The obvious alternative to public school is a private Christian school. Does a Christian school provide children with a Christian education? The answer should be yes—but it actually depends on the school. Sadly, many Christian schools are Christian in name only. Too many Christian schools look like the public schools, except for the addition of prayer, chapel, and creationism in science class. If this is what makes a school “Christian,” then it is no surprise people opt for the public schools instead. There is no reason to pay out-of-pocket for private school when it is not all that different from the local public school that is already taking your tax dollars.
Yes, Christian schools should have prayer and chapel, and they should teach biblical creation. But a true Christian education should do much more than this. A Christian school should strive to do the following:
- Teach the entire curriculum from a biblical worldview. Every subject should be taught in submission to God and His Word, including literature, math, and science. For “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7).
- Teach the Bible, theology, and church history. The Christian school should rethink the entire typical curriculum of our day. And one thing that is lacking in modern curriculum is specific attention to theology. Bible classes, systematic theology, and apologetics ought to be required courses at a Christian high school. And church history ought to be incorporated throughout the history curriculum.
- Provide rigorous academics. Christians are to do everything to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). This means education ought to be done well. The Christian school should exceed the academic level of most secular schools.
- Provide a Christian community. A Christian school ought to model what it teaches, which means faculty and teachers ought to be godly examples to students. The school also ought to demand Christian behavior of its students.
The Christian school ought to come alongside parents to aid in the educational and discipleship process. The Christian school is not there to supplant the role of parents (as so many schools do today) but is there to partner with and support parents in the role of discipleship. Parents who send their children to a school are extending their covenantal authority to teachers and administration. This is one reason why Christian parents ought to send their children to a Christian school. But even the Christian school is dependent upon parents maintaining their role in the discipleship process. Without parents doing their part at home, the Christian school is fighting an uphill battle.
Assuming there is a good Christian school within reasonable distance, there is still the challenge of paying for it. Private Christian schools are not free. They do not have the loads of tax dollars available to fund buildings and teacher salaries. And so Christian schools have to charge tuition, usually costing close to $10,000 per student per school year. This is probably the number one reason Christians opt for public school, as they simply do not want to pay for a private Christian school.
But the question becomes—do we value our children’s education? We spend our money on things we value. So if we value our children’s education, and we believe they should receive a Christian education, sacrifices will be made to make this happen. I must also add that if churches would support and fund such Christian schools, these schools would have more money to scholarship those who truly cannot afford private school tuition.