Tag: choice

How an unqualified Betsy DeVos might actually set school choice back

In general, I believe a president should be able to surround himself with people that support the agenda he was elected on by the citizens who voted. It seems to me the appropriate place for disagreement and discussion about policy best occur when it is done by elected officials, where every 2, 4, 6 or 8 years voters have the opportunity to weigh in on their evaluation of their elected officials’ performance.

But on the confirmation, yesterday of Betsy DeVos, as Secretary of Education, 2, 4, 6 or 8 years of her being in this job are 2, 4, 6 or 8 years too many. It is not because I disagree with some of the policies that she might support. In general, I do wish there were mechanisms to allow students in failing schools to leave the school and choose to go somewhere else. I do wish that those for whom paying private school tuition is a significant economic burden could get some tax relief. My problems are not about policy.

My problems are about an absolutely unqualified person to be the Secretary of Education. Ms. Devos did not know even rudimentary educational terms, concepts or laws. If you are going to advise states and help them, you need to understand whether or not the type of measurement you are going to use is standards (proficiency) or by the level of improvement by each individual student (growth).

Christianity Ain’t for Wimps: The Choice is not always easy

I recently saw a cartoon on the internet that placed a challenge right at the heart of my understanding of my faith. Usually I expect to see funny cartoons, plays on words, or jokes. But this one actually present a challenge to me. It was simply a quote: “If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshiping an idealized version of yourself.”

It got me to thinking: when was the last time I was challenged by God. To be sure, I can see and admit my sinfulness. But, have I really had a sense that God was calling me to something difficult, something that I did not want to do? Moses and Jesus set the choice before us: life or death, the cross or the comfort.

Homily for Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I am always a little tempted when the genealogy reading comes up in the gospel to read. If for no other reason, it is to see if I can read it with the type of conviction that might cause people to pay attention. Usually I do not. And yet, when we think about celebrating a birthday, it might be the best time for us to think about the connections we have to the past, and will have in the future. For better or worse, our family and our relatives are connected.

What is interesting to me is that we do not choose these connections. We did not have auditions to see what relatives would “make the cut.” They were given to us, whether we wanted them to be or not. We did not have a choice in the matter. We do however have a choice in how we will allow them to influence us.

Most people can look to their relatives and see how, in positive ways, they have shaped the persons we are and whom it is we will become. When I think of my relatives, they are probably not a lot different from yours. There are some relatives of mine I admire deeply and seek to emulate in my faith and in the way I live my life. There are others for whom faith is not as important. At the same time, they still impact the person I am, either because I have been shaped by past experiences or people I care about have been shaped by past experiences.

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