Across the country, some teachers complain that President George W. Bush's makeover of public education promotes "teaching to the test." The President's younger brother Neil takes a different tack: He's selling to the test. The No Child Left Behind Act compels schools to prove students' mastery of certain facts by means of standardized exams. [...] Now, after five years of development and backing by investors like Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and onetime junk-bond king Michael R. Milken, Neil Bush aims to roll his high-tech teacher's helpers into classrooms nationwide. He calls them "curriculum on wheels," or COWs. The $3,800 purple plug-and-play computer/projectors display lively videos and cartoons: the XYZ Affair of the late 1790s as operetta, the 1828 Tariff of Abominations as horror flick. The device plays songs that are supposed to aid the memorization of the 22 rivers of Texas or other facts that might crop up in state tests of "essential knowledge." Bush's Ignite! Inc. has sold 1,700 COWs since 2005, mainly in Texas, where Bush lives and his brother was once governor. In August, Houston's school board authorized expenditures of up to $200,000 for COWs. The company expects 2006 revenue of $5 million. Says Bush about the impact of his name: "I'm not saying it hasn't opened any doors. It may have helped with some sales." (Business Week)
All this legislative and educational corruption for a measly $5 million in revenue? It's always shocking how much human energy and capital the Bushes are willing to throw away for their most meager of paydays.
If you're a Tibetan Buddhist or you're leaning that way, you may not know it, but you need Jesus.
That's the thinking behind a series of Christian evangelical workshops -- including one later this month in Wheaton -- that will coincide with the Dalai Lama's trip to Chicago and other American cities this spring.
Interserve USA is putting on the workshops to teach Christians how to talk to Buddhists and, perhaps, to win converts.
"We welcome the Dalai Lama here, but we also want to have a chance to reach Tibetan Buddhists with the gospel," said Doug Van Bronkhorst, executive director of Interserve, an international missionary group based just outside of Philadelphia.
The online announcement for the upcoming workshop offers this enticing hook: "Tibetan Buddhism. It's ancient. It's complex. It's trendy. And its leader, the Dalai Lama, is visiting your city this spring." [...]
Van Bronkhorst says his organization has no plans to send Christian evangelicals to greet the Dalai Lama during his American tour. "Of course that's up to [individuals] if they want to do that," Van Bronkhorst said.
The Rev. Patti Nakai, a part-time minister at Buddhist Temple of Chicago in Uptown, says Buddhists in general may not disagree with the Bible, just the evangelical spin.
"Most Buddhists would not have a problem with what is written in the gospel," said Nakai, who does not follow the particular practices of the Dalai Lama's sect. "It's what evangelical Christians say -- the idea that you have to be saved in a certain way or you're doomed to eternal damnation, that's what we have a problem with."
There's a good reason why evangelicals believe in being doomed to eternal damnation. It's because they are.