As an answer to parent’s desire to send their children to a place where they could receive better and more Biblical training, churches and other organizations created private schools with a Christian curriculum. These schools vary in purpose from those that are primarily an edification arm of a church to those that are independent and funded only by tuition to those that are evangelistically minded.
Parents have varied reasons for sending their children to Christian schools:
- They are a part of their church and have peer pressure
- They want their child to have a solid Christian education with Bible training
- They want an unruly child to be “straightened out”
Peer pressure effects parents too– I know, you’re surprised to hear me say it, but you know it’s true. When your church has a Christian school there is significant pressure applied to the individual to send their child there, even if nothing is said. This is definitely a wrong reason for any option of schooling, but I believe it’s strongest in this camp.
The second of the wrong reasons is to straighten a child out. For one thing, the problem probably has a root much deeper than just the outward rebellion. That problem wasn’t caused because the child didn’t have a Bible class or a dress code. The problem was probably something that probably came from the home, and the home is probably the only place that it will be fixed. If anything, you may have caused more rebellion because a child that is poorly disciplined at home and is at school is just a recipe for more trouble.
The middle reason is a good reason to send a child to a Christian school. The logic’s pretty clean: My child will get to hear the Word of God taught, instruction will be from a Biblical perspective (i.e. they will teach Creation, the Flood, sin and the need of a Savior, …), he will see Christianity modeled by his teachers, and I shouldn’t have to worry about his peers because they should be Christians as well.
How well does the Christian school do at meeting the goals of the different reasons?
One of the “double edged swords” that a Christian school has is the number of students it has. On the one hand, a Christian school with a few kids with a heart for the Lord can grow and develop in ways that are amazing. On the other hand, one “bad apple” can effect a significant portion of the school quickly.
If a child is in the school to cure rebellion or just because his parents made him, I would believe that they are probably not that involved in the education of the student the first place– and that spells trouble not only for that student but his classmates as well.
If a child is in the school to grow, o be constantly challenged in the Word, then he has a good chance to do it– if the teachers aren’t too busy trying to keep everyone at the same spiritual level.
Of all solutions, the Christian school solution seems to be the weakest in that the expectations from the parents cannot be met because of the expectations. To say that in another way: The parents believe that they don’t have to do as much work with the children because they’re in a Christian environment, and therefore they believe that the school will do their jobs. In this instance, the school as at a handicap, and even those parents who are involved have to deal with the student’s peers– they say their Christians, and their in a Christian school, bt they certainly don’t act like Christians.
If done correctly, a Christian school has the ability to turn out people passionate for Christ, but this seems to be only accomplished through a strict enrollment policy and control of the atmosphere. The really sticky part is that it’s hard to weed out kids from the Christian school that are part of the church– which, unfortunately, tend to be a primary source for misbehavior and rebellion in the schools.