Tonight there was a love-fest for one model of Republican-style education at the RNC, featuring the Kipp Academy, a charter school in Houston. Curious, though I sadly caught only the last few minutes of their presentation, I found their website and started browsing. Interestingly, I found that I was also looking at part of the site of a group called Center for Renewal. At the bottom of one page (http://www.centerforrenewal.org/from_the_front___/profiles_of_compassion___ /KIPP_Academy/body_kipp_academy.html)
I found a link entitled "Our Strategy" and found the following:
The Center for Renewal is founded on a simple premise. We believe God has comanded us to help those in need. However, we believe that true compassion means offering a hand-up, not a hand-out. The questions we ask in evaluating programs are derived from Marvin Olasky's ABC's of effective compassion and from our own experience in evaluating programs nationally.
1. Success Rate: Does the program have a success rate that can be quantified? Have there been outside studies validating their results?
2. Challenging: Does the program require work or something else in return for its assistance? Does it challenge recipients to accept responsibility for their own needs?
3. Self-Sufficiency: Does the program effectively foster self-sufficiency and lead people out of dependency?
4. Cost per participant : Is the amount the groups spends per person effective relative to the services offered, and their outcome?
5. Volunteers : Does the group mobilize community strengths by effectively utilizing volunteers?
6. Local Agents of Healing: Does the program identify agents of healing in its own neighborhood, rather than impose a solution from outside?
7. Roots: Does the group have a circle of people within the community who stand behind their work and vouch for its effectiveness?
8. Replication: Has this program been replicated elsewhere, or could it be a model?
9. Financial Accountability : Proof of sound financial practices, validated by an external source.
10. Faith-based: Is this program centered on religious belief?
ABC's of Effective Compassion
(Adapted from Marvin Olasky)
1. Accountability: Does the program demand accountability of the people it serves? Are the people serving accountable to standards of performance?
2. Bonding: Does the program foster one-to-one relationships between those giving and those receiving? Is mentoring an important part of the relationship?
3. Character: Does the program build character in the recipients? Is there a moral component to what's offered?
4. Discernment: Do the providers use discerning judgment to give help on an individual basis that takes into account individual needs? Do they focus on giving a hand-up rather than a hand-out?
5. Employment: Does the program empower those it serves to find and keep employment, by imparting not only job skills, but life skills necessary to stay employed?
6. Freedom: Does the program teach recipients to live responsibly in conditions of freedom, accepting responsibility for their own actions and their consequences?
7. God : Does the program foster true self-esteem by leading them to their Creator, and to the belief that each individual is a valuable creation of God?
Now, I know I'm an evil atheist and all, but when gods get into the discussion in connection with principals for founding successful public education, especially TEXAS-style Gods, I get just a wee bit nervous. Secular humanist that I am, I might like some of the other ideas these folks have, but I hope no modern President would suggest that we should have to have 'spiritual beliefs,' especially a belief in "God," a "Creator," and human beings as "creation[s]" in order to have educational programs that work and that deserve to be rated highly.
Despite the illusions of some folks, this country is not an official branch of Protestantism, Christianity, fundamentalism, etc. But I wonder if any of the front-runners for the office that nominates Supreme Court justices is planning a little unwritten revision of the Constitution? Two and a quarter centuries after the Revolutionary War, unbelievers still have to wonder if we're in danger of having religion, ANY religion, crammed down our throats or those of our children.
One reads a lot of righteous indignation around here regarding all the "fuzzy values" that have gotten into our textbooks and classrooms. I wonder if some of those opponents of those values have any sense of at least one major alternative that is being aimed at them by at least one of the major political parties?
Big light in sky scares minority groups in Sectors R & M.
Yours in the name of Tomba, that big tree out back that got hit by lightning a couple of decades ago.