Category Archives: Education
by Dr. Tommy Davis email@example.com
There is an unavoidable dilemma that the world has had to contend with since the beginning of humanity. It is clearly defined and noticeable, but there is little consensus as to its purposeful origin. No suitable explanation of the origin of evil has ever been formulated. The problem of evil is a reality that affects every segment of our society. Natural evil concerns the devastation, suffering and loss caused by tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, fire, disease, famine, to name some; moral evils that reflects the underlying philosophy of the culture; and social evils, which deals with ethical relationships between humans. As a metaphysical entity, evil is entirely opposed to good in nature and function. Perhaps it is necessary to point out the person behind all the forces of evil.
One of the most misunderstood characters in the history of the world is Satan himself. There are many assumptions concerning him. Some people believe that he does not exist, and some believe him to be a powerless personality; and some people go to the far extremes and place the devil everywhere which gives him the status of omnipresence. We will examine the Scriptures to see how the Bible describes the devil. It is crucial that this subject matter be analyzed from a biblical perspective to dismiss the false assumptions and portray the reality of this spiritual being.
One need only to look around at the calamitous events that takes place daily in the world to notice that some form of adversary exists. Hopefully we can conclude that all contributions of evil are a result of Satan’s fall from heaven. It should also be noted that Satan does not desire to be identified as the culprit. While he seeks to hide his identity, God rather exposes him! Satan exists because God created him and later determined (as opposed to being good) that Satan was evil.
In the book of Ezekiel, Satan is described as being the most beautiful of angels. The prophet wrote: “ You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire, thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:14-15 KJV). Again, it is important to establish that only God can determine the nature of a thing. During the week of creation, it was God who said that it “was good” (Genesis 1). God alone reserves the right to determine all things (see Isaiah 45:7).
Satan, which means adversary, is mentioned quite often in the Bible. He is referred to by every New Testament writer and cited at least 13 times by Christ Himself in the New Testament. Satan has many names in Scripture. He is called Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24), the deceiver (Rev. 20:10), the dragon (Rev. 12:7), a liar (Jn. 8:44), the accuser (Rev. 12:10), the tempter (1 Thess. 3:5), the ruler of darkness (Eph. 6:12), the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), and Belial (2 Cor. 6:15). What did Satan do that God would find iniquity in him? Most scholars agree that the prophet Isaiah records the fall of Lucifer. He writes,
“How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14 NKJV).
Lucifer was so beautiful and powerful that he wanted to usurp God’s authority. Therefore, his chief sin was pride. It is evil because God said it was. The prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Thus, as we see, Satan has characteristics that identifies with rationality and deceit. Such actions are emulated by humans. Our ignorance and rejection of the truth is contradictory to God’s standard.
Various perspectives have been formulated in an attempt to identify the origin of evil. Dr. Norman Geisler wrote:
“Although every worldview has had to deal with the problem of evil, it is an especially acute problem for theism. Of the three major worldviews, Atheism affirms the reality of evil and denies the reality of God. Pantheism affirms the reality of God but denies the reality of evil. Theism affirms the reality of both God and evil. Herein is the problem; how can an absolutely good Being (God) be compatible with evil, the opposite of good?”
In respect to Dr. Geisler’s quote, the major worldviews at least allows for the word “evil” to exist in their vocabulary. Thus, those who would actually deny that evil exists still incorporate the term as a concept. To be more clear, if the skeptics, who deny evil, really believe it does not exist, then they would not even indicate the term! The moral wickedness that humanity experiences involve sickness, misery, self-centeredness, folly, and crime in revolt against God. People who deny that evil exist often have complaints when they are offended! Take for example, social evils, which can be identified as corrupt politics, drunkenness, cheating, and racial discrimination. Do we redefine these problems, or call it what is— vice?
God is omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient (all knowing); and omnipresent (everywhere). Since God is all powerful, evil can only exist at His pronouncement. At some point in time when evil was brought forth, it had already taken its toll before mankind was created. In Genesis 1:4-31, God had proclaimed at least seven times that what He created was “good.” Why do the Scriptures record this? There had to be an opposing idea—-something contrasting with good. Since God is all knowing, He was aware of evil or there would have been little reason (logic) to make pronouncements by calling His creation good. God is not subject to rules and regulations because he is God. Therefore, even if God created evil, He would still be a just God. This is a prerogative that we fail to attribute to an all-powerful God. He writes ALL the rules! He is NOT subject to them!
When God created man, He gave him direct instructions and said to him: “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil….” (Genesis 2:16-17a). In his sinless position before God, Adam obeyed naturally. Perhaps he asked himself what good and evil was. One cannot be recognized apart from the other. At this point, evil was a nonrepresentational perception. Adam would only know “good” after the Fall. Only God was aware of the distinction. After the Fall, evil became a problem for mankind because the consequences was now physical (see Genesis 2:17b). The aftermaths of sin now saturated the thoughts of humanity which influenced our desires. The only antidote to such evil is the cleansing work of Christ.
In Ephesians chapter six, the Apostle Paul gives vivid illustration how we can guard against and overcome satanic influences. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, he encouraged them to put on the whole armor of God; not some of it, but all of the armor of God. Paul wrote, “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10).
It is significant to note how we go about doing this. First we have to recognize that we are fighting a spiritual enemy. After taking up the whole armor of God we have to resist Satan by taking a stand against him and receive the truth of God’s Word (v. 14). Then, believers are instructed to “put on the breastplate of righteousness” (v. 14). This tells us that we have to be sure we believe in the righteousness that only comes through Christ alone. We are justified and made righteous by grace through faith. It is God’s Word that matters—not our presuppositions.
Believers are also instructed to have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace (v. 15). Thus, we have to be ready at all times to present the Gospel. We have to make sure that we are feasting on the Word of God and be quipped to preach the Gospel. Also, the shield of faith (v. 16) protects us from the satanic influences like doubt, discouragement, and the zodiac (false prophecies). These are things that CANNOT penetrate our armor, but we will not lift our armor if we don’t recognize this as an attack (opposing ideas). Wayne Grudem wrote, “In thinking about God using evil to fulfill His purposes, we should remember that there are things that are right for God to do but wrong for us to do: He requires others to worship Him, and He accepts worship from them. He seeks glory for Himself.”
Evil is real; and the effects of it will surround us whether we acknowledge it or deny it. Since God is ALL powerful (omnipotent), ALL knowing (omniscient), and present everywhere (omnipresent), it is impossible for Him to be unrighteous because He is the One who wrote ALL the rules! Whatever God says—GOES! Good and evil exists because God defined the terms.
 Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002), 219
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994) 329
Donald W. Dayton produced a remarkable historical summary of America’s evangelical legacy in his work entitled, “Discovering an Evangelical Heritage.” This book provides compelling evidence that confirms “the Christian witness” has a powerful impact upon society when the gospel is put into action. Unlike contemporary evangelicalism, which by and large evades questions of social responsibility, Dayton sets out to prove that the evangelical heritage left by nineteenth century evangelicals such as Catherine Booth and Charles G. Finney demonstrated that the gospel and social responsibility were once intimately integrated. He provides thrilling accounts of how the nineteenth century evangelical “abolitionists” understood that to right societal wrongs, social injustice demanded a radical and Christian response. The abolitionist movement was chiefly political and religious; abolitionists believed that slavery was a sin. Through moral suasion, they set out to change laws in an effort to permanently abolish it.
Dayton revealed how many of the nineteenth century evangelicals joined in on the abolitionist movement and subsequently set the stage for the feminist movement; these activists rejected the governmental laws that legitimized slavery and oppressed women; they instead chose to submit a higher moral authority—God as opposed to government. Evangelicals were among the first to reject segregation in worship and ordain women in the ministry; their revivals bore a significant influence on social reform in America.
Political Activism and Abolitionism in the American Evangelical Movement
Donald Dayton was successful in establishing that the marriage of politics to social responsibility was lived out in the lives of many evangelicals in the past and is a huge part of the American evangelical heritage. Although the new trend in American evangelicalism, the “religious right,” or the Christian conservative movement, shares much of the same vision for morality in government and society as did the nineteenth century evangelical abolitionists, I have observed that the religious right seems predominantly idealist and less reformist; some have taken to political activism. Modern social concerns of the Christian conservatives include abortion, same-sex marriage, poverty, and socialism, but most evangelicals by and large avoid direct confrontation of the issues choosing rather to emphasize piety and personal conversion. Modern evangelicals by and large place an emphasis on the authority of Scripture and ascertain that preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ supersedes the calls for social reform; their convictions are not determined by their social milieu but in the expression of faith that is uniquely connected to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Nineteenth century evangelicals’ “liberal”  theology, according to its critics, tended to ground its theology in human experience;’ they held a unique concern for social justice and civil rights in their plight against racism and slavery in America. On the contrary, the nineteenth century Christian social reformists would say that to not stand against the sin of slavery was unquestionably un-Christian. These Christians submerged themselves into politics, joining themselves to the Republican Party, the anti-slavery party, to bring about morality in government, to change unjust civil laws, and ultimately abolish slavery.
Evangelicals were labeled radicals because the opposed the establishment, the Democrat Party, and liberals because they sought to change laws that denied freedom and equality for blacks and women; they demanded justice for all Americans. However, after the civil-rights era, the evangelical descendants of the nineteenth century failed to show the same concern for social reform as their ancestors, believing as Evangelist Billy Graham, “While some may interpret an evangelist to be primarily a social reformer or political activist, I do not! . . . My primary goal is to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” During the post-civil rights era, liberalism in America took on various new meanings, more secular in nature.
Social Responsibility and Revivalism in the Evangelical Movement
Early on in the nineteenth century, Oberlin College, “a hotbed of radicalism,” was a major contributor and advocate in the fight against slavery. The school was founded on the principles of evangelist and revivalist Charles Grandison Finney, the “father of modern revivalism.” He suggested that the gospel had given men and women a social responsibility to shape society. Finney believed that resistance to reform hindered revival and that he proclaimed:
Revivals are hindered when ministers and churches take wrong ground in regard to any question involving human rights . . . the church cannot turn away from (the slavery) question . . . Silence of Christians upon the subject is virtually saying that they do not consider slavery a sin.
Finney further believed that the Church is perjured and the Spirit of God departs from her if she refuses to speak out on the slavery issue.
Oberlin College, its students, and professors, became politically and socially committed to the cause of abolitionism. Members of the Oberlin Colony left the conservative Whig party and joined in the Republican ideology to help push the antislavery agenda forward. In most elections, “the Oberlin College voted solidly Republican.” Although these abolitionists used politics as a tool, the Oberlin members did not see abolitionism as a political plight but a moral obligation. Rich businessmen Arthur and Lewis Tappan, as a moral obligation and “evidences of piety,” spent their lives and fortunes to support initiatives such the “Underground Railroad,” free churches, and anti-slavery societies. The Oberlin colony rejected fugitive slave laws and saw civil disobedience as a necessary Christian response to laws that upheld slavery. Many were persecuted and imprisoned for their beliefs. One Oberlin prisoner was quoted as saying, “We belong to no modern school of politics or theology . . . but we belong to the school of the Fathers, who having been driven from their native land by the persecution of their government, taught their children that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”
Preaching the Gospel to the Poor in American Evangelicalism
Many conservatives during the nineteenth century believed that the Church should be less concerned with social issues and should “preach the Bible not politics.” Nonetheless, the evidence presented by Dayton suggested that social injustices such as slavery proved to be the most divisive issues in the nineteenth century Church. The Methodist branch of Protestantism, for example, experienced a split; those with antislavery sentiments formed new branches. Under the leadership of bishop Orange Scott, the Wesleyan Methodist Connection was born. Combining “piety and radicalism” these Methodists attacked the sins of the Church, insisted that Christians side with God and stop neglecting the poor, and called Christians to discontinue the corporate guilt of being silent on the issue of slavery—they set out on a mission to spread the gospel of abolitionism.
Dayton has noted that during the period after the Civil War, evangelicalism experienced a drastic decline in social reform—the sin of slavery had been abolished. Since then, time has not faired favorably for evangelicalism. Urbanization and industrialization complicated the revivalist reform vision and the emergence of biblical criticism, Darwinism, and new geological discoveries caused the troubled movement to lose its great vision for America that once led its fervor for social reform. Furthermore, the rise a premillennialist eschatology has “undercut the social reform of earlier years.” The reversal in social reform is demonstrated in prominent and influential seminary schools who insist that Christianity was never designed to dismantle social institutions—their focus has shifted from reform and ethics to doctrine. 
The poor response and sometimes outright opposition of the twentieth century evangelicals to the civil rights struggles of the 1950’s and 60’s are a clear indication of the detachment to the spiritual heritage once held of the evangelical to transform the world through reform. Many evangelicals have seemingly forgotten its legacy and lost its appetite for social justice as they had when they stood firmly against slavery.
One issue, even one as large as slavery, does not and should not define a Christian’s theology. Jesus is the focus of the gospel message, not any one social evil or concern. Nonetheless, the nineteenth century evangelical’s immense opposition to the cruel and inhumane treatment of enslaved blacks was certainly biblical. They believed that all men were created in the image of God; no man should be permanently subjugated to another. They agreed with the founders of this great nation in their declared independence from England that “all men were created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights by their Creator.” Their care and concern for the poor and oppressed was consistent with the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, social activism in America is now largely a secular sport and the American government, not the Church, by and large provides free food, shelter, and clothing to the indigent; free legal counsel and work among prisoners; public schools and hospitals (none of which are really free); these were all ministries developed and voluntarily performed primarily by the Church. In modern times, the government has taken to the business of providing a “gospel to the poor” and has perverted God’s message of justice. Under the pretense of “equality” and “fairness,” the government has extorted its citizens through heavy taxation and burdensome legislation to fund “charitable” programs for the poor. They have usurped the blessings associated with freewill giving and charity.
In reality, both the Church and the American government have done a great disservice to the poor. Concerning the government, the political powers that be have convinced the poor that they don’t need God and they don’t need the Church, but they need the government to survive and to meet their needs. The American government has failed the poor because they have done nothing in advising them towards godly and purposeful living, and many of their policies have done permanent damage by enabling the indolent poor to become dependent, lazy, and forego personal responsibility. The government has also failed the people because they have ignored the power of community and voluntary giving. The result has been increased class-warfare, strife, and covetousness among the people, and dependency of the perpetually poor upon the government. Concerning the Church, she has failed the poor because she has not defended them against ungodly and oppressive governments; and she has willingly surrendered her ministry of helps for the sick, the elderly, the orphan, and the widow to a secular state who is more concerned with maintaining their dependency and allegiance through political manipulation than seeing their souls saved.
My Review: Moving Forward in the Twenty-First Century
Although the notion of social reform in and of itself is a good thing, the gospel of Jesus Christ should not be replaced by the social gospel. There have been causes and movements throughout all times, there are many sins to confront (namely all of them), and there are many souls to be converted. Christians should not dwell so much on social issues that they, as Justo Gonzalez has asserted, “become preoccupied with the existing social conditions” and forsake Christian evangelism and discipleship. The Church’s mandate is to both preach the gospel AND stand against sin in the world. Christians are both proclaimers of the good news to the lost and defenders of the poor and oppressed.
Evangelicals have a responsibility to stand against sin and stand on the authority of Scripture as a framework in which to critique modern concerns. When the Church fails to do both, Satan, the god of this world, will step in with his own gospel and distort God’s truth. For example, when the Church fails to speak out against the sin of abortion, it ceases to be a moral authority on the subject. By their inaction and silence; by not proclaiming God’s truth and standing against it, the Church becomes irrelevant. Satan is then given ample opportunity to persuade many souls to his cause.
Trusting in God’s moral framework, or standard, in which to “judge” good from evil will prove to help Christians avoid the pitfalls of conforming to cultural norms that are counterintuitive to the gospel; this the abolitionists did when they opposed slavery although it was “legal” and acceptable to most of society at the time. The twenty-first century looks bright for Christianity. Today’s Christians should examine modern issues through the lens of Scripture and avoid worshipping the ideological gods of our modern day; Socialism, Capitalism, Communism, Marxism, etc. We are the voice of truth and we are called to action, radical action; proclaiming the good news and standing against sin in the world.
 The term “Evangelical” has been applied since the Reformation to the Protestant Churches by reason of their claim to base their teaching pre-eminently on the Gospel. Revivals were a key element of their religious worship and practice. In some Protestant branches, they lay special stress on conversion and salvation by faith in the atoning death of Christ. In other branches in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, evangelicals campaigned vigorously for the abolition of the slave trade. Social and political reform disappeared from the evangelical program when personal consecration and world evangelism became its focus. Evangelicals in the twentieth century have experienced a revival and a new concern for politics and social justice. Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, s.v. “Evangelicalism.”
 Donald Dalton, “Discovering an Evangelical Heritage,” (USA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2007), 36.
 “An abolitionist is a person who advocated or supported the abolishing of slavery in the U.S., especially before the Civil War.” Definition retrieved from Dictionary.com on October 11, 2011 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Abolitionist
 “Christian right” is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe “right-wing”Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Religious conservatives principally seek to apply the teachings of particular religions to politics, sometimes by merely proclaiming the value of those teachings, at other times by having those teachings influence laws.
In the U.S., the Christian right is an informal coalition of numerous groups, chiefly evangelicals and Catholics. It is strongest in the South, where it comprises the core of the Republican Party. Besides conservative positions on domestic issues such as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, the Christian right is a strong supporter of Israel in foreign affairs. “Christian Right,” Retrieved from wikipedia.org on October 10, 2011 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_right.
 Alister McGrath, A Passion for Truth, 126.
 Liberalism came into use early in the 19th century. It has been defined as ‘the holding of liberal opinions in politics or theology. If taken to mean freedom from bigotry and readiness to welcome new ideas or proposals for reform, freedom, and progress. It is a characteristic which many people will readily profess. In more recent times, the word has held a more secular or anthropocentric humanism meaning which has origins in the Renaissance and is inconsistent with biblical and dogmatic orthodoxy. ODCC, s.v. “liberalism.”
 Ibid., 125.
 Dayton, 8
 Ibid., 35.
 Revivalism is a type of religious worship and practice centering in evangelical revivals, or outbursts of mass religious fervor, and stimulated by intensive preaching and prayer meetings. In the USA, revivalism has been credited with a considerable influence on social reform. ODDC, s.v.“revivalism,” and Dayton, 15.
 Dayton, 18.
 Dayton, 18.
 Ibid., 43.
 Free Churches were a form of protest by the reformers and abolitionists to the practice of selling and renting pews for the construction and maintenance of church buildings. Renting pews was a practice that alienated and humiliated the poor and often times prevented them from attending church. In free churches, pews were open to all regardless to class or wealth. Dayton, 66.
 Dayton, 67.
 Ibid., 49.
 Ibid., 48.
 Dayton, 61.
 Ibid., 49
 Ibid., 76.
 Ibid., 77.
 Ibid., 122.
 Ibid., 125.
 Millennium is the belief in a future thousand-year period of blessedness. The premillennialist group maintains that the millennium will follow the Second Coming of Christ and postmillennialists believe that it precedes the Advent, and prepares the way for it by the spread of righteousness over the earth. The abolitionists and nineteenth century evangelicals were postmillennialists, hence their focus on social change. Post-Civil War, eschatological views shifted to premillennialism, hence their focus on preaching the gospel, personal salvation, and repentance. ODCC, “Millenarianism.”
 Eschatology is the doctrine of the last things; that is the ultimate destiny both of the individual soul and the whole created order. ODDC, “Eschatology.”
 Dayton, 128-129.
 Dayton, 129.
 “The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant Christian intellectual movement that was most prominent in the early 20th century. The movement applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially social justice, inequality, liquor, crime, racial tensions, slums, bad hygiene, child labor, weak labor unions, poor schools, and the danger of war. Theologically, the Social Gospel leaders wanted to operationalize the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “thy will be done on earth.” They typically were post-millennialist; that is, they believed the Second Coming could not happen until humankind rid itself of social evils by human effort. Social Gospel leaders were predominantly associated with the liberal wing of the Progressive Movement and most were theologically liberal, although they were typically conservative when it came to their views on social issues.”Definition retrieved fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_gospel on October 16, 2011.
 McGrath, 62.
by Gary DeMar
A number of black “leaders” (e.g., Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) have made their living by promoting black victimhood and white guilt. Jesse Jackson has been shaking down corporations with the scam for decades. Booker T. Washington (1865–1915) warned of such people within the black community in his 1911 book My Larger Education. He described them as “problem profiteers”:
“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.” (p. 118)
Washington could have had in view, although writing nearly a hundred years ago, black people who are railing against Herman Cain and other blacks who have not succumbed to plantation living. Cain doesn’t present himself as a victim, and this disturbs people like Al Sharpton. Cain lived at a time when there were “colored” water fountains, segregated schools and neighborhoods, and racial discrimination that few people today can imagine. If anyone has a right to play the victim card, it’s Cain. He didn’t feel sorry for himself. He stayed out of trouble, worked hard, and made something of himself without the help of a cadre of “poverty pimps.” Cain is the antithesis of the Democrat Party and 90 percent of blacks who support it.
Washington continues with a story that encapsulates what is wrong with so many black “leaders” and their guilt-ridden white supporters. Those victimizing blacks are other blacks:
A story told me by a coloured man in South Carolina will illustrate how people sometimes get into situations where they do not like to part with their grievances. In a certain community there was a coloured doctor of the old school, who knew little about modern ideas of medicine, but who in some way had gained the confidence of the people and had made considerable money by his own peculiar methods of treatment. In this community there was an old lady who happened to be pretty well provided with this world’s goods and who thought that she had a cancer. For twenty years she had enjoyed the luxury of having this old doctor treat her for that cancer. As the old doctor became — thanks to the cancer and to other practice — pretty well-to-do, he decided to send one of his boys to a medical college. After graduating from the medical school, the young man returned home, and his father took a vacation. During this time the old lady who was afflicted with the “cancer” called in the young man, who treated her; within a few weeks the cancer (or what was supposed to be the cancer) disappeared, and the old lady declared herself well.
When the father of the boy returned and found the patient on her feet and perfectly well, he was outraged. He called the young man before him and said: “My son, I find that you have cured that cancer case of mine. Now, son, let me tell you something. I educated you on that cancer. I put you through high school, through college, and finally through the medical school on that cancer. And now you, with your new ideas of practicing medicine, have come here and cured that cancer. Let me tell you, son, you have started all wrong. How do you expect to make a living practicing medicine in that way?”
I am afraid that there is a certain class of race problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.
If the patient gets well, an entire industry of victimhood will get cancer and die. This would be the best thing for the black community. Until blacks throw off the shroud of victimhood, they will be at the mercy of “doctors” who treat a cancer that does not exist but that they are paying for.
Last week the House passed with bipartisan support the Protect Life Act, which amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to assure that no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund abortion. It also assures that health-care providers that do not wish to provide abortions are not forced to by government.
The bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., had co-sponsored essentially the same amendment along with then-Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., when Obamacare was in the making in 2009.
Because a similar provision was not in the Senate version of the bill, and had no prospect of making it through the Senate, Stupak stood as a major obstacle to the passage of Obamacare.
In the end, the ways of Washington prevailed, and Stupak caved to pressure from the White House. He agreed to support the health-care bill without his anti-abortion provision, in exchange for President Obama issuing an executive order prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions in health care provided in the framework of Obamacare.
An executive order is a flimsy substitute for law; thus Rep. Pitt found another pro-life Democrat, Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., to co-sponsor his amendment, which has now passed the House 251-172.
However, Pitt’s new bill faces the same prospects as the amendment that he cosponsored with Stupak in 2009. Its chances of passage in the Senate are remote.
So why bother?
After the bill passed, I was asked on a PBS talk show, “To the Contrary,” if Republicans were being frivolous in taking up congressional floor time to deal with abortion when what Americans want today is congressional action on the economy.
My response was “no, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and actually in light of Obamacare, it is critical for lawmakers to protect health-care workers and hospitals with a conscience clause.”
In fact, the attention the bill has gotten in the short time since it passed the House indicates that the level of interest in abortion, and the potential use of taxpayer funds for it, remains high.
Two high-post Democrats – former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Democratic National Committee chairwoman – issued statements criticizing the bill shortly after it passed.
According to Pelosi, the provision assuring that health-care providers, including hospitals, are not forced to provide abortions, even though they receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, means “that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene.”
Wasserman Schultz said, “This extreme legislation is dangerous for women’s health and does nothing to address the jobs crisis facing American families.”
Liberals love to frame the killing of developing humans as being about women’s lives, health and rights.
But, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 3 percent of abortions are performed for reasons of a woman’s health. Abortions that are performed because a woman’s life is in danger amount to a fraction of 1 percent. That leaves more that 96 percent for convenience with some 50 percent repeat customers.
Regarding abortion, the liberal agenda is really about two things – 1) an alleged right to sexual promiscuity and, 2) an alleged right to have others bear social and financial responsibility for that promiscuity.
Fortunately, a sizable part of the American population doesn’t see things this way. And, fortunately, a sizable part of our population remains in awe of the miracle of life and our responsibilities toward all aspects of life, both in and outside of the womb.
It doesn’t take that much thought to realize the fallacious thinking that suggests that matters of economy and matters of morality have nothing to do with each other.
The “right to abortion” culture is simply a subset of the entitlement culture, the culture that says your life is about making claims on others rather than personal responsibility.
Disrespect for life and disrespect for property go hand in hand. We can’t divorce our sexual promiscuity from our fiscal promiscuity. Restoring personal responsibility in both areas is what we need today to get our nation back on track.
Star Parker is president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, and author of the recently re-released “Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It.”
I think now more than ever in America, Christian education is the very schooling that would provide a form of consensus in the Christian community that transcends culture. In a time when liberalism and contemporary philosophy have taken over our schools and seminaries, there needs to be an evaluation and action taken that would allow our educational conclusions to be shaped by historic Christianity. Deeply affected by the storm of conflicting ideas are the contemporary predominantly black American churches which have allowed it to be taken over by emotionalism rather than doctrinal orthodoxy and Christian educational thoughts. This has led to a higher murder rate among black Americans, a massive school drop-out rate, a high incarceration rate, political ignorance, and contemporary segregation in the inner cities and the church.
As a jail chaplain, I am deeply troubled by some of the strategies used by volunteers who are involved in jail ministry which include Bible studies and worship services. The flaws that exist in their educational philosophy are only making discipleship more difficult to accomplish. Therefore, I wish to apply my philosophy of Christian education where volunteers of all ages are trained for jail ministry, and during training seminars in churches where tutoring programs are chartered for those at risk of dropping out of school or going to jail.
This educational initiative does not target black Americans as the only group. It is prepared to emphasize and address the educational deception prevalent in clustered and crime ridden communities. Generations of ignorance have consequences such as fatherless homes, poor education, and crime. Therefore, this educational philosophy would have to incorporate and answer correctly the philosophical questions in the area of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology.
Metaphysics is the study of being or reality. Metaphysics is the most notional and abstract branch of philosophy. Since metaphysics basically means “beyond physics” or beyond the natural realm of things, it is a speculative area. Also, metaphysics is a theoretical construct; it is subject to unreliable presuppositions if not Scripture. It is safe to build ideas upon what is revealed in the pages of the Bible. Therefore, a theological groundwork must influence our metaphysical deductions. According to James Wilhoit,
“Often Christian education has been accused of drifting far from orthodox theological teaching, particularly in regard to the Christian view of human nature and spiritual growth. This drifting is unfortunate, for Christian education is lost unless grounded in biblically based teaching. No matter how much zeal a Christian educator may have, it is of little use without an awareness of the essential theological underpinning of the faith.”
God is spirit, but He revealed Himself in the physical, in the Person of Jesus Christ. Metaphysical questions regarding the existence of God were answered in God becoming flesh. The Bible says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 KJV). Our definition of a Spiritual God must come from the Scriptures. If Jesus is the sinless God/man come down from heaven, then who are we? Since Jesus came from God, the position to adopt is for mankind to understand that God had something to do with our existence as well.
Since epistemology deals with how we arrive at our conclusions, it is important to establish a guiding principle that would help us arrive at intellectual destinations that corroborates all areas of what we already know to be truth. Epistemology is closely related to teaching and the learning process. How do we know something? One way to arrive at judgments is to seek information outside ourselves or from sources that are credible. The Bible provides a set of eternal truths; and it is from this source that educational pursuits must be subjected. It is the Bible that reveals God’s paradigm.
The Bible must be the check and balance in the quest for answers. If Christian education is to be truly Christian, it must derive from the Christian creed. In the Book of Acts, Luke records that the believers devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings (see Acts 2:42-47). It is important to note that the disciples acted upon what they learned from the apostles. The relationship between apostle and disciple is that of trust and truth. The disciples believed (trusted) that the apostles were transmitting truth. The truth came from the Old Testament Scriptures as the apostles taught and interpreted the events that now make up what we call the New Testament. The apostles’ epistemology derived from revelation rather than a political sect or some worldly philosophical idea.
Black Christians in America seem to overwhelmingly vote Democrat, but display a form of conservative values. It may be safe to say that the majority of black Christians are against homosexual marriage, abortion, and racism when it comes to black people. Yet, black Christians vote for the very liberal Democrats they do not agree with. This may be due to getting a fiscal advantage with all sorts of Democratic programs like housing projects and extended welfare benefits. Also, blacks are taught that Republicans were responsible for racism and slavery, when in fact, it was the Democratic Party that promoted slavery, segregation, and all sorts of Jim Crow discriminatory laws.
It will not take much investigation to find that Christian education is the antithesis of liberal political philosophy. Voting values also falls into the area of axiology because if one says they are against homosexual marriage, and yet vote for politicians who promote pro-homosexual legislation, it proves that some are dishonest regarding values, or ignorant of the facts. An axiological statement is still being made if we place fiscal opportunities over morality. A holistic Christian education is neither white nor black, rich nor poor, Democrat or Republican. Therefore, judgments should be arrived at using Scripture as the controlling criterion.
Axiology is concerned with values and aesthetics that specify what is good and right. The issues of ethics and religion also fall under the grouping of axiology. Axiology is a very important philosophical position because people are motivated by what is important to them. Moral values are under attack in the world as people seek to redefine the value system based on faulty presuppositions rather than biblical revelation. For example, the State of New York recently passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage. Obviously, homosexual marriage is non-existent in the Bible but people have adopted a value system based on an incorrect epistemology. Crucial to the development of our axiological judgments are correct metaphysical and epistemological positions. Christians must believe the right things about God and the right things about people.
In order to transfer the proper ideas, we must have proven positions and valuable relationships. Transmitting truths is a great task. The Bible is the foundation for all truth. To educate people is to imply authority. Christian education is unique because the primary textbook in which all knowledge must flow is from the Bible. The Christian educator must take command as an authority figure. The student must take a subordinate intellectual position. Even though the student/teacher relationship is based on transferring intellectual capital, there must be some form of trustworthiness in the relationship in order for credibility to increase the effectiveness of communication.
Education implications penetrate the New Testament. In Philippians 4:9 the apostle Paul reminds the Church at Philippi to practice what they had learned from him. In 1 Timothy 4:11 the apostle Paul presses young Timothy to command and teach the things written in Paul’s epistle. In Ephesians 4:11 it is stated that God gave teachers and pastors to the church in order to build her up. We are built up by the truths found in revealed revelation. God’s truths are objective truths. Information is transmitted for a reason. According to George Knight, “The aim of the Christian teacher is not to control the minds, but to develop them, The use of questions can be a major instrument in that development process.” This is a great observation by Knight because pupils should become more intellectually independent of the teacher as they apprehend truths. That way the development process can lead to maturity. Maturity leads to the ability to make informed decisions.
In the book of Hebrews, the author chided the believers for their lack of spiritual development. After the biblical author explained the eternal priesthood of Christ, the author expressed interest in sharing more with the Hebrew believers but stated that they were slow of learning. The author also stated:
“For when the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and have become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
The above passage of Scripture also speaks volumes in regards to pastor and parishioners. Some believers attend church for twenty or thirty years and never participate in any form of ministry. They have not grown to the point of serving in or outside the church. The objective of transmitting truth is to produce some form of action later on in the pupil. Therefore, teaching provides the Christian with the ability to be obedient and serve Christ.
To the wise Christian educator, certain philosophical concepts can be incorporated into the curriculum as long as the Scriptures remain the controlling authority. I have been influenced by realism, the philosophical model that holds there is a real external world that can be known. But realism alone is just a reality and must not reject the metaphysical.
I have also been influenced by essentialism, which is a philosophical concept that arose in the 1930’s that found interest in transmitting truth in the classroom. Essentialism is the idea that reliable basic truths must be transmitted in order for students to engage and contribute to the culture in which they must live. Essentialism takes into account that life is a building block and certain agreed upon facts must be shared that allows the next generation to continue the advancement of society. The definition regarding what is fundamental or essential must be acquired from Scripture.
Another feature that impresses me about essentialism is the fact that this educational concept recognizes that learning is hard work and requires effort. In one of my previous response papers I wrote that the essentialists incorporate the perspective that learning requires discipline and sometimes is accomplished through much effort. I also wrote that scientists have determined that our brains change as we acquire news skills and information. This is opposed to being hardwired in which we would function based on a predetermination rather than cognitive development. In addition, I made the point that musicians are not born musicians; they become instrumentalists’ through practice. Athletes become good at sport through a willful interest and rehearsal that allows them to utilize the brain’s flexibility to acquire new habits and develop their skills.
By highlighting essentialism, I am not agreeing that other concepts are not important. The position of essentialism emphasizes the authority of the teacher. While it may not clearly define truth, essentialism characterizes the relationship between student and teacher that find some biblical support. For example, in his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul instructs him to train qualified men who will teach others (see 2 Timothy 2:2). In the book of Titus the elders were told to hold firmly to what they have been taught (1:10).
While I do emphasize the authority of the teacher, the primary matter should be on what is taught. In order for me to have a great influence in the area of Christian education, I must teach in a manner that glorifies God. The right things must be said about political parties in relation to the Bible. The correct things must be communicated about God, about mankind, and about the world whether seen or unseen. Thus, the core purpose of Christian education is to produce disciples among those who have given their lives over to Christ, therefore fulfilling the Great Commission given in Matthew 28.
ECONOMY | President Obama’s plan goes after the wealthy while leaving entitlements alone | Edward Lee Pitts
WASHINGTON—House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama have now delivered two speeches in five days seemingly aimed at targeting our nation’s economic woes. But what did the two party leaders really accomplish? They bluntly threw down their policy gauntlets ahead of next year’s crucial election.
Obama delivered his speech on Monday in the White House Rose Garden before just as many laughing partisans as reporters. Like a well-trained sitcom studio audience, they chuckled at all the right lines—at least from a Democratic perspective.
In unveiling his $1.5 trillion in new taxes, the president lectured Republicans that raising taxes on the wealthy “is not class warfare. It’s math.” He then threatened to veto any deficit reduction plan that does not include new tax revenue.
“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said. “It’s only right we ask everyone to pay their fair share.”
But rewind to last Thursday when, during a speech to the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., Boehner laid down his own marker. Tax increases, Boehner said, “are off the table. It is a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs.”
These strong lines in the sand place in a pickle the joint congressional committee now meeting to find, by Nov. 23, at least $1.5 trillion in mandatory deficit cuts over the next decade.
“The good news is that the joint committee is taking this issue far more seriously than the White House,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement released soon after Obama’s speech Monday. McConnell attacked the president for the “massive tax hike” and for “punting on entitlement reform.”
Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit by a little more than $2 trillion during the next decade would increase revenue by $800 billion just from letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire for families making more than $250,000. It also adds more revenue to the federal coffers by reducing tax deductions and loopholes available to wealthy earners and corporations.
Republicans have signaled a willingness to pursue an overhaul to the tax code. But Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is his party’s go-to budget guy, warned on Fox News Sunday that “permanent tax increases on job creators doesn’t work to grow the economy.”
Ryan continued, “It’s actually fueling the uncertainty that is hurting job growth right now. And don’t forget the fact that most small businesses file taxes as individuals. So, when you are raising these top tax rates, you’re raising taxes on these job creators where more than half of Americans get their jobs from in this country.”
Republicans also criticized Obama’s plan for largely neglecting mandatory spending.
The plan does reduce spending by $580 billion in entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. But these cuts go after the medical providers and not the growing rolls of beneficiaries.
Conservatives warn that reimbursement cuts to doctors treating Medicare and Medicaid patients may harm the needy by driving medical providers away from high need areas.
Obama’s plan does not touch Social Security and does not propose erasing the eligibility age for any entitlement beneficiaries—something his own deficit reduction panel last fall suggested.
Republican lawmakers are calling for a greater focus on reforming an open-ended benefit system that does not foster efficiency.
“In a three-and-a-half-trillion dollar budget, two–thirds of which is entitlements, there is enough slop in the system that you can find a trillion and half in savings,” said Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., who also sits on the new super committee. “People kid about waste fraud and abuse. But it’s real.”
Obama’s plan has vitally no chance of passing a Republican House. And the president and his White House staff obviously know that.
So Monday’s proposal and speech became more about bolstering Obama’s chances for a second term by reassuring his liberal base. Democrats believe that their storyline of going after the wealthy and protecting entitlements will resonate with voters next fall.
The differences between the two parties are now clear to anyone still confused after nearly three years of Washington partisanship. Obama’s economic-plan-turned-campaign-speech on Monday hammered home the sentiment that solving the nation’s job problems will play second fiddle during the next 14 months to the top goal for all lawmakers, from the White House to Capitol Hill: protecting their own jobs.
Copyright © 2011 WORLD Magazine
Articles may not be reproduced without permission
Published September 19, 2011
What they’ve said and done on
education in the past, and what they might do about our public schools if
By Allison Sherry
Two months before his 2008 election, Barack Obama addressed a roomful of Ohio
public school teachers, praising their long hours and talking about his
daughters’ starting 2nd and 5th grade. It was a typical Democratic education
speech, with vows of support for early childhood education, for building up
programs that help students from “the day they’re born until the day they
graduate from college.”
Then Obama departed from the usual feel-good talking points. He touted
competition, charter schools, and school choice. “I believe in public schools,
but I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools,” he said.
“And that’s why, as president, I’ll double the funding for responsible charter
That wasn’t an applause line, for sure, but it did serve another purpose: to
position the candidate as a different kind of Democrat, one willing to embrace
ideas from across the aisle and push back against his own teachers union base.
It also put Republicans on notice: Obama wouldn’t be bashful about encroaching
on their territory on education.
Two and a half years later, Republicans are still trying to figure out how to
respond to Obama, a Democratic president with education reform bona fides. To
date, the most prominent leaders of the GOP have either been mute on the topic
of education or heaped praise on the president. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels
lauded the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a
speech he made in April 2011: “We need to prepare our young people with the
highest possible preparation wherever they come from, wherever they are headed,”
he said. “[Duncan] is the nation’s champion, along with the president he serves,
of that ideal.”
As the winter primaries get closer, don’t expect much more of that.
The One That Got Away
Republicans began this election season in search of a candidate and a
message. The May withdrawal of Mitch Daniels from the Republican primary race
left the GOP without one of its most visible education leaders. The Midwestern
governor had become a darling among education reformers for making school choice
and quality teaching his top priorities.
In his final State of the State speech in Indianapolis, Daniels said that if
he did nothing else in 2011, he wanted to “hitch his legacy” to education
reform. Watching from the audience that day were students on waiting lists to
get into various charter schools. He urged state lawmakers to create a voucher
program that would allow kids to use public dollars for private school tuition.
He talked for 30 minutes about improving teacher quality. And by the end of the
legislative session, he got just about everything he wanted in a school reform
plan: expansion of charter schools, private school vouchers, and college
scholarships for students who graduate high school early.
But after flirting with a presidential run, Daniels bowed out, leaving to
those still in the running the task of building a GOP education platform.
The Race Is On
After a slow start, the Republican field is finally starting to take shape.
Former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have announced their election
bids, and former GOP house speaker Newt Gingrich is also running. As of June
2011, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Pennsylvania
senator Rick Santorum had entered the race. Republicans await announcements from
Sarah Palin and Texas governor Rick Perry.
In staking out platforms in the coming months for what will likely be a
feisty GOP primary, Republicans face two quandaries regarding education policy:
They need to distinguish their positions from Obama’s centrist education
reforms, and they need to win over the Republican base, fueled by some Tea Party
energy, that will push for the U.S. Department of Education to be dismantled
Former education secretary Margaret Spellings says gaining ground may not be
easy, but it has been done before: by George W. Bush, her former boss.
“I commend President Obama for adopting the GOP playbook and building on the
groundwork that we’ve laid,” said Spellings, currently a consultant in
Washington, D.C. “It’s time for us to develop some new material that pushes even
If Republicans want an advantage, Spellings argues, they need to push choice
and the hold-schools-accountable platform because “that’s safe territory for
Republicans of all stripes,” she said. “Unite Republicans by talking about the
kind of public policy that ties very closely to accountability.”
One likely Republican target is school spending. Days after entering office,
President Obama signed into law the sweeping stimulus bill, which included a
$100 billion bailout of the K–12 system. A year later, the smaller “edujobs”
bill pumped another $10 billion into the schools. While this money was
ostensibly linked to reform via the Race to the Top, there’s very little to show
for this huge influx of federal funds. Most studies show that it merely saved
teachers’ jobs, or kicked layoffs down the road a year or two. In lots of places
where layoffs were not on the table, it allowed school districts to give
teachers raises, at a time when America suffered through the worst unemployment
crisis in a generation.
By pointing at the fat in the education system, GOP candidates could argue,
as Governor Pawlenty did in 2007, that American schools are “costing us a lot of
money and it’s costing them their future.”
Expect to see the candidates applaud governors in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and
Ohio, who took on collective bargaining rights and insisted that money is best
used to reward good teaching for the children’s sake.
“We have built a system…that cares more about the feelings of adults than the
future of children,” said New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie, widely
expected to run for president in 2016, at the American Enterprise Institute
earlier this year. “Tell me, where else is there a profession with no reward for
excellence and no penalty for failure?”
In a 2011 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney
berated Obama for failed economic policies, saying afterward that he’s “seen the
failure of liberal answers before…liberal education policies fail our children
today because they put pensions and privileges for the union bosses above our
Defining the Federal Role
A candidate like Romney or Pawlenty is still going to have to explain to the
Republican base why they’re not going to shutter the U.S. Department of
Education. During the 2010 midterm elections, Tea Party Senate and House
candidates across the country promised on the campaign trail that they would
shut down the U.S. Department of Education and hand control over to state
governments. Many of them are now members of Congress.
A related issue is where to land on the “Common Core” standards, a set of
expectations in reading and math developed by the nation’s governors and state
superintendents, but viewed by many conservatives as a federal plot to take over
“Post-Obamacare, post–Dodd-Frank, in the Tea Party world, Republicans aren’t
interested anymore in a robust federal role in education,” said a senior GOP
Capitol Hill staffer, who could not be named because he is not authorized to
talk to the media. “Bush liked it and talked about it, fine. Now that he’s not
there hitting us over the head with it, we’ll move to empower and trust state
and local officials to make decisions.”
No matter who else enters the race, it is unlikely a newcomer will have a
ready-made education platform. Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry, and Gingrich
have all, in their careers, been outspoken on key issues of education policy.
It’s worth considering what each of these (potential) candidates might do, were
he or she to become the nation’s 45th president.
MITT ROMNEY, like many Republican leaders in the 1990s, called for abolishing
the U.S. Department of Education.
Once he became governor of Massachusetts, Romney plotted out a more
sophisticated education platform. He pushed school choice when a
Democratic-controlled state legislature was moving away from it, and extolled
the virtues of No Child Left Behind.
“I’ve taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate
the Department of Education…. That’s very popular with the base,” Romney said at
a 2007 Republican debate in South Carolina. “As I’ve been a governor and seen
the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the
teachers unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents
and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make
As governor, Romney proposed education reform measures that lifted the state
cap on charter schools and gave principals more power to get rid of ineffective
In his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, he darkly
warns about American students’ low achievement in reading and writing. He writes
that money does not play a pivotal role in education quality and achievement,
perhaps a harbinger that Romney’s education-reform platform wouldn’t include new
money, as Obama’s plan did.
“The average amount spent per pupil, adjusted for inflation, rose by 73
percent between 1980 and 2005, and the average class size was reduced by 18
percent,” he wrote. “But during that same period, the educational performance of
our children has hardly budged. Why not?”
In Massachusetts, Romney defended statewide graduation requirement tests,
which started during his first year as governor in 2003. When one mayor declared
he would dole out diplomas even to students who didn’t pass the tests, Romney
threatened to withhold state dollars.
He also defended English immersion after visiting a Boston school where many
students enrolled in bilingual classes had actually been born in the United
If Romney talks education in the next year, he will blend the importance of
accountability and of governing with a stick if needed. He is widely credited
for raising test scores. In his third year as governor, 4th and 8th graders
scored first in the country in math and English (see Figure 1).
It was in education that MICHELE BACHMANN got her political sea legs.
Disappointed in the school work brought home by her foster kids attending public
school, the now Minnesota congresswoman decided to get involved because the
school system didn’t have an “academic foundation,” according to Bloomberg
She started a charter school in the early 1990s, but abruptly resigned from
its board—along with other board members—after the school district accused the
charter of teaching religion in its classrooms.
In 1999, Bachmann ran for Stillwater school board with a platform to dump
Minnesota’s “Profile of Learning,” the state’s graduation standards. It is the
only race the three-term congresswoman has ever lost.
Under a Bachmann presidency, expect the U.S. Department of Education to be
all but shuttered. In 2004, she authored legislation that would remove Minnesota
from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. (It didn’t pass.) In a 2009
letter to constituents posted on her website, Bachmann wrote, “I entered
politics because I want to give my children the incredible educational
experience I received from public schools as a student. No Child Left Behind
must be repealed and control of our education returned to the local level.”
As his eight years as Minnesota’s governor wore on, TIM PAWLENTY’s push
against the teachers union grew stronger and more publicly divisive.
Shortly after his election in 2002, in an impromptu speech to business
leaders, Pawlenty called for tying teacher pay to performance and bringing up
the state’s standards. He also urged state lawmakers to authorize the use of a
transparent growth model to see how well schools are really doing to improve
student achievement. Yet, maybe because teachers union officials were in the
audience, Pawlenty carefully parsed tenure, saying, “Seniority can remain a big
factor, maybe even the main factor, in setting pay scales,” according to news
The speech underscored Pawlenty’s sometimes mixed message to unions
throughout his tenure: I’ll try to work with you. That is until you don’t work
In 2005, Pawlenty passed a Minnesota-wide teacher pay-for-performance plan
called “Q Comp,” which rewards teachers based on evaluations. Though passed by
the state legislature, the plan gave school districts and charter schools the
choice of whether to participate and allows a district to collectively bargain a
pay agreement that looks at professional development, teacher evaluation, and an
alternative salary schedule.
When federal Race to the Top dollars became available, Pawlenty launched a
statewide charter school initiative and moved to hone math and science
instruction in schools. Still, Minnesota lost out, most notably because the
application lacked support from the teachers union. Like all states, Minnesota
had an opportunity to go for the second round of grants, but Pawlenty drew a
line in the sand, saying he would only apply again if the union, and Democrats
in the state legislature, agreed to more reforms.
At the time, Pawlenty also dialed up the rhetoric. The timing may have been
personally fortuitous: He had declared he wasn’t seeking another gubernatorial
term in Minnesota and was flirting with a presidential run. It was good press:
He was out there staking pitch-perfect positions on education reform.
“If they [the teachers unions] don’t buy in and aren’t partners in change,
it’s not going to work,” Pawlenty said at a United Negro College Fund event in
February of 2010. “We have to constructively and gently, or maybe not so gently,
nudge them toward change.”
Texas Governor RICK PERRY, if he runs, is likely to use his own state’s
successes to argue that the federal government should dramatically downsize in
While Perry has been outspoken against the Common Core, he and his education
commissioner have pulled the quality of Texas tests up to a level respected
among education reformers. Test scores among kids of all racial and ethnic
backgrounds are higher in Texas than in Wisconsin, for example, which has fewer
students qualifying for free- and reduced-price lunch.
Though Perry will probably make this point on the campaign trail, he’s not
likely to promise to take over the nation’s schools. On the contrary, he’ll
likely pick up on his recent call to repeal No Child Left Behind and let states
take charge of their education systems. In his book released last year, Fed
Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, Perry argues that Washington
has taken power away from states. At a speech in November in Washington, Perry
took aim at two of former President Bush’s signature accomplishments, No Child
Left Behind and the Medicare drug benefit program, saying they were examples of
areas in which Washington need not be.
“Those are both big government but more importantly, they were
Washington-centric,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “One size does
not fit all, unless you’re talking tube socks.”
Since the start of his career teaching college in Georgia, former GOP House
Speaker NEWT GINGRICH has cast education among the nation’s most important
domestic policy problems.
His views have developed through the years: In 1983, when the hallmark “A
Nation at Risk” was released, Gingrich, a member of Congress at the time,
traveled the country holding town hall meetings. He criticized American schools
as “no more than holding pens for our children.” In the 1990s, he called for the
abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and opposed direct government
loans to students.
In 2001, he authored a report that called the failure of math and science
education among the greatest threats to national security, “greater than any
conceivable war,” he said.
Then in 2008 and 2009, his political ambitions on hiatus, Gingrich joined
some odd bedfellows, among them civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former
Democratic Colorado governor and Los Angeles schools chancellor Roy Romer, in a
yearlong initiative to push education reform nationwide.
“I’m prepared to work side by side with every American who is committing to
putting children first,” he said in 2009 in a White House press conference,
before praising President Obama for “showing courage” in pushing unions against
charter school caps. “Not talking about it for 26 more years…. We could
literally have the finest learning in the world if we were to systematically
apply the things that work.”
He continued, “I think we need to move forward from No Child Left Behind
towards getting every American ahead.”
But how we move toward providing each child with an appropriate education is
the question. The Republican candidates all stress accountability and favor
school choice, though they prefer leaving the federal government out of
education policy decisions. Most of them emphasize reforms to enhance teacher
quality, and they question the influence of teachers unions. They support high
standards, if delegated to the states to devise and enforce. What they all have
in common is a belief that education needs deep reform that goes beyond anything
Democrats have proposed.
Allison Sherry is Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Denver