I have lots that I’ve wanted to blog about this week, so consistent with my tag line, this may turn out to be rambling…
First (I have to get this out of my system), I shook Mitt Romney’s hand today! I am not his biggest fan, nor am I happy with President Obama’s work over the last 4 years, but it was an experience. Two days ago our campus learned that we would be hosting the Republican presidential candidate for 2012, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go or not. I really wanted to attend chapel on campus today, even though it meant I’d get in line late for the Romney rally, and so I ended up going to both but finding a spot in a “spillover” area after waiting in line for an hour. We could hear what was happening in the rally next door through speakers, but we couldn’t see the presidential candidate. This was fine, however, because he ended up sharing a few words in the spillover room after he was done at the main event! This was when I was able to shake his hand, like the proud American that I am. After this exciting event, I ran off to class (I was late). I expected to learn more about miscue analyses or running records, but was pleasantly surprised to hear an NPR recording on the two presidential candidates’ views on education.
What I learned:
- Romney and Obama both like charter schools. (Explanation of charter schools: http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/What-are-Charter-Schools003F.aspx)
- Romney wants to reduce funding to the federal department of education, and increase parent choice (allow vouchers for private school, charters, public schools, etc.)
- Obama is at least a little more supportive of teacher unions than Romney…
IOWA After this discourse on federal educational politics, we proceeded to discuss Iowa. I learned that today was the day the IA director of education (Mr. Glass) was addressing the issue of whether or not teacher education programs should require content tests in every endorsement area before licensure. This would increase the financial burden on college students, who would have to pay for each additional test, and teacher education programs would have little time to get this system established (it is supposed to go into effect Jan 1). In addition, the financial burden could potentially increase the disparity of racially diverse people in the teacher education spectrum. It would create more accountability for future teachers, however, and I think that this is something we could use. I hate seeing that in my college’s elementary education program there are many passionate students who (I believe) lack content knowledge. I am hesitant to say this, but I wouldn’t trust any children I may ever have with some of these (future) teachers simply because I worry about their poor writing or reading skills. So the question remains, more testing for future educators or not?
Note: This is my perception of the education news. There is definitely a chance that I am misunderstanding some of this. If so, you should tell me!
Non-Education related things I couldn’t end this post without mentioning a few other things. One, I watched a great film for a class on Wednesday called Baraka (1992 with Ron Fricke directing). It was essentially 90 minutes of video of different cultures and places all over the world, with no actors and no dialogue. The movie may seem boring to some, but the images shown were very striking and I would highly recommend watching it if you find that the opportunity arises. To me, it speaks about the connectedness of humanity and the rhythms of life. Sounds new age-ey, I know, but it was good.
On a different note altogether, I participated in a practice that we have on my campus called Centering Prayer last night, and want to share with you about this time of listening and meditating on the person of Jesus. After 10 or so minutes of complete silence, I heard the entire chapel shake with the wind of a storm. It was at this time that the idea of fearing the Lord made sense to me in a new way. It is always a struggle to blend the ideas of God’s power, intimacy, mercy, jealousy, compassion, judgment, and love all together, but in the strength of that wind I felt the love of the Lord. I felt like He was reminding me that He is great, that He is present, and that He is my guide. Most importantly, that He is. And in this mystery, things made sense.
I hope that this rambling on politics, education, humanity, and the wind of the Lord bless you in some way today. And if not, thank you for reading anyway.