Monthly Archives: September 2020

Christian Vs Secular Education – Which Is Better?

At times, Christian are faced with a decision regarding what type of education to pursue for themselves and/or their families. The choice we will examine is between Christian schools and secular schools. Is one better than the other? The answer is not necessarily found in comparing the quality of the education but in the belief systems that are at the foundation of each. We will examine both types of education as they relate to the belief in God and their use of facts.

Difference 1: Belief in God

In general, secular education is based upon the assumption that there is no God; or if there is a God, then that God has no real impact on, or relevance to, daily life. Secular study of science, for example, assumes that everything “just happens” as a result of natural laws and interactions. One event triggers another, but (it is claimed) there is no ultimate planner and/or power guiding the process.

In contrast, Christian education assumes that God is, that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, that “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3 KJV). Christian education is further based upon the firm conviction that God continues to guide events “in heaven and on earth” according to His perfect plan, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6(b) KJV).

Difference 2: Use of The Facts

In Christian education, proven, empirical facts are facts. Mathematical equations, for example, are exactly the same. There are differences and Christian education does not hide them. Over the past century or so, some topics have been heavily “edited” to reflect a secular viewpoint. History and some branches of science have suffered from a biased reporting of “facts,” including hiding or ignoring some details, and skewing the perspective from which others are viewed. The skewed perspective has altered and/or distorted the interpretation of some evidence. True Christian Education rejects such distortions.

The Dilemma

Ethics and morality represent one extremity of these distortions. By rejecting the ultimate authority of the Creator, adherents to the secular perspective are left with no absolute foundation of right and wrong. Standards become fluid, so that “what’s right for me” may be different from “what’s right for you.”

When the Church accepts the standards of the secular world, it is left with confusion and instability. Consider the following illustration of this dilemma. For a number of years, respected pollsters have reported that the manifestation of ethics and morals doesn’t differ significantly between individuals who classify themselves as “Christian” and those who describe themselves as “not religious.” Specifically, the pollsters report that the sexual practices of the two groups have proven to be basically the same. Even though a permissive lifestyle has become common, the Christian faith has historically embraced strict scriptural standards of sexual purity and monogamy.

True Christian Education seeks to provide a superior grasp of all facets of knowledge, anchored firmly on the foundation which our Creator has supplied in His inspired Word. One could conclude that, for Christians, a Christian school education could keep them grounded in their faith in God. It could also shelter them from the skewed and altered versions of empirical facts that at times are associated with secular education. The decision should not be taken lightly but made with prayerful consideration.

Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the end of World War II. The first push for special education started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. In 1947 one of the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a starting point for special education as we know it today.

Started during the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation were among an increased amount of advocacy groups for assisted learning programs. This strong push helped bring special education into schools across the country in the 1960’s as school access was established for children with disabilities at state and local levels.

The parent advocacy groups dating back to 1947 laid the ground floor for government legislation being approved by Congress in 1975 that was called the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” (Public Law 94-142). This act went into effect in October of 1977 and it was the beginning for federal funding of special education in schools nationwide. The act required public schools to offer “free appropriate public education” to students with a wide range of disabilities, including “physical handicaps, mental retardation, speech, vision and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and other learning disorders.”

The law from 1977 was extended in 1983 to offer parent training and information centers. Later in 1986 the government started programs targeting youngsters with potential learning disabilities. The Act from 1975 was changed to the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in 1990. Since establishment of IDEA more than 6.5 million children and 200,000+ toddlers and infants are being assisted each year.

Special education in schools often unintentionally overlooks a key aspect of why students suffer from learning disabilities. The reasons for common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Studies show that 80% of students enrolled in special education at some level suffer from underlying weak cognitive skills. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that one needs to successfully learn academic subjects. In more detail cognitive skills are learning skills used to retain information; process, analyze, and store facts and feelings; and create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They are not to be confused with academic skills which would include subjects like math, science, or history.

Proper testing to identify these weak cognitive skills will help quality learning centers put together a plan of action to strengthen them. This sort of training will last a lifetime. By not targeting the cognitive skills a student will struggle for the rest of their life until they are trained properly. It is highly recommended that you get your child tested at a learning training center that provides cognitive testing. Once tested a personal, unique training program can be developed for your child to overcome their learning disability.

Sex Education in Schools Pros and Cons

Sex education is the act of informing younger and adult generations about everything they need to know about sex. Sex education is one of the most controversial issues in education, which has been floating on educational institutions since ages.

Sex education is not just about sex. It includes other sensitive issues like sexual health, sexual reproduction, sexuality and others that parents often feel uncomfortable talking with their children. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of schools to address this issue, and inform and educate students about it as much as possible.

Often, sexual education in schools is considered as a recreational course rather than a serious issue. There are many pros and cons of sexual education being taught in the public schools.

Pros of sex education in schools:

– Classes are gender-exclusive. This saves embarrassment among students and teach them only what they need to know based on their gender.

– Properly taught, sexual education could become a regular and ongoing Human Anatomy and Biology complete with tests and grading that goes toward graduation credits.

– Students can be taught the correct terms of the reproductive system of sexually transmitted diseases and contraception birth instead of “street slang.”

– Myths surrounding sex can be dispelled (for example, can not get pregnant the first time).

– Studies show that many teenagers become sexually active before the inclusion of educational classes. Principles of inclusion of classes has been shown to help students stay or to abstain or at least be responsible if they are active.

– Proper education can have an impact on the prevention of sexual problems in adulthood.

Cons of sex education in schools:

– Students may still be subject to embarrassment or excitable by subject matter. This can make for out of control classrooms if students take to laugh or make inappropriate comments.

– Most education is taught as a brief interlude in physical education or health class. This is not enough time to relate effectively to serious material.

– Often, sexual education can go against moral or religious beliefs of an individual. Many schools do not teach abstinence-only, but to teach how to have sex safely, while many of the religious and family stress marriage before intercourse.

– Sex education is often seen as a “recreational” course and not a serious issue (this is a direct correlation with the fact that there are no grades or scores to be derived from class).

– Teachers are not always adequately trained to teach sexual education and may violate their own beliefs or morals on the subject rather than continuing with the facts.

– The attitudes of parents, educators and religious leaders in the community can make the stuff that vary from state to state or even school-to-school.

Parental Retaliation in Special Education – How Can I Prove It – And Will It Ever Stop?

Are you a parent who has a child with autism or other disabilities that receive special education services? Have you experienced parental retaliation by special education professionals in your school district, because you have advocated for your child? This article will educate you on the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil rights (OCR) definition of retaliation, and also what standard they use to determine if parental retaliation has occurred. In addition this article will discuss whether retaliation can be decreased, so that you can truly be a meaningful participant in your child’s education!

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights states that: “504 prohibits recipients or other persons from intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Section 504, or because the individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under Section 504.34 C.F.R. 100.7(e).” One of the protected activities under Section 504 is advocacy, and retaliation is prohibited if you advocate for your child.

The Office of Civil Rights has released information that OCR complaints have increased at a very large rate (which I believe is due to the amount of parental retaliation that special education professionals engage in). The types of retaliation I have seen are calls to Child Protective Services (CPS), banning parents from school grounds, and possibly punishment to a child. Parents need to stand up to this retaliation and gather evidence of the retaliation, so that they can file an OCR complaint.

OCR uses a five point test to determine if a parent has experienced retaliation:

1. “Has the parent engaged in a protected activity?”

2. “Is the district aware of the protected activity?”

3. “Was the parent or student subjected to an adverse action?”

4. “Will a neutral third party decide there is a causal relationship or connection between the protected activity and the adverse action?”

5. “Can the school district offer a legitimate non-discriminatory (non-retaliatory) reason for the adverse action, which a neutral third party will not consider to be pre-textual?”

A few comments about the five point test:

1. Under #1 advocacy is considered a protective activity as well as filing a state complaint or a due process complaint.

2. Under #2 most special education professionals know of parent’s advocacy especially if the parent has filed a complaint or due process.

3. Under #3 the adverse action means a negative action such as suspending a child or calling CPS and making a child abuse complaint.

4. Under #4 the retaliation must be closely-timed to the protected activity of advocacy, or OCR could rule against you on your complaint.

5. Under #5 this in some cases is what causes a parent to lose the complaint–If the school can come up with a plausible non-discriminatory reason for the action, and then the finding may be against the parent.

OCR recently released a Dear Colleague letter (April 2013) about retaliation that can be downloaded at, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201304.html. This is a great resource that can ensure successful advocacy.

The only thing that will decrease retaliation is enforcement, which is usually left to the parent. I do believe that you should file an OCR complaint for ever retaliation action done by special education professionals (that you can prove of course). Work hard to secure written evidence to prove your case, as well as include the five point test in your retaliation claim, (with all of your evidence listed, and attached of course). Parental retaliation often occurs in the dark, and if light is brought to it, the situation very well could improve! Never stop fighting for your child-he or she is worth it!

How to Get Financial Aid for Your Online Education?

Time has changed and over the years education is no more restricted to pen, paper, classrooms, blackboards etc. Today when time is deemed to be more crucial than money and people in even in remote corners of the world crave to acquire education and its benefits, online education has definitely come up as a desired boon.

Online education is education via the medium of Internet that can be gained synchronously or asynchronously. At present online education is far superior from the conventional mode of learning (i.e. going to universities, attending classes and so forth) in many ways. Online education is not just a means to make judicious use of time but it is also acquiring the best possible degree in academics anytime anywhere.

Though merits of online education outweigh the classroom education in many respects, its greatest drawback is its cost. Online education is significantly expensive in comparison to usual university education. This is precisely the reason that every individual cannot dream of getting an online degree.

But with a surge in enticement for online education some universities imparting it have devised several ways to financially assist the aspirants. The foremost and ideal step in this direction is education loans and giving scholarships.

Whereas loan or arranging finance for online education is concerned the foremost step is to fill up your FASFA i.e. Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FASFA is an application published by the Department of Education. This application gives the aspirant an idea of the kind of funding he or she is eligible for. Once the application form is properly filled and sent, wait for the confirmation. Usually receiving a confirmation letter is a matter of one or two days. The confirmation letter will brief you about the kind and number of programs you meant for you. This process is quite simple and easy to follow.

After acquiring the confirmation letter, contact the Financial Aid office of the desired college/s. The financial aid officer there will explain you the various types of financial aid packages available that vary from work-study programs to government aid. He will lend you the requisite forms for different colleges. Finally it is at your discretion which college to opt for though the officer will definitely guide you in your selection.

Once the loan application is completed, it will be sent to the school for the process of verification and processing. Usually banks do not fund the students directly but via the concerned institution. The bank sends the money at the commencement of the session.

This is helpful to both the student and the institution.

Apart from loans there are scholarship programs such as the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit that offers a maximum 100% on the first $1000 and 50% on the second $1000 spent for educational purposes. Similarly the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, the Higher Education Tuition and Fees Deduction are other means to save money on your online educational expenses.

How to Get Financial Aid for College Education for Single Mothers

Single mothers and mothers in the US can provide their family and children with a better future by securing a higher paid job. Well, this is possible only with the right kind of degree in hand earned at colleges. However, the road to success through education is quite tough as the costs associated with the higher studies at colleges are quite high, forcing many single mothers in the US to drop their higher studies in midway. High expenses apart, the additional crises of debt burden are there too, making college education an out of reach substance for single moms and mothers. Yet, there is a hope as the Obama administration has revamped grant programs for women, especially for single mothers or moms. This initiative has been taken towards empowering women and single mothers in the US so as to find them a better opportunity and make their lives better, leaving past the adversities behind.

The Obama Single Mother Grant is one of the best ways to help with college bills to avoid financial crises. Single mothers or mothers from low-income or no-income households can receive up to $5,000 as an educational benefit through The Federal Pell Grant program, also known as the Single Mother Grant. The US Department of Education monitors the entire program and pays out the financial assistance for higher studies for mothers through state-run organizations, participating colleges, action community agencies, charitable organizations and non-profit organizations. Always remember that female participants can easily receive free financial assistance through Obama approved government grant compared to male participants.

Considering Pell Grant, it is a need-based program; hence, it always aims at favoring the needs of single mothers. The federal Pell Grant offers you a great opportunity to escape the higher repayment rates of loans. Besides, it does not have to be repaid like loans. Earlier known as Basic Education Opportunity Grants (BEOGs), Pell Grant offers around $5,500 to the eligible single mothers for college tuition fees, as well as study materials and housing expenses.

How to Apply for the Federal Pell Grant

Remember, you are not entitled to receiving the Pell Grant for more than one college you want to pursue your higher studies. In order to receive the financial assistance, it is essential to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or (FAFSA). A proper application process is not complete without the filing of FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is filed, your financial needs are evaluated based on the information provided on the FAFSA. After the FAFSA gets processed, you are likely to receive a Student Aid Report, containing your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.

If you are interested, you can contact your state agency to apply for the Pell Grant or visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/options.htm to apply online. Though it is a time-consuming process, benefits for college education earned through Pell grant is matchless.