Did you know that at least part of the reason for Sunday School was to teach children – especially children living in poverty – how to read so they could read the Bible. In other words, publication education has its roots in the church.
Unfortunately, however, many evangelical churches and Christians were the first to abandon public education.
A lot of church based schools, especially in the South, started as a result of desegregation. It was as if the attitude of Bible believing, God fearing Christians was, “We don’t want our kids going to school with those kids.” Thankfully, over time, most of those same church based schools became integrated themselves, but it doesn’t change the “why” of the beginning of those schools.
In order to staff church based schools tremendous pressure was put on some to receive their teaching degrees and then return to the church based schools to begin their careers. In some fundamental circles, teaching in public schools was preached as a sin. Sending your children to public schools was seen as an even greater sin.
Thus, the church, in many ways, abandon public schools.
And now we are paying the price; reaping what was sown. Our public school system is in need of serious change.
The most recent edition of Sojourners magazine is dedicated to public education and how the church can be involved in transforming the system. Below are some links to a few of the articles in that publication. You may have to register with Sojourners in order to view some of the links. I believe it is free, but if there is a small charge, it will be worth it.
I have many friends and family who teach in public schools. I teach sociology at a local community college. Public education, at all levels, is a mission field. My school has a large international student body. It is not uncommon for me to have 10 plus nationalities in my classes. One local high school in my hometown has over 90 countries represented in its student body. The world is coming to the United States. Public school teachers are on the front lines and can really make a difference for the Kingdom.
As school begins, if you are teacher in the public schools, I want you to know how much I admire you. You are my heroes.