Making Religious Schools Available to All
"Religious” choice is necessary because “school choice” is generally offered as merely a choice among “secular” schools.
1) Critiques of Secular Education
SACE strongly supports Christian education as a parental concern and a source of strong civic nurture. It is clear that a much higher percentage of the nation’s families would elect a Christian school education for their children if the financial “paying field” was level. If secular education had a minimal effect on Christian children, SACE would not support religious school choice because choice systems will inevitably involve additional government regulation upon religious schools. However, secular education greatly hinders the spiritual, moral, and intellectual development of children.
For over a century and a half, the public has supported education to insure that children become moral, knowledgeable, skilled, independent, reflective, and civically involved individuals. After a century of experimentation with the "educational tools" associated with a "secular" paradigm of education, it is increasingly clear that many of the publics educational goals are religious in nature and are best addressed in religious schools. To make religious schools accessible to all families, we believe public education must be reshaped from a "common education" system to a "plural education" system in which children will be able to attend publicly supportive, and privately operated schools that educate from religious perspectives.
2) Arguments for School Choice
School Choice is complicated but appealing. It seems that every parent would want to choose the best school for their child, yet many people do not think it is in the public’s best interest for parents to make this choice. It is difficult to support a position without knowing the arguments of others. In this link, I open a discussion regarding the primary supporting and opposing arguments regarding religious school choice. I end with SACE’s new supporting argument.
3) Arguments Against School Choice
There are many arguments against school choice concerned with equity, church/state conflicts, regulations, public values, public division, etc. Reasonable citizens often oppose school choice on these grounds and informed school choice proponents must understand opposing concerns. Enter the discussion forum to engage this topic.
4) Church - State Concerns & Religious School Choice
SACE supports a “separation of Church and State, but I believe an accurate reading of church-state concerns supports lightly regulated religious school choice. My reasoning is that education is religious by nature! Follow this link to read and contribute to this discussion.
5) Which Public Regulations are Acceptable?
Obviously, government regulation will follow religious school choice, and regulation tends to expand over time. However, opposing ”choice” to avoid regulation is shortsighted. The government already holds the right to regulate private schools, and without religious schools to influence a deeper public philosophy, current religious schools are not as safe as they may think. The key to shaping the culture is not to retreat from the fear of regulation, but to engage the public and defend light regulation based on the value of religious schools. This opens the discussion as to which regulations are acceptable and which are not.
Society for the Advancement of Christian Education