to see Paul’s thoughts on these things:
16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.

So today we partake with our Lord Jesus in his memorial feast and in it we make an offering of thanksgiving to our Lord for all that he accomplished for us on that cross and when he presented himself as an offering in the presence of God in heaven. Indeed, it is not on any earthly alter that we offer this offering of thanksgiving but on the very throne of God in heaven, for the sacrifices we offer are not earthly but they occur in heaven itself.

Let us pray.