Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Christian Left

On Facebook, I am connected with a site called "The Christian Left." The following two pictures were downloaded from that site. Here is the first:

I love the sweet innocence on the child's face as she holds the poignant sign. I want to offer some commentary, but find that I am more compelled to let the picture stand on its own.

And now the other image to consider:

This was posted in relation to the battle in Wisconsin where one governor, named Scott, is seeking to bust unions and to "balance the budget" on the backs of education and teachers. I am in Florida, where another governor, who is also named Scott, is doing something similar, but taking a different approach.

The church I am attending has chosen as their mission statement: Being the face of Christ in our community." I like that statement. It challenges me to think about my own choices in life. If I am to truly "be the face of Christ" it seems that I need to be more pro-active about standing with those who are teachers and laborers, I need to "speak truth to power," I need to advocate for and provide service to those who are the targets of the powerful, be they corporate powers, governmental powers, or just brute power of people who are afraid of losing what illusion of control they are holding on to. When we stand with powerful forces in the hopes of advancing or protecting ourselves then we are standing in opposition to the teachings, ministry, and life of Jesus.

Sadly, many Christians have chosen that path.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honk for Education

Yesterday was a state wide rally for education as Governor Scott, of Florida, and the Florida Legislature are preparing to address what they see as needed budget cuts and using this an excuse to advance other agendas that have been itching at them for some time.
One agenda is a re-write of how we will do education in our state, and across the country. Another agenda is to dis-empower the working class unions so that they will have less of a voice (almost no voice left) in government. So, the teachers who love their work as educators, and who appreciate the collective position they have through the teachers union, gathered to show their unity and to raise awareness. It was delightful to hear so many drivers responding by honking their horns, by waving and smiling, and giving a "thumbs up."

I don't know what the answer is for improving education in our state, but I do know that when we simplify a problem we are denying ourselves the opportunity to address the real issues. Our society is much more complex than it ever was, our schools are more diverse, our communities are disengaged from all institutions, families are struggling to make ends meet and to make sense of what they are experiencing, and young people are often struggling to find where they  "fit in." And that just scratches the tip of the iceberg. But it is so much simpler to say that the problem is that we have too many teachers that are not cutting it, and if we have good teachers they can handle larger classes.

What do you think? What are the true challenges in education? What would make a real difference in providing a good foundation for tomorrow's adults? I would be interested in hearing from you.