Home School Sports May 26, 2011Posted by Matt in education, sports.
Tags: home school, public education, Shelby County, sports participation
Last week, the board of Shelby County Schools debated a new guideline from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association that states that home-schooled athletes should be able to join public school teams, as long as they live within the district’s boundaries.
The rules of SCS state that athletes must be enrolled at the school where they compete.
On the other hand, parents living in the district pay taxes which go to fund the public school and its programs.
The writer of the column vents her frustration in this way, saying the most grating issue is “the gall required to so deliberately divest from public education while simultaneously cherry-picking sports as the public school component for which parents can cheer.”
One of the school board members echoed her sentiment, saying “I do embrace and will fight hard for any parents’ right to school choice, be that public, private, or at-the-kitchen-table schooling, but there’s got to be consequences to those decisions.”
Like the writer, I guess I’m surprised that homeschooling parents would even want their kids to participate in public school athletics, but then again I’ve never been (and will never be) in their shoes.
Bison in the Closet March 2, 2011Posted by Matt in church, education.
Tags: changing attitudes, church of christ, Conservative values, gay students, Harding University
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As most if not all of you know, I graduated from Harding University, a private, Church of Christ-affiliated school in Arkansas. It was there that I met my wife and that a few excellent professors (in the Bible Department, of all places) helped steer my philosophical/theological leanings for years to come.
Let me say that I have no desire to denigrate the university. In the past, I’ve poked fun at the school and its conservative values and I have no desire to retrace those steps. Today, though, something was brought to my attention regarding my alma mater that caught my attention and I wanted to share it with you. While the rules maintain a certain modicum of behavior at the school, they have also served to disenfranchise minority groups of students, including one that saw fit to publish their frustrations today in a new blog entitled huqueerpress.com.
It’s not easy to read through the frustrations of current and former students, particularly when they quote the material from one of their classes. You should check it out.
Though we left the Church of Christ some time ago and found a welcoming home elsewhere, it is heartening to see the waves of change finally rippling into the CoC. Between the aforementioned blog, HalftheChurch.com (about gender inclusiveness) and other avenues of expression, things are afoot in the church. It’s wonderful to see that there are people working for these much-needed changes and I hope you will offer them your support.
Lazy Whiners? Well, Yeah…. February 16, 2011Posted by Matt in education.
Tags: Natalie Munroe, teenagers are lazy whiners
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I read an interesting article today regarding a Philadelphia-area high school English teacher who has been suspended for writing in her personal blog things like this about some of her students:
They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.
Well, yeah, of course they are. They are teenagers, by the way. If you don’t agree, then you obviously haven’t been in a room full of them before.
One for the Alma Mater October 6, 2010Posted by Matt in education.
Tags: eccentric thinking, Harding University
Truth be told, I don’t dislike my alma mater, Harding University in the least. I know I like to poke fun at the school’s eccentricities and some of its logic-defying moves, but my experience there was not a bad one. I mean, I did meet my wife while a student there and I did have a few excellent teachers, so I hope everyone realizes that, though I may show my exasperation at times and respond with ridicule, it doesn’t mean I dislike the school. No, the hallowed halls of Harding hold a special place for me.
But you have to admit, when they pull out crazy stuff like they did today, it is hard not to point and laugh from afar.
School on Christmas? August 10, 2010Posted by Matt in education, religion.
Tags: Christianity, Christmas, David Bristow, school
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I just read this interesting editorial on CNN.com by a Christian youth minister, David Bristow, who I think makes a very good argument for keeping public schools open on Christmas day. Read the article and let me know what you think.
Back to School! August 5, 2010Posted by Matt in education, family.
Tags: first day of school, public schools
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Today is Thursday, August 5th. The heat index in the Memphis area is roughly 280 degrees. People are working, sleeping or maybe running around town in a traffic-induced cloud of carbon monoxide, but something is missing. There is a certain quiet that has settled over the neighborhood, one that has been absent in the past two months of zoo-like frenzy.
The children are gone.
Mind you, there is nothing about this one should find particularly alarming. School is in…on August 5.
Yes, this morning my daughters’ alarm clock sounded are precisely 6:30 and the madness had begun. Having spent the past two months with mornings that were a good deal lazier, it was quite harried around the house as I rounded up the girls, made sure they were dressed, fed, and that their backpacks were packed.
One of the nice things about the first day of school is that the children are generally excited, which makes it much easier to get them out the door on time, or perhaps even a bit early. Rachel is starting 3rd grade this year, so she has officially graduated from elementary school and into the intermediate school building across town, which houses grades 3-5. Rebekah is beginning kindergarten, so this is a whole new world for her and she is more than ready for the challenges ahead.
Being the grown-up that she believes herself to be, Rachel chose to ride the bus this morning instead of having us drop her off – the first time she has done so on a first day of school. We did drive Bekah, though, since this was starting a brand new chapter in her young life and we definitely wanted to be with her.
Once we arrived at her classroom, Bekah quickly found a seat and began coloring, making it clear to us that she was fine. I was actually quite amazed at her poise, especially given that some of her classmates (and their parents) were shedding tears and wailing at the thought of this next step in the process of growing up. I am most definitely a proud father.
As you all know, I am believer in education and support our public schools wholeheartedly and without reservation. My kids will receive a first class education, one in which they will not only learn about the various subjects, but also how to relate to other people. The diverse classroom environment of our particular school represents a fair slice of the area in which we live and I can think of few things more important for children than learning about working together with different people.
So, today marks a milestone for my young children and I couldn’t be happier for them. It’s a big day in the Wisdom house and I can’t wait to get home this evening and hear about their exciting day!
The High Cost of Lower Taxes May 5, 2010Posted by Matt in education, Southaven.
Tags: DeSoto County, Mississippi, public schools, taxes
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I live in Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis that has become well known for having low crime, good schools, and lower taxes than the city it adjoins. Over the past two decades, the population in Southaven and the surrounding area of DeSoto County have exploded to well over 150,000 people. The county is also home to the largest school district in the state, with 40 schools and around 37,000 students.
Recently it was announced from the office of our governor Haley Barbour that education would be forced to face cuts due to the state’s financial problems. In our district, all employees will face a pay cut and those that remain will not include 22 adminstrators, 40 teachers, and 50 teacher aides, all of whom will be let go at the end of the school year. In addition to that, some employees will see their work hours decreased, purchases of new textbooks will be delayed, and art programs will be cut, with the spectre of more cuts on the horizon.
So DeSoto County residents, who are overwhelmingly conservative (I’m not sure how we ended up there), will soon be forced to face the music and decide whether or not low taxes are more desirable than high quality schools. I have one daughter in the school system now and another who will start next year, so I have a vested interest in the future of our schools. If we need to raise the tax rate to save our education system, let’s do it. I can’t think of anything more important.
Remember this if Barbour really does decide to bolt the state and run for president.
Cutting Out the Kids March 26, 2010Posted by Matt in education, politics.
Tags: education, funding cut, Haley Barbour, Mississippi
I always have been and always will be a big supporter of public education. My oldest daughter is (and next year my younger daughter will be) a part of the DeSoto County School District, where she joins more than 30,000 other children (we recently surpassed Jackson as the largest district in Mississippi) each day to work their way through the hallowed halls. We’ve been very happy with the teachers and administrators and with the care and attention they give to all of the students.
That being the case, I was greatly disappointed to read of the recent actions of our governor, Haley Barbour. It seems as though Barbour is doing the unthinkable, especially in a state that doesn’t rank anywhere close to the top in education, by cutting education in the state budget by millions of dollars. According to our superintendent, Milton Kuykendall, our district has already had to suffer a net loss of $11 million in education spending over the past two years, and in 2011 we can expect an additional 15% cut, or at least $18 million, adding up to a nearly $30 million loss over a three year period. His is estimating that at least 300 teachers will have to be let go from our overcrowded schools to help make up some of this deficit.
I can’t help but think there are other things that could have been cut besides education…