NCLB in the U.S. has been a mixed blessing – it has forced all schools to pay attention to the learning of all students, yet this focus has led to a more reductive approach to education. By that I mean that dollars and energy have been so focused by schools on getting a passing score that other important aspects of education have been ignored, reduced, or eliminated. Time for awe and wonder, time to reflect and evaluate, time to connect learning to things larger than one’s self and to consider our interconnectedness and interdependence are precious commodities that make up a holistic approach to learning – these times are being reduced in our public schools in the U.S.
By contrast one of the joys and beauty of Christian education is that, the more we focus our schools on offering a distinctively Christian education, the more we have opportunity to share with students and parents a holistic approach to learning. We connect students to a larger reality (God), instruct students how to appropriately respond to God and neighbor, and engage all aspects of the learner (mind, body, emotions, and spirit or head, heart, and hands) toward passion, wonder, joy, creativity, and ultimate truth and meaning in life. Learning has a higher moral purpose – it is directed toward God and neighbor, not self. It is simply not utilitarian – directed toward the student’s long-term economic well being or being a “good citizen.” At the core of Christian education we start from fundamentally different points than public education:
- in acknowledging the difference in the identity of the learner (made in the image of God and therefore having intrinsic worth),
- the difference in the worldview of the teacher,
- the difference in instruction (emphasis on the attainment of wisdom and discernment, not only applied knowledge, but also the integration of all truth),
- and the difference in where and how we deliver instruction and nurture (in the context of a faithful and interdependent community.)
Blessings and encouragement on all the ways you celebrate our unique focus with students!