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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Worth Reading Wednesday: Christian Education

Today's "Worth Reading Wednesday" will focus on the topic of Christian Education.  I came across these two articles this week:

Why Churches Should Be Starting More Schools by Shane Raynor
"Nowadays we hear a lot about church planting. New churches are exciting, and they’re certainly needed. The more the merrier! But we also need more congregations that are interested in planting and subsidizing schools, especially in areas where the public schools are failing. It’s not fair to lower income kids to make them wait for their schools to be fixed, and we can’t afford to wait for politicians to see the light on school choice. Christians can act now and take the lead on fixing the education problems in this country. And we can do it by starting new schools."

which was a response to Adam Hamilton's Put God Back in Public Schools?
"In America our public schools are intended to be religiously neutral.  Our teachers and schools are neither to endorse nor to inhibit religion.  I believe this is a very good thing.  When my kids were growing up I wanted their teachers to teach them science, reading, math, and history.  I also wanted them to care about my kids.  But I did not want my children’s public school teachers teaching them religion.  That was my job as a parent, and the job of our church, Sunday school, and youth group."

I think each article brings up some great points.  As someone who grew up going to public school but sends her children to Christian school, it's a topic I like to think about.  I like that my son goes to school and hears about Jesus there.  Frankly, I find that I have a difficult time explaining things to children and I am glad there are people who are gifted to teach children.

I do know that one concern I have is having my children live in a Christian bubble.  But, I also like that idea of protection when they are young, and I like that faith is a part of all aspects of life, not just something for a couple of hours on Sunday.  To separate the sacred from the secular is, to me, to say that the Kingdom of God has a finite reach.

If we did create more Christian schools, and vouchers were used to attend, as the author of the first article suggests, how would admission be determined?  For example, there was an incident in Albuquerque, NM where a three year old was denied admission because the parents were gay.  While schools can each develop their own policies, how would they ensure that they are willing to let anyone use vouchers?

And, how can we be sure that students are allowed to, as Adam Hamilton writes, "bring their faith into the schools.  They are free to pray any time, provided they are not disruptive.  They are free to talk about their faith, provided they are not belligerent or hurtful to other students. "  This is not always the case, as a friend-of-a-friend recently pointed out to me (story from 2005; story from 2010).

What are your thoughts on Christian Education?  Do you send your kids to private Christian schools or public schools?  What is your reason for doing so?  If you are a teacher, in what type of school do you teach and why?  




13 comments:

PennieS said...

I read about the New Mexico student, and while I believe that "the Church" in all its forms needs to show God's grace, mercy and love to everyone, I also understand the schools reluctance to "open that can of worms". I would like to see every child have the opportunity to attend a Christian school, but I would expect that parents would sign a statement acknowledging that Christian Biblical principles are taught and that secular views will not be incorporated.

Ruchi Koval said...

Kelly, if it's ok I'd like to weigh in from a Jewish perspective. My husband and I both attended Jewish private schools from K-12 (and beyond) and as an educator, I try to help families see that raising proudly Jewish and identified kids who are knowledgeable and confident in their faith, while sending them to public schools, is an uphill battle. It is interesting that you have not mentioned cost as a factor in the decision-making; I wonder how that comes into play.

Kelly J Youngblood said...

To those of you who have left comments but don't see them here, I am SO sorry! I don't know what is happening to them! I got email alerts about them from Blogger; they show up in my controls, but no email alerts from Disqus and they aren't showing up in my Disqus controls!



I'll re-post them for you!

Kelly J Youngblood said...

This was from PennieS: "I read about the New Mexico student, and while I believe that "the Church" in all its forms needs to show God's grace, mercy and love to everyone, I also understand the schools reluctance to "open that can of worms". I would like to see every child have the opportunity to attend a Christian school, but I would expect that parents would sign a statement acknowledging that Christian Biblical principles are taught and that secular views will not be incorporated."

Kelly J Youngblood said...

This was from Ruchi Koval: "Kelly, if it's ok I'd like to weigh in from a Jewish perspective. My husband and I both attended Jewish private schools from K-12 (and beyond) and as an educator, I try to help families see that raising proudly Jewish and identified kids who are knowledgeable and confident in their faith, while sending them to public schools, is an uphill battle. It is interesting that you have not mentioned cost as a factor in the decision-making; I wonder how that comes into play."

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Pennie, yeah, I do see that a school would want people to acknowledge that, but I also think anyone who is planning to send their child to a Christian school is going to realize that Christian theology and practice is going to be taught. However, what do you do with a divorced and remarried parent who wants to send their child there? Jesus had some pretty harsh things to say about that, and that parent isn't going leave his/her current spouse and go back to the first one.

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Of course it is ok to weigh in from a Jewish perspective! I definitely see your point about identity and public school. Because I live in a heavily Christian area, even the public school kids and teachers are likely to be Christian as well. I think for someone in a minority that would be a big factor. I didn't think to bring cost up; I'm not sure why. I guess I was thinking more along lines of identity. Where I live, Christian Education is a big priority and there are a lot of churches of a particular denomination here that started the Christian school and contribute to it in order to keep tuition costs down.

Karen said...

Thanks for the article. With a Kindergartner in our local public school, especially after the holiday season, I have thought quite a bit about this. Her library teacher read them stories about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and she talks about her classmate who was born in Saudi Arabia who doesn't celebrate Christmas. It been an interesting time to talk to her about different religions and what others may believe, and then how that is different from what we believe. Not quite sure how much of that gets through, but it will. Overall I've been pleased with her school, so much of what one learns in Kindergarten is so basic, life skills, manners, respect, etc... that is universal. Her teacher talks up Santa Claus SO much, so I did talk to her alot about how we DON'T celebrate Christmas as a "conditional holiday"....if you are "good" you will get presents, if you are "bad" you won't. The TOTAL opposite of what I want my kids to learn about Jesus....that his love is unconditional. Kelly, I do like the aspect that Christian school does help to not "compartmentalize" faith, but makes it applicable to all areas of learning and life. I'm hoping and assuming that what she hears and learns from us and church will automatically carry over in her other areas of learning. Thanks for the thoughts....I should read those articles!

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Pennie & Ruchi: were you commenting on a computer or a mobile device? If so, I think I found the problem and how to (hopefully) fix it. You can let me know on FB if you want, since if you are on a mobile device it won't show up here yet until I make some changes to some code.

Ruchi Koval said...

Kelly, I see my original comment here plus yours posting mine. I was on a laptop.

Kelly J Youngblood said...

It may have been fixed, so comment again when you get a chance.

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Yeah, there is no escaping Santa Claus! It was not talked about at school, but he still hears about it. Whenever he would ask questions I'd explain the real St. Nick story to him. I never did say "no Santa isn't real" because I didn't want to totally disappoint him, but I never made it out to be too important.

Kelly J Youngblood said...

Ruchi, just saw in my Blogger comments that you'd commented and said you were on a laptop--but it doesn't show up here for me! Pennie was logged into her blogger account; were you? I wonder if blogger and disqus are not syncing for some reason!