It is becoming an all too familiar story: America's public education system is failing. Among developed nations, American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science. And the trend is going south. In September, we learned that the high school class of 2011 posted the lowest SAT scores of all time.
But those statistics don't tell the whole story. In wealthier school districts, American public school students actually perform better on international tests than their counterparts in Finland, Japan, and Korea.
For our public school kids in truly poor school districts, however, their best and often only chance is in the kind of lifeline depicted in the climactic scene of the powerful documentary Waiting for Superman.
Hundreds of children and their families, gathered in a school gymnasium, are hoping and praying they will win the lottery. If theirs is one of the few numbers picked, they will escape their neighborhood school and attend a highly coveted charter school.
The drama is intense. The joy on the faces of those kids whose number is picked is palpable. The despair of those left behind is devastating.
No American child should have to win the lottery just to get a decent education. It is a scandal of the highest magnitude and a violation of the most basic precepts of justice.
For many reasons (educational quality, moral environments hostile to faith), many Christian families have fled public schools for Christian and other private schools or even homeschooling. While we must ensure our own children receive a proper education, we must also care deeply about those left behind.
After all, education is in our DNA as Christians.
At a recent conference at the Colson Center, professor Glenn Sunshine ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more