“Spanish Language Immersion Programs in Public Schools?”

Should we be concerned about Spanish language immersion programs in public schools? Our system just started one, offering Spanish-only kindergarten and first grade classes. Am I just an alarmist or is this just another ploy to undermine our sovereignty?

Thank you for your e-mail. I have noticed that some states (like North Carolina) are implementing a Spanish language immersion program like Los Puentes. On its face, it is probably a good idea since children learn language so much easier when they are younger. So I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about English-speaking students learning Spanish at a young age.

That being said, there are concerns people have raised about bilingual education that does not put Spanish speaking kids into the mainstream. Recently I had a guest on my radio program who was responsible for some of this (in particular he was the reason all ballots are in both English and Spanish).

Also, the Rand Corporation released a study that documented the costs for language assistance instruction programs. They found that the total per pupil costs was estimated to be in the range of $460 to $1,600 in 2007 dollars. The total cost was $3.9 billion.

Bilingual education has been expensive, and it doesn’t seem to help Spanish-speaking students. It tends to isolate them rather than integrate them.

Thanks for writing.

Kerby Anderson

© 2008 Probe Ministries

“Is It True That Whites Have a Higher IQ Than Blacks, Per The Bell Curve?”

In The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, the authors maintain that whites have a higher IQ than blacks, but I would not label the authors racist. What do you think?

Thank you for your question. You deserve a longer answer than I can give you in an e-mail, but perhaps I can give you some perspective and let you read further if you are interested.

The Bell Curve (by Hernstein and Murray) derives its conclusions about IQ scores from the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Other researchers (e.g., Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth) question whether that test and the assumptions made from developing a bell-shaped curve are valid. The AFQT probably best provides a test of the level of schooling not necessarily IQ. And the authors of Inequality believe there has been a good deal of statistical mashing and stretching in order to form the bell-shaped curve you find in the book.

The argument of the authors in The Bell Curve is that IQ is a better predictor of life outcomes than the usual measure of socioeconomic status (SES). One concern is that Hernstein and Murray define SES very narrowly (level of education, income, parents occupations). Each factor was given equal weight even though it is generally assumed that parental income has a much greater effect than parental education on a childs life outcome.

As I hope you can see, there is some question about the methodology and statistical analysis used in The Bell Curve.

So while we can perhaps agree that American blacks score lower than American whites on standard IQ tests, that may be due as much or more to SES.

This is the classic debate of nature versus nurture. I dont think The Bell Curve proves that most of lifes outcomes are due to nature.

Kerby Anderson
Probe Ministries

© 2005 Probe Ministries

“Do You Have Any Advice to High School Graduates?”

Funny you should ask; after polling some wise people I know on “Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Graduated,” I just shared these thoughts with our graduating senior girls in our church.

The importance of choosing purity. This is the biggest area of regret for many people, but especially young women, who pay a greater cost of giving their bodies away. One lady said, “I wish someone had told me that my body is a precious gift from God to give to ONE man. I wish someone had told me that if someone pays attention to you or says nice things, it doesn’t mean they love you and it SURE doesn’t mean you have to give them your body.”

One element of choosing purity is to choose modesty in dress and behavior. Showing skin (especially midriffs, shoulders and backs) is a great temptation to men and it is a statement about oneself that a girl might not want to be making: “I care more about what’s trendy than about honoring God with my body. I want guys to look at me, even if they have to struggle with their flesh over it.”

Don’t get into credit card debt. The credit card companies will throw undeserved credit at you, and it doesn’t take any time at all to be way over your head. One young lady was so desperate for other people’s approval that she got $80,000 into debt to buy friends and impress people. The people aren’t around anymore, but her debt certainly is. Proverbs says that you are in bondage to your debtors, and credit card debt is a terrible kind of prison.

If you find yourself wondering, “Should I be doing this?” you probably shouldn’t. Untold heartache and regret can be avoided by listening to that internal alarm. You won’t wonder “should I be doing this?” about things you should do, like, “Should I brush my teeth today?” “Should I be kind to my friends?” “Should I exercise self-control?”

Choose your friends wisely. You will become like the people you hang out with, so choose people with beliefs and behaviors consistent with godliness.

Pursue your relationship with Christ. Less than half of the students in church youth groups will still be walking with God ten years after they graduate. Pre-decide to be one of those people. Go to church every Sunday. GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY! Get plugged into campus Christian groups as soon as you get to college. If you don’t go to college, get plugged into some Christian fellowship group where you will be continually encouraged in your walk with God in the context of Christian community. You are like wet cement; you will (probably) determine the shape of your spiritual life for the rest of your adult life by the choices you make and the habits you form during ages 18-24.

Pursue wisdom. Pray for “wisdom beyond your years.” God loves to answer that prayer! Pray for your future spouse. Young women tend to be very passionate and full of longings for connection to a husband; turn that emotional energy into something constructive by praying faithfully for your husband. You might consider keeping a journal for him that you can give him when you marry, so he can see how you became the woman you will be. Write down your thoughts and feelings as well as the ways you are praying for him, even before you know him. At the same time, don’t go to college for an “MRS degree,” looking for a husband. Trust God to take care of that in His time. Getting married is a lousy goal for college.

Develop self-confidence. Forget all the garbage about self-esteem that you were taught in school. It’s not bestowed, it’s earned. Real self-esteem is self-confidence, and there’s only way to get it: by doing hard things, by rising to a challenge and working until you succeed.

PRAY! Pray for your roommate. Pray for your studies, pray for your work. When you find yourself battling loneliness or homesickness, press hard into Jesus and let those hard feelings drive you to pray in dependence on Him. Trust God to be in control, and rest in Him. He loves you more than you can imagine!

Hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

“How Can I Prepare for College?”

Dear Mr. Bohlin,

I will be attending Cornell University in the fall of 2000. My declared major is pre-med, biochemical engineering. I will also attending the Mind Games conference in July. Can you suggest any Christian reading materials for me so that I can be prepared for the conference in July, but most importantly, so I can be prepared for Cornell in August as a Christian.

Good to hear we will see you in July! I am looking forward to meeting you and spending the week together.

I would recommend Jim Sire’s book, The Universe Next Door, as a good place to start. Worldview is an essential concept to the conference and Sire maps out the different worldviews in a concise manner. Considering your future major, I would recommend Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds by Phillip Johnson for starters. If Sire proves interesting reading to you and you are wondering where some of these strange ideas came from, you might look for a copy of Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? which briefly (258 pages) traces the historical development of philosophy, theology, art and science in the west. Though the book is over twenty years old, Schaeffer turned out to be an accurate prophet of where things were headed. So, read Sire first and take on the others as time, money and interest dictate.

See you in July.


Ray Bohlin, Ph.D.
Probe Ministries

“Can You Recommend the Best Christian Colleges for My Son?”

Dear Dr. Bohlin,

I read your article on line at Leadership U. and would respect your opinion on a matter of concern to me. I am especially impressed that you managed to keep the faith while studying genetics and molecular biology.

My son will be starting college next year. He is homeschooling, but I guess he does well academically because he got 1600 (perfect score) on his SAT. He wants to go to California Institute of Technology and study physics eventually, but wants to first go to a Christian College of good reputation for one or two years to meet other Christian young people and to become really well grounded in the faith before going to Cal Tech. (I personally hope for him to meet a godly, Christian girl for a wife.)

Hopefully, it would be a college committed to an orthodox, fundamental, conservative Christian doctrine, and have at least more than, say, 1000 students.

What are the best Christian colleges, in terms of the quality of the students and the quality of the teaching?

Can you make any suggestions, any recommendations of Christian colleges?

Your request is a reasonable one and I commend you for seeking advice. I would also suggest you ask others who have sent their kids to Christian colleges for their opinion. Our older son attends John Brown University, a Christian college of about 1,100 students in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. It is a sound Christian university dedicated to teaching a Christian worldview. Their engineering department is top-notch (our son is in digital media), I understand, and very rigorous. I would presume their physics department is up to those standards. I also recommend Taylor University in Indiana, Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California and to a lesser extent, Wheaton College in Illinois. Any of these colleges would offer significant scholarship money for your son. But you already seem a bit leery and that is good. A college is only as good as its faculty and they are never universally excellent either in scholarship and teaching or in their adherence to a thoroughly Christian worldview. For instance, a number of the biology faculty at these institutions are theistic evolutionists and would not be receptive to many of my articles. However, I know some of the biology faculty at Westmont and they are not theistic evolutionists. I know of only one at Wheaton for sure. A student must be equipped to know what they believe and why even in a Christian university.

Clearly your son has been given a gift with his intelligence and I respect his desire for Cal Tech. We need more Christian young people with the talent and dedication to pursue the best education they can get to qualify them to impact the academic community for Christ. There is a strong growing movement away from a strict materialism, particularly in astronomy and physics. The intricate workings of God’s universe are more and more being seen as something that is beyond being explained by chance. So much so that being a Christian in these fields is not as difficult as biology and geology.

I would strongly recommend your son attend our weeklong Mind Games Conference outside of Little Rock, Arkansas this summer regardless of where he goes. This conference is billed as our national conference and repeatedly draws national merit scholars and valedictorians from local and distant Christian and public schools. He will be among peers. There are also several college students who attend who can help with advising from their own experiences. Our web site can give you some details for this conference (probe.org/student-mind-games). Also look at my article on Campus Christianity to get an idea of my practical advice for students (it is usually the final session of a conference for students).

Concerning a wife, a good Christian wife can also be found among Christians from a secular university who understand the challenge to their faith at these institutions. This can be a very maturing experience. Our younger son is at the University of North Texas and growing in his faith in a much more vital way than our son at John Brown. Each student is different, and their needs are different. If our sons were to switch colleges they would both be profoundly unhappy. By the way, I met my wife at the University of Illinois in Campus Crusade for Christ. 🙂

I hope you find this helpful.


Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries