My favorite Christian Folk/Rap artist, Josh Garrels, released a new album, Lost Animals, recently. I picked it up at his performance last week. It's a collection of songs that didn't make onto his last album, Jacaranda, and others he wrote and recorded in collaboration, or for film scores. Like all of Josh's music, Lost Animals is memorizing, and unforgettable. If you have not yet listened to Josh, give him a try. And if you choose to purchase his music, buy directly from his website here: http://www.joshgarrels.com/store.html to help support Josh and his family.
The main focus of high school education in 2009 is still preparing students for higher education (sending them to college). Our graduation requirements are still structured around the University of California's admissions requirements and the UC and CSU systems continue to be the tail that wags the dog of public high schools in California. But if Chris is right about his assessment of the devaluation of higher ed, then I think it's time we changed course at the high school level and focused on preparing our students for the world; a world that MAY include higher education for SOME (not ALL) of our students.
It's starting in California already with the Carl Perkins program and its focus on Career Technical Education. Students will soon be required to take CTE courses as part of their graduation requirement and that is a very good thing indeed. The problem is that many California public high schools are not yet prepared to offer appropriate CTE courses as the main focus of education has been on preparing ALL students for going to college. And with the budgetary issues in California, it seems like more classes are being cut, then are being created. The Perkins funding program helps, but the rules and guidelines are stringent and time consuming enough to make some school districts decide not to participate.
As the universities are forced to charge more and more for tuition fewer and fewer students will be able to afford to go. If theses students have been insufficiently prepared for the world of work by their high school education, where diplomas seem to be an entitlement, then they, and all of us, are in real trouble. Thoughts?
Things are very good right now. So good that I am slightly concerned about what happens next, but let's not spoil the moment. I'm sitting in the kitchen of our new house. This is the best spot for the computer, same as the last house. I haven't written much this summer because I haven't had many moments like this to collect my thoughts. But I'm up early this morning before school, and I'm not out riding my bike, so here's what's on my mind.
God is faithful, especially when we are not. He proves himself true to the righteous over and over again. My family and I moving into this house, at this place, in this time feels very much like a reward for our patience, obedience, and an answer to our prayers. God provides and his provision in more than sufficient, if we will allow him to work in our lives, and get out of his way. My maturing adult life is not just a testimony, but actual evidence of God's grace, and a working relationship with the father, son and holy spirit.
Righteousness is rewarded. (Here is a link that explains righteousness very well.) Following Jesus means doing the best we can to be righteous, not self-righteous, in all things. Not easy to do, and without grace, impossible. I can not just tell you but also show you the rewards for righteous in my life. And I am more than thankful for a savior willing to die for my sins and give me the opportunity to experience a life in relationship with him, filled every day with the power of the holy spirit.
I've read two books focused on Islam this summer. Muslims are successful and their numbers are growing partly because they take their relationship with God very seriously, and live out their faith in obvious ways for all to see. We Christians need to live out our faith in obvious ways and not hide our lights under a bushel, LET IT SHINE!
Today starts my 15th year as a contract teacher (not including the subbing and student teaching years.) I am at the same time the least and most prepared for the first day of teaching ever. I spent very little time this summer prepping. However, I'm getting to that point in my teaching career where I've worked out many of the wrinkles, so really the only unknown factor is the new students, and they are fairly predictable.
My first day I usually take role REALLY slowly, share a little about me, and then review my curriculum paper. I may change that up a bit today. We'll see how I'm feeling, and what the terrain looks like. Some teachers will tell you not to smile until Thanksgiving. Right. The students absorb the teacher's enthusiasm from the moment the first bell rings. I will smile ALOT today (hey, I'm employed!!!)
A few weeks ago the buyer of our home pulled out. It's funny, but I wasn't shocked, or concerned. I was confident that God was in control. Perhaps I was so panicked that I was numb, and so felt no feeling at all. But it wasn't that. I was calm because I know that God is faithful and has proven it to me time after time.
Two weeks later we got another offer on the house. This time from our neighbor up there who wants to use it as a corporate retreat. His offer is cash, but he wants a 1-year option to decided if the property will work for his company. He is willing to pay a handsome (huge) monthly payment for the year while he decides. Thank you Father.
During the same time the landlord of the rental house that we are currently living in explained that they were ready to reoccupy their home. We started shopping for a new rental and found the house in the picture above. Built in 1910, it is located in one of the local historic districts. I have always wanted to live in a house like this. We signed the lease yesterday.
In the middle of all this I went to Las Vegas with 4 high school/college friends whom I have not seen in many, many years. But what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Actually is was a very sweet experience. It's amazing how real friendships transcend time and place.
I also completed riding 300 miles on my bike in the month of July. After this morning's ride I'll have ridden 100 miles in August already. However, school starts again on Wednesday.