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Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Education | 0 comments

What Mary Poplin Taught Us About Being a Christian Teacher in Public Education (2 of 2)

What Mary Poplin Taught Us About Being a Christian Teacher in Public Education (2 of 2)

The Soul of Education Q&A – Dr. Mary Poplin from Denver Institute on Vimeo. [In a previous post, I summarized an interview I did with Dr. Mary Poplin, Professor of Education at Claremont Graduate University. In the previous post, Poplin challenged constructivism, shared her findings on highly effective teachers, and encouraged teachers to teach about religion in public schools in a way that is fair and truthful to each set of beliefs. In this post, she discusses how to redeem history, teach virtue, influence the moral climate of a school through prayer, and be both courageous and compassionate as a Christian teacher in public education.] 4. Don’t romanticize history – either Christian or secular. Encourage students to seek out sources. “We have to redeem history. History has been rewritten…I was astounded the other day. I was in LA and I saw an Asian woman with a t-shirt that exalted Ho Chi Minh. The people who I thought were villains—who really are if you read history—are now being exalted as...

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Education | 0 comments

What Mary Poplin Taught Us About Being a Christian Teacher in Public Education (1 of 2)

What Mary Poplin Taught Us About Being a Christian Teacher in Public Education (1 of 2)

The Soul of Education Q&A – Dr. Mary Poplin from Denver Institute on Vimeo. Being a public school teacher is tough – especially as a committed Christian. My mother was a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher for 35 years, my sister a middle school math teacher, and my wife has taught Spanish (and now young children) for nearly a decade. Over the years, the challenges for them have been many-sided: – What should I think about the teaching philosophies we hear from the administration?  – What curriculum will best serve my students? What about the district standards we have to teach to? – How can I serve every student well – especially those coming from difficult home situations or low-income backgrounds?  – Can I share what I believe about Christ in a public school – or is this strictly off limits?  – What does it mean to serve God and my students well as a public school teacher? When we invited Dr. Mary Poplin, author and Professor of Education at...

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Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Education | 1 comment

Education and Christian Faith

Education and Christian Faith

  As soon as Christians bring up the topic of faith and education, they quickly divide into two camps. On one side are those that argue passionately for educational equity, and see the foundational expression of the Christian faith in public education as one of equal access and “closing the achievement gap.” Here, justice is the issue. On the other side are those in Christian schools and home schools who see the integration of faith and education as a plain matter of teaching Bible, theology, and the “Christian worldview” as the centerpiece of the educational experience. For them a version of “Christian education” is the answer. Here, truth is the issue. Yet what I find disturbing is that these two groups rarely talk to each other. And instead versions of name calling usually take place. Those committed to public schools will call Christian school and homeschool families “separatists,” – they’re ignoring the needs of their community and instead living in a “holy huddle” instead of being “salt and light”...

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Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

Writing About Bill Kurtz, CEO of Denver School of Science and Technology

Writing About Bill Kurtz, CEO of Denver School of Science and Technology

  Recently Christianity Today published my essay on Bill Kurtz, CEO of Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST). (Read the complete essay here.) Having learned about Kurtz only this last Fall, his work was relatively new to me. As a charter school leader, and one who had spoken at both Q Cities Denver and at the Center for Faith & Work, I thought I should investigate his story to see if I couldn’t learn something about how he integrates his faith and work. As we sat down at Udi’s in Stapleton on June 18 for a brief lunch interview, Bill was kind, humble, and self-effacing, not exactly what I expected from a successful charter school executive. We spoke for about 45 minutes on the challenges of public school education, his motivation & leadership style, and the secret to DSST’s success. I went home, typed up the interview, and got working on the article. Little did I understand sheer magnitude and far-reaching impact of his work. As I began...

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Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

Interview with Bill Kurtz

Interview with Bill Kurtz

  June 18, 2013 What motivated you to serve in public education? I always liked working with kids and I always liked challenges, and it seemed to me this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces. Also, it didn’t seem to me we were doing very well solving it. It was a great opportunity to serve and tackle something that interested me and work with people at the same time. Why then public education? It felt like the right opportunity to have an impact and, again, in a place where very few people were having the kind of success that we needed to have for kids and our communities.  It felt like an opportunity to solve a much bigger problem. Not that private education isn’t good. But this seems to be the core…obviously most kids in this country are educated in a public school. What is the biggest challenge in public education today? Ah, the biggest challenge is finding great people. We’re going to hire about 120...

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Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Education | 0 comments

The Music of the Universe

The Music of the Universe

  Rarely do I finish a book and exclaim, “I have never even thought about most of these ideas.” Yet when I finished Stratford Caldecott’s Beauty for Truth’s Sake, I was dumbfounded. Although a bit heavy in quotations in some spots, this book opened a new world to me. That new world was the unity of knowledge. Christians often teach about not dividing sacred from secular and integrating the Bible into all of life, but most of these efforts amount to very little other than applying obscure Bible passages in strange ways. Caldecott, a Catholic theologian at Oxford, has given Christians interested in education a new vocabulary for “Christian worldview.” The book is about the classical Liberal Arts tradition of the West that “once offered a form of humane education that sought the integration of faith and reason, and that combined the arts and the sciences, before these things became separated, fragmented, and trivialized.” For Caldecott, this tradition can only be recovered by going back to the sources (ressourcement)....

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