11 Apr The Challenge for Schools
Every year the Professional Association in Education (Phi Delta Kappa) and Gallup conduct a poll on the public’s attitudes toward Public Schools. One of the open-ended questions of this survey is “What do you think are the biggest problems that the public schools of your community must deal with?” Remarkably, in 2012 the largest response was “lack of financial support” with 35%.1
This is a contrast to ten years ago, when 39% of respondents said that discipline concerns, fighting, gang violence, and drugs were the biggest problems. In the meantime, consider some of these current facts as they relate to our own local Public Schools:
- 44% of Pennsylvania students will use alcohol in high school2
- 19% of Pennsylvania students will use marijuana2
- 11% of Pennsylvania students will use illicit substances other than marijuana2
- 42% of Philadelphia Public School students will not graduate on time3
Isn’t it just like our nation at this time, in the midst of all these major challenges, to say that the biggest problem is lack of money?
As Bible-believing followers of Christ we should readily recognize the biggest problem facing our public schools, because it’s the same as the biggest problem facing humanity: sin. First and foremost, we have a sin problem. We should also recognize the solution: Jesus Christ. Lastly, we need to embrace our role in God’s plan, which is plainly revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:19b-20, “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” As an ambassador, what is the most effective thing you can do to represent Christ today?
1William Bushaw and Shane Lopez, “Public Education in the United States: A Nation Divided,” Kappan v94 n1, (09/12).
2Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, 2011 Pennsylvania Youth Survey Report.
3Office of Accountability, School District of Philadelphia.
A new book coauthored by attorney and Pennsylvania State Representative Stephen Bloom highlights the rights and privileges of Christian students and parents in the public school. They’ve Crossed the Line: A Patriot’s Guide to Religious Freedom addresses public displays of faith, prayer, the Bible, Bible Clubs, and witnessing in the public school setting. It also addresses religious rights in the workplace and public forum. The book is available through Amazon.com.