Friday, May 27, 2011

Alternative School

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. (Isaiah 40:29 MSG)

DropoutOn May 5, 2011, The New York Times published a story about a girl who has dropped out from a traditional high school and is now attending a charter school instead. Kimberly Smith left McCallum High School in Austin during the first semester of her freshman year. She said she was experiencing anxiety attacks and depression.

“I felt trapped inside,” Smith said, adding, “I was pretty much in bed just sleeping all day long, just basically crying.”

Now a sophomore at Austin Can! Academy, a charter high school which focuses on dropouts and those at high risk for dropping out, Smith, 17, says the flexible schedule allows her to take fewer class hours so she can attend psychotherapy sessions.

Sadly, however, because of the way the state calculates high school completion and dropout rates, charter schools like the Austin Can! Academy could face closure. Supporters say such schools are unintentionally penalized for serving a challenging student population. A bill in the State Legislature aims to fix the formula for assessing completion and dropout rates, but some academics question whether that will just make it easier for school districts to jettison their problem children.

“I have no idea where I would be without this school,” Smith said. “It’s been a very big help to me.”

Smith wakes up at 4:45 every morning to take the train from her Georgetown home to classes at Austin Can! Academy, which she said was the only school that would enroll her.

Like the story of Kimberly Smith, the Bible also mentioned about a people who were moral dropouts or misguided God-dropouts. Moral dropouts won’t listen to their elders; welcoming correction, on the other hand, is a mark of good sense (Proverbs 15:5). The lives of God-loyal people flourish; a misspent life however is soon bankrupt (Proverbs 15:6). Misguided God-dropouts staggers under their guilt-baggage, for they have walked out on God and turned their backs on Him (Isaiah 1:4).

As children of God, we ought not to become moral dropouts or misguided God-dropouts. We may fail or face setbacks at times, but we must never walk out on God or turn our backs on Him because of our guilt or for whatever other reason. We should instead accept what comes our way and be ready to take on any role required of us to serve God according to His will. We need not always be the one at the top of everything we do, for as a part of the body of Christ, each of us has our own role to play. No part is important on its own, and no one role is less honorable than or not dependent on another (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

Why should we then complain or whine, thinking that God has lost track of us or do not care what happens to us? Do we not know anything? Have we not been listening? (Isaiah 40:27-28). God is not a man that He should penalize dropouts. Neither does He have to write a bill to fix the formula for assessing us. God is not like school districts that are ready to jettison 'problem children' such as us who constantly fail to live up to His standard.

Let us therefore welcome corrections and pay attention to advices, for that makes good sense. Let us not misspend our lives on empty pursuits that we may flourish (Proverbs 15:5-6). Our God does not come and go. He lasts. He energizes those who get tired, and gives fresh strength to dropouts. If we wait upon God, we shall receive fresh strength. We shall spread our wings and soar like eagles, run and not get tired, walk and not lag behind (Isaiah 40:28-31).

Thank You dear Lord for accepting us the way we are, even though imperfect. We know that even if we are a ‘problem children,’ You will never abandon us. Help us Lord to accept what comes our way that we may be ready to take on a different role to fulfill Your will. Without You Lord, we have no idea where we would be today. You O Lord are a big help to us and You alone knows what’s best for us.

NOTE: All Scriptural references in this article are from The Message (MSG) Bible

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