NHCLC’s Andrea Ramirez: Should Christians Abandon Public Schools?

An abandoned desk remains in a closed school in New Orleans in November 2011. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Tiffany Bailey

Just as Republicans take the reins of power in Washington, a controversial trend has emerged in evangelical circles: Influential thought leaders are advocating withdrawal from public life in order to preserve historical Christian beliefs.

That includes withdrawal from public schools and other public institutions.

But what would a large-scale Christian withdrawal from civic life look like?

How would it affect America’s public schools and our nation’s children?

How does disengagement from civic institutions align with Jesus’ life and his command to love our neighbors as ourselves?

Rod Dreher, whose book “The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation” calls for this Christian exodus, says Christians must invest in institutions that support our historical faith and practices, especially our churches. I agree.

I also agree with radio personality James Dobson that parents are charged with the responsibility to educate and make disciples of their children. But I part ways with any conclusion that results in a blanket call to abandon public education.

Deeming one or two education options as the “godly” choice only serves to distract and divide.

Every child is unique, and parents are best-equipped to determine the right school setting for each child.

School choice is the right of parents as they determine what is best for their children’s education and discipleship.

My own parents chose to home-school my brothers for a season, while I attended both public and private schools at various times. Now my husband and I serve as a founding family for a public charter school, even as we blend in home schooling for our eldest daughter.

There is no “one size fits all” schooling solution for Christian parents as we guide them to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds and strength.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
(Andrea Ramirez is executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference)