Tag Archives: education

The Shame Of The Nation By Jonathan Kozol

Keeping on the topic of education for a little bit, I thought I’d share a video with Jonathan Kozol, an amazing author who has for years tried to make known the inequalities of the public education system known. This 9 minute interview with Mr. Kozol helps give some quick insight and understanding to what his books discuss in further detail.

Why this Matters.
A lot of people, especially many in the church, applaud our country as being of ‘Land of Opportunity’ and we celebrate it’s freedom and equality. We are not however a country of free and equal opportunity. Our education system has been grossly unequal ever since the days of slavery, keeping and oppressing generations from ever having the opportunity to a fair chance at rising up. The Bible is filled with verses concerning justice from oppression, like in Isaiah:

10:1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,

2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,

If you believe this is authoritative, then your church should be doing something about the injustice of the land that you live in. If you don’t believe the Bible as fact, then at least tuck this verse away to challenge Christians that you meet to actually follow the Bible they claim they follow.

Thoughts on the Journey Compilation

With the daily podcast, Thoughts on the Journey, moving full steam ahead, I figured I should compile a show for all the current Trying to Follow podcast listeners. Basically this is a compilation of 6 of the daily podcasts I’ve been doing through the month of October. This is being posted in the podcast section so it will show up on the itunes podcast page for all my Trying to Follow listeners.

or Download Here.

Many uses for vacant campuses

Passing through Vanderbilt’s fairly vacant campus tonight, Mindy pointed out how sad it was that all these dormitories and other buildings sit pretty much vacant for about three months out of the year. At the same time, plenty of folks spend the nights out on the streets with no where to lay their head. The Fine brainstorm ensued and here where some thoughts the brilliant Mindy produced…

Imagine a three month rehabilitation center set up on vacant university campuses each summer. That is a good amount of time to offer a sort of detox and rehab program for a number of folks. It’d also be ample time to help diagnose mental health concerns and provide plans of care for those in need. Something like this could easily be supported by current students serving as interns and having an opportunity to gain some hands on real life experience related to their field of interest.

Another idea was to set up a three month summer education program for and put together by both students and community members (particularly those in need of living spaces). Imagine being part of a three month summer school that offered classes, workshops, discussion groups and more put together by college professors, students, homeless and formerly homeless persons, and a great many other people. Imagine living in a dorm with that sort of array of people and backgrounds. Imagine breaking bread together with folks from the other side of the tracks. Unfortunately, current colleges don’t seem to provide this, but what about the opportunity to offer these sorts of things on empty college campuses in the summer.

This is me thinking out loud.
What are your thoughts?

Some Facts about the GED


  1. About one out of every seven people who receive high school diplomas each year earns that diploma by passing the GED tests.
  2. Ninety percent of colleges and universities recognize the GED. Passing the GED tests puts a person in the upper 25th percentile in terms of class rank, and lets colleges know the person has the skills and knowledge equivalent to applicants from traditional high schools.
  3. More than 95 percent of employers nationwide employ GED graduates on the same basis as high school graduates in terms of hiring, salary, and opportunity for advancement.
  4. Sixty-five percent of GED test-takers plan to enter college, a university, trade or technical school, or business school during the next year.
  5. The average age of persons taking the GED tests is 24.7 years old.

GED Background

  1. Tests of the General Educational Development (GED) were established in 1942 to help returning World War II veterans finish their studies and earn a high school credential.
  2. Recognized throughout North America by employers and institutions of higher learning, the GED program served as a bridge to education and employment opportunities for millions of adults since 1942. An estimated 12.6 million people have earned high school equivalency diplomas since the program began.
  3. Today, GED tests measure the academic skills and knowledge students are expected to acquire during four years of high school. The GED test battery consists of five tests: Language Arts – Writing, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts – Reading, and Mathematics.
  4. The GED testing program is jointly administered by the GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education and each participating state department of education. There are nearly 3,500 official GED Testing Centers in the U.S., Canada, and overseas.

Source: American Council on Education web site

Education Pays

If there is any major encouragement for staying in school it is because it pays off in the end. Here’s a chart from the Department of Labor Statistics.


When you start crunching those numbers you find some pretty impacting things.
Just graduating high school increases your pay over $8000 a year. Sticking it out through an associates degree is another $6000+ a year.

The unemployment rate decreases by a large amount just by completing high school. These are some powerful changes.

Education is Important

This week I’m going to be posting a handful of education related post. Two years ago when my wife and I were part of the Americorps program in Atlanta working in the public schools we were able to see first hand, and learn and read about at the same time, the horrible atrocities and inequalities occuring in our education system.
This week I’m taking a look at education and researching ways to help those that are falling behind actually succeed. I don’t know what that might look like, or the many examples there are, but that is my project for the week.

I’ll likely be posting mostly information, probably with some commentary from me here and there. Hopefully it is new information you have not heard before, and if you have it’s important information to reiterate. My hope is that you would see some of the reasons I have the passion that I do for education.

How to Read a book

When in college I was a mass consumer of information. Books, lectures, sermons, classes, magazines, papers, etc. I decided it would be worth my time to set down an intentional list of questions that I would ask myself as I spent my time doing these things.
I’ve found, though I don’t do it all the time, that this is HUGELY beneficial to making the most of your time and the information you take in.

Reading a Book, Listening to a Lecture, and Taking a Class

Why do I do these things?
To gain insight, knowledge, wisdom for life.

What questions should I ask while I read, listen, etc. to make full use of that time?


  1. Why do I think this book/lecture/class will further my life?
  2. Of what importance is this aspect (from question #1) in my priorities in life?
  3. Am I committed to giving the time and effort to make this thing as beneficial as possible to my life?


  1. Is this sentence, chapter, idea or thought, new to me? (If yes: Write it down!)
  2. Does this new thought involve me taking action?
  3. Should I memorize it, read it again, or research further?
  4. How can I practically implement this new thing into my life right now?
  5. Is there anything I did not understand? Seek to understand it. Do NOT ignore new words, confusing sentences; read again or ask for help, until I understand.


  1. What did I learn from this?
  2. Is there actions I can take immediately to implement that?
  3. Did I make a mistake by choosing that thing? How can I not let that happen again?

After After

  1. Has this produced fruit in my life? Is it good or bad fruit?
  2. Am I giving my full energy and potential to applying this new thing?
  3. Have I implemented this to were I am satisfied?
  4. Can I then begin to take in something new?

Why I am was at Wheaton

Before I walked into my room on the sixth floor of Traber dorm at Wheaton College, I had taken the time to sit down and write a statement to myself about why I was going to be spending the next few years of my life in that place.  Writing out this mission statement was probably the most impacting and influencial step I took in making my time in college worthwhile. 
For those new and current students who come across this post, I strongly encourage you to write your own statement and post it in a prominent place in your room.  Because I was intentional about them, most of the statements below of proven true.


I believe God has called me here.
1.He got me in despite my shortcomings
2.He’s provided the finances to be here

I am at one of the best Christian academic schools in the world because God wants me here.

God has called me here to…
-Learn about him and his work in many areas.
-To interact and study under some of the smartest Christians in their particular field in the world, and learn to glorify God in that area.
-To be a part of a body of young people eager for God
-To get a degree (because I have been afforded this opportunity)
-To be a light of God’s truth to the people around me
-To root myself in the factual evidence of God’s truth that I may stand on that firm foundation of God’s word.

“…And we take Captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
–I Cor. 10:5

When I think about my time at Wheaton I undoubtedly think of the many wonderful friendships that I have built through my time there.  I also look back with few regrets about where my priorities were.  There are many who look back wishing they had went to more classes, read more of the books, visited with more of the professors.  No one I know wishes they had slept through more of their college years.  I say all this to encourage current Wheaton students and any other college students to be intentional about your time.  The parties will be forgotten.