Rural New Mexico has been home to many abysmal elementary schools, a key culprit being rampant absenteeism every Monday, and hence a de facto four-day school week.
Were the students playing hooky? No—they were fainting of hunger. After leaving school on Fridays, many students had little to eat until school lunch on Mondays. Their little villages were often two hours from any store, and funds and food options were scarce. Every Monday, teachers regularly carried famished children from their rooms.
The leader of New Mexico's faith-based initiatives office knew that the State Capitol housed large reserves of public assistance food. But she quickly learned of a bureaucratic quagmire that thwarted distribution. The solution? Invite Christian groups to pack the food into backpacks for students to take home. Because of her advocacy, the students now leave school on Friday with enough supplies to get them to Monday.
Using dozens of her own similar stories, Nicole Baker Fulgham's Educating All God's Children: What Christians Can—and Should—Do to Improve Public Education for Low-Income Kids (Brazos Press) champions a faith-based message of "educational equity." Though fortunate enough to have attended better schools than those in her largely African American neighborhood, Fulgham argues that today's impoverished families have little access to such mobility. Her book offers a candid theological plea for Christians (and, by implication, especially Republican Christians) to prioritize educational equity alongside issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Educating All God's Children convincingly shows scriptural mandates for closing the educational gap between low-income areas ...