You don’t hear much from Christians in the national debate about public education. When you do, it
isn’t always positive, which is why it is particularly gratifying to see Christianity Today publish
a superb piece on Common Core State Standards by Liz Riggs, an educator. Riggs shows how the promise of Common Core gets lost in the
fear-driven rhetoric that misinforms and spooks parents, educators, community members—and, people of faith. Are these new standards an attempt by the federal government to take over education? Will the Common Core cause test scores to fall for schools that are currently successful? Why change the way parents learned math so they can no longer help their children with homework? For Riggs, the smarter focus is on how these standards will improve life for America’s vulnerable children—not on who created the standards, how they will temporarily reduce test scores, or how they feed our misplaced nostalgia for how things used to be done. She says:
As we all do our best to obtain a great education for our children, Riggs reminds her readers, as Christians, to see beyond their own families.
But what about other people’s children? What about the poor, the downtrodden, the orphans that we as Christians are called to serve and to care about? What about those who are so deeply entrenched in systemic poverty that a high-quality education is the only way out? What if an educational shift in a more challenging and rigorous direction benefits those children more than our own?
These are the right questions, especially for people of faith who believe service to the poor is an ineludible part of walking the righteous path.
Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of
brightbeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, ...