About Me

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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

Welcome to my Opinion Pages

Thanks for stopping by and reading some of my thoughts. I hope you will find an enjoyable adventure here on my pages.



The articles are only my opinion and are never meant to hurt anyone nor to downgrade any other person's ideas or opinions.



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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School vouchers


School vouchers are being discussed across the land.  Public education is in a turmoil and has been pronounced by some as a dismal failure.  School Districts are charged with the responsibility of providing a quality education for all children, no matter what their needs.  Some school programs have excelled in quality education, but others have not.  Resources are always a question, and finding those resources among families with few resources is a problem.  Hence the use of vouchers to offer families a choice among educational programs that offer the educational support an individual student needs regardless of what district the child belongs to.
Some school districts and union officials have resisted the use of vouchers claiming it places the districts in jeopardy of losing students to other districts causing a loss of funding for home districts and a reduction of teachers in that district.  This is especially true for those children with special needs.   
These days we hear so much about the "No Child Left Behind" law that seems to force teachers to "teach toward the test." Other teachers have been heard to say they must teach toward the greater number of children in the mid-range and simply do not have time or resources to teach those above or below the mean. Consequently through the evolvement from the first enactment of the Federal law 94-142 that requires children with special needs to be educated through the development of Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), school districts have been experimenting to find the best way to follow the laws and provide a functional education for a child with special needs.
Those experiments have produced a myriad of "solutions" that range from individual tutoring to mainstreaming. A totally forgotten group traditionally has been those individuals who have been institutionalized and cared for through some derivative of a State financed facility that has segregated people with special needs into one place, no matter where they lived in the state. The education for those persons was relegated to total segregation where the "mean" was lowered yet again. Today, as a result of a long-standing practice of "deinstitutionalization" and "normalization" many of those same people with special needs live in segregated "group homes" and spend their days in a "sheltered work shop" with others with intellectual or other developmental disabilities.
The problem with the past methods of helping people with special needs has been an almost complete separation of the individual from his/her primary support group, the natural family. When the educational system of today, post "normalization" practices speaks of public education for people with special needs, by and large it means separating them sometime during the educational day into a classroom where others with similar needs are placed.
Our long history of "separate but equal" in other arenas of life should have taught us that separation from the mainstream does not always mean the quality of those services are equal. The only way the equality for separate services can have a chance to reach and maintain the quality that is meant for the mainstream services is for the person with special needs to have a strong advocate, and that advocate should be the family.
Educators are going to have to realize that the power of quality rests in a system where the provider of those services must be challenged to continually strive for the "best practice" for each individual. The idea of "If you build it, they will come," works only if the system continues to build excellence and quality and maintains dynamic change to attract those who choose that service.
For children with special needs who need support to advocate for themselves to make the choices they need to make to have the best quality of services, the parent or family must have the power to shop around and choose the best available service among services. With that power through vouchers and other methods of having resources, they will not have to settle for only what is offered by one service provider alone.
Jim Killebrew


Monday, October 24, 2011

Truth


This article is going to be for the more mature readers; not as in "mature audience" to warn of pending pornography, but mature in the sense that of having grown into wisdom by living a life of "knowing" right from wrong.

When Jesus stood before Pilate in a "trial" to determine his crimes, the Governor tried to have Jesus admit He was committing some crime against the Roman authority.  Jesus was talking about a kingdom, but not a kingdom of this world.  In the Gospel of John, chapter 18 we have the following account:  18:36 Jesus replied [to Pilate], “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 18:37 Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 18:38 Pilate asked, “What is truth?”  (John 18:36-38)

That has been the age-old question.  Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is studied in universities around the world.  He was a German philosopher who looked at the paradigm of absolute Truth in the model of relativity.  He described an idea (thesis) as being affected by the "antithesis" of that idea or belief, that eventually evolved into a "synthesis."  From that it became a new idea or belief.  Of course this is oversimplified and understated, but the paradigm shift proposed by Hegel was significant.  It represented a shift from the Absolute Truth to a relative truth that was situational at best.

Ethical behavior was changed from "sin" to relativism.  Relativism defined simply is the belief that concepts such as right and wrong, goodness and badness, or truth and falsehood are not absolute but change from culture to culture and situation to situation.  The standard that was based on the Absolute presence of God was "synthesized" to a new concept that "God" was anything that could be developed by any culture or society.  No longer was it an Absolute Law from God that one human may not murder another, but killing could be tolerated under certain circumstances and redefined depending upon the situation in which the "murder" was carried out. 

In fact the Laws that had previously been believed as "God's Laws" were simply suggestions that had to be viewed within the context of society, culture and situations.  Society could "borrow" those "suggestions" but had the authority to change them to meet the newer standards relegated by the relative power derived from either the force imposed by totalitarianism or from the rule of any group of individuals who agreed to some stated standard.  From within that paradigm shift even the Church began to change.

In Europe and the United States even the secular societies continued to believe in the God of the universe and essentially knew right from wrong.  For nineteen centuries after the Ministry of Jesus on earth sin was still relegated as being wrong because it was perpetrated against God.  But with the philosophical values ushered in by Hegel even the common man began to believe that "right" was measured by a shifting standard and could mean anything each individual wanted it to mean.  Sin continued, but it no longer had the authority or sting of having been committed against God, but against the standards of another man whose values were less noble.

Entire societies began to emerge with a synthesized set of values that long-sense had discarded Absolutes that the God of the universe was in control.  Truth became unstable and relative truth became king.  That which had been fundamentally wrong became right in the eyes of many.  Nazism, fascism,  socialism and communism became the new, relative truths that provided the rule.  But within that rule came a justifiable truth that allowed atrocities to live within the framework of legalism within the boundaries of Nationalism. 

Nazism relative truth allowed for the extermination of over six million human beings of Jewish faith.  Fascism relative truth allowed for the destruction of basic human rights, property rights, religious rights and the rampant destruction throughout a society that destroyed tranquility and joined with the Nazi relative truth to plunge the entire world into a war.  Socialism and communism relative truth joined to destroy a host of societies to a totalitarian rule that resulted in millions of lives being lost, fatherlands being destroyed and human bondage being forged that lasted for a hundred years.

Atheism found a home nestled in the secure establishment of relativism as well.  It became fashionable to decry the presence of God in anything.  No longer did God live on the earth among and in mankind, but He was not living anywhere in the universe.  "Science" became the new god that Atheism could embrace.  With each new "discovery" or each new "theory" that railed against a Creationist God, relative truth won the day.  Evolutionary Theory replaced Bible reading in the public schools.  Biblical authority gave way to a theory that had been relegated as "fact" even when proponents agreed there was a "missing link." 

Today in the Western cultures and societies the fact of an Absolute God with Absolute Truth is laughed off as a myth borne by uneducated, backward simpletons who must use a crutch of "religion" to make their way in a sophisticated world.  The consistent, incremental movement toward the attack of Christianity in America is following the same patterns it did in Europe. 

Christianity in America is being maligned and marginalized each and every day.  The new relative truth god is more than materialism, or even atheism, it is sophistication and snobbery.  It is people who have become smart in worldly content who have "grown" above the Absoluteness of God.  In America, in the educational systems, political systems, scientific circles, economic systems, social systems and even the religious systems, mankind has finally planted the flag of superiority deeply and squarely on the summit of the Tower of Babel.

There is only one thing they are forgetting:  Absolute Truth continues to reign supreme in the universe.  God is not dead; God is still alive and well.  In the Gospel of John we catch a glimpse of what Truth is with the words of Jesus.  He said He would be leaving for awhile, but we would know Him and He would not leave us alone:  14:5 Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 14:7 If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7)

Jesus continued to tell about the One whom He would send:  14:15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 14:16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever – 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you."  (John 14:15-17)

Finally, Jesus prayed for His followers to be set apart in the Truth of His Word:  17:16 "They [disciples] do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. 17:17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. 17:18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world."  (John 17:16-18)

Make no mistake about it, it appears that Absolute Truth is dead and gone, however, we need to remember that Truth is in this world and is living within the heart of each Christian who has committed his or her life in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The work that He has done by giving Himself on the Roman cross to be a sacrifice to forgive sins of each person who accepts Him is the Truth, the Absolute Truth and nothing but the Truth.  Even if most of the seven billion human souls living on the earth choose not to believe that, it does not alter it as being a fact:  Jesus is the Absolute Truth!
Jim Killebrew


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mom remembered



Today would have been my Mother's 99th birthday.  I was born on her birthday so it is just one more of many hundreds of things we shared.  She always said she could never forget her birthday since she always helped me celebrate mine.

Mom was one of those "Greatest Generation" people who was born long before WWII and was married with three children before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  Dad was a bit older at the time of the war's beginning, and with a wife and three children he escaped being called into the war effort for awhile, but finally was drafted in spite of his age and family situation. 

From the point Dad left for his army duties Mom was the head of the household.  After his training and before he shipped out for Germany, Dad started the events that led to my Mother's October 1944 birthday presenting her with a gift of yet another son.  It was later that I learned I had been labeled as a "war baby".  Now with four children and a husband embroiled in the war effort ten thousand miles away, Mom had to use her strength and savvy to provide for herself and her family.

People in those days endured trials and grief that as a child growing up after the war and during the next two or three decades was seldom endured.  Making dollars stretch, finding the best bargains in food and clothes and teaching respect for each other fell to Mom.  She always made the best of it always giving her family the very best she could.

Looking back I can see where Mom was the doctor, teacher, lawyer, preacher, mender, disciplinarian, arbitrator of arguments, provider, soother of hurts, but always Mom.  She cooked all the meals, washed all the clothes, shopped for all the clothes, took us to church and Sunday School, kept us all on course and made it fun to be in "our family".

Mom was special because she spent her life "raising" her kids, caring for them, counseling them, advising them and most of all, loving them.  The Bible says that the length of a human life is but a "vapor" that is here today and gone tomorrow.  As one generation comes and goes another takes its place.  Mom is gone now, but she left her mark on each of her children and their children as well.  We miss you Mom and love you very much!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Christian reward


A blog I follow written by a fellow Christian wrote about the fear of living one's life and dying in obscurity.  He mentioned the prize of our world was seeking fame, power and resources.  Because Christians love Jesus, however, what we do in His name is done to give Him the glory.  But our lives are lived in submission as God works through us by His Spirit.  My blog friend's conclusions are correct; living our lives in obscurity here is nothing, because being in Jesus is everything.
Matthew, one of Jesus' Disciples recorded something that Jesus said about judgment.  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’"  (Matthew 25:31-40)
When we act in love toward the "least" of our brothers or sisters who belong to Jesus, our obscurity is thrown out the window, because we, in fact, are doing that kindness to Jesus. 
I would like to think at least two things happen when we arrive in heaven: The first is that we will be met with many who will simply say “Thank you.” The man who learned of Jesus when he was 12 because you took the time to teach his Sunday School class. The woman who didn’t have quite enough money to pay her heating bill and you finished out the payment. The lad who got into your car by hitchhiking and went the last 100 miles home after having lived in “a far country” and woke up one morning having “come to his right mind.”
Those acts, little acts, done in Jesus’ name helped each of those to walk “the streets of gold” forever. Yes, Jesus got the glory, but on that day, in heaven, Jesus will turn to you and say, “but you get the thanks.” He will thank you for yielding to Him and allowing Him to work through you to touch the lives of so many.