August 27, 2007

Oh great

Melissa Rogers: Southern Baptists and "Christian School 101": "Southern Baptists are moving to open their own schools, offering an alternative to public schools that would educate a new generation about biblical principles."

Given the latest educational nugget from Paige Patterson, let's just say that this does not fill me with good thoughts.


Tony said...

Is your animosity because these will be preponderantly SB or is it toward Christian schools in general?

Streak said...

right now? Tired and annoyed? A little of both. In the light of day, let me suggest that I would focus on the idiots who run the SBC. I have no inherent problem with Christian schools.

Bootleg Blogger said...

Hmmmm, Streak. When was the last time a bunch of conservative Christians advocated establishing "Christian" schools (or "academies" in sw tennessee and northern mississippi where I had contact with them)? I'm trying to remember.... Ah yes, something about avoiding the mixing of races- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I think it was called. I understand christian academies sprung up in every little town across the south. Many are still in operation. The more things change....... Later-BB

steve s said...

Though not as prevalent as Catholic Schools, there are a fair number of Protestant Schools in MI (including Baptist). As my wife is a public school teacher, we have not really looked at private schools, so I can't say whether they have a good reputation.

Streak said...

Back on this subject, saw this that suggests that these new Baptist schools are very fearful of the reminders of their segregated past and have taken steps to embrace diversity. That is a good thing.

And in general, I don't have a problem with religious education. Obviously, I struggle with teaching kids creation science and then expecting them to compete in the biological sciences, and I very much fear the right wing view of history that has Jamestown as a symbol of American religious purity. But I understand that there are many reasonable people who want options when it comes to education for their kids. Let's just say that alarm bells go off when I hear people talking about teaching "biblical principles."

Bootleg Blogger said...

Streak- I agree that it's fine for people to have choice and from a free-market perspective I think it will probably be a big hit if the professionalism follows the passion.

From a religious or spiritual perspective I don't lose sleep over it, but I do personally see it as very anti-christian teaching to call for a separation from engagement in the public forum. These people seem to praise our system only when it works to their advantage and their solution when it doesn't is to withdraw and do their own thing. Again, they have every right to do so. However, if we're talking about teaching children, the example being set is that if you don't like the way the game is going, take your ball and build your own stadium. I have my own children in a public system that definitely tries our patience at times. I do, however, have a vote when school boards are chosen and all of us in the community, regardless of religion, have the education of our children as a commonly held concern. So much of the focus in this "call" to private schools seems on the "right" thing being taught by the teachers. It seems to totally disregard the non-classroom learning that goes on in which children have to engage and learn to deal with children from different backgrounds, socioeconomic status, home situations, ethnicity, etc...... I can't help but think that this is another effort to create a "compound" society to insulate the children from the world.

As an aside, if an American Muslim group were making this kind of call (they might be for all I know, albeit or quietly), there'd be all kinds of concerns about resistance to integration in society, fundamentalism, questionable teacher competency, sexism, the list could go on.

Public schools have lots of issues- there's no doubt. Again, my discomfort is with a supposedly christian group calling for separation from the society that they are supposedly on the earth to "reach". I'm thinking this is just one more step in the SBC's path to irrelevance.

Lastly, Streak, please tell me you don't honesty believe these are going to be bastions of diversity:-)???

Streak said...

BB, great points, and I thought too that a Muslim call for religious schools would result in calls that they were not assimilating correctly. But that double standard is everywhere. Bush calling on Iraq to have a secular government and some separation from church, yet pulling down barriers here.

But for the question of diversity, I think there are two trends going on. One is the racist background of the SBC where much of that is still around. But I also think that there are many Southern Baptists who are actually evolving (hah) on the issue of race. So, despite my cynicism, I certainly believe that some SBC schools will make a strong effort at diversity.

steve s said...

I am also a supporter of public schools, but the trend in some areas to have enormous schools with 1000's of students is not one that I think is good. I would prefer smaller, local schools. That being said, I don't understand how Christians are supposed to reach other people if they isolate themselves. I would also like my child to be prepared to interact and work with all sorts of people. I am not saying that kids in private schools don't get this.

ubub said...

The giant schools with the 1000s of students is a trend driven by economic necessity even though it is contrary to most educational research on school size and academic achievement, which supports smaller learning communities, such as school within a school arrangements. Predictably, these are often hotly opposed by those who think schools already spend too much.