Education: January 2013 Archives


Every January, supporters of expanded educational options for America's school children and their parents put on School Choice Week, events across America to call attention to and advocate for school choice. Nationally, there's a whistle-stop tour, beginning tomorrow in Los Angeles and ending eight days later in New York, with special events along the way in Albuquerque, Topeka, Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee, South Bend, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany.

The goal of this tour -- along with the record-breaking 3,000 events being independently planned for National School Choice Week 2013 -- is to demonstrate overwhelming support, and demand, for school choice...while shining a positive spotlight on the hundreds of organizations, thousands of schools, and millions of Americans working every day to increase access to great schools in our country.

The National School Choice Week Special -- a historic railcar -- will depart Los Angeles Union Station on January 25, 2013 and arrive in New York on February 2, 2013. Parents, students, community leaders, education organizations and elected officials of both parties will host 14 very special events along the tour's route.

The Special will link the modern-day fight for educational equality to important movements that have shaped the American way of life -- from suffrage to civil rights -- all of which used similar whistle-stop tours to generate overwhelming support for causes that changed our history for the better.

With bold strokes, our generation can -- and will -- make its mark on the tapestry of our national experience. Social change isn't just something we read about in history books. It's something we can make a reality, and in the process, secure for ourselves not only a place in history books yet unwritten, but secure for our country a brighter and more prosperous future where no child is denied the opportunity to attend the best schools possible.

The School Choice Week train won't pass through Oklahoma, but several local events are planned:

On Monday, January 28, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., Trinity School in Oklahoma City will host a celebration of school choice. Trinity is a non-denominational Christian school with Episcopalian roots which describes itself as "the 'I can' school where bright students who learn differently can succeed."

On Thursday, January 31, 2013, at 4:00 p.m., Sunnybrook Christian School in Stillwater will hold a balloon launch for school choice.

On Friday, February 1, 2013, at 11 a.m., Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy is holding a virtual rally for school choice. To participate, download, print, and fill out a placard, completing the sentence, "I support school choice because...," take a photo with the placard, and upload it to the OVCA Facebook page.

If you'd like to organize a School Choice Week event, you can find out how to do it here. You can follow School Choice Week events on Twitter through the #scw hashtag.

MORE: To learn more about the progress of school choice in Oklahoma, visit the Choice Remarks blog and the website for OCPA's Center for Educational Freedom.

RELATED: A story from the Religious News Service notes that parents from a wide variety of faiths have found virtual charter schools to be a good fit, providing a safe learning environment, time to include their own faith and values in the school day, and flexibility to incorporate a wide variety of extracurricular activities. The story also mentions that virtual charters can meet the needs of students who struggle in the traditional classroom environment and students who want to devote significant time to pursuits like the arts, music, and athletics.

January at MIT is neither fall semester nor spring semester. It's the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Students can choose to stay back in their hometown, travel, or come back to campus, and once on campus there are hundreds of activities to choose from. Nearly every department offers for-credit courses in special topics or accelerated versions of core courses. Then there are the unofficial activities: You can change-ring the bells in the tower of the Old North Church in Boston. You can learn Israeli folk dancing and the Argentine tango. You can learn table manners, knitting, trash can drumming, and how to build your own guitar delay pedal. You can play quidditch in the snow. Bell Helicopter is giving a half-day Introduction to Rotorcraft. A couple of Ph.D. candidates are offering a week-long Introduction to Modeling and Simulation.

One of the evergreen MIT IAP activities is a lecture by Computer Science professor Patrick Henry Winston on the heuristics of giving a lecture so that you succeed in communicating your ideas to your audience. I heard the hour-long talk when back when I was an undergraduate, 29 or 30 years ago. It's being offered once again this year, and a few years ago, the talk was captured on video:

MORE: The edX consortium -- MIT, Harvard, and University of California at Berkeley -- offers free online courses in which you can earn a certificate of completion. MIT's offerings include Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (the chemistry course typically taken by majors in electrical engineering and computer science), Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, and Circuits and Electronics. The work load is real -- they estimate, for example, 12 hours per week time commitment for Circuits and Electronics -- and you progress through the material at a set pace.

STILL MORE: One IAP class is called "Designing Your Life." You can take the Designing Your Life course as self-paced study through MIT Open Courseware. Here's the synopsis and a "trailer" for the course:

  1. Promises and consequences, areas of life: We learn how to develop your personal integrity by making and keeping weekly promises to yourself.
  2. Theories: We identify theories you have about the way the world works, and discuss how they impact what you see as possible and impossible. We learn how to author new theories that better align with our dreams.
  3. Theories, purges, and thought logs: We hunt for theories by recording our thoughts throughout the day. We also learn how to rid, or purge, the mind of destructive thoughts that keep us from honoring our promises to ourselves.
  4. Excuses: Every time your life does not resemble your dream life, there is likely an excuse that takes the responsibility for being great off your shoulders. We learn how to identify and debunk the excuses that are holding us back.
  5. Parent traits: Many of our personal traits are formed in reaction to our parents. In this lecture we study this concept more deeply, and identify how our parents' traits live within us.
  6. Haunting incidents: Incidents from our past that haunt us contain valuable clues to lessons we need to learn. In this lecture we learn how to find haunting incidents in our lives.
  7. Cleaning up haunting incidents: We learn how to clean up and resolve hauntings so they do not haunt us anymore, and so we can feel proud and confident in our skin.
  8. Connecting haunting incidents, traits, and theories: We explain how hauntings arise from our traits and theories, and as such can provide valuable insights on what we need to evolve to reach our goals.

It's easy for Christians to get tangled up in everyday life or politics and to lose sight (or never gain sight) of what God is doing around the world to redeem a people for Himself "from every tribe, tongue, and nation," much less what we could be doing to participate in His redemptive work.

At 200 sites across the nation this winter and spring, including nine sites in Oklahoma you have a golden opportunity to correct that deficiency. It's a 15-week collegiate-level course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Weekly classes begin this week in the Tulsa area, and you can sample the first night of the course for free. The course is offered by the U. S. Center for World Mission, an organization focused on mobilizing effective action to reach those cultures which are yet unreached with the Gospel.

The course begins with Biblical perspective, and God's purposes in reaching every nation as revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Historical perspective covers the spread of Christianity in the early centuries and the tremendous push over the last two centuries to fulfill the Great Commission. The final six sessions deal with culture and strategy for reaching every ethnos -- every distinct culture -- in our time with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.

As this preview video hints, the Perspectives course will change the way you think about world missions and can turn your life upside down.

The course can be taken for college credit through Trinity International University, for a certificate (you complete weekly homework and a semester project and receive course feedback from an instructor), or, if you don't have time for all the work, the key readings level allows you to see the lectures but do less reading and homework. Course cost is $500 for college credit, $275 for certificate or key readings levels.

There is a Perspectives course in the Tulsa area for nearly every night of the week:

Mondays: Garnett Church of Christ, begins January 7, 2013 (tonight!)
Tuesdays: Arrow Heights Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, begins January 8, 2013
Wednesdays: Baptist Collegiate Ministries Building, University of Tulsa, begins January 9, 2013
Thursdays: Tulsa Bible Church, begins January 10, 2013.

The course will also be offered starting next week in Bartlesville, Norman, Edmond, Stillwater, and Yukon.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Education category from January 2013.

Education: August 2012 is the previous archive.

Education: March 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



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