Solutions are on the Way

I have been in Mexico City this week to inaugurate a new ministry for children of mothers who are in prison in collaboration with Iglesia Bautista Horeb. I’m coming off of two packed days of preaching at Horeb, visiting a drug rehab center, a feeding ministry, and a federal prison for women. It has been an incredible experience. I will blog on that experience later this week.

While I was in Mexico City I received two emails that made my day. First, I received an email from Felipe Garza, a member of the Hispanic Education Task Force, who offered to collaborate with the BGCT much like we did with the ISAAC (Immigration Services and Aid Center) Project. Buckner is offering to provide ½ of the salary for a Hispanic Education Consultant to begin to work on the Hispanic High School Drop-Out Issue and BGCT will be asked to provide the other ½ as well as office space, etc. much like the agreement we have with the ISAAC project. The Hispanic Education Task Force was to have taken this recommendation to the Executive Board of the BGCT on Tuesday for consideration. Since this recommendation had been approved previously but not funded, the Executive Board affirmed this previous decision and agreed to the funding recommended by Buckner.

If we work diligently on this project we would be in a position to present an agreement that might be signed at Convencion in Wichita Falls this June. A search for the right person would naturally follow this summer. This would be a great step and a strong statement that the BGCT and Buckner are ready to get moving on this issue.

We must realize that hiring an education consultant is a great first step but is not the only step. Some of you have offered suggestions on this blog, others have provided comments indicating what you are currently doing in your local church to improve high school completion, college enrollment, college graduation rates, and graduate school enrollment. All these efforts will help Hispanic families become healthy and will help them achieve economic stability. This kind of solutions cuts off lots of huge social problems in the future. It is the right thing to do, it is the kingdom thing to do, and we are way over due to give this issue our best attention and effort.

So let me offer some other solutions besides hiring a fulltime education consultant:

Create a Hispanic Education Advisory Board
We need to retain the Hispanic Education Task Force members, those willing to continue to serve, as Advisory Board members. We also need to invite new players to the table to ensure that all nine of our universities are represented.

Highlight Education at all Baptist Youth Meetings
We have three major meetings a year that bring the Texas Baptist Hispanic community together. They are Congreso, Youth Convocation at Convencion, and the Hispanic Evangelism Conference. We need to make Hispanic Education a major theme at these meetings as well as youth camps and other meetings like the Hispanic Singles Camp.

We need the Baptist Standard to devote time and space to this issue. I know that Marv Knox shares the concern over this issue as well. The new BGCT Spanish Website should also carry this theme. Perhaps we can feature a website where students, parents, and pastors can get the help they need to help youth finish high school and get into college. We need to inventory all programs that are impacting this issue like the Sigueme Program at Baptist University of the Americas. Most of all, we need to pray that the Lord would give us wisdom to make a difference in the lives of our youth now.

What other suggestions do you have?

Oops, almost forgot. The second email was from my wife, Belinda, indicating that the Spurs won the first round of playoffs and will face the Lakers in the second round.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

31 thoughts on “Solutions are on the Way

  1. As I think about it, I see at least few things that my church can do.
    First off is: mentor, mentor, mentor in the public school. The door is open, if only more would step through it. That is my prayer, and one of the things I’m currently pushing for.
    Secondly is to: reach out, reach out, reach out to the local colleges/institutions to partner with them. I can only assume that someone there is concerned about the education of our young people, and willing to do something about it. Also, if they create something as a research project for their school; I bet they can find some grant money for it!
    Thirdly is: discipleship, discipleship, discipleship of the students that are members of our churches. Statistics still say that we only have a %10 retention rates of students in the church after they finish high school. Granted, there isn’t any ethnically specific data on that; but it is something we should all worry about, imo.
    And Finally: outreach, outreach, outreach to the Hispanic community. We have to have conversions of adults within the families. Churches, schools, and other institutions can have a wonderful affect upon a student. However, their impact never comes close to the impact of their parents. Most of the time, the student goes the way in which they were brought up. If the family doesn’t value education, then there is little chance the student will.
    Redemptive Lift, that is what we need. We need it in the Hispanic community. We need it in the African-American community. We need it in the Caucasian community. We need it in the Asian community. We need it EVERYWHERE!
    At least, that is one guys opinion.
    Tim

  2. There are many ways to serve this important issue. As a Buckner employee, opportunities come along often.
    I met with an MHMR representative just this week and have agreed to participate on the Lubbock Community Youth Development Review Committee to award some $500,000 in grant funds for youth programs in zip code 79415 (predominately Hispanic) to reduce the drop-out rate and prevent juvenile delinquency.
    Paula

  3. LOL!
    Go Spurs! 😉
    How invigorating to read the blog and comments these past 3 days! The Lord is doing great things!
    Like Pastor Tim has underlined a couple of times – one of the main pillars to reach-out to students, is parents. Contrary to teenager mentality :), parents have the greatest influence and make the biggest impact.:) It’s such a blessing to see godly parents who spur their kids to move forward! Hard work!
    Looks like between the blogs and the responses, the need, vision & steps of the mission have been delineated! 🙂
    We are moving forward in His name to open the flood gates of redemption, restoration and prevention! What an awesome privilege to serve Him in bringing a radical change!
    Blessings!

  4. Brother Albert,
    Aside from your comment against the Spurs in your blog this morning (boo hiss!!) I have a few questions concerning the Hispanic Education Task Force you have been talking about for a few days and the “advisory board” you mentioned today. Although I am familiar with the Task Force through your brother (and a bit through Julio and a few others), I do not know the full agenda/details/make-up of the group. So here are me questions:
    First, who all is represented in the task force? Men, women, pastors, professionals, Baptist institution degree holders, non-Baptist institution degree holders, age group, etc.
    Second, I know you helped create the task force but what was your purpose or vision in creating the task force?
    Third, does the same vision hold true now for the group from when it first was initiated?
    Fourth, I’ve heard some mixed reviews regarding the task force and what all they have been able to accomplish since their inception. Now that an education consultant may be coming on board in the foreseeable future and there is a partnership with Buckner and the BGCT, do you think there will be change (i.e. change for our Hispanic youth, churches -and possibly culture- on the need and value of obtaining an education)?
    And by culture I don’t just mean Mexican, Hispanics or Latinos. I mean, church culture (Hispanic and non-Hispanic), BGCT culture, youth culture, etc.

  5. Tim, now you are preaching! You have outlined steps that would help churches make a huge difference. I cannot improve on what you have written. You have provided a list of great ideas for the person that will be hired to do this work. Wherever there is regernerative and redemption of the soul there should be a lift of the life of the person who comes by faith. It is our resonsibility to make that redemptive reality real for those coming into the Kingdom.

  6. Paula, thanks for the difference you are making in your area influence. You are not only making a differenc through My Fathers House Lubbock but are also reaching into the community to raise resources for youth who want to go to college. This is a complex problem and will require our creative energy to get things done for those currently left out. Thanks for investing your time to provide solutions.

  7. Aracely, you have raised some very insightful questions.
    First, the task force appointed by Dr. Alcides Guajardo and me was diverse including gender, cultural background, and education. We had members from several Texas Baptist Universities as well as public educators, community college administrators, and pastors.
    Second, my purpose for naming the task force was to bring the best minds we had together to study and recommend action to reverse this trend. My hope was that these leaders would also bring resources and relationships to bear on this issue.
    Third, I am not sure what the vision of the group is three years after the fact. I believe that this was probably one of the finest task forces put together in recent history. I am hopeful that they will stay the course until we reverse the trend and create a new future for our youth.
    Fouth, one of my life mottos is “At the end of the day, you do what you want to do.” When we have ganas to get something done, we seldom have problems finding the resources to make it happen. That is true for our history as Baptists. Financial resource is the least of our concerns. We need a vision for what can be and the resources “provision” will flow. I am hopeful that Dr. Randel Everett, our new ED has passion and vision for making a difference among the Hispanic Baptist Youth in our state. This passion will flow through our African American community and eventually Baptist High School Drop Outs will be a thing of the past for all Texas Baptist Youth. Texas Baptists will be known for high school and college completion rates. So, yes, I am confident things will begin to change when we have a full-time staffer looking at this issue everyday. I hope that day comes soon. We will need to help create and communicate new values about education in our circles of influence and that may already be happening.

  8. Albert,
    Thanks for yours and Felipe’s initiative in getting raising the attention and resources in the right direction. I think you are right on target with the suggestions that you make for actions that need to take place beyond hiring a full-time consultant.
    I hope and pray that Convencion, the youth events, the Baptist Standard, the BGCT and the local churches can agree to make this a priority and can find ways to synergize.
    Blessings!

  9. Albert,
    Thanks for yours and Felipe’s initiative in getting raising the attention and resources in the right direction. I think you are right on target with the suggestions that you make for actions that need to take place beyond hiring a full-time consultant.
    I hope and pray that Convencion, the youth events, the Baptist Standard, the BGCT and the local churches can agree to make this a priority and can find ways to synergize.
    Blessings!

  10. Thank you to all for your recent postings about this critical issue. Thank you Dr. Reyes for lifting this issue up for all to see. While I am not naive enough to think the existing challenge has overly simplistic solutions, I do want to share a comment from a Hispanic principal: “The solution to the drop-out problem for Latino students begins with the youngest children. These children need help in acquiring an expanded view of the world. They will never experience college until they can imagine college. KIDS HOPE USA mentors are a successful dropout prevention strategy because they help the children dare to dream.” This is certainly a complex challenge that will require multiple initiatives and responses. However, the critical relational engagement that is so needed, just so happens to be an inherent value add of the local church: love via relationships. This is something our churches and churches members can do NOW as a proven early intervention that authentically communicates Christ’s love with integrity.

  11. Dr. Reyes,
    I am truly happy to read that this Hispanic Education Task Force Initiative moving forward, thus hoping that the Fly-Wheel Effect will take place to encourage those who want to complete and educational dream.
    As culture is shifting and new traditions are being formed, we as Hispanics we must take into account that the students that are reached are empowered and not enabled. (thus comes in to play the story of the Fish and the Monkey (Elmer). So as educators, administrators and board members of this Hispanic Education Task Force, it must be cautious so as not enable the future students but empower them so as they may also impact the world.
    What I suggest is, how do we get help the parents of students help them to help themselves so as to help their children? In the Asian Culture parents enforce school work also at the home front “Top of the Class” (How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers) and you can Too.)by Dr. Soo Kim. To Asian the child is a student at school and at home, thus the involvement of the parent is at a higher percent than that of the Hispanic Parent. In where the Hispanic parent would rather have the DVD player entertain the child than be involved in the Childs educational upbringing. Though I am not indicating that all Hispanic Parents do not take the time to help their children with their homework, but through my experience and from my family, friends and as a Single Parents Minister, I have asked these Parents if they help their children with homework and the usual answer is “NO”. Thus the reasons are differ from too tired from work to “I can’t help because of my limited schooling”
    In my opinion for this Hispanic Educational Task Force to truly be effective, it should seek Cross-Cultural educational spectrums so as to effectively develop a strong program
    Such as including the 5 pillars of multi cultural education.
    14. Five Pillars of Multicultural Education
    1.Content Integration: Deals with the extent to which teachers us examples.
    2.Knowledge Construction Process: Teachers help students understand, integrate, and determine how the implicit cultural assumptions.
    3. Prejudice Reduction: The dimension focuses o the characteristics of the students racial attitudes and how they can be modify by teaching methods and materials.
    4. Equity Pedagogy: Culturally response teaching to thin out the achievement gap that exists between ethnicities.
    5. Empowering School Culture: The process of restricting the culture and organization of the school so that students form diverse, racial, ethnic, language and social class groups will experience equity and empowerment
    PS “GO LAKERS”

  12. Dr. Reyes,
    I am truly happy to read that this Hispanic Education Task Force Initiative moving forward, thus hoping that the Fly-Wheel Effect will take place to encourage those who want to complete and educational dream.
    As culture is shifting and new traditions are being formed, we as Hispanics we must take into account that the students that are reached are empowered and not enabled. (thus comes in to play the story of the Fish and the Monkey (Elmer). So as educators, administrators and board members of this Hispanic Education Task Force, it must be cautious so as not enable the future students but empower them so as they may also impact the world.
    What I suggest is, how do we get help the parents of students help them to help themselves so as to help their children? In the Asian Culture parents enforce school work also at the home front “Top of the Class” (How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers) and you can Too.)by Dr. Soo Kim. To Asian the child is a student at school and at home, thus the involvement of the parent is at a higher percent than that of the Hispanic Parent. In where the Hispanic parent would rather have the DVD player entertain the child than be involved in the Childs educational upbringing. Though I am not indicating that all Hispanic Parents do not take the time to help their children with their homework, but through my experience and from my family, friends and as a Single Parents Minister, I have asked these Parents if they help their children with homework and the usual answer is “NO”. Thus the reasons are differ from too tired from work to “I can’t help because of my limited schooling”
    In my opinion for this Hispanic Educational Task Force to truly be effective, it should seek Cross-Cultural educational spectrums so as to effectively develop a strong program For Example the task force can use the 5 pillars of multi-cultural education which are useful inside of the school system as well as inside of the church.
    Five Pillars of Multicultural Education
    a.Content Integration: Deals with the extent to which teachers us examples.
    b.Knowledge Construction Process: Teachers help students understand, integrate, and determine how the implicit cultural assumptions.
    c.Prejudice Reduction: The dimension focuses o the characteristics of the students racial attitudes and how they can be modify by teaching methods and materials.
    d.Equity Pedagogy: Culturally response teaching to thin out the achievement gap that exists between ethnicities.
    e.Empowering School Culture: The process of restricting the culture and organization of the school so that students form diverse, racial, ethnic, language and social class groups will experience equity and empowerment.
    In addition we must remember, this is Education not Church (I think I stepped on some toes!)
    In-Christ
    Mario C. Samaniego
    PS “GO LAKERS”

  13. Great discussion. May I also suggest that the drop out rate among Hispanic students is also happening at the college level?
    I also would like to suggest using the strength of current Hispanic college students and the influence they can have on young students by serving as examples.
    In order for this to happen, it is important that Hispanic college students are being reached and that they are inspired to go back to their community and churches to serve.

  14. Scott, you have underscored one of the many solutions needed for this complex problem. Buckner has more than one response that will be needed. Let’s pray for wisdom for the next steps.

  15. Bro. Mario, you are correct in stating that there are cultural considerations in play with this issue. Some books that shed light on this issue are: Teaching Cross Culturally by Lingenfelter; Non-Western Educational Traditions by Reagan; Lives Across Cultures: Cross Cultural Human Development; and Discovering Culture in Education by Finkelstein, Pickert, Mahoney, and Barry.

  16. WOW!! I’d love to have all these folks in the same room to continue this conversation!!:o)
    Just another model out there for your consideration – to all church leaders, parents, universities, the Hispanic Education Consultant ( still to be identified but God has already ordained!:o) – Howard Payne University began about 3 yrs. ago a summer wk-end event – “Sigues Tu”, inviting Hispanic 6th – 8th graders (of course, you know our RAZA- they brought the 5th graders & 9th graders, too!!:o) to come spend 2 days on the university campus with a tailor made program just for them. Many if not all these kids learned for the first time what college life is really like – they had no one in their family to share their “story” of what it’s like to attend a university. It was exciting to witness their fears lessen about going off to college – one 7th grader even telling President Lanny Hall -“get ready, I’m coming back!!” Their only complaint – “why isn’t this a week long!” Church leaders, consider taking your children & youth on college tours, even if only for a day. University staff – contact Brad Johnson & Sergio Herbert @ Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX for more info. on “Sigues Tu”.
    Oh yes – “GO SPURS GO”!!!

  17. Albert,
    I am very pleased to hear Buckner and the BGCT are going to partner in providing the financial resources for a person to dedicate time and energy to this issue of Hispanic high school dropout rate reduction at a convention level.
    Sometimes to see a glimpse of the future on an issue, we need to look back to what others in the past have been able to see with the eyes of faith. Texas Baptists of faith in the 1940’s saw the need to educate Hispanics youth who were being discarded by the educational systems of Texas, the U.S. and other countries. They chose to do something about it and founded the Valley Baptist Academy. For decades, Texas Baptists educated Hispanic youth in that treasure of an institution.
    One sugestion I have is that we engage our Hispanic leaders in the Valley like brother Roberto Rodriguez, Bro. Daniel Rangel and others who have a passion for educating our Hispanic youth and see how we can use the grounds of the Valley Baptist Mission/Education center. One possibility is to office the person the BGCT hires in the VBMEC. The public school systems have created magnet schools to educate the cream of the crop; what about Texas Baptists creating a prep school to redeem educationally those students who have dropped out? Texas Baptists already have the facilities available in the Valley. I think our energies will not be wasted as we work together to educate our youth and help them become all God wants them to be.

  18. Javier, I can always count on you to deliver a prophetic and wise word when facing unique challenges. True to form you have offered a compelling case for going back to the future. For years I wondered how we might connect VBMEC and BUA to do their historic mission. Some of our best leaders, including you, emerged from the ministry of VBA. This is another solution we should strongly consider: A Prep School in the Valley for those who need a second chance. I think BUA has already demonstrated its ability to redeem lives through education. You already have a track record. We really need our best thinking to make VBMEC a going concern. Returning to the roots of that institution under the leadership of BUA is an excellent idea. Bro. Rodriguez and Bro. Rangel could provide the kind of leadership we need at this time in our history to bring solutions to some major issues we are facing. We will be praying for them and encourage them to consider these solutions.

  19. We need educational opportunities that that Bros. Elizondo and Reyes speak about in North Texas as well. Coming to think of it, is it possible for something like this to be done in every geographic region of TX?
    There are 5 geographic regions in TX, if I remember correctly. 8th grade was a long time ago. Could we build, employ, and pay for at least 5 such schools?
    Tim

  20. Tim, Javier Elizond and Rene Maciel would have to answer that question. You do bring up a point regarding the size of our state and how we would provide GED programs across the great state of Texas. There may be ways to address this issue online. We have 112 associations and most of them have offices spread across the state. We also have 9 universities with offices across the state and Buckner has offices in 15 cities. I think we are already in place…what we need is a vision, a plan, and the resources to implement this. We also have three other Children and family networks across the state that could be engaged to provide resources for this issue.

  21. Another resource that we need to consider and has not been mention is the book written by Dr. Sanchez Hispanic Realities Impacting America. Dr. Sanchez in chapter 5 gives interesting stats on the success second and third generation Hispanics have made in educational attainments. However, his major concern is on the first generation which he feels lags behind.
    Perhaps, understanding that there are differences among Hispanic churches could help us come up with vital solutions concerning this complex and challenging situation.

  22. Bro. Sergio, I have Dr. Sanchez’ book. It is a really survey of the Hispanic community in the USA. We need to keep generational differences in mind. This was one of our main focuses at BUA. Good point.

  23. It is truly exciting to see the response that you have been getting concerning the issue of Educating our Hispanic Youth.We cannot wait any longer to take action. It is a sin to me to sit back as our youth continue to drop out.As I look at my life there are two events that God has used to make me who I am today. One was accepting him as my Lord and Savior, the second event was going back and getting my Education after having dropped out of College.There were people who didn’t giveup on me and we must not give up on our Hispanic Youth.Thank you for your Leadership Albert and for giving me the flexibility to make decisions.

  24. Felipe, thanks for sharing your story. Your leadership is invaluable at Buckner and your story is an inspiration for those wondering if there is any hope for them. Thanks for your example and for providing decisive leadership for this issue and for children and families.