Championing American Education: The Call for Christians to Lead the Way

By Durelle Lopez

by Danielle Dolin

One-room schoolhouses once symbolized the significance of education in America. Booker T. Washington, a former slave turned educator and the visionary behind Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, eloquently compared the learning that took place inside a schoolhouse to heaven:

“The picture of several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom engaged in study made a deep impression upon me, and I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise.”[1]

These humble institutions served as learning hubs in the 19th and early 20th centuries, where a single teacher would instruct students in various subjects within a single classroom.

Regrettably, education today has lost its purpose in many places, becoming overly standardized by committees and excessively regulated by governments. The classroom environment is often overcrowded, burdening teachers with numerous management techniques, lesson plans, and evaluations that overshadow the primary goal of teaching.

Teachers often resort to simply imparting knowledge to students, leading to rote memorization of facts without fostering a deep understanding of the subject or developing essential skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving. To exacerbate matters, many students pass exams and courses without truly grasping the material.[2]

This can be partly attributed to teachers’ concerns about potential job loss or administrative action stemming from upset parents more focused on their child receiving a passing grade than on their child being challenged. In these conditions, teachers are known to become caregivers more focused on socialization than education, inflating grades and overusing “collaborative learning activities,”[3] such as interactive models and small group learning, to the extent that classrooms transform into academic daycares centered around passive learning, restricted discussions, and circling correct answers.

Letter grades, school awards, success of a small group of naturally gifted students, and tailored messaging from administrators all mask the absence of education and active learning in today’s schools, lulling parents into contentment with their child’s learning outcomes and “positive” classroom experiences. This allows many public and private schools to continue receiving funding at the expense of students who miss out on a true education.

In short, there has been an overemphasis on industrialized education and a dearth of genuine learning. And guess who is disproportionately affected? Boys.

The state of education today demands our immediate attention and action. American schools have lost their way, and the consequences of this are felt by our children, particularly boys.

It’s time for change.

Christians must advocate for meaningful learning experiences in our schools, support educators who dedicate themselves to our children, and demand accountability from educational institutions to ensure that learning takes precedence over awards and salaries.

Let us rekindle the spirit of education as a renaissance force, guiding our children toward a brighter tomorrow. The time for action is now, and your involvement is crucial. Let us come together to make a real difference in the lives of our students and the future of our society.

David’s story starts at two years old, when he saved his mother’s life. His mother, a teen-mom and abuse survivor, fled Flint-MI and moved to Tulsa-OK, where No Child Left Behind left him behind. Rising above the challenges of public schooling, going from star athlete to college dropout to homeless pastor, and later writing about his escape from a church cult in Pre-Campbell Christianity, he has learned important life lessons on the meaning of education. From a 1.5 GPA to a master’s degree, he now empowers middle schoolers as a science and creative writing teacher in Tucson, AZ.

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