Christian education is rapidly expanding across the United States as many parents seek public school alternatives for their children.
Since the pandemic, families and Christian leaders are recognizing a growing need for Christ-centered alternatives to the public system.
It’s been a privilege to experience what’s happening in Christian education firsthand.
As a member of the Herzog Foundation’s Ambassador Program, one of my responsibilities is to meet with heads of school, teachers and thought leaders about the resources the foundation offers. Since the program started three months ago, my cohort and I have visited schools in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Indiana, Texas, Montana and California.
The schools we visit are incredibly diverse, including Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist and non-denominational.
Some use a hybrid model of in-person and at-home learning, some have 4-day weeks, while others operate like a traditional school. The demographics these schools reach also vary, from urban communities to suburban and rural families. Students come from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Every school is unique, too.
One middle school we visited offers a robust alumni network, with advisors supporting students into high school and college. Another serves at-risk boys with counseling and academic support. Other schools specialize in integrating expansive club offerings into their curricula, serving international students and providing full-fledged, Christ-focused sports programs. No school we visited was the same.
Despite subtle differences in doctrine, structure, and reach, every Christian school we met agreed on the importance of a distinctly Christian model of education.
Education is not simply about college readiness or career – it concerns the heart, mind and soul of the child. To thrive spiritually, live a healthy life and be academically prepared, students need an education that cares about the whole person.
Christian education is particularly suited for this task, and the research supports this. Students who attend Christian schools have stronger marriage and family outcomes, are more likely to maintain their faith and perform better in the classroom.
Today’s educational climate makes Christian schools all the more necessary.
Our public system is in a state of crisis. Students are falling behind in science, reading, and math. Chronic absenteeism is abysmally high. College readiness has plummeted. Ideologically, progressive ideas on race, sex and gender dominate the classroom.
If you want to reform your local school, it will be awfully difficult: teachers’ unions have a stranglehold on the system.
But there is hope. Educational options are expanding as school choice programs grow across the country. Millions of families are gaining the ability to send their kids to quality, Christian schools.
As myself and the other ambassadors continue to build relationships with heads of school, administrators and teachers, we are continually struck by their optimism about the future of education.
While they face challenges, whether a need for more funding, finding tuition support for families, or navigating local regulations, none of these issues diminishes their passion. An overwhelming sense of purpose is a consistent theme in our conversations.
Christian educators are motivated by a desire to see students’ lives cultivated and transformed by the Gospel. Their work is vitally important. I am proud to be part of the growing movement to see it thrive.