Updated: Oct 20, 2022
A parent’s search for education begins with letters and numbers.
Parents must consider letters such as GT (gifted and talented), STEAM (science, technology engineering, arts and math), PBL (project-based learning), AP (advanced placement courses), DE (dual enrollment courses), and of course preparation for the ACT!
Numbers are important too. Does the school offer 1:1 (laptop program)? How many seniors score 30+ on the ACT test/sub-tests? What percentage of graduates attend college? What is the student-teacher ratio? How many sports options are offered? And, very important, what numbers are next to the dollar sign on the tuition schedule?
Package that information neat and tidy and label a product EXCELLENT and the nutritional label might reflect the recommended daily allowance for most of the essential educational ingredients. But what if the product is still missing the most crucial nutrient: character development.
Christ-like character development is the protein in Christian education. It can’t be adequately taught in a curricular unit or delivered by a guest speaker. And it certainly can’t be taught in an educational setting in which all moral views are considered to be of equal and therefore innocuous value.
Christ-like character must be caught not only at home in the evening and in Sunday school on the weekend but also daily in the classroom, on the soccer field, in the bleachers during pep band, at the easel, on the choral trip, and while preparing for the history fair.
The importance of character development can never be overstated.
Contrast a student with a perfect college entrance score who possesses no empathy for others, has never learned the value of teamwork, disrespects those in authority, and has little perseverance with a “B” student who sees the needs of others, works well with people, and tenaciously sees things through. Who is better prepared for college and career?
Contrast an environment in which children are taught that God does not exist, life is expendable (especially at its beginning and its end), nothing is intrinsically good or evil, and people are accountable only to themselves with a school in which children are taught through both words and deeds that their Creator loves them, life has meaning and purpose, and there is a “right” that produces joy now and eternally. Which environment will best prepare students to build strong families and make a difference in the world?
The conclusion is clear. The alphabet soup is important. All good schools excel in the letters and numbers mentioned at the top of this web page. Our school does. But don’t leave out the protein. There is no substitute for character. And character cannot be developed in a values-free vacuum. A great education is both in the books and in THE BOOK.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” –Aristotle