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It's Time to Stand and Deliver

Stand and Deliver was a 1988 American film based on the true story of high school teacher Jaime Escalante, a math teacher at James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. This was a school full of students from working-class families whose grade level skills, in academic terms, were low and also exhibited serious social problems.

Escalante, a serious academic, sought to affect the schools culture by helping students excel in the academic area. It wasn't long before he realized the untapped potential of his class and set the goal of increasing their academic skills sufficiently for taking AP Calculus by their senior year. Escalante's methodology for accomplishing this was to create desire in his students and by motivating them to overcome adversity.

It's heart-warming to hear a story of someone with such love for students and personal fortitude willing to accept a challenge seemingly so overwhelming. At a time now when inner-city schools are characterized by social promotions, educating students who ultimately can't read or write and to whom mathematics is a foreign language one can only hope that a committed teacher as Jaime Escalante would appear.

My own personal experience witnessed a suburban school which promoted, to the next grade level, a student who had failed every subject. Poor, no, awful, education appears to be ubiquitous! I am no longer surprised by what I find nor when I hear a college student say "my college courses are easier than high school." What continues to irritate like a burr under a saddle is the lack of respect for diverse opinion. Diversity may be good, but to some extent diversity has become an institutional goal except when it is diversity of expression.

Unlike Escalante's methodology, academics have taken on a methodology for accomplishing their goal to undo parental mentoring, the church's discipling, and generally anything conservative philosophically. What boasts as education begins with a "soft bias" in elementary school, moves to a stronger, more blatant bias in high school and then to full blown indoctrination in colleges both public, private, and Christian.

Now, certainly I will concede that there are teachers, professors who, using the "Socratic method" in their classrooms strive to develop "critical thinking skills," students into mature adults. Furthermore there are schools and colleges that do indeed endeavor to develop a strong academic and spiritual life, but far too few. And it is long overdue for schools and colleges to actually know those whom they are hiring. "It is time" for academic study, steeped in orthodox Christianity, to boldly "stand and deliver!"

Understand, I am speaking of teachers and professors in both secular and Christian institutions. Attending a Christian institution does not necessarily assure that you will be guided in "the way you should go." Scripture warns us, "For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach." (Titus 1:10 & 11 ESV) Even among those of the "Covenant," especially faculty not fully vetted, may be deceivers.

Saint Paul warns us again, "I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." (Romans 16:17 & 18 ESV) This is not a small matter and should be taken very seriously! These individuals are, as commentator Dan Bongino, would say, "On the wrong side of the moral ark of history."

I regularly speak with students and their parents who attend Christian institutions and their stories are clear and horrifying! Divisions are being created and obstacles put in the way. Those challenged with mentoring our children are serving their own appetites and "deceiving the hearts of the naïve," even the hearts of the better informed. The "liberal" left lacks integrity, they also lack liberality! Dinesh D'Souza says, "The goal of the progressives (the left) today is...essentially, social control." D'Souza goes on, "progressives want to use the government for "running the economy and regulating the lives of ordinary citizens. They want to be modern plantation bosses, telling the rest of us how to live our lives and what to believe and what to do."

What is very strange is that those capable of challenging these "deceivers" or have tried are being cowed into silence and retreat to their own space where they quietly do "their own thing." Some go to the extreme of providing teachers and professors with what they want to hear simply in order to receive a better, even a passing grade. So sad! " people light a lamp and put it under a basket, (No) but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house." (Matthew 5:15 ESV) "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Saint Paul and the Psalmist also encourages us, "Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11 ESV) "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12 ESV) "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8 ESV)

The "hour has come" to "Stand and Deliver," to "Step Up" and "Deliver the Goods!" The future of the next generation, our children, "...that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children." (Psalm78:6 ESV) depend on it. The future of the Church requires it!

Robert F. Davis has 40 years of experience providing counsel for educational and not-for-profit institutions. He previously served as vice president for Advancement at Bryan College in Tennessee and consulting vice president for Advancement and Alumni Affairs at Liberty University in Virginia.

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