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Director of Christian Organization Calls on Christians to Support Public Schools

March 19, 2017

On February 07, 2017, Andrea Reyes Ramirez, executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition – NHCLCpublished an article in Christianity Today in which she calls upon Christians to support America’s public schools.

Her article is entitled, “Under DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face.”

I am a Christian. I believe that I need a Messiah, and I believe that Christ is that Messiah. I am also an unequivocal supporter of traditional public education.

School choice funnels money away from the traditional public school, and US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has an established history in actively undoing the community school even as she uses her billionaire buying power to advance free-market ed reforms.

I do not view DeVos’ buying legislators in order to impose her will upon Michigan public education as Christlike behavior. Her actions hurt people, and she has demonstrated her willingness to ignore such evidence and proceed with her agenda.

I wondered what other Christians thought, if indeed any had written in Christian publications in support of public education.

Thus, I was pleased to find Ramirez’s article.

There is some language (e.g., about “high standards” and “low-achieving schools”) that could have taken me down some rabbit trails, but I chose not to go there. The overall tone of Ramirez’s piece is one of support for public education.

An excerpt:

A new administration’s nominee for Secretary of Education doesn’t usually steal the show. Betsy DeVos made headlines during her prolonged and contentious nomination process which ended in approval today. While some evangelical supporters of homeschooling, private school, and charter school options are celebrating a school choice advocate’s appointment to this all-important role (and a graduate of the evangelical liberal arts school, Calvin College, at that), other conservative Christian public school parents and advocates are disheartened by DeVos’s limited personal history with our nation’s public schools (she has mentored in public schools but not attended, taught, or sent children to public schools).

In light of varying perspectives about this appointment, Christian leaders will need to think afresh about their relationship to local public schools, where more than 90 percent of America’s children are educated. What comes next for these students will dramatically influence the future of our nation and our nation’s global impact. …

…Our role as Christian leaders within the community can be to actively engage in conversations around education equity issues like accountability, state vision, and transparency and accessibility in reporting so parents and community leaders alike have the needed information to know how to best support strengthening local schools. …

Regardless of the educational options available or schooling choices made for their own children, Christians can serve and strengthen public schools through volunteering as tutors or reading partners. By staying abreast of issues impacting access to high-quality education like accessible and timely school reports for parents, we can discover specific ways our churches can help to support their local schools. We can also advocate for students whose parents may not speak the language at local public forums in their communities.

Ramirez’s piece includes more details and suggestions. I invite readers to view her entire article. (As you do so, keep in mind that she writes from a Christian perspective to the readership of a major Christian publication.)

In order for public education to survive the ever-increasing push for “choice,” it needs widespread support. This includes active support from the Christian community.

I appreciate having Ramirez in the American public school corner.

__________________________________________________________

Want to read more about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

2 Comments
  1. stiegem permalink

    You’re a beacon, Mercedes. These reminders at the base and at the forefront of all your work is appreciated, so much, by so many. Thank you.

  2. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Mercedes, In case you missed these sources…

    1. Why Catholics may want to think twice about vouchers
    Beyond the Classroom: The Implications of School Vouchers for Church Finances
    Daniel M. Hungerman, Kevin J. Rinz, Jay Frymark Issued in February 2017
    NBER Program(s): CH ED LE PE
    Governments have used vouchers to spend billions of dollars on private education; much of this spending has gone to religiously-affiliated schools. We explore the possibility that vouchers could create a financial windfall for religious organizations operating private schools and in doing so impact the spiritual, moral, and social fabric of communities. We use a dataset of Catholic-parish finances from Milwaukee that includes information on both Catholic schools and the parishes that run them. We show that vouchers are now a dominant source of funding for many churches; parishes in our sample running voucher-accepting schools get more revenue from vouchers than from worshipers. We also find that voucher expansion prevents church closures and mergers. Despite these results, we fail to find evidence that vouchers promote religious behavior: voucher expansion causes significant declines in church donations and church spending on non-educational religious purposes. The meteoric growth of vouchers appears to offer financial stability for congregations while at the same time diminishing their religious activities.
    You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery. I believe one of these economists is a graduate of Notre Dame.

    2. This organization refelcts some of the views of atheists and others who are concerned about church state issues is worth a look for legal issues. https://ffrf.org/legal/challenges/challenges-of-faith-based-initiatives

    3. I also recommend Americans United as a source of information https://www.au.org/issues/school-vouchers-government-subsidies-religious-schools

    4. Here are some reasons homeschoolers are leery of vouchers. https://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000002/00000251.asp

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